Home automation is simply about making life easier. One of the most recent additions to my automated home was to upgrade the blinds in my master bedroom to a vertical, motorized lift blind. I searched online and found a online retailer that sells both standard and motorized blinds for a decent price. After ordering and waiting about a week I received my blinds and proceeded to install them. Installation was pretty straight forward and took about 20 minutes. Once installed you need to program them so they stop at the height you prefer. The blinds come with a wireless remote control which allows you to open and close your blinds.
Now for the custom part.
Having remote controlled, motorized blinds is great and all however I wanted to take it a bit further. Instead of using the remote control (I actually only used it once for initial setup) I wanted to have the blinds automatically open and close based on the time of the day. To do this I first had to figure out how I was going to interact with the open/close sensor of the blinds. At first I thought about using the included remote however its' infrared based and would need line of sight to the blind. In order to control the blind, the remote control must be pointed at the little eye sensor located on the housing of the blind. Next I looked into using a radio control but I found the signal was too weak when the receiver was located behind the blinds. One of my goals was to have a seamless installation with no wires or other things showing in and around the blinds. After doing a little more research I found that the best thing to use was a wireless doorbell from my local Home Depot. A few modifications of the doorbell receiver were required including removing the speaker, changing the type of battery and a bit of soldering. I then wired the receiver into the window blinds controller. As an added bonus I discovered that the doorbell receiver fit perfectly behind the blinds allowing for everything to be hidden from view. For transmission of the signal I simply connected the doorbell transmitter to a relay that is connected to my home automation server PC.
To automate the blind I created a new event called Toggle Blinds in my home automation app. This event triggers a relay which in turn causes the doorbell transmitter to send a signal to the doorbell receiver which then opens or closes the blinds.
How does it fit with my automated life?
With the blinds now fully connected I programmed them to open in the morning just as I leave for work and close in the evening as the sun goes down. They are even smart enough to take into consideration day light savings time so they close later in the evening during summer. This is has to be the most convenient home automation control in my home and I don't see myself ever going back to manually opening the blinds.
Posted by: Steve