GoControl Z-Wave Garage Door Controller: Easy to install and works well

For the longest time, I’ve held off on adding a garage door controller to my smart home. My last home had three bays so the cost would have been a bit much. And even for the single-car garage we have now in our current home, I figured to spend $ 130 or more. So when I found a Z-Wave GoControl Garage Door Controller in the Amazon Warehouse for $ 65, I jumped on it and placed the order.

Unlike some other garage door controllers, the GoControl unit — model GD00Z-4 — works with nearly any garage door opener, which was the most appealing aspect. Our townhome has an old Genie door opener, and I couldn’t tell you how old it is, although I suspect it’s as old as the house, which was built in 2000. The fact that the GoControl device uses Z-Wave was also part of my decision since I needed something that works with my Wink Hub 2. Note, this unit should also work with Samsung’s SmartThings hub as well.

There’s not much to the actual product. One part contains the radio components you connect to your current garage door opener while the other is a small tilt sensor with a replaceable coin cell battery.

I recommend first pairing the GoControl with your smart home hub inside the house near your hub: It’s typically easier to pair a Z-Wave device in close range. That’s easy to do with this device by plugging it into an outlet and following the simple pairing process in your hub app. My Wink app found the GoControl right away with this method. Then I simply unplugged the GoControl and headed to the garage.

Installation took me about 20 minutes because there are only a few steps. First, I used a 3M velcro Command Strip to attach the tilt sensor to the upper right of my garage door. I opted not to use the included double-sided tape or screws to mount this because my garage door is also old and we’ll likely replace it in the near future.

Next, I climbed up a ladder to reach the garage door opener. The GoControl device gets mounted up here with an included bracket. I plugged the controller into the open electrical outlet above my garage door opening.

Lastly, I connected the two wires from the GoControl to my Genie door opener. There were four possible terminals to connect and just two wires, but here’s an easy tip if you run into the same situation. Since the controller replicates the button press of a wired garage door opener, simply trace the wires from that button to the opener. You’ll attach the GoControl wires to those same terminals.

Once I had everything connected, the Wink app asked me to manually press the garage door opener button to open and close the door. After that, I was set!

So how does it work? Pretty well for basic opening and closing in my Wink app. The icon shows a little garage with the door open or closed so you can visually see the door state. There is about a 5 – 7 second delay between the open/close command on my phone and the actual action on the door. And GoControl says that once you send a remote command, you can’t send another for 30 seconds due to safety concerns, so don’t expect to open and close the garage as quickly as you might do the same for a connected door lock.

I haven’t implemented many advance features yet, such as geofencing support for automatic door closing when I leave home or turning lights on if I drive home at night. However, I took Stacey’s great idea that she uses and I implemented that: A Wink Robot that sends me a notification if the garage door is open for a set length of time. If I do forget to close the door, for example, and drive away, I’ll get a reminder to close it, which I can do from my phone.

One other quick note: Digital assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant don’t recognize the GoControl device. So there’s no current native method to say, “Alexa, open the garage door” and have that happen. However, one of our IoT Podcast listeners reached out via email to say it can be done with Stringify (thanks, Mike!) so I’ll likely be implementing that: It’s quicker to do than opening up an app to open or close the garage door.

Between finding a warehouse deal on the GoControl and the simplicity of installing it, I’m thrilled with the product. I don’t have a MyQ or other garage door controller to compare this to, but for my smart home needs, it’s a perfect match.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

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