Wednesday, 18 January 2017

HOME AUTOMATION: Automated blinds - Teptron Move

Adding automated blinds to my home automation system has always been something I wanted to do. The promise of waking up to natural lighting the morning or coming home to a cool house on a hot day is what I imagine is an essential part of the house of the future.

I did some research and didn't find much in the way of a cheap DIY solution on the market, most of the solutions were at least a couple of hundred dollars per unit and required 240v wiring.
That was until I found the Teptron Move Kickstarter campaign, promising to give me everything I wanted for about $60 per blind including a solar charging panel. It was the cheapest of the DIY solutions I found and didn't require and extra wiring.




The reality:

The Kickstarter campaign took longer than expected (as usual) but I did eventually get my Bluetooth controlled blinds. I'm using the units on block-out roller blinks and opted to install with the double sided adhesive tape to try the system out before drilling any holes.
My experience with the system has been mixed, but here are the main points:
  • Be careful where you place the mechanism. May work on the way up but not down. My blinds catch on the Move unit on their way down so I need to stand by the unit to flick the bottom of the blind over the unit.
  • When I initially ordered the device there was no mention of load rating. I have big blinds and am right on the edge of capability for two out of three blinds and overweight on the third. This is probably not an issue if you are using the device for vertical blinds
  • Being over the load rating I needed to pull some serious tension on the beaded chain to get the device to work properly. As you can imagine this does not work well with the double sided tape over a long period of time in the heat of summer.
  • It's not always convenient to use my phone to open the blind. This point has probably been my single biggest issue with the Move unit
  • In my situation the physical buttons are impossible to get to when the blind is closed


Chain tension and double sided tape over time

Chain cover moved as it was getting in the way

Physical buttons hidden by the blind when closed


App (Android) v1.02

It was immediately obvious that the developers had over promised on this one. It's been a few months now and updates don't seem to be making it out, there is not much functionality at the moment and a few things are clearly missing:
  • I was only able to pair with one phone. I initially did it from a tablet then had to reset the device to connect with my phone, but somehow now both my phone and tablet can connect with the unit and set blind position
  • No automation functionality at the moment
  • No IFTTT support 
  • My blinds are back to front to the pictures shown
  • Blind doesn't always go to the correct position as per the slider bar, but has never gone past the end points
My blind is closed in the state shown


No automation support

Conclusion:

After using the devices for a little over one month the biggest issue I have with my system is not the devices fault, but my blinds catch on the way down and jam up on the unit itself. It's really annoying. I'm waiting on another Kickstarter campaign to send me my 3D printer so I can make a deflector bracket for the blind.

Blind caught in chain on the way down


My second biggest pain point with the device is that it's not as convenient as I thought it would be due to the placement of the manual control buttons. In my configuration the physical buttons are hidden behind the blind and it's really annoying to access.

Move unit hidden behind the blind

In reality without the automation component of the blinds I use the physical buttons 95% of the time, so it's pretty annoying to use at the moment. I'm considering a couple of hacks to expose the buttons for use with a wired remote but I'm not of the possibility of that at the moment, the unit isn't as easy to pull apart as I first though.


Update - 21/01/2017

I've tried to disassemble my move unit with no luck. The unit really doesn't appear to be made to disassemble...





Update - 24/01/2017

I contacted Teptron directly, they tell me the device is glued together and would need to be destroyed to be disassembled. Going to need to think of something else...

3 comments:

  1. You have provided an nice article, Thank you very much for this one. And i hope this will be useful for many people.. and i am waiting for your next post keep on updating these kinds of knowledgable things...
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  2. I recently bought some Teptron Move and its one of the worst purchase for its price per unit. I am frankly fed up with it within a week of installing it. Like you mentioned the developers over promised on the functionality of the app, its only provides basic open and close functionality and from the other comments on the app site its been this way for a while with seemingly no updates as to when the other promised functionality will be available.

    The next two issue I have with it are that it can never seem to open or close to the calibrated positions. The next big issue is that it lost its bluetooth functionality after a week. It doesn't connect anymore to my phone, no number of reset, power cycle, factory reset, change of batteries, using usb power resolved this issue.

    All I have now is a device that doesn't do what it was sold to do, no control from phone with bluetooth. Its basically a pie of garbage.

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    Replies
    1. Sad to hear about your experiences. I backed the product on Kickstarted and it looked so promising.

      My units don't have any problem going back to their calibrated positions, it sounds like you might have defective units.

      I've given up on app control of the move units, not sure if you have seen my write up on controlling the devices from Linux and the home automation controller openHAB.
      https://andrew-klimovski.blogspot.com.au/2017/04/home-automation-teptron-move-control-from-openhab.html

      Good luck, I hope teptron support can get your issue resolved.

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