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I’ve been looking to start another Arduino project for some time, but I have been waiting for a ‘real’ problem to tackle before I began…. and then the outdoor keypad for our garage door opener died. Yippeeeee! This is the ‘real’ problem I was looking for. Unless I have my car keys with me to open up the car and to click the opener in my car, I have no way to get into my garage when I’m out for a bike ride or walking my boys to and from school. Two of my boys are still in a stroller, and since this is the rainy season, the time to act is now. This is a problem that I needed to solve. Arduino to the rescue!
I finished a similar project about a year ago, where I used an Arduino with an Ethernet Shield to create a web enabled failover switch for some of the phone circuits in our datacenter. I used a very similar setup here. This time however, I wrote the interface using JSON so that I could build an iPhone app to control the garage door and several of the lights in and around my garage. The iPhone App is still a work in progress, but the system itself is online; only the UI is still rough around the edges.
Now, I have all my front yard lights controlled by a cron job on one of my Linux servers. And I can open my garage using any web browser, mobile phone, or even my Kindle. All costs considered, I probably paid three times what it would have cost to just replace the dead keypad. But that’s not how I roll. I was able to add new functionality, and enjoy a few cold evenings soldering relays in my garage! I <3 Arduino and the Maker movement!