Z-Wave or Zigbee tilt sensor on vehicle to detect open tailgate?

I am trying to figure out how to prevent a garage door from being closed on an open minivan tailgate. The garage opener is manual, so the close action would happen from the standard wall switch, garage remote, homelink button etc. Certain unnamed family members have done this already on the old van. and I don’t want it happening on the new van!

I was thinking of using a tilt sensor on the tailgate, and a dry contact relay to interrupt the safety sensors and make it appear to the opener that the door should not close. The tilt sensor will need to automatically re-connect to the home network in about 15 to 30 seconds when the van returns home. One issue I have is this will be the first sensor, so may also need to add a relay node to get coverage.

So the question is - which would be better for the tilt sensor: Z-Wave or Zigbee? NYCE make what appears to be a nice NCZ-3014-HA ZigBee tilt sensor.

An alternative is a second set of infrared beams set at the right height to break the current garage safety circuit.

Do you all have any thoughts on this use case? The cost of these sensors is much less than repairing and repainting the minivan tailgate! Thanks.

This seems like the technically simpler solution, and thus more likely to be reliable.

I can’t do the circuit in my head, but I presume you can link up to the existing sensors in series to ensure that if either IR beam (one or both) is broken, then the Garage Door Opener will detect the fault condition and refuse to close.


You could maybe use something like this, and wire it to a contact sensor that has a external input like these I hooked up to the wired sensors in my home alarm system.

The problem, or annoyance I see is that as soon as you leave range of the hub it will go offline and show in your app. A better solution possibly is a laser sensor aiming down from the top to the floor, so if the tailgate is open it will break the circuit. But not sure if there is a sensor for that.

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I use the Nyce tilt sensor on my wife’s Explorer tail gate. However, I don’t use it to interrupt any manual closing actions. I only use it to prevent my Linear GD00z from closing the door if tailgate is open.

You could do something similar by combining the tilt sensor, the linear hd00z and the iris push button on the wall. Then have the family only use the iris button. Save the regular button for when SmartThings is down, though.

Thanks for the feedback on the photoelectric beams. I’m going to try that. Simple is always good.

Mike - the ones you linked were the exact ones I was looking at: Seco-Larm E-931-S35RRQ Reflective Photoelectric Beam Sensor. Just need to add a 12V dc power supply > 40 mA (datasheet

I have a newer garage door opener, so I believe it uses a +6V pulsed signal, where the receiving beam unit briefly shorts the two wires on every received light pulse, and the garage opener control board detects the pulses. So in theory running one wire through the added dry-contact relay should break the circuit and the opener should think the sensor is blocked and not close the door. I need to test this to check it does work like this. I don’t want to make the door less safe.

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I want to revisit this now that it’s a few years later. Anyone have any experience dealing with this or positive/negative results?

I like the idea of making it a function of the garage door and not a smart device because that also prevents the manual button from working.

Just looking for some fresh thoughts from anyone.

Thanks in advance