Opening a garage door with an iPhone

Rakesh Agrawal rigged together a rather convoluted system of relays and X10 controllers to enable him to open his garage door using his iPhone. However janky the hack, the result is one I'd like to share—without the X10. Is there a simple Wi-Fi device that could be put in-line with a garage door's button, operating off of the power on the line, that would do the same thing?
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14 Responses to Opening a garage door with an iPhone

  1. DMcK says:

    Actually, this strikes me as being pretty similar to the steampunk ethos of discovering ever more baroque and convoluted ways of displaying and/or using technology. This guy is an iPunk…soon every simple gizmo in his house will require a complex set of iPhone maneuvers to operate, from the coffeemaker to the HVAC…

  2. swatt says:

    Sounds like you need one of these:

    It’s an internet connected IO box which you could connect to the controls of your door opener. This is the deluxe one, the bare board ones are cheaper.

    Not WiFi, but that shouldn’t be too hard to sort.


  3. RedShirt77 says:

    Would this create a rangeless door opener? That might lead to more people turning around on the way to work because they bumped the wrong button on their iphone while trying to set the DVR or turn the temp down on the crock pot.

    The remote house burner downer is in the works…

  4. dculberson says:

    Anon8, if you actually read the article you could see that he was using it in addition to the regular garage door opener. Ie, going on a walk he could open the door as he came up to the house. Or coming home in a car that isn’t his, etc…

  5. wrybread says:

    Here’s a page on using a hacked Fontera router as a wifi bridge for an Arduino:

    Once you have access to the Arduino its obviously super simple to trigger relays. I like this board since it interfaces so nicely with an Arduino and the relays are solid-state and hence silent:

    Personally I’d be more tempted to use an old crappy laptop running Puppy Linux since that also opens the proverbial door to other silly things like having individual codes for each person who uses it and thus playing different sound files welcoming them home, etc. Butler voice, anyone?

    It could also create a log of all activity and various other over-the-top absolutely useless things.

  6. Chrs says:

    You would also definitely, definitely want to have a “door closed/open” return for the reason Redshirt points out.

  7. Frogbeater says:

    I use a system called Insteon with Indigo software to do this.

    Insteon is much more reliable than X10.

    I have a button next to my bed that shuts off all the lights in the house and checks if the garage door is open, and closes it if it is.

    A recently released iPhone app for Indigo gives one access to the entire system over wi-fi or a 3G connection.
    I like the thermostat controls most of all for those surprisingly hot days that give my girlfriend concerns about the well being of the cats… It’s simple enough that she runs it from her iPhone.

  8. Anonymous says:

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’ve automated my home, and I have a status sensor on my garage door, but I decided against remote operation of the door, because I only trust technology so far. I like to be there when the door comes up or goes down. There just wasn’t a way that I could guarantee safety while remotely operating a 250 lb. door.

    I know that sooner or later, everything electronic will fail. Then I considered the worst possible scenarios of the garage door failing remote, and decided not to implement it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Brad Fitzpatrick can open his garage door hands-free using an Android application.

  11. GeekMan says:

    Seems to me that if you could find a simple Bluetooth switching device, you could do it that way with specialized software.

    The thing about using any sort of digital wireless to open and close part of your home is that it introduces a potential security risk. Bluetooth is not a terribly secure medium, WEP has been thoroughly hacked and exploited, and WPA has been broken in concept.

    Seems to me you’re more secure (and a LOT cheaper) with a simple proprietary garage door opener.

  12. Anonymous says:

    So, you can (turn on your iPhone if it’s off, or hit the home button if it’s asleep), hit the app button, scroll the wheel to get to “garage door,” tben hit the button. OR, you could hit the single button on the device you already have, whose sold purpose is to open the garage door.

    Yeah, this makes sense.

  13. Anonymous says:

    to comment #2. If it is rangeless, there would be no reason to turn around; simply press the close button and the garage door would close. Problem solved.

  14. sworm says:

    Or you could just open the door yourself and get some FREE exercise.

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