Pi Garage for iPhone


Pi Garage
* also requires Android device running gingerbread or higher and Home Automation Hub app
Home Automation Hub Demo

Manual Operation Demo
Geofence Configuration Demo
Geofence Garage Door Opener in Action

(Update: was able to open and close the door in Kansas from Costa Rica!)

Never use your house keys again, Never have to replace batteries in your garage remote again, and never have to program your remote again.

Someone in your household locked out of the house? Not likely if they have this app on their phone too, but even so you can open the door for them from anywhere in the world.

Use service like Task Rabbit and need to let someone in your house, but don’t want to hide a key for them? Use this app and let them in when they get to the house.

App also contains password protection, lose your phone? a family member loses their phone or their phone is stolen? Just change the password on the Android Smart Hub and your old phone with the old password is ignored by the hub and will not open the door.

App has “safety switch” which when activated will not let you accidentally open the door. When you enter your selected geofence zone you will then be able to open the door from the remote.

Easily select a timer length from 30 seconds to 5 minutes with slider located on main screen to automatically close the door after you have entered the geofence zone. Slider is located on main screen so you can quickly adjust timer length (longer in the summer, shorter in the winter).

Also has a Quick Timer for when you manually open the door. Leaving for work open for a minute and a half to give you time to get in the car and start it and pull out and then door will automatically close for you. Parked outside and don’t want to have to fuddle with your front door keys? Set Quick Timer for 30 seconds, walk out the door and have it automatically close behind you. Need to bring in the trash cans? Set it for 3 minutes. Quick Timer automatically returns to no timer. Find that you set the timer for the same time every day? Use the lock switch to lock the Quick Timer on a specific time.

That was the AWESOME! her is the not so Awesome.

At this moment garage door does not send status if it is open or closed. I did not include cloud option to receive status commands from hub for safety precautions. If a phone was stolen or lost a person could use your phone to “sniff” for every new password you created and the only fix for you would be to use a new device for your hub. I personally use a garage door alarm sensor switch to detect if the door is open or shut and texting (my hub is a phone with phone service) to send texts to my phone to tell me if my door is open or shut. I have texting functionality ready to add to the Android Smart Hub and will be doing so in the not too distant future, but this does require the hub to be a phone with phone service(phone service runs $15 a month for a “bring your own device” plan).

The easiest, fastest, cheapest workaround I used first and you see in my demonstration videos is a Webcam / Network Camera / Cloud Camera this allows you to visually inspect your garage door at any time.

An option I just thought of and never tried is, almost all camera’s now come with motion sensing technology that will e-mail you when motion is detected! I will have to try that out tomorrow! I may now be able to cancel my phone service!

For the garage door alarm sensor switch I do hope to include this functionality in the future, it does require additional wiring and to setup a gpio pin to “listen” for changes instead of performing an action.

Also because of this inability for the app to detect whether the door is open or shut, when still using old RF Garage door openers in concert with this app causes the app/hub to get “confused”. This app is like a person sitting in a dark closet with a garage door opener, you call them and tell them to open the door they do that and then write down on a piece of paper that the door is open, if you then shut the door yourself without letting that person know they still think the door is still open. That is how this app works, but if this does happen the app has a Garage Override button on the Settings screen that allows you to tell the Android Smart Hub that the door is really closed not open and then everything will again work like normal. Once I got my wife to start using the app exclusively the process really worked better than I expected.

And because of this I had to put a disclaimer on this app, if you live somewhere that you do not leave the garage door open even when you are home you would not want to use this app.

A little background on the “sensitivity” settings of the geofence zone.

100 meters – In the future when people openly allow themselves to be tracked this will be the perfect setting, the garage door opens completely just in time for you to pull in. Which is how it works for the most part now, but only if you have your phone on and GPS actively monitoring your location (maps running).

250 meters – If you want to have your phone off and in your purse this is the setting for you. The delay from the weak signal being received through your purse usually detects that you are in the geofence zone about 150 meters out, if you have your phone on and maps running, 250 meters will open about 30 seconds out, so if you enable the timer function be sure to add this amount of time on to the timer amount you select to give you enough time to accomplish what you need.

408 meters (Quarter Mile) – I have not needed this range, you may possibly need it if your GPS signal is very weak. Or if you live in the country this might be an option.

816 meters (Half Mile) – Again I have not used this.

1024 meters (1 Mile) – Haven’t used.

Home Automation Hub App Link

Home Automation Hub Demo