Raspberry Pi Shade and Blind Motor Control
Bulletin

BroadLink® RF-IR Blaster Automation Hub: Need an easy phone app system? Take a look at our affordable blind and shade hub, operated by Android and IOS apps. This RF-IR blaster hub can "learn" RF radio signals for our blind motors and skylight/window openers. It is also has IFTTT event triggering (if-this-then-that) and IR learning.

Turn all your old phones and tablets into powerful WiFi home automation controllers!

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 motors just slide in and lock in place - no fuss no muss! Please check our Custom Blinds and Shades website for info.

Easily Turn A Pi Into a Low Cost Home Automation Hub

Adrian Biffen, Senior Partner

PLEASE NOTE: We found the Node-Red system with its visual design system to be another excellent way to set up a home automation system, and it is our current favourite. See OUR ALTERNATE ARTICLE SERIES on how we control blinds, lights, window openers and many other devices with Alexa™, using Node-RED and Alexa™ on the Raspberry Pi (Node-RED comes pre-installed on the Pi).

Raspberry Pi® controls our blind motors, and makes a great automation hub The Raspberry Pi® is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that uses an HDMI computer monitor or TV, and a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a very capable device that enables people of all ages to explore computing and to learn how to program.

It was originally designed as an educational tool by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in the UK (circa 2008), and it took the computing world by storm, selling over 2 million units in the first 2 years (they were expecting perhaps 10k in sales).

It has now evolved into a second generation product (Raspberry Pi 2 Model B), and we are convinced it can function as a home automation controller just as well as other dedicated units such as Vera®, Wink®, Homeseer®, SmartThings®, etc.

Editor's Note: We now have the new Pi 3 Model B, with built-in Wifi (worked out of the box ) and Bluetooth 4 Low Energy (BLE).

As a home automation hub, it does not depend on the cloud for operation, something we feel is a very important consideration when setting up an automated system. We certainly don't want our home to stop working if the internet connection fails, especially if it was controlling our greenhouse too!

Were were, quite frankly, blown away when we loaded the Noobs operating system installer onto the micro SD card, plugged in our HDMI 12 ft projector screen, connected the Internet cable and booted it up for a first look.

We selected the Raspbian Operating System, and after installing this automatically, it booted straight into a GUI (Graphical User Interface) at a superb resolution of 1080P, replete with browser, email program, office suite, programming tools, text editor and a whole host of other features and programs we haven't explored yet.

Raspbian is the officially supported version of Linux (based on Debian), but you can buy very inexpensive micro SD cards (they are about the size of a thumbnail) and install other operating systems such as Ubuntu Mate, OpenElec, Risc OS, etc. We bought a 16 GB card for about $12, but that price will continue to drop. Because it has an ARMv7 processor, it can run the full range of ARM GNU/Linux distributions, including Snappy Ubuntu® Core.

Raspberry Pi® controls our blind motors, and makes a great automation hub If you are a casual user of a laptop or desktop machine, this baby is a very suitable replacement, just as a general purpose computer. If you don't own a computer, the Pi would work just fine as your entry point into the world of computing.

But our interest was in applying the Pi as a home automation controller, and there are a number of excellent open source software packages that can be used; here are some good examples: