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New Construction / Room Additions


Planning for motorized window covering systems is the most important step to ensure a successful project.  At this stage, general areas of the home or building are evaluated and assigned to receive motors. Motorized window coverings are usually an after thought as you are standing there thinking where you want to place your sofa.  Since many builders are now using spray foam insulation instead of the fiberglass batting, fishing wire through foam insulated walls cannot easily be accomplished.  If you are in the planning stages of construction, consider running wire to all high windows and skylights. When your home is complete and you are occupying the space and find the sunlight needs controlled, the wire will be easily accessable if motorized window coverings are needed.  

Areas of consideration for motors include:

  • High windows (upper tier and skylights)
  • Hard to reach windows over tubs and sinks
  • Southern and Western exposures
  • Large expanses of glass
  • Windows that require repetitive daily operation
  • Routine usage of physically challenged or elderly individuals

Once the area's to receive motorized treatments have been established, wiring can be run to the windows from a central location in the structure such as a utility room or closet which will contain the power panel and communication and control interfaces.

Control Types:

The next step in the design process is to decide how the motors will be controlled.

There are basically 5-Types of motor control:

  • Dry Contact Switching
    Motors are contolled with hardwired wall switches. This is the simplest form of motor control. Control wire (usually low voltage wire) is run from a wall switch to the window motor.
  • IR-Infrared
    Generally more cost effective but with limited user control since IR requires a Line-of-Sight for the remote or sending unit to reach an exposed receiver. All wall switching needs to be wired to control panels and implemented through the use of circuit boards. One benefit is that a large number of motors can be controlled from a central location.
  • RF-Radio Frequency
    A robust operating system that sends out radio signals that are omni-directional (360 Degree) with an operating range of 30-100Ft. Ranges can be extended with signal repeaters. The receiver (a little antenna) can be hidden from sight in the headrail of the blind or behind the drapery treatment. There is no need for wall switch wiring since the wall switch is really just another RF remote contoller placed in the wall. 
  • RS-232/485 
    Motor control is achieved through the use of wired low voltage standard serial communication protocols. This type of control is usually implemented through an automation control system and can be used as a standalone control system or incorporate Dry Contact/IR/RF/ZWave control capabilites.
  • Z Wave / ZigBee
    Control is achieved through individual RF controls located at each window motor. Each Z Wave controller is an independent control module set up in a mesh network fashion. Each control module talks or communicates with each other as commands are sent through the network. [Read More]

Motor control can also have a blend of each of the five control options listed above. Through the use of low voltage wiring, motor control circuits and RF, robust motor control platforms are brought to life.

Control Placement:

After the control type has been determined, we need to assign where the controls/switches will be placed.  It is a good practice to place a wall switch in each room that will receive a motorized product so in the event a remote control is lost, the window covering may still be operated.

When planning the lighting control, allow for a single gang space in the lighting switch box for the motorized window covering switch.  This way, the lighting switch plate will cover both the lighting switch and the motor switch creating a unified look as the picture to the right shows. Triple and Quad gangs can be treated the same way creating a consistent appearance throughout the space.

Double gang wall switch with Decora paddle light switch on left and Somfy Deco-Flex RTS motor switch on right. See the control section of this webiste

Other Considerations:

Third Party Control: Automation Control

Home automation systems are quickly becoming more advanced in the range of capabilities they provide. When building a new home or just adding a room addition, incorporating an automation system will provide total room control including Lighting, Sound, Video, Temperature, Window Coverings, Security and many other features.  Our motor controllers will integrate with many of the Automation Controls on the market today.  It would be worthwhile to investigate the Automation Controllers available and incorporate them into the building budget.  Wiring for the systems can be done during construction and the controls added at a later date. Wiring for motors and systems will not only increase the value of the home, but will soon be done as standard building practice. Talk to your audio/visual dealer to learn more about these systems.

The picture (below) is a recently completed project of a room that has 7-Hunter Douglas Silhouette Shades (labeled 1 thru 7) with master control by a Lutron Graphic Eye system. The shades are also controlled by a Universal Remote Model:MX-3000 touch screen remote controller.  The screen on the MX-3000 was programmed by the Audio/Visual company and incorporates both individual and group control of the shades.

The pictures below are from a recently completed Master Bedroom, Bath and Closet renovation that incorporated 9-Hunter Douglas Silhouette Shades with a Control 4 home automation control system with wall touch pads.




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