Motorized Roller Shade Opener

This project uses a widely available DC geared motor, ESP8226 board, and rotary encoder along with some 3D printed pieces to pull open/close a roller shade with a ball style chain.
The Wemos ESP8266 board connects to your home’s wifi and is automatically discoverable to Alexas on the same network (“Alexa, discover devices”)
The code emulates a smart bulb, so it will natively turn on/off with Alexa, but doesn’t understand open/close commands. The work around is to create a custom action with your natural open phrase, which maps to turning the device on, which is open.

It is designed to work with the ball style roller chain, like:

Wemos D1 Mini (any ESP board would do):
L293D H-Bridge Motor Driver:
Rotary encoder:
5v regulator:
One LED, two momentary buttons, and a DC power jack, plus some glue
Geared DC motor:
12v 2a power supply:
3D printed parts:

These geared worm motors come in many different RPMs, providing lots of different levels of torque. My parents had 3 roller shades that were happy using the 65 rpm motors, but the largest one required more torque and a 25 rpm motor fit the bill nicely.

Arduino sketch:

Images of the assembly:

To program the limits:
Press and hold both buttons for 2 seconds until the led starts flashing.
Use the up/down buttons to drive the shade to either the top or bottom extent.
Press and hold both buttons for 2 seconds until the led flashes.
Use the up/down buttons to drive the shade to the other extent.
Press and hold both buttons for 2 seconds.

Fusion 360 file:


Semi-permanent Vive Lighthouse mounts

I wanted to mount my lighthouses up high, without drilling any holes as I would soon be moving this to another room in the house. It was the ~$10 at Home Depot for the parts below1605

Materials: (for 2 poles)

(Note: I used 1/2″ conduit and as a result had to snip the power plug, but if you use 3/4″ conduit with larger rubber caps, nuts and bolts, you should be able to avoid that.)

2x 1/2″ EMT conduit x 10′
4x 1/2″ EMT conduit strap
2x Wood plate (2 1/2″ x 4 x 1/2″)
2x 5/8″ Rubber leg tips
2x 3/4″ Rubber leg tips
4x 3/8-16 Nut
2x 3/8-16 Bolt
12x 1/2″ wood screws
~10″ 3/32″ Nylon edging (optional)

Picture for one pole:1533


Drill bit (3/8″)
Fish tape
Zip ties
Metal files (round and flat)

Build It

Start by cutting the conduit about an inch short of you ceiling height. Then mark a point 3 1/4″ from each end.

Drill a 3/4″ long opening in the conduit at each end, centered on the point you marked, taking care to make sure both holes are in same orientation.

File and smooth the opening, since you’ll be pulling the power cord through.

Attach some tape to the end of the fish tape, feed that into one drilled hole and out the other.

I used some snips to clip off the back side of the power plug to a 45ish* angle, to allow it to fit in the 1/2″ conduit.

Use zip ties to help pull the power cord through the conduit.

Cap the top side with a rubber cap. Then thread two nuts onto the bolt, and put the other rubber boot over the bolt’s head.

Place the top end of the conduit against the wall, and use a hammer to sink the nuts into the conduit.

Attach the wooden plate to the top end of the conduit with the straps. Then attach the lighthouse mount to the wooden plate.

Place the conduit into it’s position, and thread the nut out until its nice and tensioned. I found flexing the conduit would allow me to back the bolt out a little more and create a tighter fit.1605