Monday, December 30, 2013

Garage Door Controller Tutorial - Step 6 - Opened / Closed sensor (optional)

This step is optional, but I highly recommend it. It allows you to know if your garage door is opened or closed. This in itself may be a highly valuable feature - do you ever get the feeling that you forgot to close the garage door when you left your house? Yeah, well, then you want to do this step.

First you need to decide where you're going to install your device, and where you're going to install your reed switch (this will probably be a stationary part of your garage door track or something that will be physically close to your actual garage door). Once you decide this, run your 2 wires from one area to the next, leaving some extra slack (I like to give myself an extra foot or 2). You should 'tack' them to the walls (using the appropriate staples, or wire-ties and screws, or whatever else you like to use), or whatever other surface they're against, so that they stay in place, and are clean-looking.

After the wires are ran, you'll need some way of physically attaching the reed switch and magnet. Here's what I used:

Bracket for the magnet on the left, reed switch in the center, bracket for reed switch on the right

I installed my bracket on the stationary track for my garage door. Then I used some Krazy Glue to attach the reed switch to the bracket. I put some electrical tape on the bracket around the reed switch so that the wires won't touch any metal:

Reed switch attached with Krazy Glue. Added a piece of electrical tape as insulation.

Then completely covered the switch (except for the 2 leads of course) in electrical tape:

Reed switch covered in electrical tape

Then connected one of my wires to one end of the reed switch:

It doesn't matter which wire you connect to which lead on the reed switch

Then wrap it with electrical tape:

Then connect the 2nd wire to the 2nd lead of the reed switch:

Then wrap it with electrical tape:

Then you may want to clean up a bit so that the wires don't move:

Next, I closed my garage door and figured out where to mount the 2nd bracket in relation to the reed switch so that when the garage door is closed, it's close enough to the reed switch to 'close' it (closing the circuit basically). The strength of the magnet is actually strong enough to keep it in place so I didn't use any adhesives or tape to keep the magnet in place on the bracket:

Magnet from Sparkfun on bracket mounted close enough to trigger the reed switch

Side view:

The garage door is (partially) open so the magnet is far away from the reed switch

Awesome! We're very close to the end now. It's time to 'prepare' to connect to your network. Ok, continue on to Step 7 - Your network.

Return to previous - Step 5 - testing.

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