Blind motors

I’ve spent a few days looking at possibilities for automating window blinds.

Here’s what I’d like to be able to do:

  • Have all blinds in the house come down at dusk and go up after we’ve gone to work

  • Have a blackout blind in our bedroom go up (behind curtains) in the summer to wake us up naturally (but not at 4:30 am as has been happening recently …), this needs the motor to be pretty quiet, don’t know if this is possible.

  • Have the blind in our bedroom double up as a projector screen (high quality isn’t a big deal for this). The blind should go inside the window with curtains outside for that cinema effect ;-)

After much googling it seems that Somfy pretty much have the blind market sewn up. Various of the automation sites sell blind kits that include Somfy motors.

Simply Automate have a one blind kit for 327 GBP which seems a bit pricey, especially when there’s no proper automation yet. The kit includes an RF remote (not much use, we want central control from a computer).

I looked inside the kit and realized that the components are also sold individually. Interesting, which bits do I really need and which can be replace by cheaper bits. Well, the motor is certainly necessary and I’ll need the aluminium to hang the blind on and the various bits to mount it. The cost of these bits came to 107 GBP + 6 GBP for 100m of bell wire which should do several blinds. The challenge was now to find out whether it was possible to control and power the blind for less than 200 GBP (roughly the cost of buying the other Somfy parts in the kit).

Before purchasing I wanted to find out a bit about the motor. There was surprisingly little information out there. It”s an LT28 DC motor and there is some information on the Simply Automate site and some on the Somfy site. Not enough for me to be confident that I understand how to drive it though. I decide to buy it anyway, hopefully it will come with more information.