Z-wave shade woes

Since migrating over to HE from ST, the only item that continues to give me grief are my Bali AutoView shades. With ST, I used a SmartApp called Shady paired with a custom shade device handler, which provided easy grouping and full feature control. It worked great with Alexa and Homebridge, and my only complaint was the delay with the cloud aspect of ST. With HE, my only options appear to be the generic z-wave shade driver, or using the generic dimmer. Both seem to have their issues with my setup.

Grouping: Using the generic z-wave shade driver, I can't get any sort of grouping to work, be it via Groups and Scenes, or some custom apps like bravenel's Shade Control. Both solutions don't seem to respond appropriately to position (it's either a fully open or fully closed situation). I can live without groups within Hubitat, but then I'd need grouping in Alexa to work.

Alexa: Using the Hubitat Alexa skill, the shades appropriately show up for Alexa and individual shade control works well. But any sort of grouping just doesn't work. If I add the shades to an existing room (e.g., Living Room), asking Alexa to "set Living Room shades to 50%" just doesn't work. "Sorry, Living Room Shades doesn't support that." If I create a specific group called "Living Room Shades" with just the shade devices in the group, again, she doesn't allow control of the group. I have had some better luck with setting the shades as a dimmer with Alexa and then having group control, but then I encounter issues with Homebridge.

Homebridge: With the generic z-wave shade driver and tonesto7's Homebridge integration, I actually get perfectly working shades in the Home app. I can group, control via Siri, and everything works great. But any changes to get Alexa working, like changing them to a dimmer, kills the capability with the homebridge integration. Maybe I need to adjust my expectations to get both Siri and Alexa working together, but they both have their use cases in my home.

I know there are quite a few users of Bali/Graber/Zebra shades here (as well those coming from ST), so I am hopeful someone has cracked the code. Any advice? Thanks!

Sorry no solutions just to echo your frustrations. Coming from wink this was easy to do. Now I am just replacing one set of frustrations with another. I love the local setup and want it without Alexa Google etc just simple local control. The dashboard and device tiles are great but the inability to set morning and night time group automations is really really frustrating when you are controlling 12 shades one at a time with no automation possible.

Welcome @nfdoc!
@danabw and I have had good luck with our shades/blinds using 2 different methods. I use RM with a virtual 'master' dimmer. I have RM rules that monitor the master dimmer and set the blinds accordingly. Although, truth be told blinds are quirky and I did have to build in a delay between shades and a retry just to make sure any glitches in the ZW caused an issue. @danabw uses scenes and could elaborate when time allows.

Thank you so much for the courtesy and prompt comment. This is a very sophisticated work around for something that would seem to be a logical function for any "automation" hub. The devices exist and function. The tiles dashboards groups scenes and modes all exist and function with the devices but not these it just does not make sense. There are going to be a whole lot of Wink users who are going to be looking for new hubs soon. It is issues like these that just turn people off.

Same exact problem here, and I want to replicate one of your solutions. Basically: I want to have a group of blinds controllable (just open and close should be fine, to start) via a single tile in my Dashboard.

But I can’t understand the details of what you’re saying: how do I associate a “virtual dimmer” device with specific [actual] shades?

Hi @SportyJordy, I wrote up what I did in this thread, [RELEASE] Unofficial iBlinds driver - v2 and v3. There's a little preface to the write up on 02Jan21 with a snapshot of my dashboard then the full write up is on 03Jan21. Hope that helps, good luck!

1 Like

Thank you much! I installed the v3 iBlinds driver, but I’m failing to figure out how to associate it with multiple actual devices. How might I do that...?

Edit: After re-reading your post... do you actually have an iBlinds product? That isn't clear and I assumed you did. If not then the actual iBlinds driver won't get you anywhere. However, my comments about controlling blinds in that topic don't only apply to iBlinds, any blind/shade should be able to be controlled that way (I use the same method/code on my Bali shade).

I've always believed in the building block approach, create a lot of simple things that you can build together. So, if you look thru that write-up there is more detail but in a nutshell there is a simple rule for each blind that moves the blind to a position based on a number. (i.e. move the Blinds_Pool to 50). Then there are higher level rules that set that number to whatever blind(s) you want. (i.e. Setting the master shade level to 50 will command each blind, individually, to go to 50).

Ah, I should have mentioned: I have Yoolax brand Z-Wave shades :frowning:. They are individually hooked up successfully via the IKEA shades drivers.

So, which part shall I follow... this part? I’m struggling to find just basically these answers:

  1. Which driver do I use for the groups?
  2. How do I associate the groups with the individual blinds?
  3. Which template do I use for the Dashboard?

Thanks!

You will not have a driver for the 'group'. Use whatever driver you're using now to control the shades. You will use RM to control each shade position based on a virtual dimmer value. You then use the virtual dimmer value on your dashboard, I used the vertical slider for my tile of choice but you can use a horizonal if you want.

There are some real world issues that I needed to address so this was the best way for me (@danabw uses scenes and groups and is happy with it, which is a much simpler solution if it works for you). The blinds I have will overdrive and I didn't want that and they also self-calibrated slightly different so that at 50% they didn't 'look' the same so I needed a way to cap the min/max and be able to set them slightly different positions so they would look the same. For me scenes limited my flexibility so this is what I came up with.

  • 3 blinds - pool, fireplace left, and fireplace right
  • I created 4 virtual dimmers - Master override, pool, fireplace left and fireplace right (these are what's on the dashboard)
  • I created 3 identical rules, one for each blind that will position the blind based on their respective dimmer
  • I then have higher level rules that set each blind position on the blind(s) I want, this effectively creates 'groups'. One higher level rule is that at sunrise +30min open the pool blind and fireplace left, another higher level rule is if the Master override changes then set each blind to that value, etc.

Once the basic building blocks of moving the blind to a position you can change the blind really easily by any method simply by changing the corresponding virtual dimmer, you can use RM rule, Dashboard, Alexa, Google, etc.

Ohhhhhohohoh. NOW I got it. Thank you!! Working great!

1 Like

Download the Hubitat app