The installation of the xbee + arduino powered garage door sensor was a success! This was my first time working with xbee, and I’m pretty happy about the way things came out.

The problem: because of the design of the house, it’s difficult to visually check if both garage doors are securely closed.

Although it might be a bit of overkill, this was an opportunity to figure out how to use xbee & install a sensor system.

My solution: Private twitter account that relays the status of both doors (open or closed). 

In the garage:

  • Two magnetic proximity sensors mounted at floor level on each of the garage doors. 
  • An xbee radio mounted on a spark fun regulated breakout board with one digital pin connected to each of the sensors

In the house:

  • Arduino Uno with an ethernet shield & xbee radio mounted on a spark fun breakout board.


  • The Arduino reports the status of the garage doors to a pachube feed about every minute (the code for the arduino includes a watchdog script to reset the board if it gets stuck)
  • Triggers on pachube automatically tweet when the door is opened & when it is closed.

In the future: Visual indicator of door status / push notifications instead of twitter / better handling of normal operation (short open/close for access/egress)

All in all, for my first try I think it went pretty well. The system is operating reliably. I wish that pachube made it easier to set more specific triggers. I’m not yet really familiar enough with writing/hosting the triggers or adjusting the arduino behavior to make the system wait longer before notifying that the door is open an unusually long amount of time.


Experiment 1 marketing video

Architecture that responds to real time information