Roller Shades: Where do I start?!

Hi All,

We just finished a remodel, and I now have SIX south facing windows. The room really heats up during the day, and we don’t want to spend 5 minutes 2-4 times a day opening and closing our shades.

We would like roller shades, and I have found some inexpensive places to buy them. They sell motorized wireless shades, but can’t tell me much about their controllers. So I am considering ordering the bare shades and adding motors + controller.

Using SmartThings + WebCore at the moment. I would like to make sure that if whatever HA system I am using becomes unreliable or goes down, we can control the shades independent of the HA with a remote, possibly a stand-alone timer.

But the big issue is that I can’t seem to find any good info on how this all works. Are there standard tube sizes? Do different motors work with different controllers? Do their controllers work as I hoped? Etc. I have tried reading these forums as well as others, and it’s confusing.

Any suggestions for how to go about this? Ideally, an reasonably-priced place to order them ready-to-go would be great- and I am willing to pay a little more to get that (We need to move in, and I am TIRED of working on this house!). But if the best solution is to order motors, controller(s) and shades separately, I am good.

EDIT: I am in the US

US or U.K.? The device selection does vary.

If you are in the US, the simple solutions would be either

One) Serena shades from Lutron. These will work with the official smart things/Lutron integration. Nice shades, but pricey. They do run sales 3 or 4 times a year, and I would expect one in the next month or so before the end of the year .

  1. Z wave shades from zebra blinds. Nice shades, one of the staff is quite active in the forum and can answer any questions. They have tested smart things integrations. They have a thread here:
  1. A less expensive but much more complicated solution is to create your own integration with dooya motors. Check the project report section of the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki and look on the shades and window coverings list for project reports from other members who have done this:


Check out Axis Gear ( They’re a new company that has developed a product that motorizes shades, including existing ones.


Aren’t they still in pre-order? I don’t think it’s actually launched yet let alone met any of the safety considerations that were previously raised in that thread.

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They’re definitely in early stages. Their website shows they’ve shipped round 1 pre-orders, round 2 is shipping soon, and round 3 has sold out.

What was the safety consideration?

I’m not completely sold on Axis, but so far it appears to be one of the more DIY-friendly (potential) options.

The safety concern is that a child (or pet, or other living thing) could get themselves tangled in the mechanism (either a pull cord, or the shade itself). Motorized shades have to go through a rigorous safety qualification process to make sure the are safe for unattended operation.

@ultralame I would really suggest that you look a the Serena shades. Yeah they are expensive, but all shades are expensive. If you haven’t bought any shades at all yet, you don’t have any sunk cost here. I also assume you don’t have power run to each window head? If that is the case, Serena shades get really high marks for their battery powered models. The battery life is measured in years (instead of months or weeks).

You can certainly go down the DIY route, but in the end you’re going to be much happier with Serena.


I have some shades from zebrablinds and I’m pretty happy with them.

They come with a small z-wave remote that can be directly associated with the shade, so even when ST is down you can manually control the shade.


If you’re in Europe, I followed this guide (Google machine translation but you should get the geist).

It’s contolled by Z-Wave with a Qubino Flush shutter DC - Gen5. Link to the device hander here.

Working fab!

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Here’s another option:

Thank you! But we bought some Somfy shades from ZebraShades and they have been working really well.

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And how did you connect it to SmartThings? Did you buy a Z-Wave adapter?

Sorry for the late response. They connect directly to the ST Hub via Zwave. Since I have SIX of the damn things, it takes a little time to set it up (you have to reset the device AND it’s remote, then add the device and the remote back to ST). But once working, it’s pretty great.

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Sorry for asking so many questions :slight_smile: What ZWave adapter are you using? Or the motors have built-in ZWave?

The shades sold by Zebra blinds have z-wave built in.

Hi jbtibor,

I bought this line…

They have zwave built into the motor controller; They have a micro-usb lead that is used to connect to power. They come with a “pod” that holds 8 AA batteries (lithium is a good idea), or you could possibly figure out how to wire them to permanent power (wish I had thought about that before I closed up the walls!). I have our battery pods mounted with velcro tape to the top inside of the window jam, behind the valence, so you can’t see them. Changing batteries requires pulling out the valence (so install it so you can do this). Easy enough.

They have a single button on the motor for opening/closing and joining/resetting ZWave. They also can have a 2-button remote that comes paired with them that opens, closes, and allows you to set the top and bottom of travel.

When you order, you can also order a three button remote they will configure to work with all of the shades, so one button can open, close or set a home position which can be anywhere for each individual window (so open, closed or 3/4 up if you want).

If you are using them with ST, you need to reset all the shades and controllers. Then you add each shade to ST, add it’s 2-button remote to ST (which is kinda cool, because you can use the remote separately for automation) and then pair the individual remotes back to the shade. This is a good idea in case you just want a quick button to move a single shade. We did this, then mounted the remote to the window trim. So you don’t have to ask Alexa or pull your phone out to move a single window. After that, you can also set up the group remote so one button opens/closes them all.

I would like to see a better device handler/HA integration with Alexa. You have to say “turn on the shades” to open them- the terms “open/close” don’t work, since the device handler treats them like dimmer lights. But I can deal. And honestly, until I THOROUGHLY research any new config/handler, I am not gonna mess with it. I have SIX SHADES and 7 REMOTES working with several auto-mations, it takes a lot of time and effort to reconfigure all of them if something stops working.

Also, bought an in-wall dimmer switch that I haven’t even hooked up to a light, just to use as a controller for these. Right now I have it working with taps for open/close, but I think I can get it working as a dimmer… if you set the dim level with the paddle, it should be able to send that level to the shades. But haven’t had the time. “Alexa, set Shade 1 to 40%” works, but I haven’t figured out how to do “Alexa, set the master bedroom shades to 40%” yet. I could probably do this with a virtual device and WebCore.

Since the release of Alexa routines, it’s now possible to say “Alexa, open (or close) ___” and have Alexa turn off the shades, since it’s treated as a dimmer like you said.

The routines are created in the Alexa app.

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Ah, I will give that a shot.