AVS Forum banner
1 - 20 of 79 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
260 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone tied Hunter Douglas PowerRise shades into a control system? I have 9 windows that I need to control. Generally, the system works fine, except that I haven't been able to get my control system to reliably learn the IR codes and repeat them so that the motor responded. Even if I did, I would be worried about reliability.


So... has anyone retrofitted these to use them with a wired control system? I'm about ready to just purchase new motorized headrails, but these are outrageously expensive. Before I do that, I was hoping someone might have done this before.


Thanks.

- Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,186 Posts
Dave:


I use both the Hunter Douglas PowerRise shades and the motorized EasyRise shades with my Ocelot.


With the PowerRise, I use an emitter over the eye. Reliability is not 100%. The IR code is a bit strange and seems difficult for the controllers to deal with. The shade has to go to sleep to conserve battery power, then awaken when it gets an IR signal. I believe this is part of the problem.


I don't believe you will be successful in finding a way to hard wire the shade. If you do, share it with us, please. I have asked them to include switch contacts on the PowerRise, but I don't know if it can or will be done.


I control the motorized EasyRise shades with relays, part of the Ocelot system. I use two relays per shade, one for each pole. Works perfect, never fails. The HunterDouglas IR system for EasyRise is worse than the PowerRise in reliability, so stay away from it.


If you can live with what you've got for a while, I know for a fact that Hunter is very serious about getting into motorization in a big way. In preparation they have purchased an existing remote control manufacturer (ESI). Excactly what's coming, or when, I don't know. Hopefully in 2008.


I wish there were a better answer. I had the privilege of having HunterDouglas fly me to their headquarters a year or so ago to discuss what I thought they should do with motorization. They had all of the top design people there, along with the President of the Division. They listened carefully. I think we will see good things in the future, but don't hold your breath on timing. They recognize the motorized remote control shade is the thing of the future, and a big thing for home theaters. They also recognize that home automation controllers expect 100% reliability and I believe that will be one of their main objectives. They also want to hit an acceptable price point so it can appeal to a broader market.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,186 Posts
Dave:


To follow up on my previous post, this link to an ESI page may be of interest to you. It contains information on a new ESI product to interface PowerRise shades with home automation controllers.

http://elec-solutions.com/docs/motor...p/rp60hdp.html


I don't know anything about it other than what is on the web site.


I will be trying to find out as much as I can in the next few days.


Remember, ESI is now owned by HunterDouglas. ESI is physically located near HunterDouglas in Broomfield, Colorado.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
260 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It looks like we have a lot in common... the Ocelot was what I had planned on using to control my shades as well, only I was never able to get it to reliably record and playback the IR codes. After much deliberation with ADI, it was determined that the frequency was incompatible with the system and could never be used reliably. Since then I've had non-automated motorized shades, which isn't all that useful.


Every spring/summer season I wish they were automated because I would open my windows more often if it was easier to raise and lower the blinds in such a way that they were level. I wish I had known at the time that this would be such a challenge and I would have gone with EasyRise in the first place. I've tried to find someone to retrofit what I have or sell me the parts to do it, and the cheapest I was able to find is $9000 for 13 shades. No thanks!


None-the-less, I'm back here again and determined to find a solution.


I'm not familiar with ESI, but the information on their website looks promising. It doesn't give enough information about how their module integrates with the PowerRise headrail for me to understand how the whole solution works. There are no easily-accessible connectors on the headrail that it would interface to directly.


Which brings me to a point that you may be interested in...


I HAVE been able to interface the PowerRise blinds 100% reliably with a hardwired control system, with one caveat... the system needs to remember whether the shades' last movement was up or down.


If you look at the attached picture, you can interface a dry contact inline with the button that is on the headrail IR receiver. The only problem is that, like the button, it alternates movement direction. I haven't tried yet, but it should be possible turn the shade around when necessary if the Ocelot can be programmed to remember the state of the last movement.


Let me know what you think.

- Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,186 Posts
I guess we are using the same systems. By the way, I'm controlling my Ocelot with a Pronto. Gotta love the bright IR output. In case you have one, and if you haven't tried it, the Pronto seems to learn the PowerRise codes easily and mine works every time. Trouble is, I don't want to control it with the Pronto.


A side issue, I have my Ocelot programmed to lower the PowerRise shades each morning as the sun hits my east windows, and to raise them as it leaves them. Since there are trees of various sizes shielding the sun, every day has a different lag time following sunrise. Took me a whole year to program them in. I hope nobody cuts a tree down.


Back to the issue at hand. I'll begin to gather detail on the ESI PowerRise stuff next week. I should be able to acquire all of the knowledge we need. I may even purchase the stuff and test it, depending on what's involved. I'm not sure yet how they are distributing the ESI stuff, whether it's through regular Hunter dealers, or if one has to become an ESI dealer.


In case you haven't figured it out, we're a HunterDouglas dealer, the largest one in our state. That, along with a HunterDouglas fabrication center in our city gives me a lot of opportunity to influence this stuff as well as find out where they're going with it. Fortunately, Hunter responded well to my repeated urging to move towards supporting home automation interfacing. I can give input, but I don't get much feedback due to their confidentiality concerns. I learn about what has happened when it hits the market.


I'll get a full report posted here as soon as I know what the ESI stuff amounts to. There are a lot of PowerRise users on the forum who would be anxious to have better control of there shades (starting with me).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,186 Posts
I've learned a little bit more about ESI and it's new relationship with HunterDouglas. Information is not easy to come by, as companies like Hunter don't like to tip their hand in advance of a product move for competitive reasons.


It appears that the EIS PowerRise module is pretty reliable. I believe it will be virtually plug and play. I believe the same module will be capable of IR/RF/RS232, but I'm not sure of that. I am told it's simple, straightforward, and easy to deal with.


I am told it can be retrofitted to existing PowerRise shades.


Hunter has only owned the company a little over a month, and the integration of the controls with HunterDouglas hasn't really taken shape yet. Hunter fabricators don't have anything yet, but it is anticipated that things for HunterDouglas shades will be sold through regular Hunter dealers.


The feeling I get is that the stuff won't be overly expensive, as things of this nature usually run.


Since HunterDouglas hasn't gotten their arms around this yet, the best source of information and product availability is direct from ESI. I am told they are very responsive and "good people."


I am anticipating it will be this fall before I actually have a sample to test.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
552 Posts
They suck. I had four of them and they all broke after about 6 months of use. Very cheaply made. Avoid like the plague.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,204 Posts
Has anyone used the hunter douglar battery operated remote shades?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,204 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deane Johnson /forum/post/11865074


What is it you want to know?

Ohh thanks. I wanted to know for those that had them, how do they work? Does the battery do the job ok? Are they are quick as the hardwired ones?


I was thinking about going with the duets. Do you all have the platinum series, or are they all the platinum series now?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,186 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonn B /forum/post/11865327


Ohh thanks. I wanted to know for those that had them, how do they work? Does the battery do the job ok? Are they are quick as the hardwired ones?


I was thinking about going with the duets. Do you all have the platinum series, or are they all the platinum series now?

The battery concept certainly sounds questionable, but it has proven to work quite well. They are rated to last 1 yr if operated up and down once per day. I talked to someone the other day who operates his daily and hadn't changed the batteries for two years.


The IR is touchy to learn in some learning or home automation systems. My Pronto works very well, but my Ocelot has some trouble.


The new Platinum series is RF and apparently works extremely well and is the only way to go except for one thing. Your Ir learning remote can't operate them. You would have to use the HunterDouglas remote supplied. There are going to be additional control options, but I don't know anything about them yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,204 Posts
Ahh, so you are saying my harmony 890 remote could possibly control them their IR system? But the new platinum series it wouldn't be able to?


I did some reading on the platinum series, and it says thier remote does IR and RF on the same remote.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,186 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonn B /forum/post/11867832


Ahh, so you are saying my harmony 890 remote could possibly control them their IR system? But the new platinum series it wouldn't be able to?


I did some reading on the platinum series, and it says thier remote does IR and RF on the same remote.

Jason, I'm glad you raised these questions. I had a bunch of Platinum technology literature here but had never looked at it. I called a friend at the factory to confirm a couple of things. Glad I did. Things are not as they appear.


You cannot operate the new Platinum technology with a learning remote. Here's why. When you send an IR signal to the shade, there is also a brief RF burst from the remote to wake the shade up. The shade goes to to sleep to conserve batteries. If you try to send an IR signal from a learning remote, the RF signal will not be present and it won't wake up. This is an undocumented design feature of the shade.


Using the shades with the HunterDouglas remote has some nice features, but it's only with the Hunter remote. You can use the IR to operate a single shade, they have narrowed the beam to avoid hitting other shades on the same channel (there are two). In addition you can program any shade to respond to any one of 4 RF buttons on the remote which can be used with either of the 2 channels for a total of 8 RF buttons. You can program as many shades as you want to any of those 8 RF channels. In other words, if you want 10 shades in one room to go up all together, program them all to the same RF button.


Interestingly, old PowerRise shades can be retrofitted to the new system. There is a simple DIY kit available, but in doing so, you lock yourself into using only a Hunter remote.


By the way, this was not done to make people buy and use HunterDouglas remotes. It was done for a simple design for the masses to use without any complexities. Those of us on forums such as this with more technical knowlege than average would like more flexibility, but the masses would become confused. PowerRise is a product designed for the masses. It has to have the "sleep" feature to make batteries last a year or more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
260 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Since I started this thread, I guess I'll provide an update on my current status...


Like Deane, I tried unsuccessfully to use my Ocelot to automate my blinds (I have 11 total). It just couldn't reliably duplicate the IR signal.


In digging around the headrail a bit, I ended up wiring relays to each blind and automating them. This has proven to work nearly 100% reliably, with the only problem being that since the relays are connected to the button on the headrail, I don't have discrete up and down adjustment like on the original HD remote, I only have a toggle (the shade does the opposite of what it did last time).


I would say that it was more work than I anticipated, but in the end I'm happy with the shades. The only annoyance I have is that as the batteries age, the shades move at different rates. This isn't a problem because only toggle them between the stops, but it looks a little odd as they raise or lower.

- Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,204 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deane Johnson /forum/post/11868960


Jason, I'm glad you raised these questions. I had a bunch of Platinum technology literature here but had never looked at it. I called a friend at the factory to confirm a couple of things. Glad I did. Things are not as they appear.


You cannot operate the new Platinum technology with a learning remote. Here's why. When you send an IR signal to the shade, there is also a brief RF burst from the remote to wake the shade up. The shade goes to to sleep to conserve batteries. If you try to send an IR signal from a learning remote, the RF signal will not be present and it won't wake up. This is an undocumented design feature of the shade.


Using the shades with the HunterDouglas remote has some nice features, but it's only with the Hunter remote. You can use the IR to operate a single shade, they have narrowed the beam to avoid hitting other shades on the same channel (there are two). In addition you can program any shade to respond to any one of 4 RF buttons on the remote which can be used with either of the 2 channels for a total of 8 RF buttons. You can program as many shades as you want to any of those 8 RF channels. In other words, if you want 10 shades in one room to go up all together, program them all to the same RF button.


Interestingly, old PowerRise shades can be retrofitted to the new system. There is a simple DIY kit available, but in doing so, you lock yourself into using only a Hunter remote.


By the way, this was not done to make people buy and use HunterDouglas remotes. It was done for a simple design for the masses to use without any complexities. Those of us on forums such as this with more technical knowlege than average would like more flexibility, but the masses would become confused. PowerRise is a product designed for the masses. It has to have the "sleep" feature to make batteries last a year or more.

Deane, thanks again for all your help here. I have a few more things to pick your brain with.


I alot of places online have the old IR based blinds, and I can only get the new Platinum ones from a retailer. If I get the IR based ones, and want to put TWO shades on these left/right bottom windows:




Will this work? How will I be able to get both to operate at the same time, since I won't be able to point the remote at both shades??? Would I have to get Platinum in this situation???
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
260 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonn B /forum/post/12180220


Will this work? How will I be able to get both to operate at the same time, since I won't be able to point the remote at both shades??? Would I have to get Platinum in this situation???

If you want to use the factory remote control and run both shade at the same time, you need to get the remote eye option when you are ordering them. You can probably get away with getting it for just one shade and putting the eye close to the other shade, or you could get it on both and locate the eyes somewhere inconspicuous.

- Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,186 Posts
Jasonn, the first thing you have to find acceptable is that the old Hunter IR is temperamental to say the least. It doesn't always respond. With this in mind, you should be able to put both shades on one channel and sort of swing the remote past both from your sitting position. Sounds fine, but in practice you'll find they don't respond well and you have to go back and do things all over.


It's bad enough that I have these older shades with IR emitters over the receiving eyes driven by my Ocelot with a Xantech amplified manifold, and I still only get about 95% response.


I haven't used the new RF/IR shades yet, but from what I have heard they are pretty good at responding. Based on what I know, I would find a way to go with the them so you can push one RF button and have them both respond. Keep in mind you'll always have to use the Hunter Platinum remote, you'll never be able to put it in your home automation system, or your universal remote.


Adding the remote eye gives you some additional placement options, but does not seem to improved the response.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,204 Posts
Ok, so it seems like I should just go with the Platinum series, and use their remote, and forget about controlling any blinds with my harmony 890. It sounds like the Platinum is much better and is easier to control...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,186 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonn B /forum/post/12200244


Ok, so it seems like I should just go with the Platinum series, and use their remote, and forget about controlling any blinds with my harmony 890. It sounds like the Platinum is much better and is easier to control...

I would recommend you purchase them locally through an established dealer rather than finding them on line. You need local back-up in case you have any difficulty. I have seen something as simple as an internal string that needed to have the tension adjusted slightly cause them not to work properly. Trying to get that handled on the internet is impossible.


In general, the PowerRise has been a huge success, and you want them working at their best at all times.
 
1 - 20 of 79 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top