Automated Window Blinds - Spark Core

Congrats, mine only does open closed and is not in SmartThings yet. I used that servo city coupler too, good stuff. I’ve put all ambitions for this project on hold until I can afford a whole bunch of these things:

Which I plan to control with my 433mhz “remote control mimicker” that I’ve got working for remote outlets.

Nicely done. How precise is the control? Can you tilt the blinds in small increments (say 5º) or is it larger motions?

@aphex5 it lets me do smaller adjustments, the only issue I am having is that sadly the range of the servo isn’t quite wide enough, so it goes from completely shut with the blinds facing up to about 20% open in the other direction, if that makes any sense.

I used a continuous rotation servo so I just rotate for x amount of time, but the damn zeroing pot was so touchy they would creep open over time so I put a transistor to completely cut power when it’s not being commanded open or closed.

@keithcroshaw good idea on the transistor, I had played around with a continuous rotation servo for the upper blinds in my dining room but had not really thought about it too much.

I’m terrible with hardware and it was dead simple.

@hawesg Which Servo did you use?

@Anseld1986 this one here, it has locked up twice where physically helping the blinds turn for a second fixed it but I think that it is either because I haven’t figured out a proper mount yet I’ve just used clear duct tape to secure it so maybe getting a bit out of alignment, or something is getting in the way in the header.

Yea mounting is tough, mine wiggles a bit when it starts but since it’s timed I think I’ve accounted for that.

@keithcroshaw I took a pretty thick bottle cap and shaved it down to the correct height then hot glued it into place below the servo, it seems to keep it in exactly the right position and given the fact that the servo fits perfectly flush against the one side (with tabs cut off) I used some gorilla repair tape to secure it. Seems like it is not going anywhere at this point. Just about to sit down and play with the device type. I find the one provided in this thread doesn’t work very well. It works as intended I just find that more often than not when I try and move the slider I accidentally exit it.

Cool, I got a hot glue gun after the fact. I think I’m going to switch over to all EasyWands w/433mhz arduino + ST shield if they survive and I get enough funny money. They’re expensive compared to my first hack but they’re a hell of a lot cheaper than the commercial offerings out there. ~$400 per window.

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Ordered two of these Spark Cores! Looking forward to trying this out!

So, I’m a little confused on getting these guys set up. This is what I have done so far…

  1. Set up the spark core and saved the core id and token as well as loaded code to the core.

  2. Created the device type in smartthings.

  3. Added a new device in smartthings.

My questions regards steps 2 and 3. The spark id and token need to be copy pasted to the top of the device type code in smartthings. Does this need to go anywhere else?

The specific values regarding the position of the servos can be changed after, but it should function (as in turn/ show signs of life) right out of the box?

Where certain things go/ what is required isn’t immediately obvious to me sometimes… Haha

Well for the servos you probably need to import a library into the project which will make it possible to manipulate them with a simple command, I didn’t use a spark but i’m sure there’s a library readily available on their community site. The little playing around i did with the IDE it seemed very easy to add a library just by “forking” the repository.

As far as where things go, I hate the hardware aspect of arduinos and what have you, I suck at soldering. You just have to really decide which pins are capable of sending the signals you need and making your code match up with that pin. If you’re talking about where things go inside your blinds housing, I replaced the entire twisty bit with the servo, it broke nothing and popped right out so I was ok with it.

Good luck, you can PM me if you have any hardware or blinds question. Spark questions, not so much, although I’d like to have one someday.

I think I figured out what I was doing wrong. I left the core unplugged so I can’t actually access it at the moment. I will try to get it working tonight.

I was able to work out the issues I was having, though I wound up not using the code posted here (I think this is partially due to the weird motors I got). I opted for a simpler, open blinds/closed blinds only set up. If anybody is interested in something like that I can post my code here.

Yea I don’t need % open control either. I want them open or closed, the places in-between don’t really matter to me.

I promised this a few weeks back. I am finally finding some more time to work on this project. Here is a pic of a servo mount that fits nicely in a standard 2 inch blind tray. I mocked it based on a futaba s3003.

I know blinds are all slightly different from each manufacturer so your mileage may vary.

I will post the .stl to my git hub page above and add a new link tonight after work.


As promised:

The mount will need to be scaled and maybe run through netfab(I didn’t and it seemed solid).

I hope this is helpful and can save some duct tape.


@jjhtpc Very nice, that will come in handy. Time to do some playing around with 3d printer software, there is a lab I can use at school with 3d printers, I’ve created new sparkcore code and a device type with a functioning open close button. Will setup a git hub library later and link here.