How to build motorized blinds with a light sensor?

I would like to build a control unit that includes a light sensor and a motor which opens the blinds in the morning and closes them in the evening. I assume that I need a microcontroller, batteries, sensor, motor, and a mechanical contraption to attach the motor to the blinds! Can you recommend what parts exactly I need and approximately how much they would cost? Thank you in advance. Ilian Hristov

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Re-design8 years ago
THere are several instructables on blinds openers. THe hard part of this is the mechanical. Get that working manually switching and then go to working on the electronics. If you want to go the easy route, there are already electric blinds openers that you can buy premade and then hook your electronic control to that. How to build a set depends on what kind you want to open, and do you want to just open the slats or raise the slats or both. Give us more info.
You can open the blinds by hooking a stepper motor to the shaft that twists to open the blinds. You will need a stepper controller and a microcomputer like a stamp or a pic. Like from here. Then you need to create an input circuit that will determine when the sun is shining and open the blinds by turning the motor the right number of turns and stop. It also needs to tell the processor to close the blinds by turning the motor the right number of turns in reverse at the right time. You could build in some sort of limit switch so the you don't burn up the motor if it gets mixed up or just put in a clutch of shear pin that would slip if the motor doesn't stop before the blinds mechanism binds.

If you do a little searching on the net and at the circuit page of the mfg. of your micro-controller you should be able to find all of the circuits needed to build your blinds controller.

As I said in my first post, I would get the mechanism working with manual switches before I started trying to make it work automatically. Debugging one system will be easier than trying to debug the whole system at once.

Great luck to ya.
ihristov (author)  Re-design8 years ago
I would like only to open the slats because to raise them would be quite challenging mechanically, unless you have some idea for raising them as well.
jj378 years ago
Do you want it to close and open at a specific time or do you want it to be strictly light based?
ihristov (author)  jj378 years ago
I would like them simply light based.