phone app for motorized window blinds

Phone Apps for Motorized Blinds: A Really Smart Home Automation Hub
(by Adrian Biffen, GM, Oct 2016)


 Bulletin 

Mermet® Custom Shades: Our DIY shade and blind motor kits are popular, but for those of you wanting a more complete solution, we are now offering high quality shade and blind fabrics from Mermet®, mounted on standard tubing, with hem bar. Our automated remote control shade motors just slide in and lock in place - no fuss no muss! Please check our Custom Blinds and Shades website for info.

Introduction

blind motor remote control RF-IR blaster with Android and IOS phone apps It has long been our policy to support as many home automation and IoT systems as possible, and we often get requests for an affordable simple phone app that doesn't have all the complexity of many of the hub solutions out there.

We think that solution has finally arrived in the form of the new RF-IR blaster hub from BroadLink®, and it has quickly become our hub of choice for a number of reasons.

Unique among controllers, one of the most important features is its ability to "learn" RF radio commands.

This means it can directly control our radio motors, whether they are our new G series radio motors or the older R series motors, and it has timers too.

It can also control our skylight/window openers, our smart film, our drapery motors, and many other devices, such as fans, LED lighting, etc. It can even learn x10 radio commands, in case you have a few of those old modules in your home.

It comes with Android and IOS phone apps for easy control, and it's a great way to put your old phones and tablets to use as powerful home automation controllers.

The BroadLink phone apps are quite powerful and easy to use, but if you want to take it even further and add support for many other systems like Alexa®, Wink®, SmartThings®, Vera®, Wemo®, etc, take a look at the Home Assistant home automation system. Written in Python 3, it is an excellent system that runs on any platform (including Raspberry Pi) and supports literally hundreds of devices, including our blind motors and skylight/window openers via the BroadLink® plug-in.

Buy The HA-RFIRW-5V Automation Hub Products In Our Online Store

If you are interested, you can purchase these products in our DIY online automation store.

Control TV and Audio Systems

home theater RF-IR blaster phone app does blackout blinds and projector screen

It is also an excellent IR blaster code learner too, for controlling all your Netflix streaming, TV, sound and other media systems. With the ability to chain events to a single button press, you can very easily set up a sequential process for some application in your home.

Perhaps you need an initiating process for a home theater system in a media room - dim lights, lower blackout blinds, turn projector on, activate audio system, deploy projector screen, select Netflix ... and on it goes ...

You can create a series of button controls for your home, quickly from scratch, even quicker if you use the available existing templates. Once that is done, you can share your remote control system simply by cloning it to any other phone on the local network. You can also upload it to the cloud to support family or clients in remote locations.

If you have an old tablet or phone, you can quickly convert it to a sophisticated remote control. The app will work on fairly old phones too, without a SIM card (as long as the WiFi section still works).

You can easily extend operation to your PC or laptop by using a 'phone cloner' that puts your phone screen onto your local machine screen, using mouse clicks to simulate button presses. We used the excellent Seven Square program to display our Android phone screens on our local Ubuntu laptops via a USB connection. There are similar programs for Mac, Windows, and IOS.

It doesn't fall short on the sensor side either, with capabilities for detecting environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, air quality, smoke detectors, etc. It also has security accessories for detecting door/window opening, motion, and other events that fall into the security realm.

Feature Summary for Smart Home Automation Hub

  • Ease of use - be up and running in a few short minutes (Android and IOS phone apps)
  • Ability to learn both RF & IR codes simply by holding a remote to it and pressing a button
  • Not cloud dependent - it only requires your local WiFi router network (optional cloud features are available)
  • Ability to instantly clone the phone app settings to other phones or tablets; keep all your family phones updated
  • Ability to chain events for one button press - eg. dim lights, lower blackout blinds, turn projector on, deploy projector screen, select Netflix
  • Ability to set timed operations
  • Ability to set up IFTTT (if-that-then-this) scenarios for event reaction - eg. If rain detected, close motorized skylight
  • Ability to expand capabilities with 3rd party software such as Tasker, an excellent Android app, with remote access and capabilities.

Please see the next article Activating Your Home Automation Hub for further installation instructions.

Buy These Products In Our Online Store

If you are interested, you can purchase these products in our DIY online automation store.

Specifications:

ModelHA-RFIRW-5V
MaterialFlame-resistant PC
SizeL: 4.51" x W: 4.29" x H: 1.42" ( 11.45cm x 10.9cm x 3.6cm )
Input Voltage5V DC
Input Current2A
Working Temperature-20-60°C
Operating Humidity≤80%
Wireless Power≤0.5W
Wireless TypeWi-Fi 2.4GHz b/g/n
Infra-red Frequency38K
Radio Frequency315MHZ & 433MHZ
Operating System
(phone or tablet)
Android / IOS
Supported IOS VersionIOS 7.0 or above
Supported Android VersionAndroid 4 or above

Articles in this series:

Part 1-Smart hub for blind motors: Introduction (you are here)

Part 2-Smart hub WiFi router connection: Activate Hub

Part 3-Smart hub program installation: Download Software

Part 4-Smart hub methods: Creating Control Screens

Part 5-Smart hub example: Home Theater Control Screen

Also, see the follow-on series about our other devices: