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Our garage door is already powered, but to initiate the opening (and closing) of the gate, one must get inside the garage and push one of the three buttons:

  1. Open
  2. Close
  3. Stop

How hard would it be to retrofit a remote there -- to either replace the existing three-button "console" or complement it? Ideally, the addition will be usable with one of the three remote buttons in our cars...

Are there ready-products or kits, that someone reasonably comfortable with wiring in general can install in a matter of hours?

Illustrations

  • The buttons panel:
    • With cover on: The buttons panel with cover
    • With cover removed: The buttons panel with cover removed
  • The actual motor (by Westinghouse): The actual motor (by Westinghouse)
  • The controlling unit next to the motor
    • With cover on (you can see the motor's side on the picture). The circular seal on the front claims membership in DORCMA, which, apparently, is now part of DASMA. Controlling unit -- with cover
    • With cover removed -- no schematics inside, unfortunately: enter image description here

The voltages between the photographed wires are thus:

  • Yellow and Red: 27.63V (AC) with the gate closed, 4.88V with the gate open
  • Yellow and White: 3.85V (AC) with the gate closed, 27.93V with the gate open
  • Yellow and Blue: 0 regardless of the gate's position
  • 1
    Have you looked for an off-the-shelf solution (eg, from the manufacturer)? What are "the three remote buttons in our cars" .. do you mean built-in, "Homelink" (or similar) buttons? Are the buttons high or low voltage? Does the gate stop on its own when full opened/closed? What happens if you push close while it's already closed (and open when already open)? DIY - You might be able to retrofit something with a couple 'add-on' remote adapters and some relays (using two buttons, one for open, one for close).. or you might need something more complex (with a microcontroller) to have one-button. – gregmac Jun 5 '15 at 19:32
  • The motor is at least 20 years old, so I doubt, the manufacturer -- even if they are still in business -- is interested. Yes, I am referring to "Homelink" buttons. Yes, the gate stops on its own when it either fully closes or opens, but one can stop the process at any position by pressing the "Stop" button on the console -- I do not need this functionality from the remote, though. – Mikhail T. Jun 5 '15 at 21:48
  • This question appears to be off topic, as product/service recommendations are off topic according to the help center. – Tester101 Aug 25 '16 at 15:24
  • 1
    I've deleted my incorrect answer, as the product line has changed since my specific product was manufactured. To answer the homelink question posted after my deleted answer, I have also discovered that Skylink is not compatible with Homelink. A total score of zero for me on this one. It would have been necessary to have three skylink receivers to make this work and no Homelink compatibility. – fred_dot_u Aug 25 '16 at 15:26
  • @Tester101, I'm open to suggestions on how to wire such a thing myself. Indeed, any product purchased will still require customized installation. Hopefully, this makes the question "on topic" -- even if marginally... – Mikhail T. Aug 25 '16 at 15:28
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+50

In honesty retrofitting a remote into a very old system is not always the best method.
Replacement of the gate opener system in whole provides for more options. I would assume since it was not shown that you do not have as-built wiring diagrams of this current system.
With out diagrams it will require testing and and a new diagram made to retrofit a new control properly. Once a wiring diagram exists then based on what is shown options from commercial sources to do-it-yourself controllers exist.
I am building a remote gate controller WIFI based with IPhone control Iphone control using an Arduino. It is a simple remote control relay setup.
Another is a simple relay control working via web Web control that could act as switches in place of the buttons. and can be controlled by web page n a smart phone.
Several companies make commercial versions of smart phone controllers. Some designed to work on the 433Mhz remote control type garage openers common in newer vehicles. According to documentation HOMELINK is 310Mhz.

Possible button wiring

If the wiring in this image matches what you have installed, then three relays could be wired in parallel to the switches once the control voltage is determined.
These could be controlled then by older HOMELINK relay controller types, finding the best HOMELINK relay controller for three devices is the hard part.
I know the X10 system made a standalone relay driver control, single relay. As well there are single relay receivers on the 315Mhz frequency but if they will react to the HOMELINK controls is not clear.

Another option is to make a bridge to a newer controller using some thing like X10 to INSTEON converter
This may offer ability to convert X10 to control a Insteon switch. Three switches wired in parallel across you manual push buttons, if buttons need more current or higher voltage then a relay board is offered. If they are AC 115 then a appliance control could be substituted. Smartenit EZX10RF INSTEON / X10 RF Wireless Sensor Receiver
I/O Linc™ – INSTEON® Low Voltage/Contact Closure Interface (1 In/1 Out) Model: 2450

4ch 315Mhz Receiver

  • Thanks, I picked your answer for the bounty award, because it was expiring. I still owe you the meter readings, though -- hopefully, we can resume this once I do. – Mikhail T. Sep 1 '16 at 14:37
  • I will wait for your readings on the meter. And will help from there any way I can. – spicetraders Sep 1 '16 at 15:24
  • As I thought. I spotted this yesterday. take a look You will see the third picture in the listings photos. It shows what would be your current switches with a relay wired in parallel. The unit would be set to momentary relay closure and act like a switch was pushed. Four wires run between your switch and the relay box. – spicetraders Sep 4 '16 at 17:16
  • Khm, does not seem like it is Homelink-compatible... But may have to do, if there is nothing better. Thanks, once again! – Mikhail T. Sep 5 '16 at 1:06
  • No but it is one of the best cost methods. The insteon is the only backward compatible cross over unit that seems to be out there these days, but you would need three units to control each switch part. As I am reworking my gate controller and looking at options I will let you know if any thing else shows. – spicetraders Sep 5 '16 at 1:44
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I would do this by adding a universal garage door receiver to simulate pressing each button in your existing hardwired controller. The big question is if the existing buttons are low (12~24V) or mains (120~240V) voltage, and how you can hook into them.

You basically need a "universal garage door receiver" that's designed to interface modern wireless controls to an old garage door opener. These units are available from various manufacturers (be sure to check compatibility with your in-car buttons which are likely HomeLink). You'll need either two or three receivers (depending on if you want to press the "stop" button).

Low-voltage control

If your existing hardwired button controller is low voltage, then open it, and wire the control terminals of each receiver in parallel with each push button. This might be just a matter of hooking a wire onto a terminal, or it might require soldering a connection to a circuit board. You'd have to post a picture with internal details.

For any run within a few dozen feet, you could use 22AWG wire (eg, phone or security system control wire).

Mains-voltage control

If your button control is mains voltage, it complicates the project quite a bit -- unless you can find a universal receiver with a relay output that specifically can handle mains (I couldn't).

You'd had to use relays to have a low-voltage signal for the wireless receivers, then let the relays control the mains power. I'd personally probably convert the existing button control to also be low voltage (control the relays) while I was at it.

I can post details about how to do this, but really the most 'difficult' part is just mounting everything in a safe way (proper-rated enclosures, relays, and wiring a panel safely), and since it's complex to explain all that and I don't even know if your control is even mains voltage, I won't type all that out now.

  • I just added pictures of the current equipment. Does that answer any of the questions you posed (i.e. low- vs. high-voltage, etc.)? Thank you! – Mikhail T. Aug 25 '16 at 16:45
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You need a 3 channel remote control [you can find on ebay]. You will need to wire the receiver to an adapter, and its output to a rated relay for every button. You will now need to tap into the switch using the existing relay terminal.

You now have to mark your remote control, and use it like you use the buttons. Make sure to keep the buttons intact (just tap in them, dont replace them) in case of emergencies.

  • So, no chance for Homelink-compatibility -- can't use a button I already have in the car? Thanks! – Mikhail T. Aug 26 '16 at 13:48
  • Tap into the car buttons, then – Shaheer Rizvi Aug 26 '16 at 13:53
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Be aware of safety issues. Does your close button require being held down?

If so with a wireless option you may need similar and not a latching contact.

The issue is that it is fairly common that old door motors if closing unattended have the capability to cause injury or death to people or animals or cause property damage.

You have to be very cautious if able to operate the door remotely without being able to see obstructions. It may not be possible with your current setup or may require additional parts or modification.

More modern units typically detect impact so can be a bit more difficult with old doors that don't move freely, however it is a valuable safety feature.

PE beams are also definitely a good idea as well that will stop or raise the door on an obstruction.

  • No, neither the Close nor the Open button need to be held. Thanks. – Mikhail T. Aug 27 '16 at 20:05

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