[How-To] Monitor your car's status


Staff member
Checking if your car is parked in your garage or if it's on the road is rather easy to do, and the advantages are pretty big:
  • You can have your Home Automation system announce "Honey I'm home" when you pull up (my wife likes this one, since she can't hear the garage door, and she absolutely hates it when I sneak up;)).
  • Monitor if your kids arrived home safely/in time.
  • Automatically secure the house when all cars are on the road.
  • Turn on the power to your garage door opener automatically if you get close to your garage (some people like to use an appliance module to control the power of the garage door opener, acting as a backup security mechanism).
  • Have your outside lights turn on when arriving home at night.
  • The house can automatically greet you and get ready to provide you with the latest voice mail messages, weather etc.
All you need to do is place an X10 motion sensor in your car. Make sure the delay is set to 1 minute maximum, and that it is operating in 24h mode. I would suggest placing your motion sensor under the steering column, since this is where most of the movement is happening.

I have had mine there for over a year, and I am still using my original set of batteries, but it isn't hard to hardwire the motion sensor to the car's battery by tapping into one of the accessories wires. If you are really courageous, you could do the dusk/dawn -> contact sensor hack, allowing you to monitor if your car is running or doors are locked.

The logic behind this is pretty simple, I am using the Homeseer Doomotion plugin to do this, but it really isn't that difficult. All you have to do is create a virtual device i.e. "v5", and name it "my car". This is the logic behind it, you can create a few events to do all of this.
  • When the car's motion sensor has been OFF for a few minutes, and the status changed to ON, then update v5's devicestring to "on the road".
  • When the motion sensor has been ON for a few minutes, and the motion sensor now reports OFF, then update v5's devicestring to "parked in the garage". Since the OFF only arrives 60 seconds after you have arrived, it might be too slow (I am usually upstairs within 60 seconds), but this is just a backup, the next condition is the one that will provide real time notification.
  • When the motion sensor has been ON for a few minutes, and the motion sensor reports ON, then update v5's devicestring to "parked in garage". The logic here is that the motion sensor will keep transmitting ON's while there is movement, so if there hasn't been any motion for a while, then it's safe to say that you are arriving home. This allows you to almost instantly notify the house you are pulling up on your driveway (assuming you motion sensor has a good range). Since you usually move your foot from the accelerator to the brakes, you are almost guaranteed to trigger the motion sensor.
That's it! Post any questions or comments you might have below.
This is totally wierd. Today my wife called me at work to let me know that the (5) motion sensors I got from EBAY came in. I got to thinking on way home. I have homes for (4) of them which left (1). Just as I pulled in the driveway it came to me. HEY!!! If I had one in car and HS announced my arrival after work, wouldn't it be cool if wife had a cold beer waiting for me! (ok...the cold beer part was just pipe dreaming) Then as soon as I log to your site I see that you just posted another GREAT How-TO. It must be destiny that I do this!!!!!!
don't mention the beer part to the wife, but yes, it can be used as a trainer tool ;) ;) It definitely has a great WAF, let me know if you run into any problems.
;) So many how to's now and not enough time. DANG I wish I had net access at work. Lots of time to play, but no way to do it ;)
Did you use CACs to get this work right?

If so can you post examples of the CACs?

This is an awesome idea!!

this is the CAC I use:
if datediff("n", sensor.laston, now) > 8 and sensor.laston > sensor.lastoff then
  hs.MEDIAFilename="H:\program files\homeseer\hs-wav\horn.wav"
  do while hs.mediaisplaying
  hs.speak "Honey, I am home!"
  hs.execX10 "D2","off",0,0
end if

I'm in the process of setting this up at home after leaving the garage door open while away from the house too often.

I have 2 cars i want to monitor. The two motion sensors I'm using (happen to have) are eagle eyes, so I have the extra dusk/dawn to deal with, but anyway, the ACTUAL motion detectors are setup on codes L13 for my GMC Sierra and L15 for my Ford Escape. I can't make heads nor tails of CAC, so I really don't now were to begin.

I've set each up as a motion sensor in DooMotion, blanked out the failsafe, battery and occupancy elapsed times, leaving the normal elapsed time at 3 (the default) I also changed the on string to "On the Road" and the off string to "Parked in Garage." I took a wild guess and edited your CAC example above to this:
if datediff("n", sensor.laston, now) > 8 and sensor.laston > sensor.lastoff then
hs.speak "The escape is pulling in to the garage"
hs.execX10 "L15","off",0,0
end if
I don't want a wav to play (which I think you did in your example) I just want the announcement made. I have a similar piece of CAC (with sierra replacing escape and L13 replacing L15) for the Sierra's on command.

I think this handles the announcement part (If I've done it correctly) but how do you keep the device from changing to on (On the Road) and off (Parked in Garage) every minute, or is that beyond control and you just use the CAC to prevent announcement every minute?

The next step I'm going to take this is to have HS send me a text message and email to let me know when both cars have been out of the garage for over 10 minutes and the door is still open. I'll then be able to trigger an event via text message or email (I can send email from my phone via a text message) that will close the door and email me again to confirm it's happened. I can handle that part, it's just the CAC that confuses me. Maybe a separate tutorial should be written just on DM CAC?

I'm using one of those nice Garage door contact sensors (In conjunction with my SECU16/Ocelot) that I ordered from Martin to handle detecting the garage doors status.
I don't have any problems with the status switching back and forth at all. Did you create an occupancy sensor too? I don't remember why I created it, but maybe that's why it isn't happening, it has been so long since I touched that code lol. My "car motion sensor" properties are:

Type: Motion
(Timings) Faile Safe value is not specified
(Timings) Normal Elapsed: 1
(Timings) Battery Elapsed: 72
(Timings) Occupancy Elapsed: 1

(Device Strings) Motion ON: "on the road" (image location is also specified)
(Device Strings) Motion OFF: "parked in the garage" (image location is also specified)
Car Occupancy sensor is selected in the "Occupancy sensor list window"

As for the Occupancy sensor, I used the default settings, but again, not sure if it matters. If this post doesn't make sense, let me know, I am still half asleep lol.
I just set this up today, and I am using 3 total devices and 2 total events. I haven't added the third event yet, which does instantanious arrival. I am using 1 motion and 2 virtual devices. The motion is a MS16A Hawkeye (named "Mustang") and the 2 virtuals are "Mustang Status" and "Mustang Flag". What I use the flag for is to check to see what the last state of the motion sensor was. I am not sure if the way I am doing it is a great way, but it seems to work so far. If y'all have any suggestions other than using DooMotion, please let me know, I'd be open to new suggestions.
If it works for you, then there is nothing wrong with the solution. There are so many ways to a certain thing, that's the great part about HA!
Ive read your instructions in how to install the motion sensor ,but I still dont understand how the event works, I dont have doo motion will it still work w/out doo? can somebody delute this a little for me please.
Hmm.. I was looking at that too.. The problem I see is I think at least with my sensor i think it would generate a trouble condition if it just feel off the grid.
Hmm.. I was looking at that too.. The problem I see is I think at least with my sensor i think it would generate a trouble condition if it just feel off the grid.

Originally I think Dan was using X10 motion sensors that don't have any supervision. Frankly, depending on how quickly your system detects the fact that the motion sensor disappeared you might be able to use that to detect the car leaving or arriving.