Long time lurker, first time poster. I just wanted to share my experience in creating a set of Z-wave controlled blinds from scratch. My goal was to be able to open/close a set of blinds via Vera/smartphone as well as have manual control of the blinds. I also wanted everything to be self contained so that I wouldn’t have to run a serial cable all over the house. And, finally, not break the bank in the process.
My solution was to grab a set of Home Depot 2" blinds and use an Arduino nano to drive a standard servo to perform the opening/closing of the blinds. To gain Z-wave connectivity, I used a Remotec ZFM-80 relay module. The relay also allows for manual operation via the momentary button on its face.
Some additional details about the project:
–I repurposed the standard gear from the little gearbox used to tilt the blinds to connect the servo to the rod that runs the length of the blinds.
–The servo was a run-of-the-mill 3003 analog servo
–I had to devise a small mount for the servo to get everything to line up properly, but everything fit well within the confines of the frame.
–Total cost: $100-$150
Of course, there are a couple caveats when compared to a production level setup. For one, this is only to open and close the blinds; it does not afford the ability to raise or lower them (fixed in Rev 2.0?). Also, because of the nature of the relay, there are really only two settings, open and closed. However, the Arduino does allow for a bit of tweaking in terms of the slant angle of the slats and how fast the blinds open and close.
I made a couple videos showing the operation of the blinds, the first is a bench test of the components - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyqaovpJ0ZY
And the second is the actual operation of the blinds - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdUauCjARk4
I’m happy to provide any additional information or answer any questions about the setup, just ask!