I found one post from last year regarding someone wanting to integrate the butterfly flapper style dimmer in their Solatube with their ST automation.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, in a years’ time, he did not get a single response to his query. I am also interested in doing this integration, and not sure which category my post should be in.
Some of you might be wondering why someone would want a dimmer on a Solatube to begin with. If you have ever tried to take a nap in a room where there is no dimmer on a Solatube, then you will understand. Also, a Solatube can literally light a room completely in the middle of the night during a full moon.
I just got off the phone with Solatube International. While speaking to their support department, I was able to get some technical information about how this dimmer controller works and the voltage needed to operate the motor.
The factory actuator switch is a in-wall assembly designed to look similar to a in-wall light switch. Inside the assembly, there is a transformer which is connected to a supply voltage of between 90-210v AC. The transformer output feeds a momentary DPDT rocker-style switch with ±5v DC when the switch is activated. The motor operates between ±5v DC.
My thinking is that if someone makes a ±5v DC switch which will work with ST to supply ±5 volts DC and be able to reverse the current to operate the motor both directions, then it could be used with ST. I was unable to get the amperage rating of the motor, but was told that is probably very small.
The explanation of my goal, is probably a bit over-simplistic? I’m wondering if there might be some other issues involved in this integration. These issues might have to deal with:
-Figuring out partial open/close percentages
-Having the ST controller mimic a momentary switch
-Having the controller “know” when the flaps are completely opened or closed to
avoid overloading the motor or controller.
Rumor has it that Solatube R&D is currently developing a wireless controller for this dimmer, but it is not yet in production, and a production date is not set. I also don’t know if it will be an add-on or if the entire design of the motor assembly will change once R&D finishes the new design.
Any “takers” on this? Since the dimmer can be added on after the initial installation, I may wait until the new wireless design comes out and see if there is an easier method of doing this integration.