Monday, July 12, 2010
ASS (Automated Shade System) Part 1: Mounting the hardware
ASS, as in this thing is a pack animal that carries the task of providing shade to my living room like a champ.
I came up with this idea after a couple years of owning a projector. I have lived without a TV for several years now and my only complaint with the projector has been the need for a shade (and the expense of buying new bulbs). Manual shades are find, but you need to find a good place to mount them, and they are often just left down which leads to dark nerd-caves where mold can grow in abundance. No, I would much rather have a bright and sun-lit area to live in when I am not using my projector. So began the birth of lazy man's shade.
A few features:
1) Automated, motorized
2) Activated by the projector
3) Feedback for shade position (so it doesn't completely unroll)
4) Ambient light sensitive, so it only lowers as far as it needs to
5) Easy to setup and install, easy to remove (I am in college, I move)
6) A cool project title (done)
So this project has been on my backburner for about a year. I was stuck for a very long time on what motor to use, how to fix it to the shade roller, and how to mount the whole thing. The sensors, and microcontroller were the least of my concerns. All those issues were solved when my roommate dropped a toyota window motor in my lap. It was perfect!
Next I had to get the motor attached to the shade. A bit of hobby cement and a grinder made quick work, and I had a perfectly easy shade-attached-to-motor. There is a circular metal piece in the window motor which slides into the main gear and is held by some tabs (sorry no pics). There are some bumps that need to be ground down, once these are gone I was able to cement the metal piece to the end of the shade spool. Bam! a perfect fit.
Making the mounting hardware was a bit more tricky. There are some nice screw holes on the motor enclosure which I used to attach the motor to some Lexan. The Lexan was then attached to a regular old bracket. Again this went very smoothly.
Now I have mounted the shade and motor to my wall in my bedroom which should allow me to mess around with it much easier. A good testbed. Hopefully I'll have some time to work on it this evening.