DIY motorized shade... a few questions...

Hi all, noob here.

Okay, I've got an unreachable window in my foyer that is now facing a newly-built house across the street and I feel as if I'm being watched at night. ;)

I shopped around for some remote controlled blinds and was knocked over by the price and I wasn't particularly enchanted by the selection.

Here are my questions:

What sort of motor should I be looking at and where can I get it? It needs to run off of DC power (battery) and pull a 74" wide cellular blind. AC power isn't out of the question, just a major PITA to hook up.

What sort of control mechanism do I need? I'm not interested in the ability to stop it part way; fully open or fully closed is all I need. Also, remote control would be awesome (again, wiring a control switch would be a PITA)

Also, I thought: why not take it one step further and have a photo sensor automatically open and close the blinds when it gets dark or light outside?

Anyone have any diagrams/resources for a project like this? I would greatly appreciate any input.


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This is a frequently asked question. You would benefit from a google of the newsgroup.

What blinds do you have?

I used Hunter IIRC) vertical blinds for the discussion below that I posted six years ago. I can still recommend with reservations as noted below:

"I bought two model AAM80 Add-A-Motor's at Worthington

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[ url still works after 6 years! ]

" They were easier to install than I thought they would be in part because they aligned easily. In general they work well for my purpose (12-foot-wide, ceiling-height, vertical blinds with pull-cords for both the open-close and swivel functions). "

"Our blinds worked easily, quietly, and intuitively _without_ the motors ... but once you add the motors, the drapes _cannot_ be operated manually, so be sure to have your solution at hand, and others in the household prepared for what could be yet another HA irritation. "

"And they make a cheap-sounding, high-pitched, buzzwhirrrr sound for the 25 seconds it takes to open or close 12 feet. "

"Note that is one thing to add remote control to the blinds and a different thing to add _automated_ control. When automating blinds that have a swivel/tilt mechanism, you will need to add additional switches/sensors and a second motor so that the sequence of events is correct if you want to avoid jamming and possible damage. "

" The add-a-motors that I have perform a cycle (open or close) whenever there is a power failure/reset. So if before a power failure they are swiveled open, when power is restored they will try to swivel closed. But blinds cannot physically be drawn open (retracted) when they are swiveled closed, or swiveled open before they are at least partly drawn closed (extended), so the mechanisms can jam. In my opinion, one can't add reliably unattended draw/close + swivel control without some sort of open/close sensing or backup DC power. "

" The factory remote that I received from Worthington was not useful for my purposes as it solved none of the problems above. All it did was interrupt the DC power to the motor by switching the AC to the transformer. The

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url that Dan cites indicates that the company now supplies a different model of remote than what I received, so my experiences with the remote may not apply. But if the new rf receiver isn't in the motor, the position-sensing problems would not appear to be solved by the new remote. "

HTH ... Marc Marc_F_Hult

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Thanks for the info, Marc. The Add-A-Motor looks like it does what I'm looking for out of the box. However, due to the conspicuous location of this window, I'm not sure the wall-mounted box will appeal to the Mrs. but, I'll float it past her and see what she says. Plus, I'm assuming the Add-A-Motor has an AC adapter... I'm not sure where I'd plug that in. I was hoping for a DC powered solution.

Are there any solutions that can mount possibly up near the top, behind a valance?

I'm mostly adept with a soldering iron, so if it means wiring a motor to a ir/rf conrol, I'm entirely capable. I'm just not what sort of motor to look for.

Actually, *this* is exactly what I'm looking for (exept I want it to operate oppositely - closed when dark, open when light):

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But, I'm willing to forgo the photosensing feature for a remote.

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