We are building a home and my wife really, really, really wants to have smart blinds. Do any of you have good experiences with DIY solutions, or should I be saving up my pennies to get one of the canned systems that will do lights and nothing else?
There are a number of project reports in the forum on window coverings that should give you some ideas.
Check on the quick browse list in the community – created wiki, look down towards the bottom of the page for the project report section, and then look on the list for “shades and window coverings.“
It’s a tough hurdle. I’ve been on a quest for years to do it and don’t have a single set of my own DIY blinds complete yet. Software isn’t my issue, it’s getting hardware like servos to marry with blind shafts and soldering the boards and servo wires.
If you can handle soldering and have a nice work area to test the heck out of some blinds I can definitely lend a hand in the hardware to buy and software department, at least for what I’d like to do. Although now that Particle (board manufacturer) is releasing their mesh line of boards I’d wait to use that offering to keep your WiFi clean.
You should check out a few different threads. I have all of the blinds in my house now through SmartThings and each was less than $30. A lot of the projects require you to get something 3d printed so I figured I was out of luck. There are services out there to print for you but the shipping is so high it made it cost-prohibitive. I was able to find a site called 3D Hubs. They list people local to you who print for people and the site manages all the payments so you’re not writing a check or sending credit card info to a stranger. Then once they are printed, you arrange for local pickup. My local hub guy runs a CNC business out of his garage, so I just picked them up at his house. Got a TON of stuff printed with him super cheap.
And if you’re locking to modify either of those for vertical blinds, I did that too…this worked out so much better than I hoped. Hit perfectly on the first try.
I guess I was really looking for if it’s worth the hassle to get them motorized, etc. Or just having someone put a off the shelf solution in.
I’m all about soldering, I repair and restore pinball machines in my non-spare time. Reading up on the Particle boards, it may be smart to wait a bit.
So are most people going with batteries? or Solar?
I went with plug-in.
I ran a USB up through my window moulding to each board.
I have Bali Z wave shades, Costco, throughout my house and we love them. I installed them myself and the look like a normal roller shade. They are 12VDC so they are battery operated or you can get a converter and plug them in to a normal outlet or pre-wire for them. They come with a micro usb connecter.
When we built the house I had no idea and which shades I was going to buy and frankly speaking when you are building that is the last thing on your mind. Wish that I was able to run low voltage wiring while the walls where open.
In the attic, I was able to run low voltage cable to my second floor shades but the first floor is out of luck and I have them on batteries.
The batteries last about a year give or take.
They are pricey but with ST and some WebCore they make your home more efficient in terms of heating and cooling.
Good Luck with your decision!
Some libraries print out in 3D for a minimal charge.
Hey @barrios35 Can you show some photos of how you are doing the low voltage to the blinds? I am building a house right now, and would rather that be part of the house…
Definitely, I will take some pictures tonight and post. I have yet to clean the wires up all nice and neat but you will get the idea. I have been busy finishing the attic.
Since I was all all trimmed up I just drilled a long 3/8" hole up to the attic and fed a low voltage wire down. Spliced it to a micro usb male and soldered them together. The power supply is up in the attic and it runs 8 shades.
Here is the power supply I used. For 29 bucks, you can’t beat it. I ran them through the attic and down the each window.
I have also used the meanwell power supply for 2 shades on the first floor. Ran them up through the basement and was able to fish them through. The rest of the shades are on batteries as it will be too much destruction to get the wire up. Wish I could go back in time and rough in the low voltage just in case while the walls where opened. Better to have it and not use it than to need it and not have it. So if this is something you really want, spend the money on the low voltage wiring and you can drill it yourself while the frame is open and leave it as a rough to wherever you want to install your power supply.
I installed the shades myself and they install just like a roller shade. You have the option of a valance but we decided on keeping the simple clean look.
Hi attached are the pictures. The wires have yet to be cleaned up all nice and neat but you get the idea.
What options are there to retro fit roman shades without spending a fortune? My house has all roman shades already, actually were there when we bought the house. I just do not want to spend $400 a window for a whole new shade and servo system.
Thanks for the pictures. I’m trying to decide if there is a way I can have this done while the house is being built.
The best time would be when the house has been framed up and windows installed. You can drill right through it and run the the cables wherever you wish. Let the wires sit until the home has been completed,
If it is a daunting task ask your electrician or whomever is doing your low voltage runs, TV, Network, etc.
It is better to have and not use it than to want it and not be able to run it. Anymore questions let me know.
Good Luck! Building a home is exciting!
Most roman shades that are motorized usually use motors similar that of a roller shade but can be a bit complicated to actually setup depending on how your’s is made. I think the easiest way would be something like the Axis Gear which is connected to the existing pull cord or chain on the shade, but it is quite pricey.