Z-Wave + integrated blinds/shades: Custom Graber Virtual Cord Shades

Hi Neal,
Could you provide a couple recommendations for which rechargeable batteries will work the best with these shades? Something on Amazon would be ideal but any other sources that you can recommend for reasonably priced rechargeable batteries would be quite helpful.

So the general guidelines for the battery is 1.5v to 1.6v batteries and lithium ion especially if they are the non-rechargeable ones. That said we have been testing a few batteries based on suggestion from the ST community as well as others.

High capacity non-rechargeable lithium ions are rated by the manufacturer to go 6 - 12 months on daily use.

The longest lasting rechargeable were the 2800mAH NiZn Ultracell Batteries, went between 4 - 6 months on daily use before a recharge. BUT… some of the batteries were a dud and we had to get them replaced. We are testing some 2500mAH NiMH eneloops right now with the standard 1.2v; it works since it actually peaks to 1.4v. Not expecting it to last more than 2 - 3 months before a recharge. We are also testing a set of batteries that aren’t technically out yet, if they are released it would be a great option, but no idea when it’s being released. I can’t even say who manufactured them due to reasons.

@ZebraBlinds Thanks Neal. I think I am getting close to pulling the trigger.

I have 5 large windows facing west (https://goo.gl/photos/1HjEdLRX6cfpBsXcA). The sun really bakes us. Which shade/blind would recommend?

My other hesitation is picking the right color/material for our tastes without being able to see/feel/touch them before delivery. I am guessing there’s no return policy that would cover us if we simply changed our mind on color/material after receiving it?

You can order free samples of the fabric first.
And returns policy is, no returns accepted since once manufactured these cannot be resold. If the shade is damaged, or has a manufacturing defect (that cannot be fixed with a spare part) it will be replaced.

The choice of shade comes down to a few thing: Are you looking to block heat only or also light? Do you want to be able to see through the shade? Is insulation a priority?

Any of the light filtering shades are good at letting light through but keeping the heat at the window. The blackout will block all heat and all light.

In terms of the type of shades themselves:
Cellular Shades: Great at insulation, stacks on top when closing (almost like a blind)
Pleated Shades: Looks like cellular shades, but is only one layer of fabric. Can get different liners for privacy and thermal properties, larger pleats compared to the cellular and stacks on top when closed.
Roller Shades: Rolls to the top when closed. Lightfiltering colors provide privacy and keeps heat at the shade (although it will seep in through the sides) and let light through. Blackout blocks everything. One note on the roller shades is the fabric is always about 1 1/2" shorter than the width ordered (this applies to both motorized and non motorized.)
Solar Shades: Pretty much the same as the Roller with one big difference. Light filtering Solar Shades have a percentage ranging between 1 - 25%. The higher the percent the more you can see through, but also the more UV rays get in. For example is you choose a 5% fabric, 95% of the UV rays will go through the fabric. Another issue with these shades is that even 1% will let you see through and at night when a light is on inside the home, people can see in. Essentially it’s the shade version of a 2 way mirror.
Roman Shades: Large fabric selection, but is considered an older design for shades in general. Has a few different liners available (light filtering, privacy, etc). Stacks on top when closed.
Natural Shades: Works similarily to the Roman shades but uses natural materials such as bamboo for the fabric.

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Thanks. So looks like non-rechargeable lithium AA batteries would be the best for now. Looking at the cost for these batteries on Amazon, it appears that I would need to spend about $8-10 per shade every 6-12 months.

Are they Tesla branded batteries? :joy:

Hahaha… Ha… I’ll leave it at that :grin:

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ha! I think your pun is possibly due to the availability of cheap alkaline batteries.
These are some of the reasonably priced Lithium batteries (as recommended) that I see on Amazon. Any other cheaper sources?

@ZebraBlinds Thanks for the helpful breakdown. Just knowing ZebraBlinds has such a helpful and responsive team like yourself around seals the deal on these for me.

What are the transformers for these going for? Specifically the multiple shade (home-run style transformer)?

$373 (before any discounts) for the multi-motor unit. For the regular plugin transformers, I believe it’s about $40 each, need to double check.

There are some battery distributors on the home automation retailers list. Look in the Parts section.

Consumer Reports and other testing sites consistently rate Costco’s Kirkland brand in the top three or four and I’ve always had good luck with them. Most of the online reviews are bad, but my guess is that’s because only people who have a bad experience bother posting a review for a 25 cent battery.


@ZebraBlinds Per your advice I ordered several samples this afternoon. I paid for expedited shipping. I am hoping we can get the samples quick enough to get our order in before the 2/27 discount expiration. (I live in Indianapolis, IN). Thanks again for all your help.

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Thanks…you are incredibly helpful as always. I wasn’t aware that kirkland
made lithium batteries. Will check it out…

Sorry, I don’t think they do. But their alkalines are still long lasting, highly rated, and cost about 25% of what most of the lithium batteries cost. :sunglasses:


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I just received my order yesterday - super excited about it!!! 15 blinds (yeah, it’s still burning a hole in my pocket), just waiting to be installed – too bad it’ll be late March before I can install them (don’t own the house yet). I asked a lot of questions before I placed my orders. If you want to see what they were, just check the chat logs. The reps got to know me very well :slight_smile:

I would like to see more videos and pictures of the actual blinds, the types and material options. One hard decision was solar vs light-filtering and the % of solar.

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Make sure to go through everything as an initial inspection just to make sure there is no shipping damage. If you do run into any issues just PM me directly.

Just ordered 5 shades! I had trouble deciding which power source to go with. Ended up choosing the dual battery case. But I would eventually like to purchase transformers for each of them.

Has anyone had any luck with alternative power adapters? Looks like it’s just a 15v 1.6a output transformer.

If not, is there a link where I can view and purchase the transformers directly?

Also, has anyone had any luck with rechargeable batteries for these?

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@ZebraBlinds Are vertical blinds available for automation and integration as well? If so, can you provide a link?

That’s pretty much the only product we currently don’t offer.

Any chance that product is coming soon?