Here is how I automated the electric curtains with Loxone. Having a motorized curtains in living room was not the the initial plan at first place. So I had nothing prepared for this in terms of wiring or any setup. Only this year we have decided to have a curtains on the big sliding door towards the terrace/garden entrance. Now it is done, and it is awesome. The fact that it is motorized and automated has a lot of advantages, that even my wife considers as “cool” features. Continue reading to see why.
Motorized curtains – Key advantages
Let me start here with the most convenient functionality the motorized curtains is offering us, and that is opening and closing the curtains automatically with the sliding door movement. What exactly this means? Is is simple. Imagine you want to go from the living room to the terrace. You start opening the door and the curtains gets automatically out of the way and opens. You close the door and the curtains closes immediately afterwards, without any extra touch.
Typically curtains in front of a sliding entrance doors/windows does create quite a bit of hassle, especially in situations when people want to go in or out, carrying some stuff. They not only have to open the sliding door, but then either touch the curtain to get in, or slide it aside to get it out of the way and then return it back.
Obviously just the simple fact that curtains are moving themselves without any manual effort is pleasing, and it is real pleasure to watch. And because the rail itself does not look much different from any standard curtains rails plus the motor is well hidden, it creates unexpected surprising moments for many visitors in the house.
With motorized curtains connected to Loxone and simple programming you can achieve such a useful curtains automation. The assumption is to have the magnetic door contact (for alarm purposes) which most people have already there anyway.
How to connect Somfy Glydea to Loxone?
When I was looking at the options for motorized curtains on the market, there were either offerings for complete installations (with a remote), or various DIY kits on Chinese e-shops with “not really sure how it would look like” curtain rails and consoles. Nothing against that, it could work fine for hidden built-in rail setups. But in my case the rail could not be hidden, so the type of consoles and the overall design of the rail played significant role in my selection.
Then I found Somfy Glydea 60 DCT. Nice unit, which I had the ability to see in real by one of the local retailers. And guess what, apart from the Somfy remotely controlled version, there is also the possibility to control the unit using external switches/relays (DCT version). Luckily, in my case I have wired the magnetic door contact for that sliding door using UTP cable. This means, I still had three pairs of wires I could use to control the motor unit, without the need to do any extra wiring.
The user manual says the following:
Glydea™ DCT can be controlled by a combination of dry contacts, IR and RTS controls with the internal RTS receiver. The dry contact and IR controls are accessible through 1 RJ12 socket. The dry contacts control can be done through devices with 2 normally open contacts (open, close) or 3 normally open contacts (open, stop and close). For devices using 2 contacts the stop command is achieved by closing the open and close contacts. For three devices the stop can also be achieved with a specific stop button.From the user manual for Somfy Glydea 60 DCT
For the smart home integration this means we would need two or three relays to be able to fully control this motorized unit. These are dry contacts, which means no need for external power.
Now, why do I recommend to use three relays and have the stop function on a dedicated wire? I do not understand to logic behind the decisions Somfy did when they were designing these units. For some reason, Somfy blinds motors are controlled with just up and down wire, but curtains motors require also the third one triggering stop function*. This is something Loxone’s blinds and curtains control blocks does not count with. So we have to add a bit of logic there to be able to send the stop signal when needed.
* Update: There is version of the motorized Glydea unit which is probably controlled the same way as motorized Somfy blinds using 4 pin mains power cable (phase up and down). Look for WT versions. That’s probably good option to think of for any new installations.
BUT, because the (WT labeled) unit similarly to the blinds motors does get the power only when a movement is required (triggered by the mains relays OPEN or CLOSE), it is more than certain that it won’t have the functions like “touch motion” and smooth dynamic start and finish.It is just side note and my guess here, I have not seen the GLYDEA 60e WT.
But still, why we need three relays if stop can be generated as a simultaneous OPEN and CLOSE at the same time? Right, that’s for programming purposes. In the “Glydea Installation and Programming Instructions” you’ll see that to change some unit behavior like modifying the motor rotation direction, erasing the memory of the motor, adjusting touch motion sensitivity, or setting a speed you’ll most probably need to press also the STOP button. This can be avoided, in case you’ll do all the programming using your specially prepared configuration cable with three switches and RJ 12 socket like on the picture above. Both ways are possible, but I have used three relays, so I needed four control wires between the Glydea unit and Loxone Extension, exactly as shown on the schematics.
Quick recap of what all is needed to connect motorized curtains to Loxone:
- Somfy Glydea 60e DCT (this is the one I have, maybe works with others as well) available in two colors (Silver or Champagne). It comes with a 1.5 meter long mains cable (230V).
- Somfy track, with both endings and properly measured distance and all extras. It is also capable of doing some turns etc. I am not going to go into the detail here, as I fully recommend to consult your needs with a technician that will help you to order all components you need. This is what they know the best. The only difference in my setup was that I did not ordered the ugly metal rail holders (consoles) as in my living room these are very visible. So I have there some better looking compatible ones, which I was recommended to choose.
- 4 wire cable between your Loxone cabinet and the curtain motor unit. As I already mentioned, I used the cable that was already there for magnetic door contact. The cable is normal CAT5 UTP, magnetic contact uses one pair there, so there were still three pairs left free.
- RJ 12 connector and crimping tool to do the proper cable ending that can be plugged into the Glydea unit.
- 230V or compatible mains socket – Yes, this unit is not battery powered (luckily), so there needs to be an energy source in the near distance. The cable depending on the curtain type and the design solution can be well hidden (behind the track, behind the end of the curtains, see installation manual).
- Loxone Extension with three relay outputs free (could be on Miniserver, Extension, Relay extension or others like Shelly as well which would serve three independently addressed relays)
- And your good skills, tools and the ability to understand what you’re doing. Otherwise ask some technician to do this for you, that’s a general rule here! I am just giving some advice here, not complete step by step guide for everyone.
Loxone config programming
Once you have everything properly mounted and safely connected, here is my sample code for the Somfy Glydea I use at home. It could seem a bit messy, so let me explain the individual parts of the program, why they are there and what exactly they do.
The main part was shown above already, it is the blinds control block together with push-button switch block to solve the problem of the “Stop signal”, and connected inputs from wall switches and outputs to the Loxone relays (three relays with NO dry contacts for the Glydea unit). That’s all low voltage controls.
This above does the basic functionality. If you want to have the curtains to follow your door movement (being triggered by door opening/closing) see below. The prerequisite is that you already have a magnetic contact installed and configured, from where you get the input about the door state.
Now there are several program parts to do the job. First, we have to isolate only the first pulse of the door movement. That’s because it could easily happen to get multiple quick on and off’s, where somebody opens the door extremely slowly, or smashes the door against the frame. This would mess up with the Glydea control, resulting in not proper behavior. So we take the first pulse and go, start moving the curtains, regardless of what happens afterwards. This is achieved using SR Flipflop and Monoflop blocks on the input side together with two different timers. One (Switch Off delay) is taking care of the blockage of other commands during curtain movements, the second (Delayed Pulse) is there to define how far the curtain should move when door is opened. The idea here is that when I open the door, curtain moves only half way out, keeping the fixed window part still covered. If you don’t like this approach, you can avoid this part and trigger the whole movement, to let your curtains uncover your window fully.
(Please note, I have experimented also with the parameter “Shade” [Tr], which would suit perfectly this need. But in the end it did not work well for multiple reasons)
Now, what happens when you open the door? The first pulse from the magnetic alarm sensor triggers both timers. Curtain starts to move to open. Once the Delayed pulse comes, curtains stops. The second timer (Switch Off delay) still counts a few more seconds. Once the second timer expires, the curtain is ready to go back in case doors were closed in the meantime. If they remained open, curtain waits for closing pulse. Why is that? This is to not mess up the Glydea unit with quick openings and closures, triggering open, close and another open right after each other. My half curtains opening triggered by the door takes 14 seconds (Delayed Pulse), then it waits another 6 (Switch Off delay) which is set to 20. And only then curtains can start closing if the doors are shut. And that sequence happens even if I just open and close the door within a second. So the switch off delay here acts as the earliest time to return the curtains back to closed state. Please note, this is only valid for the automated movement. You can still take the full control using the on wall switches or Loxone app if you need to, to interrupt or adjust the movements manually.
Few other conditions in the Loxone programming. The automatic movement of the curtains tied to the door opening is triggered to open only if the curtains actual position is somewhere between closed and half-open state (that’s the Greater than 0.6 block), and auto closes if it is anywhere but not closed (that’s the Greater than 0.1 block). And of course, there is a virtual switch on the visualization to manually disable the automated movement at all.
Last part of the programming takes care of the “admin” functions. It does not have to be there at all, or it can be only visible to admin users. This exposes the Stop button I mentioned earlier, and also allows to press all the three buttons at once. This is used for Glydea unit setup, or tweaks. Not needed for regular operations and it can be substituted by customized cable used just for configuration purposes.
You can download the sample config page I created to control all of this, and use it as a solid start for your configuration. And maybe, you’ll find better ways to achieve the similar or better result. Feel free to post comment, I would appreciate to hear your feedback.
It is awesome! Or, maybe even better than that. It exceeded my initial expectations for sure. It is very silent when it moves, you’ll hear just the noise of the curtain rail gliders. It is smooth and dynamic, motor slows down before reaching the end of the track, and slowly starts when triggered. It has many configuration options, motor heading up or down, on any of the rail ends (left or right). I am finding it really practical, even if it would be only switch operated. Nobody has to touch the soft curtains, no wrinkling, no curtain in the draft issues, no hand stains. It stays always in a proper position, not talking about the wow effect.
One technical remark to mention here is that Somfy Glydea is not providing any feedback about the curtains position back to the control system. So in case somebody would want to use the “touch motion” function, which is that you trigger the full movement by just gentle manual movement of the curtains, Loxone would not be notified about that and the real position of the curtain would be out of sync from the one the home automation would think is valid. This could be solved by some extra effort, but I don’t think it’s worth. The beauty of this whole is to not touch the hanging fabric at all. You may have dedicated scenes, where the curtains will be open/closed, or events on which they should do what you want. I have also assigned two buttons, which previously controlled the outdoor awning, to now control the curtains on short press, and awning on long press. So there are many customization which I am sure everybody who uses some kind of smart home system understands well.