Smart Blinds - What 'Good' Options are out there?

Greetings, and I hope everyone is managing as much as possible this ‘confined at home’ situation.

I’ve been contemplating automating my blinds and the few ‘feasible’ options out there include those from ‘MySmartBlinds’. The technology seems promising (per their web site and few Youtube reviews) and I’m interested in what other options are out there.

The add-on sets from MySmartBlinds run for about $160, and if I retrofit my 18 blinds (single/double) that’s a serious investment (~$3,000). Hence, I need to make sure I have the right solution before proceeding. Few questions:

  1. What viable options are out there?
  2. What’s your experience/impression with what you have now?
  3. How about Durability/Reliability ?
  4. Integration (Ease of) with OpenHab?
  5. Usage with native App e.g., can you operate/open/close all at once or only one at a time?

I’ve tried those from Ikea and was not too impressed, especially with the limited options available here in the US. During my last visit to the nearby store (North of Chicago), they only had a limited selection of widths, only available in dark gray, plus I’m not too fond of roller shutters.

So, any comments/feedback/advice ?

The MySmartBlinds appear to be battery operated (based on the solar charging statement). I’ve heard that batteries in these types of devices need to be replaced every few years but I am open to correction on that.

I have 2 blinds that have Somfy RTS motors. These are mains powered blinds, which means they can “drive” a larger blind than the battery operated motors. I’m able to control these using RFXTRX433XL (which is connected to my OpenHab Raspberry Pi). I’ve also integrated these into Alexa so can open and close them via voice control. I’ve only gotten them to fully open or fully close (but that’s all I want them to do). I have found them to be very reliable.

Not sure that’s any help to you. Happy to answer anything else, if I can!

Thank you, definitely helpful input. I’m at the very beginning so, the more there is to investigate, the better :slight_smile:

I am currently using a few AM43 Blind Drive motors to control my shades right now. They work with existing continuous cord loop blinds so you don’t need to buy new blinds.

When I saw how cheap they can be bought ($35 from aliexpress) as well as the fact they don’t require the cloud (they operate through bluetooth) I actually went out on a limb and got a couple. My plan was to reverse engineer their bluetooth protocol since the official app to control them is utter trash. Now while I successfully managed to reverse engineer the protocol and make a binding for them, I wasn’t aware at the time how poor of a state the official bluetooth binding was.

So for the sake of some cheap blinds I have ended taking over the bluetooth binding project in order to make it as robust as every other binding I’m using. I’ve been rather successful at it too. The AM43 motors, along with the binding I made, have been extremely reliable. The bluetooth binding on the other hand…not so much, I end up restarting by bluetooth controller every couple of days since it goes offline for unknown reasons. This isn’t related to the bluetooth binding itself but the hardware that I’m using. I might just be unlucky though since I haven’t seen other people reporting the same issues I’ve been having.

My only complaint with the AM43 is that the solar panel is much too small to recharge the battery so the motor has to be supplied power.
Another downside is that because the AM43 uses bluetooth the range is rather limited (~30 ft), I have to have a bluetooth dongle located in close proximity to my windows.

Thank you. I also struggled with the BT binding, it would auto-detect in excess of 400 devices and I decided not to pursue that anymore. Now that you’ve fixed it, I’ll try it again. I also found a DIY solution, it’s a bit more work, but with a pricing way more attractive than ready solutions.

Here’s another solution I found, ready-to-use, but rather ‘expensive’, especially if you’re contemplating upgrading multiple windows. Per their web site, they use Z-wave, so, some sort of dedicated hub is also needed for it to interface with the various software packages.

One more: An Add-On kit from MKSmartHouse. Very ‘affordable’, and worth a try. One can buy the parts and assemble them, and that is how they keep the cost down.