Motorized Curtains - controlled by app/phone - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-28-2013, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I had Cat5e & 16/2 cable wired to three large windows in my home I want to have motorized and ideally controlled with an iPad/android device.

Unfortunately the curtain dealers in my area gave me very befuddled looks when I told them cable I had home runned and how I wanted to control it. Hunter Douglas didn't have much, Lutron seems to require proprietary wiring, and Somfy was very vague on their wiring requirements. I was hoping to avoid having any mounted panels or even remote controls if possible. Is it?
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-29-2013, 02:32 PM
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Your post is slightly confusing. Curtains would run on a motorized rod. BTX is the best source for those, which must be through a dealer.

If you're talking about blinds and shades as opposed to curtains, that would be a different type product.

Hunter has a new wi-fi controlled system for their shades that runs on I/Pad and i/Phone, and later this year they will have an Android app. The shades are either battery operated, or you could no doubt feed some voltage via your pre-wired cable. I think their power cubes are 18v., not sure.

This should give you a rough idea what it's all about:

http://www.hunterdouglas.com/pdf/PlatinumApp_SellSheet.pdf

For the record, 16/2 won't work for AC powered shades as the method of reversing them is to switch the AC to a different winding in the motor. This would take 16/3. The work around would be to put a small switcher at each shade so you could feed it with the 16/2., and do the switching with a momentary contact. I don't know what might be available for iPad, if anything. Things are changing in that direction pretty fast.
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-29-2013, 03:41 PM
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I think that the majority of electric drape systems will use 110 volts, I certainly would not even consider a battery or low voltage setup, so you still need a power feed in addition to the control wires you mentioned.

I use Makita electric drapes throughout my house and control these using IR. I can use the original remote control, but for several sets of curtains I use an IR blaster discretely located either next to the IR sensor or from the other side of the room. There are many options to 'feed' the blaster, but I use the Roomie app running on iPads & iTouchs. You could hide an IR emitter next to the drape's control box and utilize your Cat5 cabling to get the appropriate signals to it.
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-29-2013, 07:08 PM
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The OP may not be talking about drapes or curtains, even though he called them that. I find people often incorrectly refer to blinds or shades as curtains or drapes.

I agree that battery operated curtain rods would be marginal in operation. Blinds and shades work pretty good, but I would always prefer a non-battery power source if possible, at least in the form of a wall cube.
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-30-2013, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deane Johnson View Post

Your post is slightly confusing. Curtains would run on a motorized rod. BTX is the best source for those, which must be through a dealer.

If you're talking about blinds and shades as opposed to curtains, that would be a different type product.

Hunter has a new wi-fi controlled system for their shades that runs on I/Pad and i/Phone, and later this year they will have an Android app. The shades are either battery operated, or you could no doubt feed some voltage via your pre-wired cable. I think their power cubes are 18v., not sure.

This should give you a rough idea what it's all about:

http://www.hunterdouglas.com/pdf/PlatinumApp_SellSheet.pdf

For the record, 16/2 won't work for AC powered shades as the method of reversing them is to switch the AC to a different winding in the motor. This would take 16/3. The work around would be to put a small switcher at each shade so you could feed it with the 16/2., and do the switching with a momentary contact. I don't know what might be available for iPad, if anything. Things are changing in that direction pretty fast.

Thanks Deane, yes I do mean blinds/shades I was lumping all window treatments under an incorrect umbrella term.

Hunter does have a Wifi system but as you mentioned it's battery powered. The rep I talked to said they can't use the pre-wires I've set up.

They did say that both Lutron and Somfy offer motorization options with a control box in the wiring closet that would use 16/2, but they weren't sure which could be controlled with an app, and I'm not sure which is 'better' perse.
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-30-2013, 10:17 AM
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Take a look at hardwired Lutron Honeycomb; power distribution in the wiring closet. I'm planning to do this with at least 3 shades.
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-30-2013, 12:00 PM
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You may also want to consider Autelis Shade Control for your ipad/android interface. There are various models for Somfy and Lutron.
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-30-2013, 02:14 PM
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Killswitch1968, are you going to cover these with a cornice or valance at the top to hide all the ugly? If so, you could simply put an AC outlet up there and plug a Hunter Douglas wall cube in for each shade. No batteries needed.

You can also put the wall cube in your central location wiring closet and feed the DC to the shade through the 16/2 you already have pre-wired. Yes, you'd need to modify connectors, but that' s a simple task.

No disrespect intended, but I find most window covering dealers have very little knowledge of motorization, and at best only barely know how to plug in the Hunter Douglas PowerRise blinds to get them working. They certainly have no imagination for making modifications to adapt. Many of the sales people just wish the subject would go away. The firm usually depends on an installer who knows a little bit more, but home automation is not something he has any grasp of. How do I know these things. Easy, we've been in the window covering business for 40 years.

When your dealer says it's battery powered, that's only half correct. It can be either battery powered or AC powered through a simple wall cube. Mine do not have batteries and they are running on AC with only Hunter products. Hunter refers to it as the "optional AC Transformer". It has the same connectors as the battery pack and the transformer simply plugs into the shade.

I'm not recommending you do any specific approach or product, I only want you to have all of the information so you can decide what makes most sense in your set up.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-30-2013, 08:18 PM
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If you can find a good local shade installer, your life will be easier. Find one.

Home automation installers often sub out the shade work. Ask around.
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-04-2013, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the help, I'm going to check out the Lutron and Somfy systems in their show rooms and they said my existing 16/2s should work. Appreciate the advice!
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