iBlinds is an idea that I myself had dreamed of a few years ago. I first integrated my window blinds with Smartthings almost 4 years ago. Automated Window Blinds - Spark Core They have worked consistently and efficiently everyday with a little help from a light sensor. Unfortunately while my creativity brought the ability to do this for cheap it lacked a certain consumer grade quality to it. I had always thought the ability to use a z-wave chip would bring efficiency(you could power it with a battery and solar panel). This is exactly what @eric1500 has done. The product is called iBlinds and as of a few days ago is officially on indiegogo: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/iblinds-make-existing-window-blinds-smart#/
Eric was gracious enough to allow me to test a prototype and I was very thankful that he thought of me. Unfortunately I was quite delayed with my review due to well life and a slight health scare. For this I am sorry Eric for the delay of this review, but you getting on indiegogo inspired me to support you.
My first impression upon unboxing was that it was definitely a prototype and at first I was a little worried about how the device would operate. The box included the main controller/motor unit, a solar panel, a switch and a battery backup. This being a prototype the parts were all 3d printed and I think this was what had created my initial impression. All of this being said I still remember when I was first hacking together my first particle photon and cutting off pieces of blind rods so I could attach a servo and make my blinds work, so I realized Eric’s implementation was a much more finished product than I still have running my blinds.
Initial impressions put to the side I decided to start the inclusion process, so I wired up the solar panel, the battery and the blind unit and gave it a shot. The pairing process was very simple. Smartthings identified the device right away and I used a similar device type for a dimmer light as I had done some years ago to get the unit to respond. This worked extremely well, but Eric does have a device type that works much better.
I kept the device hooked up over the next several days testing it from time to time and setting it to automation. I was very pleased and did not have a single missed command.
I did not want to end there though. I have moved much of my automation to homeassistant as I had wanted local control of my devices, so I decided I would try to pair iBlinds on that platform as well. I did not have the same success as with Smartthings. I was able to pair the device and I could get commands to fire and open and close the blinds, but I was not able to control the position. This is more a limitation of the platform (homeassistant) as it relies on open zwave and items must be added to the ozw database to be recognized. I think that I could have adjusted the ozw database to mirror a different device, but this was just a test run.
Overall I would highly recommend iBlinds and in fact I will be backing the project. It is great to see a long time community member work and achieve such an awesome goal.
iBlinds is truly the consumer grade device that I had always dreamed would be available. So, jump over and support the project Eric implementation makes it much easier for both homeowners and renters to be able to implement this solution.