Arduino Powered X10+RFID Controlled Motorized Curtain Opener/Sliding Door Lock

This is a walkthrough of my motorized curtain opener I built using an arduino and some pieces from a robotics kit I had lying around. To controller the curtains or lock I can use X10 (wireless remotes, web interface, iphone app), RFID (cards given to all my roommates) and physical switch to lock it as I leave.

Here’s a little more detailed explanation of the mechanism that opens the curtains:

And here’s a terrible hand drawing laying out the components:
Hand drawing


28 responses to “Arduino Powered X10+RFID Controlled Motorized Curtain Opener/Sliding Door Lock

    • Hello! Thanks! I used a motor from a robotics kit I had lying around. I believe it was the vexplorer robotics kit. I used the metal sheets, axles and gears from the kit as well to hack up a little device with two barrels that spin in opposite directions that I then ran fishing line around to create the opener mechanism you can see in the video. Let me know if you had any more questions! Thanks!

  1. How do i make my motor spin clockwise and the other way around? Any tutorial or known tutorial? Thanks. Im a beginner by the way. I know nothing about arduino but i can follow instructions. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. your work is awesome and im planning to do that kind of automation to my curtain to0 but i cant get the mechanism of the motor and string.. i cant figure out how i will tie the string or something. can you help me with this?

    • Hi Herman,

      I don’t completely understand what you’re asking. If you’re looking for how the mechanism works, see the second video and rough illustration I provided. Let me know if you need more help.


    • There are two loops of fishing line, each wrapped a few times around the barrel, and then through the tensioner. I then tied the first rung of the curtains to the loop. That loop moves with the barrel since theres enough friction from wrapping it around several times. If you’re still having trouble I could make up an animation of whats going on, let me know.

    • Hi @theseethrough! I honestly have no idea how strong the motors I have are, but I would imagine that 2.2kg would be plenty to move them in my setup. There’s not much resistance when moving them horizontally after I coated the rod with a dry lubricant. I would think that would be fine, but I’m definitely not certain.

  3. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I
    stumbleupon everyday. It will always be helpful to read through articles from other writers and use a
    little something from other sites.

  4. hey, phill awsome arrangement you have shown….. was making this or my home and i am stuck with the sort of tentioner pully that you are using at the two ends of the curtain. plz explain if possible . thankyou

  5. Hi Phil,

    Can you help me out? I am trying to basically use the same idea, but for a pet door. I want to use the RFID to open the door instead of the remote, can you help me out compile a code for it?

    • Hi Carlos, this will depend on what RFID reader you are using, what your existing code looks like, etc. There are many examples online if you search for arduino and your particular rfid reader. If you have a more specific question I can try to help. Good luck!

  6. Hi Phil ,

    I loved the idea of using magnetic reed switch. Would you please send the schematic and code for it ( how to read the reed switch and identify if closed or opened and send to motor) to ..

  7. Thanks Phil.. I have managed to do a prototype with with the magnetic reed switch. Now need to assemble it to curtains.
    Thanks again for the details …

    • Hi Phil,
      I was able to do the code. Please let me know how the string is attached on the barrel and curtain. Is the string is a loop to the barrel of next side (i,e – left side string goes to right barrel ?? ) Also do I need to do a complete loop for a side ??Hope this makes sense. If you can give some pictures on how to connect string to barrel , that will be greatly helpful…

      Thanks ,

      • Hi Manoj,

        To answer your questions: Yes, it is one loop per side. The loop is wrapped around the motor-driven-barrel several times to give it grip. The loop for the left curtain does go around the right barrel, so that the curtains can be pulled into each other for a tight close.
        This youytube video may help visualize that:

        Let me know if that didn’t make sense! Good luck! I’d love to see a picture or video if you get yours working!

      • Thanks for the quick reply. But it is not clear on the video. Can you please send a diagram for one side only??

        I have doubt on if we tie a knot to the first ring on the curtain then why we need a loop?? May be I am missing something basic here .. please guide..


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