Nothing EVER Works! – Making a dumb door smart

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– Back in 2019, I took my
1980s garage door opener which used to work like this and made it smart, meaning that I could
control it with my phone. Unfortunately, while it
worked perfectly at the time the two years that followed have been, less than stellar to say the least. See, look, here's the board we were using. It's not in there anymore, is it? Fortunately, today, I think we finally have
the ultimate solution. And since this video is
sponsored by Pulseway that should give you some idea
as to what the solution is. For those of you who are a
little slow, it's a server. It's always a server, isn't it, Jake? – [Jake] Hell, yeah! (enchanted playful music) (garage door rambling) – When I bought this house it still had the original garage door
openers from the 1980s. So when I wanted to add some kind of smart remote control functionality to it, the most obvious solution
was to just replace them.

So I went on Amazon and bought a smart
Chamberlain garage door opener with the intention of
installing it myself, only to read through the
documentation and realized that it was a $1 a month subscription fee for If This Then That integration so I could use my Google Assistant… A dollar a month? I was outraged. I'm not paying a subscription fee. So instead I spent a whole year
subscription worth of money on this cheap Chinese Relay
thing that connects to your wifi and will actually press the button just by bridging the contacts for you. And as I said before, it worked perfectly. I'd give my voice command. It would go through my
If This Then That recipe and then click click, it
would activate the door. The only non-ideal thing was that this has no way of knowing if the
garage door is open or closed. But that was easy enough to install with a little roost device or
with a garage security camera.

Only it's traumatic to
think about that time now because that's when the
first major thing went wrong. I had the audacity to replace
my wireless access point. I went from my ruckus
one to my ubiquity one which should have been
fine, except that my Relay wouldn't connect to the new access point even after I changed the
SSI ID and the password to exactly the same one. No problem, I thought,
I've seen that before. All I got to do as a
factory rese.., Oh my God! There is no way to
factory reset this thing. You actually just have to throw it away if you don't remember to
change the credentials on it before you change your wifi. So that's okay. I went and bought a more expensive and feature rich four
channels, Sonoff one. And it was back to working perfectly. Until, Okay Google, open the Volt garage door.

One day, it randomly stopped working. After some quick Googling, it turns out that eWeLink stopped allowing If This Then That
integration free of charge, which after I threw a
temper tantrum on Twitter, I found out was because If This Then That changed their billing policies, making it so that eWeLink
had to pay far more per user. I had a call with If This Then That CEO where it was off the
record, unfortunately. So I can't really share all the details but ultimately they walked me through how If This Then That is to survive they basically have to
make some kind of change. And they feel like allowing
individual users for free to create up to three recipes of their own and then use an unlimited number of other already existing recipes, seems like a reasonable middle ground. Unfortunately for me, that means that something as simple as
open Odyssey garage door close Odyssey garage door, open Volt garage door and
close Volt garage door exceeds the freaking limit. No bother, said, I.

I will just change all
of the voice commands to activate Odyssey garage door and activate Volt garage door, since quite frankly,
the Relay stupid doodad whether it's this one or the Sonoff has no idea if it's
open or closed, anyway. It was just kind of like
a user friendliness thing. Then it really hit the fan, my ancient garage door
opener that I had spent all this freaking time
smartifying outright died. So when I called a local
garage door installer company because frankly, I didn't feel
like installing it myself. They basically said, look, there's only like one unit
that we install in everything. So either you take it or you don't, and I kind of went, yeah, okay, sure. I come home from work and
sure enough, there it is. A brand new LiftMaster. And those of you who know
anything about the industry will probably know that
like I glass frames the garage door opener industry
is basically a monopoly and LiftMaster is owned by,
you guessed it, Chamberlain.

The company that I was
trying to freaking avoid because of their subscription
fee in the first place. No problem said, I. I'll just take the same
leads off of my Relay and plunk them onto the
back of the wall unit, just like before. No subscription fee for me. It is what I thought. But the installer explains to
me, and this was very helpful that these smart garage door openers no longer actually work
the way the old ones did where they just pretty
much closed a circuit. These ones are only powered
by the wires in your wall. And instead they actually
transmit wirelessly to the garage door opener units, just like the fob that
you have in your car.

So you can't use a relay in
the way that you used to, where you just kind of, well, bridge the contacts at the back. Ha, ha, ha, not to be defeated. I quickly grabbed one of
the PCVs out of a wall unit and soldered some leads of my
own to the activation switch. So that effectively my relay going off was just pushing the same switch that I would normally push with my finger. Ha, ha, ah, genius. Too bad the system worked too well. I sent this video over to
Maddie from Electra Boom, showing that while my Google
Voice Assistant commands to open and close the
door did in fact work with my soldered leads here, unfortunately, the garage door would also just randomly activate itself.

He explained it to me
and it's something to do with analog circuitry and
having a very high level of sensitivity to
electromagnetic interference. Essentially, what it
means is that these wires coming off of the switch
were acting as antennas and triggering it sometimes repeatedly in the middle of the night. I mean, that's a bit
of a security problem, don't you think? With guidance from Maddie, I salvaged some capacitors and resistors from a random donor board
that I had kicking around and attempted to put some kind
of filtering on this circuit in order to prevent it from happening. But after spending an entire
afternoon on it, I thought you know what, enough's enough. My wife will not get off my case about how the garage doors
don't freaking work properly.

I'm just gonna use
chamberlains own myQ software. How bad can it be? Terrible, it turns out so here's my current setup then. With the Chamberlain, myQ app, you can from anywhere the world, see the status of your garage doors, how long they've been in that state. So here you can see the Volt
has been open for four minutes and you can activate them either way. Well, what's so bad about that? That sounds pretty great.

Oh, a couple of things. For starters, it constantly
logs both me and my wife out seemingly whenever our IP address changes. Like, oh, I don't know. Say for example, when we're
just coming into wifi at home or just leaving the range of our wifi and switching over to cellular data, that seems like a pretty small problem. And blindness, you might say. I mean, why are you pulling
out your phone anyway. This whole journey freaking started because you wanted to open
and close your garage door with a voice command. Why not just use myQ use
integration with If This Then That which by the way, they don't charge a dollar
a month for anymore. They now provide it for free. I'll tell you why, because it only allows
you to close the door. When I get home at the end of the day I cannot say, well, okay,
well open the garage door. It doesn't allow it
through If This Then That, So I'm stuck with one of the following; A, a Relay that randomly
opened my garage doors, and it does randomly close them as well.

So that's good, that's a good feature. B, an app that constantly logs me out. So I have to log into it in my driveway in order to go home to my house. Or C, a voice assistant
that only closes the doors, but does not open them. Oh, right, also there is D, I could just use the stupid fob thing that goes on your visor,
like a normal human being but it's a huge security problem to keep those things in your car.

pexels photo 920382

And quite frankly, I
cannot be arsed to like, carry it around with me all the time. So I know I'll end up leaving it in my car which is how people break into your house. So what this whole experience
has highlighted for me is a couple of the big problems with smart home stuff in general. One, is unexpected service interruptions or policy changes that can break already perfectly functioning setups. And number two, is poor or
incomplete interoperability between different brands and platforms. Now there's only so much we
can do about the first one, terms of service can change. But at least for the second thing there actually is a solution. And it's called Home Assistant. Conveniently, I already have a home server that's perfectly capable of
running Docker containers or virtual machines
already running on Raid. So we're gonna show you guys
the steps that we went through to get Home Assistant up and running.

Now, what we're doing with
it today is pretty basic. Taking a myQ device and having it work with Google Assistant. But there is so much
that you can do with this that we are barely even
scratching the surface. It's super cool. In a nutshell, Home Assistant is an open source home
automation platform. It's kind of like If This Then That, except that you can host it yourself, and it's a lot more versatile. Basically, if you can dream it or well, at least program it, it's doable with Home Assistant.

Our first Home Assistant inspired solution was based around using my existing Sonoff Inching Relay Opener and then a cheap ZigBee
hub and a door sensor. The idea was that after issuing
our chosen voice command through Google Assistant, Home Assistant would run a
little script in the background to check the door status and then decide whether or not to trigger the garage. That would be to prevent
me from accidentally opening a garage door
that was already open, which would actually
close it and vice versa. Now this is a great configuration because it relies on fewer cloud services. But for me, the whole ZigBee
thing is a rabbit hole that I'm not ready to go down yet.

Partly because I don't have to. It turns out that the fancy
new garage door openers that I splurged on have
a direct integration, thanks to Home Assistant, with
support for opening the door, which really makes those other limitations seem pretty frustrating
and arbitrary, doesn't it? It'll just take some setting up. First off, because of the
way Google Assistant works, a few things need to be in place
for it to be able to access your self hosted Home Assistant instance. First you'll need a domain
name that you can use. So Google knows where to look. Second, you'll need an SSL certificate set up for that domain for security. And third you'll need remote
access to that instance by way of port forwarding.

Luckily for us, there are a few ways that we can make this a
lot easier than it sounds, but for those of you
who don't wanna dabble in all this techno wizardry there is a workaround
that avoids all of it as well as helping with
the security concerns of having your Home Assistant instance being public facing, it's
called Home Assistant Cloud. It's a partnered service run by the founder of Home Assistant, where they hosted in the cloud for you. And then you can actually just tie it into Google Assistant directly without any annoying manual configuration.

However, that means that you are again, relying on a cloud service to host it as well as paying a bloody subscription, which was what I was trying to avoid. So here comes the more
DIY fun way to do it, featuring my Unraid NAS. Let's check that out real quick. This is my combination,
home NAS and server. So it's got about 60 terabytes of storage, which is more than I need, at
least for my personal projects 14 core processor, 64
gigs of Ram, and naturally it's running Pulseway for monitoring so I can keep tabs on
it, have remote access and of course get notifications
if anything goes wrong.

To help you guys follow
along, a full text tutorial on the Linus tech tips forum will be linked in the video description because it is simply too
much to fit into a video. First up, snag a domain from
your favorite registrar, for the purposes of this video we'll be using If you have a static IP, just
set it in your DNS provider. But if your IP is dynamic,
that means changing, you'll need to set up dynamic DNS or a program that updates your DNS record when your IP changes. Since our domain is
managed through CloudFlare the Unraid community app CloudFlare DDNS works perfectly for this. Then to proxy our local
Home Assistant Instance into a public facing domain and to handle the free automatically renewing SSL certificate we will use another community app called NginxProxyManager. Before we can set up the SSL
certificate in it though, we'll need to set up our
port forwarding rules so that we can actually
verify that we own the domain.

This is gonna vary based on your router. So use your Google-fu
if you aren't familiar but in the ubiquity control
panel anyway, it's super easy. Note, by the way, you'll wanna make sure that your Unraid NAS or other machine that's running all this gear actually has a static local IP. Otherwise those port-forwarding
rules that you set up could just break unexpectedly. Back into the proxy manager,
set up your SSL certificate as well as the host
proxy with your domain.

And bam, we install Home Assistant and we can access it remotely. The sky is now officially the limit. But like really, with Home Assistant you could make it turn off all your lights when all paired devices
leave a geo-fenced location like your house. Or you could have it turn
on your sprinklers for you at a certain time, unless your
moisture sensor in your yard has detected rain, or if you
don't feel like one of those you can also just integrate it with the local weather report. Or you could make a Sonoff
button work with a Yeelight bulb. The possibilities are endless. In our case we're just
simply going to link my garage door openers, myQ
program to Home Assistant and set up Google Assistant integration. This is a pretty long process
for self hosted peeps. So follow the instructions linked in the description for that. But once it's set up,
we can add it directly to our Google Home app then, bada bing, bada boom, two garages, yes.

So it's all working in theory. What about in practice? – [Google Assistant] Okay nerd. – Open both garages And finally works. Oh man. I know, right. So, big thank you to you for watching. Thank you to Jake for
fixing my garage again. And of course thank you to Pulseway for sponsoring this video. Pulseway, if you guys aren't
familiar is the solution to monitoring your
systems and your servers. They've got support for
Windows, Mac, and Linux and they allow you to see all kinds of important steps on your systems. Like what the CPU usage
is, Ram usage is, storage. Basic stuff like that, but
also apply custom scripts, roll updates and remotely
access your machines. And all of that stuff can be done from the comfort of your own chair, through their mobile apps
available for iOS and Android. So naturally I use Pulseway
for all kinds of things. So let me know if my server
is down or unresponsive or if my storage is
reaching a critical level but you can use it for basically anything.

So learn more at the link down below and check out Pulseway for yourself. Even personal users can
actually get a lot of benefit. So guys, do go check it out. If you guys enjoyed this video
and you want the full history of how this got started,
maybe check out the original where we smartified my OG
1985 garage door openers. – [Jake] It looks like
a (indistinct) here. – It's so slow, I hate that. But because we're using
the micQ integration there's no getting around it. When I was just using the Relay, I didn't have to wait for that. – [Jake] Ahhh. – Yeah, so if I could still
use the relay, honestly I would but this is fine.

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