A Smart Garage Door Opener
WiFi may not be a “right” but it’s hard to argue against that it’s pretty much a necessary part of life — if only because everyone has a phone at home or a tablet or computer. While that might seem extreme, most would agree that WiFi is everywhere and so why fight it? So previously “dumb” devices like doorbells and picture frames and whatnot have WiFi. But control over radio waves isn’t new — garage door openers have been using radio waves to make its remote control operate the garage door for what seems like decades now.
So the problem with garage door openers has been that their remotes have been too large and don’t have much of an effective range. Sure if you’re in the driveway it’ll work, but what if you want the door to start opening as you are driving up to the house (keeping in mind you’d never open the garage door when nobody is around just for fun)? That rarely works. But if you already have a garage door that opens using a motor (as they all do), then you already have a remote and the dedicated radio tech, so no putting in an all new garage door opener because money is tight. What’s needed is a device that will integrate with the existing garage door opener and open the door, so to speak, to letting WiFi in. Then you’d be able to control it from anywhere with a delightful app. Which is exactly the idea behind the Meross (MSG200HK) Smart WiFi Garage Door Opener.
The heart of the Meross is a small box with an adjustable antenna. It’s a Wi-Fi transmitter/receiver and so is designed to connect to the home’s wireless network. It’s powered by a USB adapter plugged into a wall outlet, so there’s no batteries, but that also means you need to place it near that outlet.
So this is going to take over from our early 2000’s garage door opener — we checked that it’s compatible and it is. But to make things easier we’re first going to connect it to our home network — using the Meross app initially works if we had an Android phone but we’ve an iPhone so that means using the Apple Home app first. We power up the Meross and then use the app in conjunction with the QR code and do some taps and other stuff that’s simple if boring. Once done, we can then connect to the Meross app to take advantage of what it allows, like opening/closing the garage door (obviously), but also setting customized door opening times or getting a notification if the door’s status changes, getting an auto-close capability, stuff like that (although nothing is happening right now because the installation hasn’t been done). The Meross can handle up to 3 separate garage doors but we’ve just the single so the installation process only requires the included single long sensor cable. And no worries about wrecking the garage door opener’s motor because we’re not going to be opening it up
That’s because the only physical connection is going to be on the back of the motor which connects to the wall switch that tells the motor to open or close the garage door.
Do Not Mess Around With Electricity
Now the power to the motor and to any wall switch needs to be cut before any of this can be done. In many cases, such as here, there’s an actual plug going into a ceiling outlet above the motor. This means you pull the plug and that’s that. But should this require circuit breakers, then the procedure will be a bit more involved. Just remember that the electricity must be completely off to be safe. THIS CAN NOT BE STATED STRONGLY ENOUGH — ELECTRICITY IS DANGEROUS. DO NOT MESS AROUND!
The long sensor cable has a sensor at one end, but it’s the other that we are going to work with because it terminates in two loose wires that replace those in the back of the motor that connects to the wall switch. There is also another cable with a plug that goes into the #1 socket on the back of the Collie. So we do both. Now we run the sensor cable along the motor rail (making sure of course that it isn’t affected by the garage door being moved) and down the length of the garage door. Using sticky tape, the sensor is placed against the end of the garage door near the side wall. A free sensor is then placed against the wall and is separated less than an inch from the other. So what is going to happen once I restore power to the motor and also to the Meross that is now taped to the top of the motor? The sensors will now “report” to the Meross whether they “see” each other — meaning the garage door is closed — or if the sensors are apart signifying that the garage door is open. And as an aside, we had to put a double electrical socket into the outlet above the motor so we could plug both the motor and the Collie in for power.
Get Ready, Go
We wait for it to power up and for its LED to go solid green to mean it’s got an Internet connection. At this point we can use the app to give the door a name (Garage Door is pretty lame, but…) and set up different notifications and in general just start enjoying what it can do. Alexa and Google Assistant voice lovers can go for it — Siri continues to be pretty dull because it can only open or close the door or answer if the door is in the open position. Way to go Apple.
The Meross Smart WiFi Garage Door Opener can be installed in about an hour or three (including time for the app) and will not damage the existing garage door mechanism one bit. Pretty much all modern garage door openers will work — but it’s good to double check this first. Besides no longer wondering if the garage door was left open when miles separate the car from the garage, we can now have the garage door open as we come up the street to the driveway. Or check that it’s closed to avoid stress. And yeah having a smart garage door opener with voice commands is just cool. Beside there being a built-in sound alarm, there’s also an optional accessory for adding control when having one of those 3 door garages.