DIY Motorized Roller Shades (and Green Screen!)
This is simpler than it sounds, but it took a while to get it really figured out and working well. It's now been up and running for a long time, in fact the shade fabric itself was the first 'component' that required replacement -- the electronics have been absolutely rock solid, and I've really had no issues with it.
It may not be the prettiest (and could absolutely be made to look nicer, quite easily even) -- but it's extremely functional and SUPER reliable. More recently, I've even added some basic 'automation' capability to it, though it's definitely not needed (pushing a button isn't overly difficult), but it's a solid "nice-to-have" addition.
Frankly, the hardest part for me was figuring out how/what/where to source a good (and inexpensive) 'tube' that had enough strength for longer spans and was light enough. You can lookup PVC & rigid conduit max spans online -- be conservative/don't stretch those numbers, otherwise your blinds WILL sag (and eventually fail).
Here's a breakdown of parts and some guidance on assembly -- along with a few pictures! :)
- Closet Rod
- 12V Tubular Motor
- Friction Tape
- 12V DC (2A) Power Supply
- Optional Broadlink RM4 Pro - IR & RF WiFi 'Bridge'
- Misc & Tools:
- Small drill bit, approx. 3/16"
- Measuring tape
- 1 small screw, approx. 1/2"
- Electrical tape
- 2 small wire nuts appropriate for your application (could instead solder the wire & add a small low-volt JBox, etc)
Extra Notes WRT Parts
The Tubular Motor
Comes in different sizes, so make sure you're careful when ordering and match up the sizes appropriately.
The 'Rollerhouse' brand
- This is likely just a set of white-labeled products being sold under this brand name. Other very similar products, perhaps identical, are being sold under other brand names and they're probably all identical in performance -- but I have only purchased the Rollerhouse brand thus far.
The motor units use RF and they have a pretty solid receiving range based on testing with the 3 units I have.
Control / Communication / Power
- They sell the motor in a few different communications varieties, as well; they sell one that can be wired up directly to a wall-mounted switch, the standard RF version, maybe an IR version, and they may have recently introduced a wifi-enabled version.
- They sell a battery-powered version. I would personally avoid it like the plague. If you don't have any access to power and don't want to pull some new Romex, then I'd look into PoE-to-12VDC adapters before I'd do battery. Depending on weight, I bet you could get by with slight under-current (lower amperage).
- Avoid battery powered, unless you really like changing batteries or your shades are super light (and you still should enjoy changing batteries). ;)
- Of the 3 motors I bought, all are still working without issue after approximately 3 years.
- One of my motors is out in the elements and has had no issues; that's in the Vegas heat, including the 2-3X/year rain downpour.
- My wiring for the exposed motor is soldered & taped; I also have the power supply protected and the wire connections are inside of this small IP68 JBox (awesome little boxes for low-volt connections btw).
My Recommendation: Go with hardwired 12V DC (avoid battery), RF for control. Use a purpose-built bridge if you want any external integration!
The RM4 Pro
- Is for interfacing with existing HA devices or for writing your own code to control your shades.
- Provides you with IP-based control to send RF (and IR) commands to anything (in this case, the motor). I have confirmed that the linked RM4 Pro works with the Rollerhouse line of motors.
- This is purpose-built for RF/IR control integration applications.
- A single bridge can control multiple devices -- including multiple roller motors.
- It does both RF & IR. I've found the transmit power to be very good.
- You probably already have an unused 12V power supply laying around!
- Look for any power 'bricks' you may have laying around from old products, quite often they are 12V DC output, just check the amperage.
- Manufacturer recommends 2A DC output, but anything >=2A will work fine (the motor just won't actually draw more current than that).
- Though rare, occasionally you may find a power brick that outputs 12V AC (Bose speakers is a common example), so double-check the label to make sure it's a 12V DC brick!
Putting it Together
... coming shortly ...