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Old 03-13-2006, 05:41 PM
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IVB IVB is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Oak-town, CA
Posts: 1,083
Review: Cheap ($130) Remote control curtains

Just got & mounted some relatively cheap ($130) IR controllable curtain rod from tech-home for the H/T room, thought you guys would want to know.

Stanger89 had some dang cool ideas about how to use this, but i'll let him spill the beans on that.

I'm planning on taking full advantage of the IR and not actually manually interacting with them unless absolutely necessary. This means:
- Use my home theater automation package (CQC)'s event scheduler to open up the curtains every day at 7am [until I get a cheap ($20) photosensor, in which case I'll do it once there's sufifcient daylight. I don't want to open up these curtains until need be]
- On TV is turned on, have CQC close curtains as it shines too bright a glare on my plasma.
- Have CQC open curtains when TV is turned off.
- Have CQC close curtains when it's dark out.

Obviously any package that has USB-UIRT support can be modified to do some of this [ie use SageTV to do the same as above, but since it doesn't do RS232 control of TVs or photosensors, instead of "TV-on", do it on "DVD or TV start"]

So on to the review of the curtain:

1) Definitely very solid and heavy metal, doesn't feel cheap at all.
2) It comes with 4 rods to do a 4-wide window. The base unit is exactly the right size for a standard US window size
3) IR control means I can use MX850 or USB-UIRT to control.
3) Relatively cheap

1) The manual is poorly written, and the pics are very fuzzy and hard to follow. After attempting to decipher it for 20 mins, I gave up and looked at the rods and reverse-engineered how it works by plugging it in and trying random stuff. Then again, that's how I do everything - why should this be any different.
2)It comes with a wired control unit & the wireless remote. I snipped the wires off the control unit as it was pretty ugly.
3) I wish they would diagram the wires so I could use a contact closure where the hardwired unit was to have PC monitor what the current state was (i.e., opened/closed via MX850 remote)

Here's some videos of it on the table. They're bet 1-2MB in size, except for the last one, which is 5MB.

Me banging on it to show you how strong it is

Sample movement with it "on the bench"

Final product - Mounted Curtain opening.
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