While we still have to wait until the end of the year for the market launch of the numerous HomeKit roller shades from Eve Systems, Aqara has now released a retrofit solution for existing roller shades with chain pull.
We no longer want to do without HomeKit roller blinds. You have the privacy you need in the late evening hours and still wake up with sun rays on your face. But the smart roller blinds can also be very useful on hot summer days. Then the roller blinds can be closed automatically to not let the heat into your own four walls.
If you have installed roller shutter motors, you can already replace the flush-mounted switch with HomeKit models for a long time. IKEA has put together a nice package for a new purchase. If you have already equipped your windows with conventional roller blinds with chain pull, you could previously only use the Soma Smart Shades. With the Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1, the Chinese manufacturer now also wants to offer a solution for roller blinds with chain pulls.
In addition to the motor, a mounting plate with optional adhesive surface and a USB-C to USB-A charging cable, the scope of delivery also includes four different attachments for bead chains with a diameter of 3 to 6 mm.
The mounting plate is simply attached to the end of the chain so that it does not sag, but is also not too tight. The motor can be removed from the mounting plate at any time for loading. For the cover, the segments where the chain is to pass through still need to be cut out. After that, the setup via the manufacturer's own app can already be started.
Normally, you can set up HomeKit devices via any HomeKit app. In this case, however, we recommend using the manufacturer's app, since the start and end points still have to be set. If you don't want to use the Aqara app, you can add the device to the Aqara hub by pressing a button and also set the start and end positions manually.
This also leads us to a prerequisite: As with all devices from Aqara, the Roller Shade Driver E1 also requires a compatible Zigbee hub. In this case, the hub must support Zigbee 3.0.
So via the Aqara app we add a new device and select the Roller Shade Driver E1. There we can now also set the start and end position.
After the successful setup, the Roller Shade Driver E1 appears automatically in Apple HomeKit. There you can open or close the roller blind or select any position via a slider.
Of course, you can also use the device as a trigger for automations or control it in automations. Using third-party apps, you can also use the exact position in percent or the exceeding or falling below this as a trigger or condition in automations.
The Roller Shade Driver E1 offers a simple way to integrate conventional roller shades with chain pulls into HomeKit. Thanks to the connection via Zigbee 3.0, the roller blind always responded reliably and quickly in our test. The volume is acceptable. We would still not change the position of the roller blind in the middle of the night in the bedroom. Either way, we recommend closing the blind automatically with the sunset and opening it again in the morning with the iPhone alarm clock.
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