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Useful technology for older people who like toys too.


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Okay, I admit it, I'm a tech junkie, I like useful gadgets, but some technologies are NOT QUITE THERE YET for me to pull the trigger on.  However, one gadget, <<THIS_ONE>> seems like it might be getting close.  I don't have an Alexa, but if this thing works with it by voice command after setting the presets on ones smartphone, and it does both tasks in one unit, well it may be worth the price in a year or two.  I mean as we get older we have an excuse for something like this right?  Besides being useful around the house, it's a little like a toy too.  😊

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I'm a techie myself.  I have a smart vacuum cleaner myself and it is cool just telling Google Assistant to tell it to start cleaning or to go back to its base (though it is smart enough to do that on its own). I have smart speaker all around the house, which I love not only because I can ask whatever in any room but also because I can play music/podcasts/etc through the entire house.  I have smart light bulbs and smart plugs as well that can be commanded with Assistant or that can have automatic turn on/off cycles the way I want.  I have a smart A/C controller and my garage door is also smart-enabled, though not "smart enough" yet.  At lest it will let me know if I left it open and I can close it from anywhere. 

🖖 Going to the final frontier, gaming...

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1 hour ago, TrekMD said:

and my garage door is also smart-enabled, though not "smart enough" yet.  At lest it will let me know if I left it open and I can close it from anywhere. 

I've got MyQ on my Chamberlain opener as well. Although I opted to NOT install the outer remove keypad. We also do NOT have a handle on the doors inside or outside so the opener is the only way to easily open the door. My wife keeps a remote in her car to open/close it, but she also keeps her SUV in the garage. My car stays out so I only use the phone app to open/close the door. I have mine set to auto close after 3min of being left on and the sensor not being tripped. That way if I or my wife should forget to close it, it will close on its own. But that is the extent of any smart devices I have in the house. I'm a huge techie, but I'm not that keen on so many devices being tapped into the web either. 

I've thought about getting a roomba or something like that but we have two floors in my house and I would need one for each floor and... the entire bottom level is hardwood laminate and I think a roomba would have issues between that to the sudden runners and the like that are near shag on their fabric.

 

See what I'm up to over at the Ivory Tower Collections: http://www.youtube.com/ivorytowercollections

 

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2 hours ago, TrekMD said:

At lest it will let me know if I left it open and I can close it from anywhere. 

I need to get one of these types of garage door opener.  I'm always afraid of leaving it open (or closing it and then having something cause it to re-open, like sunlight on a sensor or something dumb like that). 

 

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14 minutes ago, RickR said:

I need to get one of these types of garage door opener.  I'm always afraid of leaving it open (or closing it and then having something cause it to re-open, like sunlight on a sensor or something dumb like that). 

 

Well in the case of my opener it was when MyQ was first being rolled out. So it came built in with the wireless comms to the transmitter base. That base is in my computer room wired to the network. So the cloud app talks to the Base on my network to give me the status of the door and sends alerts etc. It has been really nice accept for times when the cloud is down and I needed to use the app or sometimes the new app updates will sign me out of the app and I have to try and remember my login/pass to get back into it LOL!

But yes I have the ability to open/close it from the app on my phone at any time. I have alerts setup so if the door is opened outside of times when I know my wife and I aren't home I will know about it. Naturally I can do other stuff like set it up with Amazon Key and stuff, but I'm NOT doing that either. 

The app is the best thing I think because in the past I was always leary of leaving the remote in the cars that were parked outside as I've seen plenty of houses get broke into at night because thieves see the remote attached to the visor or whatever. Break in the car window and use the remote to open the garage and now they usually have access to your house or at least anything in the garage at that point. 

This is critical in the security of my house since my wife and I pretty much enter and leave through the overhead garage door and rarely use the actual front or side door entrances to the house. Although I do keep my set of keys on me anytime I'm aware from the house in case the app gives me issues or I'm unable to open the garage for some reason to enter.

 

Edited by CrossBow

See what I'm up to over at the Ivory Tower Collections: http://www.youtube.com/ivorytowercollections

 

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2 hours ago, RickR said:

I absolutely need one of those just for peace of mind.  The issue is we have a perfectly fine opener now, albeit with no such bells or whistles. 

 

I believe Chamberlain sells the module's separately and they can be used on existing openers without such tech built into them. Not sure exactly how it works, but I would imagine it is a simple remote relay that is put in the middle between the opening and your actual wall open/close switch on the wall and then the transmitter talks to the remote relay to open and close the door that way?

My main issue now is that I've had to readjust my opener about 3 times now because I have a very heavy garage door and it seems that even a 4hp opener has issues with it. I actually miss the 20+ year old Sears Craftsman opener the house came with. But the motor eventually didn't have the omph to open the door anymore and we had to replace it out with the best we could buy that we have now.

https://www.chamberlain.com/myq-smart-garage-hub/p/MYQ-G0301-E

 

See what I'm up to over at the Ivory Tower Collections: http://www.youtube.com/ivorytowercollections

 

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9 minutes ago, CrossBow said:

I believe Chamberlain sells the module's separately and they can be used on existing openers without such tech built into them. Not sure exactly how it works, but I would imagine it is a simple remote relay that is put in the middle between the opening and your actual wall open/close switch on the wall and then the transmitter talks to the remote relay to open and close the door that way?

My main issue now is that I've had to readjust my opener about 3 times now because I have a very heavy garage door and it seems that even a 4hp opener has issues with it. I actually miss the 20+ year old Sears Craftsman opener the house came with. But the motor eventually didn't have the omph to open the door anymore and we had to replace it out with the best we could buy that we have now.

https://www.chamberlain.com/myq-smart-garage-hub/p/MYQ-G0301-E

 

$40!  You just gave me a wonderful holiday gift.  Thank you.  I'm going to get one of these. 

Our current opener is a "Chamberlain/Lift Master" brand and it was replaced in 2007.  I also see notes that the springs on the door were replaced in 2004.  Yes, we've been here a while.  We also have a smaller/single door that still has the original-to-the-house opener.  It doesn't sound so hot, but it still works. 

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Mine was a much simpler setup. The main opener has a wireless antenna hanging off it and was already tied to the transmitter base it came with. So it isn't wi-fi in my case. The transmitter base plugs into my home network switch and that communicates through the internet that way. The transmitter talks to the opener via some encrypted radio. My guess is that it is just a remote button like what you use in your car. So again a much simpler setup but I knew they had modules for other openers you could use.

 

See what I'm up to over at the Ivory Tower Collections: http://www.youtube.com/ivorytowercollections

 

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5 hours ago, - Ω - said:

I love how this thread morphed into something I've never heard of before.  That IS a cool gadget for the garage.  So, any other toys... uh, I mean useful items? 😉

Well, this is another thing that is probably old news to many, but has really helped an old chap like me.  Maybe someone else would like the recommendation.

It's our home alarm.  Our house came with a hard-wired system built in.  It was expensive to get a contract for, impossible to expand, had a giant lead-acid battery in one of our closets, and also we had a ton of false alarms not even caused by user error (example:  if the power went out when the alarm was on...it would almost always trigger once the power came back). 

In 2018, I disassembled that thing and replaced it with a "Simplisafe" system.  It's much different in design.  It's all wireless, and you buy the base station and keypad and then whatever sensors you want.  It can be expanded at any time by just buying additional sensors.  It has a phone app that lets you arm/disarm while away from home or just check status.  Best of all, it's much less expensive.  $15 per month.  I've spend probably $200 in total on the hardware itself. 

I've expanded the system slowly as they add functionality.  For example, I added a water sensor behind our fridge for $15.  No additional monthly charge.  I added a smoke detector, a panic button in our bedroom, and I'm about to add a few "broken glass" sound detectors. 

Anyway, it's a more modern solution that actually does work better and saves money.  Ironically, we probably don't need it as much as we did before since the pandemic hit and someone is almost always home.  But some of those sensors (like the water and smoke) work all the time.

 

 

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Not new tech by any means but I like it most of the time (App for it doesn't work so well with my old cell phone). But I really like our Ring doorbell. I have one of the Doorbell 2 models on the side door of the house. I know that sounds weird but you would have to see the 'Tower's layout to understand why the side door. Long story short, the side door entrance is the one that faces the main street and is where the mailbox is located.

But yeah, it has been really good. If the app worked better on my phone it would be even more useful for actual 2 way comms and the like to interact with visitors or package deliveries. Because combine it with the garage app and if a delivery person is willing to wait a few more seconds, I can open the garage for them to place a package inside. I prefer this to Amazon Key since with the Key app, the delivery people just have access to open your door without you really controlling that easily. Anyway, the ring is pretty cool.

I've thought about getting a second one for the actual front door since large deliveries do tend to end up at that door and it would be nice to get notifications for that. I would need to upgrade the door bell transformer in the attic in order to handle the power requirements but yeah...

 

See what I'm up to over at the Ivory Tower Collections: http://www.youtube.com/ivorytowercollections

 

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I use  Nest doorbell.  It integrates with the Google devices at home.  I also had a Nest thermostat.  I say had because I recently got a new A/C and it came with its own smart thermostat.  The new A/C is not compatible with the current Nest thermostats.  At least the thermostat is controlled like the Nest one but it is not as smart.

🖖 Going to the final frontier, gaming...

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2 hours ago, TrekMD said:

I use  Nest doorbell.  It integrates with the Google devices at home.  I also had a Nest thermostat.  I say had because I recently got a new A/C and it came with its own smart thermostat.  The new A/C is not compatible with the current Nest thermostats.  At least the thermostat is controlled like the Nest one but it is not as smart.

Good callout!  I also have a "smart" thermostat.  Mine is a Honeywell, and it works well, honey.  Their app is great, and you can make the schedules as you wish or have it figure things out over time.

 

 

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I opted to NOT get a smart thermostat when we had our furnaces and AC units replaced out over the past few years. It was offered but since I was able to setup scheduling directly on the thermostats I didn't see a need to adjust that when I'm not home anyway.

That is, I had that ability until we had the downstairs units replaced out. Because I opted to NOT use a smart 'stat, they decided to put the most basic thing they could offer and so it just has the current temp setting and nothing else. It kinda sucks... but to keep the warranty etc. I have to use their equipment and maint plan else I end up voiding everything. Just how HVAC business works I guess.

Likely why even with a more efficient furnace and AC unit my bills are still basically the same as they were with the older system. However, the older system did at least allow me to install my own Honeywell thermostat that had some smart features in it. They removed that of course when they installed the new units.

 

See what I'm up to over at the Ivory Tower Collections: http://www.youtube.com/ivorytowercollections

 

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Smart thermostats are being used by leftist anarchists to steal conservative votes and to monitor and record your ever move! Big Brother is watching...

Big-Brother-Is-Watching-You-drawing.jpg

⚠️ THIS MEMBER HAS BEEN BANNED FOR THE FOLLOWING INCIDENT:
https://forums.atari.io/topic/6133-my-secret-identity-is-known-as-astomiman-destroyer-of-worlds/

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