I’ve been receiving queries on whether curtain and blind can be automated with z-wave. Usually would advise that they can be automated but we have not tested them on any motorised curtain and blind in Singapore.
This morning, we invited Onna Prima to bring down their motorised roller blind and curtain track to test with the following Z-Wave curtain/blind module:
1. Fibaro Roller Shutter Module
I was quite impressed by their demo kit where they can quickly setup a small window with a motorised roller blind. The motorised curtain track were also laid to perform the test. The brand they brought is Alia and I understand it is one of a cheaper alternatives to Somfy that comes with a Z-Wave kit (Read it somewhere but didn’t have a chance to try Somfy).
Next we first tested the connected the Fibaro Roller Shutter Module to motorised roller blind and curtain track (left). After that we also tested the AMBHZ with the blind and curtain (right). The wiring shown in the picture may look complicated but don’t fret, should you ever use their motorised blind or curtain track, just pass them the wiring diagram that comes with the Z-Wave modules during installation. They figured out rather quickly during the test.
Then they powered up the motor and the Z-Wave module, and we paired the module to Vera one after another to test the compatibility. One point to note. Should you ever get their motorised curtain, do not expect them to know anything about Z-Wave, not to mention the pairing and configuring of the Z-Wave module. However, once they have connected and powered up everything, the rest are simple point and click configurations.
The video below shows the Fibaro Roller Shutter module controlling the Alia curtain track. I must say that seeing it remotely controlling a curtain track is feels as good as when I first tap on my iPhone to control the light. 🙂
Both Fibaro Roller Shutter module and AMBHZ were able to control Alia motorised curtain and roller blind with little configuration.
For Fibaro Roller Shutter module, initially, the curtain track could not be fully closed as the module does not send power to the motor all the way until it is closed. After tweaking some parameters as described in the user manual, the module worked perfectly with Alia motor. The motor will automatically stop when the curtain is fully closed or fully opened.
The AMBHZ seems to behave the opposite way. For some reason, if we try to close the curtain, even after the point the curtain is fully closed, it seems to be trying to push the motor indefinitely. Again, after following the user manual to calibrate the module, its able to work perfectly as well. The good thing about the AMBHZ module is that there are physical buttons on the module for manual control.
Alia motorised curtain comes with a interesting out of the box feature. That is, once you tug the curtain a little, the motor will take over to open and close the curtain fully. However, this feature doesn’t work when the motor is connected to AMBHZ module but works well with Fibaro module.
Now at least we know we can go for Alia motorised curtain and blind as they can be easily retrofit with Z-Wave modules. As a rule of thumb for any brand of motor, we believe as long as it has a 3 wire input (open, close, neutral), it should work nicely with z-wave modules. If you are not willing to take the risk, just go with Alia. Alternatively, you can try Somfy if you are willing to pay for the premium.
Finally, no offense to the kind soul who brought the AMBHZ module, this is the picture of david and goliath that made everyone laugh during the test.