Automated blackout shades... - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 46 Old 08-31-2009, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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So I did a search and didn't come up with much on here. The few theads it bought up were from '08. Anyone have a company, link, or other information to get me started on finding some automated blackout shades? It will be for one window and one skylight. ANY information would be appreciated since I know little (nothing really) about it. Any warnings or suggestions are welcome and appreciated.
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post #2 of 46 Old 08-31-2009, 02:05 PM
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We do a lot of motorized blinds and shades. We just finished a job where 11 motorized blinds, all located next to each other in a semi-circle, all lower in perfect unison. It's a great sight as they come down.

If you'll detail your criteria and budget, I'll try to help you in the right direction. You can either do it here, or email me at deanej@cox.net
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post #3 of 46 Old 08-31-2009, 02:24 PM
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Anyone know of un-motorized, chemical-treated special glasses that are electrically made opague? Link?
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post #4 of 46 Old 08-31-2009, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobb View Post

Anyone know of un-motorized, chemical-treated special glasses that are electrically made opague? Link?

http://www.innovativeglasscorp.com/
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post #5 of 46 Old 08-31-2009, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Deane - I'll get some measurements and post them. I'm not sure of the budget. I was just exploring the option to get some baselines of what it would even cost. I have really no clue what I am looking at $ wise. I guess I am just going to fly by the seat of my pants based on how the price hits me. Without the windows infront of me I would guess the sky light is 3x3', and the window probably 5'x3 or so.
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post #6 of 46 Old 08-31-2009, 05:56 PM
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IPT, there are a lot of factors to consider. Not only the size, but how you're going to mask the light leaking around the shade, how you're going to control the shade (central system or factory remote), power availability at the window, etc.

The least expensive and simplest system will be the Hunter Douglas PowerRise with batteries in the head rail. These can also be powered with a wall cube. They can be IR or RF, but the RF will not work with a central system, only the Hunter Douglas remote.
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post #7 of 46 Old 08-31-2009, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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total newbie....is a "central system" like a main head unit for a total house control or something?

In the current situation there is a manual sliding shade in the skylight that has a track on all sides. The shade is accoordian like and it does a really good job of stopping light ;eaks. The materail is thin though and I would like to be able to control it from my bed at night like if the moon moves overhead or the sun is too bright (live in Alaska and the summer nights are pretty bright), open it up in the AM without getting out of bed. The main window I can manually reach from my bed, but I may just go all out depending. It also does a good job of blocking any light leaks but it just overlaps the edges of the window a few inches on the sides. 'll have to look at that one a little more closely tonight.
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post #8 of 46 Old 09-01-2009, 05:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IPT View Post

total newbie....is a "central system" like a main head unit for a total house control or something?

Probably my bad choice of words for a home automation system like Crestron, or even a programmable remote. The new PowerRise shades don't work with programmable IR remotes either, as the IR section requires a burst from the RF section in addition to the IR. This is to wake them up so they don't consume battery power when not receiving a signal.

I had assumed this was for a home theater, my mistake.

Motorized remote control is available for skylights, but you're into more complicated issues, probably not a good place to start for a newbie. You really need a local dealer with experience in this type shade. Hunter Douglas makes a 12v version, but with any powered skylight shade, you need to get the wires to it. Low voltage is easiest to run to the location.

I've found that every installation is unique and has to be puzzled out before anything is purchased. You're going to find this a difficult task to do on-line. A simple blackout Hunter Douglas Power Rise shade will probably be OK for a straight window, but the specialty stuff like the skylight gets testy.
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post #9 of 46 Old 09-01-2009, 10:16 AM
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Lutron sells automated shades (including blackout)
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post #10 of 46 Old 09-01-2009, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Deane - I just look up the dealers in my area and there are a few. the skylight is actually pretty low on the ceiling. It is a steep pitched roof and I can easily reach the top of it. Here are some pictures anyway. Any idea on ballpark prices? Also, there is a support beam under the skylight and power on the wall below so I can't imagine it would be too much of a problem to get power there...though maybe battery operated is the way to go anyway.







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post #11 of 46 Old 09-02-2009, 12:58 PM
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IPT, I'll get you the estimate on costs you asked for, but it will take me another day. I've been swamped with local measuring and quotations so far this week. I hope it means the economy is improving.

The photos and information you provided make it much easier to do.
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post #12 of 46 Old 09-06-2009, 12:28 PM
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Sorry to take so long to get back to you with this. We got hit with a slew of business this past week and I got behind (This is good).

The good news is that the Skylight shade is also available now in PowerRise. This means you can operate both shades on batteries. Batteries last a little over a year with one trip up and one trip down each day.

Locally, we would sell the Skylight blind in blackout for $819.09

The standard window would be sold for $517.06

These prices include one remote control.

Technology would be Hunter's new Platinum Technology.

Any installation would be above that.

I have no idea what these things would run in Alaska, as I assume there would be some extra cost in shipping to dealers there.

Hunter Douglas has new prices beginning 9/6/09 but they should be minimal. They haven't downloaded the new prices into our computer yet, which they will do Tuesday morning.

If the need arises, we are permitted to sell these products to you and I can check on shipping, but I am not soliciting business on this forum.
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post #13 of 46 Old 09-08-2009, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Deane - wow, thanks. I was away so no worries about taking a while. Glad to hear you business is good . I am going to try and take a look locally at these. I am fairly handy, is the instalation anything a decent DIY'er can't handle? So that remote would control both blinds independantly? Thanks again.
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post #14 of 46 Old 09-08-2009, 05:47 PM
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The remote will handle each blind independently with IR, or both together with RF. Separate buttons on the remote for the IR and RF. When you use the IR, it gives a brief RD burst to wake the shade up, then transmits the IR. That's why it's impossible to use a learning remote with these.

The straight shade is pretty easy, the instructions are pretty clear, just take your time.

I haven't put up one of the skylights, so I don't know how hard it is. The Hunter stuff is made to include some not to bright professional installers along with the better ones, so if you follow the instructions, you should be OK.
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post #15 of 46 Old 09-14-2009, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deane Johnson View Post

IPT, there are a lot of factors to consider. Not only the size, but how you're going to mask the light leaking around the shade, how you're going to control the shade (central system or factory remote), power availability at the window, etc.

The least expensive and simplest system will be the Hunter Douglas PowerRise with batteries in the head rail. These can also be powered with a wall cube. They can be IR or RF, but the RF will not work with a central system, only the Hunter Douglas remote.

I have two PowerRise blackout shades in my bedroom and was just starting to look at fixing the "light leak" problem. I have gaps on the sides and one in the middle.

What do you suggest? I was thinking about attaching some plastic corner molding to the wall and something similar in the middle. Not very elegant, but all I could think of.

Thanks.
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post #16 of 46 Old 09-14-2009, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auger66 View Post

I have two PowerRise blackout shades in my bedroom and was just starting to look at fixing the "light leak" problem. I have gaps on the sides and one in the middle.

What do you suggest? I was thinking about attaching some plastic corner molding to the wall and something similar in the middle. Not very elegant, but all I could think of.

Thanks.

We've done a lot of this type light stoppage. As a starting point, it's helpful to know what your window frame and woodwork are like. A photo of your window setup is worth a 1000 words (as they used to say). IPT's examples above are right on target.

As you've no doubt discovered, when the room is darkened, small light leaks are like a search light in your eyes.
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post #17 of 46 Old 09-17-2009, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Deane - what is the "Platinum technology"?

I got quotes up here not far of what you mentioned. $890 for the skylight and $629 for the regular window.

They are calling it the "Duet" shade (honycomb? With mylar)

They are also telling me that Hunter Douglas regularly has sales with like 30% off. Has that been your experience?


Auger - do you like the shades?
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post #18 of 46 Old 09-17-2009, 04:35 PM
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IPT - where are you located? I am out in Eagle River and have one window that needs to be covered. I would consider this solution if it would do a GREAT Job ....

Not like we need it for the next six months, but if we both wanted it we could probably save some on shipping.

I was also considering some other DIY solutions...
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post #19 of 46 Old 09-17-2009, 04:38 PM
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Deane -- in your experience are we talking 100% blackout when the shades are down?

Manual blackouts bought for the house are horrible..... looking at the pictures posted above the advantage seems to be the metal around the blinds which would help light leakage on the sides

My situation is an unfinished window so I can accomodate whatever is the best
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post #20 of 46 Old 09-17-2009, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IPT View Post

Hey Deane - what is the "Platinum technology"?

I got quotes up here not far of what you mentioned. $890 for the skylight and $629 for the regular window.

They are calling it the "Duet" shade (honycomb? With mylar)

They are also telling me that Hunter Douglas regularly has sales with like 30% off. Has that been your experience?


Auger - do you like the shades?

Platinum Technology is the only thing available now on PowerRise. It's a combination of RF and IR.

Hunter Douglas does not have regular sales of 30% off. They never have sales, but occasionally they have rebates on higher end products. Not on Power Rise that I remember. Dealers can do whatever they want, but it's out of their own profit. Hunter has been doing more rebates during the recession than usual. Some HunterDouglas fabricators are privately owned and they could have a sale, but I doubt it.

Hunter publishes a MSRP, but dealers set their own selling price.

Yes, the Duette is what a Power Rise is. Power Rise is simply the added motorization. Yes, the blackouts have mylar between the layers of fabric and it is totally blackout.
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post #21 of 46 Old 09-17-2009, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhdiab View Post

Deane -- in your experience are we talking 100% blackout when the shades are down?

Manual blackouts bought for the house are horrible..... looking at the pictures posted above the advantage seems to be the metal around the blinds which would help light leakage on the sides

My situation is an unfinished window so I can accomodate whatever is the best

I have large windows in my living room based home theater and I have 100% blackout. It is done with a combination of baffles around the shade ends and curtain side hangs. Mine was very complex to achieve.

My site is a little bit outdated, having not been changed for multiple years, but the blackout shade section is still accurate. You can operate the shades with the little button at the side of the picture. On the big corner windows, there are two layers of shades. The regular ones are light filtering, the blackouts drop down in front of them. You can see the mullion disappear when they lower. Both layer are motorized. The light filtering are Power Rise, the blackouts happen to be motorized EasyRise a much heavier duty Hunter product.

http://www.kathiejohnson.com/HomeTheater.html

There are side channels available for some shades, especially roller shades. These work quite effectively. The side channels you see in the skylight photo don't work well for blackout. Light doesn't turn corners, but it reflects like crazy. Those you see in the skylight photo are to guide and hold the fabric, not stop light.

Blacking out a window around a shade is a cut and fit proposition, different for every window. That's why I would need to see photos in order to make any suggestions. I would be glad to help any way I can.
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post #22 of 46 Old 09-17-2009, 10:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deane Johnson View Post

Hunter Douglas does not have regular sales of 30% off. They never have sales, but occasionally they have rebates on higher end products. Not on Power Rise that I remember. Dealers can do whatever they want, but it's out of their own profit. Hunter has been doing more rebates during the recession than usual. Some HunterDouglas fabricators are privately owned and they could have a sale, but I doubt it.

Thanks for the info. It will be most interesting then to see what this guys proposes to me .
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post #23 of 46 Old 09-18-2009, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
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so he told me they have 25% off right now . They are going to come out and measure next week. Oh, and the remote was like $60 or $90 extra. He also recommended a sensor or something for the one behind the bed since I wouldn't have a straight line of view for the remote (since it is pretty much directly overhead).
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post #24 of 46 Old 09-18-2009, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IPT View Post

so he told me they have 25% off right now . They are going to come out and measure next week. Oh, and the remote was like $60 or $90 extra. He also recommended a sensor or something for the one behind the bed since I wouldn't have a straight line of view for the remote (since it is pretty much directly overhead).

Virtually no dealers sell Hunter at MSRP. Hunter used to have their MSRP jacked way up, then everyone sold at crazy discounts like 70% off. It was just to get people's heads in the tent. Several years ago they lowered MSRP and the discounts got correspondingly lower.

If he told you 25% off right now, the only part that is probably a stretch is the "right now". It's probably all the time.

The numbers I posted are plused up from cost, which is what everyone does.

Based on the numbers you posted, it doesn't seem he is out of line for Alaska. The freight is going to be more. There are a few dealers around in high end areas that are able to sell at MSRP. I wish I was one of them, but not so.

It seems to me, based on what I read here, that you're getting an average, normal deal. By the way, I believe, without going to look it up, that the MSRP on the remote is $83.
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post #25 of 46 Old 09-18-2009, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IPT View Post

so he told me they have 25% off right now . They are going to come out and measure next week. Oh, and the remote was like $60 or $90 extra. He also recommended a sensor or something for the one behind the bed since I wouldn't have a straight line of view for the remote (since it is pretty much directly overhead).

IPT which store are you going through?
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post #26 of 46 Old 09-20-2009, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deane Johnson View Post

We've done a lot of this type light stoppage. As a starting point, it's helpful to know what your window frame and woodwork are like. A photo of your window setup is worth a 1000 words (as they used to say). IPT's examples above are right on target.

As you've no doubt discovered, when the room is darkened, small light leaks are like a search light in your eyes.

No kidding about a search light.

These are two blinds together. I am showing a middle and far right view. The blinds are spaced a little back from the window to make the blind flush with the far left side (not shown) and to clear the window grasps. Temporary molding has been taped in to see how it works. Would love to find something better. The tricky one would be blocking light in the middle, I think, especially since it's spaced off the window a few inches. The gap on the sides is about 5/8" from the wall, btw. That's to clear the moulding at the bottom since they are floor-to-ceiling blinds.

FYW info. These are the old PowerRise blinds that are IR only. Perfect for me as they are controlled by my home automation system. I don't think I would be able to make it work with the new IR/RF system.

Deane, thanks for your input. Sorry for the slow response. Was out of the country.
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post #27 of 46 Old 09-21-2009, 07:09 AM
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auger66, On the wall side, I would build a U shaped channel and fasten it to the wall. It would provide at least 2" of overlap on the shade, both front and back. The inside would be painted flat black, the outside to match the surroundings. My "U" shaped channel would have a 1x4 against the wall, with 1x4 pieces coming out in front and back of the shade. It would be built and painted in my shop, then screwed to the wall. If the shade would not clear a 1x4, I would use something thinner on the back and thicker on the sides. That's just something that needs to be puzzled out. I'm suggesting 1"x lumber as a starting point, but you can consider 1/2" thick and even 3/8" thick. I prefer to work with the more expensive pieces of either Aspen or Pine you find in the finished wood section of Lowes or Menards. I use screws for easy removal where I can, small nails where it is necessary.

The idea is that when the light strikes the back of the white shade and reflects back toward the window, it strikes the flat black surface and is absorbed. Some will still reflect onto the end piece, and is further absorbed by the flat black on that surface. What still reflects around will be absorbed by the inside of the front piece. The deeper the channel is, the more successful it will be. 2" is a minimum.

The center is obviously a greater challenge, but could most likely be solved in the same manner. Based on what I can see in the photo, I would do almost the same thing as the ends, but for both shades, so the column would be in the form of an "H'. I can't see in the photo how you might fasten it top and bottom, but where there is a will, there is a way.

The shade needs to come to rest on something so that light doesn't leak out the bottom. I can't see from the photos what the bottom of the window is like, but if there is nothing there, you might need to install a shelf along the bottom for the shade to come to a stop on. This would also give you something to set the "H" column on. You would probably need a bit of a lip on the front of the shelf to block light.

When all of this is painted the color of the surroundings, except for the inside of the channels, it just becomes part of the decor and is quite spousal acceptable. Mine are stained, but you can see that it just blends in with the wood work.

Remember, the 2" is suggest is only a bare minimum. A greater amount will do that much more good.

Plugging light is like stopping water leaks. You have to stay at it until you get it right.

If this proves confusing, just ask any questions you may have.
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post #28 of 46 Old 09-21-2009, 05:00 PM
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Thanks. I'll go see what I can put together.
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post #29 of 46 Old 09-28-2009, 10:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhdiab View Post

IPT which store are you going through?


the only two "stores" that I found were "J & D interiors" and "Flair interiors" which was really Bobs floor on Old Seward. Turns out the original quote he gave me is the same as the 25% off, in fact it's more Need to talk to him about that but now I have three different sets of prices from the same guy and each is more than the first (though it comes out to be about $220 more thatn what Deane is saying it would be in the lower 48...so, I imagine shipping these things isn;t cheep as is always the case with living up here we get KILLED on shipping).
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post #30 of 46 Old 09-29-2009, 03:43 PM
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Well depending on how many you buy the $220 isn't to bad (not sure on the weight).

I am really more interested in the complete blackout part than the automated so I will look around some more.

Yeah Amazon is the best when it comes to shipping charges up here but that is about it.... on the other hand no sales tax makes up for part of it
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