iPhone garage door opener

I had this problem where I wanted to be able to get into my garage after a bike ride, but my ancient garage door opener doesn’t have an outside keypad, it has a physical key lock. I dislike keeping my keys with me while bike riding so I wanted an alternative. After looking around trying to figure out how to install a keypad, I decided there was an easier way. I have an iPhone, and I always keep my phone with me on my bike rides in case I get hurt or something. I looked online for someone who has done this, and I found a guy who did but he relied on a bunch of nonsensical home automation software and hardware. It also depended on his computer to be running. I didn’t like that, relying on my iPhone to be working was risk enough.
So, what I did was to source a Modbus slave device with relay outputs. In my case I used a phoenix contact PLC with an ethernet card I got from my local distributor GCF-INC. This is way overkill but I had it lying around. The ONLY programming I had to do to the device was to set it’s IP address so I won’t go into detail about that.
The next thing I did was to purchase a $3 version of ScadaMobile from http://www.sweetwilliamautomation.com/ which allows me to send modbus commands over TCP/IP. Since my iphone is wifi enabled, and I put this PLC on my home’s ethernet all I had to do was tell the phone what the PLC’s IP address was, and send the command down.
Then I just added this little piece of code to open the garage door. Most of it is the ScadaMobile default code.
BOOLValue BOOL C1 ord:=206; sections:=”COILS”; write_access:=9; label:=”Open Garage”; comment:=”Open Sesame”; style:=”button”;
Basically, I’m sending a BOOL (on/off) command to coil #1 using a predefined “button” (momentary button).
The PLC then takes a pair of wires which are paralleled to the garage door open button in my garage, and upon pressing the iphone button the contact closes and the garage door opens. It’s not a total solution because I still need to go to my front door and disarm the house alarm, and there is a fire door in my garage that leads to the basement which I keep locked.
I made a video of how it works explaining this also. Enjoy.

Admin notes: Made the theme wider

I made the theme wider so that when viewing the page it doesn’t scale any of the 800×600 images I usually post. I never really noticed but it was doing this and not making them really proportional. Hopefully everyone has resolutions big enough to view, if not it’s time for a new computer! 😀

New Car!

Well to me. I sold our Jeep Grand Cherokee and invested a little bit more to buy this 2000 Mazda Miata Special Edition. It’s got wood controls inside, power everything a 6 speed transmission. Nice car, awkward color. It’s a lot less purple in person I swear.br /I’m going to try and get better pictures of it this week.
Future plans are to remove that “style bar” for a real roll bar. Add an ipod adapter and install a new clutch because the pilot bearing squeaks.