Although a smart Z-Wave garage door opener did not make the must-have category in DarwinsDen.com Must Have Home Automation Devices post, it can nevertheless be a nice addition to a well equipped automated home. I am quite pleased with the performance of Linear’s UL listed GD00Z Z-Wave Garage Door Controller. I definitely recommend this to anyone with an existing Z-Wave controller who is in the market for such a device.

Why would you want the Linear GD00Z Z-Wave Garage Door Opener?

Most garage door openers could be considered simple home automation devices to begin with, so why would you want to add this smart garage door opener?

  1. If you’re like me and have countless times driven out of your neighborhood wondering if you had left the garage door open. With this device and a corresponding Z-Wave capable controller, you can check on the status of your garage door while you are away, and close it if it is open.
  2. As an additional means of entering the home if you do not have your key or a standard garage door opener, but do have your phone. This may be one of the more common reasons to install this device, but frankly there are also convenient, low-cost numeric keypad controllers that can be mounted on an exterior wall for under $30 for most common garage door opener manufacturers, such as Chamberlain/Liftmaster ($37), Genie ($29), and Craftsman ($30).
  3. As an additional means to grant friends or trusted neighbors access into your home or garage while you are away.
  4. If you want to receive notifications when your garage door is opened or closed, or you want to receive a notification if your garage door is currently open during a certain time of day or night. For example, you might want to receive an alert or SMS Text message as a reminder if it’s after midnight and your garage door is still open.
  5. So that you can add additional smarts to your system such as voice control, or to define rules on when to automatically open or close your door. For example, your door could automatically open for you if your phone joins your network and it is around the time that you are expected to be home on a weekday evening.

Why not just add a DIY Z-Wave or Zigbee device to do this job?

The basic concept of a connected garage door opener is simple – your current garage door opener already does the heavy lift aspects, providing a simple wired contact interface and, well, the actual heavy lifting part.  It would not be a difficult DIY project to add a low-cost Z-Wave or Zigbee dry contact bridge to you current opener. You also can add a tilt sensor to the mix to detect whether the door is in the open or closed state, although you are then starting to approach the cost of the GD00Z kit.

GD00Z-2-Z-Wave-Contoller-Kit

Linear GD00Z-2 Garage Door Opener Remote Command Controller with Tilt Sensor – Kit

The gotcha with all this is Underwriters Laboratory (UL) safety standard 325, which was revised in 2009 to allow unattended operation of garage door openers. UL 325 states that in order for a residential garage door operator to be enabled for remote/unattended operation, the operator must be equipped with an audible and visual warning system. This warning system must indicate pending motion for 5 seconds before the door starts moving. So while you could add your own DIY device, if you do not also include the audible and visual warning system at even more cost and complexity, it will not meet US federal or UL safety standards. You may be opening the door (ok, pun intended) for liability issues in the event of damage or injury.

Overview

-1 Lowes Iris Manual from Lowes (local back-up)
-2 ADT Manual from ADT (local back-up)
-3 Nexia Manual from Nexia (local back-up)
-4 Nortek / GoControl Manual from Nortek (local back-up )

On the surface, Nortek/Linear’s line of Garage Door Opener Remote Command Controllers are all identical, with only markings and installation instructions that have been tailored to specific Z-Wave controllers. I’ve heard rumblings though that there may be incompatibility issues when using some models with other Z-Wave systems. I’m not sure if there are proprietary tweaks to some of these models, or if it’s just a question of some Z-Wave controllers requiring more up-to-date firmware than others, or if ADT or others are artificially restricting other devices.

Aside from potential restrictions when using ADT or possibly also Lowes Iris, I am not aware of any restrictions on which device model to use with other Z-Wave capable controllers. If anyone happens to have more information on this, I would appreciate it if you could drop me a note or add a comment here.

After unpacking, my first impression of the GD00Z is that is is very well thought-out, designed, and executed. The kit includes the following:

  1. Garage Door Controller: This is the Z-Wave “brains” component of the system, complete with status indicator and warning light, include button, wires for connection directly to the garage door opener terminals, mounting bracket, and mounting screws.
  2. Garage Door Controller low-voltage AC/DC plug-in power adapter and retaining bracket (since the most common set-up for the power supply will be to hang it upside down from the garage ceiling using the same power outlet as the garage door opener).
  3. Tilt Sensor (345 MHz), CR2032 coin cell battery, mounting screws, and mounting tape.
Linear-GD00Z-2-Z-Wave-Garage-Door-Opener-Tilt-Sensor-1

The Linear Z-Wave Garage Door Opener 445 MHz Tilt Sensor

The GD00Z requires a Z-Wave controller that supports encryption, and utilizes the relatively new Z-Wave Barrier Operator command class (0x66). For those interested, Pepper1 has detailed GD00Z-X device and command class information.

I’ve obtained and am reviewing the GD00Z-2 – ADT model since this happened to have the best overall price on Amazon at the time.

The Garage door controller is a relatively large device (approximately 7″x5″x2″) and is intended to mount near the garage opener, ideally utilizing the same outlet powering the opener. This is the only Z-Wave enabled component of the system. As with all compliant non-battery-powered Z-Wave devices, the controller will act as a repeater node on your Z-Wave mesh network. This can be very handy if you have other Z-Wave devices in or near your garage, since the controller will likely be installed on your garage door ceiling and should have a decent signal to your other Z-Wave devices.

The tilt sensor is not a stand-alone Z-Wave device, but is instead a 345 MHz device that communicates directly and only with the Garage Door controller. The tilt sensor relays whether the door is in the open (horizontal) state or closed (vertical) state.

Pairing the Controller

Linear-GD00Z-Z-Wave-Garage-Door-Tilt-Sensor-Installed-1024x683

The tilt sensor is installed near the top of the door

The manual states that the controller should be paired before installing, and although it states to press and hold the GD00Z include button for 1 second during pairing, I found that my sense of 1 second would not trigger the pairing operation, but a quick momentary press of the include button did trigger pairing.

After pairing, I tried simulating the door operation by tilting the tilt sensor after triggering the door command, and could not get the unit to respond to commands. After actually and finally reading the full instructions, I saw that Linear recommends first doing a factory reset before pairing by pressing the include button 5 times.  The manual also has the step to add the battery to the tilt sensor and install on the door before the pairing step. After a factory reset and installation of the tilt sensor battery, I removed and re-paired the opener with my Z-Wave controller while holding the tilt sensor in the vertical position and ensuring that the back of the tilt sensor is attached. I do not know if either of these actions were what resolved the issue or if I had some other issue during initial pairing, but everything worked well after that in my simulated testing.

Pairing the Tilt Sensor

Each 345 MHz tilt sensor is uniquely paired with the Linear Z-Wave controlling unit at the factory, so there should be no issues if your garage has more than one door and you intend to use multiple units. Performing a factory reset on the controller does not reset the tilt sensor pairing, so for most installations, you should not need to pair the tilt sensor with the GD00z controller. If you do need to re-pair the tilt sensor in case you are having communication issues with the sensor or have received a replacement unit, hold the button on the controller for several seconds until it beeps, and then change the orientation of the tilt sensor, and the controller will beep again to confirm.

Installation

Linear GD00Z-2 Z-Wave Garage Door Tilt Sensor Installed

Linear GD00Z-2 Z-Wave Garage Door Opener Remote Command Controller Installed

Installation of the kit on my garage door took about 1/2 hour. The optional bracket to that allows mounting of the GD00Z to the existing opener mount is a nice touch and helped to make the process quite simple.

Once installed, everything worked as advertised. When the garage door is commanded by the Z-Wave controller to open or close, its strobe light flashes and beeper will sound for five seconds before the door is activated per UL 325. The controller then changes its state to “opening” or “closing”. The controller continuously monitors and reports the status of the tilt sensor as “open’ or “closed” regardless of whether the garage door was commanded by the Z-Wave controller or the standard garage door controls.

Compatibility and Issues

The GD00Z works with the vast majority of sectional garage door openers. A short, but not an exhaustive list of incompatible garage door openers that use proprietary open/close communication mechanisms can be found on the Nortek Control website (local copy here).

While this controller does work with most garage door openers, it does have compatibility issues with some smart wall mount controls that have time, temperature and motion-sensing capabilities. Replacing the wall switch with a simpler switch that has only open/close and light control functions will resolve the issue.

Conclusions

Visit the DarwinsDen.com reference pages for an overview of which controller hubs and devices may be best for your specific system needs:

The Linear/Nortek GD00Z Z-Wave garage door opener is compatible with many popular Z-Wave controllers including SmartThings, Nexia, Lowes Iris, HomeSeer, Universal Devices, Staples Connect, Wink, Vera Edge, and Almond+.

I’ve been using our Samsung SmartThings Hub (see the DarwinsDen.com review here) to allow opening and closing our garage from our phones and Apple Watch – and things have been working reliably now for several months. Both my phone and watch let me know whenever the door has been opened or closed, and I also configured the SmartThings Hub to send a text message if it detects that the door has been left open after 11pm at night.

Opinions on how much, if any automation control should be allowed for garage door openers can vary greatly.  Some enthusiasts prefer to fully automate door opening operations based on presence detection, while others view remote door controls as a security backup, and require a second relay switch to be engaged before an open or close command will be accepted. Primarily out of concern for security, I have not yet dared to set up more automated opening and closing functions based on the presence of our cars or smartphones – although it’s straightforward to do. If I do set up more automated rules in the future, I would likely place presence sensors in the car glove boxes instead of using our phones as presence indicators, since my wife and I are frequently out on runs and walks with our phones. For additional security restrictions, I would also likely limit the automation to specific and expected times of day for departure and arrival.

GD00Z-2 Z-Wave
Garage Door Opener

by Linear
Price: $95

While there are other options such as the Chamberlain MyQ and Garageio that don’t require a separate Home Automation controller, Linear’s offering provides a generally lower cost, reliable option that is easily integrated into existing home automation systems.

The added advantage of the GD00Z is that it offers better compatibility with most home automation controllers, which you can then leverage to link user defined rules, alerts, voice commands, scenes, and potentially even integrate IFTTT recipes. Last but not least, with the GD00Z, you are able to utilize your existing home automation controller software and do not need to install yet another application on your mobile devices.

Reference these DarwinsDen.com Feature Comparison Tables: