Simple rope "gate"?

Our mom/pop biz is starting "work from home" this afternoon due to the virus. We need to start shipping stuff here and not the office since it will be closed. Our driveway is sorta long with no turn around for big trucks (UPS, FedEx, Prime). Trucks that try to back up often drive over SWMBO's pretty flowers with negative WAF.

We have a parcel box 10 feet up, but they ignore it driving right by. In the past we've used a simple rope across the driveway to stop it, but that requires we stop, get out, move it, drive forward, stop get out, put back, and go. Again very low WAF especially on rainy days. We hope to put a real gate in at some point but we need a simple DIY automation solution for the next few weeks+.

I was thinking of some kind of pulley/motor system that raise/lower said rope. There is 120VAC and 12VDC (landscape lighting controlled be zooz relays) in the area that could be used. If anyone has thoughts on a device, or alternate solution I would love to hear them.

Thanks for any and all input.

You could get a shade/shutter module. They are designed to turn in a motor for a preset number of seconds and also reverse polarity to turn the motor the other direction. So thinking you have two stakes on either side with a rope with enough extra slack so it falls to the ground when the motor runs out and then reverse it it pulls it back. Qubino makes a small module as an example:

Obviously you would need a motor of some sort too.

Yeah I guess that is the bigger question. For this approach we would need some sort of relatively slow turning outdoor electric motor? Not sure what that would be or where to look.

Has anyone tinkered in that area?

Keep in mind electric motors turn based on voltage applied so you won’t need anything fancy since the shutter modules don’t output that much given you don’t want to turn shades and shutters fast.

I personally have an Arduino operating a motor via motor shield on top so similar situation and something I bought well before learning about the shutter modules as that would have solved it too.

You may want to search this community and the SmartThings community for shade/shutter and gate projects as this is really all the same solution. I doubt you will find your exact scenario of raising a rope.


You also say that your driveway is very long. You're going to have issues getting a signal all the way out there too.

That depends on the solution. If we use a relay the device can be inside and the wire run out to the motor (same setup as our landscape lighting). We have Wi-Fi out there for a Ring camera, but true no z-wave or zigbee. We have an aeotec multi sensor plugged into the porch but that's 75-100 feet way.

Good point I had not thought of that, biggest dif is the outdoor consideration.

How far away is the end of the driveway? You are going to lose voltage as you travel away from the house. So, if you do that, make sure that you use thick enough wire so you won't get too much voltage drop. For example, if your driveway is 100 feet long, you'll drop to only 8v with 22gauge wire. 18 gauge wire only loses you about 1 volt.

But you are really going to run wiring all the way out there? I assumed you had a post light or something already out there that you could tap into for power.

My friend where is your sense of CAN DO? We are AmeriCANs, not AmeriCANTs! :rofl: If I let every obstacle stop my progress I would be living a very boring life.

Yes I am willing to run MORE wire out there. I have already run the landscape LV wire out there. It still needs finally burying, so before I do I figured I would run more, for gate lighting and automation as needed.

For LV I use direct bury 16/2 wire, and have a LV transformer that outputs 12-15V depending on the tap. For my longer runs I use the 15V tap and have 11.8v after about 250-300 feet (around the garden and through the "non-grass" areas).

I also have a post light that could be taped into if the solution required 120VAC, but yes distance is then a concern (post is 30 feet from "gate"). I have Wi-Fi that reaches out there for a Ring camera, but rather not go Wi-Fi for automation.

You still haven't said how far away the gate is from your house.

If I measure from the porch (where the multi sensor is). Line of sight wise, would be 125.

The post light is 50 feet from the garage (about half way down the driveway which bends making the distance longer if walked/driven)

You know what this might help

Red line is proposed "gate" location, Yellow dot is the post light (brk stoop was replaced with the a front porch not shown and is where the multisesnor is. Porch spans 40 feet front of house, not garage)

I have a couple of metal buildings on my property. One of them is a well house with all Zigbee switches and locks installed. These devices are all in a metal Faraday Cage that is the well house and are 127 feet from the hub that is inside my home which is brick veneer. They all work flawlessly. I did try Z-Wave and nothing would work. The point being, if you do need a device at that location of your rope gate, make sure that it is a Zigbee device. I am not saying that a Z-Wave device will not work, I am just saying that it is more likely that it will not work vs a Zigbee device.

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@Otto_Mation I was leaning toward Zigbee. I have a outlet in the garage acting as a repeater for our Samsung Arrival sensors. Adding an additional Zigbee device down there would only help the garage open before the wife barrels in! (if it repeats)

Sounding like a decent Zigbee shade motor might work. Anyone using one they recommend? Outdoor model? (stretching I know but have to ask. I can make a "bird house"/"shed" for one)

What about a non smart solution. Two 6 foot poles on either side of the driveway with a light chain between them at just above car roof height. A bright yellow "No trucks" sign hanging in the middle. Any truck that violated the sign and broke the poles would be liable. Pick a number for replacing the poles. Could be a money maker.

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Good thought, and I did not have it, or I would have posted the stipulation that I drive a Nissan NV high top (6.6ft and same truck as Prime).

I have thought of doing some arch that fits my truck but scares them. Still and option, but more long term

EDIT: I could do a loose rope that hung down, but long enough to slide up and over my truck :face_with_monocle:

I have only seen zwave but not saying they don’t exist. You could always do what I did use an Arduino with a motor shield and you can purchase the Monalisa zigbee board from @haas: