One of my weekend projects a few months ago was making it so I could open the garage door on my house with my iPhone. Here’s how I got it working.
First, a quick demo of the final product. Once I got everything working, using this thing is pretty simply. I launch X10 Commander on my iPhone:
…springs open! (or closes).
“Who cares?” you ask… well, having my iPhone to control my garage means:
- I can be in a car that doesn’t have my garage code programmed into it and open/close my garage (e.g. a friend’s car)
- I can go out for a walk or a run, close the garage door behind me and open it again when I get back home
- Generally speaking, it’s one less box to worry about when I go out
- I can open and close my garage door from my iPhone… just for the sheer pleasure of the act
- And of course, I have a cool thing to show friends when they come over.
So how does this all work? Pay attention because it’s a somewhat long-winded chain of events that makes X10 Commander control my garage door (almost a Rube Goldberg machine!):
Step 1: IPhone App Installed on My IPhone
Step 2: 2
Step 3: 3
Step 4: 4
Step 5: 5
Step 6: 6
Step 7: 7
And that’s it!
It’s all run pretty reliably for a couple of months now and never fails to impress. Surprisingly the most fragile piece has NOT been the Windows XP PC (would have been my first guess), but the TM751 (step 4 above). Because it’s connected to a childproofed power outlet and it’s at the entrance to my home office, if it’s ever brushed by a passing child, a the cuff of my pant, or a projectile toy, it easily loses contact. But even this hasn’t been a big deal — I can only remember one occasion where the whole thing hasn’t worked since I set it up.