Open source window blind automation device.
Remote controlled and timer.

Similar projects worth following
I am always having to reach across my bed to open the blinds. I wanted to fix that with a remote control window blind motor.

Features I intend to build in:
-Motorized blinds
-minimally destructive installation for apartment dwellers
-wireless control over bluetooth or wifi
-no power cord required
-solar charging
-timer function
-ambient light sensor for automatic brightness adjustment

Further description of problem:
There's not enough room in my room to get easy access to the blinds. I have to crawl across my bed in clothes after having done woodwork in them so I get sawdust on my sheets.So with lightbix I want to be able to adjust my blinds from my phone.

With the help of my local hackerspace I can 3d print the case and make the pcb.

I am very bad at electrical engineering so picking the right components for this and designing the circuit is a crap-shoot.

Any suggestions regarding the components and circuit will be well-received.

Everything needs motors and internet connectivity.

The project needs to be done in steps with no particular order.

A. Measure torque to open and close several types of blinds. Off to SEARS!

B. Select a motor that can meet that torque value and will not be loud.

C. Select a battery that can deliver enough power to the motor to run, run the wireless module, and run the arduino.

D. Select a solar panel that can fill the battery even on overcast days.

E. Design a charging circuit to marry the battery and solar panel.

F. Design control circuit including the arduino, wifi module, and motor driver.

G. Solder the board.

H. Assemble circuit and test.

I. Print housing, assemble, and test.

J. Ongoing improvements to design.

  • 1 × solar panel how much watts do I need?
  • 1 × arduino uno stripped down Just the mega and crystal.
  • 1 × battery Evaluation, Demonstration Kits, Boards and Modules / Evaluation Kits, Boards and Modules
  • 1 × batter charge controller
  • 1 × optical sensor

View all 8 components

  • Case making time!

    UkiyoWeee12/31/2014 at 20:15 0 comments

    Designing case for 3d printing. I put holes in the top to attach a thin peice of metal to slide between the window sill and blinds frame.

  • New technical drawing

    UkiyoWeee12/06/2014 at 03:52 0 comments

    I have just created a circuit diagram for the Lightbix.

    It features 3 schottky diodes for the solar panel to charge the battery and battery to run when solar panel voltage is reduced from shade.

    It DOES NOT yet contain any smart charging. So the battery and solar panel volts have to match. I'd like to use the microcontroller to handle the smart charging since it's there.

    I have a continuous servo in there because it might be cheaper than a stepper + driver. I forgot to add a MOSFET for the power supply and have the arduino hooked dirctly up the the servo.

    I have wired the ESP8266 according to an instructable but I suspect I misunderstood their intention.

    I have added to "snap action switches" as limit switches. These will be on either side of the topmost blind.

    I have also shown the optical sensor, I feel I probably need a resistor. I don't want to filter the input with an RC circuit as the arduino should be able to average the samples over time.

    Total build cost without case is around $30 now.

    The servo is the most expensive component at $14.

    I could reduce battery needs if I knew how to make a proper boost circuit...or buck?

    Solar panel may be over/underpowered. No way to guess at that, I have to make a working circuit, build it, then test it. Luckily, building at hackerspace should be no problem.

  • Help Sought!

    UkiyoWeee12/06/2014 at 02:15 0 comments

    I have spread the word to reddit and physics forums!

    Next up is stack exchange.

  • Measurements!

    UkiyoWeee12/04/2014 at 18:24 0 comments

    I used a piece of wood to tape to the blinds stick and a scale to measure force. Not as good as a torque wrench but whatever.

    The wooden lever was 3.25" for the center of the blinds stick. Max force applied was 90 grams.

    So thats a torque of 10.3 oz in or 743 g cm.

    Now I just need some recomendations for motors!

View all 4 project logs

Enjoy this project?



Frank Vigilante wrote 04/01/2015 at 01:37 point

Great Project! I would definitely license it if I were in the blinds manufacturing business. Before spending a lot of time designing your charging circuit, you should spend a little extra money and buy a power system that will work out of the box so you can focus on getting the motor mechanism as consistently functional as possible with your blinds. If you purchased the following three items together, It would be a quick way to get the prototype powered with no headaches:

I would reccomend that you use a lithium Ion battery in your final circuit, and control its charge with a MCP73831 charge controller (By Microchip). You are going to need to operate the system at 3.3V, which is necessary for the ESP8266 and compatible with the ATmega328. You should reduce battery power to 3.3V with a LDO such as the MIC5219BM5 by Micrel.

If you are lucky, you may be able to use a servo motor that can also operate at 3.3V, but probably wont have the power to move the blinds. In all likelihood you should get a stronger motor and find a way to step up the voltage in your circuit. 

Good Luck!  

  Are you sure? yes | no

UkiyoWeee wrote 04/02/2015 at 05:50 point

Thank you for the tips Frank! I will check out solar charging unit.

The wireless module I was going to use is actually the nrf24l01+ because I have a pair and they are FCC certified from what I understand.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Frank Vigilante wrote 04/02/2015 at 06:05 point

I agree, go with the nrf24101+ for the first prototype because it will be easier to set up, and will be really reliable. After you get the prototype working great, switch to WiFi so end users of your product can change their blinds from anywhere.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates