SmartThings Community

Native Axis Gear Integration (Automated Blinds)


(Matt) #1

Hi,

There have been a few threads about automated blinds and Axis Gear but none recently.

I thought I’d revive the conversation. I received my Axis Gear last week and hooked it up - it works pretty well, controlled via BT from the Gear app.

on the Axis site they list SmartThings as supported (w/ the Z wave model) - however after a handful of emails back and forth with Support teams at both ST and Axis, it is clear it is not supported, at least not without a massive hack Axis provided (removing your entire location and all of your Things, et cetera…which I obviously am not going to do).

Has anyone integrated successfully between ST and Gear? If not I may work on some code to do so, just curious if anyone has already done this.

Thanks
Matt


(Jon Treadway) #2

I have, although only 1 AXIS Gear so far (I pre-ordered 8 Zigbee chipped devices in round 1). There is some trial and error involved; this isn’t a plug-and-play experience like a lot of more mature SmartThings integrated products. Some comments I’d have about the whole AXIS Gear experience so far that don’t seem to show up elsewhere:

(1) I installed all 8 of my Gears onto walls first. That part was pretty easy, but you have to make sure the cord is really tight when you screw in the plate that the Gear hangs on; I did not pull it tight enough on the first couple, and had to re-position screws later.

(2) I tried integrating the Gears into SmartThings after I had installed them on the walls; I was expecting a pretty easy integration based on my previous experience with ~100 or so other things in my condo. That wasn’t the case… I only had 1 email to the AXIS team, and they sent me an 18 page PDF called SmartThings Integration Tutorial v5.0r that walks you through 33 steps to add the Gears to SmartThings using GitHub and their own device handler. That sounds cumbersome, and it did take me (definitely not an expert user) a couple hours or so to add the 1 Gear onto SmartThings that I’ve added so far, but it wasn’t painful - my lack of experience is why it took as long as it did. I did not have to delete my location or any of the other things I have in SmartThings.

(3) Another problem with my install was that the windows where the Gears are located are about as far away from my hub as you can get in my condo. It’s not far… only a single floor 2 bedroom condo… and I have lots of other Z-Wave and Zigbee devices between the windows and the hub, but it apparently was too far. So for the 1 Gear that I’ve put on SmartThings so far, I had to take it off the window/wall, and go sit with it next to the hub to get it to pair.

(4) Be careful with where you place the solar panel. My 8 were all placed on windows facing south and east, and I live in the Caribbean, so plenty of sunlight. Except I put them at the top of the windows, behind the blinds, and didn’t account for an overhang outside that blocked so much light that the Gears on the upper windows wouldn’t function after only a few days of use. Those 4 panels will have to be moved, which stinks for me, since I did all the cord management on them already for the solar panel cord.

(5) Add-on to (4), The 12 (yes 12) AA back-up batteries in each solar panel seem to run out quickly. I’ve had my Gears for about a month now, using them not terribly often, but all of my upper window Gears are dead at this point. Again, I’m going to have to take them down and move the panels to hopefully build up some stored energy, but the back-up batteries seem to have gone out in the meantime.

Some of my mistakes are probably obviously dumb ones borne of being excited to get the Gears up on the wall after waiting through the Kickstarter campaign, but hopefully this is helpful to someone. Definitely ask for that specific PDF if you happen to talk to support again; the guy I dealt with was named Matt and was great, just like all the people working at AXIS, which I’ve found to be the best part of their product.


(Matt) #3

Thanks so much Jon for the detailed write up! Really appreciate it.

I’m surprised you didn’t have to delete your Location. I read through all of the steps and I thought it has you delete your location.

I guess I’ll go back to their guide and try it myself.

Thanks.
Matt


#4

Do these really cost like $200 per window??


(Matt) #5

Yes, they do cost that much.


(Steven Zedeck) #6

I too have connected my 4 Axis Gears to SmartThings.

It was a somewhat challenging process but I got it to work.

I set up a couple of automation routines where the shades open/close at sunrise/sunset.

However sometimes one shade doesn’t cooperate. Sometimes it does.

If I click on the open all shades button it works.

It seems that the routines work sometimes and not others.

Suggestions ?
Thanks in advance.


(Rob DeMillo) #7

Thanks for restating the conversation, @mcb - it’s important to keep this topic going now that they are shipping the zigbee units.

Like many, I ordered 1 unit and waited months to receive it. It finally did and I did the install with smartthings. I didn’t have many of the problems that @Jon_Treadway described, as I have a lot of experience installing non standard devices via the IDE, as well as writing some rudimentary code for ST devices.

So, cutting to the chase, does it work? Yes but not well. I’ve looked through the Axis code for ST and it’s a bit of a mess. (sorry if the author is reading this). I can see some points for improvement, but not being familiar with the axis api, I didn’t want to make it worse. (As an example, the code can very easily be tricked into reporting that the shade is open greater than 100% - just hit the reset button a few times and you’ll see the bug appear. (thank God it’s just reporting an incorrect value. If it actually acted on that value it could do serious damage to my shades.)

Eventually I got everything to work - but it’s not perfect by any means. That app needs a lot of work.

Still I was impressed enough at the potential to purchase 10 more for the first floor of my house. I hope axis survives as a company and improves the integration enough where I Fujitsu just make a costly mistake.


#8

Just purchased one and can’t get it to work. I had it working for a hot minute, while my hub was ~3 ft from the device. Then moved my hub back downstairs (which is directly below the Axis Gear ~12 ft away total distance). The Axis seems to constantly drop off, being labeled as “unavailable”. I have 50+ devices and multiple scenes, all of which are working fine. I am by no means an expert with smartthings, but I have been working with z-wave devices (former vera user) for years. Any suggestions on how to make this work?!?!?!?!?!


(sidjohn1) #9

These are Zigbee devices… like zwave if your mesh is not solid the devices on the edge will fall off. If you’re familiar with zwave you troubleshot this the same way with 1 additional question… is my WiFi channel interfering with my Zigbee channel? Once that is answered (search forums for help it is covered thoughly) just like zwave, make sure you have Zigbee repeating devices between the hub and the device that has issues. Ie hardwired switch’s/outlets, plug in devices… just like zwave. Zigbee Lightbulbs may/may not count and have a history of being unreliable repeaters. If repeater coverage is solid then just like zwave repair the mesh and see if that helps (search forums for help it is covered thoughly). Your got this, just rule the samethings out as you would your zwave mesh and the device should wold like a champ… unless it’s a dud.


#10

Ok, I’ll give it a shot. I have ZERO zigbee devices (other then my new Axis). I’ll buy something that can act as a repeater and check my wifi channels as well. Appreciate the assist and I’ll keep the thread posted.


(Rob DeMillo) #11

Check Amazon. There are a number of zigbee wall warts for turning lamps and appliances on and off.


#12

Yup, just bought 2 for $10 each via amazon. Doesn’t get much cheaper then that. Thanks!


#13

@sidjohn1 - You nailed it man . . . I changed my wifi channels on my AP and router to ch 11, since my zigbee is on ch 19. Then reset the axis gear and set it up again to pair with ST. Sure enough, it connected and is working perfectly via the ST app and GH voice commands. After reading a little bit more about zigbee, I was quite surprised how well known the wifi interference issue is among the products. Seems like a massive flaw. Guess that’s why z-wave seems to dominate. As a side note, anyone know why Axis chose zigbee and not z-wave? My first guess is cost?!? I’m still gonna use the zigbee plug wart when it arrives, just for good measure. Can never have a strong enough mesh! Thanks for the assist guys!


(sidjohn1) #14

During their kickstarter they planned to offer both, but killed zwave at the last second to focus on the bluetooth/Zigbee solution. While I don’t know their reason why but I’d guess it’s global simplicity. Zigbee is 2.4g globally, zwave varies greatly in the 800-900mhz from country to country. And yes it’s easier and cheaper to develope a product with a single radio that can be sold to all 7b humans.