Would you like it if your driveway gate automatically knew you were home and opened as you pulled in? Want to let a visitor in by talking to your Amazon Spot?
Wel. fortunately, automatic gates are so popular nowadays that you can retrofit your existing gates and integrate it to your smart home so you can do both!
In this article, I’ll be talking about how you could connect your gate to the SmartThings home automation system with the FORTREZZ MIMOlite remote controller. If you are the adventurous type and want to DIY, then this is for you. But if you’re not really confident on the nitty-gritty, then a home automation installer will be able to help you out.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
1. FORTREZZ MIMOlite or MIMO
These are Z-Wave relay bridge modules with a wireless capability and a signal input interface that you can program to execute something in a specific instance. You’ll be needing this as an additional switch to your old physical switch.
2. Electrical tools and materials:
- wire stripper
- wire connectors
- electrical tape or heat shrink tubing (optional)
- soldering iron and solder (optional)
- #22 AWG stranded wire
3. Proximity sensor (optional)
You may hook this up to the signal input terminal of the MIMOlite for it to know that the gate has extended and retracted fully. But since most gate openers already have one built-in, you may not need this.
4. SmartThings app
Enroll your MIMOlite to this API as a switch.
HOW TO GET EVERYTHING WORKING
1. Before you wire everything up together, it’s best to check first if you could wirelessly switch on and off the MIMOlite. You’ll have to open the top cover of the MIMOlite and remove the jumper cap to enter into “momentary” mode. That will make it switch momentarily just like a doorbell instead of latching. Then in the app, go to Add a Thing and wait for the MIMOlite’s LED to flash, indicating that pairing was successful. If not, press the button of the MIMOlite and do the same process again. Once it’s OK, click Done and Save. Finally, try tapping on the device a couple of times to see if it really toggles between on and off. You can verify it with the clicking sound of the relay together with a corresponding LED indicator.
2. There is a wiring guide for a garage door provided by FORTREZZ as shown below. The wiring for the gate is basically the same.
- Extend the wires from both ends of the existing switch (if there is) and connect it to the normally open (NO) and common (COM) terminals of the MIMOlite. Just keep the old switch for manual override ‘cause you’ll never know when the MIMOlite would fail.
- As I have mentioned before, there is no need for the gate opener to have an external proximity sensor but if you want to get notified on the app whenever the gate has been opened or closed and how many times in the day, just connect the sensor wires to the signal input terminal. Consult your manuals first and know what signal type the sensor is spitting out, analog or digital, so you could configure it correctly – see MIMOlite installation manual.
- Lastly, screw in the power supply cables to the power terminals only after you have made sure that everything is correctly wired up. NEVER do wiring when the system is energized.
Since this will be placed outside, just make sure that no stripped wire is exposed to moisture and rain.
Hi, I’m Christy, and I’m an electronics engineer by profession. I have taught in a university for 2 years while pursuing my master’s degree in cognitive radio and worked for a company to develop wireless medical devices. Currently, I’m doing research for a doctorate degree in engineering using a wireless sensor network for smart agriculture. I’ve been active in our local IoT community, IoT Cebu, where I participate in conducting talks about Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and DIY home automation using Wi-Fi and ZigBee devices.