So, the makers of switchbot (yes, that little device that manually pushes a button on your non-smart device) are now coming out with a new way to automate curtains. It truly is an amazing device. And if it works as well as they say, could automate your curtains for a fraction of the price of motorized curtain rails. And it installs in seconds.
Check out the video on their kickstarter page, it really is pretty cool.
Too bad it uses LE Bluetooth and not Z-Wave or Zigbee
Fantastic idea! I would buy probably 6-10 of these if they were (preferably) Zigbee or ZWave. Bluetooth is a no-go.
Not doing a kickstarter for any reason though.
They do have a hub that has wifi connectivity and an open API that you can use for local control. I only have wooden blinds at home so I have no reason to develop a driver for them but once they're out it should be fairly easy to do with HTTP commands. Even if you didn't want to go through that trouble, they'll interface to google so you could use Assistant Relay to control them.
That's awesome! I've wanted to cheaply automate my curtains for a while. Unfortunately my curtain rods are telescoping so they have little step ups in them which I imagine wouldn't work with this device. But would be relatively cheap to replace with a rod that doesn't telescope.
Not a problem according to their video. Handles telescoping rods fine (supposedly). Now, I have no affiliation with switchbot and have no information more than whats on the video. And i don't support kickstarters as a matter of principal. I just thought the thing looked so darn cute i had to share.
Any updates on this product? Has anyone tried them out to see if they work well? I have been wanting to retrofit my house which consists entirely of telescoping curtain rods and this is the only thing I have found that could work, everything else seems to be for U or I rails or an entirely new track system.
Also to get them to communicate nicely with Hubitat what is necessary? I am guessing a community driver and the SwitchBot Hub Mini?
It’s still not available for purchase.
Ahh damn, am I right in thinking that there is no other alternative for curtain rods?
I just set this up as a xmas gift. It works pretty well if your rod is non telescopic, but mine is telescopic.
Due to this, I had to work some magic. First, I applied this DIY solution:
It made it better but the switch bot still stuck about 20% of the time. I then put a single additional piece of scotch tape over the telescopic ridge and that was enough to always get it to work.
...eventually. The problem is that sometimes it would glide over it easily, other times it would grind on the ridge for 2 seconds. This doesn't work well for it's distance calibration. Based on the distance the switch bot travels, it determines how open or closed the curtain is.
I easily got around this by overcompensating. Once it gets to the closed position, I let it grind against the end of the curtain for a few seconds. This ensures the switch bot always makes it to the end and back again. Works pretty well now.
So...any chance of getting a hubitat driver? Please? There's a smart things driver so I imagine it is just a conversion.
There is an st driver? Switchbot told me that they won’t have an api available for about a year.
Ah, I misspoke. I saw it worked with smartthings and assumed too much.
I did get this 'integrated' with Hubitat with using TTS. I have two google home speakers adjacent to each other and use Hubitat to feed it commands. Works great, if not a bit silly.
Looks like they have launched the api for it. Probably some way to get it integrated into Hubitat.
On GitHub OpenWonderLabs/SwitchBotAPI
I have found a couple of other possible ways to get around the telescoping rod challenge. I've got both on order, but waiting on the bots so won't be able to follow up for a bit, but it took some time to find the two things I did so thought I'd share.
- Jenacor makes "shower rod covers" and these can be found on Amazon. They have multiple colors, including clear, and a "silver" which people have posted is not solid but rather opaque. The idea is to cut it to extend the entire length of the pole. I think, depending on your situation, you just need to make sure it extends beyond the telescope long enough, but I also think this tubing would be easier to join together with a good quality tape. Butting it up together and taping shouldn't present a dip or joint that would stop the bot (I'm hoping)
- Polyethylene film tape. I found a dedicated product advertised for exactly this purpose that was far more expensive, and would have taken a lot longer to ship/arrive. Based on posts, it is a common use for this tape to help curtains glide better. The idea with this is to install across the entire length of the top of the pole. JVCC UHMW-PE-5 UHMW Polyethylene Film Tape: 1/2 in x 36 yds. (Natural/Translucent): Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific
I hope these 2 ideas help anyone who might be thinking about the curtain bots but scared off about the telescoping rod part of the equation. I will report back when my stuff arrives, but I don't expect that to be for a few weeks.
@rudyscoggins can you explain your tts "silly" solution? I have some apps that I have to to "ask google" to talk to first, then command from there. Example, OurGroceries. I tell Google, "Ok Google, ask OurGroceries to add milk". And Google then says, "contacting OurGroceries", and then OurGroceries chimes in and says, "Added milk to shopping list". A bit annoying, but if I want to quickly command an item added to my list while I'm thinking of it, and can't use my hands to add it directly on the phone, that's how I gotta do it. Anyway, I'm not sure I know what you are doing.
I think your OurGroceries problem is a bit different. Your situation is you need to tell google to ask an app to do something. My TTY situation is to have a way for Hubitat to talk to google home (which is natively impossible, and Google Assistant Relay has lots of shortcomings). All I do is put two google home speakers next to each other, then use hubitat text-to-speech to make one GH speaker vocally command the nearby speaker.
To help you with your OurGroceries problem, I have a great working solution I use constantly, but it requires you switching grocery apps. If you use IFTTT to link Google Assistant to Todoist (or Toodledo as an alternative), you can add a voice command that will do this. "Ok Google, Add X to the shopping list" will add that item to my todoist shopping list. Not sure what OurGroceries gets you and if you are willing to change, but this works great for me.
Let me know how your telescoping fix works out.
I am following up to my post earlier on my 2 solutions.
Jenacor cover for the rod...this works quite well, actually. I have my curtains opening from the middle...so one robot on the left and the other on the right. I decided to cut the rod cover for placement of half on the left and half on the right, so it comes together in the middle, where neither robot needs to navigate over it. There is a bracket there so I didn't even tape it since the cover runs the entire length on each side. I think for a larger rod with only one telescoping extension, this should work pretty well. It DOES slow down where the rod is smaller coming in towards the middle, but it still is able to close. It just takes a little longer.
I tried adding tape in addition to the cover, OVER the cover, and that didn't work. It was getting stuck. In retrospect, I probably should have added tape UNDER the Jenacor cover. I think the tape could probably work on its own with enough work, but since the cover works pretty well for my use I'm happy enough with that.
I also tried attaching the bot to the smaller part of the rod, but it didn't like trying to get over the hump to the larger part of the rod. So it works better to tighten it using the larger part of the rod. I may still try tape under the cover at some point, but I have an additional extenuating circumstance in my home that I doubt any of you would be dealing with. I have suction cup cat perches attached to the door. So the curtain drags on that. If those weren't there, the Jenacor cover would suffice.
My curtain rod is extending a total length of 109 inches and the telescoping portion (smaller part of the rod) is in the middle. So closing the curtains is always going to be a bit slower. Opening them is no problem at all.
I hope this information helps.