This picture above shows the RollerNode™ (RN-12v-10w-1) controller internal features, with the lid off and the motherboard slightly raised in its slot.
RollerNode™ LED and DC Motor Controller: Background
The RollerNode™ RN-12v-10w-1 unit is an Arduino compatible motor controller that was created as a companion product for our radio equipped shade and blind motors. An RF (Radio Frequency) signal is used for transmission of the remote control signal, capable of passing through walls, and in most cases can reach anywhere inside a typical home.
A small antenna receives the control signal from the multi-channel remote control and a microprocessor then uses the decoded signals to activate the motor output. The on-board 'MiniMight™' reversing motor controller is used to operate devices that have a reversible 12v DC motor, such as our 12v window and skylight openers covered in this article.
The MiniMight™ motor controller can also be re-purposed and used to control other devices (such as relays) by reprogramming the Arduino™ microprocessor with a laptop or PC. This functionality is detailed in the advanced instructions for reprogramming the microcontroller, and will not be covered in this article. It is a simple procedure that essentially sends a text file (downloaded from our website) through the USB port to the Arduino microprocessor onboard the RollerNode™ unit.
If you want to examine the program script code that is pre-loaded into the Arduino Nano, please go to the RollerNode™ Script Library and look at the script entitled RollerNode™ Single DC Motor Forward/Reverse Timed Operation, Using Both Motor Channels Combined .
You can also extend your system to work with phones, tablets, PC or any other web enabled device, whether at home or away (and continue using your original hand held remotes in your home). The Vera™ system also supports Z-Wave™, Insteon™, x10™ and other control protocols, and it can be added at any time - you do not have to purchase it at the outset. Please see this article for further information: Vera™ control system.
12v Skylight and Window Openers
The RollerNode™ programmable controller operates our standard series 12 volt electric chain actuator for controlling windows, skylights, vents, shutters and any other item you would like to move with a motorized actuator. It can be controlled by a simple switch, or with our optional remote controls. The actuator unit can exert a push/pull force of approximately 20 lbs before the obstruction sensor will stop it.
The interlocking linear chain actuator pushes straight out from the fixed housing which lines up unobtrusively with your window frame, fastened in place with mounting screws. Attach the end of the chain actuator to the window with two screws and you're done!
The flex link direct push drive has a 300mm stroke (~12"), the opening/closing force is approximately 20 lbs (9 kg), current consumption is ~1.5 A.
Use it to control the motion of anything you want, including windows, greenhouse vents, skylights, etc. It can be adapted to work with most types of windows: single hung, double hung, hinged casement, awning, hopper, skylights, etc. The internal electronics provide motor overload cutoff and travel limit stops.
Please see the picture at bottom showing dimensions of the actuator housing. The installation is quite simple: attach it to the sill with the provided brackets, then attach the end of the chain to the window.
Please Note: Care should be exercised when these units are installed where adults or children could get fingers caught in a closing window - serious injury could result. Use of insect screens can help eliminate this possibility.
Basic Operating Instructions for Window/Skylight Openers
The unit has a timed operation of 45 seconds regarding the opener; this is more than enough time to allow it to extend to its full reach.
If you allow it to travel to its full extent, either retracted or deployed, and you want to immediately reverse it (before it times out), you will need to press the opposite button once to cancel the timer, then one more time to activate the motor in the opposite direction.
Please note that it does not use the 'Stop' button on the remote. If you want to stop it part way, simply press the button opposite to the direction of travel.
Connecting The Wires
The RollerNode™ controller is easy to connect and put to use immediately. Here is a summary of the basic steps you will follow:
- Undo the 4 screws that secure the lid and remove it
- Connect a 12 volt DC power source, observing polarity
- Connect the window opener to the output terminals
- Drill a small hole if you want the status LED to be exposed
- Assign the RollerNode™ unit to one of the remote control radio channels
- Re-attach lid with screws, mount the unit wherever desired
Connecting Wires to the RollerNode™ Terminals:
The most important item for installers are the 2 main screw terminal blocks: a 10 position unit for general connections (numbered 1 to 10), and a 2 position unit (numbered 11 & 12) for the dedicated PWM LED dimmer output. This article will only be concerned with the 2 motor output channels at positions 7, 8, 9, 10, and we will be combining the 2 motor channels into a single channel to boost the output to ~3 amps.
Starting at screw terminal #1 (see picture below), the sequence of connections is:
- Positive 12 volt DC power input, from external battery or power supply.
- Negative 12 volt DC power input, from external battery or power supply.
- Positive 12 volt DC output (self-resetting fuse triggers at 11 amps, resets at 7 amps). The positive lead from your LED lighting circuit would be connected here.
- +5 volt DC regulated output from pin 27 of the Arduino Nano, if you need to power external circuitry. This is also available on the breakout headers, as is the 3.3v regulated DC output from pin 17 of the Nano v3.
- Switched ground from power supply. This line is interrupted when the auto-off circuitry is triggered and will shut off anything connected here.
- Switched ground from power supply, same as pin 5.
- Motor A connection 1
- Motor A connection 2
- Motor B connection 1
- Motor B connection 2
- LED ground connection. The negative lead from your LED lighting circuit would be connected here.
- LED ground connection, same as pin 11.
- Trigger signal from RF remote control receiver board. This is not normally touched, but could be used with an alternate external 12v trigger signal.
- Trigger signal from RF remote control receiver board. Pins 13 and 14 reverse polarity, depending on whether UP or DN signal is transmitted from remote.
Here are the actual motor and power connections, note the 2 jumpers that combine the 2 output channels into a single channel:
When you connect the actuator (or any 12v DC motor), if it works the opposite direction to what should be normal, simply reverse the leads to make it operate in the proper direction.
The LED status light header accepts any ordinary LED, and can be used to monitor the state of the controller; it operates in parallel with the status LED on the Nano v3 board, and is powered from pin 16 of the Nano board (referred to as D3, digital pin 13). We provide the header so you can insert an LED and drill a small hole to extend it through the lid if you want a visual indication of the controller status.
Assigning the RollerNode™ Controller to a Channel on the Remote Control:
Please follow this sequence to assign your controller to a specific channel on the hand held RF remote:
- Locate the setting switch (at the top middle of the receiver carrier board). Press and hold it for a few seconds until you hear a series of short beeps.
- Set the remote to the channel you wish to assign, then press the 'confirm' switch to activate the pairing. You will hear another series of confirmation beeps, indicating that the channel assignment is complete.
- As a convenience, each motor is automatically assigned to the ALL group when it is paired with another channel. There is no need to assign it separately.
- Please Note: The 'limit' switch inside the remote is not used and should not be pressed, or you may require a factory reset. The chain actuators automatically stop when they reach either end of the excursion.
We sincerely hope you enjoy using these advanced motors; if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time!