Jody Farr’s garage status monitor, his very first ‘real’ project, was borne out of necessity:
In the middle of July, I was wondering why the air conditioner in the house wasn’t keeping up. I must have spent hours looking things over, making sure the compressor was working, replacing filters, blah blah blah. After a while, I found myself standing downstairs in the middle of my garage and it hit me.
The garage door had been open all day. This was the reason why the ductwork was sweating and the cement floor looked damp, and probably a big contributor to the air conditioning problem. From the main floor of the house, it’s impossible to tell if the garage door is open, and with a 5-year-old always going out to ride her bike, you can bet it’s open more often than not.
And that’s when I decided it was time to find a way to build a gadget to let me know.
A TMP36 temperature sensor, XBee, and roller contact switch later, Jody had a system that sent the garage status to his computer. Nice going!