Today I made a Bluetooth garage door opener. Now I can open my garage from my Android phone. There’s a short how-to YouTube video from Lou Prado. Lou also made a website btmate.com that has more information, and you can watch an earlier howto video as well.
The project itself was pretty simple:
– Acquire a Samsung HM1100 bluetooth headset (the Samsung HM1800 also works). You can buy these cheap from Fry’s or eBay. I got mine on eBay for $10-$15.
– Crack open the earpiece on the Bluetooth headset and solder one of the earpiece wires to the base pin of a transistor. Solder red and black wires to the other pins of the transistor.
– Connect the red and black wires to the garage door opener. It turns out that most garage door openers are built to allow easy insertion of wires, which is nice.
That’s more or less it. My soldering was ugly as sin–too ugly for me to even post a picture. And rather than leave the house for some heat shrink tubing, I just left bare wires on the transistor, but everything works fine.
Lou wrote a nice Android app that’s free to install and then pay-what-you-want for a license. Then it’s just a single button to open or close the garage door. In theory, I could use Tasker to open the garage door automatically when I get home.
It’s not quite as sexy as Brad Fitzpatrick’s Android garage door opener, but it was a fun little project for a day.
Update, February 12, 2015: I continue to use the GarageMate app to open my garage door, especially when I want to go biking without my keys. Here’s an extra tip so that you can open the garage door with different phones. All you have to do is pair the HM1100 headset with the phones you’d like to use, and install the GarageMate/GDMate app on each phone. Here were the steps I followed to add another phone:
– Get a ladder and climb up to the HM1100 headset in your garage.
– Turn the Bluetooth headset off and then on–this step might not be necessary.
– Press and hold long/middle button (opposite from the ear) for 3-4 seconds to enter pairing mode.
– Press the volume up button (it’s the volume button closest to USB power cord) and see two blinks of the blue led. This step enables pairing with multiple devices.
– Go into the new phone’s Bluetooth menu and pair with HM1100.
– Now go into BTMate/GarageMate app. You can reuse the license key from your old phone. On the new phone, choose the HM1100 as the currently selected receiver. I like to enable the following options: 1) starting the app automatically clicks to open the garage door, and 2) exit the app after it’s been idle for 10 seconds.
That’s it! Now you can open your garage door with multiple phones!