Background: Veralite™ automation

Vera and VeraLite are powerful, flexible and affordable controllers for blinds & shadesOur radio equipped motors use RF (Radio Frequency) for transmission of the remote control signal from a hand-held or wall mounted remote control. These very affordable stand-alone multi-channel systems are extremely easy to install and operate. Our built-in rechargeable battery motors require no wires at all!

If you later want to expand your system, you can extend control of your window blind radio motors to your web enabled devices (PC, phone, tablet, etc) with the RFXCOM™ plug-in for Vera™. With Vera or Veralite, you can easily monitor and control your home whether you are on the premises or away.

The Vera system is also about CHOICES. You can control many other devices aside from our Rollertrol™ blind motors, using many different home automation protocols: Z-Wave, x10, Insteon, Zigbee, etc.

Another important resource that has a lot of information is the Vera forum website. There are two thread topics in particular that have a lot of discussion about RollerTrol™ blind motors and the Vera plugin:

RollerTrol DC Tubular Motors - RF Control

RFXCOM USB transceiver plugin for Vera

Getting Started With the Vera Plugin for RollerTrol™ Motors

The images above and in this article series are screen captures of what you will see in the browser viewport of your PC, tablet, phone or other web enabled device. The instructions that follow explain how to set up and configure the RFXCOM™ plug-in for Vera that will give you control over our RollerTrol™ shade and blind motors.

Setting up the Veralite™ Plug-in for RollerTrol Blinds & Shades

These instructions assume that you have assigned at least one of our RollerTrol™ motors to the remote control. The instructions for assigning motors to the remotes will not be discussed here; the instructions in this article cover the installation of Veralite™ and the linking of our motors to Veralite™ via the RFXCOM™ USB transceiver. We are also assuming you have connected and activated your Vera or Veralite to your router or Internet feed (as in the previous Part 2 of this series).

This procedure is relatively simple; the following is a condensed version of the steps we will take:

  1. Download the xml config file for the USB transceiver
  2. Upload this file to your Vera or Veralite unit
  3. Configure settings for transceiver using the Vera browser interface
  4. Assign a motor to the system by pressing a button on remote control
  5. Assign that motor to a room, create events and scenes to suit your needs

(see a detailed explanation of each step below the following picture)

The following is a screen capture of the upload area for the Luup files required to set up the Veralite web server unit. You get to this screen through the menu system of the Vera user interface in your browser (see part 2 re address):

Apps -> Develop Apps -> Luup Files

Luup is the special device/event oriented scripting language used by the Vera MIOS operating system. It is an extension of the Lua scripting language. The screen capture below has been condensed slightly to fit all the important parts on the picture:

Vera and VeraLite-affordable home automation controllers for blinds, shades, and other devices

In the above picture we have annotated 3 important parts of this screen (in green) that you need to know about for a smooth, trouble free installation:

  • The message area: even on a fast connection, it can take a few seconds for files to upload or data to be saved. When this happens a message will appear here, indicating that a process is underway. If you have scrolled down the page, you may not be able to see this area, so be sure to scroll back up and make sure a process has completed before moving on to the next step. Sometimes the text on the screen below may indicate that an upload is complete before the message area indicates that it is finished; it is good practice to always wait for the message area to indicate that it is finished.
  • The save/upload prompt: if you have made changes, the Vera system will often prompt you (red 'Save' button appears) to save your changes. When you save your changes, watch the message area to see that it has completed.
  • The restart button: when you see the 'Restart Luup' directive in these instructions, this is where you do it. It does not matter if you are not uploading files, you still use this area to restart Luup.

Step 1: Download the config files for the USB transceiver plug-in to your local machine

The RFXCOM transceiver config files can be found on this page at the MIOS code repository. You would normally click on the latest file release towards the bottom of the page. This will display a list of files that support various devices, but if you are only going to use the transceiver for our blinds and shade motors, you only need to download files containing RFXtrx in the file name:

Please Note: the following is an example set of files - the names do change slightly from one version to another, so it depends which version you decide to download. The file set may be slightly different, but the naming rule still applies (you only need the files with RFXtrx in the file name):

  • D_RFXtrx.json
  • D_RFXtrx.xml
  • I_RFXtrx.xml
  • J_RFXtrx.js (not in all versions)
  • L_RFXtrx.lua
  • S_RFXtrx.xml

Once you have downloaded the config files, make note of your download location on your local machine, ready for upload into Vera memory.

Step 2: Upload the config files to your Vera or Veralite unit

Use the 'Browse' button on the Vera interface screen (shown in picture above) to upload the RFXCOM transceiver config files to your Vera or Veralite unit. BE SURE TO CHECK THE 'Restart Luup' CHECKBOX WHENEVER YOU DO THIS.

Step 3: Configure settings for plug-in using the Vera browser interface

A. Create the master device:

  • Load the screen below using Apps -> Develop Apps -> Create Device

Vera and VeraLite-affordable home automation controllers for blinds, shades, and other devices

  • Enter this file name in the "Upnp Device Filename" field: D_RFXtrx.xml then click "Create Device" button. A device named "RFXtrx controller device" will be created, with a confirming message on the screen. You do not need to enter anything else in other fields.
  • RESTART LUUP as per previous instructions above

B. Configure the serial port:

  • Load the screen below using Apps -> Develop Apps -> Serial Port configuration

Vera and VeraLite-affordable home automation controllers for blinds, shades, and other devices

  • Set speed to 38400 baud and select the device named "RFXtrx controller device" in the field "Used by Device"
  • RESTART LUUP as per previous instructions above

C. Activate the RollerTrol protocols:

  • Load the RFXCOM icon screen below using Devices -> All

Please Note: the first image shows it using the Alpha 4 version of the RFXCOM plugin, but yours may say something different, depending on the version you select from the download page in Step 1 (eg. Beta 2)

RollerTrol automation systems for blinds, shades, and other devices RollerTrol automation systems for shades, blinds, and other devices

  • When you move your mouse over the title bar, you will see the 'wrench' icon appear, which is the pathway to the setup screen for the USB transceiver. Click on it to expose the settings dialog screen, as below ... then click the RollerTrol Enable button to activate the Rollertrol device control system. SETUP IS COMPLETE!

RollerTrol automation systems for blinds, shades, and other devices

  • Note that are many other devices that can be controlled by the USB transceiver, and it is possible to add more transceivers if you wish to further expand your system at a later time.

Assign a motor to the system by pressing a button on remote control

RollerTrol and Vera will learn RF commands for blinds & shades and other devicesHere's where the real magic begins. When an up/down/stop button on the RollerTrol™ hand held remote is pressed, the USB transceiver will receive the radio RF signals and cause the Vera system to automatically 'learn' the RF commands for that channel. An icon dialog screen will automatically appear in the user interface, just like the one you see here - put your mouse over it to see the settings icon appear in the title bar.

You can also continue adding channels and motors (or motor groups) by pressing additional channel buttons on the remote control. It doesn't get any easier than this!

Assign that motor to a room, create events and scenes to suit your needs

From this point, you can assign your blind motor to a room and treat it like any other device in the vera system, creating as many events and scenes as you like.

Please refere to the Vera documentation for more info about assigning devices to rooms, creating events and scenes, etc:

Vera Documentation

Vera Wiki


PLEASE NOTE:

The Vera User Interface (UI) has now advanced from UI5 to UI7, and instructions in this article series are for the older UI5 version. We will soon be updating these instructions, and in the meantime, if you have UI7 (green theme) please install the new version of the RFXCOM transceiver plugin. Here is the forum discussion area, and don't hesitate to ask questions there if you need to; these folks are very helpful:

RFXCOM USB transceiver plugin for RollerTrol shades and blind motors

Please have a look at lolodomo's instructions; he is an expert developer, and as he mentions, you have to download and install the ZIP archive here:

RFXCOM USB transceiver plugin download page for RollerTrol blinds and shade motors

There are also additional instructions in this post on the Vera forum:

RollerTrol™ blind and shade motor discussion: Vera UI 7


Articles in this series:

Part 1: Vera and VeraLite introduction: web enabled controllers for blinds & shades

Part 2: How to prepare Veralite™ for use with our RollerTrol™ blind motors

Part 3: How to add Rollertrol™ shade and blind control to Veralite & using the USB transceiver

This is the end of the series "How to use Veralite & the RFXCOM™ USB transceiver with our blind & shade motors". We sincerely hope you enjoy using these advanced motor systems; if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time!