Those of us who ordered a Model 3 early, have Tesla’s HomeLink hardware built in. While it wasn’t included when the car’s were first delivered, most of us have now had the product retrofitted by a Tesla service center.
HomeLink was removed a few weeks after the Model 3 order page went live in Australia, which means new Model 3s don’t include it. The reason for its removal could be for a couple of reasons, including cost, but the more likely is that HomeLink uses a frequency that is not widely supported by Australian garage door openers.
After getting the HomeLink hardware installed over the Christmas break, I was keen to try it out when I got home from Melbourne. After many attempts I couldn’t get it to work. Like many others, you search online to find the frequency problem.
To solve this issue, you need to purchase an aftermarket garage door controller and remote, that transmit on a frequency the Tesla can understand and learn.
When arrive home, or drive away, HomeLink broadcasts the same signal your garage door controller would, to send the open/close command to your garage door opener.
Most garage door openers have an internal wiring terminal that allows add-on accessories, something that we’ll leverage to get this working.
The Tesla Forums revealed some users had success with the Ditec Garage Door Receiver and remote combo from RemotePro.com.au. While HomeLink was free (or included in the price), to make it work, most Aussies will need to spend $70 on this solution.
For the convenience of having the door automatically open and close when you approach or leave home, it’s a relatively small price to pay to feel like you’re living in the future, especially given what you paid for the car. Despite this, it would have been nice to see the HomeLink hardware be adaptable to your garage door frequency, rather than have to come up with a solution to work with HomeLink.
4 screws later and the garage door opener was down and on the kitchen bench. Another screw later and the thing was open and I had access to the wiring terminal. After having already integrated iSmartGate in the past, I was familiar with this process.
After a little trial and error on the specific wiring configuration, I got the Ditect remote to trigger the garage door opener. After bolting it all back together, I then re-mounted the garage door opener, with the iSmartGate controller and Ditec receiver on top.
The setup in the Tesla is fairly straight forward, just tap on the HomeLink icon in the top-left of the display and follow the on-screen prompts. The process essentially turns your Tesla into another remote control, issuing the same open/close command, but does so when it detects your GPS location is within range of your home.
With your car parked in front of your garage door, you start the setup process on the touchscreen. Standing in front of the car, you press the remote control (from Ditec) while pointing it at the front bumper. I have a feeling this is in the right side of the bumper and didn’t get switched in the RHD builds. If it works, the headlights should flash to let you know you can return to the car.
During the next step, your car will ask you to press the Learn button on the garage door opener. Obviously the car doesn’t understand the trickery you’ve done with the garage door opener add-on, so you actually need to press the Learn button on the Ditect receiver. I had my cover back on, so this meant unscrewing things to access the button.
It seems the length of time you get to do this is just a matter of seconds, so you’ll want to grab someone to help you with this step.
If everything goes well, you’ll successfully complete the setup for HomeLink and be asked to test it. Tapping on the HomeLink icon then on the name of the door ‘Home’, ‘Garage 1’ etc.. will then issue the command from your Tesla to open/close the garage door. If your door activates, you’re in action.
You’ll then get some options to configure, like enabling a chime when the system activates. I particularly love this one, as it prompts you to consider if you really want the door to open or close at that time. Most times you will, but there may be times, like your partner is backing out their car from the other side of the garage and you don’t want it to close. Or maybe you’re driving past your house and don’t want it to open.
The final choice you’ll have is the range at which you want the Tesla to open the garage door on entry. While you may be tempted to set it at the maximum range, that may not be possible. I thought the max setting would ensure the door would be fully opened by the time I got to it and I could drive right in.
After testing this wasn’t working, I remembered the car is essentially playing the role of the garage door control, so it needs to be in range when issuing the command. Have a driveway that’s about 3 car lengths and the range just reaches to the road, so after a bit of trial and error, the system now works great with just a slight wait before the door is open enough to drive in.
HomeLink on the Model 3 solves a problem that is the definition of a first-world problem, pressing a button to open your garage door. That said, there’s many things we enjoy in the 1st world and this can be another. It really does feel like you have your own private butler, opening and closing doors for you and that’s pretty neat.
If you bought a Tesla Model 3 and didn’t get HomeLink included, you can buy the ‘Automatic Garage Door Opener’ directly from Tesla Australia for A$450.00.