PART 1 – Introduction
The inspiration for this project was simple. My daughter has a habit of forgetting her house key, and we’ve had mixed results with the wireless garage door opener keypad. Time for a new solution. Plus, it’s a great excuse to play with electronics!!! She has an iPhone and it never leaves her side, so that seemed like a reasonable interface to use. Plus, if I network attached it, I could do some other nifty things like control it from the office.
It would not be prudent to proceed without at least looking to see how others had solved this problem either with commercial solutions, or hacks. But, in all fairness, we know where this is going because if I found something I liked, there wouldn’t be a blog entry here
- Crafstman Assurelink – Didn’t want to swap out my garage door opener.
- Insteon opener from SmartHome – not looking to integrate Insteon just yet. Nice solution, just a little expensive. Not directly compatible with iPhone (so after getting it, I’d still have work to do).
- mydooropener.com – uses an Arduino. When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Plus it was wired ethernet instead of wifi.
- wwPCRemote.com – requires a PC and USB connection. Uses a hacked handheld garage door opener remote. Not what I’m looking for.
- Hackaday.com – several, but some were bluetooth, some were ethernet, one required a dedicated android phone. Nothing there really grabbed me as the solution for me.
I’m sure these are fine solutions for some, but they just didn’t meet my needs. I would not impugn another hacker’s work.
- iPhone compatible
- Can detect current garage door status
- Expandable, I have 2 bays, though I really only use 1 for a car
- Alerting if garage door is open for longer than X minutes
- LED indicators for testing/troubleshooting
- Interfaces with existing garage door
I had recently run across a Roving Networks RN-XV module which is designed to be a drop in replacement for an XBee. It features 8 digital general purpose IO pins, wi-fi with adhoc setup (no serial setup required!!) and even has analog sensor inputs. Round peg + round hole = solution!!!
After reviewing the spec sheet, I came up with this initial sketch:
Next up, Part 2 – the microcontroller.