Updated 11/17/2014: I’ve updated the Amazon links to point to the new Raspberry Pi B+ revision. Please note that if you’re going to use this version, you don’t necessarily need the USB wireless adapter listed below since the B+ revision of the Raspberry Pi includes a wired LAN port. Another note is that the B+ revision now uses Micro SD cards rather than the full-size SD card. The guide has also been updated to reflect this.
Recently, I read a blog post (http://freemansgarage.com/blog/?p=587) about configuring a Raspberry Pi to become an internet-connected garage door opener, meaning you can control your garage door from any device with an internet connection. I had never used, or really thought of using a Raspberry Pi for anything at all, but this really piqued my interest. This project could prove useful for things like letting in a repairman or family member to your home when you’re not there, or if you simply lose your dedicated garage door remote or its batteries have died. Or it’s just really cool.
Along with the post I linked above, most tutorials I came across involved making circuits with breadboards or something similar for the magnetic switch sensor portion, but I didn’t have anything like that laying around and to be honest, it seems to over-complicate things. This project can be accomplished with no soldering or breadboards required.
To start with, the build list:
- Raspberry Pi (Updated this link to the B+ model since it is the most readily-available revision)
- Plastic Case for the Pi (This isn’t necessary, but will keep the Raspberry Pi safe. Has a hole to allow jumper wires through)
- 2-Channel Relay (One channel will be used for the door, the other could be for a future use)
- Wireless USB adapter (Raspbian has built-in drivers for this wireless chipset to make things easy)
- Magnetic Switch (This is only necessary if you want to be able to determine if the door is open or closed)
- Wire for the magnetic switch and connecting the Raspberry Pi to your garage door opener (I used extra CAT6 cable I had laying around, any 2-conductor cable ~20-24 gauge should be fine)
- Micro SD Card (You probably have some extras kickin’ around, 4GB or larger recommended, I went with 8GB in case I wanted to add stuff later)
- Female-to-female Jumper Wires
- USB to serial TTL adapter (This is also discussed below. It is optional, but this tutorial assumes you’re using a serial connection)
- MicroUSB Charger (You might have one laying around, at least 1 amp current recommended. Make sure you have a place to plug this in near your garage door opener)
- Wire Nuts (for connecting wires and resistors together, might be able to find them cheaper at a local hardware store)
- 1 10k Ohm resistor (You can get a pack of them from RadioShack for less than 2 bucks)
- 1 1k Ohm resistor (Again, a pack from RadioShack for a dollar and change)
See the full tutorial here.
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