Smartening Plantation Shutters

Has anyone found a way to smarted Plantation Shutters? My wife wants to replace our blinds with wooden (or wood look) plantation shutters which means my blind controller will no longer work. I’d still like these to be automated however…

Anyone found a way to automate?
There do seem to be a couple of companies that make pre-automated ones which is certainly a possibility but the costs seem unwarranted by comparison…

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These seems to be somewhat easy to automate, since there is no real weight that requires high torque.
The blades are actually holding themself, so pretty much any serve or stepper motor should be able to handle that.
The problem might be that the shutters have to able to be opened and in that case the electronics probably have to follow the shutters as they swing.

If you build them yourself, then you can place the tilt rod in the right place and avoid the tention levers, since that would be handled by the motor/servo.

Thanks. We’re likely going for an off the shelf model simply because we’re kitting out the whole house, but actually looks like a fun project to build!

I’d love to know if there is an off the shelf stepper solution for this, but if I have to build one I’d love some ideas on how to blend it in… wife is not going to be happy having a stepper and wire stuck to her brand new shutters :rofl:

I do not think there is an off the shelf solution for this, unless you want to pay crazy amount of cash for it, due to the lack of competition.
I think the best way would be to build it yourself.

If the shutters are not flush with the window, then you can maybe place the electronic on the backside of the top frame and then just have the arm of the servo/motor stick through to the internal side.

We have plantation shutters all around our house about 30 of them, some are very hard to reach like above the stairs… i have been looking for over a year for something off the shelf and so far have found nothing. micro steppers would probably work well but my wife like yours doesn’t want to change the aesthetics haha

on our full height shutters on the doors there is 4 separate sections would be great to control them separately. set up an automation to track sun elevation and close just the section to stop it blinding us when watching TV

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Ha. I’ve tried to put it off for so long but there’s no talking her out of them… But I really need to find a way to automate…

the blinds are great, easy to clean and perfect for blocking the sun or reflecting it onto the roof for more light.

just need someone to come up with a little stepper and linkage to move them… and hopefully no cloud connectivity just a clean simple local interface!

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You need to look at the tilt function for venetian blinds, since that is pretty much what you would do.
There are several videos on doing that.

It’s not quite the same tho - I have Venetian now and I have a Tuya blind controller which just pulls the string. That would work for one direction with a bit of modding but need something rigid for a push

Was wondering if something like a switchbot could be made to work but don’t have one to try

Whatever solution or solutions you would be trying / using in the end, please help report back to the forum. :slight_smile: Photos would be great.

I did find this randomly… Looks like it might be a nice (hacky) solution!


Ha, that’s exactly what I mentioned above but someone actually did it! Nice!

I found this project. I considering it, but I really don’t want to make my own board. Anyone know of an alternative servo controller?

There was a kickstarter project for a kit that could be added to standard wooden plantation shutters, I was at one time considering it myself. Unfortunately that product/company ceased existence quite sometime ago.

I have however seen two current products that still exist. One is sold by Hunter Douglas in the US and Luxaflex in the UK. The smart kit is the ‘Powerflex’ and can be used with their PolySatin Plantation Shutters. Unfortunately for @vaderag (and me) it apparently is only available with their mock-wood and not genuine wood shutters. However have a look at the following. It is only I believe battery powered.

I do feel that due to the companies involved the advantage is the likely continued support and enhancement for the smart kit i.e. Powerflex.

The second one (which I actually found first) is Elizabeth Henley Shutters. This is sold and fitted with genuine wood Plantation Shutters. Their solution only lists HomeKit support although it is possible to add HomeKit devices to Home Assistant. Ironically (to me) this is a British product and when I found it, I had not been able to find any smart Plantation Shutters in the US or elsewhere. I say ironic because normally it is the UK that suffers in terms of availability of smart products compared to the US.

There are I believe a number of remote control plantation shutters but without the options of smart home integration.

Ah! It looks like ‘PowerMotion’ is the same product used by both the above remote control solutions and the following two and has an iOS app.

I think the PowerMotion maker is Shuttertec, see the following.

I am still planning to get Plantation Shutters for all my house and will be wanting a smart solution also.


How did you go on automating your shutters?

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awesome design and looks like it would work fairly well for me… except i need something like 50 of them. over each entry my plantation shutters is broken up into 3 sections vertically, and there is 4 sections wide, at each window. there is 2 wide with 2 sections

my key requirements are

  • local control
  • no tuya/3rd party crap
  • solar powered with up to 3days bad weather
  • back drive able without breaking

I was thinking of DIY’ing something using a micro gear motor rack movement in a push pull arrangement connecting it to 2 louvers using clips. to drive the motors i would use something like a TB6612FNG, this should cover 2 DC motors in a full H bridge. due to the addressing limits of the cheap i2c interface TB6612FNG motor shields for the D1 mini i would probably run 3 in a stack, controlling 6 motors. i would also include a current sensor to monitor end stops as well, using the standard current based cover in ESP home for each section.

this motor/rack
this driver
this current sensor

i still want to find a nice solar panel with battery charger and battery that will supply the device… i want the ESP to normally live in a low power mode and just wake up every minute or so to check for position changes. at night this could be increased to save power. at key times i might get it to wake more frequently, mainly on the ones that block the sun from the TV.


May have just found the holy grail of shutter openers…

Not cheap at all. But having the solar panel is an amazing option.

I’ve started designing my own, slightly different approach to the commercially available one, specifically having several satellite motors connected to one controller. As mentioned in previous posts I have 12 independent sections of blinds per door, and I will require about 50 motors all up.
PXL_20230717_132354863 PXL_20230717_132433085


This was the initial plan, just a small N20 gearmotor, a motor driver board, and a current sensor.
PXL_20230717_102720030 PXL_20230717_113032471 PXL_20230717_120720975
I’ve also got a small solar panel, and LiPo charger with a small 1100mAh cell, might need to up the capacity but will see how it goes once I get things up and running and figure out sleeping and battery saving. I’ve also ordered a few 110mmx60mm panels with the aim of making a long thin panel thats less obtrusive in the window,

The N20 gearmotor I have mounted on a base plate, it clips in nicely and has a clamp to secure it properly. I also put in some cable clamps, although they are tiny… kind of lose track of how small things are when you can zoom in so much! The plan is to use one of those pull to release sticky things that come with wall hooks, and not need any modification or drilling of holes to the shutters.

Here is the lever arm and the pin that clips onto the bar. I have designed a couple of different clips as I have a few different designs of bars that link the shutters around the house, all have needed a little tweak with a file to fit.
PXL_20230717_121739979 PXL_20230717_103901198

This design is easily back-driveable, however its right on the limit of the motors torque (298:1 ratio @ 5v) im going to order a 1000:1 ratio motor and see how it goes. The other issue is the length of the motor, I will need to grind about 4mm off the shaft so that it can be stuck on without hitting the inside frame.

There is still a load of changes needed to my design, this is just Rev 1. First thing will be to add a tiny bit more room at the back of the motor, currently the wires are pushing the lid back and its not aligning perfectly at the front… almost 0.75mm out! Also the cable clamp needs to be beefed up as its a bit thin around the screw holes. I’m also going to add a bit more room inside the cover, my plan is to use white cat5 cable and loop it through each motor so I just need to run one cable to each panel with 3 motors, you can see the breakout windows in the cover where the cable can come in and out… there just isn’t the room inside to actually do it.
I forgot to countersink the screw holes for the cable clamp, and i ran out of micro screws so ended up needing to use M2 pan heads with nuts, the nuts didnt fit under the cover so they stick out the bottom increasing the standoff by 1mm , this changes the length required in the slot (I did allow a bit for the foam double sided tape things). while it is nice to keep everything as compact as possible I think an extra bit of play may help and make alignment less critical.

Next version will also have some tactile switches in the mounting plate, ill figure out some sort of multiplexing with resistors and use an analog input to read end stops. adjustment will probably be with a little set screw in the lever arm.

I’m also designing a linear actuator version, this will allow me to change the orientation of the motor, and give me more flexibility with space. plan is to use a rack and pinion, and to have a ramp in the slot to assist with the extra torque required to start opening the blinds and to fully close them. this should also slow it down a bit and give better position control, with the current ratio motor and no feedback its +/- 10%

One other thing is 3d printing, and while I much prefer the detail and finish on resin prints they are not as durable as FDM prints. My old wooden Flashforge from 2011 may need to be dusted off again and put back to use! the cover and mounting bracket I think will be ok, its more the lever arm and pins that need the durability. already with just a few minutes testing its already wearing out the flat for the motor shaft.

Once I get to a stage where I’m happy with the design ill release the print files here, they are drawn on Onshape, its the first thing I have designed with them, its a big change from Sketchup which I have used for many years.

The code I’m using is pretty simple at the moment, just a current sensor, and a current based cover, and no endstops… just using the overcurrent to stop it with no rollback. It would be really nice to get some sort of soft start with the motor controller, but this would need to be accounted for in the way the time is taken into account for the shutter position. anyway, here is the code

  sda: D2
  scl: D1
  scan: true
  id: bus_a

  - platform: ina219
    address: 0x40
    shunt_resistance: 0.1 ohm
      internal: true
      id: current_sensor
    max_voltage: 7.2V
    max_current: 3.2A
    update_interval: 0.1s

  - platform: current_based
    name: "Blinds Cover"
    malfunction_detection: false
    open_sensor: current_sensor
    open_moving_current_threshold: 0.002
    open_obstacle_current_threshold: 0.15
    open_duration: 0.7s
      - lambda: |-
          Wire.write(0x00 | (byte)0x10);
          uint16_t _pwm_val=uint16_t(10000);
          Wire.write((byte)(_pwm_val >> 8));
    close_sensor: current_sensor
    close_moving_current_threshold: 0.002
    close_obstacle_current_threshold: 0.15
    close_duration: 0.7s
      - lambda: |-
          Wire.write(0x00 | (byte)0x10);
          uint16_t _pwm_val=uint16_t(10000);
          Wire.write((byte)(_pwm_val >> 8));
      - lambda: |-
          Wire.write(0x00 | (byte)0x10);
          uint16_t _pwm_val=uint16_t(10000);
          Wire.write((byte)(_pwm_val >> 8));
          uint32_t freq= 10000;
          Wire.write(((byte)(freq >> 16)) & (byte)0x0f);
          Wire.write((byte)(freq >> 16));
          Wire.write((byte)(freq >> 8));
          Wire.endTransmission();     // stop transmitting

    obstacle_rollback: 0%
    start_sensing_delay: 0.3s