Since I started building out my HomeKit home, one of the areas I haven’t touched is my garage doors. I had investigated various adaptors over the years, but I have an off-brand garage door opener that never seemed to be on the compatibility list. I recently came across a model that did work with my particular opener, so I was thrilled to be able to pick it up and get it installed. I’ve had the iSmartGate Pro garage door opener installed for the past few weeks, and I couldn’t be happier with it. If you are looking for a HomeKit garage door opener, read on to see how to it works, and how I am using it.
HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.
I’ve been living in my house for six years, so I’ve been adding HomeKit items over time as prices have come down, and products have been released. I’ve wanted to control my garage doors from HomeKit for a while, but I’ve never been willing to replace my opener with one that was compatible. All of the HomeKit garage door opener models that I came across either required changing out my opener or weren’t compatible at all.
iSmartGate has a compatibility checker that is extensive. You look up your brand and then your model, and it will give you the exact wiring diagram on how to configure it. Once I discovered that my units (we have two separate doors) were compatible, I started looking at which model I needed. I went with the Pro option with a second sensor. There are two: Pro and Lite. The Lite model works with HomeKit, but it’s not compatible with more than a single door wired sensor. It also doesn’t include an LED light or custom opening and closing music. Because I have two doors, I went with the pro model.
The first step to installing an iGate garage door opener is figuring out how it will be connected with your opener. With products like this, the installation instructions are a massive part of the initial satisfaction with the product, and iSmartGate delivered with their walkthrough.
As I’ve mentioned many times, I am not very handy, so anything to do with actual home repair/upgrades is not something I am always comfortable doing. I would advise getting everything connected to your network prior to actually pulling out the ladder connecting it to your garage door opener. I did it all on the iSmartGate app. This part is all pretty standard with most smart home products. You go through a pairing process to connect it to your Wi-Fi network (it also supports USB to ethernet if you want to go that route).
During the process, you have the opportunity to connect it to HomeKit. Again, this part is very seamless. I was sent to the Home app where I could scan the QR code on the back of the unit. You actually don’t even need to create an account with the manufacturer if you are using HomeKit. I opted to do this just for testing purposes, but I always appreciate when that is an option as that is one of the reasons I love HomeKit (privacy options).
One downside for using HomeKit only is their app is required for firmware updates in the future. I’d like to see Apple allow for firmware updates inside of the Home app in future versions of iOS.
One thing you’ll need to configure is connecting the wireless sensor to the main unit. There is a code on it which you will use to program it. This sensor allows it to know when the door is up or down.
Once it’s configured and connected to your network, you’ll be ready to do the fun part: connecting it to your opener. The instructions are superb on this part as well. You’ll need a tiny flat screw driver to complete this part. There are two ways to configure it: wiring directly to your opener or wiring to the wall push button. I didn’t have power near my wall push button, so I opted to wire directly into the opener. For your first unit, you wire in two wires into Door 1 slots. For my unit, I then wired them into slots 3 and 4 on the actual opener.
The next step is installing the sensor. We have a sectional door, but they have instructions for almost any type of door you’d have. Once that is configured (and if all done right), you can now open and close your door from the Home app or the iSmartgate app.
You’ll repeat this process if you have a second door. If you didn’t set up the second door on the first round, you can easily add it through the iSmartgate app. The only hiccup I ran into during the entire process was that the included wire wasn’t long enough for my 2nd opener. It’s standard 2 wire that can be purchased from any hardware store or on Amazon. Once I added that I got my wife’s door configured as well. I used a staple gun to keep the wire from dangling down. Once I added it to the iSmartgate app, it showed up right away in the Home app.
How I am using a HomeKit garage door opener
As I’ve mentioned before, I am all in on HomeKit. I am not buying another home product that doesn’t support it. I love the simplicity of being able to do my automations inside of a single app and link them together. One of the reasons I wanted to integrate my garage door into HomeKit is that I’m notorious for thinking I forgot to close it (I rarely do). With a HomeKit garage door opener, I can always check on it remotely since I have multiple Apple TVs set up as HomeKit hubs.
The automations I have set up are that they automatically close at 9:00 PM (if they aren’t closed already), and they automatically close when we drive away. I have my wife’s phone set up for her opener and my truck for mine. The only thing I hate about the auto close automation is that it requires me to confirm that I want to run it. The Home app says this is because it may allow entry into my home. I see that alert for opening the door, closing it is to prevent entry into my home.
Wrap-up on HomeKit garage door opener
Overall, I love having a HomeKit garage door opener. I love how easy it was to install it into my six-year-old openers. I love how I can now verify my doors are closed. I love how I can open them remotely if a friend or family member needed to borrow a tool from my garage.
From start to finish, it took me under thirty minutes to get it installed. The hardest part was stapling the wiring between the two units to the ceiling. If you want an easy way to convert your older garage door openers to HomeKit, aren’t super handy, and don’t want to spend a lot of money, check out the iSmartgate Pro garage door opener. If you have two doors, be sure to pick up a second sensor. I couldn’t be happier with this product. Since installing it, I’ve not had a single time when it failed to work or needed to be rebooted.
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