Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Z-Wave Blinds

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Z-Wave Blinds

    Searched the forum and I've seen iBlinds and MySmartBlinds, which look ok but pricey, and researched for other solutions on blind control. All I really want to do is tilt (lift not necessary). And holy crap, buying the blinds already motorized is expensive! I'm about the same as I was when I started. I still don't have a clue and have come to the conclusion that I can't afford to open the blinds on a routine schedule unless I twist them sumbitches open and closed by hand. By far cheaper than anything else I've found . Anyone have a hacky way that's working well or another solution other than spending a thousand + dollars to tilt the blinds 2 or 3 times a day?

  • #2
    Ugh! Mine are pull types to open/close and lift anyway. I'm not sure if that changes the dynamic or not, but I'm not pulling one out to check until my wife gets home. She has those blasted "skirt" pieces clipped on at the top and I can't get those things on without breaking the clips. They make me really

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by pcburcham View Post
      Searched the forum and I've seen iBlinds and MySmartBlinds, which look ok but pricey, and researched for other solutions on blind control. All I really want to do is tilt (lift not necessary). And holy crap, buying the blinds already motorized is expensive! I'm about the same as I was when I started. I still don't have a clue and have come to the conclusion that I can't afford to open the blinds on a routine schedule unless I twist them sumbitches open and closed by hand. By far cheaper than anything else I've found . Anyone have a hacky way that's working well or another solution other than spending a thousand + dollars to tilt the blinds 2 or 3 times a day?
      As another fellow southerner once said, "I feel your pain"!

      Unfortunately the way most blinds are made limits what can be done to automate them. You need a motor that can fit inside a 2" x 2" space and that can mate with a hexagon (5 sided) drive shaft. Some shafts are 3/16", some are 1/4", and some are 5/16". Depends on how wide the blind is and/or who the blind manufacturer is. So you need to accommodate for that with adapters to fit each size. Ideally the motor is powered by a 5 volt lithium ion battery pack that is charged either by solar or by a 5 volt USB cable.

      Nothing out there like that is readily available, so that means tooling up and creating something custom. You can then have a custom motor manufactured for probably around $15 each! Chinese electronics are cheap, even after paying tariffs!

      But wait, now you are left with $5M worth of tooling cost to amortize. If you're accountant (who also answers to the angel investors) is aggressive, you can likely convince him that you are going to sell 100,000 units in the next 7 years. He will then assign $50 per blind motor sold for amortization costs.

      Throw in $5 for the lithium ion battery, along with the extra government compliance costs that entails, and now your cost is $70 each. Packaging, shipping and distribution cost adds another $5, so now you have a $75 nut for each unit sold.

      Your angel investors are looking for no less than 50% margins to cover their risk, so that means you are retailing them for $149.95. And then we all say, "holy crap, those are expensive!".

      So is there no hope to ever have a cheap solution for automated blinds? Actually there is!

      Keeping the above scenario in mind, what will eventually happen is someone will miss a payment on their tooling costs or violate some other loan covenant. Or somebody at the tooling shop in China will make some cheap knockoff tools for their 7th cousin. They'll start a US company named SmartBlindsDirect.com, replace the lithium ion battery with 4 AA Panasonic's, and retail them for $39.99 each. And we'll all be happy!

      --Barry

      Comment


      • #4
        These are adapter or solar based and easy to modify for direct Z-Wave control at the expensive of a corresponding dry-contact Z-Wave device, or route it via Arduino -- https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33008755856.html

        Helps knowing exactly what blinds you have though, because you could go cheap DIY with micro step motors such as: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33057505617.html

        Or wait for logman suggestion of a dedicated cheap Asian knockoff that works as-is for your goal at a reasonable price

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by logman View Post

          As another fellow southerner once said, "I feel your pain"!

          Unfortunately the way most blinds are made limits what can be done to automate them. You need a motor that can fit inside a 2" x 2" space and that can mate with a hexagon (5 sided) drive shaft. Some shafts are 3/16", some are 1/4", and some are 5/16". Depends on how wide the blind is and/or who the blind manufacturer is. So you need to accommodate for that with adapters to fit each size. Ideally the motor is powered by a 5 volt lithium ion battery pack that is charged either by solar or by a 5 volt USB cable.

          Nothing out there like that is readily available, so that means tooling up and creating something custom. You can then have a custom motor manufactured for probably around $15 each! Chinese electronics are cheap, even after paying tariffs!

          But wait, now you are left with $5M worth of tooling cost to amortize. If you're accountant (who also answers to the angel investors) is aggressive, you can likely convince him that you are going to sell 100,000 units in the next 7 years. He will then assign $50 per blind motor sold for amortization costs.

          Throw in $5 for the lithium ion battery, along with the extra government compliance costs that entails, and now your cost is $70 each. Packaging, shipping and distribution cost adds another $5, so now you have a $75 nut for each unit sold.

          Your angel investors are looking for no less than 50% margins to cover their risk, so that means you are retailing them for $149.95. And then we all say, "holy crap, those are expensive!".

          So is there no hope to ever have a cheap solution for automated blinds? Actually there is!

          Keeping the above scenario in mind, what will eventually happen is someone will miss a payment on their tooling costs or violate some other loan covenant. Or somebody at the tooling shop in China will make some cheap knockoff tools for their 7th cousin. They'll start a US company named SmartBlindsDirect.com, replace the lithium ion battery with 4 AA Panasonic's, and retail them for $39.99 each. And we'll all be happy!

          --Barry
          Hot damn! Now that's a lesson in reality! LOL

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by RoChess View Post
            These are adapter or solar based and easy to modify for direct Z-Wave control at the expensive of a corresponding dry-contact Z-Wave device, or route it via Arduino -- https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33008755856.html

            Helps knowing exactly what blinds you have though, because you could go cheap DIY with micro step motors such as: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33057505617.html

            Or wait for logman suggestion of a dedicated cheap Asian knockoff that works as-is for your goal at a reasonable price
            Thanks RoChess! That's more like it. I can get down and dirty and DIY, but the smart chain controller doesn't look half bad. I don't mind the $50 price tag. I have a house chock-full of $50 switches and such. The $150+ is a little on the steeper side for its purpose. My modus operandi is that if something is worth $1000, I pay a $1000 for it. But, as y'all have pointed out, electronics are tooled cheap these days with cheap components, and a $10 - $15 motor ain't worth $150+. That markup galls me knowing what I'm going to get. I can do the chain dohickey and contact bridge though. Thanks again!

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm so glad I purchased a dozen of these about 15 years ago when they were clearing them out at Lowes for $15 each. I've only had one go bad in the 15 years and to this date my blinds open at sunrise and sunset. The batteries last about 2 months. It's a shame someone didn't keep the design and continue to manufacturing theses. I'd pay $50 for these. I learned the IR codes in my Global Cache hardware and blast it using the old PowerMids.
              Click image for larger version

Name:	blindControllers.jpg
Views:	145
Size:	55.4 KB
ID:	1324828
              -Rupp
              sigpic

              Comment


              • #8
                Rupp That was a sweet all-time deal. I never hit deals like that. I'm that dude in line behind you at Lowes asking where you found those and there aren't any left.

                Comment


                • #9
                  https://www.smarthome.com/add-a-moto...ontroller.html

                  They're cheap. They're somewhat noisy, but they work, and they're adaptable to many types of applications, and still available from various sources. I bought two of these more than twenty years ago and although one did fail due to abuse by an unnamed member of my family, the other has controlled my living room drapes faithfully to this day. The included wall wart plugs into a Z-Wave (or any other tech) appliance module. There's no feedback of position, only two limits; open and closed, but in my current application, that's really all I need.
                  Would I recommend them over anything else? Only for the low cost and adaptability actually. If I could justify a more expensive solution, I'd certainly go for it.
                  Real courage is not securing your Wi-Fi network.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How long is their estimated life span btw? Do they easily break?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Wadenut View Post
                      https://www.smarthome.com/add-a-moto...ontroller.html

                      They're cheap. They're somewhat noisy, but they work, and they're adaptable to many types of applications, and still available from various sources. I bought two of these more than twenty years ago and although one did fail due to abuse by an unnamed member of my family, the other has controlled my living room drapes faithfully to this day. The included wall wart plugs into a Z-Wave (or any other tech) appliance module. There's no feedback of position, only two limits; open and closed, but in my current application, that's really all I need.
                      Would I recommend them over anything else? Only for the low cost and adaptability actually. If I could justify a more expensive solution, I'd certainly go for it.
                      Thanks! You think that tying the ends of two pull cords into the needed loop would work? I assume it would, but you could probably better judge that by your experience with them.

                      Thanks Again

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pcburcham View Post

                        Thanks! You think that tying the ends of two pull cords into the needed loop would work? I assume it would, but you could probably better judge that by your experience with them.

                        Thanks Again
                        The cord is driven by a rubber pulley, so as long as the knot is small enough to pass through unimpeded, it may work out. If might be better if you could splice the two ends with some sort of small butt connector, or position the connection in such a way as to avoid passing through the pulley..
                        Real courage is not securing your Wi-Fi network.

                        Comment

                        Working...
                        X