Coming home to roost

For a long time now I’ve had an item on my todo list which is to make my garage doors more intelligent. Add a raspberry-pi into the mix so that I can send the doors up and down using my phone. Put a bit of computer vision in there so that the doors wont close/stop closing if an object is detected in the path…but I didn’t do it. It was a big job and little jobs always took precedent. That was a bit of a mistake.

I was reversing the car back into the garage after doing some shelf painting work [ more on that later ] when I heard an oddly familiar whirring noise. It took a second or two to locate the source of the noise. It was the garage door coming down whilst I was halfway through the door in the car. Like a complete idiot I had the remote control for the door in my pocket and as I’d been turning around to check I wasn’t going to run over my newly painted shelves I’d accidentally triggered the down button.

Annoyingly I was wearing about four layers and had no idea which pocket I’d put the controls in so that I could send the door back up. I was rapidly patting all of my pockets trying to find it and quickly gave up on that plan. I then jammed the car into reverse and shot backwards, but then equally quickly jammed the brakes on worrying that I was going to crash into something. By now time ran out. The door made contact with the bonnet and the motor continued whirring. It pressed harder and harder and various things started whining and squealing before eventually the whiny squealiness became cracking and snappiness.

The white bit on the shaft used to be attached to the white bit on the door.

In fact, all three of the white bits on the shaft used to be attached to the white bits on the door.

Fortunately Emma was home as I was stuck in the garage. I called her, she came to my rescue. We lifted the door off the car and I gingerly reversed it into the garage. We lowered the broken door to the ground and inspected the car. There were a few light scratches, fortunately the bottom of the door has a rubber seal so that protected the car. I’ve since T-Cut’d the car and polished it and it’s looking alright again.

I had a go at fixing the door. Took some links out and the door went up and down like a dream – right up until the point that the door didn’t realise I’d taken the links out and smashed into the floor and broke all three links again – yeah, that was a great day – I hardly swore at all.

Alan, the chap who built the garage in the first place, came over. Fixed it in about five minutes, readjusted all the settings that I’d thrown out by turning the shaft around by hand, drank a beer and then left again.

I’ve since been in contact with the manufacturer of the garage doors and I’m currently trying to get my hands on some sensors that detect if there is an obstacle…if I can’t then I’m definitely going to be putting a raspberry pi in place.