Step 3: Wiring the transformer

I used a variable voltage (8-16-24 volt) doorbell transformer made by Heath/Zenith. It cost about $15 at my local home center. You need a transformer that produces 24 volts.

I direct wired the transformer to a grounded, 3 prong plug and mounted it directly above a power strip near my workbench. The 4.7k-Ohm resistor was soldered in place and then secured with a piece of heat shrink tubing I had on hand; it's directly beneath the transformer in this picture.

If you wish, you could cover the wiring with plastic channel for a neater appearance; I simply chose to use insulated staples.

One other thing I did later on was to plug the power strip into a lamp timer, and set the timer so the strip is on only between 8pm and midnight. There's no reason to power the transformer 24/7, as the only critical time is at night when we're going to bed and (presumably) have forgotten to close the garage door. Which leads us to the final step...
<p>The mission objective and notification LED is brilliant! As I understand it the way the switch is mounted: it senses that door is either fully-open or not fully-open. I would be interested in photos of sensors that confirm that the door is fully-closed or not fully-closed. The distinction is that in the photographed configuration, there is the possibility that the door is partially open, which would not trip the switch (LED notification). Again, this would be perfect reminder for renters that leave the door open.</p>
I need something like this (or this exactly, in fact) because I have backed into my garage door too often, in too big a hurry to back out. This last time I backed out so quickly that we had to replace the door. I am going to install this to fully indicate that the door has opened, so it is clear for me to back out (No comments about women drivers, please!).<br> <br> I have a commercial position indicator, but that won't quite work. The sensor detects whether it is vertical (door supposedly closed) or horizontal (mostly open). It does not indicate whether it is 100% fully open or closed.<br> <br> So I will install this and put the LED (green for my installation) in my line of sight right there in the garage. Maybe I'll even get creative and make a sign that lights up that says &quot;OK&quot; or something.
<p>Never backed into my garage door like this. Just wait for the door to open, then back out, not hard to do. Really, wth? Backing into your garage door is a normal occurrence? lol</p>
I have three dogs that get rather chaotic when it's time to go for a &quot;R-I-D-E.&quot; And one dog needs help getting in the car. Usually I open the door when we go into the garage, but if they are super chaotic for some reason, it has happened a couple of times that I think I opened it, but didn't. Our biggest is a Great Pyrenees, and if he gets in the way of the rear view mirror, I can't see a thing out the back. <br><br>Sh*t happens, what can I say?
<p>I would think a better way to do this is to use a normally closed switch and mount it so it is pressed when the door is in a fully closed position. That way if the garage door is partially open the switch would be pressed.</p>
<p>Thanks Journeymanjoe for pointing out code violations. You are right the average DIY homeowner might not know these things. (Unless that person is also a Electrician) None of us would like a house fire...that would be way more costly then hiring a qualified repair person. I did find a helpful site <a href="http://www.garagedoorrepair123.com/garage-door-repairs-you-can-do-yourself/" rel="nofollow">http://www.garagedoorrepair123.com/garage-door-repairs-you-can-do-yourself/</a> if you all want to fix some other things...some of our rollers got unscrewed and fell off...like the whole attachment came off.</p>
<p>Step #3 is a National Electrical Code violation and a hazard to anyone that comes near it! You can't have exposed energized parts over 50V (should be installed mounted to a box with the 120V wires inside the box), that is why they make these transformers (primary side is 120V and the secondary is 24V). It is a violation to use single conductors with this plug (the plug is made for use with a cable).</p><p>Step #4 is a National Electrical Code violation also, you can't modify a listed luminaire (drilling the hole in it); you can't mix the low voltage with the 120V power in the luminaire.</p><p>This is why homeowners shouldn't be doing electrical work, too often we hear about residential fires blamed on bad electrical wiring (would be nice to know how many were wired by the homeowner)! Please hire a professional, licensed electrician to do any wiring. The money you save by doing it yourself is not worth the risk to your life and property.</p>
This is such a good idea! This would be so much better than always having to go out into the garage to see if the <a href="http://www.reliablegaragedoor.com/" rel="nofollow">garage door</a> is open. I'll definitely have to install one of these.
Thanks for the help with <a href="http://www.smokeysgaragedoor.com" rel="nofollow">garage doors scottsdale</a>.
I appreciate this! I've been trying to find improvements that I can make on my <a href="http://www.cooksonaz.com" rel="nofollow">garage door in Phoenix</a>, and found this very helpful! Thanks for sharing. <br>
This is super interesting! I have been looking into <a href="http://www.bdcdoor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=5" rel="nofollow">residential garage doors albuquerque nm</a> and how to get that installed in mine! Can you tell me where I might be able to find more information like that? Thanks for sharing!
This is great! Thanks for posting this. I've been trying to be more of a DIYer for a while lately, but I've really had some trouble with my garage door. I've been looking for some one who does <a href="http://www.oleandlenas.com/garage-door-repair-service.html" rel="nofollow">garage door repair in Minneapolis</a> to come by and take a lookat why my garage door is stuck.
I have built a very similar setup for the same reason. I've used the doorbell itself as a &quot;base station&quot;; the LED is mounted inside the doorbell housing which is located in the main living area in a prominent position. The doorbell runs on four &quot;D&quot; cells, and I siphon off 3V from two of the batteries to power the indicator. <br>I notice you say &quot;You need a transformer that produces 24 volts.&quot; Is this to overcome the resistance in the wire over the long distance to the garage door? I found the 3V from the batteries works fine on mine, and the wire goes for about 20m (60ft). I think there is a loss over that distance but the LED draws so little current that it doesn't matter. <br>Great instructable, kjc2010. We're obviously thinking along the same lines!
Wow this is perfect, thank you for sharing this information! Once I get this installed that should fix my problem, if not I can call a <a href="http://www.stampededoors.com" rel="nofollow">garage door repair</a> service to give me a hand.
Installing something like this has never crossed my mind before but I think it's a genius idea! Now I want to do this <a href="http://www.oleandlenas.com/garage-doors.html" rel="nofollow">garage door installation in Minneapolis</a> to my house. We have a lot of stuff in our garage that I wouldn't want to get stolen, especially my husbands tools. Thanks for sharing.
This is such a good idea! I am searching for some <a href="http://www.thegaragedoorcompany.ca/broken_spring_and_cable_replacement.html" rel="nofollow">garage door parts in Calgary</a> so I can fix my currently broken door. I might just add this to it. Thanks!
This is a great safety precaution. Ours broke and as a result, we lost a few bikes, so we had the <a href="http://www.stampededoors.com" rel="nofollow">garage door repair</a> men (we didn't know it was the sensor that was broken).
This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing. A lot of people forget about their <a href="http://www.thegaragedoorcompany.ca/contact_us.html" rel="nofollow">garage doors in Airdrie</a> at night, and in the middle of winter it's much to cold to peek outside and check. This seem like a much more convenient way to check.
This is a really clever idea. Thanks for these instructions. I actually knew of a <a href="http://www.thegaragedoorcompany.ca/services.html" rel="nofollow">garage door repair company in Calgary</a> that offered to install this service. But it was a lot more than i was willing to pay. Thanks again!
I just found out about instructables and so far I'm loving it. My friend does garage doors http://www.thegaragedoorcompany.ca/ and loves doing it. He got me fairly curious to know more about how to do it too. Thanks for sharing this, do you have any tips for someone just getting into it?
You state that there is no reason to power the transformer 24/7 and I agree. <br> <br>Couldn't you wire this thing to power the transformer only when the door is open? The simplest way might require passing 120v thru your switch.
This is a really cool idea. I think that I will try this out! I can't tell you how many times I have slouched out to the garage in teh middle of the night because I thought that it might be open. This would really help my out. Once I get my <a href="http://planooverhead.com" rel="nofollow">garage door repaired</a>, I will look into doing this. Thanks!
Great project and well documented. I had a similar thoughts around this very same project idea. However I do have some concerns that may have already been stated or otherwise addressed within the threads of this conversation:<br> <ul> <li> This project appears to address a garage door being in the &quot;fully open&quot; position rather than indicating that the door is &quot;closed&quot; (completely shut and secure). <li> The use of a push-button switch would lend itself over a period of time to be pushed out of range should the door or the switch be moved or otherwise become misaligned. <li> Use of a &quot;leather finger&quot; (mentioned earlier in the thread) might address the above alignment issue, however it might be subject to temperature or other physical factors requiring additional maintenance. <li> This solution might not address multiple garage doors that are more common place in today's homes. Likely this requires a slight modification to the project to address this situation. <li> This solution requires running wire back to the interior of the house (e.g. master bedroom) </ul> Having just begun tinkering with Arduino platform, I might suggest an alternative approach that might address these issues:<br> <ul> <li> Single Arduino microprocessor plugged into garage wall-outlet and mounted near garage doors <li> Each garage door to be outfitted with window security-type magnets near top of interior door frame <li> Install sensor (Hall-Effect or Reed) aligned to magnets when door is in a fully-closed position <li> Each sensor is hard-wired to (separate pins of) the Arduino microprocessor <li> Appropriate Arduino code/logic is uploaded to monitor state of each sensor </ul> Once the Arduino remote monitoring device is installed, additional Arduino communication &quot;shields&quot; (extensions) could be installed to advise the homeowner on the current/changed state of each individual garage doors.<br> <br> My current thoughts include the following scenarios to exploit the logic programming and features of Arduino:<br> <ul> <li> Wireless Ethernet to send email or SMS when a door is opened/closed during unscheduled period (e.g. work hours) <li> Update a website status when door is opened/closed (e.g. Ethernet wirshield) <li> Allow your cell to communicate back to Arduino for further action (e.g. close door) <li> Sound chime in house when doors are open longer than X minutes (use Arduino logic) <li> Sound alarm in house when doors are opened anytime from 12AM to 7AM (use Arduino logic) <li> Implement X-10 interface to light up a lamp or chime an alarm (alternative to tie into X10 automation) <li> Install RFID sensor on exterior of garage wall to allow for kids to use RFID style key-fob to enter house via garage. <li> Maintain a log of all openings/closings over period of time (e.g. write to internal or external log file) <li> &nbsp; </ul> While not all of the above scenarios will be adopted by the reader, it just shows that you are only limited by your imaginations. I hope to begin work on this project and will promise to share/post my results in this forum.<br> <br> <br>
Great minds think alike as they say.I juat came across this post as I was curious if anyone else implemented what I put together. I built exactly what this person had suggested. I have a WiFi Arduino board connected to my 3 garage doors. I installed a door alarm magnetic reed switch on each door to determine its open/closed state. If any door is open for more than 5 minutes, a Tweet is sent to my wife's cell phone and an Email is sent to my Blackberry to tell us the state of all 3 garage doors. Only when all 3 doors are closed again do we get another message to tell us everything is back to normal. <br><br>My wife is always concerned that she may have left the garage door open when she leaves and now she only needs to look at her mobile phone.
instructable? I'm very interested in doing this, so please create one!
Most garage doors already have a light on them indicating that it's open. Wouldn't it be much simpler to connect a socket receptacle to the existing light and just run the power to any light in the house? You may be over-thinking this one.
It's been said already, but you could run 4 conductor wire (telephone or CAT3) and have the other 2 wires hooked up to the switch for the opener. Then you could close it from within your bedroom. I'd probably recommend a reed switch (switch activated by a magnet) inside that same light fixture, and then you could just wave a magnet by it. Wait 20 seconds, and when the light goes out, the door is closed. Either way, very nice project. Definitely going on my to do list.
Nice idea, i believe with the proper calculations/components you can use 120vac, no need for a transformer. LEDs only drop 0.7v, so find the appropriate resistor value to limit the current. CAUTION: when working with 120VAC a certified electrician is required.
Sort of. AC is tricky because it's a sine wave, and therefore is only positive half the time. Also, the resistor would get SUPER hot. Here's a really good Instructable (not mine) about using LEDs with AC power: <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Using-AC-with-LEDs-Part-2-and-make-this-handy-/">http://www.instructables.com/id/Using-AC-with-LEDs-Part-2-and-make-this-handy-/</a><br> I agree, bypassing a transformer (especially a $15 one) would be the most efficient.<br>
Great Idea, I&nbsp;am thinking about doing something similar to this but I&nbsp;am considering using a magnetic reed switch instead of a momentary button.<br />
neato! I'd check the draw of the timer itself vs. just leaving the transformer on all the time. While it's a nice idea, if there's a small motor in the timer it may take much more juice than the very small load the transformer takes in the off phantom load. If I could only think of a tool to measure the power... seriously, I've plugged 8 wall warts into a power strip and run them for weeks with a kill-a-watt power meter. I've found, despite all the gloom about phantom loads, that the wall warts really don't take all that much juice when they are not being used. You could counteract a year's worth of this transformer idling (light off, garage door down) easy by just deciding to line-dry one load of laundry per year. I'd also like to note that you could probably get away with using an old 9v. cell phone charger wall-wart or something if you recalculated the resister and the resistance of your run of wire.
Great comments... thanks. I'll consider switching to a wall wart!
what I meant was this. I have a bunch of old wall-wart type phone chargers in the junk box. If I were to build this (and I probably will, I just hate the idea of pulling the wire up three floors into the attic), I'd use one of those rather than buy something that put out 24 volts. <br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://led.linear1.org/1led.wiz">http://led.linear1.org/1led.wiz</a> &lt;- should help with other voltages.<br/>
One more thing to consider is that most wall warts put out DC voltage which doesn't travel well over long distances, especially at low voltages on small gauge wire. The straight transformer puts out AC which is much better suited to running long distances.
True, but you could calculate the resistance (or measure it with a DMM) and then put that into your equation for lighting the LED just like it was a normal resister.<br /> <br /> Of course, the property that lets AC travel long distances with minimal loss is the high voltage, not the type of current. AC is easy to step up and down using&nbsp; transformers, which is why it is used. Edison's DC system needed a power plant every mile.<br /> <br /> Since you only need say 30 millawatts for one led, I don't think the voltage drop is really that bad. Maybe a few ohms at most depending on gauge.<br />
What I would find more useful is a way to have an indicator in the car. It would work like this. You back out of the drive way in a hurry to get to work. You forget to close the garage door. A sensor in the car detects the position of the door. If it is up and you start out of the driveway it would light an LED or sound and alarm. Triggered by proximity distance from door? If you drive away and it is down nothing would happen. Is that possible?
following up, I've plugged one timer into a kill-a-watt and left it for two days, no power was measured. I suppose it's less power-hungry than I thought.<br />
lol wall wart<br />
Great ible. I've been thinking of doing something similar for leaving the lights on in the garage all night like I keep doing. I could just wire the transformer in to one of the switched wires to the lights and get the same effect. I wasn't thinking of a bell transformer. that's a great idea. Thanks.
a photoresistor in the light might be easier (in the plasic housing, pointed at the bulb)<br />
yeh but i've already got the bell transformer in the crawl space from the previous owner who had a hard wired bell and then switched to a wireless which now doesn't work.&nbsp; I wish i could find the old wire but i'm not gonna go hunting the old bell hole through vinyl siding.&nbsp;
woah caps <strong>ill be bold :P</strong><br />
If everything is emphasized, then nothing is emphasized. Please turn off your Caps Lock, it only serves to aggravate people and make things difficult to read. Thank you.
I am sorry, I will definitely be more careful.
Problem is - when the door is not all the way open, you don't know - but it is not closed. Adapt your bracket, move it to the other end position i.e. door closed and use a normally closed switch. This would cause the door to only extinguish the LED once it is firmly shut. Voila!
or you could have the switch short the circut, does the same thing<br />
Thanks,&nbsp;this makes more sense for me cause&nbsp;I have a detached garage.&nbsp; Also it is a case of shutting the barn door after the horse is out.&nbsp; Lost two chain saws after leaving it open all night.&nbsp; Will get to radio shack today and get this project started and finished asap&nbsp;<br /><br />bud-d
You are right, relocating the sensor switch to detect when the door is closed would be better... And if you keep using a normally open switch but make it feed your transformer primary... now when the door is "not closed all the way" the switch closes and the LED is powered on. Voila! no need for the lamp timer either!!
I think I mentioned earlier, but just in case: we occasionally leave the door open 4-6" for ventilation. In that case, I don't want the LED to be illuminated. My only interest is when I've totally forgotten that I've left the door wide open in the evening.

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