Author Topic: Way to make garage door opener operate lighting circuit.  (Read 328 times)

BudgetSlasher

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Way to make garage door opener operate lighting circuit.
« on: November 30, 2018, 05:09:52 PM »
I have 2 garage door openers and one lighting circuit operated by two 3-way switches (all wiring is easily reached). This time of the year the lights in the garage door openers are not enough, nor do they always stay on long enough.

What I would like to do is have the garage door openers either operate the circuit like an additional light switch or alternatively operate as a timer turning the lights on for a period of time longer than the built in bulb. The question is how and is there a ready made product for this (for example a relay toggled 3 or 4 way switch).

I am open to other suggestions of how to improve the light and safety in the garage during these dark days. I have ready access to a sub-panel with available space as well as the circuit suppling the garage door openers, so I could also create a second lighting circuit in the garage dedicate to the garage doors.

SweatingInAZ

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Re: Way to make garage door opener operate lighting circuit.
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2018, 06:23:15 PM »
I really like having motion-sensing lights in my garage and laundry room. Mine are just bulbs with motion sensing built in, but you can also get switches.

With motion-sensing, they will turn on when your car pulls in, or if you step out there to get a screwdriver or something. The bulbs provide enough light to walk out there safely, but not nearly enough to work on stuff in the garage. I have shop lights on a switch for when I need more light.

pecunia

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Re: Way to make garage door opener operate lighting circuit.
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2018, 07:16:55 PM »
Check what kind of garage door opener you have.  A very quick search found a liftmaster aux relay board.

https://www.devancocanada.com/product/AUXCARD

Depending on the ampacity rating of the board, this may be able to switch on another light.  LED lights are low wattage (low current) and could perhaps be switched directly by a manufacturer's aux relay board to give you more light.

Alternately, replace the light in your garage opener with a brighter LED lamp.  You may need to modify the housing.

lthenderson

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Re: Way to make garage door opener operate lighting circuit.
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2018, 03:00:13 PM »
I'm not quite clear on what you are trying to achieve. Are you just wanting more lighting when you pull your vehicle into the garage and walk inside or are you wanting task lighting?  My garage door opener comes with a light switch on the wall mounted open/close switch so you can turn the light on and it will stay on until you press the button again or open/close the door. If you don't have that feature available, perhaps you can upgrade. As for additional task lighting, I just run those off a separate switch so I don't have to worry about messing with the garage door to keep them on. Like others said, if you just don't want to walk to the switch to control them, motion detection lights are plentiful and reasonably priced these days.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Way to make garage door opener operate lighting circuit.
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2018, 03:12:43 PM »
I'm not quite clear on what you are trying to achieve. Are you just wanting more lighting when you pull your vehicle into the garage and walk inside or are you wanting task lighting?


I'm looking for more light and in additional locations that will come on when the doors are opened by a car.

The garage has ~10 foot ceilings and the garage door openers have lights on one side. To have matters worse there is a beam near the openers that blocks a fair about of light. Even with brighter LED bulbs in the housings the areas of the garage that are dimly lit are where you have to walk to get in and include stairs and seems to be where people like to leave things lying around (or missed when throwing something into the recycling).

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My garage door opener comes with a light switch on the wall mounted open/close switch so you can turn the light on and it will stay on until you press the button again or open/close the door. If you don't have that feature available, perhaps you can upgrade.

I do not have that feature on my openers, but I do have an existing switched lighting circuit consisting of 5 utility light fixtures and LED bulbs which provide more light than the garage door openers. Presuming of course that you are not

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As for additional task lighting, I just run those off a separate switch so I don't have to worry about messing with the garage door to keep them on.

I was kind of hoping that I could use some sort of relay to act as a 3rd switch on the "task lighting" circuit and toggle them on when a car entered the garage.

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Like others said, if you just don't want to walk to the switch to control them, motion detection lights are plentiful and reasonably priced these days.

I'll look into that. In the garage it may be ok, but I have not had good luck with motion sensor lights outdoors in the winter (they turn on randomly).


SnackDog

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Re: Way to make garage door opener operate lighting circuit.
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2018, 05:36:33 PM »
I recommend a Lutron Maestro with an occupancy sensor. I will come on when anyone enters the garage and you can set it to go off after 1, 5, 30 minutes, etc or stay on as long as there is motion (eg. occupancy sensor).  It replaces your wall switch for the overhead light so the location of that switch needs to be where it can see motion in the garage, like the door opening.  You said you have a 3-way switch so you will need to choose which location for the motion sensor - can only  be one not both.

Also, if you ever replace the garage door opener you can get a Chamberlain which has a programmable light on duration as well as other Smart tech.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Way to make garage door opener operate lighting circuit.
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2018, 09:18:23 AM »
I recommend a Lutron Maestro with an occupancy sensor. I will come on when anyone enters the garage and you can set it to go off after 1, 5, 30 minutes, etc or stay on as long as there is motion (eg. occupancy sensor).  It replaces your wall switch for the overhead light so the location of that switch needs to be where it can see motion in the garage, like the door opening.  You said you have a 3-way switch so you will need to choose which location for the motion sensor - can only  be one not both.

Also, if you ever replace the garage door opener you can get a Chamberlain which has a programmable light on duration as well as other Smart tech.

I'll look into the switch placement. One is inside the house and the other might not be able to see the second garage door area (blocked by the other car). Making the circuit 2 x 3-way and 1 x 4 way switch would not be hard. Hopefully it isn't so sensitive as to trigger with the mice.

I find it unlikely that I will ever be in the market to upgrade the openers. The parts for the 25+ year old openers are just too darn cheap bother. 

lthenderson

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Re: Way to make garage door opener operate lighting circuit.
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2018, 09:36:26 AM »
I was kind of hoping that I could use some sort of relay to act as a 3rd switch on the "task lighting" circuit and toggle them on when a car entered the garage.

I have tied parking lasers to the safety beam at the bottom of the door before. When that beam is broken via car or someone walking through the beam, the lasers blink for several minutes (default time in garage opener programming) allowing cars to be parked precisely to maximize the amount of room in front of them. However, these were engineered with the relays built in to work with my particular garage door opener. If you have the know-how, I'm sure one could do that to energize a lighting circuit the same way. You would need to know what kind of signal your garage door opener puts out to turn on the light so that you could size a relay.

pecunia

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Re: Way to make garage door opener operate lighting circuit.
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2018, 05:53:27 PM »
Some Assembly required:

It should be pretty easy to replace the existing light with an Edison socket screwed in place of the garage door opener bulb.  Wire this to a 120v contactor.  The contacts from the contactor would then be used to switch on lights.

This may help.

https://www.wikihow.com/Wire-a-Contactor

To get the switched 120 VAC from your garage door light:

https://www.amazon.com/slp/light-socket-to-plug-adapter/gmtayufhb75x6de

Buy an extension cord, cut the non plug end off, wire to an in-line fuse and then to the coil of the contactor.

Lamps that are plugged into outlets in your garage may then be switched on by the contactor.  I would mount the contactor in a metal box and mount overhead near the garage door opener.  In fact you could put switched outlets in the box to plug in the lamps.

Most people do not like do it yourself projects, but sometimes they are the ideal solution or at least they work. 

Will it be UL listed, no.  Will it meet the NEC, maybe.