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What I learned Automating Blinds

ano

Senior Member
These blind were ordered as motorized, so there is no way to raise or lower them without using the motor. We have a narrower "cordless" one that was too narrow to motorize, and the top part of the motorized and non-motorized ones look exactly the same. I could see a guest trying to raise or lower them and getting all confused if they didn't know they were motorized.
 

MSG56

Member
ano said:
If your building a house, you can wire for the controllers, but for me wireless has worked great, and all the wiring is not without added costs.
Unfortunately, I'm not building myself and the builder is not a custom builder.  So, I'm not sure that I could get them to wire things exactly the way I would, but at least I can have them add outlets right next to each window.  I'll have them to this in places where I would have to rip out sheetrock.  With access from the attic I’ll add any extra “stuff” myself.  Right now I'm planning to run a 2" PVC for signal cabling from the basement to the attic for all of my toys.
 

ano

Senior Member
I wouldn't worry about control wiring. Wireless is even better. You can use remotes, and even the in-wall remotes are wireless.  Put an outlet under or preferably above each window. You can always use the outlets for Christmas lights also if you want to decorate your windows. The power wires on mine were all on the right side of the blinds, but maybe that can be specified when ordering them. I don't have outlets above, but its pretty east to run the wire down the side of the window and over to the plug. I'd doing the stapling this weekend actually.
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
Trouble is, there will be a solid wood header above and jack studs beside each window so the boxes above would have to be off to either side and behind curtains or showing. Below a window usually has a gap underneath between the jack studs and clear of fire hazard situations.
 
MSG56: Run a few conduits of various smaller sizes. Say 2", 1", 3/4" & 3/4".  Low voltage signals wires don't like to be lumped with that attic fan ac circuit you added.
 

ano

Senior Member
So last weekend we finally got everything finished.  We hung the drapery and added on the cornice to cover the Somfy Glydea 35e rod. We had one problem in that when we measured how far the rod was from the wall for the cornice, we forgot to include added distance for the drapes so they rubbed on the cornice. We flipped the rod mounting brackets so the drapes were closer to the window which solved that problem.
 
For the blinds, we ran the power wire down the inside frame of each window, across the bottom, then down to the outlet. We paint the wires and they are very unobtrusive. The wall-warts are white and not very noticeable. Overall I'm happy we didn't go with batteries.
 
I'm still working on the programming, but I have most of the blinds opening in the morning, then closing is the sun gets too hot in the afternoon, then opening again when the sun isn't so bright, then closing at sunset. Somfy makes these round sensors that you stick to the windows, and if the temperature is above a threshold, and the sun is bright, the window coverings close. When the sun is less bright, the shades open. 
 
The motorized shades and drapes are not something I thought I needed, but now that i have them, they would be hard to live without. The wife loves them as well. 
 
What I learned overall?  Shop around. Prices vary greatly, and not all places understand and sell motorized shades. If they do sell them, 90% of the time they use Somfy RTS motors. You can buy them and put them up yourself, but the savings won't be great.
 
Prices aren't cheap. Expect to pay $200 - $300 extra per shade, and $800 - $1200 extra per drapery or more. For us this added about 35% to the total cost.
 
Also, don't skimp on purchasing remotes. Yes I can control everything from my phone and home automation system, but 90% of the time the wife just wants to pick up a remote to change them. Have a remote for each shade or each group of shades. If you don't, the wife won't be happy.
 
If you only have money to motorize one window covering, and you have a large drapery, chose that. The cost is low relative to the total cost of the drapery, and watching those drapes open or close is a thing of beauty. 
 

johngalt

Active Member
Does anyone have any recommended vendors for motorized shades?
 
I know motorized shades are not cheap, but I just got a quote for two Hunter Douglas Powerview Roman shades that are $1,400 each.  The windows are slightly wider than normal, but only about 4 3-4 feet tall and the fabric my wife chose is what appears to be a common and not top of the line fabric.
 
This quote seemed quite high and I wanted to know if there were any vendors that I could order from and have them shipped.  I could then install them myself.
 
It doesn't need to be Hunter Douglas.  I am fine going with Somfy or Lutron.  I would want to integrate these with my RadioRa2 and Elk systems.
 
 
 

ano

Senior Member
Hunter Douglas are very overpriced.  You can get blinds most any place. There is this place called The Shade Store that was online only for many years, but now they opened showrooms also in many cities so you can actually look at them.  They have pretty good prices. Just make sure they are added with Somfy motors. It adds about $300 per blind, depending on options.
 

johngalt

Active Member
ano said:
Hunter Douglas are very overpriced.  You can get blinds most any place. There is this place called The Shade Store that was online only for many years, but now they opened showrooms also in many cities so you can actually look at them.  They have pretty good prices. Just make sure they are added with Somfy motors. It adds about $300 per blind, depending on options.
 
 
Yikes!  Thanks for the recommendation.  I just checked The Shade Store website and for motorization they said:
 
"NEW* Motorization now available! 
Starting at +$800 per shade. 
Contact us for details"
 
 
 

ano

Senior Member
It depends upon how you want to control them also.  We use Somfy RTS, which is probably the most common because I can control them with remotes and with an Omni Pro II.  In fact since mine are all automatic, I almost never control them manually.  Controlling them with a phone isn't really appalling to me. 
 
When looking at prices, you just can't look at the final cost and say, see motorized is expensive.  Blinds can be expensive, especially roman blinds.  You can order them from Home Depot and Lowes as well, and like everywhere else, the majority of the cost is the blinds, not the motors. For our maser bedroom, the $900 motorized track only added 20% to the full cost of the drapery. For the cellular blinds in the rest of the house, it added maybe 35%. 
 
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