The garage door opener in my house works perfectly well. It’s a craftsman chain drive and it’s a bit noisy but every time I push the button on the remote in my car, the door slowly moves upward and I can pull my car into the driveway. No worries, right?
One evening I pulled onto my street, however, and my garage door was sitting open for all to see, with bicycles, tools and an unlocked interior door that offered easy access into my house. It’d been that way for over six hours. Not good. But how do you know if you remembered to close your garage door every single morning? It only takes one forgetful departure to lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of household goods.
Enter the Sears Craftsman AssureLink communications system. It’s a three piece solution that lets Craftsman sell Internet-aware garage door openers that can not only be accessed via the Web to confirm the door is properly closed, but that have a handy iPhone (or Android) app that lets you control the door too. Fabulous.
After some discussion with the Craftsman team, they generously agreed to install one in my garage to test and experiment with, and a few days later I got a call from the Blue Crew, Sears appliance installation and maintenance team.
The following morning Tom, my service guy, arrived and quickly replaced my old garage door opener with the Craftsman 3043 belt-drive garage door opener with AssureLink. Installation was easy because my springs and rails were in good shape, but it still took about 90 minutes.
The upgrade including a new exterior keypad (helpful for letting friends in, though now that I can open it remotely, they can just text me and I can send the “open door” signal from anywhere in the world. How cool is that?) and a completely updated interior door open button that includes an LCD readout and temperature sensor.
Let me show you some pictures so you can get a sense of what I’m talking about.
First off, the main unit itself:
The main garage door opener unit, with two vibration resistant 60w bulbs installed. As a belt-drive unit, it’s startlingly quiet. In fact, it’s so quiet and vibration free that I can now open and close the garage door without waking up anyone sleeping in the bedroom above, which is nice given my erratic schedule.
As mentioned earlier, the interior wall unit is far more sophisticated than any I’ve had before and includes an LCD screen with status readouts, including the interior temperature of the garage. Above you can see it’s a warm 54F in the garage.
The main drive unit is sleek and quiet, but what’s by far the coolest feature is the AssureLink system, with its Web-based interface and mobile app.
Let’s start on the Web. A quick click (after I’ve logged in, don’t worry, they’ve clearly thought a lot about safety and security) and I can check the status of my garage door at any time, from any location:
Simple enough. If it were closed and I wanted it open, I could simply slide the control to “open” and within about ten seconds the garage door itself would be open.
The iPhone app version of AssureLink [iTunes link] is equally easy to work with. In fact, it even knows when you’re actually opening or closing the door, as shown:
Tap on the garage door image and it will open the door or, if it’s open, close it. I have it set with a four digit security code (something you can set by tapping on the little gear “preferences” option in the app) which is a must. Prior to changing that app security setting I had to enter my login and password each time, way more frustrating.
Remember I said earlier that there are three parts to AssureLink? The missing piece that I haven’t shown yet is the Internet interface device. It’s simple and relatively small but has to be plugged directly into your network through an Ethernet interface:
The frustration with this device is that it’s not a pass-thru Ethernet so you might end up needing to buy an Ethernet hub if you only have a cable modem or otherwise don’t have a spare jack to utilize. It’s a curious decision on their part, presumably to save a few bucks, but it’s the biggest complaint I have with the entire system. If our office wasn’t already drowning in connections and cables, it could be a surprise additional $50 needed.
Hook everything up, though, create an account at the AssureLink Web site , tie it into your new Craftsman garage door opener, and you’ve just set up an incredibly cool smart home device, a whisper quiet belt-drive system that lets you monitor your garage door from anywhere and gives you the control to open or close it from your mobile device or office desktop. I really, really like it.
Details: Sears Craftsman 3043 Garage Door Opener with AssureLink. $231.99 direct from Sears. Estimate installation cost at about $200 if you can’t do it yourself.