Chamberlain Dumb Garage Control

When Smart things are exceptionally Dumb

Chamberlain Dumb Garage Control
Internet of Things? Internet of Junk.

A lot of 'smart' things are pretty dumb. Some of them are useful, some helpful, and some e-waste. The Chamberlain Dumb Garage Control (model myQ-G0401-ES) is all three. However, for $20 if you can make it work and your phone is compatible with the app you may find it useful.

In case you're reading this and have no idea what this device is, it's a 'Smart' garage door sensor (to detect what position the door is in) and garage door controller (to open or close the door), controlled by an app and ecosystem called MyQ and can be attached to nearly all modern garage door openers. MyQ has a lot of other hardware (keypads, cameras, etc) in its ecosystem as well.

I am not going to get into too many details on the whole MyQ system, app, hardware, etc here; but here's the gist. When it's working it lets you raise or lower the door and it'll send you notifications when the door opens or closes. You can also see the current status of the door and how long it's been in that state. No matter what the internet says; this does not let you close the door after N minutes or hours, but it does have a simple schedule that lets you close it at a specific time of day. Doesn't mean it works, but you can set it. More on that below.

There are, however, some pretty big limitations. It used to work with Google Home and Alexa but no longer supports either ecosystem. The required app, MyQ, does not work if your Android phone does not pass Play Protect Certification (in my case; a completely stock but bootloader unlocked Pixel 6), and on a compatible device, my Pixel Tablet, I was unable to set up the Internet Gateway in the MyQ app as it would never let me pick any Wifi networks.

I tried having my tablet on either of my 2.4GHz routers, tried playing with the channel it was on, AES/TKIP, and tried a different SSID. None of these things mattered. I'm unsure where the breakdown is but I suspect incompatibility with Android 14. However, with much internet searching I pieced together a manual method to get the thing online and paired with the MyQ app.

Manually making this dumb thing work

The first thing to do is install the MyQ App from the Play Store and make sure you can register (using email, or any of the services they provide) you can log in to the app and get to a screen that lets you add devices. If the login fails every time and you don't have another device to use the MyQ app you might as well stop now. If you haven't ordered the thing, don't, and if you already did, start boxing it up. You can't use it without the app; period. When the app refused to function on my bootloader unlocked Pixel 6 I kept getting "Error 401.122. Please try again later." It is my understanding that this is the error you'll get if the app doesn't trust your device, but there's nowhere that officially documents this.

After you have verified you can use the MyQ app, go ahead and plug in the Internet Gateway and it should have a blinking blue LED. If it's not blinking, hold down the Gear button (the middle one) for a few seconds until the device beeps and then reboots and after that, the blue LED should now be blinking. I do not know if this matters for manual setup, however.

From here is a step-by-step on how to manually get the Internet Gateway online and get it paired in the MyQ app. Note that I did most of this inside the house, you don't need to be standing around in the garage, but make sure the wifi you pick for the device will work in the garage.

  • Using your phone, tablet, laptop, or whatever, look for MyQ-XXX wifi and connect to it. If your device complains that you can't reach the internet just tell it to stay connected regardless.
    • This should give your phone/tablet/laptop a 192.168.1.X IP and the IP of the Internet Gateway itself is 192.168.1.1
  • In your browser on the device you connected to the MyQ wifi, go to http://192.168.1.1
  • This should load a webpage that lets you start a wizard to pick a wifi network for the Internet Gateway to use. Pick your wifi network, enter the password, and follow the instructions.
    • Make sure to pick Wifi that will work in your Garage; ie: if you have multiple 2.4GHz networks pick the one most likely to be reliable in the garage.
  • At some point the wizard will try to go to another hostname and likely fail or give you an error because your phone/tablet/laptop/whatever can't reach that address. Don't worry about that just yet and check to see if it's online by checking to see if the blue LED has turned off and the green one is on. The green LED may blink for a few seconds as it connects but once it connects it should stay lit solidly. If the green light continues to blink means the Wifi signal is too weak.

At this point, the device is online; but is not paired to your MyQ account so you can't use it yet.

  • Launch the MyQ App
  • Click the Add button in the MyQ App
    • DO NOT pick Smart Garage Hub
  • Pick Accessory
  • Pick Internet Gateway
  • Input the MyQ serial number that's on the label on the bottom of the Internet Gateway or printed on the Quick Start Guide.

If this all works, it should now be connected to the internet and be paired with the MyQ app. The MyQ app will then walk you through all of the physical setup of the Internet Gateway, pairing and mounting door sensor, etc. If this all works, the device should function at this point.

Scheduled Closing

I wanted this thing so I could potentially close the garage remotely if it gets left open and that's a bust; so what else can it do? You can have it close the door on a schedule. You pick which days of the week and the time and it'll close the door. However, you'll want to watch to make sure it closes the door at the time you expect it to as I've seen it both close the door an hour late and the notification is an hour early. If I set it to 10 pm, it may close at 11 pm but the notification is for 9 pm. I'm not entirely sure what it's doing.

If you want the door to close automatically, set a closing time and monitor it to ensure it's closing when you expect it. It is also likely a good idea to set a second close schedule soon after to ensure it does close.

Notifications

The app does seem to be reasonably good at sending a notification when the door opens, closes, or a scheduled close is executed, however as mentioned above I'm not sure what the app is doing with timestamps as they do not appear to match local time. You can change the notifications in the app and there are options to send you an app and/or email notification for open, close, and stopped events.

I'm unclear when the Stopped notification triggers. I assume it should trigger on any or all of the following: Door sensors will not allow closing, the door encounters something and stops itself, or the door sensors are tripped during closing. However, I have not yet been able to get a Door Stopped notification from any of those, so I'm unclear under what circumstances that notification is sent. When the door fails to close in any of these situations it just sends a Door Opened notification and the app will show a message that the door has failed to respond.

I parked one of our vehicles in the garage and blocked the safety sensors, thus the door could not close as scheduled. I expected to get a notification, but the garage door remained open without warning.

On a side note; if the door does fail to close twice in a row (such as me fiddling around trying to trigger the Stopped notification) the app will show you there was a problem with the door and refuse to close it. You will need to close the door with a garage remote or control pad and then once it sees the door has closed it will clear the error condition and the app will operate again.

Well, now what?

And now if you're like me, you can only control the door or see its status from your unmodified device because you can't log in to the MyQ app. For me, this means I can't control it using my phone, only my tablet which I don't always take with me.

In summary, would I buy this again? No, the app and support are garbage. If I had the above information to begin with and just set it up manually I would have been much less frustrated than the annoying broken wizard setup in the MyQ app. And in the end; I still can't monitor the garage door when I'm away from my house as I don't take my tablet with me most of the time.

Roll your own

If you're handy with a Raspberry Pi or an ESP32 you could easily wire up a sensor to attach to the door which is connected to a Pi for sensing the door position. The Pi could also have some wiring out to the door opener on a GPIO pin which will open/close the door by shorting the contacts on the back of the door opener using a small relay to isolate and protect the Pi. You would also need some kind of system to remotely access the Pi and send it commands or see the status of the door, but if you're handy enough to wire this all up that part is likely easy.

I'll fill out more here sometime, but just wanted to make a note of the possibility of rolling your own remote door sensor and opener.