Instructables
This Instructable will explain how to make a simple flashing LED indicator to let you know when your garage door is open.

At the end of the day I was always checking the overhead garage door on my house to make sure it was closed.  I decided to install a flashing LED light that would let me know when it was open.  This has saved me many trips down the steps from upstairs to check the garage door before going to bed at night.
 
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Step 1: Tools and Materials

Materials

  1. Blinking red LED from Radio Shack.
  2. SPDT Switch with 3/4" Roller Lever from Radio Shack.
  3. Miscellaneous DC Wall transformer.
  4. A resistor for the LED.
  5. A piece of scrap aluminum.
  6. Miscellaneous wood screws and machine screws as needed.
  7. Miscellaneous two conductor light gauge wire.

Tools

The tools I used on the project were as follows:
  1. Cordless drill
  2. Screwdrivers
  3. Hacksaw to cut aluminum material for brackets

NOTE: If you plan on using any tool for a project please make sure you are familiar with the tool and all of the dangers associated with it. If you are not familiar with a tool then you should ask someone who is to show you the proper way to use it. A lot of communities have classes at local colleges on the proper use of tools and machinery. There are also local woodworking clubs that offer classes at very reasonable rates for beginners. I highly recommend using these resources for your safety and for the most efficient use of the tool.

SAFETY FIRST
Always wear eye and hearing protection.
Always work safe with the proper safety equipment and guards on your tools.

percussionking19 minutes ago

I'm glad I found your page. I have something similar, but I used a magnetic reed switch which stopped working after one relatively mild Texas summer. If you have set up your alarm system yourself, you can hook this up as an input to the alarm panel as monitor-only, or with the following characteristics:

- Do not use this sensor to prevent going into the ARM state

- Secondary entry delay of 4 minutes or so

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kitcloudkicker2099 made it!9 months ago

great instructable. i added a green light for when it is closed.

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kabrokes1 year ago
I used this as the basis for my design. It was the contact switch, an LED, a 2 AA battery box, and some wire. Wired it all straight together and set it up. Works perfectly.
SneakyMD1 year ago
Cheers, excellent tutorial.
captainsdc2 years ago
Has anyone tried to take the open/closed status off the indicator on the opener? My Liftmaster has 2 2-wire terminals from the eyes that are for telling open/closed. I've yet to put a meter on them to see what they show in terms of contact condition and voltage when open or closed, but I will check that out soon. Seems lime maybe the position condition is already there for us to steal...
philspitler2 years ago
I'm on the third floor and would love to figure out a wireless solution.

Any thoughts?
Craftsman Wireless Garage Door Monitor

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00953696000P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1

Other types are available. Check your local home supply store.
kz1 Brockman5122 years ago
What's the fun in that?! :>)
I use X10 senders/receivers with magnetic reed switches (two-door garage), so there are no batteries and I can put the receiver in the appropriate spot. X10 is still available on-line and inexpensive.
ajmckay2 years ago
Wonderful tutorial! I've been thinking on how to do this many times for peace of mind. The adaptation I'm going to have to make though is that my garage is detached.
seiverth2 years ago
Great tutorial. I was going through my crate of old misc wires, phone line, transformers. I found an old indicator light for a phone line, with a jack. I was thinking of using this as my light, with a 12v 1a transformer. I am a bit lacking on the resistor knowledge, as I have not used them for quite some time. Where can I find a source for determining a resistor for the above adaptations? Thanks in advance.
stevemoseley (author)  seiverth2 years ago
If you do a search on Instructables or Google for that matter you should find plenty of tutorials on how to size resistors for your needs. Please post a picture of your final product when you get it completed.
Madrigorne2 years ago
you might be able to piggyback this led/switch off the power that runs to your wall switch or the saftety beams on your garage door opener
gcai_fwb2 years ago
very good instructable

I made a similar indicator circuit using a doorbell switch with an internal light - this was way before LEDs were widely available (at least to me) about 30 years ago - a little bit of switch disassembly and rewiring it to make the light independent of the switch.
The doorbell switch now activates the garage door opener and the light comes on when the door opens - whole thing runs off the existing door bell transformer using repurposed 4 conductor telephone corded.
I have 2 of these modified switches - one by the front door and one by the rear allowing me to open and monitor the garage door from either spot.

Maybe I'll update to use LEDs :-)
stevemoseley (author)  gcai_fwb2 years ago
You sir are a genius. That is a great idea.
adillbeck2 years ago
I did something really similar to this.
Couple differences; I used magnetic reed switches instead of a physical switch because I was a little afraid that snow would get into the switch in the winter and freeze it solid. And also I wasn't sure about how the roller bit on the switch would handle the joints on the door.
I didn't have any normal wire for this either, so I pulled individual pairs of wire out of a Cat5 cable that had been chewed up by the cat.
And lastly since I don't have any easy power sources in my garage, I run mine off of a 9v battery. I put a second LED on the circuit inside of the garage so that I could double check that the battery hadn't gone dead before I shut the garage door.
CAT5 chewed up by the cat. LOL

Thanks for the instructable. I'd seen another one similar on here but never got around to it. You may have motivated me to get it built this time around.
stevemoseley (author)  adillbeck2 years ago
That's a great re-use of the wiring you pulled out of the Cat5 cable.
Cherylb10032 years ago
I've read so many cool instructables, but never actually done one. Little skill, inexpensive supplies, really clear instructions, this one is for me!

I'm in the habit of closing the garage door when I come in, but sometimes I leave it open for hubby or go out the garage and come into the house from the deck after doing yardwork. Next morning, I'll see that anyone could have come in and entered the house overnight.

As it's a safe neighborhood (and nothing exciting happened overnite), I'm more worried about a small animal coming in during a cold evening and getting under the hood and next to a comfy warm engine - I would not want to see, or hear, the results if I turned on the engine under those circumstances!
wiltech2 years ago
Could I just piggyback onto the same transformer that is used for my doorbell ?
Most likely you could, as long as it is the secundary voltage that is used by the knob of yr doorbell (it most likely is).

See the doorbell transformer just as a PSU with the doorbell attached as one circuit and now u r using that same psu for another circuit.

Just make sure you go parallel with the bell, not in series
stevemoseley (author)  wiltech2 years ago
Not sure if that would work for you or not, but it's a great idea. it would depend on the voltage and whether or not the transformer is AC or DC output.
Tim Temple2 years ago
How about a transparent plastic stirring rod driven through the whole wall? Or am I just being a killjoy?
grabaclue2 years ago
This is a fantastic idea! Every night, I open the door from the house to the garage to make sure the garage door is closed before I set the alarm for the night. This is a perfect solution that I will definitely try myself. Thanks!
Chanio2 years ago
Nice project!
For powering the system perhaps buying a solar garden light you could get solar power and a led all at the same time...
stevemoseley (author)  Chanio2 years ago
That is a great idea. I had an open power outlet near the locations of the LED so I just used that. Solar power for the led would be a fantastic variation.
slevy9512 years ago
What size resistor?

Also, for 2 garage doors, just add another switch in parallel, right?

Yeah. I have two doors, and have both switches on the same circuit so that if either switch closes it turns the light on.

Resister depends on the output of your power source and how much resistance is on the line. On a 9v power source (a battery in my case) and with two LEDs in the circuit, I believe I have a 270 ohm resister. If I'm remembering correctly.

Do a little reading on Ohm's law. It's not to complicated, and every setup will potentially be different, and so need a different resister.
hijodelsol2 years ago
You could use a magnetic switch which would be easier to set up.
stevemoseley (author)  hijodelsol2 years ago
That is a great idea. I had thought about that, but I had several of the lever switches on hand and decided to use those up. One of the nice things about the aluminum bar stock that I used to the piece mounted to the garage door is that it is easy to bend into the right location to make the switch work.

Cheers,
Steve
ckokosa2 years ago
Awesome idea. I think I'll locate the LED by my thermostat. I can use the 2 spare wires that go from my furnace (in the garage) to my thermostat.
Simple and extremely functional. I find myself going downstairs almost twice every night before bed to REALLY be sure that the garage is closed.

I would guess that nearly 90% of all instructables members could do this without having to go buy anything. Im wondering why I didnt think of this sooner!

Props to you!
j1shalack2 years ago
Excellent!
kooth2 years ago
Very cool: I was looking for just this kind of solution for my garage! Great job and thanks!