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Options for electric blinds...

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  • Options for electric blinds...

    Hello,

    In the apartment building where I live, a renovation of the outside is planned (this will be a long term planning, as the building is a classified monument). One thing is that the balconies will closed (there is permission for that), and this gives me an option for adding electric blinds. As it goes, this would be in the one place where I did not foresee cabling (all other windows have cabling ready :-/)... The building is an old communist building and some walls stop wifi signals dead (30 cm concrete mixed with granite and multiple steel wireframes inside have that effect). So I'm looking at options, just to learn what I may need to have to plan in addition to the renovations.

    I would like: 3 separately controlled blinds (maybe 5 but I think three would suffice: it concerns 5 not too wide windows, and 2 pairs can be covered by the same blind) and 1-2 lights. The blinds will be on what used to be an outside wall, but inside a closed area (protected from rain, snow, but not from temperature - I expect at worse it may go down to 0 (maybe -5 to -10 in an extreme winter). There presently are 2 sockets (not controlled and not wired for separate control). On my Loxone, all inputs and outputs are available (all other controlled stuff is KNX).

    My options as far as I can tell are:
    1. Hardwire electric blinds to miniserver outputs. This needs quite a bit of cable from miniserver to the windows, but no new hardware apart from relatively standard tubular motors. Light can be wired in similarly. Control of it all would need the miniserver, but a mechanical switch can probably be wired in. Downside as I gather are that it requires pulling a lot of cable and that the miniserver would not be able to know the position of the blinds. Is that the case? Upside would be that maximizes what is present and just needs simple tubular motors. I suspect that some additional knx addresses can be added so that a knx button can raise/lower the blinds...?

    2. Loxone Air, which means I would need the Loxone Air extension, Loxone tubular motors and some actuator for the light. The only possibility for the light seems to be the socket-actuator, which adds energymeter etc, so a bit of overkill for this. Benefit of course is that no cables are necessary (power can be taken from the cable that is there), and the miniserver knows the position of the blinds. From the manual of the solidair motors, it looks like it also has dry contacts, so even a direct switch control seems possible. Another upside is that other air devices can also be added (for other functions: motion sensor, other sockets, switch, ...). Downside may be the price and in a way the fact that it ties in with Loxone (although the dry contacts of the solidair motor allow integration with other things), so the only risk-tie-in is the air module and the sockets. One bigger risk is that there may be problems with the signal, but I have no way of testing that...

    3. Somy RTS Wirefree, in combination with a dry contact transmitter box which can be connected to the miniserver outputs. Benefit here is also no wire and no real tie-in with Loxone. Downside is that it offers no solution for the light, nor does the miniserver know the position of the blinds. And it is wireless, so again similar risks regarding the signal.

    4. Somfy with RS485. This would get expensive, as a RS485 module would be needed for every blind and cables needs to be pulled. However, this seems like the only solution I can come up with where the system is not wireless and where the miniserver knows the position of the blinds. But no solution for the light.

    5. Would it be possible to put a relay box away from the miniserver (this would be approx. 15 meters)? A single cable to the relaybox would suffice and then the same option as described in 1 would be possible. Not sure if this has a point: I don't think there will be such a difference between pulling one cable or multiple cables (I expect I will have to have the walls at least partly redone).

    6. KNX. But this requires the cables to also go back to the installation point of the miniserver and requires an additional KNX relay module. It is probably similar to option 1, except for the added cost of the KNX module. However, maybe it can also know the position of the blinds.

    7. Some wifi solution, which probably suffers the same risks and downsides as options 2/3/4.

    I'm sort of leaning towards either option 1 or option 2, perhaps depending on how much devastation there will be during the renovations (there also is talk of changing the central heating system, tv antenna and intercom, all of which will make pulling additional cables no problem). I'm a bit surprised that Loxone tree is less functional than Loxone air, I had expected it just to be a wired version of loxone air.

    Main things I wonder: I am along the correct lines with my assessment of the options? Am I misjudging some things or are there options I did not cover? Is it possible to for the miniserver to know the blind position in option 1? It seems like an important thing to have, particularly as the 3 blinds are for the same room and some synchronization would be nice... but is it? Are there wired options that would allow the miniserver to know the blind position (perhaps something that connects to the analog inputs - they are available, as are the other inputs).

    It is all a long term plan, but I want to be prepared when decisions have to be made: what would be good/bad practices... :-)


    Thanks!

    Jörg

  • #2
    About the position: As long as the Miniserver conrols the blinds (alone), it "knows" (calculates) the position. This is valid for all options. You have to enter the full running times and MS calculates the position.
    If number of cables is no problem, option 1 is the cheapest.

    Your option 5 could be a Loxone Extension. You need LoxLink and 24V from the Miniserver (4 wires together), and you get 8 (+4) DOs and 12 (+4) DIs. But it needs a housing (DIN Rail).
    PN/PM: Ich bevorzuge die Beantwortung von Fragen in öffentlichen Threads, wo andere mithelfen und mitprofitieren können. Herzlichen Dank!

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    • #3
      Hello,

      Sorry, I was traveling and could not get back to this earlier.

      Thanks for the info on the blind position, I was not aware that the miniserver keeps track of the position. If the blinds are also controlled externally, is there a way to get their real position synchronized with the position at which the miniserver thinks they are? Or some way to update the miniserver (e.g. telling it that they are up)

      The relay box I mentioned is indeed the loxone extension, I just was not sure if it could be put away from the miniserver. Thanks for confirming that it can.

      Combined with the renovations of the facade, we would change the windows in 2 other rooms (they are quite old, not well isolated, and changing them after the facade renovation will be more difficult and more expensive). In one room, there are cables foreseen for blinds; in the other not. With the whole idea of having to add cables, I also realized I have 2 more places where controlled lights would be useful. This would bring the total to approx. 5-6 blinds (thus 10-12 outputs) and 3 lights. I am now thinking of adding cables everywhere, but not adding modules to the minisersver: 5 blinds and 2 lights is possible and would suffice: I'm not convince making the 6th blind electrical is that important, and also for that one light an independent solution (e.g. motion controlled light) could suffice. I think that would be the cheapest and most futureproof solution (cables to the fusebox area are very universal ), but of course at the expense of the addition of some cables.

      I could still add the Loxone air for some indoor connections, as the mesh network should be good enough. It is a shame that the Nano IO air only has 2 outputs, more outputs would be more convenient... One reason for considering the air is that they may add a radiator in the bathroom (currently it is heated by pipes running through it, no control of how it heats) but my knx valve drive controller has no free channels. A loxone air could be added for that thermostat, some buttons, sockets and if we would want that 6th blind and one light. If there would be no change to the bathroom heating, maybe some other solution for the remaining blind, etc. can be found... But I will have to wait till I know more...

      All still a long time planning, but I try to keep ahead of things. :-)

      Thanks!

      Jörg
      Zuletzt geändert von J V; 18.Sep.2017, 16:45.

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      • #4
        I recently came back to thinking about this as the renovations to the facade were said to start. However they have been pushed back for a few more years, mainly due to the fact that other aspects (electricity, removal of gas, ...) have priority.

        I feel that I may not have enough outputs on the Loxone to do it with just its output. Combining blinds is not an option as the windows are too close to the ceiling and open inward (the blinds would have to be mounted on the window - anyone knows if this can be done with motorized blinds?). So this means I have to consider 7 blinds in total (=14 channels), one light that is in a non-controlled socket (1 more channel), and it would be nice to add some additional control to a second light in the kitchen (something I forgot initially, so one more channel).
        This means I would have to buy some relay-box solution, and looking at the prices, there is not that much difference between a loxone relay box or a KNX relay with 16 channels. Going KNX would make it much easier for the blinds to be integrated with the current KNX switches (not by me, but at least basic functionality would be guaranteed). I also prefer not to be tied in with a single manufacturer, and this would keep the majority of my system KNX compliant (all the miniserver does is supply the time to the KNX bus and provide for centralized tablet/phone control)

        I did discover that in the same series of my wall switches, there are simple 24V ones and realized I could have a few of those connected to the inputs of the miniserver. They would could be positioned close to the miniserver (near the front door to the apartment, but still quite central in the corridor), and could server useful purposes relating to some preprogrammed modes (and they would be programmable by me).

        So the whole is a bit more delayed, but I have a better idea how I would go about doing it.

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