Garage door – Part 1.

Its been a busy few weeks. Have been messing with some software that links stuff together.
This blog is not about that software. Or the stuff. Or the links.

Slightly geeky content ahead. (Hey, I said slightly, give it a try, you might make it all the way though).

I want to automate my garage door. Cause, you know, pressing the garage door opener button in the Smart Car is soooooo 1990’s…..

But. There is a problem. Malcolm.
The little fleabag happy little puppy loves to ‘escape’ out the open garage door if he is around when I come home.
About the last thing I feel like doing when I get home from work is chasing the little barkerbrains character filled dog all over the neighbourhood (the whole coming when hes called thing? Yeah, not so much).

This is not a problem. Its a challange.
One that I have accepted. Perhaps a little too enthusiastically, but accepted none the less.
Begin with the end in mind, that what my old boss Ray used to tell me when I was programming Opto at the hospital…. So here is the end goal.

Something (we will get to what in a future blog) will detect that I am close, very close, to home and shut the dog out of the garage, then open the garage door, then detect the car is in the garage, then shut the garage door. When the garage door is fully shut, then let the dog out.
(See how much better that is than me texting Freddy that I am on my way home, having her trap the dog, then me pressing a button to open the door when I get into the driveway, then pressing it again to shut the door once I am parked in the garage, then Freddy releasing the hound once she hears the door fully shut?)

So, lets get started.
First up, we have to know where the dog is…..


I have put micro switches on both sides of the dog flap.
Here is a shot of the flap open (as if the douche bag dog is going through.

There is a switch on each side of the flap so I can tell if hes going in or out, this way, I can track where he is, what direction he’s going etc. (It will be fun to write some extra software to detect the speed that he goes between the two doors at some future time).


You can see that in theory it should all work rather well……
Yeah, well, take a look at this mornings results;

dog doors from groov

This is a screenshot of what needs to be another blog entry, but for now, its enough to know that work gave me our graphic artist to spruce up my home automation graphics so we could use it to demo our new web product…..

Don’t get distracted.

Look closely at the data presented….. First up, the dog was not in the garage with me, it was upstairs cuddling with Freddy in bed. (Dont get me started).
Note the counts on each door….. Is the dog able to teleport through the door without triggering the switch? I wish. (Cause then, it would be a cool dog).
Yes, I know, switches can ‘bounce’, that is to say, you can get more than one signal per actuation. I have accounted for that in the software… No, I think its simply a case of the switches are just not placed exactly right or are sticking or something.

Bottom line is this, I don’t know (accurately) where the dog is at any given time, so I wont be opening the garage door automatically any time soon.

Until I solve this problem, we are stuck at part one.