Ideas for sensor to detect my car is in the garage?

You’re looking for an industrial sensor. We used these at my last job. You’re not going to find something that can support the extreme load of a vehicle that is off the shelf for home automation. You need a pressure sensor that can withstand a lot of constant pressure.

Your request isn’t outlandish, it’s just not something readily available as an off the shelf solution.

If you search for "parking space" or "parking lot" sensors there are a lot of options... but they are all made for industry. I don't see an easy way to buy just one.

Alibaba lists a bunch of stuff. Maaaybe on AliExpress there is a way to buy one or two? And maybe one of them has a relay you can hook up to a door open/close sensor?

Which is very strange, and I don't understand why nobody has brought something to market after all these years. Preferably in Zwave or Zigbee. This seems like a fairly simple thing to make, and could have other uses like a driveway sensor. I would think that there is a fairly large market for something like this?

I'm looking now at a cheapie beam sensor and then using a dry contact, that will do the job i believe :slight_smile:

You're welcome.

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@morningz In addition to the beam sensor you are looking at if you want piece of mind that your garage door will not open at night you could take a look at what I use. The ZEN15 will handle the power up to a 1/2 hp motor. I placed it in-between the motor power cord and the outlet. I turn it off at night and back on before we leave. It could also be turned back off once you leave by the beam sensor but you would have to have a way to turn it back on before you try to open the garage door. There are probably many ways to do that.

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also, Someone is working on an integration for one of the sensors that you plug into your car. Automatic. But, I can't remember who was working on it. Maybe @bcopeland or @srwhite?

Funny, i just threw two of those Automatic dongles in the trash a few weeks ago because as far as I read at some point super soon they were altogether going to stop functioning (they're closing up shop)..

I was a big fan when they were popular because you could do super cool stuff like this to track long drives

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yeah automatic pulled the plug still looking for a good replacement....

Well, Amazon is the impatient person's savior lol

Parts list:


One of the beam sensors mounted on one wall, the other is on other side of where my car sits. Some weekend when I have time I'll work on prettying up the power wires for these

Just to test things out for a few days I'm just passing the state change to Telegram with pics of my car/garage :slight_smile: Thanks to all for the help and conversation!

Yet another step towards my house becoming self-aware


There ya go :+1:

@morningz, Does each side of the beam sensor have a aeotec open closed sensors? I use the Ecolink open/closed sensor do you think it will do the same thing?

Just one side!

I know absolutely zero about the sensor you have so i cannot say for sure, but if it takes "the beam sensors close a circuit to kick off an action", than it should

I use this beam sensor in my garage too. Works like a charm.

Does anyone know if two pairs could be used in the same vicinity or would the signals interfere somehow. I ask because I’d like to monitor each spot in a 2-car garage independently for presence of a car. TIA….

I think you'll be just fine with two beams as long as they aren't installed right on top of each other

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Can use an ultrasonic distance measurement, too. I have two of those made with esp8266 that I use both as a parking distance/position tool (there is an LED readout) and as an input to home automation for car presence detection.

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I'd love to try your approach for the simple reason that ultrasonic distance can be physically installed on the garage ceiling, full stop. When using the photoelectric beams, by contrast, there aren't great answers for device placement, particularly for a multi-car garage, as in our home, without partitions between the car "spaces". So my tentative approach is to put transmitter unit on the floor at the back of the garage (up against the interior curb) and the receiver on the ceiling toward the front of the garage. I can't put the transmitter on the back wall, because we have storage between the wall and the parking spots. My layout will work, but having a sensor on the floor -- yuck -- asking for trouble.

But I'm not a esp8266 guy and don't have development skills, so I thought ultrasonic might be over my pay grade. You think that's wrong?

It may/may not be something you want to tackle... Takes a bit of work if you have never done a single board computer like an arduino or esp8266.

For this project I believe I started with this link (or one basically just like it - been a while so probably wasn't this exact link). This will give you a general/example/overview on what it takes from a coding perspective.

  • Then I added the code for an LED display to it (you wouldn't need that).

  • Then I added the code to send the data to MQTT for use in Hubitat & node-red

  • Then I printed a case for it with my 3D printer. You obviously wouldn't have to do that either if you didn't care how it looked on your ceiling.

Of course if you don't mind spending more $, you can get out of most of the wiring by using a sensor with a grove connector like:

Get a grove cable:

Then get a grove base for an esp8266:

Something like that.


I haven't thought about this in nearly a year. But was just browsing through the Hubitat community looking for unread topics...

What I did, which works nearly flawlessly, is to use a pressure mat and the Aeotec Door Sensor (series 7) which includes raw contact inputs to trigger open/close detection. Then wire the pressure mat into those connections and TADA! Now when either of the two cars drives over their perspective mat it will trigger a close event to HE. Then I take that 'sensor' input and wash it through a webcore piston that toggles a virtual switch. The virtual switch is named for each car (ex: Vehicle1, Vehicle2).

The practical effect is when the Vehicle is unparked, have Vehicle1 virtual switch OFF. Then when the car drives over the pressure mat the webcore piston will toggle Vehicle1 to ON. I did it this way because these pressure mats are not designed to withstand a constant pressure of more than 60lbs, however, I have found in practice that driving over them for a minimal duration (1-2 sec) doesn't 'appear' to damage the material that's is used to close connection.

The rest is up to the user. I have a rather elaborate series or Webcore pistons that controls nearly every aspect of garage automation. Obviously at the heart is this function for determining Vehicle Presence. The next part is tagging the drivers mobile device presence to the vehicle that just departed the garage to pair up vehicle/driver info that allow the mobile device to now be a vehicle tracker. There is much more, but getting off topic now....

The physical pressure mat I used is: United Security Products 901 Sealed Pressure Mat 9" X 15"

The Z-wave open/close sensor is: Aeotec Door / Window Sensor 7 Series 700

The Aeotec sensor is a bit high priced, but the battery last forever! It's also the only reliable one I have found that allows for direct wired contacts as an input.

Hope someone finds this information useful. I've had this system in operation for about a year and it's never failed to determine when a Vehicle is departing/arriving.

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