Have you ever left your house, gotten a few miles away and asked yourself or a passenger in your car, did I close the garage door? Maybe you have even turned around to check, just to put your mind at ease. I know that I have. To be completely honest, I have done this numerous times. To the point that it is a running joke between my wife and I, since I often ask her if I closed the garage door.
Well, the folks at Excentual Enterprises might have created a product to solve my slight obsessive compulsive garage door disorder. Protectrix is an automated garage door closer. That’s right, this gadget will close the garage door for you. Sounds like a perfect solution.
* Preparing to close alarm: Audible beep and flash every second for 30 seconds
* Battery low alarm: Single audible beep and flash every 60 seconds
* Preparing to close alarm can be set for 5 to 45 minutes, in 5 minute increments
* Can be easily disabled
* 3 models: GA+, S+ and (()), depending your garage door opener manufacturer and year
* Works with most garage door openers. Protectrix Capability Chart
* Garage door must open up, being parallel to the garage floor when open
* Must be installed on the upper portion of the garage door
* Works with all existing garage door sensors (movement beam and motor force sensors)
* Requires a 9-volt battery
* No wiring, tools or extra hardware is required for installation
* Warranty: 2 month refund, 2 year replacement
* Dimensions: 3-1/3″ x 4-3/4″ x 1-1/4″ (85mm x 120 mm x 32mm)
* Weight: 7oz. (200g)
In the Package:
* 1 Protectrix GA+ model
* 1 9-volt battery
* Instruction manual
* 2 Screws
* 2 Double-stick adhesive pads
Upon seeing the Protectrix packaging is that Excentual Enterprises does not spend a lot of money on making a first impression. The device is packaged in a clear, high-density PVC type material with a clam-shell opening mechanism. The exterior label features a suspected thief leaving an open garage with golf clubs and an image of a raccoon. Driving home the point of bad things can happen when you leave your garage door open.
The packaging is a minor detail but it goes give an inexpensive first impression. In their defense, the Protectrix is only available on-line, so they do not have to worry about catching a consumer’s eye in a brick n’ mortar location.
Speaking of on-line, I should mention that I found the Protectrix website to be really good. It is fairly basic in design, lacking glitzy images and useless flash of extras. The simplicity of the site design only makes the information more accessible. You can view a nice graphical demo of the product, download materials, such as user manuals and the compatibility chart, without being distracted by design fluff that some sites rely on to grab your attention.
I regards to the actual device, I expected it to be bigger. In fact, the device is about the size of my hand. Approximate dimensions are 5″(w) x 2-3/4″(h) x 1-1/4″(d).
The Protectrix is made of a hard plastic material, off-white in color, which feels fairly robust. Understand that the device is meant to remain stationary on the garage door; robustness should not be a critical requirement.
The front-face of the device has a test button, speaker, flash and a dial-mechanism to adjust the wait time. The dial has “off” at top-center, “25″ minutes at bottom-center and has a top value of “45″ separated in 5 minute increments.
The back is plain with four holes for screws, while the top and bottom have insets that, when simultaneously pressed, open the device. Separating the front and back of the unit is required to change the battery and to secure the back to the garage door via screws.
When opened, the circuit board and battery are located on the inside-front cover. The back contains a sticker with numerous product warnings. The sticker also contains an arrow indicator to instruct you which way to install the unit. Installing the device correctly, with the arrow point towards your garage ceiling is critical for it to function.
How does it work?:
Protectrix utilizes a tilt sensor to detect the position of the garage door, being up or down. A micro-processor uses the tilt sensor and dial-mechanism information to determine when to send the wireless transmission to the garage door opener, telling it to close the door.
You can easily disable Protectrix by setting the dial to 0 or utilizing the lock feature on your garage door opener. Which is nice, if you want to leave the door open while doing some yard work or taking a walk in the neighborhood.
Here is a video clip that shows the Protectrix’s beep and flash alarms, alerting you that the device is about to send the signal to close the garage door.
See it in action…
Programming the device was very simple. I have a Genie® model garage door opener, which is only 8 months old. I removed the front housing from the garage door opener motor, exposing the light bulbs and learn button. Pressed the learn button for a few seconds until the small led light blinked, and then I pressed the test button on the device. That was it, done it less than 5 minutes and that is including the time to remove and replace the front housing cover of the motor. It is very similar to programming a new remote for your garage door opener.
To verify the Protectrix works, just press the test button located on the front-face of the device. If successfully programmed, pressing the test button should allow you to operate your garage door opener.
Installing the Protectrix automatic garage door closer was easier than programming it. The manufacturer provides two screws and two double-stick adhesive pads for installation. I used neither.
I noticed that the center support rail on the inside of my garage door had existing holes, in a cross-like pattern, located about every two feet. I used the second set of holes from the top, basically behind the second panel of my garage door.
I used these existing holes to secure the device to my garage door with a small hex-head screw and nut. Again, completed installation in less than 5 minutes.
You must install Protectrix high enough on your garage door so that when the door is open the device is completely parallel to the garage floor and you must ensure that the arrow indicators are pointing up. If not, the tilt sensor will not register the door is up and the device will not close your garage door.
Here you can see where I installed the device to the center support rail.
So I have programmed and installed the device in less then 10 minutes. Hard to beat that.
Test One: Protectrix set for 5 minutes
I set the dial on the device for 5 minutes and opened my garage door. I waited patiently while watching a stop watch. Protectrix begins to beep and flash, alerting you that the door is about to close. The pace of the beeps/flash becomes more rapid and then the door closes. The door was completely shut and my stop watch registered 5 minutes 22 seconds.
After concluding the first test, I start to realize that the gadget could really be useful and a reliable back-up just in case I do forget to shut the garage door.
Test Two: Door opened approximately 2-1/2 feet, Protectrix set for 5 minutes
In the winter, when the temperature in Indiana often hovers at or below the freezing point, I routinely warm my car in the garage for 5 or 10 minutes to make sure it is nice and cozy to take my two young girls to school. I usually raise my door about 2-1/2 feet to allow the carbon monoxide fumes to escape.
Opening the door approximately 2-1/2 feet, puts the Protectrix at less then a 30-degree angle to my garage floor. The test is whether the device will read the garage door as open and close it, trapping the harmful carbon monoxide gas in my garage.
Again, I watched the stop watch and waited for 5 minutes to elapse. The time passed without any action. Obviously the tilt sensor did not register the door as open, which is great.
Understand that you can set the Protectrix to a higher setting, like 20 minutes or you could set the dial to 0, both would allow you to warm your car for 5-10 minutes without the door closing.
Test Three: Protectrix set for 5 minutes, safety beam sensors tripped
I wanted to make sure that the device really worked with the existing sensors on my garage door, specifically the safety beam sensors that make sure nothing is underneath the door before closing. I set the device for 5 minutes, opened the door, set one of my daughter’s toys between the sensors and patiently waited.
As the time approached 5 minutes, the alarm began to beep and flash, then nothing happened. I assumed the signal was sent to the garage door opener to close but since the safety beam was broken by the toy, the door would not close.
I removed the toy, restoring the connection between the safety beams and waited. I wanted to see if the device would attempt to close the door five minutes after the first attempt.
As five minutes approached, the alarm began to beep and flash, then the door closed. Another test successfully passed.
I think the Protectrix automatic garage door closer is a nice addition to your household gadgets. It operates as advertised without any complications, delivering a great sense of security for the absent minded homeowner.
I would not recommend the device if your garage door opener lacks the safety beam sensors. I think the negatives associated with the possibility of Protectrix closing the garage door with something or someone in the doors path outweighs the benefits of the device.
This would be the only reservation I would have in recommending this product. I think the folks at Excentual Enterprises have created a great product that fills a niche in the home security market. I highly recommend Protectrix.