Author Topic: Home Automation - Blinds Controller  (Read 3925 times)

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Offline scancool

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Home Automation - Blinds Controller
« on: June 14, 2014, 08:53:26 pm »
Hey guys, I know I'm not a very active member of this forum but I wanted to share my project with you.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/36837225/blinds-controller

I would also would like to hear feedback from you why the project is doing so bad,
 

Offline Wilksey

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Re: Home Automation - Blinds Controller
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2014, 10:32:35 pm »
Hi,

The introduction video is quite impressive, you have voice over and not a home made video so +1 for that, I don't think I would afford the budget to do such a thing.

If I was to give you a purely personal opinion as to why it would not be of interest to me it would simply be because a blind opener and closer, to me, is not something that I feel should be a standalone product, it seems as though such a device should be a "node" in a home automation network, it seems a bit over kill to use your phone to just open your blind, if you wanted to use home automation to control your lights and sockets, etc, you would need a different number of apps for each setup.

I hope it picks up as it is an interesting idea, I just think the context in which it is being presented is too stand alone, but, purely personal opinion.
 

Offline scancool

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Re: Home Automation - Blinds Controller
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2014, 11:14:39 pm »
Thank you for your feedback,
 I guess the explanations of the product might be the problem, cause the phone is not just to open and close, but to set the settings, to open and close at you desire time, cause I notice most people open the blinds in the morning and close them at night so it has a build in timer that open and close them for you.
the reason I didnt want to use something like zwave is cause it would need the main box to control them and not many people have it, so this would be for people that want to start in home automation.


 

Offline Wilksey

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Re: Home Automation - Blinds Controller
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2014, 12:10:24 am »
Hi,

Yes, it is quite a difficult decision as to what the best route is, and as a standalone system, I expect it works quite well, but I can also see the other side of it where if I had several different home automation devices and had to use a smartphone app to configure / control each device, I would soon get fed up.

I don't know how far your BT integration goes, but maybe you could change it slightly so it could run as a single system or as a node in a HA network via a central hub? I.E. use BT rather than ZW for controlling, but the central hub could control multiple "protocols" and transmission mediums.  Just a thought.
 

Offline scancool

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Re: Home Automation - Blinds Controller
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2014, 01:26:49 am »
I see your point, and it does make sense, this are changes that can be done :)
 

Offline dexters_lab

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Re: Home Automation - Blinds Controller
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2014, 12:51:45 pm »
nice campaign,

my work is making electric blinds so i can offer some opinions on your product

i only work with bespoke blinds that are designed and made to be electric operation from the outset and are hard-wired so dont have a huge amount of knowledge with regard to retro-fit devices but they have been around for a while in various forms for curtain, roman and roller blinds etc that use cords or chains.

Cant see anything bad about the method of operating the blind and looks neat enough for that kind of product. I would say that most, even the buyers of the more budget electric blind products are bothered about noise. If i was you i would start thinking now how to make the motor as quiet as possible and try to reduce noise transmitted through the case and in tern through to the headbox of the blind (which is often pressed steel).

I would have looked first at z-wave for operating this, z-wave already has functionality in for blinds control (with feedback) thanks to ESI (one of the z-wave alliance members (http://www.z-wavealliance.org/electronic-solutions).  Using z-wave would give your customers extra options when it comes to control and/or integration. Though i completely understand your decision to use bluetooth given it's built into phones.

Does the controller have a built-in RTC? or is the phone with the app required to be in range to operate the blind?

Regarding the timer functions, if you want a tip... IME people like to have the blinds open at a set time and then close when it's dusk. This can be achieved by working out the approximate sunset time based on time/date. This is an option in most of the Somfy Chronis timers called the 'Cosmic' program. Security is also often a benefit with electric blinds and adding in an option to slightly randomise the open/close times can help.

"A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." - Douglas Adams
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Offline scancool

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Re: Home Automation - Blinds Controller
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2014, 07:12:00 am »
Dexter, is nice to get advice from an expert in electric blinds, :)
to answer some of your questions, about the noise, is pretty quiet, one of my first prototype it was loud, so what I did was change the gear ratio so it would open and close much faster, that did help.

about z-wave, I was going to put it out there along with wifi, the hardware is very easy to integrate thanks to the modules they sell, but it would had taken time building the app that's why I went along with bluetooth because the app was easy to make if I had to go with wifi or zwave with would had take me another month or two , I also wanted something simple for the user who does not have a zwave box.

The design has an RTC built-in, that was one of the first things I did , in my mind I wanted to do this :

like in the scene from ironman at Tony Stark house where the reporter wakes up with the sun coming through the window :)


 


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