[RELEASE] ESP8266 / Arduino servo controlled smart blinds

I have about 30 windows to do so this project is about just right for me.

I am thinking that running some 18/3 24 guage wire to each window should do just fine? Get some connectors like these to make a really clean look?

Maybe put a in-wall control box in each room closet or something to hide the 8266 and the powersupplies?

Proably be cheaper to just buy a 3D printer for the gear boxes…

I will be using regular Bali thermal cellular shades at on average $35 per.
$200/30 windows will give me the cost per window gear box= $7 per window
$5 per servo
$10 per Power Supply to power the 8266 and servos (Don’t know power requirements)

Plus material to mud and paint…

Looking at about $75 per window.
Hmmm That’s about $2,225 to do my entire house.

Am I missing anything here?

Man, I must live in a box! lol

After watching the video again and reading your post, project just got easier. seems like I would just need to run a 18/2 to each window and put the 8266 in the shades.

No control boxes. Seems like just need to figure out power supply.

Would one big centralized power supply work?

How’s your project going?

Taking down the blind(s) this weekend to check what I’m dealing with (shaft position and complications? lol). I’ll have to be precise about this project since the window I’m working with is in the living room. Not sure the wife would appreciate putting newspaper on it while I tinker :relieved:

This project only tilts a 2" faux wood blind. It doesn’t pull the shade up/down. Not sure cell shade blinds will work unless you use a stepper instead of a servo.

Is there a project that I can model for shades?

Exactly. I’ve contemplated making something that would lift the blinds up, however I suspect power requirements would be a lot more because of the potential weight involved.

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I’m using a 2000mah micro USB charger to run the show per blind. Plug that into the NodeMCU or Wemos D1. Connecting the servo’s power wires to VCC and GND. I too have noticed if the servo binds up it will over draw on power and the Arduino will reset.

I’m planning on installing a USB/Wall plug socket built in to connect a USB cable to in the future for my 5v of power. I suspect I may run into issues though with enough amperage when I try to actuate 3 blinds in the same window array simultaneously.

I’m going to cover this when I get the documentation all setup… however for calibration I plug the servo into power so it’s at its neutral 90*. if you have the board already setup use the web interface and set it to 90*. Align the servo horn on the teeth of the servo so that screws are parallel to the base of the gearbox. Align the blinds so that the rotation shaft is parallel to the gearbox. Basically setting up the whole shebang for open. drop in the small gear on the top and slide the whole setup into the end of the blinds.

If the servo throw is wrong and reaching an end point this also could cause too much amp draw and reset the Arduino.

I’m also debating on printing up a number of these gearboxes if people need them. @eibyer posted earlier a quote for $9.69 to print just the gearbox.

I think if you cut one of the flanges off of the servo you can get a direct link to the shaft instead of needing a gear box. I’m going to be taking a look at it today but if that’s the case it might prevent the binding issue you’re having. That being said, it will only work for blinds with an offset shaft, a centered shaft won’t give enough clearance for the servo.

My first draft was just that. I ended up having to cut a hole in the top bracket of the blind. Unfortunately 180* of servo throw isn’t enough to go close to close on the blinds. If you just wanted to go close to open it’s more than enough.

hmmm, that would be no good. I guess I could always try a continuous rotation servo, though they’re 3 times the price…

That’s why I designed the gearbox.

If I used a continuous rotation servo or modified a standard servo for continuous rotation I would have needed a potentiometer connected to the shaft to determine position… or switches for end stops or something.

Yeah, it gets complicated. Unfortunately there’s no perfect solution.

it looks like a 270 degree servo would be about 3-4 times more than the standard 180 degree unit I spec’d. That could work to direct drive the window blinds, I’d need to adjust my code in the arduino to handle the PWM numbers instead of a degree…

Are you saying I could power the servo with 9V and plug it’s data pin to Wemos D1 without any problem?

Unfortunately no. The servo only will safely handle up to 6v of power. I’m using old cell phone chargers to power my blinds.

I have thought about finding a 6v power source that could supply up to 6A of power… it’d allow me to easliy power my bank of 3 powered blinds.

Have you guys found long usb cables with some flex to it, similar to the flat cat6 cables maybe? It would be easier to hide I think.

all I am worried about is the Wemos D1 or Esp8266 as I am told that it cannot feed data to a device (in this case the servo) which is powered by more than 3.3V. Do you agree with that?

do you mean something like: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Flat-Noodle-Micro-USB-Charger-Sync-Data-Cable-for-Android-Smartphone-1m-2m-3M-/162117579100

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