Newbie trying to do Roller Shutter project using Fibaro


(Tony) #1

Hi

I’ve just ordered a couple of Fibaro Roller Shutter 2 devices, the plan being to install them into some Venetian Blinds to both raise/lower the blinds and adjust the slat angle.

There are a couple of videos on Youtube showing this working, but I can’t find any project pages showing how best to setup/configure it.

I therefore have a few questions, any and all advice/pointers gladly received.

  1. I realise I need motors to drive both the movement and the change of slat angle. The specific blind I’m looking at is quite wide at over 9 feet, therefore I suspect I’ll need a high torque/low speed motor to raise and lower the blinds…appropriate recommendations available in the UK gladly received. Also it’s unclear from the Youtube vid but I assume he’s using a different motor for the slat angle adjustment, any recommendations here? Lastly will I need two Fibaro controllers per blind, one for raise/lower and a different one for the slats?

  2. Could anyone point me at either some good youtube vids or project pages where people have done this (not just showing the finished result…but a step by step through the process).

  3. Will I need to use the fibaro app to control the blinds or are there either IFTTT or similar options where I can control them through voice using my GHs?

Thanks in advance

Tony


#2

This forum is for people using the Samsung SmartThings home automation platform. So people in this community would use the SmartThings hub and the SmartThings app to control the blinds. Any examples you find searching here will assume that you have a SmartThings hub to start. After that, the Fibaro control will appear as a dimmer, and you just use the regular dimmer controls in the app for it.

People here do not use the Fibaro app: that is for people using the Fibaro control center, which is a competitor to SmartThings. But fibaro end devices including the shutter control can be used with any certified Z wave hub, including SmartThings.

SmartThings does has an IFTTT channel, but that isn’t what you would use in this case, you would just be using the regular SmartThings automations.

SmartThings also has official integrations with Google Home and Amazon echo, so you can get voice control that way.

There are definitely people who have used the Fibaro devices with SmartThings. You can see project reports on a motorized blinds by looking at the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki, looking down towards the bottom for the project reports section, and then choosing the list for “shades and window coverings.” Just remember that all of the reports will assume that you already have a smartthings hub and are connecting your devices to it and using its rules engine.

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


#3

Just FYI, that devicejust controls your already motorized blinds. What blinds are you going to be installing them on? If they aren’t motorized, then you’re SOL.


#4

I believe people do quite commonly add shutter motors themselves as part of this kind of project. I know there are at least two project reports on using the inexpensive Dooya motors from China, although I don’t know if those are still being made. Otherwise for a better known brand, Somfy motors Are probably the most commonly used for DIY projects.

But you make a very good point: a voice-controlled window coverings project will require

  1. the window coverings themselves. Note that not all types will work with all motors. Some motors work only with roller shades, for example.

  2. motors to move the shades. Somfy motors are a very popular top brand choice. Otherwise, as mentioned, people do sometimes get less expensive Chinese motors.

  3. A controller device for the motor which can receive a RF signal to tell it to operate (typically the RF signal would be using the Z wave protocol if you want to connect to SmartThings). The Fibaro shutter control are very popular for this purpose, but there are some other brands as well including Qubino.

If you are in Europe, Vesternet has some very good articles with drawings showing how to attach the radio control unit from three) to the motor in two).

Here’s just one example showing a somfy motor with the Fibaro shutter control

https://www.vesternet.com/resources/application-notes/apnt-73

  1. a home automation hub to manage the controller device. For the purposes of this forum that would be a SmartThings hub.

  2. A voice assistant device, usually google home or Amazon echo

  3. A smart phone, needed for both four and five above

if you aren’t planning on setting up a SmartThings system

If you don’t already have a home automation hub, and you want to add voice control to venetian blinds, I would return the Fibaro and look at MySmartBlinds. This product has been on the market for about two years, has all the safety certifications, is sold at Home Depot and other DIY stores as well as an Amazon, and works well with Amazon echo. It doesn’t require a home automation hub, it just works with the phone app and its own bridge. They have both premade and retrofit kits and reviews are generally good.

At Amazon UK

Note, however, that there is a present no integration with SmartThings for MySmartBlinds Devices. Those who already have a SmartThings home automation hub, or who want to go that direction, would use other devices instead. One of those options would be somfy motors plus Fibaro shutter controllers, but again that would require a smartthings hub. :sunglasses:


#5

That’s why I asked. It sounded to me like the OP thought that this would be a solution for any blinds. I highly doubt that someone would by motorized blinds and just not hook them up.


(Tony) #6

Hi

I have a smartthings hub which I’m already using in conjunction with Hue lighting and my GHs.

The blinds currently fitted are not motorised and my intent is to use the Fibaros in conjunction with yet to be bought motors to motorise the existing blinds…there are numerous partial solutions dotted around in text format and on youtube.

The fibaro can be used to adjust both height and slat angle as can be seen here…watch the third blind from the left.


#7

Yes, that is if you have motorized blinds that allow for control of both of those functions. Most blind can be retro-fit for tilt but height is a LOT more complicated because you have to maintain that level of tension all the time, unless you have a motor with some type of brake. I have not seen any retrofit options for retracting slat blinds up and down…only tilt. Which is what, IMHO, you really need. Who wants them to go up and down?


(Tony) #8

I do
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#9

You do what? Have motorized blinds? That’s interesting because in your first post you say you’re looking for motors for your blinds. So, which is it?
Also, you say you’ve seen youtube videos showing people have done this (for control of both angle and of blinds height). I’d be very interested to see, since I have never seen anyone move blinds up and down, only shades. The blinds that I have, you couldn’t move up and down on a motorized unit. If my 2" faux wood blinds were not tied down at the bottom, the slightest breeze would make them bang and smack against the wall. Kind of the whole point of having blinds is that they cover part of the window, even when they’re open. If you want something that’s fully open, install a shade or curtain.
Exactly what blind do you have, if you have any?


(Tony) #10

Your last sentence was “who wants blinds to go up and down?”.

I would have therefore thought it was obvious what my answer related to.


#11

You didn’t bother answering any of my questions back to you. Do you want help or not?

Also, I see that you’ve viewed all of 5 topics here on the forum. Since the people posting here are regular Joes who just like helping people and not pain ST staff, it’s customary to search the forum BEFORE posting yourself. Because, odds are, the answer is out there. There’s no way you could have done a search of the forum by only looking at 5 topics.


(Tony) #12

Ryan

Your approach to this seems somewhat confrontational to say the least.

As you’re not getting pleasure from it why don’t I look for help from other members instead. Thanks for your input.


#13

Many people have motorized blinds that move up and down. As well as non-motorized ones. It’s usually a matter of aesthetics because you want to see the scene out the window unblocked by horizontal lines, sometimes it’s a to allow easier access to a window that you want to open or close manually, but it’s a matter of personal preference.

In the US, in general there is a distinction made between “lift” (goes up and down) and “tilt.”

It is generally much easier to do only one of these, but you will find some brand/models that only lift while others only tilt.

You generally have to get into the more expensive models before you get “lift and tilt” in motorized blinds. Lutron’s Sivoia line, for example, does both, but it is one of the more expensive models that they offer.

http://www.lutron.com/en-US/Products/Pages/ShadingSystems/SivoiaQS/WindowTreatments/VenetianBlindsTiltAlign/VenetianBlindsTiltAlign.aspx

Lutron wood blinds offer independent control of lift and tilt
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Independent control adjusts height of blinds and provides access to a window without affecting tilt

I’m sure there are similar brands available in the UK, I’m just not sure what they are.

Different people look for different features, but certainly any of these three: lift only, tilt only, or lift and tilt, are common use cases. :sunglasses:


#14

Back to the original question…

The next detail is whether you are OK with the blinds only tilting when they are lowered all the way to the maximum position. That’s because this can be done with a simpler motor set up.

basically once the blinds are fully extended there’s another loop, if you have the right kind of “corded tube” Design, which can then be pulled to tilt the blind to the desired angle. This specific design will require only one motor, although it has to be a stronger motor than those used just for lift or just for tilt.

Some other designs will, as you noted, require two motors.

And if you want to be able to move the blinds partway up and down and then tilt them, it generally requires a more sophisticated design, like the Lutron one, but those are also usually more expensive

Most zwave devices That can be used with the vera Z wave hub can also be used with smartthings, At least if you are using the smartthings classic app.

So you might take a look at the following thread from the vera discussion forum: it covers several possibilities and goes into details on why you might choose one over the other. The thread itself is a couple of years old, but it goes into more detail about the design issues than many do. :sunglasses:

http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php?topic=33343.0


#15

And here’s another older article that might be of interest.

Vesternet is a home automation Retailer in the UK that has generally excellent technical support. They are an authorised dealer for Fibaro and Qubino.

Back in 2015, about the same time that vera thread was active, they wrote a tech-support article on how to get both lift and tilt with a Fibaro roller shutter 2 device.

They explain that it’s only going to work when the blinds are at the maximum closed position, and then the first half second is going to tilt the blinds. After that they will start to rise.

You could certainly get in touch with them and ask if the information has been updated since that article.

https://www.vesternet.com/knowledgebase/technical/kb-83/

A Venetian / Vertical Blind motor sets the blades tilting before moving the blind open and closed.
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For example if the motor starts to open the blind it will first swing all the blades to the open position and only then will the blind actually open, and vice versa for closing the blind.
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The Fibaro Roller Shutter 2 plays with this initial movement, measuring how long it takes for the motor to completely swing the blades through their extremes and thus can predict how long it takes to reach, for example, 50 % (45 º) allowing you to individually control the blades themselves.


(Tony) #16

That vesternet article is certainly useful and I think clearly indicates what I’m trying to do is possible.

My understanding of the Fibaro RS2 is that as well as allowing power monitoring it also allows ‘range’ parameters thus allowing the motion limits to be determined in software.

I managed to pick up the two Fibaros I ordered at an extremely competitive price as they were boxed new but unused old stock. I’m quite looking forward to doing this as a project and perhaps will document and where appropriate film my work to help others, after all, while doing this has some technical issues it’s not exactly rocket science.


#17

More good news: it looks like I misremembered the Vesternet article the first time. The blinds do NOT have to be at maximum bottom position in order to tilt. They just have to be stopped first. This is because any up or down request will first move the blades to max horizontal so the blinds can move up or down more easily. Vesternet is saying that Fibaro takes advantage of this to stop the motor during that first half second before the vertical movement begins.

Vesternet is normally very good about this sort of information, so I believe them, although I’m a bit confused as to whether the tilt could be adjusted again after the first setting without first going to max horizontal again, but obviously time will tell on that one.

I’m hoping one of the people actually using the product will join the conversation soon, but at least it does seem possible. :sunglasses:

Best of luck, and a detailed project report when you’re finished would be great.


(Tony) #18

I’d already surmised that the slats would have to be ‘flattened’ before up/down movement, purely on the basis that manually moving blinds up and down when the slats aren’t flat often causes ‘catching’ issues.

I think the next thing I’ll need to identify is appropriate high torque/low speed motors, shouldn’t be too difficult as there’s a whole range of motors out in the world for different things that could be repurposed to this.

Thanks for the Vesternet references.

I’m also trying to work out what timezone you’re in…or are you a vampire who just doesn’t sleep? :grin:


#19

I’m in California, not a vampire (trust me :wink: ), but I do have very erratic sleep patterns.

as far as motors, I would stick to motors designed for window coverings. There are multiple safety issues involved in motorising these, as well as design challenges. You don’t want to just toss in any reversing motor or you could literally kill someone.

SmartThings, for example, is known to occasionally, if rarely, randomly trigger events. You’ll find Reports in the forums of lights coming on unexpectedly, locks unlocking, garage doors opening, etc.

Because of the safety hazards specific to blinds, I’d advise choosing motors with the additional safety features built in.

JMO. :sunglasses:


(Tony) #20

Good advice and I’d certainly look for motors taking that into account.

Whereabouts in CA.? I’ve travelled fairly extensively and am a huge fan of Monterey having stayed at the Spa hotel there a number of times.

Have driven PCH from SD all the way up to Seattle a couple of times, good memories and I could see myself living in Big Sur if I wasn’t convinced at some point it could all fall into the sea when the big one hits. :open_mouth: