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Somfy Sonesse 30 ST30 IWT RS485 + HAI OmniPro II (Part 2; The Guide)

Relleum

Member
Months ago, I posted this thread about configuring Somfy Sonesse ST30 IWT motors with the HAI OmniPro II. As of today, I'm up and running with this setup! I'd like to share some key information that would have been immensely useful when I started this whole thing as my house was being built.

STEP1 - Prewire
While my drywall was down, I ended up wiring 14/2 (power) and CAT5 (for RS485) to each shade location. I also put an outlet and CAT5 to every sliding glass door for Glydea 35 automated drapes. All wires came back to a central closet into a large 50" structured wiring enclosure. Since I wanted my shades mounted on the inside of the window frame, they drilled holes through the top of the frame, 4" from the top left corner, about 1.5" from the back. You can see here:

sQWfJ.jpg


You have quite a few options on where your wires can come out, so don't get too caught up with this. Just make sure not to have them come out where the shade makes contact on each side. There isn't any room there, as the shade goes in flush. The location I chose is just fine, but in retrospect, a more optimal location would have been 4.5" down from the top left corner, as it would have been a straight shot right into the motor. See here:

TO0dg.jpg


If I had to do it all again, I would have definitely used the 4 wire power/data stuff that they show in the wiring instructions. I can't emphasize this enough. I am automating 19 shades, and that is enough to fill your entire enclosure with a rats nest of wires. There is the argument for "future proofing" with new stuff that potentially needs CAT5, but let's be real; your investment is now with RS485, and a decade from now when you upgrade, wireless will be king. If you know you are going with Somfy IWT motors now, then wire efficiently for them. CAT5 is overkill because you only need 2 of the 8 wires for RS485. On the power side, 14/2 was definitely *way* too thick, so 16/2 is fine even for super long runs.

Another trick to reduce the amount of wires you need - daisy chaining. For example, If you have three windows in a row, you can daisy chain both power and data cables, and only run a single homerun back to your enclosure. Remember, RS485 is a bus. This means that when your OmniPro sends a command, it encodes the hardwired address of the motor in each command. This data gets sent everywhere on the bus, and it is up to the motor to say "hey that's my address" and react. All the other motors will receive the command on the RS485 bus, but will not respond since the command did not match their address. I'll describe more about this later. The disadvantage to chaining is that if you have a point of failure, it will be difficult to improvise. I bucket this into future proofing, and you need to weigh the tradeoff between having a clean install vs. less work if one of your wires fails.

STEP 1a - Getting Past Inspection
My contractor made a big deal about wires hanging out of the wall for inspection. Apparently inspectors don't like unterminated wires, even if they are low voltage / data. You have two options: Install the blinds before inspection, or cover them up in some tubing/boxing. I did the latter, because there were so many things to juggle while getting ready for the Certificate of Occupancy, I would have never found the time to buy and install the shades with so many unknowns. As you can see from the first picture, I used a tube with sticky tape, and connected it to a box with sticky tape. I used the box to roll up a few more inches of wiring, but this was completely unnecessary. Doing it again, I would just use about a foot of tube and call it a day.

STEP 2 - Buying Stuff
This is a list of things you'll need:
  • HAI OmniPro II in a structured wiring enclosure. The bigger the better.
  • HAI PC Access. You will need the pro version to set a couple things that are unavailable in the consumer version. More on this later.
  • Prewire your home like described above, with all wires coming back to the structured enclosure.
  • Somfy Sonesse ST30 IWT motor(s), enclosed in a shade. I bought from a custom local manufacturer that was able to make rolldowns with the ST30 and Hunter Douglas Silhouette fabric. I was pretty close to buying Comfortex Shangri-La, which recently started integrating the ST30 IWT motor from the factory. You can also get regular rolldowns or blackouts.
  • ST30 Limit Tool. This tool allows you to set where the motor needs to stop at the upper and lower limits of the shade.
  • Altech or Meanwell Power supply. I bought the Altech 10A one here because it's essentially the same as the Meanwell ones, except cheaper. Each ST30 draws about 1 amp of power, so mine let's me move about 10 of my shades at once. If you want to move more than that many at a time, buy another one (or one with 20A).
  • Somfy Power/Distribution panel. I bought two of the 10 motor ones, since I have 19. Here's something to remember: you only need to account for your home runs; not necessarily every motor. For example, if you have 10 shades, but 6 are daisy chained together with one home run, that means you have 5 home runs, and would only need a single 5 motor distribution panel.
  • USB to Serial Port Adapter
When ordering your shades, you'll need to measure your window frames. Measure the width at three different heights: top, center, and bottom. Record the shortest width. Do the same with measuring vertical, and record the shortest height. Windows frames aren't always perfect, and you want your shade manufactured for the least common denominator. Don't send them all six dimensions for each window. I did this, and everyone got really confused.

Step 3 - Installation & Programming

So you're ready to install all the thousands of dollars worth of equipment you just bought. Before you do anything, you'll need the address of your motors. This is a 6 digit number that is labeled in two or three places across the shaft of the motor. Make sure your shade manufacturer gives you this number with your shades! My manufacturer didn't, and so I needed to take apart the shade to get it. That was super annoying, but doable. Once you have your motor addresses, then you need to translate them through the Somfy ILT2 and ST30 RS485 Motor Configuration tool. This software wants a COM port, and most modern computers don't have one. That's where a USB to serial port adapter comes in handy. This will create a virtual port that the software can see, and when you connect to the COM port, you will gain access to the address translation tool. Here you check ST30, enter your motor address, hit Calc and out pops an ILT address. You need this because your OmniPro is preconfigured for Somfy ILT, and will require you to specify the address as an ILT address.

fuBAg.png


Once you have ILT addresses for your motors, you are ready to configure your OmniPro II. In PC Access (Pro), you need to configure one of the serial ports under Expansion > Serial as Somfy ILT. Remember to set as 4800 baud. Next, you need to setup some Units in PC Access that correspond to your shades. This consists of setting a block of units as type Somfy ILT, and then configuring each Unit with the name and address of the shade:

o6Gfu.png


In the screen above, the address column is missing (consumer version). You need the pro version, and you enter the ILT address that you translated earlier. Once you are done, write your changes to the controller and get ready for physical setup.

Now you have to connect your OmniPro II and Power supply to the Somfy Power/Distribution panel. The power supply part is pretty straightforward, but the OP2 is tricky. The dist. panel has an RJ45 jack, and the OP2 a regular serial jack. Plus it's really confusing which wires are required, and which aren't. I ended up creating a custom wire with a CAT5 wire, shown below:

0oERcl.jpg


I won't get into the details and pinouts of each system. Just know that on the phone jack side, it is four prong and solid orange goes into the end slot, striped orange goes next to it. I can tell you for sure that if you replicate this cable, it will work :)

Once you've got your distribution panel powered up and connected, you can start wiring in your shades. This is pretty straightforward from the the wiring instructions, so I won't go into much detail. Once your shade is wired up, this is probably a good time to use the limit setting tool. You plug this bad boy into the four prong dry contact port of the ST30, and this will give you a remote control to move the shade up and down, and set it's limits. Details can be found at the end of the Sonesse 30 RS485 Installation Instructions. I personally did this for the first shade before I even mounted it, just to make sure it worked. I basically connected directly to the panel with an ad hoc constructed cable, and tested one while holding the shade up in my hand. Be careful :) The limit tool needs the shade to be powered, so you cannot just hook up the limit setting tool to test.

Once you've set limits, you can now try issuing a command through the OmniPro II. You can do this through PC Access, but I highly recommend having something on your phone (like Haiku), where you can easily test on a whim. It's good to be at the shade when controlling the first couple times, especially if you need to troubleshoot wires, or if there is an unforseen problem (like a fabric snag).

One note on the Shangri La / Silhouette type shades; they are kind of tricky to use with the default configuration. The concept of these shades is at the very end when fully extended, the shades go horizontal and open up. The position to close them is actually around 4-5%, to have the shade all the way down but still have the horizontals closed. This means that it is difficult to open and close them with the on/off switch. In Haiku, you have to adjust to the right percentage with the slider bar, and it's next to impossible to get 4% every time. On a few windows, I set the lower limit to be around 4%, and that allows me to use on/off conveniently. However, with this limit, you essentially lose the ability to flip the horizontals open, since that full extension is "out of bounds". Maybe there is a way to make this easier, but I haven't figured it out yet.

I have yet to hook up any Glydea 35s, but when I do I'll try and add my findings to this thread.

Anyway. here's some pictures of the panels:

br3fCl.jpg


nAtCCl.jpg


I hope this helps!
 

kurtmccaslin

Active Member
Great writeup! Thanks for sharing this. I dont plan to install my motorized shades for about 2 years, but I will definately save this for the future. Your experiences and the photos give an excellent guide for someone who has never installed these before. Again thankyou for sharing.
 

carempel

Member
Relleum, bless you! Your write up has answered more of my questions than any of the technicians ever could. I do still have one more question if you have a moment...

We're new construction and are finishing up the drywall. We're planning on installing the ST-30 RS-485 silhouette blind in our kitchen & Glydea RS-485 drapes through out the house. The plan is to control everything with the HAI OP2, as well as with a wall mount switchs (the wall mount is the backup for if/when I have struggles getting the HAI up & running).

My concern is specific to our kitchen. During the pre-wiring stages, we ran 16/4 from the kitchen window to the wiring closet, and CAT6 from the location of the future wall switch to the wiring closet (spoke & hub style). I now have a supplier telling me we should have also ran CAT6 from the wiring closet directly to the blinds, otherwise we can't control them. We wired based on this diagram, which clearly shows CAT running to the drapes but only 16/4 to the blinds: http://www.automatedshadestore.com/shop/avactis-images/SDN-RTS-Control.jpg. Any insight & instructions would be greatly appreciated.
 

picta

Active Member
My concern is specific to our kitchen. During the pre-wiring stages, we ran 16/4 from the kitchen window to the wiring closet, and CAT6 from the location of the future wall switch to the wiring closet (spoke & hub style). I now have a supplier telling me we should have also ran CAT6 from the wiring closet directly to the blinds, otherwise we can't control them. We wired based on this diagram, which clearly shows CAT running to the drapes but only 16/4 to the blinds: http://www.automated...RTS-Control.jpg. Any insight & instructions would be greatly appreciated.

You need 2 wires for power and 2 wires for control, so you are ok with 16/4, but this diagram is really very misleading.
 

carempel

Member
So I've figured out all the parts I require to make the silhouette shades work, but I'm still hitting some obstacles. I was planning on buying the ST30 RS485 motor & also the Silhouette crown & drive kit (http://www.automated...ane-pid413.html). The obstacle is, where do I get the 4" quartet tube & fabric?? I've called Somfy, Hunter Douglas & a couple online places that sell the crown & drive kit, but no one can direct me.

Relleum, you eluded to having bought a full kit that included the ST30 RS485 motor enclosed in a Silhouette shade. When I called a couple local Hunter Douglas, they said that the Silhouette was only sold hardwired with the LT motor or with the Platinum battery power. How were you able to get it with the ST30? If I ordered it with the LT motor can I just swap it out with the ST30 motor & Silhouette crown & drive kit?
 

Mr Spock

Active Member
Rellum your previous write up really saved my ass.  During home construction I did not have the time to figure out the details, especially where to have the wires pop out.  I ran 16/2 for power and 22/4 for the RS485.  This seems (to me) to be the right balance of wire size/quantity vs. future proofing (leaves me with 2 extra wires per shade).
 
My builder gave me no options on handeling of the wires for inspection.  They burried them behind the drywall, with a hole through the 2x4 and the wires stuffed in the hole waiting to be fished out.  I took pictures before the drywall went up, but I will be forced to dig out drywall to find them and get them out.  I expect a messy and ugly process.  Suggestions welcome...
 

carempel

Member
After further research, I stumbled upon Slats & Pleats in NJ, and they have a lot of expertise combining ST motors with Hunter Douglas products. Paul was able to answer all my questions about operating the Silhouette with the ST30. Per his advice, I can order a manual blind and install all the somfy parts. I'm excited to finally have it all figured out! Hunter Douglas tech support kept telling me that none of this was possible, I'll enjoy proving them wrong. 
 

Relleum

Member
Mr Spock said:
Rellum your previous write up really saved my ass.  During home construction I did not have the time to figure out the details, especially where to have the wires pop out.  I ran 16/2 for power and 22/4 for the RS485.  This seems (to me) to be the right balance of wire size/quantity vs. future proofing (leaves me with 2 extra wires per shade).
 
My builder gave me no options on handeling of the wires for inspection.  They burried them behind the drywall, with a hole through the 2x4 and the wires stuffed in the hole waiting to be fished out.  I took pictures before the drywall went up, but I will be forced to dig out drywall to find them and get them out.  I expect a messy and ugly process.  Suggestions welcome...
 
Damn, that really sucks that they burried them.  They make it so much bigger of a problem than it needs to be.  If you have the money, get one of these: 
 
http://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Waterproof-Plumbing-Inspection-removeable/dp/B00273Y8AQ/ref=pd_sxp_f_pt
 
This will allow you to make a small hole, yet still visualize how to snake your wires out.  Remember, all it takes is one window to give you problems, and you'll lose several hours.
 

Relleum

Member
Bercaw said:
After further research, I stumbled upon Slats & Pleats in NJ, and they have a lot of expertise combining ST motors with Hunter Douglas products. Paul was able to answer all my questions about operating the Silhouette with the ST30. Per his advice, I can order a manual blind and install all the somfy parts. I'm excited to finally have it all figured out! Hunter Douglas tech support kept telling me that none of this was possible, I'll enjoy proving them wrong. 
 
 
I ordered mine from http://www.automatedmotorshade.com/.  These guys order the fabric from hunter douglas, and build the whole thing in their small factory.  I personally am not happy with the quality of their builds, but I think 90% of the people out there would be.
 
This company can also do them, but they really just buy the manual ones and install the motor for you:
http://www.floridaautomatedshade.com/
 
Hope this helps.
 

picta

Active Member
Relleum, I see you have your motors connected to HAI OP, are you able to see updated status of the shade if you control it from another ILT controller?
 

Relleum

Member
picta said:
Relleum, I see you have your motors connected to HAI OP, are you able to see updated status of the shade if you control it from another ILT controller?
Yes, the status of the shades can be seen by all my client devices.  I use iPads and iPhones to control everything with Haiku, and I just confirmed that when I updated a shade with my iPhone, the status is immediately updated on the iPad.
 
Hope that answers your question!
 

picta

Active Member
Thanks, but what I meant was if you have a different ILT controller than HAI OP2, like a wall switch, and if you change the shade position not directly from OP2, will you see the updated status in OP2? I have connected my somfy network to another HA controller and if I issue a command from it, HAI wont update the shade status, but if I control the shade via OP2 (either from PC access or from Haiku) then both controllers will have correct status.
 

Mr Spock

Active Member
Interesting tool Relleum, thanks for the link.  However I don't think that will help me in this situation.
 
They burried my wires in a hole of the 2x4 along the left side of the window frames.  The same side/area where they will pop out.  Picture it this way: if the drywall along the left side of the window's frame were removed I would see the wires folded into the 1/2" diameter hole they made flush up against the removed drywall, where the wires will ultimatly come out. Its not burried deep back into the wall.
 
I might want to remove say a 2"x2" area of drywall where I expect them to be, pull them out (assuming I hit the right area), make a 1/4" hole in the drywall square for the wires to come out, then reinstall the drywall square and patch everything up.  This sounds a lot easier than I expect it to be.  For example how to cut out drywall that is mounted directly against a wood 2x4.  No way to get a drywall saw in there.  And the drywall dust, yikes!!
 
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