Window Shade Control


(Kyle LeNeau) #1

I have once had an idea to control my shades in my family room via remote control and program.  I would imagine the device to be just a little motor that could turn a chain/gear.  The motor would have to be programable thought to support different calibrations of movement and timing.  I would also like to see this combined with a photo chromatic sensor in the room someplace.  During full sunlight the blinds would open to let in sunlight and heat during the winter or keep out sunlight and heat in the summer.  A smart app to automatically open and close the blinds based on sunlight would be the first thing I’d help make.


(Chrisb) #2

Knowing my luck, just as I’m walking by the picture window in my dining room in my underwear, the sensor would trigger and the blinds would open! :slight_smile:

There apparently are some zigbee blinds already:

http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/556007094/Zigbee_Wireless_Smart_Blind_Window.html

Check out this video starting at 1:35:


(Chrisb) #3

On a side note, I think it would be a great idea for someone to develop a small motor that could be controlled via zigbee or z-wave… something that could be turned on for a set number of seconds or something like that.  It might be a good idea for SmartThings to make a generic unit that maker could plug into their own Things.  Would be practical for many operations: Closing doors, closing windows, opening/closing blinds, turning solar panels to follow the suns movement… it’s sorta the next logical step I think.

SmartThings allows us to connect ordinary things to the virtual so they can report and conditions to us.  This would allow us to virtually ‘touch’ ordinary things so that we can make them respond to our commands.


(Eric Schuld) #4

Have you ordered from Alibaba before? What is the pricing on these products - etc?

 

Are they just a motor that would retrofit onto any default set of blinds? Their description doesn’t help much! “2,Vigorously rectangular motor is used for different sizes of blind windows.”


(Dave Hastings) #5

wouldn’t it be so cool if we all had these windows!  http://gizmodo.com/5876441/samsung-turns-any-window-into-an-amazing-computer


(Chrisb) #6

Never ordered from Alibaba, and they are just the “clearing house” not the manufacturer.  Kinda like an Amazon user store or ebay store I think.


(Eric Schuld) #7

Yeah - that’s what I thought. While these are not high on my list currently - they would certainly be something awesome for down the road.

 

Hopefully there is someone more brave than I that will order some and report to us how they work. :slight_smile:


(Andrew Urman) #8

Currently working on making a product called ShutterEaze SmartThings compatible!

 

Check it out in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYx5UdJLi70


(Eric Schuld) #9

Cool - any plans to move to things like standard mini blinds?


(Andrew Urman) #10

Probably the most difficult aspect of retrofitting mini-blinds is there no standard way to develop something around all of them. They come in all shapes and sizes. It’d be nice to have a product where you could just add it to your current mini-blinds instead of replacing the whole setup. I’d like to hear the communities ideas on how you guys would control already installed blinds.


(Mike) #11

Andrew,

 

I think blinds are going to require two (or possibly more) different devices, since most use either the rod that’s twisted, or a pair of cords, to change the blind angle.

  1. a batter powered motor with a “?” like hook on the end of a geared arm that would replace the bar that, when rotated, changes the blind angles

  2. a separate motor (or pair of motors) that uses rubber grips (I’m thinking about something like printer paper rollers) to hold the rope used to change the angle (or raise and lower the blinds, though, based on weight, this would probably require a much stronger motor to accomplish the latter).  We would need three motors (one to raise, and another to lower) in a line if the two cords were not connected in a continuous loop.

Cellular blinds (e.g. http://www.baliblinds.com/Style.do?productLineId=59) may be able to use device #2 as well…

 

Does this make sense?


(Andrew Urman) #12
1) a batter powered motor with a “?” like hook on the end of a geared arm that would replace the bar that, when rotated, changes the blind angles
Great idea for the twist types of blinds! Would replacing the bar with a motor mean that there is no physical control over the shades?
2) a separate motor (or pair of motors) that uses rubber grips (I’m thinking about something like printer paper rollers) to hold the rope used to change the angle (or raise and lower the blinds, though, based on weight, this would probably require a much stronger motor to accomplish the latter).  We would need three motors (one to raise, and another to lower) in a line if the two cords were not connected in a continuous loop.
I've thought about the weight as well. It is a very heavy load. With 3 motors capable of pulling that weight, plus the battery, it could be a huge gadget to mount on a wall. I'll have to take apart an off the shelf automatic blinds system and see whats what.

I’ll post pics and give an update when I get my hands on one!


(St G) #13

This is absolutely something I’m interested in. I have a loft with huge windows that have vertical blinds:

Thus far there is no graceful solution (that I can find) to automate these things. To use SmartThings to say “It’s Movie Night!” or “I’m Sleeping In” to open and close these blinds is high on my list.


(Eric Schuld) #14

I’d like to think that the first - twist type - would be much easier than retrofitting something to pull the blind up… I can hardly pull the dang things up with them being evenly pulled up…

Anyway - I would be interested in something that could do that. We have some blinds that we never pull up - but like to open. It’ll be interesting to see if someone tries to make something that could be run by an arduino board and a smart shield.


(Andrew Urman) #15

It really depends on the type of blinds. I’ve been using the ShutterEaze for plantation shutters and it works great. Keep an eye out for them.

Eric, I agree with the pull up blinds. Sometime they are hard enough to pull up by hand, let alone motors. It will be interesting to see how creativity solves that issue.


(Crash Test) #16

I am also interested in Vertical Blind Controller. That might be easier to develop. I also think that it would be enough if the motors were able to just rotate the blinds rather than slide open. That functionality would be enough for most.

I started a rough design of such a motor - it required a small pulley wheel that the vertical blinds string goes around. The motor turns the pulley wheel left or right depending on weather you are closing or opening the blinds.


(Andrew Urman) #17

submit it to the SmartThings Maker Contest!


(Ksenia Vinogradova ) #18

Hi there!

We have developed a small device that clips onto existing window blinds and adds them to the Internet of Things in seconds. One of our strech goals on indiegogo is integration with SmartThings. I believe that is the kind of product everybody was waiting for!
Check out our campaign, we have just launched:

Any help and feedback is more than welcomed! Get involved!


(Greg) #19

any word on the shuttereze I am starting on a new HA system using ST and just bought a house with between 20 -25 custom made plantation blinds and would LOVE to have these but i am reaching a dead end with the website and finding any info?


(Ksenia Vinogradova ) #20

Hi Greg!
I know Jeff from ShutterEase, here is his email: jeff<at>shuttereaze.com
Best,
Ksenia