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Author Topic: Drive over switch?  (Read 82132 times)

steven r

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Drive over switch?
« on: March 30, 2006, 02:54:56 PM »

Does X10 or anyone else make a drive over switch? Ideally the switch would require enough pressure to only be triggered by the car.
I'd like to create welcome & exit macros when I drive in my garage.
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Drive over switch?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2006, 05:39:59 PM »

My suspicion is no, since such a switch would require the driveway to be dug up, the switch installed (by an electrician, since the switch would be akin to the old traffic light treadles and be able to withstand weather plus up to several tons of weight in the auto world). X10 equipment is pretty well light weight.
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X10 Pro

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Re: Drive over switch?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2006, 07:39:13 PM »

X10 has never made a drive over switch. I seem to recall someone making a magnetic loop sensor that produced X10, or that could be used as input on a Powerflash module to do that.
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steven r

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Re: Drive over switch?
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2006, 09:11:13 PM »

This is the type of switch I want.

http://www.tapeswitch.co.uk/Product_News/PR_0604.htm

I'd like to find a US source, however.

I have all the other hardware I need and have tested my Exit & Welcome macros.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2006, 09:18:00 PM by steven r »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Drive over switch?
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2006, 03:49:15 PM »

Smarthome (bottom of page) has some options for detection only to be triggered by the car, but not like your link!
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steven r

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Re: Drive over switch?
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2006, 11:25:23 PM »

Smarthome (bottom of page) has some options for detection only to be triggered by the car...
Yeah. In addition to being expensive, an inductance coil approach just wouldn't work for my application. I currently have a push button switch hanging from the ceiling of my garage as a test. (It really looks tacky.) I want to place the tape / ribbon switch so that I drive over it creating a momentary on. This will start things in motion. When I drive in it will trigger my welcome macro and when I drive out it will trigger the exit macro. My welcome macro turns on a key indoor light for me, triggers the hot water cycling pump to circulate warm the water to the end of the house and later turns off the garage light. My exit macro shuts down the lights, turns off the coffee pot and closes the garage door a minute after I exit.
I hope I don't have to order the switch from England. They don't bother to quote a price and that scares me a bit too.
The great part is that the macros are working!
Well I do have one bug and that is that one light at the end of the house keeps coming on with the welcome macro in spite of no command in the macro for that switch. Also the activity monitor shows no signal is being sent for the switch code. Maybe the switch is acting weird. I think I'll try changing the code for the next room to the same code as my mystery wall switch and see if it comes on. I think I'll be more surprised if it comes on than if it doesn't. Sounds like a project for tomorrow.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2006, 11:27:50 PM by steven r »
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roger1818

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Re: Drive over switch?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2006, 11:50:27 AM »

Smarthome also has a couple Parking Accessories for $25.  You might be able to modify one of them to connect to a PowerFlash and get it to do what you want.
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steven r

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Re: Drive over switch?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2006, 12:30:26 PM »

Smarthome also has a couple Parking Accessories for $25.  You might be able to modify one of them to connect to a PowerFlash and get it to do what you want.
I thought of that but thanks! The Garage Parking Wizard has the best possibilities, except for false triggers. I have a similar device already. It's great for parking but it also triggers when I walk by it. This is ok for a parking sensor but would wreck havoc for my application as I'll be using the same sensor for coming and going. A false trigger could have my lights being left on as I drive out or all the lights turning off after I enter the house.

A strategical placed strip, however, would only trigger with pressure. In addition it would be unaccessible when the car was over it and someone one would have to jump on it to trigger it when I wasn't there. Since I live alone, the chances of false triggers would almost be nil.  ;)
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SkipWill

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Re: Drive over switch?
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2006, 05:28:27 PM »

Steven,

Radio Shack used to sell mercury switches. When tilted just a little, the mercury would slide down a glass tube and short two contacts. 

One way..... hing a dowel with a tennis ball at the end from your garage ceiling with the mercury switch epoxyed to a cross member attached to the dowel.  The dowel hangs over the windshield of the car, and when the car is in place the dowel is moved, causing the mercury switch to close.  The mercury switch would connect to a powerflash module to trigger an on command when parked and an off command when leaving....

All kinds of interesting ways to solve the problem....

Then there are magnetic switches that are activated by a magnet approaching....<g>

Skip
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steven r

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Re: Drive over switch?
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2006, 12:44:57 PM »

Still looking...

I had a company in England quote me a price for one that was about 30 ft long. With shipping it would of cost over $200.
I only need a 3ft long switch. There's got to be some place to find it in the US. Even with the power of the internet, I haven't found one yet.

When I started this search, I thought I would find a switch for say around $20. Now it's looking more like $100. That's just more than it's worth to me.

It's got me wondering if I could make one myself cheaper.  ;)

Anyone know of a closed car wash place that I could "borrow" their drive over strip? Just kidding. Let's keep it legal.
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roger1818

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Re: Drive over switch?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2006, 01:00:27 PM »

I found an article about building a Smart Car Sensor which might help.  He is putting a wireless transmitter in the car and has the receiver in his garage.  I don't know if it will work for you, but I thought you might find it interesting.
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steven r

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Re: Drive over switch?
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2006, 01:07:36 PM »

Best price so far is a 2 foot one from a car wash supply company for $99. Still more than I wanted to pay.  :(
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roger1818

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Re: Drive over switch?
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2006, 01:51:23 PM »

Could you make your own with a short piece of garden hose, a cork, a balloon and a push button?  Plug one end of the garden hose with a cork (making sure you have an airtight seal) and stretch the balloon over the other end (you might want to put a zip-tie close to the end  to hold it on).  You then somehow attach the push button so that it is touching the balloon.  When you drive over the hose, it should cause the balloon to bulge and push the button. 

Just an idea.  I haven't tried it, and you would have to figure out the details (like how to attach the push button) but it might work.
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steven r

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Re: Drive over switch?
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2006, 01:57:51 PM »

Could you make your own with a short piece of garden hose, a cork, a balloon and a push button?...
Hmm... That's what I like. Some good "out of the box thinking". With a sensitive enough switch, it just might work even without the balloon!
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Drive over switch?
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2006, 04:52:21 PM »

Try it, and let us know how well it works and what you used to construct it.
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