Q & A WITH NICK PELLY-FRY, DIRECTOR OF GRAND DESIGN BLINDS
JUNE 22ND 2017

What types of automated blinds are there and what are their pros and cons?
The three main types are:
Battery-powered:  
•    Pros: Ideal when there is no power supply nearby or you don’t want to involve an electrician in the installation 
•    Cons: The only downside is that the batteries will need renewing or re-charging from time to time
Low voltage motors: 
•    Pros: Very small, so great for slim, discreet blinds
•   Cons: Low voltage motors need a transformer. They are not silent and there are also limitations on the flexibility of their operation in that all blinds connected to a single transformer will operate as one
Mains-voltage motors: 
•    Pros: Very quiet, easily individually operated and much more powerful, so useful for large blinds
•    Cons: Motors are larger and need a larger headrail to conceal them

Which types of blind are suitable for automation? 
•    Most types of blinds can be automated - although fitting the motor and other components in discreetly can be an issue with a blind less than 400mm wide  
•    When we make ‘Duette’ blinds to shade awkwardly shaped/sized windows and glass roofs, we always recommend automating them because manual operation is almost impossible if the blinds are out of reach or quite large. This does add to the cost, but the motors are very reliable
•    Shaped Venetian blinds cannot be fully motorised but can have a battery-powered motor which tilts the slats
•    Rectangular (ie normal) shaped Venetians can be motorised with low or mains-voltage motors which can also raise and lower the blind

Are automated blinds compatible with home automation systems? 
•    Yes, our blinds have been linked in with Lutron, Loxone, Crestron, Control4 and other home automation systems  
•    Our blind motor supplier, Somfy, (the French company which makes the very best quality motors) also has its own control system called Tahoma which allows blinds to be operated remotely from a tablet or phone app  

One last piece of advice?
•    If you are building a new home or refurbishing an existing house, it’s always worth providing a power supply for electric blinds when planning a project. Putting in power during the build is simple and inexpensive - which is not the case once it’s all beautifully finished!

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