Monday, December 30, 2013

Garage Door Controller Tutorial - Step 5 - Testing

We need to make sure that everything is working before we continue. Remember that IP address that I asked you to remember in Step 3? Well we're going to need that now.

On a computer that is connected to the same network as your garage door controller, get to a command prompt. There are a couple easy ways of doing this:

Method #1 - On your keyboard, press the Windows key and 'r' at the same time. In the window that appears, type in 'cmd' (without the apostrophes), then hit 'Enter' on your keyboard.

Method #2 - Click on your 'Start' button, click 'Programs' (or 'All Programs'), 'Accessories', then 'Command Prompt'.

Whichever method you choose, you'll end up with a black window.Welcome to the 'Command Prompt'. It should look something like this:

Now please type in the following:

ping <ip address>

Where <ip address> is your actual IP address that you entered back in Step 3. So for example, you may type in something like:


Now press the 'Enter' key. Your system will now attempt to ping your garage door controller and will return the results. If it was successful, it will look something like this:

What you want to see is a reply from the IP address that you were targeting, with mention of 'bytes', 'time', and 'TTL'.

However, if it was unsuccessful, your window will look something like this:

Note the words 'Destination host unreachable
Or it may look something like this:

Note the words 'Request timed out'
If you got one of the unsuccessful prompts, please go back and check to make sure that the correct wires are going to the correct places (discussed in Step 4), and that your garage door controller is connected to the network with an Ethernet cable. Also of course make sure that it is powered on.

You're going to need the free Garage Door Controller app for this next part. Go ahead and download and install it from 'Google Play'.

When you first open the app, you'll see something like this:

This is the main app screen. Please go to the settings screen:

For now, go ahead and set each of the options in this screen:

1. Default IP/domain (url):
You'll want to enter the IP address here that you made a note of here, earlier in Step 3.
2. Default Port:
This is also from Step 3. The default is 4999. If you didn't change it to something else in Step 3, then enter 4999.
3. Password:
This is the password you set in Step 3. Enter that here.
4. Milliseconds to pause:
This is the time between the first 'button push' to second 'button push' if you want to 'crack' your garage door open. (I use this because we have cats that like to go in and out of the garage). You enter time in milliseconds, so you want 2.5 seconds, then enter 2500.

Once all that is set, then go ahead and go back to the main screen (tap your phone's hard 'back' button) and you'll see that the ip (and possibly the port) has been updated.

Ok, are you ready for the big test? Go ahead and tap the 'Connect' button on the main screen, and you should see the app look like this after a few moments (or almost instantly):

If your screen looks like the above, then congratulations - you're doing great!

Next, please tap the 'Close Garage Door' button, and you will hear a click-click noise sound coming from the garage door controller hardware - it's the relay which will be responsible for 'pushing the button' on your garage door when we're all done. If you don't hear the 'click-click', then please double check that you soldered all the parts correctly and everything looks good.

Now click the 'Disconnect' button.

This next step is optional, but I highly recommend doing this if you ever want to check the status or open/close it when you're away from home. If you have another means of knowing (say you have a camera on the garage door that you can check), then it's not as important.

What we're going to do is test that the garage door controller will correctly report the status of the door. Take a small/short piece of wire and connect both ends to the 2 terminals of the appropriate (the one closest to the power jack) terminal block (circled in the below photo):

This simulates the garage door being closed. In your Garage Door Controller app, connect, and your screen should show the status of your garage door as being closed like this:

Also note that when your garage door is closed, the 'Check here to 'crack' garage door' becomes available. Remember the 'milliseconds' setting in the settings screen? Well this is where that comes to play. If you check that checkbox, and click on the 'Open Garage Door' button, it will crack your garage door for you according to the milliseconds you entered. The higher the milliseconds, the bigger the crack/opening will be on your garage door.

That's it! Click on 'Disconnect' and we're done with the testing for now. Let's go to the next step - Step 6 - Opened / Closed Sensor (optional).

Return to previous - Step 4 - putting it together.

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