Z-Wave Garage Door Opener Switch


Introduction: Z-Wave Garage Door Opener Switch

Welcome to my first Instructable!

I've been learning more and more about home automation and have opted to use z-wave devices for most of my system.  With the addition of the SQ Blaster and SQ Remote iPad app I've been able to make a wonderful remote control system for my home.

The garage door opener became a bit more of an urgent issue recently when a neighbor called and told me that my garage door had been left open all day.  With this project in combination with a door/window sensor I'll be able to keep myself apprised of such oversights in the future and be able to take care of it from anywhere in the world!

Giving credit where credit's due:
Please note that this concept was not my original idea.  I Googled "z-wave garage door opener" and came across a video of someone else's very similar concoction.  My only contribution is making this instructalbe and using my electromechanical experience to streamline the final device.

I accept no responsibility for any damages to persons or property caused by following this Instructable.  Please use caution any time you handle soldering irons, interact with high voltages and climb ladders!  ;-)

Required materials:
Z-wave plug-in appliance switch (I used an Intermatic HA02C, $27 on eBay)
120v relay (I used Radio Shack model #275-217, $9)
Project Enclosure (I used Radio Shack model 270-1801, $3)
Power cord (Mine was cut off a dead fan)
Approx. 3' of 2-conductor wire (any small guage, 20-26AWG, will do)
Double-sided foam tape

Recommended materials:
Z-wave door/window sensor to indicate DOOR CLOSED state (not shown in this instructable).

I've purchased a few "Aeon Labs Z-Wave Magnetic Door / Window Sensors" from eBay (not yet received).

As most garage doors are metallic and I've read that the metals often interfere with the reliability of the magnetic properties of the sensor, I'll be mounting my sensor and it's triggering magnet to plexiglas brackets mounted to the door and rails to lift it away from the ferrous metals.  I just wanted to pass on this tip to save you some troubleshooting time in case you come across this problem in your own implementation.

Step 1: Building It...

As you can see, the assembly is very straightforward.

I drilled two small holes in the side of the box and used an x-acto knife to cut the holes into an oval shaped like the power cord so it would fit with precision.

The power cord was cut short enough to eliminate excess wire dangling from the final assembly but long enough to keep the wire from being too tight.

Feed the power cord through the hole, then split the strands (or strip back the jacket of you use a jacketed cord) about 1" from the end.  Strip the conductors about 1/4" and tin with solder.  Solder the conductors across the relay coil.  (If you're unfamiliar with relays, don't worry about polarity.  As this is AC and coils are not polarized you can connect in any order.)

Drill a small hole in the lid of the box and feed through your smaller remote wire.  As with the power cord, split the conductors about 1", strip 1/4" and tin.  Solder across the Normally Open (NO) contacts.  This relay has two sets of contacts and it doesn't matter which one you use.

Depending on the type of connections your garage door opener uses you'll likely want to prepare the other end of the remote wires at this point.  Split the conductors back about 3", strip back about 1/2" and tin the wire ends to facilitate connection to your garage door opener terminals.

Use a piece of double-sided foam tape to adhere the relay to the bottom of the box and another piece of foam tape to adhere the box to the z-wave appliance switch.

Step 2: Testing It...

Screw the box lid shut and plug it into the wall.

Before risking frying your garage door opener due to possible wiring or component problems, perform a functional verification (a.k.a. sanity check).

Plug your new creation into the wall and connect a continuity tester across the other end of the remote wires.

Please note that my old DMM (Digital MultiMeter) on it's lowest range shows 320.0 with the "3" blinking to indicate OPEN.

Use the manual switch on the z-wave appliance module to power up your relay.  Your continuity tester will show less than 1 ohm and beep (if you have a "tone" mode).

If you haven't done so yet, be sure to add the z-wave appliance module to your z-wave controller before you install it in your garage!  (If you're curious I have a Vera Lite Z-Wave Controller.)

Step 3: Installing It...

Here's my final device plugged in next to my garage door opener.

Consult your garage door opener's user manual to determine which terminals on the opener are connected to your opener's button on the wall.  Connect your switch's wires in parallel to the remote wall button.  Be aware that most openers have additional wires for bump and optical safety sensors so don't mix them up.

Now, when your z-wave appliance switch is turned on, your garage door opener will act as if you're holding the wall button.  When you turn it off it'll appear as if you've released the wall button.  I recommend that you create a scene in your z-wave controller that turns on the switch, pauses for a few seconds, then turns it off.  Use the scene to activate the switch.

If you install a z-wave door/window sensor then your z-wave system can be set to notify you when the door is left open too long or at certain times, or to trigger the garage door button scene automatically under specified conditions, delays or specific times.

If you use SQ Remote for your iPad you can add Mios sensor controls and scene buttons so you can see the door state and remotely control it from anywhere in the world.  Of course your z-wave controller will have a web interface that can do the same thing but I prefer SQ Remote.

I hope you find this informative and useful.  Please comment.  Whether I left anything out or if you think I've been clear enough, I look forward to reading the reviews from my first Instructable!

Step 4: Create a Scene!

[UPDATE ADDED 01-AUG-2013. Special thanks to Instructables user "Fwaysn" for requesting implementation instructions!]

No, I don't mean you should get all emotional and start throwing stuff around.

To open your garage door you just want to turn on the switch for a few seconds (like pressing the garage door opener button), then turn it off (letting go of the button).  Create a new scene where the switch is turned on.  Add a delay -- here you can see I set it to 10 seconds.  Click that delay and turn off the switch.  Each time the scene is executed, the switch will be turned on, pause, then turn off.

I also added a regular Z-Wave door sensor to my garage doors to tell me if they're open or closed.  Otherwise you don't know what's happening unless someone tells you or you're there.



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    26 Discussions

    Is this the kind of relay you're referring to?


    51I4K5khFFL._SL1500_ (1).jpg
    1 reply

    I prefer a relay with an enclosed casing for electrical safety and simplicity. I did a search on Amazon and found this one which would work just fine: http://amzn.com/B00E1L86EQ

    I'm guessing for a SUPER low budget solution just using the relay, soldering the contacts, and using liquid electrical tape over the contacts and then placing the relay on top of the garage opener without a project box and using an old cut off computer cable would do this for like $5 + the z-wave switch outlet ($29) + contact sensor ($22) = $56

    I'm trying to be super cheap... but still safe obviously.

    Radio shack no longer carries this relay... any idea where I can find this relay?

    1 reply

    Any relay with a 120VAC coil will work just fine. The contact ratings don't matter because they won't be carrying any significant power to act as an activation switch. I did an eBay search for "Relay 120V" and it yielded up a glut of options. Sort by "price lowest to highest" and you should find some for under $3. Just make sure you get one with 120V coil, not just 120V contacts.

    Jim, Did you ever do the an Instructable for blinds? I like your solution to the garage door and will try to implement this, but my next project will be to try to control 2" horizonal blinds.

    3 replies

    I have some designs in the works, but Ann waiting for a 3D primer to arrive which I ordered through an Indiegogo campaign. It's going to have a couple of limit stitches, a servo and a steeper motor and an Arduino to control it. I haven't decided how I'm going to talk to the Arduino but I have some ideas. Ultimately, unlike most off the shelf solutions, I want the mechanism to be invisible so it looks no different than any other blinds except for a distinct lack of strings. I'll probably do an Instructible for it when I'm done. I want it to interface with my home automation system too so I have much to learn.

    In your garage door application you used an appliance module rather than a lamp module. Was this required due the using a relay or just your preference?


    Thanks for the update. I did a z-wave system to control the lights on some artwork my bother had at a show, where I tuned the lights on, at various times and speed on different artwork and them dimmed them at different times. This was to show how the artwork worked and to draw attention to it. This is all I have done, so I am ready to try to make a few systems on my own. Your garage door design will be my first project and then I hope to add a the blinds, a GPS for my dog, a weather station, outdoor lighting and fountain control. I will look forward to learning more on blinds later.

    There is now a tilt sensor that works tons better than the door sensor.

    1 reply

    One advantage to the door sensor is that I have confirmation the door is completely closed; if the door opens even an inch it registers as open. A tilt sensor might be challenging to install with such accuracy as even a couple inch gap may be possible while registering the door as closed once the door reaches a certain angle. Apart from that it's a great option. I might also consider a mechanical switch but so far the door sensor's magnetic reed switch has been reliable.

    Also for anyone that is having trouble getting it to work this might be happening to you. I am not good with electrical equipment so I don't know all of the terminology. But when I was hooking up the box to my opener I ran into something. I have three terminals that you can hook to. Mine had one existing wire going to each terminal and several other wires connecting to those via a plastic wire connector, the ones that screw on. So the first time I tried it I put them into the wire connector since it was easier to do. But it would never open the door. I tried all possible combinations and it would not work. So I thought I had messed up. But I decided to go ahead and connect it straight to the terminals and it worked first try. So I am not really sure why it wouldn't work in the connector but it wouldn't.

    If you know you have everything setup correctly and you did the same thing try connecting directly to the terminals to see if that fixes you problem.

    Thank you very much for the instructions. Everything worked out great. I did want to share my experience as a Vivint User.First for the supplies I used the same relay and project box. I have never taken the time to learn how to solder so I used 3/16 female quick connect ends instead, also from radio shack. They had blue and red so I used those to separate the wires. Not really necessary I am just anal about that. I did turn my relay on the side instead of flat. This allowed me to close the box snug onto the relay without needing to tape it. And there is no rattle or wiggle room. The box doesn't close completely but it closes enough to where it looks natural with a little edge going around the side.

    Being on Vivint is where I had to get a little creative. I checked into the scenes but unfortunately the Vivint controller is VERY limited on what you can do. You can only set a single unit to turn on or off. You can't set it to turn on, wait some time and turn off. So I was poking around the web setup for Vivint and ran across the rules section under emPower. Here is where I found the solution but you will need a sensor on the garage door. I already had a window/door sensor installed on the garage door from a spare one that I had for a while. In rules I setup two rules. They are as follows.

    Light Rule 1Garage Door
    OpenedAlwaysTurn OFFDevice 2: Garage Door
    Light Rule 2Garage Door
    ClosedAlwaysTurn OFFDevice 2: Garage Door

    I put everything together and it worked perfectly. Thanks again for the instructions. I saw the video also but this was a good reinforcement.

    First of all I would like to thank SalbaheJim for such a nice tutorial in so much detail. I have the gadget working and installed. I am an amateur when it comes to electronics so it took me some time to understand the system especially the relay switch and would like to add information for others. I also changed the appliance module to :GE 45603 Z-Wave Technology Wireless Lighting Control Fluorescent Light & Appliance Module. Understand that this has two outlets each three prongs, but only one is controlled by the Z switch. The wiring to the relay is :Electrical wires go to the terminals which have no numbers and the garage door control wires go to terminals 3 and 5 OR Terminals 4 and 6. See the attached image to understand the terminals. I hope it helps others.

    Also I have attached a Foscam IP camera inside to monitor the doors.

    DPDT Diagram.jpg

    i did some research and connected it to 3 and 5 on the swith and 7 and 8 to the power.
    3 and 5 goes to my garage opening 1 and 2. But for some reason it is not opening or closing the door. Any reason for this? Any testing I should try? I thought I got a bad relay switch so I went to radio shack and got a new one. Same thing. I'm running out of ideas as what can be wrong. Is it my garage door? I have a marantec 4500 garage door opener. I do notice that on the opener, it does use terminal 1 and 2 for open and close, but it also use terminal 3 and 4 for power.

    I mean it should work, I use terminal 1 and 2 and for power I'm not using terminal 3 and 4 I'm using the power outlet which is 7 and 8 on the relay switch. Anything else i'm missing here? please advise. thanks.

    1 reply

    Did you ever get the connections figured out? I just got all the parts and want to set this up, but I have no idea what terminals to use for each part of the wiring. Thanks!

    nice post!!! i follow your instruction and I cannot get it to work. I brought the same switch as you radio relay switch. In your instruction you did not specific which one to use. So I use 3 and 4. and 3 and 4 go to the garage door opener. 7 and 8 go to the power outlet. I cut off a plug and attached that into 7 and 8. So I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I tested it and it doesn't open or close. Hope you can tell me why.


    Wow, cool write Up! I am having wih my garage door opener and really want to try this, but it will be first attempt at any home automation...was hoping I could ask a couple questions...apoligize for the complete newbie questions...:(
    1) I dont have any zwave yet, i guess i need a controller in addition to the zwave plug in appliance ? Any suggestions on an affordable one?
    2) Any suggestions on a good iphone app for zwave control?

    1 reply

    Hi, Mike,
    Glad you liked it! Everyone starts out as a newbie at one point so no problem.
    1) I bought a Vera Lite Z-Wave controller. It retails for about $200. The main difference between that and the Vera is that the Lite does not have it's own wifi router built in. If you have wifi in your home already then the Vera Lite will work just fine. Z-Wave controllers don't need or use wifi to control other Z-Wave devices but they do use wifi to interface with IP cameras and other devices. If you already have a wifi router then you already have this covered.
    2) I have an Android phone and use two different apps: ImperiHome and Home Buddy. ImperiHome does no yet suppory Z-Wave door locks so I haven't committed to it yet. I do have a couple iPads and on that I use SQ Remote which works for iPad and iPhone. There may be better apps out there for Z-Wave control, and SQ Remote was designed to work with the SQ Blaster (I have one -- look it up!) and is also set up to interface with Z-Wave controllers! If you buy their PC Desktop design software to design your control panels for the SQ Remote app you can do amazing things! I have on my ipad a floor plan panel that has light, fan and lock images located appropriately on the floor plan image and I can turn everything on and off with a touch, including sliders for dimmers. It's very impressive but you have to hack the XML and make your own custom graphics to do it that way. It's work the effort to make a world-class interface, but not necessary to work just fine.
    I would recommend you look for light switches and other Z-Wave devices on eBay. Light switches retail for about $100 each and I have 32 (if I'm remembering correctly) light switches in my house. On eBay I got them in lots of 6 for $100 (less than $20 each!). Where you have 3-way switches you can use a much cheaper remote that looks like a switch. Just link it to a scene that turns on and off the lights as you like. I have one by my kitchen for example that turns on the kitchen light but when you turn it off it turns off all the lights in the house, locks the front door, then turns the garage light on for 2 minutes.
    Read and research all you can before you buy. And best of luck!

    Thanks for this! With the exception of the relay and project box, I completed this with stuff I had around the house. I used an old outdoor z-wave switch to wire it up. Learned about relays, which I had never used before, and wound up soldering the bell wire to one terminal on each throw, rather than completing the circuit on one side, but that's how I learn. I'm tweaking the LuuP to make it reliable (I'm still getting the occasional 'short push' resulting in the door stopping a few inches up or down. Ultimately, will get a door sensor in place and make a scene which activates at a certain time, and uses the door switch as a trigger to make sure I don't leave the garage door open all night. I may add a check of the door locks at the same time and, if any are found unlocked, flash a light somewhere to remind me.