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Automatic Blinds Opener

Please see the attached Automatic-Blinds-Opener.zip for code files.

Let the power of the sun encourage you to get out of bed each morning with this curtain/blinds opener. We’ve made a little motor/solar panel combo that will automatically open your blinds at sunrise and close at sunset. We've also included a remote so you can open and shut them whenever you want.

Warning, this project is designed to attach and operate on your blind system, and as such, could possibly run the blinds too far and damage them without proper testing and calibration. Jaycar accepts no responsibility for what you do with your own blinds.

Remember to test first, and test often, while developing before you attach to your working blinds.

Bill of Materials

Qty Product Description
1 YM2756 NEMA stepper motor
1 XC4427 Infra-red receiver module
1 XC3718 IR Remote
1 XC4428 RGB LED module
1 ZM9015 1.5V Solar panel
1 XC4492 Stepper motor controller
1 XC4430 Duinotech Leonardo

Our prototype from the picture also had the following, but you can use any case to fit it in:

Qty Product Description
1 HB6216 Enclosure
1 WC6028 Jumper leads

Software

Library Author Version
AccelStepper Mike McCauley 1.58.0
IRremote shirriff 2.2.3

Connection Table

Leonardo Connection Device
2 IN1 Motor Controller
3 IN2 Motor Controller
4 IN3 Motor Controller
5 IN4 Motor Controller
5V +5V Motor Controller
GND GND Motor Controller
A1 S IR Module
GND - IR Module
A0 + Solar panel
GND - Solar panel
13 R RGB LED module
12 G RGB LED module
11 B RGB LED module
GND - RGB LED module

Assembly

This project is a lot more free-form than other projects, as you've got to set it up to connect to your own home blinds.

Stepper motor controller.

The stepper motor can be tricky to debug, so connect it up first and make sure that it operates normally.

looking directly at your stepper motor, you can see the 4 wires going left to right, what you want to do is connect them to MOTORA and MOTORB ( + and - ) for both, with the outside ones connecting directly and the inside ones crossed over.

Use the File->Examples->AccelStepper->Bounce should provide an easy way to test and make sure that it works correctly. Best case if you wire it wrong, is that it will spin the opposite way. If it doesn't spin at all, is weak, or just sits and vibrates, then you've got something wrong with the wiring, so double check the connections.

IR Receiver

Find a way to mount the IR receiver away from sunlight and so you can point the remote right to it. Thankfully due to the XC3718_codes.h file, it will not decode and try to run a faulty signal if it gets an interrupted source of IR such as from bouncing off the wall or etc.

Solar panel and RGB LED

These should be fairly obvious where to mount. RGB status LED is to indicate to you what it is doing, so you can have it fairly front-facing, or even try to diffuse the brightness with a panel or something so you can get a dulled status bulb.

The solar panel should be in direct sunlight, and will need to have leads soldered to it.

Connections to Blinds

Connection to blinds is probably the most difficult and "creative" part of this, as you've got to find a way to interface and everyone's set up is a little different. (if you manage to finish the project and connect it to your blinds, send us a picture to github@jaycar.com.au so we can show it off!)

Here's a few ideas to get you started:

  • ●   Windlass mechanism is often used in boats:

Using a large diameter barrel, you can wound a string around so that both ends of the string are coming out of the barrel, then when the barrel turns, it will pull on one side while giving slack to the other. This is perfect for tying string to the blinds if you do not want to deconstruct the mechanism on your blinds already.

You can use a hub to attach to the spindle of the stepper motor, and interface between either the Windlass barrel above, or connect to the spindle of the base of the rotary system, depending on what your set up is.

It's possible to mount the stepper motor ABOVE the blinds, and interface to the spindle shown in the picture above, through either a belt-drive or direct attachment

Another location to place it, placing a bottle-cap or gear set to the plastic mounting so it can move the bead-lead. My blinds at home actually have a rotary attachment, so a great idea would be to mount the hub YG2784 straight to it.

Windlass idea. this is a great way to have non-destructive attachment to your blinds system, as it adds another element which can act as a failsafe.

Programming

There is quite a few parameters that need to be calibrated, they are all in config.h with comments on how to use them.

Use

When you first start up the machine it will not do anything because it needs to be configured.

●   Start it up and turn the blinds by hand until they are closed. then press channel
●   Use CH+ and CH- to drive the motor to the full open position of the blinds.
●   Press channel again to save your configuration.

Keys 0-9 will now do a percentage between close and open.

To configure the Solar Panel, use find_power.ino to find the maximum voltage your panel gives in a chosen spot, then put that in config.h

To home the machine, bring it to a fully closed position and press channel