Review: Cheap ($130) but solid Remote control curtains

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by Vivek_IVB, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. Vivek_IVB

    Vivek_IVB Stunt Coordinator

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    (i'm not affiliated with tech-home, which is where I bought this thing from and put a link to. I'm attaching that page just so you can get more info, as they have data that I'm not repeating. This is just a simple review from a guy who just put up in his house)

    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.

    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/home 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 or Xlobby to do the same as above, but since they don'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:

    Pro's:
    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

    Cons
    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.
     
  2. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

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    That looks pretty cool, and the price is right. I've wanted a remote controlled curtain for my theatre screen for quite awhile. The website says it can go from 3-13'. Is it fairly easy to configure it for a really wide run, like 11 feet?
     
  3. Vivek_IVB

    Vivek_IVB Stunt Coordinator

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    The instructions were simple enough to add on the extra rods that it came with, but I don't actually know. I just used the one rod.

    Also, I'm only using silk curtains; they "seem" durable enough to handle heavy velvet HT curtains, but I can't guarantee that. Stuff like that has a tendency to make motors act funny.

    Only one way to tell though, and at $130, how could you go wrong...
     

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