How To Make Your Blinds Automatic?
I am sure most of you will agree that pulling up the blinds in the morning and pulling them down at dusk is a chore everyone would love to escape. Let’s not forget the consequences of forgetting to pull them down –too much sun can make your cooling system work harder and compromise your privacy at night.
After the scouring the Internet for a reliable solution to turn my dumb blinds smart, I finally found the Somfy Clever Home Automation Kit. The MySmartBlinds are just what their name suggests. They are smart devices that be installed in your slatted blinds to make them controllable via a mobile app.
I have five slatted blinds in the house, two in the master bedroom, one in the kid’s room, one in the guest room, and one in the living area. After installing this out-of-the-box installation kit, I am literally free from having to worry about manually controlling the blinds to get some sunlight or keep it out!
And, the best part? The Somfy Clever Home Automation Kit costs less than $250.
How Do MySmartBlinds Work?
The automation kit is compatible with slatted blinds of about 2-2.5 inches, which is the type of blind I have at home. I believe most of the houses have this type of blinds. Please remember that the kit does not work for the less common styles such as roller shades or cordless blinds.
According to the makers of Somfy Clever, the installation requires only five minutes and can be done without tools. I found those claims true when installing the kit myself. Before installation, I watched several videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to install it correctly and to troubleshoot any issues.
After installing the device, you simply need to download the mobile app on your smartphone to control the blinds from anywhere in the house. You can also set schedules for the blinds to open and close during specific times of the day so that the house does not get too hot or cold.
A new firmware update allows the Somfy Clever to respond to sunlight and close/ open the blind depending upon the temperature of your home. So, if the temperature is high, it will close the blinds to keep the house cool and when the temperature falls, it will open the blinds to let the sunlight in.
Here’s another catch. The Somfy Clever motor is battery-operated so you will need to charge it using the USB cord that comes with the kit. However, if like me you wish to not have to worry about charging it every time, get a Somfy Clever solar panel to make life easier.
The Automation Kit is not compatible with:
- Roller shades
- Mini blinds
- Cellular/honeycomb shades
- Cordless blinds
Steps For Installing the Somfy Clever Automation Kit
Before you start, go through the manual to learn about the installation process, troubleshooting tips, and warranty information.
• Pull the cords on your blinds to raise the slats completely
• If you have trims over the window, remove them carefully
• Unclip the brackets at the side of the headrail and take out the headrail completely
• If your blinds use strings to control the slats, you will need to remove the tassels at the end of the strings
• Next, remove the tilt rod and tilt mechanism from your blinds
• Remove the C clip from the manual switch and also remove the adhesive on the switch and insert it in the place of the tilt mechanism
• Make sure the switch is properly oriented and it lies flat against the surface of the headrail. Use the C-clip to lock the manual switch in place
• Place the battery on the right side of the headrail so that the cable is on the left-hand side
• Connect the battery-pack cable to the white connector of the motor box’s right side and connect the gray connector to the motor box’s left side.
• If you are also installing a solar panel then connect the cable to the black connector
• Gently insert the motor box into the headrail beside the battery pack
• Arrange the cables inside neatly to keep them away from the motor box
• Put the adapter into the tilt rod and place the tilt rod back into the headrail, by push the adapter into the motor box until it fits correctly• After you have carefully inserted the tilt rod, place the rubber tubes on both ends
• Turn on the black switch on the battery to activate it
• Put the headrails back into the window and close the brackets securely
• You may use new string to create tassels to put back the slats on the window• Now, place back the window trims carefully
For a complete illustration, watch this YouTube video before installing MySmartBlinds –
A Brief Background About Somfy Clever
Somfy Clever were built on the idea to simplify window automation. The earlier automated blinds were not only expensive but also difficult to install. There was no option to automate the existing blinds so Somfy Clever kit came like a revolutionary product to provide a solution.
It started as a project funded by Kickstarter in 2014. In December 2017, they raised more funds on Kickstarter to make the blinds compatible with smart home hubs like Google Home and Amazon Echo. You can place a pre-order for the Alexa compatible Somfy Clever on their website.
What I Love About Somfy Clever
More than anything else, I love the convenience they add to my life. I can control the blinds using my mobile app or dedicated remote while watching my favorite show, without having to get up from my seat. I can choose to close one and leave the other open or close them in groups.
Somfy Clever also allows me to set schedules for opening and closing the blinds at specific times of the day, which changes throughout the season. For example, I have scheduled my Somfy Clever to close later in the evening in summer and soon after the sun sets in winter.
I also have scheduled Somfy Clever to pull up the slats when it is 6:30 in the morning. I prefer that way of waking up to a well-lit room than the annoying alarms. Fortunately, the windows in my house get enough sunlight so I never have to worry about charging the battery as the solar panels do their work perfectly.
The installation process is a breeze and you can do it yourself without expert help. Just refer to the steps above and watch the video before installing.
Somfy Clever also help me save on utility bills as the sensors close/ open the blinds when the house temperature gets high or low. This reduces the pressure on cooling/ heating systems.
What I Would Like To Improve About Somfy Clever
MySmartBlinds make a lot of noise but this is not a big issue, as they do not run always. However, when they do, the loud noise can startle you at times.
When I set a group schedule, sometimes one of the blinds may fail to open up automatically. Although it can be easily fixed, I hope there was a firmware update to correct this glitch.
The solar panels cannot be installed in windows with muntins that may block any part of the device. This might be a problem for people who do not get a lot of sunlight on their windows with muntins. If for any reason you choose to not use the MySmartBlinds kit and get back to the manual blinds, you will need to purchase tassels and pull cord that was removed during the smart blinds installation process.
If you wish to make your dumb blinds smart and access them from anywhere in the house without having to walk all the way up to the windows, MySmartBlinds can realize that dream. However, they are only compatible with 2-2.5 inch slatted blinds and do not work with the cordless lift blinds.
As for me, I am happy with the level of convenience and automation Somfy Clever has brought to my window blinds. I no more have to worry closing/ opening the blinds at specific times of the day. Even while I am away from home, the smart blinds close automatically as the sunsets to keep my house safe.