Let’s make our old garage door smarter!

As part of our home automation project, we would like to get a smart garage door opener, one that can give us remote access and also alerts when we are away from home.  Have you ever have that question in your mind after you left your home and while you are driving on the highway, did I close the garage door?

Smart Garage DoorWe have an old electric garage door opener, the good old Genie Excelerator.  It works well for over 15 years.  It has all the features we need, remote control (when you are nearby), keypad entry outside, and quick open/close button inside.  Works like a champion!  But it is missing one key feature for today’s modern home automation.  It can not be controlled remotely when I’m not home, with a cell phone.

But the idea of removing the old garage door opener and installing a new one is terrifying, consider the time and cost for that.  I thought it would be something that I will not attempt to do.

To my surprise, after researching a bit, I realize this is a common problem that manufacturer have tried to tackle and I found a very simple add-on solution from Chamberlain that is both simple and elegant.

The Chamberlain myQ smart garage door opener.  It basically has 2 components:

  1. A MyQ Smart Garage Hub which can be connected to your Wi-fi network, and also communicate with the door sensor.
  2. A Door Sensor that is attached to the actual door to detect the orientation of the door, aka, is it open or close, and act as a (local) remote control to your existing garage door opener.

The installation is pretty simple, first make sure to download the myQ app from your app store, available both for IOS and Android.  Create an account which is free, and follow the direction in the app which will guide you through the installation.

 

How it worksOnce you complete the installation.  You will be able to open and close your garage door anywhere in the world over the internet.  Here is how it works:

  1. The Hub is connected to the internet via wifi, and is ready to accept command from the myQ app
  2. The Hub will send command to the sensor to open or close the door
  3. The sensor will do the action as well as reporting the current status of the door
  4. You can also get alerts notification when door is open or close, or check the current status on the app.

The myQ app is good and provide most of the common feature including notification and schedule setting.  One thing that it is lacking is to define some automation steps, but that can easily accomplish with other home automation hubs and tool, which is usually where you want to do it anyway, as to combine actions for an event.

Overall, I’m so glad that I made the investment (priced under $50), and I was quite impressed by this elegant solution.  Please note that you can add on additional sensor if you have a double garage door.

In case if you need more details, here is a link to the Chamberlain myQ product page.

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