Simpler Bluetooth Garage Door Opener

Check out the Internet Your Thing WiFi version on Kickstarter - it will be able to open your garage door or open a pet kennel door as you approach.

A few months ago, I created an Instructable that showed you how to bluetooth enable your garage door, car starter, and other myriad things. I have expanded on that design to now make it even easier for you to bluetooth enable devices and control them from your phone / tablet. No soldering is required for this Instructable. All you need is the Daisy Bluetooth Multi-Thing Controller, a screwdriver, and about 15 minutes.

The controller includes four control switches and screw terminals on the board.

It works with the same free Daisy On/Off Android application which allows dynamically creating multiple buttons with custom labels and behavior to easily control various things that have been Bluetooth enabled.

As always, there are risks associated with modifying and wireless control of any equipment. You assume full responsibility and risks related to your use of this information.

  • Bluetooth Controller - includes USB power adapter, cable, and case
  • Wire for connection - old phone cable works well
  • Tools
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Knife or wire cutters/strippers to cut and strip wire
  • Notes
  • The Bluetooth controller supports up to a 20 character alpha-numeric pin code for security.
  • Apple 'i' products have restricted Bluetooth and aren't supported by the Bluetooth controller. Apple 'i' products could proxy communication through a PC with Bluetooth, but that requires additional effort not covered in this howto.
  • If you like this Instructable, we have more hardware / software available to enable similar DIY projects on our website.

    Step 1: Connect it

    Simpler Bluetooth Garage Door Opener
    Simpler Bluetooth Garage Door Opener
    Simpler Bluetooth Garage Door Opener
    The pins are labeled on the back of the case and controller board. All the PIO pins are electrically the same so any PIO pin can be used.

    I connected one garage door between PIO7 and GND and the other between PIO6 and GND. This is neater and easier since both door wire pairs need to connect the common wire to the GND pin.

    If the wires are connected backwards the door will activate immediately because of conduction through the protection diode. Just reverse the wires and the door should not activate immediately when connected.

    If connecting more than one garage door, connect all the opener common (terminal 2 pins) to the Bluetooth controller ground pin.

    Step 2: Mount it and plug it in

    Simpler Bluetooth Garage Door Opener
    Attach some self adhesive hook & loop to the back of the case and stick it near or onto the garage door opener.

    Since the adhesive doesn't stick well to bare wood in the heat and humidity of summer, I stapled the hook and loop to the wood.

    Connect the controller, USB cable, and USB power adapter together and plug it into the wall. The LED should flash red.

    Step 3: Configure and test it

    Simpler Bluetooth Garage Door Opener

    The device can be tested many ways. The simplest way to test it would be to use the free Daisy On/Off application for Android. Just download, configure, and test. The device can also be controlled through any Bluetooth serial port connection (SPP). I like to use BlueTerm on my Android for command line testing and GtkTerm on Ubuntu Linux.
  • Power up the Bluetooth module by connecting it to a USB host or a USB power adapter. The LED should blink red indicating waiting for connection.
  • Enable Bluetooth and open the Bluetooth manager
  • Scan for new devices - the device can be renamed so it can easily be identified, see the manual
  • Pair with the device - default pin code if requested is 1234, can be changed for security (up to 20 characters)
  • Connect with SPP - the Bluetooth module should change to green indicating connected
  • Open a terminal like GtkTerm, on Linux
  • Connect to the rfcomm port
  • Immediately send just $$$ not followed by Enter - the device should respond with 'CMD', if it doesn't, the internal command mode timer has expired. Power cycle the Bluetooth module and try again.
  • Once in command mode, send 'st,255' followed by Enter - this sets the command mode timer to indefinite
  • Use the quick reference manual to figure out exactly which commands to enter to control the Bluetooth module GPIO pin that was selected for control, e.g., if GPIO pin 3 was selected enter the following commands:
  • s@,0808 followed by Enter - sets GPIO 3 to an output
  • s&,0808 followed by Enter - sets the pin high and turns on the transistor
  • s&,0800 followed by Enter - sets the pin low and turns off the transistor
  • You will likely want to turn the transistor on and off quickly for applications like the garage door and starter FOB to simulate a one second press. For this reason having an application is ideal.

    The direction command only needs to be sent once after the device is reset or power-cycled. Optionally you can send s%,0808 to set the GPIO 3 direction to output on power-up. The direction command would then never have to sent again unless the device is factory reset for some reason.

    Step 4: Car starter or door lock

    Simpler Bluetooth Garage Door Opener
    My vehicles didn't come with Bluetooth integration, so I added it.

    The simplest way I've found to Bluetooth enable a car starter and/or door locks is to connect the controller to a spare wireless key FOB. I open the key FOB and solder wires to the key FOB switch connection. I then connect those wires to a Bluetooth controller PIO pin and ground pin. If the car starter or door locks activate immediately, it is usually because of conduction through the protection diode. Just reversing the wires usually corrects the issue.

    I continue to power the key FOB from it's own batteries and don't try to power it from the Bluetooth power. This allows the N-Channel MOSFET to work with both positive and negatively switched FOBs since the power floats respectively.

    The wires in the picture look like they both go to the battery, however one of them actually runs up to the switch through hole. The other is connected to the battery terminal. These boards are typically very simple two sided boards so it is quite easy to trace the connections and find an easy connection location.

    I suspect in the not too distant future all vehicles will be wirelessly enabled and we will be able to interact with everything from our phones.

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