Thanks to the plague of 2020, we’re all looking for interesting ways to pass the time – I’m no exception. Today, I started a fun project that combines low voltage, a Shelly 1, and my garage door. Depending on the kind of garage door opener you have, this project can be REALLY easy or it can be a little harder, but it isn’t out of anybody’s reach.
I’ve had a Liftmaster garage door opener since 2013/14 and it has given solid service. I got the MyQ addon, for notifications and control via app. If I forgot to close the door, I could from my phone. In theory, that was a great plan. In reality, I ran into a couple of complications. First, if my Internet went down or if MyQ’s server had an outage, then I had to drive back home to open or close the door. Second, there was no way to offload local control to a home automation system to help mitigate the connectivity concern.
I’ve also wanted to experiment with Shelly products on low voltage. This picture is one reason why. Do you have a box of these collecting dust at home? If any of them are 12v, or between 24v and 60v, you can use them to power the Shelly 1 for a variety of projects. The Shelly 1PM and Shelly 2.5 will also work with 24v to 60v, but most of my adapters are 12v. Also, the Shelly 1 has dry contacts, which makes it really flexible for different projects.
Right now, the Shelly USA web store (HERE) has a great sale on product bundles, so it is an excellent time to get your hands on some of their relays at an extra savings.
This is all you need to get started using the Shelly 1 with low voltage. The female barrel adapter I’m using here clearly marks which lead is positive and which is negative. PLEASE pay attention. Connect + to N and connect – to L. If you mix them up, you will smell magic smoke as it escapes. Also, if you use a higher voltage power adapter, make sure your barrel adapter is rated appropriately. This one is for 12v. Once I powered it up, I went through the standard setup to connect it to my WiFi and add it to my account.
I put together a test circuit on a breadboard to illustrate how easy this is. The Shelly 1 is powered by the 12v adapter (+ connected to N, – connected to L). I have a separate 12v feed to power the LED circuit (dry contacts, if you recall). I next connected + from the second power source to I and connected – to the breadboard at the resistor. The other leg of the resistor goes to the short leg of the LED. The long leg of the LED is connected to O on the Shelly 1.
It’s THAT quick to set it up on a breadboard to test before you climb on a ladder. One thing you need to set here is under “Timer,” enabling the Auto off function, with a setting of .25 seconds to mimic a momentary switch for your garage door opener.
Now we discover if this is going to be the easy way or the fun way. Check the wiring harness for your garage door opener. Odds are, you’ll have a couple of ports for the wall mounted button and a couple for your safety sensors. If they’re all in two ports, you’ll do this the easy way for sure! If there are 4 ports, connect your Shelly 1 in parallel to the button, with I connected to + and O connected to -. Tap the power button in the Shelly app. If your door opens, great! Put everything in an enclosure and you’re done. See the red circle to show where mine are.
If it doesn’t open, don’t worry – you can still automate this, the same way that I did.
When I determined I can’t wire in parallel to my button, I pulled the PCB and determined how it is powered. It connects to two low voltage wires and has 3 switches built in (door, light, PIR), so that means PWM. I connected leads from the garage door opener over head with two stainless steel screws and nuts.
Once I’ve verified it worked, I found an old parts box from my Dad’s tool box to mount everything in.
Back at the garage door opener, I inserted two leads into the terminals for the button, which I then split with Wago connectors – it can be tough getting multiple wires to fit in the terminals and I wanted to have shorter wires on the kit.
Here’s the final shot, with the 12v power adapter plugged in beside the garage door opener and the parts box secured to the side of it. Later on, I’ll probably get a high quality enclosure and redo the wires with heat shrink tubing, just to make everything look more professional. All, told, though, with a UL listed Shelly 1 relay and a handful of junk parts, you can do this project for less than $20 bucks.
I actually ordered a replacement button, so that I could keep one on the wall but also have one to experiment with. If you have a higher tolerance for “custom controls” in your house than there is in mine, or if you’ve got an easy power source and the ability to wire in the wall behind your existing button, skip that step and do everything there.
Time to install? 45 minutes – including setting up an LED tester on a breadboard.
In an upcoming post, I’ll add the Shelly 1 to Smart Things and Hubitat, as well as show how to use a door/window sensor to detect the door state for advanced automation.
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