Horizontal Plantation Blinds Automation


#1

I originally started this in the hardware category but it probably doesn’t belong there. I got bored and decided to automate my plantation blinds as something to do. I 3d printed some brackets to hold a servo and a switch to go inside of the casing for the blinds and hooked it up to a nodeMCU. It’s responding via MQTT and a microswitch to control the position of the tilt mechanism. Local control will be handled via a single cord attached to the pull switch mechanism so it’ll essentially look how it does without it.

I’ve also ordered some high torque gear motors, gears, and an H-bridge to test whether or not I’ll be able to actually control raising/lowering the blinds but that stuff hasn’t gotten here yet.

Here’s a video of the breadboarded tilt mechanism in action


#2

I’m still waiting on stuff in the mail but I’ve gotten some work done. I’ve designed, printed, and tested the mechanism to replace the functionality of the pull cord to adjust the angle.

I’ve also designed and printed the mechanism that will eventually control the up/down motion eventually. There’s one switch for up and one for down

These arrows will replace the things that normally go on the end of the pull strings

The H bridge and the buck converter came yesterday and I tested those out. I’m waiting on the gearhead motors and the pulleys before I can start testing all of that stuff.

I still have to figure out a way to “home” the blinds and also how to gauge their vertical position. I was figuring I’d have a limit switch at the top of travel and I assumed that it’d roughly be the same number of rotations of the pulley for full up/down so I could have the microcontroller home itself if it were told to raise/lower and it didn’t know where it was. I could install a chopper wheel on the pulley and have the microcontroller count pulses or do a magnet and reed switch. Any suggestions?


#3

And it’s completely unnoticeable from the other blinds other than the different pulls


#4

I’m working on modifying the MQTT cover component to handle tilt (it doesn’t currently) but it seems to be going well and I’m able to test out the tilt mechanism via HA now.


#5

Got the MQTT cover modified to handle tilt and have the pull request submitted.

Here’s an update on functionality. Still waiting on drive motors for the raise/lower. Still need to figure out vertical status reporting.


#6

How are you powering this? I did something almost identical but it required power at each blind. I got stuck trying to find an elegant way to power this on solar/battery. Do you just have a power wire run at each window?


#7

I was about to suggest hall effect/count pulses or use a magnetic reed switch - then I noticed you’d covered those bases. :slight_smile:

It really would be best to use some limit switches - you never know when some human has come in and manually fouled things up. You don’t want to go stripping any of your printed parts etc. Using counted pulses to create a 10% movement would be cool. Though, how often would you need to raise them vs open them?

I find that as a tinkerer/maker I always catch myself trying to complete that 100% of a project - when maybe 60% of it would be enough for most daily use. We just get so obsessed.

How you get power to the three of them interests me!


#8

How is the progress of your project?

I am currently also working on my blinds in the same way and I am really curious how your code looks like on your ESP8266. Currently I use the code from this topic: Esp8266 Window Blinds MQTT

Only now I don’t have the option to operate the blinds in steps (of 10%). Would be really great when you press the stop button (stop_cover), then the blinds go to horizontal position so you can pull the blinds up afterwards.