The state of the Curtains.

March 15th, 2016 3 min read


This post is part of the Automatic Curtains series. Check out the other posts here:


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    When I started my automatic curtain project more than a year ago, I didn’t expect it to be so much work. But with the last of the four motor units ready to be installed, the project starts to get shape.

    The biggest issue of this project is the fact that it’s a mounted project. That means that a lot of time and effort goes into a neat finish. Wires need to be out of sight, the controls need a sleek look and the motors need to run without any hiccup.

    With all the motor units finished (and with one left to mount), it’s time to make an inventory of the things to do, before I can put this project on my completed-list.

    1. Wire up the control unit.


    The control unit I built last week looks awesome, but still needs to be wired up. Biggest issue here is that I need to route the control wires of the four motor controllers to one central point. This just takes some time. As Nike would put it: Just do it!

    Cable housings make sure everything will stay in place, and that the cables won’t interfere with the curtains running thru the curtain rails.


    2. Rewrite the firmware.

    Even though the current firmware runs okay, it could use an update. Since the motor controller uses very exact timings to ensure a smooth acceleration and deceleration of the curtains, the firmware could use an interrupt driven approach. This way, the motor controller can perform other task (like communicating with the Wifi gateway) while the curtains are moving.

    Additionally, I need to include some features for the incorporated LED and piezo buzzer. For example when the motor is blocked or the motor calibration is in progress.

    3. Build the Wifi-gateway.

    A few days ago my buddy Giovanni contacted me to inform me his PJON protocol now supports the ESP8266. This allows me to connect an ESP8266 Wifi Module to the data line I incorporated in my motor controller design.


    The goal will be to connect this ESP8266 to my MQTT server, allowing me to readout the state of my curtains and control the curtains using simple terminal commands, a sophisticated iPhone App or even Siri voice control.

    4. Create an enclosure.

    The final task of my things to do list, will be building a nice enclosure around the motor units. This way the motor unit (timing belt and smooth rod) will be out of sight and enlarge the surprise when I active my curtains.

    To be honest, due to the lack of space behind my curtains this probably will be the most difficult part of the project, and therefor I’ll try to postpone this until I buy a new house. Don’t worry, procrastination is my specialty.

    Overal, I can say this project really has taught me a lot so far. Mainly to keep projects simple. But with 3 of the 4 motor units in place, I can honestly say it is already a welcome addition to our home. It even has the approval of the misses!

    Any other task I forgot to put on my TO DO list? Leave a comment down below!

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