Using Z-Wave to control curtains, blind and shades

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

We have been getting quite a few questions lately about integrating and controlling curtains and blinds with existing z-wave networks so today I decided to post an article I recently wrote for AVS Forums in response to a fellows questions about a z-wave solution to control his curtains using his Harmony 890 universal remote.

If I could digress just for a moment and talk briefly about Logitech and some of the recent happenings with them in the field…Logitech actually no longer makes the Harmony 890 remote however they recently announced that they are getting back into the home automation space with their new line of remotes and an HA hub which will once again allow us to use their Universal IR remotes to control many other devices, including Z-Wave.  Here is the Gigaom article on that initial announcement last week, and a more detailed article on Digital Trends, and finally some more info regarding Logitech’s new partnership with Zuli.

Now back to z-wave curtains, here is some more info on z-wave curtain controls for you…

1. Aeon Labs has their Micro Motor Controller which is a low cost Z-Wave motor controller to control window covering motors. You just wire this into an existing motor (which you can get almost anywhere) and it will allow you to control it via your z-wave controller/system. These are only about $50-$60.

2. Add-A-Motor, Inc has a product that uses any plug-in module as a power supply so you can just buy a z-wave appliance module which will allow for z-wave remote control and then the add-a-motor plugs into that for direct control of your curtains. This would work for ANY HA module such as X-10, or Insteon as well. Note this only works with vertical drapes and blinds, rotating vertical blinds. They do have a more expensive controller for larger curtains, here is a link to that as well.

3. Enerwave has an motor controller which has z-wave built-in, here is a link to their site, but not much info I’m afraid.

4. ESI sells an AC and a DC z-wave motor controller plus a remote, the motors sell for between $250 & $300. Link to the AC motor and the DC motor.

5. Somfy has probably the best shade and curtain controls out there (in competition with Lutron, which I know very little about) in their Z-Wave to Motor Interface – ZDMI and the Z-Wave to RTS Interface – ZRTSI, both of which are excellent products. I would highly recommend Somfy for your shade/curtain/blind control needs.

If anybody has anything to add regarding Z-Wave curtain controls, or if I missed an important solution, please feel free to add your comments!

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

Using Vera to control X-10 Wireless RF, Blind & Shade Controllers for Vera using X-10

vera3 veralite x10
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The title of today’s post is really two separate subjects but because they were both intermingled together with what I was doing at the time, I am presenting them in one post, as thats how this whole issue came together for me.

 

The first part of the title, “Using Vera to control X-10 Wireless RF”, was the result of some research I had been doing to help out a fellow redditor on the subreddit I am a moderator on, the Home Automation Sub on Reddit.com.  He had a few X-10 door and window sensors in his home but did not use powerline X-10 devices so was limited to X-10 Wireless RF signals.  He bought a VeraLite and was hoping to use Vera to control his X-10 via a CM15A Transceiver/Controller. The Mi Casa Verde Forums had a number of threads relating to this issue such as Plugin for cm15a/cm19a X10 Controllers, and X10 RF devices? but really no standup solution, hence he turned to the Home Automation Sub-Reddit hoping for some answers.  After a week or so, I came to the following conclusions;

 

My research tells me that either the EZX10RF from Smartenit for about $120 or the RFXCOM RFXtrx315 USB 315MHz Transceiver  for about $165 USD would seem to be the way to go for getting Vera to accept and understand X-10 RF signals.  There was some information, as per the links above regarding plug-ins for Vera on the MCV forums, but unless you know something about Linux OS (which I do not) there doesn’t seem to be an alternative to what they are suggesting with either the CM15/CM19 and linux or pogoplug, other than the EZX10RF or the RFXCOM units.  The CM15A/CM19A plug-in would probably be the cheapest but to me not the easiest nor the cleanest if you need to run Linux to do it.

 

Now the second part of the title, “Blind & Shade Controllers for Vera using X-10” came about as I was researching the first part.  I came across a company that I had heard of in the past but had forgotten about called RollerTrol, and I thought some of you Vera users might find some interest in them and their products. They have some unique products, specifically geared to shade motors and blinds and they are where I first came across the X-10 transceiver from RFXCOM that allows you to use X-10 RF directly with Vera via a plug-in. I am not totally familiar with it yet but would be interested to know if anyone else is, and what their experience is with any of the RollerTrol products.

 

They also have a really great webpage on their site, called “Vera And VeraLite Are Powerful Controllers For Blinds & Shades”  that is a series of articles or step-by-step procedures on how to use their shade and blind motors with the RFXCOM transceiver and then hook it all up to a Vera Controller.  Seems like there may be a lot of potential for some of their devices.

 

Let me know what you think. Btw, we sell Vera for a lot cheaper than RollerTrol does!  We have them on sale for 10% off right now, here is a coupon if you need one.

 

Kelly R. Foster – HA World