Motorised blinds - not about the new blind controllers...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by impact, May 13, 2008.

  1. impact

    impact

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    Hi Guys...

    I have read through lots of threads here regarding all sorts of issues / comments about controlling blinds and many a discussion on the new blind controller.

    I certainly understand a lot more than what I did 3 months ago before finding this forum. Never considered that relays could accidentily short the open and close together etc...


    Most blind motors I have seen are 240v items, and gee I have enough live cables running everywhere, the thought of more to a few windows, although possible (maybe) just might be a bit difficult practically.


    About 6 months ago, I accidentily came across a crowd in the northern suburbs of melbourne that manufacture their own motor mechanism for the drawstring type curtain rod. They sell them on ebay - always listed. http://cgi.ebay.com.au/C-Bus-Remote...yZ106030QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem This is no way an endorsement of the product, and I am not associated with it, except for the fact of being curious....

    These units are low voltage 16VAC (plugpack), and operate with either a button, IR, or (claim to be) cbus compatible. Seemed to be reasonably well made, the logic onboard has cutout after 60 seconds or something.

    The Cbus compatibility appears to work by using just a standard relay. Close the circuit for 1 second the blind attempts to open, close the circuit for 2 second and the blind attempts to close (time setting can be altered by the manufacturer).

    - Which certainly seems to solve a few issues with the operation prior to the new blind controller.

    Of course these units are cheap too - only AUD$99 or there abouts - and of course you get what you pay for..

    I like the idea that they are cheap, low voltage, and utilise only a relay which is probably a lot cheaper than a blind controller. Easier to wire (?)


    So the questions I have to the more experienced cbus gurus are;
    - Anybody experienced these units on cbus?
    - Thoughts?
    - It would be nice to know if something was open or closed, I guess an array on a piced device could be used to memory where things are at?


    Some of us are on a budget of course, but would like a couple of curtains drawn open or closed from the push of a button to show off to the neighbours!
     
    impact, May 13, 2008
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  2. impact

    froop

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    Hmm.. I am rather curious too. I have just installed exactly the same draw string curtain rods as shown in their instructions on half a dozen of my windows. And their factory is about a 5 minute drive from my home. If no-one else has first hand experience, I might need to go and check them out :)

    The instructions say:
    There is no mention of relay contacts, so I can only assume that its either just not mentioned on the standard instruction sheet, or the relay needs to tap into the test button contacts to work.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2008
    froop, May 13, 2008
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  3. impact

    znelbok

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    I have one of these but I have not put it into service yet (had it about two years now).

    Charlie Crackle has played with them as well and has a lot more experience with them.

    While they C-Bus compatible, in reality anything that has a voltage free output can control them (i.e. your alarm system).

    It is as you say, a 1 second pulse sends it one way and a two second sends it the other way.

    The original version had its tolerances too tight and made operation a bit flakey as C-bus could not guarantee operation of the relay within the same tolerance. Charlie spoke with the manufacture and I am led to believe that they ave increased the tolerance and they are now very suitable for C-bus relays.

    There has been a post of two about these on the forum so do a search and you should find more info.

    Mick
     
    znelbok, May 14, 2008
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  4. impact

    znelbok

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    There were two versions, one i think was missing the relay input that the "C-bus" version has, it was also slightly cheaper.

    Mick
     
    znelbok, May 14, 2008
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  5. impact

    Charlie Crackle

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    OK .... I have these installed at my house

    And work great

    There are 2 version. You need to buy the cbus version. (it just has differnet firmware.) and a lead with two wires to short.


    If using the cbus version the turning on and off feature at the power has been disabled. (well it gets disabled the first time you use the cbus input)

    (I asked for this change. This was so you can have logic that remembers the state of the curtain and it will not be affected by a power failure !)

    the are 2 wires which you wire to a single relay.


    From memory

    Once second close OPEN

    Two second close CLOSE

    Quick close and open STOP

    automaticaly turns off at end off travel. (monitors the motor current)


    The timing was adjusted because getting this accurate on Cbus relays was a hard. (work perfect on minder relays with the pulse comand)

    mine have been in for a year and get operated every day and works fine.

    (heavy curtain)

    Only negative is they are noisy... other than they are great.

    Charles
     
    Charlie Crackle, May 15, 2008
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  6. impact

    froop

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    Cool, thanks Charlie. Might have to go out and get me one to try out. I'll fit it to my study (aka "testbed") window first, and see if I can sell the missus :)

    How do you maintain state after a powerfail? There's one thing about the blinds not moving, but your logic needs to maintain state too...
     
    froop, May 15, 2008
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  7. impact

    impact

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    Ive had one for 12 months or so as a test unit.... reliability etc. But I was only ever using it with an IR remote control.

    So I know they are noisy etc... The guy I bought it from said he was working with someone to improve the cbus compatibility, so I guess I now know who!

    After 12 months of continued use, Im still happy with it, daily open/close several times and the item still goes strong. With little or no issues.

    I bought it as a trial, knowing that eventually I would be moving to cbus when doing the house renovations - well here I am, and I am still considering putting a few of these in, in the hard windows....

    Given I have not played with cbus and these units, I can only speculate on what I thought of doing...

    - Wire them to a relay
    - Use a PAC to control them (ie. little routine that would close relay for 1 or 2 seconds to do the open or close of the blind
    - Use an array in the PAC that remembered the status of open or close of each of the blinds...

    In wiring them up though... I was going to run figure 8 twisted cable to each controller, one pair would go back to the cbus relay, another pair to run the 16v AC - as I dont want power packs at each window.... I could centralise the power delivery, and possibly power multiple units from a larger supply (?)


    Thoughts of mine clear - or am I missing something else?

    Thanks in Advance - its always great to see someone else who is leading the pack!
     
    impact, May 16, 2008
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  8. impact

    Charlie Crackle

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    PAC on battery !

    the figure 8 cable (not twisted) needs to be fairly thick gauge to stop voltage drop.


    I have asked the company for a whole house solution. The designer has been working on this. Each motor has an ID and you can send open close and stop via 1 serial port. (perfect for connecting to PAC) No relays required and easy multidrop cabeling. Not sure of developent progress I will ask.

    Charles
     
    Charlie Crackle, May 19, 2008
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  9. impact

    impact

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    Now - I'd be interested in that !!!! Fingers crossed it may happen ? Keep up the effort then....

    Im only 5 minutes away by car, and the guys seemed to be very helpful when I bought my unit 12 months ago....
     
    impact, May 20, 2008
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  10. impact

    froop

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    To plug directly into a PAC the serial control would have to be RS-232, which although possibly suitable for this sort of simple control would be rather limiting. Only one way communication for multi-drop (no ACKs back), and susceptible to noise, especially over long distances.

    RS-422 would have better reliability, or with RS-485, you could also get feedback. Not only an ACK back to know that the curtain controller got the message, but also send a status back. By attempting to move the motor a small amount each way, it would know whether its at full open or full close, and could send that back to the PAC.

    But a RS-232 <> RS-485 converter would be required..
     
    froop, May 21, 2008
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  11. impact

    froop

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    You must be pretty close to me then too :)
    I might drop in to their factory later this week to check them out, and will also ask about progress on the serial control too.. Maybe they'll have a prototype for me to try :D
     
    froop, May 21, 2008
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  12. impact

    Charlie Crackle

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    It is a lot better that this
    Dont know if I have his permission to elaborate... (2 way)
     
    Charlie Crackle, May 21, 2008
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  13. impact

    froop

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    Hmm... I'll guess at a RS-232 controller, then a powered multidrop to all the motors? How'd I do?:)
     
    froop, May 21, 2008
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  14. impact

    Charlie Crackle

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    Yes something very like that. :)
     
    Charlie Crackle, May 21, 2008
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  15. impact

    froop

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    Well I am now the proud owner of a curtain controller. Its been installed in my study and is working a treat. I haven't yet connected it up to a relay, but its working with the remote control.

    Had a bit of a chat to the manager there, and he said the new bus controller has been delayed a bit due to some other projects under way. He's also coincidentally the father of a friend of mine from way back! Small world.
     
    froop, May 22, 2008
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  16. impact

    Brett_b2

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    Any update on these blinds

    Folks - it is some time that this thread was touched - any updates. About to do a renovation so any hints or recommendations on motorised blinds would be much appreciated

    thanks
     
    Brett_b2, Sep 2, 2009
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