Arduino Garage Door Opener Pt 2

Once I got everything together, I ended up sitting on the project for a few months. Until one night while I was sitting in my office, while Michelle was hitting the punching bag,  and my dogs started going crazy. I looked out the window towards my front door, and saw a police woman. I went outside, and she was just making sure that someone was home, because the garage was open, and she saw the motorcycle inside. She told me that a bike was stolen across the neighborhood the week before. Michelle had intentions of going for a walk a few minutes prior, which is why it was up, but the incident reminded me that I needed to get this thing going…. Which brings me to the guts of the project.

First the remote that I found on a walk. It is a Genie key-chain style remote that works with my brand of door opener. It looked like one I already use on my Motorcycle..

When you open it up, the circuit board below the button has two separate inter-weaved sets of contacts, you can see in the center of the remote below. I soldered a wire to each side of the contacts, and when you touch the wires together, it activates the remote.

Now that I have the remote with wires on it, I needed to find a way for the Aurdino board to basically short the two wires together. My first thought was to do what this guy did, and use an optoisolator, which is a small component that is like a relay, but no moving parts. I went to Fry’s electronics, and they did not have the part I needed. Being impatient, and not wanting to wait for a $1.25 par to arrive, I decided to go with a slightly more complicated route of using a small 5v reed relay from radio shack.

Below is the circuit I came up with, based on some of the tutorials I was following in the dev pack I ordered earlier, and some internet research.

I set to work putting this into action on my handy dandy mini breadboard setup. It was a bit different than the example I was trying to follow, because my reed relay had a different pin setup than the one used in the example, so due to space constraints, I ended up having to use a lot of jumper cables to get everything to fit, which led to a bit of confusion on my part.

Now that I had it wired up, I needed to test it to see if I had done it even close to correctly. To do so, I used this Arduino sketch that this fellow had on his site, that allows you to control the relay using the serial interface on the Arduino, by hitting the space bar. I loaded the sketch into the Aurdino, opened the serial monitor, hit space, and enter, and to my surprise, the garage started to go up, and the LED on the remote was lit up. I hit space again, and the LED went off. Repeat, and the garage goes down. Thru some fluke in the universe, I had wired it up correctly the first time, and didn’t let any magic smoke escape.

The next night I decided to make things a little more perminent, by using a peg board, and soldering the pieces together. Using my handy dandy diagram, I began to plan how to lay out the parts on the board, and it was more moving the parts around, seeing where they would fit the best, and where on the back I would need to solder it. I haven’t soldered much since high school, so I made sure to watch a few youtube videos on the subject before I began.

Once it was all soldered, I plugged it in, and gave it a shot….. NOTHING. Oh piss… what did I do? I started looking at all the connections to see if one was shorted, and finally got out the multimeter, and started poking around to no avail. I started getting frustrated, so I went on a walk with Michelle. When I got back, I thought what the simplest solution might be, and began tracing the path, and came across the diode, which might be on there backwards. Luckily, I had mounted it up and over the relay, leaving it’s leads very long, so I was able to flip it around, and stick it in some other holes and solder it in. Plug it in, hit space…. and the garage door went up! w00t! Success.

Below is how it looks on the pegboard. I used some heat shrink tubing to keep some of the wires organized that lead to the Arduino, and the remote.

The next step is to get the reed switch installed, and to start writing some code for a sketch.

Arduino Garage Door Opener.

It was made apparent to me by my neighbor Jimy, that I leave my garage door open way too much. Being the nice and helpful guy he is, he sends me a text whenever he notices I went to bed with it still up. Recognizing this fact, and the point that I like my Triumph Motorcycle, and don’t want it to get rolled out of my open garage, I decided I needed to figure out a way to make sure my garage is closed before I go to bed.

I began looking around for options, and found a couple people online doing something with arduino‘s and netduinos, along with a couple of commercial options from Craftsman and the like.  I decided to try and do my own project with an arduino ethernet.

I began to think about what I wanted this project to do.

  1. Automatically close my door at night.
  2. Be able to open/close my door remotely, or by using my smartphone.
  3. Be able to see remotely if my garage is open or closed.

I decided to go the Arduino route, and began to look around where to get one from, and ended up at adafruit.com. I decided to get their Adafruit ARDX – v1.3 Experimentation Kit for Arduino which comes with an Arduino Uno, a bunch of components, and a little tutorial guide on the basics you can do with the board.

I also went ahead and got the Arduino Uno Ethernet at the same time, as I knew I would be using this for the network connected part of it.

Investigating on how I would need to figure out what the status of the garage door is, I found there were a bunch of different ways, such as optical sensors, using an old android smartphone’s camera, and reed switches to name a few.

I went with the simple magnetic reed switch, also from adafruit.com

Next consideration, is how to interface with the opener itself. Looking thru the internets, it appeared there were a few options for this as well, first being connecting directly to the garage door opener’s contacts, second, by splicing into the switch that was on the wall, and third, and the choice I went with, is to use a wireless garage remote. By using a remote, which by weird hapenstance, I found while out on a walk in the middle of the big field behind our house, I am able to keep the whole setup inside the wiring cabinet in my house, and run one set of wires out to the reed switch.

Now, all I need to do is get it to work.. posts to follow about the progress on that.