How to turn on lights with a garage door opener.

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Scavenger, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. Scavenger

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 5, 2005
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    I'm very new to electronics, so don't assume I know anything. My driveway is immediately off the highway. I was wondering if I could build a circuit that would allow me to turn on some LED lights near the highway to make it easier to see where the driveway is at night. My wife is not happy with the current reflector setup, so I was wondering if I could leverage the garage door opener to activate a timer that would energize a string of LED lights. I'm thinking a 12V battery with a solar charger for power ( I have no access to 120V power at the highway). Would a garage door remote have adequate range to allow me to activate the lights 500 ft down the road? If not, what else could I use? My house is 1.5 miles down my driveway so activating the lights won't also activate the garage. Thanks.

    Scavenger
     
  2. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    Why not just use normal solar powered LED yard and garden lights that come on on their own at dark to mark the driveway? o_O:rolleyes:
     
  3. Scavenger

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 5, 2005
    12
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    Certainly an option. I don't know if the highway dept would allow lights that are on all the time to be that close to the road. That said, they might not allow my option either. :) I was thinking that the LED's would line the first part of my driveway. I should try what you mentioned to see if it's adequate. That said, I'd still be interested in knowing how I could achieve having an RF signal turn on a switch (or my education if nothing else. :D).
     
  4. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    Around her you can pretty much put whatever you want on the edge of your property line and a lot of people stick those little yard lamps on top of their mailboxes or driveway reflective markers.

    They are bright enough to mark what you want to see but not so bright as to be a distraction to anyone driving by.

    Unfortunately as the garage door thgn goes I have doubts. Those are almost all coded RF signal that are by design not all that easy to pick up and use for anything else but the intended garage door opener they are programmed to.

    Now as for a dedicated remote I would first suggest looking at the off the shelf 433 Mhz and like remote control system devices to control the lights. That's about the most user-friendly basic remote control systems for a beginner to work with.

    Most of the transmitter and receiver components are plug and play. Simply supply the necessary power to the receiver unit and use its output or outputs to do what you want from there. ;)
     
  5. RichardO

    Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2013
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    Does the garage door opener turn on a light in the garage? If so, maybe a transmitter could be activated by that light coming on...
     
  6. Scavenger

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 5, 2005
    12
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    tcmtech.

    Any idea what the range is on the 433MHz remote?

    RichardO

    The garage is 1.5 miles from where I want the lights.

    Thanks everyone. :)
     
  7. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    Impossible to say. Anywhere from a few tens of feet to well over a mile depending on the unit.

    Ther are bare minimum units lke this two channel set that are little more than just two circuit boards which typically have a range of up to a few hundred feet.
    http://www.seeedstudio.com/wiki/index.php?title=315Mhz_remote_relay_switch_kits_-_2_channels

    Or there are the more powerful transmitters like this that have ranges up to near 2 miles.
    http://www.suntekstore.com/goods.php?id=14006800&utm_source=gbus&utm_medium=paid

    Really its up to you to do the digging to find the right combination of transmitter and receiver units you want to go with. 433 MHz is just one of a dozen or so frequency ranges they work on. ;)

    "Long range wireless remote control" is the search phrase that should pull up an overwhelming load of stuff for you to dig through. :cool:
     
  8. Tonyr1084

    Active Member

    Sep 24, 2015
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    What about your cell phone? Have you checked to see if there's an ap that can turn lights on for you? I know the receiver would have to be connected to the cell phone service. IN THEORY you can turn your driveway lights on from around the world. Not sure if it's wise to be manipulating a cell phone while driving though.

    The range of GDO transmitters aren't likely going to be that strong to give you time to light up the lights and see them until you're practically upon them. I think the best option is Solar LED's But if there's trees and potential snow (from plows) then lights become a difficult option.
     
  9. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
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    If your garage opener doesn't have enough range, you can try using a scavenged satellite receiver dish or a Yagi antenna made for 455Mhz, at your receiver.
     
  10. Scavenger

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 5, 2005
    12
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    All good input. Thanks again. :)

    The long range transmitter that tcmtech posted seems like the way to go. Priced at $10.26 it doesn't break the bank.
     
  11. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Put a very substantial mailbox post next to your driveway.

    Use some fiberglass marker rods from Home Depot/Lowes and add some 3M retro reflective tape to them. This tape is about 100x brighter than any plastic reflector you can buy.
     
  12. RichardO

    Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2013
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    It depends on the type of retro-reflective tape as to how much brighter it will be. The brighter tapes will have a smaller "viewing angle".

    There are basically three types of tape. The cheapest is crushed quartz -- or something like that. The next best is glass beads. The best and of course the most expensive is made by embedding corner reflectors into the tape.

    I believe that traffic signs typically use glass beads to make them shiny. If you have ever seen snow frozen to a white sign you may have noticed that the sign is _much_ brighter than the snow. :D The snow actually looks gray in contrast to the sign.


    edit: I forgot to mention that you should always take a flashlight with you when shopping for retro-reflective tape. You hold the flashlight at the side of your head while viewing the dfifferent tapes.
     
  13. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    I was referencing the current 3M technology. Your comments are no longer true. 3M has at least two more technologies. Also, a car approaching a driveway will see a very narrow angle. If you cannot find a 3M scotchlite product, get the brightest one you can.

    http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/ScotchliteNA/Scotchlite/Products/~?N=4621

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