On automating blinds

On automating blinds

2021-05-23 blog 0

Our new place has a great NE aspect and is covered in floor to ceiling windows, so it’s a natural for me to want to automate all the vertical blinds to maximise light/temperature.

But I wasn’t sure where to start. Some Googling shows that when people talk about automating blinds they invariably talk about horizontal blinds and rollers, or vertical curtains – neither of which we have or want to pay to switch to. I found a few options, but they require wall warts. In the end I opted for a Kogan Smarterhome Smart Blinds Driver. It has been a learning experience so far getting it setup at all.

You need to get the tension (hence placement on the wall) just right so the blinds cable doesn’t slip at all in operation (or the auto blinds has an incorrect notion of where it thinks the blinds are). You also need to train it on the max extents it should operate to (before the phone app will operate it).

Next step is getting the IR remote working, such that the RM Mini IR blaster should be able to hook it into the home automation. Then the real complexity begins, crafting logic (or callouts) for seasonal light paths with consideration to size of eaves, facing of each blind (when all are automated), weather, light, target indoor, trending indoor and outdoor temp, etc. Gonna take some thinking.

UPDATE: Argh, not an IR controller but RF. Plan B: check if it’s really an ESP32 under the bonnet and serial flash it with Tasmota.

UPDATE: Doh, not an ESP32. Plan C: packet sniff phone app comms and mimic TCP directly from HA to blinds. Let’s see.

UPDATE: OK, so not doable unless I want to reverse engineer the comms from app->cloud server->device. Plan D – order a Broadlink RM4 to control it (my RM2 Mini doesn’t do 433MHz)