“How Do I…?” – Use a timer to close my garage door (UPDATED 4/5/2010)
This write up was originally written by myself, Dan Hendriksen on 10/11/2009 and posted to c4central.com/2009/10/11/how-do-i-use-a-timer-to-close-my-garage-door/.
One of the things I really enjoy about my Control4 installation is the control over the garage doors. They used to get left open a lot at my house, but I fixed that with Control4. Here’s a write-up on how to utilize a timer to close your garage door(s) after they have been left open for a certain time.
First things first, to utilize this you obviously need your garage door motor hooked up to a relay (either on one of your controllers, a card access wireless relay, or tied into your security system that is integrated with Control4), and you need to have a sensor switch in place to monitor the status of the door. If you don’t have those two things done, unfortunately this write-up won’t help you yet. Making the physical connections to add them is easy, but this write-up doesn’t cover that. Plus, you will need your dealer to add them to the project once the physical connections are made.
Okay, so your Control4 system is setup to open and close your garage doors, and to monitor the doors status. Now, on to the programming. First, we need to open up Composer HE and go to the “Agents” tab. In the top left corner, select “Timer”. Click “New”, and name the timer something appropriate. Since there are multiple garage doors at my place, I created a timer for each garage door. Keep that in mind as you name the timers, because you will need to keep them separate. We will call this “Main Garage Door Timer”. Set it for the appropriate time, we went with 10 minutes.
Once that is done we are going to click on the “Programming” tab. In the “Device Events” pane (top left) click on the garage door (if you have multiple garage doors, you will need to repeat this entire write-up for each door. Make sure at this point you are working with the correct garage door – the one that matches the timer we just created). Then below, click on “When the Main Garage Door is opened”.
Now move over to the “Device Actions” pane (top right), and scroll all the way down to Timer. In the “Select Timer” drop down tab make sure the correct timer is selected, then click “Reset Timer ‘Main Garage Door Timer’ “. The reason we select reset is because that will reset the timer to the default time, and start the timer. If you were to just select start timer, it would start it at whatever time it had remaining, which may be less than the 10 minutes because of starting and stopping of the timer that occurs as this garage door opens and closes. Drag that programming line into the middle of the screen.
Now, when the garage door is opened, the timer will be reset to 10 minutes and start counting down. Now, we need to tell the timer to close the garage once it runs out. Back in the “Device Events” pane (top left) scroll all the way down to Timer. Make sure the correct timer is selected from the drop down menu, then click “When Timer ‘Main Garage Door Timer’ expires”.
Now in the “Device Actions” pane (top right), click on the garage door we want this timer to close. Down below click “Close the Main Garage Door”.
Drag that programming line into the middle of the screen.
Now, while this last step is not necessary, I put it in simply to save on processing overhead. I set mine up so that once the garage door closes, if the “Main Garage Door Timer” is running, it stops the timer. Like I said, not necessary, but I do it just to stop that timer and preserve the processing overhead associated with tracking the timer. To do this, navigate to the “Device Events” pane (top left), and select the “Main Garage Door” and select “When the Main Garage Door is closed”.
Then move over the to the “Device Actions” pane (top right) and scroll all the way down to Timer. Select the Conditionals tab, and in the drop down menu make sure the proper timer is select. Then click “Timer ‘Main Garage Door Timer’ is running”.
Drag that programming line into the middle of the screen. Now, move back over to the right hand side and click on the commands tab. Make sure the proper timer is selected in the drop down menu, then select “Stop timer ‘Main Garage Door Timer’ “. Drag this programming line into the middle of the screen and make sure to “indent” it under the if statement. You do that be dropping it directly on the question mark, when the arrow pointing to the right is displayed.
You will need to repeat this entire process for each garage door in your project.
Now, there you have it! When the garage door opens a timer is activated. Once that timer expires it will automatically close your garage door if it is still open.
Now, we just covered the basics of using a timer to close your garage door after a period of time. Here at the C4Central Mansion, there is a ton more fun programming around the garage doors. For instance, here the lights automatically come on when the garage doors open, and they automatically turn off 3 minutes after the door has closed (using a timer just like this one).
We also have ours programmed so once the timer starts (the one that closes the garage door) it turns the LED on the dimmer green to indicate the timer is running and the garage will automatically close.
We also did a press and hold, to stop the timer from running. This is for those times when you are out blowing snow off the driveway, doing yard work, etc… If you press and hold the light switch it will stop the timer (leaving the garage door open), and turn the LED to red to indicate that the garage door will not close automatically.
All sorts of fun possibilities….we hope to do write-ups to cover all those possibilities in the future. If you have any questions please ask in the comments below.
EDIT TO ADD: Some of the functionality I eluded to with regards to LED indicator lights, and a press and hold to stop the timer has been covered in a followup article which can be found here.