Ideas for controlling blinds based on weather?

weather
shades
motorizedblinds
motorizedshades
project_shades

(Joylove) #1

Hi All

Looking for your ideas on controlling my blackout blinds to reduce the temperature in my house.

This is different IMO since there are multiple reasons (sensors) to configure the blinds; occupancy, temperature indoor, temperature outdoor, breeze, and the brightness of the sun.

+I want to partially close the blinds on hot sunny days to allow a breeze to circulate
+I want to leave them open on winter days to allow the sun to heat the house
+I want to fully close them on sunny hot days when there is no breeze.
+I generally want to have them open or partially if I am home to see where I’m going

Any thoughts on a device or a smartapp that would allow the mix of motion, temperature gradient, wind, sunlight and possibly time of day?

Edit to add answers to the questions: My current blinds are 433MHz and controlled using RMBridge plus a Broadlink RMPro2. They support commands for up, down, stop and one “third” position which I saved at about 75% closed.

Thanks


Bulbs, switches and sensors, oh my....what to buy (device class features)
#2

Sounds like a great project! Automated window coverings is the first thing on my personal “someday, if I win the lottery” home automation list. :sunglasses:

A smart app is actually the easy part here: just use Core or Webcoreyou should eventually be able to set up any kind of schedule that you want.

The tricky part is what will be the physical device that controls your shades.

You said you want to use your existing shades? We would need to know more about their current design. And are your existing shades already motorized? In that case we need to know the exact brand and model.

Starting from Scratch

If you wanted to buy new shades, you could get either Lutron Serena shades or Graber Shades from zebra blinds and have a quite simple installation with very good SmartThings integration. But in both cases you would be starting from scratch, neither can be used to retrofit existing window coverings.

https://www.serenashades.com/?gclid=CNCmzvKqyNUCFRKRfgod-9IFxQ

If you have an existing remote

If your existing shades are already motorized and they have a handheld remote with buttons, sometimes the easiest way to integrate it with SmartThings is to add a Naran Push microbot, which is a “robot finger” which does nothing except push a button on command. But it can be used to integrate existing handheld remote or wall mount control panels with echo, smartthings, IFTTT, etc. I use these at my own house and really like them because they let me solve some retrofit use cases that just can’t be easily solved any other way. They don’t require any wiring and they don’t damage the existing remote. But they are expensive, and $49 for each microbot $89 for a bridge to connect them to the Internet (one Bridge can support up to 40 micro bots). Still, when you’re looking at window coverings, the cost may be comparable to any of the other solutions and it let you keep all the existing safety features of the current remote. So it is something to consider.

Adding a motor to existing shades

If you don’t use the microbot and you want to use your existing shades and they are not motorized then you have to look at adding some kind of Motor system as well as a radio device to communicate with SmartThings. It can often be done, and there are community members who have done it. But it gets complicated and expensive.

See the project reports section of the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki and look on the shades and window coverings list and you can read about what other people have done. :sunglasses:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section#Quick_Browse_Links_for_Project_Reports.2FQuestions

Sensors and weather information

As far as the trigger variables you want to use like sun, wind, etc. you’re going to have to add some sensors or use a weather reporting system to get that information so you can then feed it into webcore. There are a number of different options for this but we can get to the sensor discussion after you’ve looked at some of the shade control options.

Oh, and here’s the information on Core. Again, it’s the smartapp that should be able to handle any rules you want to set up:


#3

This is the link you wanna follow for anything hardware related. Its written for slat blinds but it shouldn’t be that hard to adapt to rolling if you can just interface the motor with your blinds.

If they’re already motorized you can just set this system up and have the servo push the button rather than the expensive robot finger system.

I rigged up three windows using this setup for under $20 total

On the software side i would use some combination of Weather Station Tile and CoRE pistons.

The CoRE triggers for the weather tile is listed under "relative humidity sensor"


#4

Using the inexpensive servo to push the buttons on an existing remote is very clever. :sunglasses:

As you probably know from other threads on the forum, I have safety concerns about simply adding a motor to window coverings, particularly those with cords, because they can literally kill kids or pets. If you live by yourself and you know you’ll never have any kid visitors, then obviously that’s a different situation. At my house we have dogs, cats, and lots of people coming and going, including some humans under five :family_man_woman_girl_boy: . So I stick with safety-rated solutions.

http://www.graberblinds.com/support/window-cord-safety#.WYobYLFlChA


(Joylove) #5

For those that have an interest I bought these rechargeable blinds. I’m impressed at how rarely I have to charge them, maybe 4 times a year, even though they are operated several times a day (i close them whilst we are out using the geofence).

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-Shipping-Sunscreen-Sun-Block-Roller-Blinds-For-Window-Curtains-size-100cm-X100cm-White-4piece-lot/1454429674.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.1RBH1d

They use a BOFU motor. http://www.bofumotor.com

I do find the Smarthtings -> RMBridge -> RMPro2 ->433MHz only works about 50% of the time.
I tried to use the home bridge+RMPro to capture the RF codes but it was unsuccessful. Maybe the codes are too long or they roll?

If they where available at the time I’d probably consider a dooya tube motor with the smart IQ now. The choice of remotes and the Smart IQ mean the chances of a reliable open API http ->433MHz bridge are better. A solar panel is available for the Dooya motors also.


#6

So do you have an existing remote or wall mount controller for them that is reliable?

Maybe the cheap servo/actuator method that @onxb mentioned is going to be the simplest, given that they’re 433 MHz.

You can design these solutions so that the actuator is attached to a box frame that you slide the remote in and out of, so you can still use the remote manually if you want. :sunglasses:


(Joylove) #7

Yes I already have Smarthings able to control the blinds, if somewhat unreliably.


#8

you’re using the RMBridge for that, right?

If you want to move onto the sensor discussion, we can do that. Where do you live? There are different weather options available depending on exact location.


(Joylove) #9

Yes that’s right RMBridge lol

I’m in North America, California.


#10

And do you have a Remote or wall controller for it that is reliable? Or are you just using the RMBridge?


#11

OK, on to sensors. :sunglasses:

One of the issues with the wind speed is that it tends to be very different if you just move a quarter of a mile away. So while you can get temperature, lux levels, humidity, from a weather service which might be located at your nearest airport, you might not want to use that for wind speed. So then you have to start looking at things like backyard sensors.

There are probably more, but I know of three different weather station Devices that can be connected one way or another to smartthings, if only through IFTTT, that would give you all of the variables you listed in your first post:

Bloomsky

http://shop.bloomsky.com

Netamo

Qubino Zwave Weather Station ( just released this year and as of this writing, August 2017, out of stock at most US retailers although I expect it to come back in a month or two. @TheSmartestHouse might have a better idea if it’s likely to come back in stock anytime soon.)

In all three cases the primary weather station is around $300, and for some of them have to pay an additional $99 for each specialty sensor, such as for wind speed. So obviously that can add up pretty high. I think it this point the Qubino is probably the least expensive.

There are definitely community members using all of these, and you can find most of discussions on the quick browse lists for weather. Check both the device type handler section and the smart app section.

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section

if you think you’d be OK with information from a service rather than relying on your own sensors, then we can talk about some of those options for Northern California.

And again, once you have the way to physically control the blinds and a source of information for your trigger events, you’re most likely going to set up the rules in webcore. Initial set up is fairly complex, but there are lots of community members who will be glad to help if you get stuck on anything.


#12

We’re waiting for a new delivery now and expect to get the Qubino Weather Station back in stock within a week or two:

It requires a dedicated custom device handler to work well with SmartThings so just contact us for instructions on how to get it set up or watch this helpful video: https://youtu.be/ySMtuBzwGlI

The retail price for this device, including all listed sensors, is $239.95 with free shipping. We created a special discount code for SmartThings users though so just enter WEATHERST to get 10% on the product.

Let us know if you have any other questions!


#13

Hi guys, we just received a few pieces of the Qubino Weather Station so it should be available for the next few days before we possibly sell out again:


(Joylove) #14

Good info thanks. Now the weekend is here I’d like to try some of your ideas.

I am lucky enough that there is a full weather station giving information to Weather Underground very close to my place. There’s also a neatmo wind station one block over. I’d like to hook into that, even if I end up with my own hardware eventually, I’d like to be able to feed into the crowd data too. Because I’m in a townhouse , technically we are not allowed to have things protruding over our garden fences, so I’d like not to be forced to have local wind sensing hardware if at all possible.


(Martin Verbeek) #15

Created an App for something similar a while back called smartScreens.

it can connect to several Weather providers: WeatherUnderground (including or excluding PWS data), OpenWeatherMap, DarkSky. Or get data from Netatmo, which might be local (your own) or favorites you have in Netatmo (use community Netatmo for that one to work). It will calculate the position of the sun towards your blinds based on the location of your Hub.

You can select the type of blind (shutter/screen) and then define the attributes for the blind, its orientation, when it has to protect against sun or wind, or when there is too much wind and the screen has be opened (or closed). You can define open/stop/close, when supported by the device.

The blinds in the end are controlled either by 433 (rfxcom/raspberry/domoticz) or some other protocol supported.

Might give you a nice headstart, if you can use asis, and have ideas for improvement, please tell, i will implement if it makes sense :-).

Smart Screens


(Joylove) #16

Thanks I can see the app is polling DarkSky but it doesn’t activate my blinds, even with just one blinds an a basic open/close as on/off features. Is there any way I can trigger an event to test the connection?


(Martin Verbeek) #17

Could you paste how you configured your blinds in the app?


(Nassere Besseghir) #18

Hi Martin,

This is exactly what I am looking for.
I have installed the SmartApp using the github repo in the IDE then tried to add the the SmartApp in SmartThings. Tha last one fails.

Any ideas in what could cause this behavior?

Many thanks


(Martin Verbeek) #19

Hi Nassere, what is the error you are getting? Is the app published already? With SmartThings you mean the mobile app? can you aleady select the app in Smartthings, if so could you retry and send me the log…


(Nassere Besseghir) #20

The SmartApp was successfully published.
It is adding it to the mobile app that does not work.

The logs mentions:
11f46230-9ef3-4ed7-9082-433af9a8eae0 1:55:13 PM: error physicalgraph.app.exception.UnknownDeviceTypeException: Device type ‘domoticzOnOff’ in namespace ‘verbem’ not found. @line 65 (pageSetupForecastIO)

I see. Does that mean that it only works with a Domoticz device? (I have Somfy screens controlled by a Tahome device)