How to Automate External Garage Door Lights with RIB

November 10, 2021
Tech Tuesday

Recently one of our awesome customers, Moe Howard, contacted us to help him pick out some products for a unique application. After him and our local tech-support wizard, Sam Klennert, figured out what parts he needed, Moe was kind enough to provide us with an application write-up! Read below to learn how he managed to automate his external garage door lights. Thanks again, Moe!

When researching how to accomplish a seemingly simple task of turning on my external garage door lights when my garage door is opened during the later hours of the day, I was surprised to find the lack of out-of-the-box solutions that were available to accomplish this task. After spending some time researching for a solution, I found that Functional Devices Inc. had just the devices I needed to make my vision a reality.

Among the many useful electronic devices they carry, I was directed to their RIB (relay in a box) line of products. I shortly got in contact with a very helpful support agent, Samuel Klennert, who assessed my requirements and provided just the devices I needed for my project. Firstly, my project would require a device that could detect when my garage door was open and switch on a relay for the lights. This is exactly what their RIBD01BDC device did. However, given I only wanted the lights to come on during the late hours of the day (dusk), I would require a PC (PhotoCell) to detect when it got dark.

So now I have the means to detect when my garage door is open and when it is dark. The trick and question now was, “How can I combine (logically AND) two signals coming from the PC and RIBD01BDC to turn on my external garage lights?” Enter the RIBU2C, this device could be wired up as a logical AND or logical OR gate, but in my case, I need to wire it up as a logical AND. Perfect, now that I had all the logical devices identified, I thought it would also be useful to add the ability to manually turn on the external garage lights, so I threw in a 3-way switching scheme that had switches on opposite sides of the garage.

Here is the resulting wiring diagram of what was installed and everything works like a charm:

Below is the actual wire-up of the RIB devices. The top junction box connects to one for the two external lights, the middle junction box houses the wiring and splicing of the RIBD01DBC, RIBU2C, and the PC. The bottom electrical box houses one of the two 3-way switches and an extra outlet. The two wires that lead out from the RIBD01DBC connect to the magnetic switch mounted on the garage door, which is just to the left (out of the picture).


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About the Author

Kallahan Beatty is Functional Devices’ Marketing Assistant. He has a background in video editing and photography, and he’s passionate about pretty much anything related to art.

In his off time, you might find him writing, reading comic books, or watching movies. In his on time, you can find him diligently working especially if his boss is reading this.