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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Budget Z-wave Curtain tracks with Vera / Dooya / Fibaro – Part 5

Part one here, Part two here, Part three here, Part four here.

In Part five I will  cover the Vera setup and calibration of the Fibaro Blind Control module and remote control options.

Vera Setup

Once I had connected the Fibaro Blind Control insert module into the mains electric adding the device to the Z-wave network with Vera was very easy. I simply put my VeraLite in to battery mode and carried it next to where the Fibaro module had been installed. I then pressed the + button on the VeraLite and then triple clicked the B button on the Fibaro module, the two detected each other and the Fibaro module was added to Vera as a new device, as simple as that!

B Button on the module

I renamed the device and assigned it to my living room



If you click the Spanner icon on the device it the opens up like this

Control Tab


Settings Tab


Device Options Tab

In here I added two parameters.

Parameter 10 = 1
Parameter 14 = 0


Parameter Number 10: Roller Shutter Operating Mode


Parameter Number 14: Switch Type


The user manual for the Fibaro Blind Control module can be seen here.


“It may be necessary to calibrate the module, when it's not working properly. The Calibration is a process during which a Roller Shutter learns the position of the limit switches and a motor characteristic. The procedure consists of an automatic, full movement between the limit switches (up, down, and up again). There are different procedures of calibrating a Fibaro Roller Shutter.”

According to the user manual there are various ways to calibrate the blind control module, through Z-wave network, through switch keys, through the B button on the module.

I used this method:

Calibration through the Z-Wave network
  1. Make sure the module is connected to the power supply.
  2. Include the module into the Z-Wave network according to the inclusion procedure.
  3. Set the parameter 29 value to 1.
  4. Roller Shutter performs the calibration process, completing full cycle - up, down and up again.
  5. The parameter 29 value will be automatically set to 0.
  6. Using an interface test whether the positioning works correctly.

Until I had done the calibration routine the percentage slider in Vera was not working correctly. After calibration I was able to select say 50% and the curtain rail would move correctly to that position.

You may see a user configuration error in Vera whilst saving after entering the parameter 29, but don’t worry about that, as long as the curtain motor / rail moves and does the calibration routine. See here for more details.

Here you can see when the curtain motor is in operation its using 56 Watts.


100% = Open


0% = Closed




Controlling the curtains from other devices

Logitech Harmony Remote Control

Using this method I previously described here, I have also programmed my Logitech Harmony universal remote control with two new buttons, Open Curtains and Close Curtains.
This functionality is integrated in to Kodi (XBMC) OpenElec, so when I am using my HTPC, I can now also use the remote control that is in my hand to control the curtains, now that is cool!


Android Tablet / Phone – Authomation HD app for Vera

Authomation HD is pretty much the best app for controlling your Vera Home Automation gateway and the Z-wave devices around your home.
Below are a couple of screen shots from our Samsung Galaxy Tablet showing the new curtain device.



If your an Apple fanboy or girl, I’d recommend the VeraMate app for iOS devices.

Sorry no screen shots of the curtain device in VeraMate, as its currently broken on my iPod Touch device which is iOS 6.

Aeotec Minimote Z-wave remote control

I have several Minimote’s around the house, and I programmed button 4 on the one in the living room to run a curtain open / close toggle scene in Vera. By using a toggle I could use only one button on the Minimote to either open or close the curtains.

Integration with Kodi Media Center (Formally XBMC)

Using the XBMCState  add-on which I previously wrote about here, I’ve created scenes in Vera so that if it is dark outside? And if the curtains are still open? When I start to play a movie (any video) in Kodi the curtains are automatically closed and my room lamps automatically dim down to 25%.


That’s it for part five. In part six if I get around to it, I will do a video showing the curtains in operation and also showing all of these different remote control options in operation as well.

Please leave your comments and feedback and don’t forget if you place an order with Friend Group for the motors / curtains rails, to mention to them you were referred by ‘'The Media Center Blog” big thanks!

Also you can contact me directly for bespoke quotations for discounted Z-Wave Euro devices.

Budget Z-wave Curtain tracks with Vera / Dooya / Fibaro – Part 4

Part one here, Part two here, Part three here.

In Part four I am continuing with the wiring installation, installing the wall switch and hiding the cable that goes to the curtain motor in the wall.

Wall Switch

So I measured the height of the existing light switches in the room, so my new switch would be at the same level, I placed the back box against the wall ensuring it was level with a small spirit level and drew round it with a pencil. I then used a small thin flat screw driver and a hammer to knock out holes in the plasterboard along the pencil line.


New hole knocked out


There was a wooden stud in the wall and I needed to create another small hole lower down in order to be able to get the cable round this piece of wood.
I put my tape measure down in the cut out and worked out roughly where the wood was inside the wall and then marked out this position on the exterior of the wall.


I then used the screw driver and hammer again to start the hole.


Once the hole was big enough and I used my electricians fish tape tool which is basically a wire on a reel, to fish down the wall to the bottom.



This is that original cut out in the wall at the bottom near the skirting board, where I put in the Fibaro module, you can see I was able to grab the end of the fish tape.


I then turned off the electric supply in the house and disconnected the new wall switch from the cable, that I had been testing earlier. I then connected the end of the wire to the fish tape with insulation tape.


I then pulled the fish tape back up through the wall whilst feeding in the cable in from the bottom, until it popped out of the hole in the middle of the wall.


I then disconnected the fish tape from the cable and using my hands just fed the cable back in to the top of hole in the middle of the wall and then up further to the cut out in the wall for the switch.


I then knocked out a hole in the plastic of the dry lining back box at the bottom of it and fed the cable in to the box and then push the box in to the plasterboard wall, clipping it in place.


I then re-connected the switch again to the cable.


And then screwed the switch in to place in the back box.


I then used some bits of mini trucking I had laying around and cut off some pieces of plastic with my hack-saw to cover the cable in the middle of the wall. I did this to give the cable some protection and to also pack out the hole some more, so I wouldn’t have to use loads of filler, plus it gives the filler something to sit up against.


Curtain Motor Cable

Next job was to hide the cable going to the curtain motor. So I made another small hole towards the top of the wall in the corner where the curtain motor is location. I then made a bigger hole in the middle of the wall again in order to get the cable round the wooden stud in  the wall.

Fishing the tape from the top hole to the middle hole was tricky and took a bit of time and patience.


As the cable connected to the motor is only 1.5 metres long, I had to buy some more 4-core electrical flex cable off eBay to extend it.

Using the fish tape I pulled up the cable out of the top hole, I then joined the two cables together and I then continued to push and feed the other end of the cable down in to the wall towards the bottom and to the cut out where the double wall socket is near the skirting board.


Here you can see the cable coming out at the top of the wall for the motor and the other end of the cable I re-connected to the junction box at the bottom of the wall.



Here you can see the motor cable looped around the wooden stud in the middle of the wall. The hole was probably a couple of inches in length.


Again I just used some bits of plastic to cover the cable and fill out the hole a bit ready for the filler to go in.


Here you can see the motor and the cable coming out of the wall and the small hole now filled in.


First application of the filler. I need to leave this to dry and fill over again and then sand down and paint.
But you can see what the finished result is going to look like. No cable trailing down the wall from the motor.


Socket back in place.

Once the curtain is wrapped around the motor again you won’t even see it.


That’s it for part four, in part five I will cover the Home Automation controller setup (Vera) and various remote control options.

I may also do a video of the curtains in action, after my additional curtain rail runners / hoops arrive from the supplier and the curtains are gathered correctly.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Budget Z-wave Curtain tracks with Vera / Dooya / Fibaro – Part3

Disclaimer: You should always seek professional advice from a certified electrician regarding installation, as mains voltage can be very dangerous!

Part one here, Part two here.

In Part three I will discuss and illustrate my installation.

This is the corner of the living room near to the curtains. There are existing electrics in this area, in the form of a double wall plug socket which also connected to a fused spur on the other side of the stud wall in the porch area, which then connects to an outside porch light via another Z-wave switch. The Live Feed cable comes up from underneath the floor in the wall.

In this picture you can see I have already disconnected the Live feed cable from the back of the plug socket.


The first step was to connect the new Junction Box to the Live Feed, first turning off all the electric in the house at the consumer unit obviously.


Next I had to re-connect the fused spur up to the mains / junction box, so my porch light would still continue to work. I’ve put a red X on this cable as its not part of the curtain installation etc.


Next I re-connected the double wall plug socket to the mains / junction box. Again this is not part of the curtain installation so that cable also has a red X on it.


Connecting the Fibaro Blind Control module to the mains

OK so now at this point  I could start adding cabling for the actual curtain installation. Next to the double plug wall socket, I had an existing cut out in the wall for an AV cable (Sub woofer) which I don’t actually use. So I am going to utilise the space behind here to put in the Fibaro module. (Or I could have put the Fibaro module behind the new wall switch for the curtains higher up the wall, but that would have meant feeding more cables up inside the wall than I need too).

I looped around a short piece of socket twin and earth cable as you can see in the photo below, connected the brown wire to the Live connection on the Fibaro module and the blue wire to the Neutral connection on the Fibaro module. The earth cable(s) you can see are not required and were cut off.



Next step was to connect the other end of the short loop cable from the Fibaro module into the mains / junction box (Live and Neutral), which you can see in the photo below the wiring diagram.

Connecting the Wall Switch to the Fibaro module

Next step was to add some cable from the Fibaro module to the wall switch, using the S1 and S2 connections on the module.

The wiring diagram below shows the Live mains cable going from the junction box in to the Fibaro module (as in the picture above) but then also a second live cable coming from the module and going to the COM connection on the wall switch.


Due to the thickness of this socket wire I was unable to physically fit two live cables in to the one live connection hole on the module.

So in the picture below I had to use a little connection block.


On the picture below you can see two Live cables going in to the small connection block and then one little cable connecting to the Live (L) connection on the module.

You can also see as well the Neutral from the mains connecting to the Neutral (N) connection on the module.

Also we have two cables S1 and S2 which will connect to the wall switch.


On this picture you can see the wall switch, which I connected temporary not in the wall just to test it.


Here is the back of the wall switch.

The brown Live cable is coming from the Fibaro module. As are the other two cables coming from the S1 and S2 connections on the module.


From the user manual:

Using momentary switches:
“Clicking UP button connected to S1 terminal, initiates up movement. Clicking button connected to S2 terminal, initiates down movement.
If the blind is moving, each click, of any button, will stop the movement. In addition a button click sends a command frame to I-st association group devices. In case of venetian blinds, it’s possible to manage the lamellas angle. Operating Mode - Venetian Blind, or Parameter 10 value set to 2.
Holding connected to S1 terminal initiates lamellas rotation up. Holding connected to S2 terminal initiates lamellas rotation down. In addition a button hold sends a Fibar Command Class control frame to II-nd association group devices.”

Connecting  the Fibaro module to the curtain motor via the Junction box

In this picture you can see I’ve added another cable to the O1 and O2 connections on the Fibaro module. The O1 and O2 connections are the switched live to open or close the motor / curtains.


This cable then loops round in the wall and connects to two empty connections in the junction box, the curtain motor will then connect to these wires to open and close the curtains.


Connecting the curtain motor
The curtain motor has four cables coming from it, the blue Neutral and the yellow Earth will connect to the Neutral and Earth connections in the junction box.

The other two cables (brown and black) are for switched live for opening and closing the curtains. These will connect to the O1 and O2 connections on the Fibaro module via the junction box.


In this picture you can see how the curtain motors four cables  would connect to the junction box.


In this picture these are the four cables from the curtain motor now connected in the junction box.
In this configuration when I press up on the wall switch (L1) the curtains open, when I press down on the wall switch (L2) the curtains close.


Mounting the curtain rail

This is the regular curtain pole that I had to take down.


I marked out where I wanted the new wall mount brackets to go and screwed them in to the existing wooden batten on the wall.


You then have to clip the rail in place in to the brackets and position and tighten up the square metal washers that hold the rail up. A little tricky!

In this photo its not attached to the wall but you get the idea!


New curtain rail now mounted on the wall


I only got nine of these sliding hoops on each side. Which isn’t enough, I need at least 12 on each side for the curtains to gather properly at the top and look OK. I’ve had to contact the seller to see if I can get some more? Which is a pain, so double check when you purchase how many hoops your getting and if its enough?


As you can see I need more hoops, the wife wasn’t impressed with this LOL. I don’t know if these can be bought from any regular curtain store or if I’ll have to wait for some more to come from China? I will take one of the hoops out of the rail if possible and take it round the local stores I may get lucky.

You can also see on the far left hand side that the motor isn’t attached yet.


Update from Seller: "We normally arrange 6 runners per metre and for buyers from the EU, we always arrange 8 runners per metre."

Motor now attached - Initially I had it looking like this and the motor was showing.


I quickly realised I had to wrap the curtain right around the motor and hook it on from the back instead.


So now it looks like this which is better as the motor is concealed.


That’s it for part three. In part four I’ll probably show the wall switch installation and how I’m planning on hiding the cable from the motor inside the adjacent stud wall. I haven’t actually done this yet, I may start that work tomorrow.

Part five will be the Vera Z-wave setup and some other cool stuff!