Home & Garden

Looking for a smart window covering solution

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  • Dec 18th, 2021 4:32 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 3, 2003
2111 posts
301 upvotes
GTA

Looking for a smart window covering solution

I'm looking for smart window coverings for my living and dining rooms. Right now, both have sheers with drapes over top, which do a great job at privacy (and probably insulation). The problem is that my cat likes to poke his nose out the window at all hours of the day. When he does this, I lose my privacy when it gets dark. What I'm looking for is a smart shade that allows me to close it down to his nose level so that there's only a bit of light exposed. I am looking for a smart solution since there is not someone always at home, and I want the shade to open/close according to sunrise/sunset times.

Right now I'm considering the Lutron Serena or the Bali shades. I'm aware of the price difference (Bali is also on discount through Costco right now), but I'm not sure which one is more suitable for my situation. My home is predominantly Google (although I do have one Alexa device), and I've got some Hue bulbs. I'm also considering adding some Lutron Caseta switches (Kasa is not compatible), but I'm not sure yet. Thanks for any input.
17 replies
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
21949 posts
20507 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
Sorry … but seriously

YOUR CAT DISRUPTS YOUR PRIVACY … by looking out a window … day or night

Talk about a first world problem

If this is a real issue … ain’t no automated blind gonna fix that
Your priorities are wrong

Cat is just doing what cats do.

What’s next … gonna teach the cat how to open & close the blind when you aren’t at home ?
So you aren’t inconvenienced ?
:facepalm:
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 3, 2003
2111 posts
301 upvotes
GTA
PointsHubby wrote: Sorry … but seriously

YOUR CAT DISRUPTS YOUR PRIVACY … by looking out a window … day or night

Talk about a first world problem

If this is a real issue … ain’t no automated blind gonna fix that
Your priorities are wrong

Cat is just doing what cats do.

What’s next … gonna teach the cat how to open & close the blind when you aren’t at home ?
So you aren’t inconvenienced ?
:facepalm:
I know what you're saying, but I've been thinking about new window treatments anyway...so why not get something that can help me maintain my privacy??
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 4, 2009
1533 posts
903 upvotes
Windsor, ON area
We got the Bali cellular shades with motorized lift from Costco, took about 3 weeks from order to delivery. We have sheers that stay closed all the time, and the cellular shades come down at sunset and goes up at sunrise. You can set how low the shades go down so they don't touch the bottom of the window so your pets can still look out the window at the bottom.
69” window was about $600, 45" window was $400
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 4, 2009
1533 posts
903 upvotes
Windsor, ON area
PointsHubby wrote: Sorry … but seriously

YOUR CAT DISRUPTS YOUR PRIVACY … by looking out a window … day or night

Talk about a first world problem

If this is a real issue … ain’t no automated blind gonna fix that
Your priorities are wrong

Cat is just doing what cats do.

What’s next … gonna teach the cat how to open & close the blind when you aren’t at home ?
So you aren’t inconvenienced ?
:facepalm:
That was very unhelpful.
Gigi had a problem and wanted suggestions, don't be so judgemental because her problems are different from yours. And what priorities are we talking about. It's not like she said she's getting rid of the cat because she wants privacy. She wanted a solution where she can have her privacy AND the cat can still look outside. That's actually a considerate pet owner.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 3, 2003
2111 posts
301 upvotes
GTA
kittypink wrote: We got the Bali cellular shades with motorized lift from Costco, took about 3 weeks from order to delivery. We have sheers that stay closed all the time, and the cellular shades come down at sunset and goes up at sunrise. You can set how low the shades go down so they don't touch the bottom of the window so your pets can still look out the window at the bottom.
69” window was about $600, 45" window was $400
Thank you. That's very helpful. So those prices are for the shades only (no installation)? Which thickness did you get, and are you happy with it?
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 4, 2009
1533 posts
903 upvotes
Windsor, ON area
Gigi wrote: Thank you. That's very helpful. So those prices are for the shades only (no installation)? Which thickness did you get, and are you happy with it?
We've only had it a few days, but so far I love it. And yes, you have to install it yourself, but it's actually very easy. The Bali installation videos will give you an idea of what the installation is like. I got the 3/4” cellular shades in the blackout option.
Member
Mar 17, 2004
493 posts
56 upvotes
We bought regular rollershades, the kind that operate manually via a chain. I found a motor from Aliexpress and converted the blinds to smart blinds. Took me about 30 minutes to remove the chain mechanism, insert the motor and pair it to my smartthings hub. I can remotely control the shades, set up routines or schedules. When on vacation, the shades open and close on a schedule. You can even set it to operate @ sunrise and sundown. Super happy with the results and paid less than half of what I would have if I'd gotten motorized shades to begin with. I've converted 4 shades so far. The motors usually arrive within2 weeks from China. Only had one that wouldn't pair correctly, they sent me a replacement.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001 ... 4c4d8wBDmc
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 3, 2003
2111 posts
301 upvotes
GTA
dealhunting wrote: We bought regular rollershades, the kind that operate manually via a chain. I found a motor from Aliexpress and converted the blinds to smart blinds. Took me about 30 minutes to remove the chain mechanism, insert the motor and pair it to my smartthings hub. I can remotely control the shades, set up routines or schedules. When on vacation, the shades open and close on a schedule. You can even set it to operate @ sunrise and sundown. Super happy with the results and paid less than half of what I would have if I'd gotten motorized shades to begin with. I've converted 4 shades so far. The motors usually arrive within2 weeks from China. Only had one that wouldn't pair correctly, they sent me a replacement.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001 ... 4c4d8wBDmc
Thanks. Does the motor fit various sized shades?
Sr. Member
Dec 25, 2018
686 posts
1267 upvotes
navyblue wrote: ikea smart shades
These blow. They only come in certain sizes if you’re lucky it fits your window. Also only ONE color— grey
Deal Addict
Apr 18, 2005
3453 posts
1628 upvotes
Mississauga
dealhunting wrote: We bought regular rollershades, the kind that operate manually via a chain. I found a motor from Aliexpress and converted the blinds to smart blinds. Took me about 30 minutes to remove the chain mechanism, insert the motor and pair it to my smartthings hub. I can remotely control the shades, set up routines or schedules. When on vacation, the shades open and close on a schedule. You can even set it to operate @ sunrise and sundown. Super happy with the results and paid less than half of what I would have if I'd gotten motorized shades to begin with. I've converted 4 shades so far. The motors usually arrive within2 weeks from China. Only had one that wouldn't pair correctly, they sent me a replacement.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001 ... 4c4d8wBDmc
Can chance you can post where you got your roller shades from ..thx
Member
Mar 17, 2004
493 posts
56 upvotes
TLSRULZ wrote: Can chance you can post where you got your roller shades from ..thx
The shades were custom made and installed by a local dealer in Vancouver about 2 years ago. Made an appointment, he came to measure, manufactured and installed them in about 10 days. We found the guy through word of mouth. Talk to friends, relators, builders, etc. We spoke to several custom installers and they all seem to get their shades from the same Korean manufacture/source.

The product quality is good (comparable to samples I saw from name brand manufactures) but the aftersales service was meh. We had a skipping chain roller, but I was planning on removing it and installing a motor anyways. I believe we paid approx $800 installed/inc taxes for 6 solar shades . The 3 largest shades being 96" x80" , 82" x 72" & 72" x 80" and a bunch of shorter shades @ approx 36"x60". I would definitely check the custom route before buying anything, for us it was cheaper to go custom than getting name brand from big box stores or online.

As for the question about shade sizes.....Some background info 1st.
The larger the shade (more material) the heavier it is and larger diameter metal roller tube required. All but one of my rollers tubes have an inner diameter of 35mm but my largest is 44mm. The tubes are not smooth inside but will usually have flanges or ridges for the drive motor to engage with.
The motor itself is only 24" long and has 1 toothed drive gear and 1 toothed idler gear. - see the pictures from Aliexpress. I believe there's a weight limit for the motor. There a a lot of differnnt types and sizes of motors on Alixpress but only a few were Zigbee ready. Other needed an additional controller to make them "Smart"

That particular motor from Aliexpress will fit into a min 35mm dia tube but I've also managed to get it to work in my 44mm dia tube with no modifications. You may need to drill new mounting holes in the original shade brackets as they may be different than the original. The battery charge lasts over 7 months with daily usage but you can purchase a solar charger or permanently hard wire it if you dont want to mess with periodic charging. Theres also a 120VAC option for the motor so you can plug directly into mains power.

You basically remove the shade, pull off the chain roller. measure the inner dia of the metal tube, check the positions of the metal flanges to make sure they work with the gear on you motor, check the mounting bracket and ensure you can mount the motor to it safely slide the new motor into the roller, remount and pair & set the limits of the motor to your hub etc.

The motors have largely been plug n play for me but I did need to modify the mounting bracket for the largest roller, took me 10 min of planning and a few minutes to drill and grind. But there's always exceptions to the rule. If you're handy at all, no problem, with a bit of fiddling you'll get it done. If you've never touched a tool before or routinely require help with home maintenance etc, you prob wont want to go this route.
Jr. Member
Mar 19, 2006
139 posts
62 upvotes
Vancouver
I'm in the market for roller shades, do you have the contact info for the local dealer?

Thanks!
dealhunting wrote: The shades were custom made and installed by a local dealer in Vancouver about 2 years ago. Made an appointment, he came to measure, manufactured and installed them in about 10 days. We found the guy through word of mouth. Talk to friends, relators, builders, etc. We spoke to several custom installers and they all seem to get their shades from the same Korean manufacture/source.

The product quality is good (comparable to samples I saw from name brand manufactures) but the aftersales service was meh. We had a skipping chain roller, but I was planning on removing it and installing a motor anyways. I believe we paid approx $800 installed/inc taxes for 6 solar shades . The 3 largest shades being 96" x80" , 82" x 72" & 72" x 80" and a bunch of shorter shades @ approx 36"x60". I would definitely check the custom route before buying anything, for us it was cheaper to go custom than getting name brand from big box stores or online.

As for the question about shade sizes.....Some background info 1st.
The larger the shade (more material) the heavier it is and larger diameter metal roller tube required. All but one of my rollers tubes have an inner diameter of 35mm but my largest is 44mm. The tubes are not smooth inside but will usually have flanges or ridges for the drive motor to engage with.
The motor itself is only 24" long and has 1 toothed drive gear and 1 toothed idler gear. - see the pictures from Aliexpress. I believe there's a weight limit for the motor. There a a lot of differnnt types and sizes of motors on Alixpress but only a few were Zigbee ready. Other needed an additional controller to make them "Smart"

That particular motor from Aliexpress will fit into a min 35mm dia tube but I've also managed to get it to work in my 44mm dia tube with no modifications. You may need to drill new mounting holes in the original shade brackets as they may be different than the original. The battery charge lasts over 7 months with daily usage but you can purchase a solar charger or permanently hard wire it if you dont want to mess with periodic charging. Theres also a 120VAC option for the motor so you can plug directly into mains power.

You basically remove the shade, pull off the chain roller. measure the inner dia of the metal tube, check the positions of the metal flanges to make sure they work with the gear on you motor, check the mounting bracket and ensure you can mount the motor to it safely slide the new motor into the roller, remount and pair & set the limits of the motor to your hub etc.

The motors have largely been plug n play for me but I did need to modify the mounting bracket for the largest roller, took me 10 min of planning and a few minutes to drill and grind. But there's always exceptions to the rule. If you're handy at all, no problem, with a bit of fiddling you'll get it done. If you've never touched a tool before or routinely require help with home maintenance etc, you prob wont want to go this route.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 16, 2008
9605 posts
3933 upvotes
Gigi wrote: I'm looking for smart window coverings for my living and dining rooms. Right now, both have sheers with drapes over top, which do a great job at privacy (and probably insulation). The problem is that my cat likes to poke his nose out the window at all hours of the day. When he does this, I lose my privacy when it gets dark. What I'm looking for is a smart shade that allows me to close it down to his nose level so that there's only a bit of light exposed. I am looking for a smart solution since there is not someone always at home, and I want the shade to open/close according to sunrise/sunset times.

Right now I'm considering the Lutron Serena or the Bali shades. I'm aware of the price difference (Bali is also on discount through Costco right now), but I'm not sure which one is more suitable for my situation. My home is predominantly Google (although I do have one Alexa device), and I've got some Hue bulbs. I'm also considering adding some Lutron Caseta switches (Kasa is not compatible), but I'm not sure yet. Thanks for any input.
Visit your local Blinds To Go store, explain that to them. I am sure they have something to suggest and offer.
...
Deal Guru
Feb 9, 2006
12753 posts
7417 upvotes
Brampton
Ikea also has smart blinds that integrates with their trafadi system. Add a light sensor and it can go up or down depending on light

Take a look to see if it works for you
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 3, 2003
2111 posts
301 upvotes
GTA
tebore wrote: Ikea also has smart blinds that integrates with their trafadi system. Add a light sensor and it can go up or down depending on light

Take a look to see if it works for you
Ikea has limited sizing, but I didn't know they had light sensors. That's a good idea.

@teoconca, I have visited various shops (but not BTG) and no one really had a unique solution for me.
Deal Guru
Feb 9, 2006
12753 posts
7417 upvotes
Brampton
Gigi wrote: Ikea has limited sizing, but I didn't know they had light sensors. That's a good idea.

@teoconca, I have visited various shops (but not BTG) and no one really had a unique solution for me.
Oops I thought they had launched a long rumored ambient light sensor but that was philips.

Ikea only has motion sensors still.

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