Introduction: Use the Switcheroo to Open a Garage Door With Your Smartphone

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Even though many people have garages with garage door opening systems, cars are still parked outside. This creates a serious security risk because a simple car burglary can turn into a garage and/or home burglary once the thief gets access to the garage door opener. Many people make an effort to hide the garage door opener in the glove box, but almost nobody removes the garage door opener when they leave the car.

Using Switcheroo you can upgrade your garage door to allow the controller to be left inside the garage. Simply drive up and use your smartphone to open the garage door!

For this project you will need;

Step 1: Crack Open the Garage Opener Remote

Picture of Crack Open the Garage Opener Remote
  • First, find the battery door and remove it.
  • Remove the battery or batteries from the remote.
  • Crack the remote open. Sometimes a screw or two must be removed before you can do this, but most are snap-fit together. Carefully use a hobby knife as a wedge to separate the two sides, but be careful not to jab it into yourself when it gives way.

Step 2: Prepare the Switcheroo Board

Picture of Prepare the Switcheroo Board

Most garage opener remotes use a 3v coin cell or 2 AAA batteries that are each 1.5v, adding up to 3v. In this example, the remote runs on 2 AAA batteries, which the Switcheroo can use without the need for the 3.3v regulator. Additionally, you won't need the 3v coin cell battery clip either. You will prep the Switcheroo by soldering a set of bridge wires to the back to enable the use of the power input through-holes without the regulator.

The first thing you'll want to do is enable the unregulated power through-holes on the side of the Switcheroo to accept 3v power from the remote. To do this, solder the unregulated voltage pad for the 3.3v regulator to the 3v battery clip pad.

Once you've bridged those two pads, now you'll want to connect the negative sides of all the outputs to ground pads. Because the remote and Switcheroo are sharing the same power source, we can cut down on the number of wires you'll have to solder by using the common ground to your advantage.

Step 3: Prepare the Remote Control PCB

Picture of Prepare the Remote Control PCB

The first thing you will want to do is solder a pair of hookup wires to the 3v power supply inputs on the PCB. In this example the 3v inputs are at the top of the PCB.

Now look carefully at the remote control PCB. In this example, it is clear that the PCB was designed with 18 different switch pads on the PCB, even though the button insert only seems to indicate 4 total buttons. The reason manufacturers do this is to try to use the same PCB for multiple products, and they just change the plastic and rubber bits around it. The trick here is to figure out which switch pads are used for this particular application. It's pretty easy to work this out by setting the top case with rubber button contact pad next to the PCB and line up the button pads with switch pads.

Once you've got the correct switch pads on the PCB identified, use a continuity meter to test the switch pads. Each pad has two exposed copper or metal elements, one of which should be ground. You will want to solder a good length of hookup wire to the element which is not the ground side of the switch pad. Also use the meter to ensure you've not created a solder bridge across the switch pad elements.

Step 4: Connect the Switcheroo to the Remote Control PCB

Picture of Connect the Switcheroo to the Remote Control PCB

Place the Switcheroo over the remote control PCB and measure the wires you've soldered to the remote control PCB so you can trim them down to a reasonable length.

Solder the power supply wires to the input through-holes of the Switcheroo.

Solder the switch pad wires to the + side of the outputs of the Switcheroo. In this example you bridged the - outputs to the ground pads for all four outputs, but on this remote there were only 3 buttons. Adjust accordingly.

Step 5: Finish It Up

Picture of Finish It Up

Optionally, you can liberally apply silicone sealant between the remote control PCB and the Switcheroo board, then press it down over the wires. The wires will keep the two PCBs from shorting out on each other, and the silicone will keep the whole thing together.

Remove the rubber button pad section from the top case and place the case overtop.

Hang the finished unit from the inside of the garage door using sun visor clip placed over the rolled steel hinge. As the door opens, it will simply go up with the door.

Now when you drive up to the garage door, your phone can open the garage door!

Comments

fuzzyhypothesis (author)2015-02-12

Neat project, the switcheroo sounds like the LightBlue Bean, is there any differences between the two?

https://punchthrough.com/bean/

The bean is more of a general purpose device which is certainly good for various projects, but it requires extra components (+ cost) and code (+ time) to support the same level of service. The Switcheroo is a purpose built device designed to allow direct control over other devices which, as you can see from this Instructable, is pretty much plug-and-play... just solder wires between the Switcheroo and the device you want to control and you're done. We also officially support both Android and iOS.

tomatoskins (author)2015-02-11

Is there any programming that needs to be done on the Switcheroo board? This is a marvelous idea!

The Switcheroo is fully programmed with our firmware and will work with our open source app for Android and iPhone, and we will also have code examples available to let you build your own apps (if you want). The kickstarter for Switcheroo goes live in a few days, so RSVP today at www.switcherooboard.com

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