So, this has been in the works for about 20 years. I used to live in a place where snow would come without warning, and I couldn't see my detached garage from the house. A few mornings, I'd find I'd left the garage open, and there was a drift inside.
I tried a number of things, with direct computer contol and X10, but it seemed the best solution would be a simple, standalone one.
I've started working with Micochip PICs, and found I could develop some independant projects pretty quickly. The PIC is only a few bucks, and the programmer was under $50. By using the PIC, the parts count for a project can be kept low, but some interesting stuff could be developed.
As a result, I've started on some projects which are down right simple (and cheap)!
The first such project is the "Garage Door Closer". It uses a PIC and a few other parts to monitor your garage door, and to close it after a certain amount of time (a few minutes to over an hour). It uses a reed relay to detect when the door is open, and simulates a "button push" to close the door (hooks up like a regular push buton.
PC boards and parts kits are available. You'll need to supply an enclosure and a wall mount transformer, but that's about it.
To use it, you want to insure that your garage door has the proper safety features to stop the door if there is an blockage, etc, and this includes an IR "beam" and pressure detection (set in the opener).
Here's the full description and parts list for the project, in PDF format.
And here's the firmware for the PIC (version 1.2)
Version 1.3 firmware will include two versions of firmware. More dealis will follow!