Mk-smarthouse DIY blinds kit

I discovered a DIY blinds kit from MK Smarthouse, so bought it and here’s my review.
(I’ve got no connection to the company)

I ordered the pre-assembled kit, plus the 3d printed parts. Cost was about £50 including shipping to the UK, although I also had to pay £16 import duty when it arrived.
I bought a 50mm venetian blind from Amazon for £55.

It requires an Arduino to flash the kit when it arrives. I already had this.

There’s 5 instruction videos here for the blinds kit:-

I’d viewed the videos before, so went straight for the one for flashing the hardware:-

I had issues, it kept failing. Eventually I realised I was using the wrong MQTT library, and the one required is ‘MQTT by Joel Gaehwiler’. I installed that, and it then flashed OK.

I changed the jumper on the circuit board , and then tested it with MQTT.fx (both as shown in the video). It worked. :slight_smile:

I added it to openhab as described in the video, and that worked too. :slight_smile:

I haven’t yet fitted it to the blinds, and I’ll post back to say how that goes within a day or two.

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I watched the videos earlier this week and it looks like a cool design, but I have one major concern - what happens when the sunset/sunrise rule fires while the blinds are raised? The servo will attempt to move, but the slats won’t turn, so somethings got to give - either the servo coupler will strip or the servo itself will burn up…there really needs to be a contact or sensor input that prevents movement when the blinds are raised up.

For me, this isn’t a problem. I don’t raise the blinds, I only move the slats.

Well, I guess as long as you keep them down, and disconnect the servo when cleaning your windows, that’s fine, but I wouldn’t trust myself :smiley: - I guess some sort of limit switch (Normally Closed contact) could be added to the raising mechanism that detects when the blinds are fully raised and breaks the 5V circuit line to the servo. Commands would simply fail in that case, but the servo would turn to the new position as soon as the blinds are lowered off the max raised position…

Fitting the kit into the blinds was easy, apart from…

The adapter between the motor and the blinds shaft had a square hole of (I think 4mm), and my blinds shaft is hexagonal and accepts a 5.5mm socket perfectly.

What i ordered came with two of those adapters. I messed up the first one. With the 2nd one I removed the servo coupler and drilled a 6mm hole through the adapter which made it too tight to go on the blinds shaft, but it would go on with a bit of persuasion and is a tight fit.

The blinds now work, very well! :slight_smile:

I spoke a bit too soon. The plastic adapter is now spinning while the blinds shaft isn’t.

I did anticipate this, and yesterday ordered a servo coupler and a 5.5mm socket with a hex shaft from amazon which should arrive in the next hour or two. I’m confident this will fix the problem.

edit: now done, and now working perfectly.

I also ordered 1 kit from this guy to support his project and to use his code. The biggest problem with his design is adapter. Printed plastic is not strong enough and it gets loose.

So I modefied his design:
1.For controller I use NodeMcu $7-8 (Amazon)
2. As adapter I use 5.5-6mm Husky socket $1 (HomeDepot)
3. In my living room we have 3 blinds next to each other so I used 1 NodeMcu and 3 servo motors with external power supply (5v 2.5amp) to control them simultaneously. Works perfectly.
4. For all other blinds (single) I use 1 NodeMCU, socket, servo and 5v 1.5amp usb charger. But you have to make sure that usb powers controller and servo in parallel. Don’t power servo from NodeMcu.
I use double side tape and foam to secure motor in place. No soldering!
5. High torque servo is powerful enough to handle 80% raised blinds (based on my test and setup). I have controlled blinds in place for past 2 month, so far so good.

Hope this helps. Please consider donating to MK if you use his code.

I been watching his videos for some time now I also have the blind kit had to make it fit with other parts but he do says this in his video. I also got MK - Smarthouse irrigation system. Look excellent. His videos are really good have not seen any better videos for OpenHAB

after a few weeks of using this blinds kit I’m really pleased with how it works - without any problems at all. :smiley:

I have used this system as well. I did not buy the kit but I did get the circuit boards from them as I had all of the other parts to populate the boards. I also printed my own servo holder and blind shaft coupler so they both could be a little more robust.I deployed these on five blinds in my house and they are working nicely on four of them. The fifth keeps loosing connection with the broker or the network and obviously I cannot control it any more. It may be a voltage drop or brownout problem as it is at the end of a run of three windows and they all share the same power supply. More investigation needed.
It would be nice to see a modification to the boards and code to allow for some pushbuttons to control the blinds without pulling out the phone.
Very please with them though.

That is a good ider!

could be done within openhab by using a zigbee or zwave button - something I plan to get round to.

Very happy with the blinds, btw. Definitely one of the best bits of smarthome kit I have.

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Since the new code was published and I pushed it to all my blinds, I have had no wifi connection problems with any of my 5 blinds. They are all working very well with openHAB moving them on schedules and from the UI.

hey tech after a lot of settings I still don’t see anything in BASIC UI please Help.