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[How-To] Automate Your Garage Door


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#1 BraveSirRobbin

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 12:15 AM

[How-To] Automate Your Garage Door
Using Its Wireless Remote Control


by BraveSirRobbin

Many of us would like to control our garage doors (automatic opener), but the lack of wires running from our home automation hardware to the garage area may limit this from happening. This How-To will give you some ideas as to how you can accomplish this goal using your existing remote control (well probably a spare one). The method of monitoring the garage door in this example was "hardwired" but that doesn't mean you couldn't use a wireless method such as the DS10A with a W800 RF receiver or an X-10 power flash module. (I already had my garage door monitored by wiring a magnetic contact switch to my SECU16I (Ocelot add-in module)).

This How-To will not show you any "earth shattering" techniques; rather it will hopefully generate some ideas that may work out for you!

FIRST, the general disclaimer. CocoonTech.com and its staff are NOT responsible for any injury or property damage resulting from anyone using this How-To guide or any associated pictures or links.

My garage door opener is a Genie "Intellicode" model which can use the remote as shown below (purchased from Home Depot).

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Program the remote to work with your garage door as you normally would (mine required pressing a button on the opener, then pressing the remote within 30 seconds to recognize its code). Also test the remote at the mounting location you desire (e.g. your wiring closet) to make sure it will have the proper range for operating your garage door.

Hey, if you flip the remote over guess what, it has a screw holding it together. Well, you know what that means! Open the victim, err unit up by removing the large center screw and lifting the battery cover. Gently pry the circuit board loose from its case.

Examine the PC board and you will note that the control (push) button is connected to the circuit board via four "feet". Two of these feet are connected together and make contact with the other pair of feet when the button is pressed.

Also note that the battery (at least in this case) is a small twelve volt type. Also note the positive and negative battery terminals (you may have to refer back to the plastic case as the markings of positive (+) and negative (-) were there and not on the PC board.

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Here is a side shot of the PC board which better shows the "feet" of the pushbutton.

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The key here is to determine what two contacts can be used on the switch so you can solder a small gauge wire to them and activate the remote when the two wires are touched together. Place the battery in the PC board, then get a small jumper wire and touch two sides of the pushbutton "feet" and see if the garage door responds. If it doesn't try another "pair" of feet with the jumper wire. Once you find the correct pair, short it out with the jumper wire again and make sure the garage door moves in the opposite direction from the first test. Mark these working feet locations.

Now, solder a pair of wires to those feet. I used 22 gauge wire for this purpose as it was easy to pre-tin and hook over the two feet to hold it in place while soldering. Don't use excessive heat or the solder contacts that hold the pushbutton switch to the board will become loose.

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I really didn't want to have to worry about changing out a battery for this remote once installed. That plus the fact that I already had a twelve volt DC power source powering my Ocelot, SECU16I, and RELAY-8 modules in the same area where this remote would be "mounted" (it's an ELK battery backed 12 volt DC power source). So I just soldered wires to the positive and negative terminals of the PC board and connected their ends to this twelve volt source! Note that this really needs to be DC and I'm not entirely sure the stock ADI wall wart supplied with the Ocelot will provide adequate "DC" regulation. Use at our own risk!

I then connected the other ends of the pushbutton feet to my RELAY-8 module (normally open contacts) as it would provide a "contact closure" via commands from my Ocelot.

After these connections are made, place the PC board back into the remote's case (minus the battery if you are using an external voltage source as shown above). You may have to drill a small hole in the bottom to accommodate the wires exiting the case. Place the screw back in the bottom.

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I then mounted this remote in my wiring closet near my Ocelot's Relay-8 module as shown below. Note the Elk twelve volt power source (open box) on the adjacent wall which powers this device as well as the Ocelot and its modules as mentioned above.

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Now test your newly automated garage door opener with your automation system. Since I used the RELAY-8 module I manually closed the relay (via Homeseer), then opened it after two seconds (you don't want to leave the connection "closed" as it will be constantly transmitting AND you will not have the remote available for any other open/close commands. Your garage door should now be responding to these commands. If not, troubleshoot the system by first pressing the garage door remote's "stock" button (it should still be operational if re-installed in the case correctly), then go from there.

Other brands of remotes will hopefully be as easy to modify as this one. The key here is to locate the pushbutton switch which controls the garage door on the PC board, then try to "extend" this functionality to a pair of wires by soldering to this switch as best as you can. Test the contacts with a short piece of wire first to insure you have the correct ones.

As I mentioned in the beginning I am monitoring my garage door's position with magnetic contacts hard wired to my SECU16I (digital input add-in module for the Ocelot). I use THIS type of magnetic contact switch. They make normally open and normally closed switches, either will work, you just have to get the logic correct.

You can also use a DS10A to monitor your garage door with this magnetic switch (just replace the stock magnetic contact switch supplied with the DS10A with this garage door type). The only problem is you will need a W800 RF receiver and software such as Homeseer to detect/interpret the DS10A.

You can also use an X-10 Power Flash to monitor the garage contact closures as well (will send an X-10 command on an open or close condition).

Another way to control the garage remote (if you don't have a unit such as an Ocelot/Relay-8) is to use an X-10 Universal Module. There are many posts where people have connected this module directly to their garage door remotes (wired) control button in their garage. Be aware that many recommend using two universal modules in "series" so that two X-10 codes be sent correctly in order for the garage door to operate (increases security using X-10 standard codes). These methods would also work with this garage remote control method. Just make sure you send an "off" or "open" command a couple of seconds after the closed one.

There may be times where you forgot to close the garage door and nobody was home to check/close the door for you. Also, how do you know the garage door was closed at night (bedtime) without having to "check" your HA status?

I implemented an automatic garage door close routine with my Ocelot/SECU16I/RELAY-8 and Caddx NX8E security systems. Basically if the Caddx system is armed in "away" mode (i.e. nobody home), the Ocelot will see this armed state and start a timer when the system "changed" to arm-away. If the timer gets to five minutes and the garage door is still open, it will "chirp" the siren and flash the garage lights as a warning, then close the garage door thirty seconds later.

I also have a routine that will close the garage door five seconds after the security system is armed in "stay" (nighttime) mode.

I have this code run entirely from my Ocelot and it is completely independent of a PC (i.e. much more reliable). To give my Ocelot this capability I already had a "relay output" Caddx expansion board added to my Caddx NX8E system where I could control up to eight relays based on Caddx states such as "Any Armed", "Armed Stay", "Armed Away", etc... I then wired these relays to inputs on the SECU16I (Ocelot expansion module). I also wired one RELAY-8 Ocelot expansion module back to a Caddx NX8E security zone so a general (garage) alarm could be sent based on the Ocleots "smarter" logic.

The code used for the Ocelot to implement these routines is listed below (with comments).

0351 - IF Module #1   -SECU16-I Armed_Away Turns ON         // Kick out of Garage Auto Program when Disarmed

 0352 -   OR Module #1   -SECU16-I Garage_Door Turns ON   // Or Garage Closes

 0353 -     THEN Garage_Away = 0                     
 0354 - IF Module #1   -SECU16-I Armed_Away Turns OFF      // When System Armed in AWAY Mode

 0355 -     THEN Garage_Away = 1                       // Start Garage Away Timer
 0356 - IF Garage_Away becomes =  300            // After Five Minutes
 0357 -   AND Module #1   -SECU16-I Garage_Door Is OFF   // and Door Open
 0358 -   AND Module #1   -SECU16-I Armed_Away Is OFF   // and Armed in Away Mode

 0359 -     THEN Garage, Turn ON      // Then Turn On Garage Lights (30 sec Warning)

 0360 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Siren Turn ON     // Then Turn On Garage Siren (30 sec Warning)

 0361 - IF Garage_Away becomes =  301              // After One Second
 0362 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Siren Turn OFF    // Turn OFF Garage Siren

 0363 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Siren Turn OFF    // Turn OFF Garage Siren

 0364 - IF Garage_Away becomes =  303          // After Three Seconds
 0365 -     THEN Garage, Turn OFF                   // Then Turn Off Garage Lights 
 0366 - IF Garage_Away becomes =  305        // After Two Seconds
 0367 -     THEN Garage, Turn ON                   // Then Turn On Garage Lights
 0368 - IF Garage_Away becomes =  335       // Thirty Seconds After Warning
 0369 -   AND Module #1   -SECU16-I Garage_Door Is OFF  // and Door Open
 0370 -   AND Module #1   -SECU16-I Armed_Away Is OFF  // and Armed in Away Mode

 0371 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Remote Turn ON    // Close Garage Door by Pressing Remote Button

 0372 - IF Garage_Away becomes =  337   // Open Remote Button After Two Seconds

 0373 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Remote Turn OFF   
 0374 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Remote Turn OFF 
 0375 - IF Garage_Away becomes =  355                    // After 18 Seconds
 0376 -   AND Module #1   -SECU16-I Garage_Door Is OFF   // and Garage Door is Still Open

 0377 -   AND Module #1   -SECU16-I Armed_Away Is OFF    // and Armed in Away Mode

 0378 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Remote Turn ON    // Close Garage Door by Pressing Remote Button

 0379 - IF Garage_Away becomes =  357       // Open Remote Button After Two Seconds

 0380 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Remote Turn OFF   
 0381 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Remote Turn OFF 
 0382 - IF Garage_Away becomes =  365        // Reset parameters
 0383 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Remote Turn OFF 
 0384 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Remote Turn OFF 
 0385 -     THEN Garage_Away = 0     // End of Garage Auto Close Program Exit Mode


 0386 - IF Module #1   -SECU16-I Armed_Stay Turns OFF      // If Security Armed in STAY Mode

 0387 -   AND Module #1   -SECU16-I Garage_Door Is OFF   // and Garage Door Open
 0388 -     THEN Garage_Stay = 1                   // Start Garage Stay Timer
 0389 - IF Garage_Stay becomes =  5             // Wait Four Seconds
 0390 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Remote Turn ON    // Close Garage Door by Pressing Remote Button

 0391 - IF Garage_Stay becomes =  8         // After Three Seconds, Open Garage Remote
 0392 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Remote Turn OFF   
 0393 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Remote Turn OFF 
 0394 - IF Garage_Stay becomes =  28                 // After 20 Seconds
 0395 -   AND Module #1   -SECU16-I Garage_Door Is OFF      // and Garage Door Open

 0396 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Remote Turn ON    // Close Garage Door by Pressing Remote Button
 0397 - IF Garage_Stay becomes =  30     // After Two Seconds, Open Garage Remote

 0398 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Remote Turn OFF    
 0399 -     THEN Module #2     -RELAY-08 Garage_Remote Turn OFF 
 0400 -     THEN Garage_Stay = 0                  // Reset Garage Timer


 0401 - IF Module #1   -SECU16-I Armed_Stay Turns ON      // If Disarmed from Stay Mode

 0402 -   OR Module #1   -SECU16-I Garage_Door Turns ON           //  Or Garage Door Closes
 0403 -     THEN Garage_Stay = 0   // Reset Garage Timer
 0404 - End Program     
                                

In conclusion, there are many, many ways of controlling your garage door with your home automation hardware. Hopefully this How-To will "toggle" some ideas in your head and help you implement this feature for your system.

As always please leave comments (pros and cons) below!

Regards,

BSR

Edited by BraveSirRobbin, 14 July 2005 - 12:19 AM.


#2 Dan (electron)

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 07:17 AM

Great How-To and pictures!! Keep in mind that you can apply this know-how to a car remote starter fob (assuming you have a spare) so you can start your car, make sure it's locked etc., or automate your ceiling fan remote. Pretty much anything device which has a remote can be automated.

#3 BraveSirRobbin

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 11:36 AM

One other item worth mentioning is you can use THIS Elk Relay Timer to trigger your remote (pictured below).

This device can be configured to provide a relay closure (relay on its PC board) for a certain time interval. For instance you can trigger this device with your contact closure from your Universal Module or RELAY-8 and not worry about opening the contacts (at least right away) as this module would then be triggered from that contact closure and provide say a two second pulse (close its relay which is connected to the remote) and automatically open after those two seconds have passed.

This is good if you are using an X-10 interface to "trigger" your remote and want to make sure that this remote opens after a couple of seconds (and doesn't stay on continually because it never received the "open" X-10 signal).

Of course you couldn't send another automated signal to the remote until you send an open command first.

I use this device to monitor when my dryer is finished. I modified my dryer by taking out the "buzzer" that sounds when the dry cycle is finished. Since it was an AC 120 volt signal that sounded that buzzer I just replaced the buzzer with a relay whose coil was 120 volt compatible. I then ran the single pole normally open contacts of that relay to the SECU16I digital input Ocelot expansion module.

I noticed that the module would sometimes "miss" the dryer finished signal because its "on" interval was to short. I just used one of these Elk timers and had my dryer relay trigger it, then wired the relay contacts of the Elk timer to the SECU16I instead, set the time on interval to three seconds and now it NEVER misses a dryer finished signal.

Just remember that this unit needs to be powered with 12 volts DC. Wasn't a problem for me as I already had this source available as mentioned above.

There are kits available that will perform the same operation of the Elk Timer available from places such as All Electronics.

Attached Files



#4 JohnBullard

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 07:24 PM

ANOTHER very good, no, GREAT How-To BSR. Gives my lots of ideas. Thanks

#5 BraveSirRobbin

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 07:30 PM

Thanks for the kind words my friend! Don't forget to post about the cool things you will be doing when you get a chance.

#6 tomtnt

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 12:46 AM

sorry for brining up this old thread/how-to.. can this be adapted to the ELK M1 somehow? Can the elk's output trigger the remote or would you need a relay in between?

thanks BSR

#7 Steve

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 08:05 AM

Have a look at this thread. Summary: Have Elk output or relay turn of for a few seconds to trigger the GDO. Just run 2 conductor from GDO (either wall control or opener itself) to the controller or relay board.

#8 BraveSirRobbin

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 11:05 AM

sorry for brining up this old thread/how-to.. can this be adapted to the ELK M1 somehow? Can the elk's output trigger the remote or would you need a relay in between?

I'll answer your question Tom.

You can use the onboard relay that the Elk has (can't remember the output number) to do this, but its overkill and you can probably wind up using that relay for something else in the future.

I would get an Elk relay module as shown HERE, and use one of the Elk outputs (let's say "Output 16"). These relays can easily be driven from the “voltage output” of the Elk outputs (outputs 7 thru 16).

Here is how you would hook up this relay to Output 16:

Look at connector J16 on your elk. You should have a matching connector with a lot of wires on it that will plug into this connector.

For output 16 you will want to use the WHITE wire and connect it to the "+" of that relay. Connect the "-" to the black wire.

Now connect the "N/O" and "C" terminals to your garage door’s remote button. Of course first make sure the remote is programmed to open/close your garage door and that you have your wires soldered to the push button as shown in this How-To.

Now you would write an Elk rule to open that Output 16 for two seconds and all should work.

I no longer have an Elk as I installed it in my friend's house so I can't test anything "hands on" but if you need some help, let me know.

Regards,

BSR

#9 technerd

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 02:36 PM

Thanks BSR - this is an awesome how to!

I'm thinking of doing some less ambitious.

When I had my alarm installed a few years ago, I asked about getting my garage doors wired as well. The installer said it's not normally done, and how do you disarm the system without having a keypad in the garage (not safe) or a remote (I don't like remotes and would lose them).

But this thread gave me some new ideas.

I have a RF enabled keypad which works with wireless sensors. I'm thinking of adding a wireless alarm sensor to each garage door, and linking it to my alarm system. I'll bypass the zones for the garage doors, so as not to worry about disarming the alarm in time when we come home or leave.

However, with my uControl unit I can see which zones are opened or closed, so I could tell instantly if my garage door is open or not.

For example, I go to work, and as I'm closing my garage door a cat blocks my garage sensor and it fails to close. I can at least log in from work and find out that my garage door is still open. I can call my wife or a neighbor to close the garage door for me.

What do you think? Is this a realistic plan or is it flawed?

Edited by technerd, 14 April 2007 - 02:36 PM.


#10 BraveSirRobbin

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 04:51 PM

technerd;

To tell you the honest truth, I don't know of a single person that has ever implemented this How-To! It was written more to give an example of how one can incorporate analog type inputs for custom monitoring needs. This How-To is actually a compliment to my Analog to Digital Converters guide.

There are all kinds of strategies and methodoligies for monitoring the garage door. I also use magnetic contacts and have those monitored by my Ocelot/SECU16 hardware, which is also connected to my Caddx NX8e security system. When I arm the system in "stay" mode, the system will alarm immediately when the garage door opens.

Also, when I arm the system in Away mode, the garage door will not trigger an alarm until after it closes. This way my wife will not be "rushed" getting out of the garage (getting my son in, buckling him up, getting other stuff in, etc...).

As far as the entry delay time, the Caddx (as most systems) has two entry/exit delays. I set my garage door's entry delay a considerable amount more than my other doors.

I also have a voice announcement say a "code" when the entry time is getting down to 20 seconds so we know to unlock/open the laundry room door to disarm the system (i.e. get to it quickly).

As far as forgetting to close the door, or have something interfere with the door's closing after you leave here is what I do. If the system is armed in stay mode (i.e. I'm at home for the night) I check the garage door and if it is open, I have it automatically close.

If the system is armed in away mode (nobody home) I wait seven minutes and if the door is open I "chirp" the siren and flash the lights in the garage (warning) and then send a signal to close it. I then look at the garage door contacts 20 seconds after this command is sent and if it is still open, I send the close signal again. If it is still not closed after 20 seconds I send myself a text message on my cell phone.

Your strategy is good, but you may want to consider monitoring your alarm system with a more advanced home automation system so you don't have to manually log on to see the garage door's status.

For instance in my case, I use HomeSeer and there are two plugins which interface with my Caddx NX8e security system (via its serial port). This now opens up a lot of possibilities such as voice announcements when a door is open or closed, automatically turning on a light when my side garage door is opened and it is night time (taking out the trash), etc...

Hope this gives you some ideas for your situation.

Regards,

BSR

#11 eufreka

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 11:22 PM

...The key here is to determine what two contacts can be used on the switch so you can solder a small gauge wire to them and activate the remote when the two wires are touched together. Place the battery in the PC board, then get a small jumper wire and touch two sides of the pushbutton "feet" and see if the garage door responds. If it doesn't try another "pair" of feet with the jumper wire. Once you find the correct pair, short it out with the jumper wire again and make sure the garage door moves in the opposite direction from the first test. Mark these working feet locations.

Now, solder a pair of wires to those feet. ...


Well, I am here to say, this is not that easy... I tried to follow your instructions but I had no luck at all soldering 22 gauge wire to the individual feet. By the time I could get a solid enough connection, I was shorting across the body of the switch...so I gave up.

Then I spent awhile puzzling over the PCB and noticed that simply looking at the bottom shows that the button's feet are 2x2 and you can see the trace from underneath. So with a final desparate attempt, I soldered my wires to the pin solder points ON THE BOTTOM of the PCB... This allowed me to solder each wire across two contact points without difficulty giving a much more secure (I hope) connection.

Here is my terrible camphone picture as a general guide...

[img=http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/639/image00026pg9.th.jpg]

#12 BraveSirRobbin

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 11:58 PM

eufreka;

I think that should work out for you. Just make sure the bare part of the wire isn't touching any other component on the PC board. You can use some duct tape or even silicon to help with the separation if needed (since this is all low voltage stuff).

I have lots of experience soldering and also have an adjustable temperature soldering station. I'm thinking you might not have had the iron hot enough.

Glad you got it working though!

BSR

#13 eufreka

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 06:22 PM

...Glad you got it working though!

BSR


Yep, it took 10 minutes once I switched to the bottom. And here's another vote for reasons why I love my Elk M1 Gold: Once the remote was ready, it took no more than another 10 minutes to walk to the panel, wire the remote wires to Output 3, fire up ElkRP and program my Keypads' F4 keys to be garage door buttons.

Granted I spent another 30 minutes messing around to add a wireless window contact (to determine whether the door is open or closed) and get the voice announcements right.

So, good or bad, now you know at least ONE person has actually used this How To.

Thanks!

#14 LightenUP

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 09:44 AM

Call me crazy but it seems using UPB would be easy to automate the garage door. OF course if the remote is necessary then some RF bridge would be needed. Otherwise a switch could operate it. Also you could by using a contact closer with an input output device operate lighting inside when the door is activated only at night and only when activated from the car remote.

What do you think?

#15 Steve

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 11:08 AM

Call me crazy but it seems using UPB would be easy to automate the garage door. OF course if the remote is necessary then some RF bridge would be needed. Otherwise a switch could operate it. Also you could by using a contact closer with an input output device operate lighting inside when the door is activated only at night and only when activated from the car remote.

What do you think?

Yes, there are several ways to automate the door. With UPB, some have used the UMI-32 I/O module. I actually just use hardwire and I've disconnected the GDO lights that always burn out and have a UPB switch on the main garage light. When the garage door opens the main light comes on for 5 min.




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