Nearly every household has some form of home automation in 2021 and more and more people are looking to automate various functions within their household.
The opening and closing of the garage door is one of these functions but unfortunately in Australia there are very few offerings with the garage door motor companies not offering their automation packages here in Australia that they do overseas. For this reason, third party offerings are much sought after.
Prior to receiving the Meross Collie I was using an Aeotec Z-Wave garage door opener which, when it worked, worked well but unfortunately its functionality is far too intermittent. The Meross Collie uses Wi-Fi connectivity for its smarts and is compatible with Google Assistant, Alexa and Apple Homekit.
So what is it?
The Collie looks like a mini-Wi-Fi router with a small box with antenna attached. The back of the device has three controller ports allowing you to control three garage doors with a single unit. Also present is a microUSB power port which can be powered by any microUSB power brick/cable you may have — I used a smaller cable one to prevent too many cables hanging around after setup.
The Meross Collie is designed to work with over 200 brands and 1600 different models of garage door openers — you can check compatibility here. The garage door opener we tested it on is a Marantec Comfort 270.
Not only does the unit control opening and closing the garage door but includes a sensor to detect whether the door is open or closed.
Installation not as easy as other smart products
As the garage door does not support Wi-Fi control automatically the setup is a bit more detailed than installing something such as a smart light or similar. The Collie unit needs to be wired into the opening sensors of the opener — I was lucky that I already had the Aeotec smart opener installed so I knew which holes to wired the unit into but if you don’t have anything there it will be in the instructions for your door (or online at the opener’s website).
The only issue I had was the wires from the Collie were very thin so to get them to stay wired into the opening slots I had to strip the plastic back quite a bit and double and triple the wire over each other to make it thicker — be careful doing this as the wires are very thin and easily cut.
Once that was installed it is just a simple manner of installing the door sensors that tell the unit/app whether the door is open or closed. This was easily done and I just ran the cable along the top of the opener frame to the wall and stuck the sensor to the wall using double sided tape. The sensors are basically two magnets with one attached to the door and one to the wall/frame of the garage door. They can be placed to the side of the door as well as the front as I have done.
Setting up the Meross Collie garage door opening within the Meross app is super simple. Simply just open the app, select the “plus” button, select the type of smart device you are adding (Smart Garage Door Opener) and it will then detect it and add it in. Of course you will need to first connect directly to it and then enter the Wi-fi password for your home network first but that is all done within the app with plenty of instructions on how to.
Within the app you then open the device settings which gives you an overall view of the device settings and then also you set up the preferences for each port (ie. each garage door).
Within each door’s preferences you can set up notifications for the door opening and/or closing, a PIN for opening the door (required for Google Assistant control), reminder notifications in case you forget to put the door down, an option to automatically close the door if left open for too long and more. I did not set the door to automatically close as I’d hate for it to close while I was outside washing the car/gardening etc and not have my keys or phone with me.
Setting up the Collie in the Google Home app is as simple as any other device. Add a device, select the “works with Google” option, scroll down to Meross, select it, log into your Meross account that you previously created in the Meross app and you are in. You can then add the device easily to whatever room you want.
Google Assistant control
From here your device will just respond to Google Assistant commands — but if not tell Google to update your devices (“OK Google, update devices”) and you should be good to go. Google commands that work include opening and closing the garage door (or whatever you name the device — eg. if more than one garage door you’ll need to give each a specific name and trigger that name when calling your Assistant). You are also meant to be able to ask Google if your garage door is open or closed but it did not work — more on this in the Alexa section below.
Google Assistant does require you to have a PIN entered within the Meross app for it to be able to open the garage door and you must tell Google the PIN when it asks for it (after asking it to open the door — you can also set it to ask for a PIN when closing the door too). This is a great security feature and to be honest should not be required with Google’s Voice Match in action but is anyway. Siri and Alexa do not require this PIN to be spoken to open the door — but it must be set within the app anyway.
Amazon Alexa control
Setup is once again easy but adding the skill to the Alexa app is necessary to enable all voice commands. Once added you can open and close the door, apparently along with check the status of the door — just as you are meant to be able for Assistant. Meross tell me that there is currently a bug in their code which they are in the middle of testing patches for that prevent Google Assistant and Alexa from checking the status of the door. Hopefully a fix will arrive soon.
Although the Meross app says you must tell Alexa your PIN code to open the door I found that I didn’t need to — but the door wouldn’t open if one wasn’t set within the app.
Apple Homekit Control
Disclaimer: I have never used Apple Homekit before. I do not own an iPhone and never have. My daughter has an iPhone 10 so I tested the Meross Collie on that.
As you would expect from Apple the experience setting up the Meross Collie with the Apple HomeKit was easy to do — even for someone who has never used it before such as myself. I was easily able to add the Meross Collie in using the barcode on the bottom of the unit (hint: take a photo of it before installing it on the opening mechanism) and from there set up the relevant functions.
Adding a scene to the home page of my daughter’s phone was simple enough and the only issue I ran into was that because the Collie has three ports and thinks there is three garage doors available when telling Siri to open the garage door Siri then proceeded to ask me which one to open — even after I’d renamed the other two doors to random names.
Interestingly Siri did not require a passcode to open the door just as Alexa didn’t. Also, checking the status of the garage door worked perfectly on HomeKit — hopefully this is coming to Assistant and Alexa soon.
One big limitation when using HomeKit though is of course the requirement for a hub at your house to operate the smart device functionality when you are not connected to the local Wi-Fi. Alexa and Google Assistant allow easy operation from remote locations without any hub requirement.
How well does it work?
The Meross Collie Smart Garage Door Opener works every single time — assuming you have Wi-Fi support at home (I did have a NBN dropout while testing the unit which was annoying — Z-wave options such as the Aeotec opener do not require Wi-Fi not NBN and operate on their own Z-wave network). But the main point is that each and every time I told the digital assistant in my car or house to open or close the door it did it perfectly — in the end that is what you want right?
The Meross Collie Smart Garage Door Opener was available on Indiegogo but has since been fully funded. It will be arriving on Amazon AU in the coming weeks so keep an eye out for it if you are interested. Given the Indiegogo price ended up being around the AU$77 mark, expect it to sit around $100 when it makes its way to the Meross Amazon Store.
I certainly will continue to use it on my garage door as it worked each and every time, unlike every other smart garage door opener I have tried in the past.