Thank you backers for making this project possible! Once a project funding period has expired, project updates are no longer allowed. So if you missed the opportunity to back this project, check out http://blackdevices.com for the project status.
Protecting your Home's Largest Door!
Why? Just check out ABC's news report provided by Florida's Tampa Bay Police:
How does Garage Border Control Work?
The genius behind it is that it is always working for you; it is always watching. You simply, set-it-and-forget-it. If you forget to close the door, after the programmed time, Garage Border Control will close it.
The video below demonstrates it in action. Notice how you will hear a single audio beep when Garage Border control first detects the door open. If you look really close, you can see the reflection of the LED on the door indicating it continues to see the door open. Finally, when it is about to close the door, it gives 4 audio beeps spaced about three seconds apart to warn that it is about to do so...
What if I want the garage left open?
Who are we to tell you what you can't do! Garage Border Control lets you easily disable it with a simple (long) push of your garage door button!
That's right! You can use your existing easily-accessible garage door button to control Garage Border Control. No need to run wires or have a confusing set of buttons. Want to turn it back on? Another simple (long) press of the garage button lets you do that. In both cases, an intuitive set of audible tones lets you know that Garage Border Control just turned on or off.
Can I change the amount of time the door remains open?
Yes! The video explains most of the operation. Simply holding the garage door opener button down for several seconds causes it to start beeping. Every beep indicates another minute the door is to remain open. The beeps come rather quickly, so counting up to 15 (for 15 minutes) does not take very long.
What else can it do?
It monitors battery voltage (both undercharge and overcharge). In addition to trying to keep the batteries at a full charge (very small trickle charge), it also monitors the batteries if they get low. It will give you an audio indicator (similar to how smoke detectors work) to let you know the battery is low.
Finally, it can plug in to home automation and home security systems! It has a four-port header (one is ground) where the hacker in you can control three features of the device:
1) Override: tie this pin to ground and you will disable the timing feature of Garage Border Control (as well as allow you to operate the door to open (instead of just closing the door))
2) Operate Door: toggle this pin to ground and the door will operate to close the door (if open). If in override-mode, you can use this pin to open the door as well.
3) Garage Open Indicator: This pin (used in conjunction with the ground pin) appears to be an open switch if the door is open, and a closed switch (tied to ground) if the door is closed. This mechanism can be used to add the garage door as a zone to your home security system.
Who is behind Garage Border Control?
Check out my Bio :-) I created Garage Border Control almost 20 years ago. My neighbors, friends, and coworkers all wanted one. It worked with almost all garage door openers back then.
The first attempt (17 years ago) used a magnet and a reed switch to detect if the door was open. It used dip switches to set the timer. However, it did not work with some models. Furthermore, I didn't know how to expose it to the public (kickstarter didn't exist back then :-P ). After giving and selling all the prototypes I built (nearly fifty), it stayed on the backburner for almost 14 years.
During those 14 years, my son completed college, and started his career in software development. He always believed in the product and wanted to help create another version. So, over the past three years we built several new prototypes, taking lessons I learned from the first prototype. We switched from using a magnet to using an infrared "eye" to see the garage door. We incorporated a microcontroller in order to work with newer garage door openers as well as add additional features:
- Audio warnings when about to close the door
- Visible and Audio indicators when the door is open
- Visible and Audio indicator to assist during installation
- Timer completely programmable
- Option to disable the device (for those days when you want to keep the garage door open)
- Future-proofing (ability to add additional features).
Risks and challenges
The PCB boards we have had manufactured have been delivered within the expected and promised timeframes. The local plastic enclosure manufacturer specializes in fast plastic parts manufacturing. We have visited the main site, and have seen their manufacturing processes.
However, there is always the chance of delays in the manufacturing process outside of our control. We believe that if the project appears like it will be funded, we will be able to push the initial orders ahead of the projected timeline. We have also used the maximum lead times in the estimates. If an unlikely manufacturing "glitch" occurs, the estimated time that batches could be delayed would be four weeks (this risk does NOT apply to batch #1 which we will be hand assembling (and we know what we are doing :-D )).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)