Somfy window shade experience and advice

I am looking on adding a multiple sets of window shades. I think I will go with Somfy mostly based on reputation for reliability and quietness. I will need custom window treatments and rollershutters for my windows as they are odd sizes. I know this will not be inexpensive.

A couple of questions for those who have Somfy systems and have integrated them into OpenHAB (I have not been able to find satisfactory these answers via search here or Google).

(1) Somfy systems seem to have 16 channels. Does this mean you can only control 16 shutters? Or can you put two shutters on a single channel if you don’t want to control them individually?

(2) I wont be hardwiring these, do the Somfy solar panels provide enough charge to not have to charge the batteries? Assuming the blinds are used 1x per day, how much direct sunlight per day does the solar panel need?

(3) There seems to exist multiple ways to integrate a Somfy system with OpenHAB either via Tahoma or MyLink. Is there a benefit to one system vs the other? What sort of range do these systems provide? I have one room - over the garage that can be hard to reach with centralized wifi, etc.

If the goal is a highly reliable system with minimal maintenance (including battery swapping) is there a better system to look at besides the Somfy system?

Not sure I’m answering any of your specific questions, however;

Happen to have 2 wired Somfy blinds and 1 battery blind (with solar charger). Both Somfy are integrated into OH2 with and RFXTRX433XL unit, whilst I was unable to do same with battery blind (non-standard 433 protocol, that I was unable to get working with RFX).

When I was setting up the Somfy blinds, I was able to “decide” the code to control them via the RFXTRX manager tool. From recollections, don’t see why 16 would be a limitation, I believe more than 16 is possible.

Using 1 MyLink you’d be able to control 16 individual blinds independently, another MyLink would be needed for the next 16 (or part thereof). If you were to group certain blinds (so that an open/close command would control several blinds) then that would require just 1 channel for that group. That’s my understanding of it.

In relation to the solar charger, they’re designed to trickle charge the battery all the time (during daylight) so if you really are only opening/closing them once per day, then I think you should be fine. Mine has been installed over 2 years now and it’s never failed to respond to commands, due to a drained battery. You may also be able to “manually” charge the batteries using a port on the blind barrel. I understand that this could/would be a once per year type affair, but am open to correction on that.

I have 2 Somfy blinds. I think you are making the right choice; they are well made and quiet.

Depending how much advice you want, you will need to choose your supplier carefully. I ended up throwing one out of the house because they couldn’t comprehend that I’d installed some cable before the wall was plastered to bring power from an adapter somewhere neat. Needless to say we never got to integration with OpenHAB!

My integration is done with RFX433XL. There are two ways to do it; either capture a transmission from the remote and replicate it or make up a new code, put the motor into pair mode and transmit your code. Personally, I never have OH as the only means of control if I can help it, hence having the remote but if you don’t want to buy a remote, the second method will work.

It’s pretty reliable, I’d say less than 1 day in 100 when I come down and one of the blinds hasn’t opened. I guess if I was that bothered about it failing, I could set up OH to send a duplicate command 30s later.

They work on a slightly odd frequency but the RFX handles all of that flawlessly for sending commands. It might be more of an issue if you wanted to listen for commands from the remote because the RFX would need to keep hopping between frequencies if you also had other devices. The risk is that you miss a signal on one frequency whilst listening on the other. Even that wouldn’t be a problem if you aren’t trying to listen to anything else with the RFX.

To answer your question (1), the blind is paired to listen for the command it was paired with. It knows nothing about other blinds so if you want to (only ever) control a number together, just pair them all to the same remote or same command from the RFX.

Thanks for all the info @Gerry_Maguire and @barneyd -
I see that you are both using the RFX433XL - can you share why you went that route rather than the mylink or tahoma?

When I looked at the choices, RFX looked like the most useful addon as it can be used with other devices. I had some LightwaveRF plugs and dimmers which have become much more reliable since I moved the off their own hub and on to RFX.

I think Tahoma is (or was at the time) a home automation system in its own right. That made it expensive and particularly redundant. I’m not even sure there was a binding for it four years ago.

With RFXTRX433XL, you’re not tying yourself to a particular vendor, it can control many different products that transmit on the 433 frequency. With MyLink, for example, it can only control your blinds, if they’re Somfy.

Thanks @barneyd and @Gerry_Maguire

From what I can tell, there is no way to get the position of the rollershutter (open/closed,percentage) is that correct?

Personally speaking, I’ve never gotten that to work but I didn’t spend a whole lot of time attempting to get it to work, I’ve only ever wanted opened/closed with my blinds

I’ve tried sending a position but it doesn’t work. One of the blinds is on a window with plant pots on the sill. For that one, I programmed a “My” position, which it goes to if you send a STOP command when it isn’t moving. That way I can still have the top and bottom limits set and achieve a part closed position.

I will let you know how I end up here - I have started to consider the lutron serena shades instead.

The are apparently quieter, operate a D-cell batteries (so last a long time) and have a more reliable hub.

Best of luck, with whatever you choose.

I’ve been looking for roller blinds for a long time. I’d like to know the percentage/position and also be able to set it to a specific percentage/position. It seems that IKEA Fyrtur might fit the bill, however it doesn’t come in the width that I need (180cm and 300cm). I would also prefer a Zigbee device if possible.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that the 433MHz based ones can only receive commands but won’t send its status.