using BroadLink and Home Assistant to control smart film

Automation for Smart Film (and Blinds, Shades & Everything Else)
by Adrian Biffen, Senior Partner

Please Note: If you already have an existing automation system
Please see the section about our interface products further down.

3 Easy Steps to Full Automation That Preserve Your Initial Investment:

We have been building home automation systems since 1972, when the x10 protocol first appeared. Tired of the many competing protocols, we set out to support as many home automation systems as possible, when we started the RollerTrol™ business.

This policy has now been refined to simplify the 3 easy levels of automation for controlling our smart film, and we use the same technology to control everything else: shade & blind motors, skylight/window openers, and many other devices.

A major benefit of this system is that your initial investment in remote controls is preserved, and they will continue to function, no matter how far you want to expand your automation system.


remote control smart film, blinds, shades, window/skylight openersLevel 1 - RollerTrol™ Simple Remote Controls:
You can start out with our simple multi-channel wall mount and hand held remotes for our smart film, then upgrade later to a more advanced system.

Many of our customers find that these simple remotes are all that is required, but your investment is retained regardless of any upgrade decision. Any remotes you buy will still function, even if you upgrade your automation system later.

You can create groups and/or control individual smart film sections with these multi-channel remotes. We also have special series G radio controlled relays for smart film that use the same protocol as our RF remote controls for blinds, shades, and window actuators; please see this instructional article about our smart film relay module.


RF and IR blaster learns remote control signals for smart film, blinds, shades, window/skylight openersLevel 2 - BroadLink® RF-IR Blaster Automation Hub:
This is a very easy phone app system that can actually 'learn' RF radio signals from our wall mount and hand held wireless remote controls. Take a look at our very affordable new smart film and blind motor controller hub (Android and IOS apps).

This controller system also has IFTTT event triggering (if-this-then-that), event timers, and IR learning for sound systems, projectors, TV and other media devices. Please note that your remote controls from Level 1 will continue to operate.

This system is very powerful and many of our clients find that it is the only automation system they need. You can save a lot of $$$ by converting all your old unused phones and tablets into powerful WiFi home automation control consoles!

Please note that you can control individual sections of PDLC smart film with this hub and/or create groups.


HASS learns RF and IR remote control signals for smart film, blinds, shades, window/skylight openers Level 3 - Home Assistant™ - Finally! The end of incompatible systems:
For smart film and other devices, we are supporting the excellent Home Assistant™ (HASS) software as a master administrator. Written in Python 3, It runs on multiple platforms in the background, as a web server, including the very useful Raspberry Pi. Your remote controls and phone apps from Level 1 and Level 2 will continue to work with Home Assistant™.

Any device on your network with a browser can display and use the interface, acting as your own private cloud. An external connection to the internet is not required, but it is an option.

Please see this article about how HASS turns a Raspberry Pi into a powerful low cost home automation controller for smart film and other devices via our BroadLink RF-IR blaster system.

It provides integration with many other control systems such as Wink®, Wemo®, SmartThings®, Vera®, Z-Wave®, Zigbee®, Bluetooth®, etc (over 500 devices and counting!).

You can control individual sheets of smart film with HASS + BroadLink hub, and/or create groups.

Voice Control of Smart Film & Everything Else: Alexa® + BroadLink® + Home Assistant™

Amazon Echo Dot Alexa voice control system for smart film

We are often asked about integrating our smart film with the Alexa® voice command system, and the Home Assistant system makes it easy to do this because it creates a bridge between Alexa and the BroadLink hub. This is done by using a clever emulation of the Hue system, which has native support in Alexa.

The BroadLink® hub is not only capable of learning RF control signals for smart film, it is also an excellent IR code learner too, for controlling all your TV, Blueray, DVD, Netflix streaming, and other media systems. Alexa allows you to add voice control to this capability.

You can very easily set up a sequential process for some application in your home, with the ability to chain events to a single button press. For example, you may need a process for initiating a home theater setup: dim lights, lower blackout blinds, activate projector, deploy projector screen, select Netflix, activate audio system, etc.

You can then assign that sequential control function to be triggered by Alexa, using your voice to execute a series of events that are pre-programmed into the BroadLink® RF-IR blaster hub. For more information, please see our Alexa® integration article.


Do You Already Have An Existing Home Automation System?

group transmitter for smart film, bind, shade motors triggered by relaysFor those of you with existing systems such as Insteon®, Control4®, Zigbee®, Lutron®, Nest®, Crestron®, etc, we have a relay controlled group transmitter that can address our radio motors with OPEN/CLOSE/STOP commands. All you need is a relay module with 3 relays to trigger these control signals. The group transmitter can control as many smart film panels as you like simultaneously as a group.

If you already have a Z-WAVE® system, we have a Z-Wave relay trigger module for smart film, blinds, shades, window/skylight openers that can be used to trigger the group transmitter.

It is also sold as a complete ZWave control kit for smart film, window openers and blinds that includes the group transmitter, z-wave trigger module and 12v power supply.

This article explains how to use our interface modules:

RollerTrol™ Z-Wave Motor Control. This system can also be used with our G series relay modules for smart film.

If you want to have group + individual control of our smart film, you might want to consider using our BroadLink hub system, as mentioned towards the top of this page, as it will give you far more flexibility at a much lower price than z-wave.

The BroadLink hub offers control of our G series relays (for smart film), blind & shade motors, the older R series motors, our skylight/window openers, our drapery motors, any IR controlled devices such as TV and sound systems, and many other devices such as fans, LED lighting, etc. The BroadLink hub can even learn x10 radio commands, in case you have a few of those old modules in your home.

If you are interested, you can purchase the BroadLink or Z-Wave interfacing products in our DIY online automation store.

Companion articles in this series:

BroadLink® Temperature and light sensitive blinds, shades & window openers

BroadLink® Smart hub for Home Automation: Introduction

BroadLink® Rain sensor for closing skylights.