Well, it’s cheesy, but it’s also a logical place to start. We had a break-in to our garage a few nights ago, which is the second time that it has happened. The first time was while we were gone on a couple weeks long trip, and someone stole my wife’s purse. We were lucky that that was all they got. A neighbor called the police, and they checked the house to make sure no one was injured or dead before closing the door for us. We had a forged check clear our bank from that mess, along with plenty of semi-valuables gone that were in the purse, and all the time needed to get new cards, change account numbers, etc. This time the door was accidentally left open after a late night store run, and then we later found that some of my expensive car mechanic tools were missing. It’s not a high enough value to claim with insurance, because of our deductible, so we’re just going to eat the cost.

This has caused me to spend some time figuring out how to fix it. The root problem is that we don’t always close the garage door, or possibly something gets in the way of the light sensor and stops it. But I want a little board that will close the door for me! I would rather let the electronics worry about checking if the door is closed, and if it’s not, to take care of it. I want one more layer of security to know that it will really be shut when we’re not there.

What I have come up with is a mix of different solutions. The basic idea is that there will be a timer, and if the door is open for too long, then the board will signal the opener to shut the door. To make it more user friendly, (and especially to not get me in hot water by doing something silly like locking my wife out of the house while she’s working in the yard!) it will need to have various ways to modify its behavior based on the time of day, whether people are coming in and out, and possibly other things. What I have come up with so far is a mix of different ideas from the web that I came across in my searches to see what already existed.

Eventually, I will want to add more automation and monitoring to the house. I enjoy the power and price-point of the Raspberry Pi, so my first thought was to use one or more of them as the main muscle behind the automation, with Arduinos actually running the I/O. I’m not sure exactly what it’s going to look like yet, but it will slowly evolve as I find needs or holes in the system and add on to it. My Automation Hub page will document my progress and links for the server(s) to run the algorithms and send/receive commands.

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