Modification to the Add-A-Motor AAM80 Drapery Controller to Allow for a Determined Open and Close Action

Richard M Sartori 4/3/2019 A

A purchased AAM80 Drapery Controller (around $100.00 USA) consists of the drape controller and an AC adapter which is usually plugged into some type of switching module. In it's basic form, when power is applied to the AC adapter it will cause the motor to move in “some” direction (say clockwise) and removing power will cause it to stop. This is repeatable until it reaches it's end of travel where a built in limit switch stops the motor and reverses the motor polarity. Now applying and removing power will perform the same action but in the opposite direction (counterclockwise). So, without knowing what state the limit switch is in makes any kind of planned “OPEN or CLOSE” command from a thermostat, for example, impossible.

The AAM80 Modification explained

The described modification will alter the AAM80 so any switch closure will cause the drapes to close and any switch open will cause them to open.

Although the modification involves trace cutting and wire swapping, it ends up being very simple. However, I had to give up a minor feature. In the old method you could stop the drapes anywhere during the open or close cycle by removing power to the motor when the desired position was reached. You can still do that after the modification but ONLY during the close cycle. During the open cycle, the drapes will continue to their open limit.

NOTE: Understand that the modified system relies on a full open or full close command. If you partially close the drapes and then attempt to open them nothing will happen. You will need to give a close command first along with an open command which will complete the close cycle before initiating the open command. I never found that to be an annoyance since my drapery (18 feet on a single rod) are either open or closed. If interested, see the original AAM80 schematic vs the new schematic included in this document.

Operating the Modified AAM80

The Modified Drapery Motor can be controlled using an X10 Universal Power Module, a Thermostat having a mechanical switch closure, a “Smart” Appliance module which can be activated using a phone app or voice device like “Alexa”, or any other switching device having a set of isolated SPDT contacts. The X10 Power Module has two slide switches. Set the left one to “Continuous” and the right one to “Relay Only”. Now when an “ON” command is issued from an X10 transmitter the drapes will open and an “OFF” command will close them. The same applies to the thermostat and Smart module. The instructions to modify the “Smart” module is included in this document.

Parts needed for the modifications

  • Two diodes. I used 1N4005’s but any equivalent diode will do.
  • Optional but recommended is a replacement SPDT switch like a C&K 7201 series "bat handle" C&K 7201 switch or equiv to replace the sometimes problematic switch that comes with the unit which had a tendency to end up dead in the center instead of snapping to either side. A DPDT of the same series will also fit and I have them in both my AAM80's.
  • A chassis mounted phono jack. Get two if you plan on doing the Appliance Module modification. Look at the ones I used to get an idea of size.

Step 1: Remove the Back Cover and Pry Off the Board

Note: The entire Drape Controller runs on 12Vdc from its power supply. There is no Hi-Voltage.

Step 2: Disconnecting and Unsoldering

Unplug the red and black wires from the motor, and unsolder the Green, Yellow, and White wires from the board. They will be resoldered to a different place later.

Step 3: Make the Cuts

Make three trace cuts as shown. Make sure you don’t cut any other traces, and make sure the three you cut are separated and free of copper.

Step 4: Add the Two Diodes

Add two diodes in the polarity shown. Just solder them to the existing solder blobs on board. Make sure leads don't touch other circuit traces.

Step 5: Add Jumpers

Add two jumpers as shown. The wire size needs to be no larger than what is on the switch. Just solder them to the existing solder blobs making sure not to short them to anything else.

Step 6: Now Would Be the Time

If you are planning to replace the Limit Switch this would be the time. Remove the two screws shown in step one just below the motor which separates the upper and lower cases and pull out the switch. There is only one gear that may fall out but it only goes in one way. If your AAM80 has a Limit Switch without a bezel then remove the bezel on the new switch. (It just snaps on). Remove the 3 wires from the old switch and add them to the new switch in the same order as the old one. Now make the white wire about 3 inches longer using some scrap white wire. Snap in the new switch in the same orientation as shown.

Put the case back together not forgetting that black gear.

If you decide to keep the old switch, then add about 3 inches of white wire to the existing white wire.

Step 7: Install the Phono Jack

Drill a hole in the case and add the Phono jack along with two wires of any color. Make sure the location doesn’t interfere with the board so use the board as a guide when mounting the jack.

Step 8: Mount the Board and Reattach the Wires

NOTE 1: Although my diode placement looks different they are connected as instructed.

NOTE 2: The yellow wire from the Limit Switch is no longer used and does not appear in my unit. You can leave if you wish and just tape the end.

Mount the board back into the case. Connect or solder the Red and Black wires from the board to the motor with the colors oriented as shown. The black motor wire now goes to the motor's red dot.

1. Short 'A' and 'B' together with a piece of component lead.

2. Take the white wire from the Limit Switch and ANY one of the phono jack wires and solder them to point 'A'

3. Solder the other phono jack wire to point 'D'.

4. Solder the Green wire from the Limit Switch to point 'C'.

That's it!

Before installing the back cover, double check your work then bench test the unit by plugging in the AC adapter. The motor and drape reel may run if its not at it's limit so wait for it to stop. Now, shorting the phono jack will cause the drape reel to run in the opposite direction to it's limit. Remove the short and it runs the other way.

If everything works, then replace the back cover and connect it via a phono plug to the module of your choice. See the next step for the "Smart Module" mod......

Step 9: Modifying a Centralite (Iris) 3200 Appliance Module for Use With the Drape Controller

Controlling with a WiFi, Z-Wave or Zigbee Smart Plug.

The following will show how to modify a Centralite 3-series Model 3200 Appliance Module which is the same as a Lowes Iris Appliance Module 3200-L so it can end up with an isolated SPDT contact. Any Smart Plug can be used as long as its Not a Lamp Module. The Appliance Modules usually say they can switch a motor or can handle a 12 amp load indicating they have an internal relay and that is what you need.

The relay's coil stays as is, but it's contacts need to be disconnected from AC so a pair of wires can be attached. So, use the drawings below as a guide if you plan on using a different type appliance module.

THE SMART PLUG IS 120VAC SO IF YOU ARE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH MAKING THIS MODIFICATION GET SOMEONE WHO HAS KNOWLEDGE WITH AC VOLTAGE.

Step 10: Open the Case

The module case is attached by 4 snaps and can be popped off using an appropriate tool.

Step 11: Pull Out the Board

Self explanatory

Step 12: Solder Side of Board

On the solder side of the board, remove copper from A and B as shown. Trace 'A' just needs to be separated so it no longer has continuity, but trace 'B' needs a minimum gap free of any copper for a minimum of 1/8th inch to be in compliance.

Step 13: Component Side

On the component side remove copper from A and B as shown (For “A” use any tool available with a sharpened edge since it's a tight place). Trace 'A' just needs to be separated so it no longer has continuity, but trace 'B' needs a minimum gap free of any copper for a minimum of 1/8th inch to be in compliance.

Step 14: Add the Phono Jack

Now, add the Phono Jack with 2 wires (small 22 gauge is fine) soldered on and thread it or hot glue it in place (which works well). The location of the Jack is off center to make sure it clears the relay. (there is plenty of room). Then.... remove the screw, the green wire, and third prong. (everything you see in the photo). They won't be connecting to anything since the high voltage has been cut.

Step 15: Fill the Slots

Use hot glue and plug the three AC socket slots. Nothing will be plugging in here.

Step 16: Reinstall the Board

Install the board and solder the wires (any order) from the phono jack to the relay contacts as shown. Just solder to the solder blobs. (The left most blob is the relay N.O. contact and the right most blob is the relay common swinger.

Step 17: Finish Up

Snap the case back together, put a little more hot glue in the three slots and cover them with a label indicating the module is a modified Appliance module having an SPDT output contact.

Make a cable as long as needed with a phono plug on both ends. Connect one end to the module and the other to the drape controller.

That's it!

Step 18: The Schematic

Here you can see how the old and modified version are wired.

That's it.

Richard M Sartori 4/2019

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    2 Discussions

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    audreyobscura

    2 months ago

    Out of curiosity, what's the max force you think this thing could pull?

    1 reply

    I have no idea. It has no problem pulling 18 feet of 7 foot high medium weight drapery and I can tell you that the few times the curtains jammed because of decorations, a toy, etc, the motor never stopped and the cord just slipped on the pulley.