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.

14 Replies to “iPhone garage door opener”

  1. Cool application. That Phoenix Contact controller you used is call the Nanoline. Even though you didn’t program it really is the easiest on the market. For example you could program it to automatically close your door, after 5 minutes, or at 6 pm if it was left open.
    If you have other ideas drop me a note I may be able to help. Jeff (Nanoline Product Manager).

  2. That’s really funny, how did you find this so quick Jeff? That post was 1 day old.
    I work for an integrator in Fairfield NJ, we buy a lot of phoenix contact stuff, which is how I got that PLC. It is SUPER easy to set up and program. Bonus points for using the USB cable and free software. I got the PLC from a Phoenix class I took at GCF in Northvale.

  3. Actually, I found the video the same way I found out you made this post — Google Alerts. Someone had a Google alert set for “Phoenix Contact”. The link popped up and they emailed it to me. Even more fun, we had a management meet in the afternoon and we started the meeting by playing the video for about 50 managers. It truly is a connected world. Please send me an email, so I can reply with a private message (I assume you can see my email address).

  4. I would love to do something like this. Is there a single PLC with Ethernet available or and inexpensive solution. Glad to see an iPhone put to good use.

  5. did you set it up so that you’re able to open the door from outside of your local network? I’m trying to do that with my MicroLogix 1400 but I can’t seem to get it to work. I’ve got dyndns set up so I can log into my modem/router where my 1400 is connected and I’ve got SM set up to use my dyndns address as the Host and the 1400’s IP address as the Address. I can log into the 1400 from my laptop on the local network with wifi, but can’t seem to get access from outside.

  6. Nice work. I’m seeking to buy a gate motor that will open/close via internet command and operate with car remote controls. And via the iPhone would be superb. Gate operators use antiquated phone systems, which I would not want if I had Ph svc at the site. I have electrics and cameras in place.
    Get a Panasonic Network Cam to view your garage door, over the internet. Amazon has them for not much over $100. They are great, except in low light. I view my cams fm 2 states, over the internet, on one page, just to check on things. I don’t record, but could.

  7. Once again Luke sets the bar!

    That’s brilliant man. The PLC is basically a relay correct?

    Luke, the next Phoenix Contact spokesperson?


  8. I have been trying to find the most inexpensive plc controller, any suggestions. If Jeff is giving these things out for fee SIGN ME UP!

  9. Pretty much. I carry my phone on me to play music on headphones while I ride my bike. Jingling keys annoy me 😉

  10. to use this, i would assume your phone would have to be connected to wi-fi as you walk up to your garage. did this pose a problem to you if your phone had difficulties connecting to your wi-fi right away?

  11. Yup, you can also port it through your router if you set up a the DNS. But that might be dangerous. I’ll likely do it for monitoring only when I move next month.

  12. My garage isn’t attached to my house so no ethernet cable connection. Is there a wireless module that will make this work?

  13. There are, but I have no experience with them. What I would actually do is just get a wireless access point and use it to grab wireless ethernet from your house and it would become a wired connection. And then use the same hardware. I bet phoenix makes something wireless, but I never mess with wireless stuff at work so I wouldn’t know.

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