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Thread: Best way to represent a Blind / blind state in Cortex

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    Automated Home Guru cliffwright's Avatar
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    Default Best way to represent a Blind / blind state in Cortex

    Hi All,

    Sorry if I'm missing something obvious, but how is it "best" to represent a blind / Curtains / Roller doors in Cortex?

    I've recently installed a motorised roller blind that I've got controlled via a Rest API - but I want to show this in Cortex / be able to fire the "Open" and "Close" commands based on the object in Cortex.

    How's best to do this?

    Similarly - I've got a garage roller-door setup (which I've had for a while) which uses an SLH to "pulse" the garage door opener and a Digital input connected to a Mag-contact that shows the door open/close state - but this clearly then means I've got 2 objects in Cortex: a "Roller door state" and a "SLH Toggle Garage Door". What I'd prefer, is 1 "Garage door" object that has Open/Close controls just like a light object that has on/off and shows it's state.

    Any advice?

    Cheers

    Cliff

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    roller garage doors ... it's some time ago since we set ours up, so it's difficult to recall the exact thinking ... but, what we implemented was :

    reed switches at each end of travel ... connected to a General Logic object ...

    which then deduces whether the doors are open, opening, closing, or closed ... and feeds a virtual Door object for each door, which play the part of the actual doors - connected to the room, identified as connecting to the outside, etc ...

    icon-wise, we have the virtual Doors shown as doors, and the reed-switches that register whether the doors are closed or not also shown as doors ...

    latter being to show whether the doors are actually fully closed or not ... and the former showing when the door is fully open ...

    we also have virtual relays fed by the General Logic that register the state of the doors (open, closed, opening, closing) and do the talking over the intercom to let the house know what's happening (it being useful to know when we're not the one doing the commanding) ...

    seems complicated, but the end result is pretty effective ...

    BTW - when we took the end-plate off the garage-door motor-units, we found a terminal strip, which gave access to all the commands - we wired Idratek relays to each, and included them in the General Logic ... as also various buttons about the house (at my desk, by each of the windows that overlook the front-yard, etc) ... single-click opens North, double-click opens South, long-press closes both ... plus various other functionalities ...
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 6th January 2021 at 06:57 PM.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Guru cliffwright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_j_hunter View Post
    roller garage doors ... it's some time ago since we set ours up, so it's difficult to recall the exact thinking ... but, what we implemented was :

    reed switches at each end of travel ... connected to a General Logic object ...

    which then deduces whether the doors are open, opening, closing, or closed ... and feeds a virtual Door object for each door, which play the part of the actual doors - connected to the room, identified as connecting to the outside, etc ...

    icon-wise, we have the virtual Doors shown as doors, and the reed-switches that register whether the doors are closed or not also shown as doors ...

    latter being to show whether the doors are actually fully closed or not ... and the former showing when the door is fully open ...

    we also have virtual relays fed by the General Logic that register the state of the doors (open, closed, opening, closing) and do the talking over the intercom to let the house know what's happening (it being useful to know when we're not the one doing the commanding) ...

    seems complicated, but the end result is pretty effective ...

    BTW - when we took the end-plate off the garage-door motor-units, we found a terminal strip, which gave access to all the commands - we wired Idratek relays to each, and included them in the General Logic ... as also various buttons about the house (at my desk, by each of the windows that overlook the front-yard, etc) ... single-click opens North, double-click opens South, long-press closes both ... plus various other functionalities ...
    OK - not dissimilar to how I'd done the garage roller door, only I've only gone with a single reed switch in the "Closed" position to infer the status which I've found sufficient.

    Blinds though .. there's no default "Blind" object, and clearly don't want to represent this as a door ..


    Edit: From a little fiddling, I've now got this setup such that I've got a Virtual SRH, and added an On/Off load connection to the relay. Through this, I've found that in the behaviour menu, you can change this so that "This relay output represents a" and select "Curtains". With this, I get a Curtain Icon in Cortex like I was after
    Last edited by cliffwright; 7th January 2021 at 11:55 AM.

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    Automated Home Guru cliffwright's Avatar
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    Is there any way to show granularity here though in terms of how "Open" a blind is? ... Ie, if I've got an extra position of "Half way open" for a roller blind, how can this be represented in Cortex?

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    how about stacking two Curtains icons one above the other in PlanView, and using General Logic & virtual relays to drive them ... ?

    NB: can choose which icon is used in an object's PlanView menu (between Behaviour & Connections) ...

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    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    For motorised control of curtains and blinds there is a dedicated object. It is the Motor Control object found within the Design Network | Logic Objects list. Various icons are available to represent the nature of the end device e.g vertical blinds, horizontal blinds, louvre blinds, curtains, skylight etc. The icon reperesents an analogue value so alongside it there will be a % value representing level of opening. However... this object is designed to handle devices which are operated by controling the direction of a motor actuator which is connected to relays on the IDRATEK system. Various relay configurations are catered for depending on how motor direction is electrically effected. The object also has input connections for limit switches. Dead reckoning is also possible to roughly guess the position of a blind based on timing. If you are not in direct control of the motor in the way that this object expects then obviously it won't directly cater for your requirement but perhaps through some lateral thinking you can use it, as a virtual object, to represent variable state - e.g. 50% next to icon perhaps via an analogue input connection to the Set device open value input

  7. #7
    Automated Home Guru cliffwright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karam View Post
    For motorised control of curtains and blinds there is a dedicated object. It is the Motor Control object found within the Design Network | Logic Objects list. Various icons are available to represent the nature of the end device e.g vertical blinds, horizontal blinds, louvre blinds, curtains, skylight etc. The icon reperesents an analogue value so alongside it there will be a % value representing level of opening. However... this object is designed to handle devices which are operated by controling the direction of a motor actuator which is connected to relays on the IDRATEK system. Various relay configurations are catered for depending on how motor direction is electrically effected. The object also has input connections for limit switches. Dead reckoning is also possible to roughly guess the position of a blind based on timing. If you are not in direct control of the motor in the way that this object expects then obviously it won't directly cater for your requirement but perhaps through some lateral thinking you can use it, as a virtual object, to represent variable state - e.g. 50% next to icon perhaps via an analogue input connection to the Set device open value input
    Thanks ... this kind of helps, but as you suspected, I'm not actually in direct control of the motor.

    I appreciate what I'm trying to do here is fudge things a little beyond what Cortex was designed to do ... but I've basically got a wireless blind motor (because wiring isn't an option) controlled over rest API's. With this, I've got 3 commands, which I've setup in a Virtual Web API Client - and represent "Open" "Stop" and "Close" - with the blind taking about 18 seconds to open or close.

    So .. the Motor control object you describe is perfect in terms of representing the blind - and being able to tell it that it takes 18 seconds, so gives an inferred % open: this is perfect, but, there doesn't appear to be any way to connect this to trigger the 3 Web API requests as far as I can tell. The only output connections I can see are possible are to relays - which in turn also don't have an out connection to trigger the API


    Best I've managed, is the On/Off Load object approach I describe above ...


    Is there any way at all to trigger a Virtual API based on the "Open", "Close" and "Stop" options that the Motor Control object offers?

  8. #8
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    just a thought ... but, in making connections, we sometimes find the one we want is not offered at the end we choose ... only, often, to find it is available from the other end ... haven't investigated this particular situation, but could be worth a try ...


    PS: have tried here, too - Virtual API and even Motor Control Relays seem to offer no connection possibilities ...
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 11th January 2021 at 12:12 AM.

  9. #9
    Automated Home Guru cliffwright's Avatar
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    Indeed. Have fiddled a bit more, but can't get anything suitable to work ..

    I managed to connect the Motor Object state output to an Virtual API Variable, and then connect this "On change" to a macro that then fires the API request depending on the binary state of the Virtual API variable, but the variable doesn't go "True" until the Motor control object considers the blind to be fully open ... so in 1 direction it'll fire immediately (good), but in the other, won't fire the "Close" API until the blind object is fully closed (so 18 seconds later) meaning the object isn't representative. This, and it still doesn't give any way to trigger any "Stop" command.

    I think I'm out of luck

  10. #10
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    seems to me it's easy to fix, by opening something or other, but only Vivian or Karam can do it ...

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