Garage door automation, when done well, can certainly make life easier. Connected garage doors keep you from more wondering if you closed the garage door when you left for work or if you remembered to shut it when you came home. The Garadget is an $89 smart controller that adds simple smarts like remote access and voice control to your existing garage door opener. As much as those features are handy, if you're looking for more advanced things like full geofencing, a live video feed and scheduling, look elsewhere.
Installing the Garadget is simple. With about 15 minutes and a screwdriver, you can get everything up and running. Before attaching the Garadget to your garage door opener, you'll need to pair it to your Wi-Fi network using the Garadget app for iOS and Android devices. Create an account within the app and temporarily link the Garadget to the Wi-Fi signal it produces in order to connect it to the 2.4GHz network you actually want to use. Be sure your garage gets a strong Wi-Fi signal.
The Garadget device adheres to your existing garage door opener with an adhesive strip provided with your purchase. The Garadget comes with a USB power cable as well as a two-wire cable for connecting the Garadget to your opener. Plug in the power cord to an outlet near your garage door opener and connect the two-wire cable to the nodes on your opener that control opening and closing commands. The Garadget, and other devices like it, often don't specify which wires go where, since it varies by opener model. For this reason, you may need to refer to your opener's manual.
Once you've connected the wires, a reflective, circular tag adheres to the top panel of your garage door to pick up the Garadget's laser sensor, which tells the connector if the door is open, closed or somewhere in between. Using the app and voice commands successfully really hinges (pun intended) on placing that reflective tag correctly on the top panel of your door. Before I added the tag and centered the laser on it, I received several false notifications and alerts that the door was open or closed when it wasn't. Once I added the reflective piece, it was much more accurate.
With the Garadget installed, the Garadget app displays a graphic representing your garage door and its current status. This is the interface for controlling your door, as well as viewing settings, histories and status. Within the app settings, you can customize alerts to tell you if the door has been open for a certain amount of time, ranging from 30 seconds to 12 hours. You can also enable alerts to let you know if the garage is left open between a specific time window, say from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. There's even a geofence-like feature that will alert you if the door is open when you've left the area. That customizable radius ranges from 15 meters to 500 meters (roughly 49 feet to 1,640 feet). While there isn't a native geofencing capability for opening or closing the garage, you can use an IFTTT applet created by Garadget.