using Alexa to control blinds and shades

Alexa® Controls Motorized Blinds & Shades With Voice Commands
(by Adrian Biffen, GM, Nov 2016)

  Bulletin - NEW RM4 Pro Version (with Alexa & Google Home) 

This is just a quick note to let you know we have the new Broadlink RM4 Pro available, with a new article series that includes details about motorized blind control and the Roku Streaming system (with Alexa):

Using the new RM4 Pro with Alexa for Home Theater & Blind Control

The article series below is out of date and has been replaced by the updated link above. The new apps are much easier to use and do not require a Raspberry Pi.

Control Radio Motors

It has long been our policy to support as many home automation and IoT systems as possible, and we often get requests for a method of using Alexa® voice commands to control our shade/blind motors, and our skylight/window openers.

The Alexa voice control system is the cloud based voice control system that is provided with the three automation hubs that Amazon sells: the Echo®, the Tap®, and the Dot®. The Echo and the Dot are always-on, whereas the Tap requires a button press to activate Alexa. The Echo Show is a visual screen display for Alexa.

blind motor remote control with Z-Wave

Control Motors with Z-Wave

Z-Wave is a commonly used digital radio protocol for controlling blind motors and other devices with Alexa.

Most automation hubs have a Zwave radio, and it can be used to send control signals to our Z-Wave group controller.

These automation hubs also usually have integration with Alexa and Google Home - this can be a very easy way to use voice control with our motorized blinds, window/skylight openers, and drapery motors.

Whether you have 2 or 200 motors, our powerful group controller can activate all the motors in the group simultaneously. For more information, please see detailed information about our Z-wave motor controller at our manufacturing division (NodeSwitch Controls).

blind motor remote control with Android and IOS phone apps

Control Motors with RF

The hub from BroadLink® (HA-RFIRW-5V) has quickly become our hub of choice in terms of cost and flexibility. One of the most important features is its ability to "learn" RF radio commands, which means it can directly control our radio motors.

This includes our G series blind & shade motors, the older R series motors, 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.

Control TV and Audio Systems

The BroadLink® hub is also an excellent IR code learner too, for controlling all your TV, Netflix streaming, Bluray, DVD and other media systems. You can very easily set up a sequential process for some application in your home, with the ability to chain events to a single button press, .

For example, you may need a process for initiating a home theater system - lower blackout blinds, dim lights, turn projector on, deploy projector screen, activate audio system, select Netflix, etc.

You can share your remote control system simply by cloning it to any other phone on the local network. If you have an old phone or tablet, 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.

Alexa® Can Control The BroadLink® Hub

Amazon Alexa voice control system

There are several ways to integrate Alexa® with your BroadLink® hub; here are some relevant links:

Node-RED Visual Design System (Raspberry Pi, Linux, Mac, Windows)

Take a look at how we use Alexa™ voice control with the Node-RED home automation system. Programmed in Javascript, it is an excellent system with an awesome visual design system that is part of the Raspbian default installation on the Raspberry Pi and supports literally hundreds of devices, including our blind motors and skylight/window openers via the BroadLink® plug-in node. This is our current favourite!

Home Assistant (Raspberry Pi, Linux, Mac, Windows)

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 running on a Raspberry Pi. Written in Python 3, it is an excellent system that runs on any platform (Linux, Mac, Windows) and supports literally hundreds of devices, including our blind motors and skylight/window openers via the BroadLink® plug-in.

The Home Assistant system makes it easy to integrate Alexa because it creates a bridge between Alexa and the BroadLink hub. This is accomplished by using a clever emulation of the Hue system, which has native support in Alexa.

Tasker for Android

Tasker is a very powerful automation program for Android tablets and phones.

Z-Wave Controllers: Vera, Wink, SmartThings, Homeseer, etc

Z-Wave is a popular digital protocol used by many controllers. We have interface modules for integrating any z-wave hub with our motors; this article explains how:

Here is bridge software for SmartThings:

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

Companion articles in this series:

BroadLink® Smart hub for blind motors: Introduction

BroadLink® IFTTT example: rain sensor for closing skylights.

BroadLink® IFTTT example: temperature and light sensitive blinds and shades