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Electric shades are becoming a standard in high end luxury condos and new construction. Some developers offer a complete system while others leave wiring in place for future installation.

Traditionally roller shades used the same motors as owning. These motors were very large mostly wired motors and quite noisy.

New window treatments motorization technology in recent years are bringing to the market, smaller motors with built in RF controls that are quiet. These motors although smaller are powerful motors that are capable of lifting shade up to 16 feet wide and even more.

In addition these motors offer many control options such as Wireless RTS, iPhone & iPad, home automation system via RS485 and Z-Wave systems.

Motorized shades are powered by High Voltage, low voltage or battery operated motors. Each system has its
advantages and differ by the amount of  wiring needed, the maintenance and price.

Call for an in home consultation to learn which system is best for your home.

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The design phase begins normally with a meeting in the apartment, office or the space where electric shades are needed. Based on our clients light control needs, the number of window their location and size we can recommend an electric shade system (high voltage, low voltage, battery operated)controlling the shades can be done via remote, a wall switch, iPhone app or a 3rd party system. Fabric selection comes next and finally choosing an enclosure for the shade itself. It can be a metal fascia, a flexible valance, a painted cornice or a pocket.

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Our in-house electrician will wire each room based on the system selected above. For high voltage system an outlet or an electrical box is required at the top of each window about 5" down from he ceiling. In most cases each room will be wired individually. For multiple shades and with low voltage systems sometimes a central location is chosen and wires will be home run from each room in the house. (most common in gut-renovations)
New controls from Lutron and Somfy offer wireless switches that do not need any wiring.

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Installing electric shades require more skill and wight lifting since shades are heavier and motors have special adapters, adjastable brackets and wires that needed to be accounted for. In addition shades must be perfectly leveled. In many cased installation of electric shades requires drilling into a concrete slab ceiling however with the right equipment it becomes an easy task for our installers.

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Once electric shades are hanged and the are working, adjustments are needed to make sure they open and close and stop at the right place. This is done via programming using a remote control.

A new shade control iPhone/iPad app is now available from Somfy Systems. The programming commands can be copied from the remote to the app console.

When a 3rd party integration is needed. Our installers would program a remote or a keypad to control the shades and a home automation professional would conned his system (most often via RS 485, RS 232 or Dry contact) to our system and program command to be translated to the shade system installed.


Somfy RTS® Electric Shades


Somfy offers a wide range of systems to automate Roller Blinds and Solar Screen Shades. With
4 major types of systems: Wired Technology, Infrared Technology, RTS Radio Technology Somfy and Inteligent Wired Technology.

Each system varies in the way each shade gets powered and in the way it is controlled.
In the past most systems were High Voltage 110V AC systems, however in recent years there is a move towards Low Voltage 24V DC systems that will eliminate the need for wiring by a certified electrician. In addition low voltage systems such as the  Sonesse™ 50 and Sonesse™ 30 feature quiet motor operation at a level of 44 dBA from 3 feet away (1 m). For smaller applications a Battery Operated LT30 Motor can be used.
With the advantage of eliminating wiring comes the burden of replacing batteries every 1-2 years.

Wired Technlogy, the oldest and arguably traditionally most reliable where each shade would have an AC motor wired to a Decorator IGC Switch. The switch will be hardwired and will power the shade sending a signal for up or down movement. For multiple shades installed in a single room and IGC/3N Decorator Switch will act as a group control to operate all shades as one. Integration with a third-party system would be done via a contact clusure componenet, see integration bellow.

Infrared Technology came later to accomodate using a remote control to operate each shade.
This technology uses a "Point and Shoot" operation where an infrared reciever eye would be attached to each shade and a Single or Eight Channel Transmitter would be used to control the shades. Infrared motors typically will be hardwired or connected to an Ifrared IGC switch. An Infrared IGC switch will act as an alternative way to control the shade as well as eliminate the need for an Infrared reciever eye which is part of the switch.

Radio Technology Somfy which is the current standard uses Wireless Radio Frequency waves(RF) for control. With this technology each shade powered via hardwiring and control is done with a RTS Telis Hand-held Transmitter or a DecoFlex Wireless Wall Switch. There is no more need to wire between the shade and the switch. And controlling the shade is made easier with more reliable RF waves that eliminates the need for "Point and Shoot".
RTS has opened the door for more easier third-party integration via a Universal RTS wireless interface see more about integration bellow.

Intelligent Wired Technology, the newest in the market offers easier integration options with home automation systems that uses Z-Wave or ZigBee technologies to control each shade via computerized software

Somfy motors are inserted into a 1.5" / 2" / 2.5" Roller Blind Tube depending on the shade size and fabric weight. Bigger shades and heavier fabrics requires a bigger motor with a larger Torque (Lifting capabilities) value. Mounting brackets are typically bigger than those for manual roller blinds and so are the light gaps on each side. To eliminate light comming into a room when a blackout effect is desired special side channels can be ordered

In many case shades can be coupled with an Intermediate Support Bracket to create a 2 panel shade that will be operated via a single motor (to save on the cost). There is even a 90 degrees Intermediate Bracket will accomodate corners.

Each shade manufacturer is using a different tube with single or multiple grooves thus requirig different adapters to be mounted on the motor prior to inserting it into the tube.

A top cover or a Metal Fascia is typically used to hide the roll and brackets and wiring.
Metal Fascia is available in White, Vanilla, Bronze, Black and Annodized.

Phifer SheerWeave and Mermet fabrics are commonly used with Roller Blinds and Solar Screen Shades for a list of available fabrics visit our Fabrics Search Page.


Controlling electric Roller Blinds system can be done via wall a switch, a hand-heald transmitter, a timer, a sun sensor, a group control and a third party home automation system.

Choosing the right controls depends on the number of shades in the system, weather an Infrared
or RTS system is used, the budget of for the project and if a third-party system is added to create a full home automation system. Sometimes its just about the design aspect since after all a hand-held transmitter is the actual interfact between you and the system.

All the types of controls can accomodate the 4 technologies mentioned above, a Decorator Switch may be available for a wired System but an IGC Ifrared switch will respond to a IRT803 8 Channel Infrared hand-held transmitter. A DecoFlex switch is fully RTS competible
and requires no wires for installation. It is powered by a battery that requires changing every 2 years (depending on use). A new DecoFlex Tabletop is out on the market with a new design.

Telis hand-held remote transmitters are the standard for RTS technology and with time the design has imporved from the old Telis to a newer Telis Pure and Telis Lounge (see above). The first versions were able to conrol 1-5 groups of shades but now there is a new Telis 16 to control up to 16 groups of shades.

Impresario Chronis and Chronis Comfort are 2 timer based remote transmitters using RTS technology to control rasing and lowering Roller Blinds System at a desired time of day.
When going to sleep at night the shades are lowered. In the morning at a desired time (not too early) the shades are raised to let the sun in and help to wake up.

Sunis Sun Sensor may be used to schedule operating the shades based on the weather and the amount of sun. On a clowdy day shades will be raised to let more light into the reoom and on a sunny day a SheerWeave Solar Screen shade will be lowerd to protect the furniture and eliminate glare.

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RTS™ Roman Motor Brochure RTS™ Roman Motor Brochure 400 Series Roman Motor 400 Series Roman Motor Somfy® myLink™ Instructions Somfy® myLink™ Instructions
Somfy® myLink™ Spec Somfy® myLink™ Spec Somfy® myLink™ Brochure Somfy® myLink™ Brochure Sonesse™ 50 Ultra Spec Sonesse™ 50 Ultra Spec
Sonesseâ„¢ 50 Ultra Brochure Sonesseâ„¢ 50 Ultra Brochure        

Lutron Sivoia® QED/QS® Electric Shades


Lutron Sivoia QED, Sivoia QS and QS Wireless shades are installed on 1.25" to 3.75" tubes. For most residential application roller 20 ™ or roller 64 ™ are sufficient unless coupling is required. Coupling more than one shade to operate with a single electronic drive unit (EDU) create cost saving but allows for less control (coupled shades will go up and down as one unit). Roller 100 ™ is the most common for coupling 2 or 3 shades, however to couple 6 shades together use Roller 200CW (Curtain Wall). The new roller 150 ™ is similar to the roller 100 ™ but with greater lifting capability up to 150 SF.

Lutron provides a universal bracket one-piece design. Same bracket is used for left and right side of the tube. For roller 100 ™ and roller 200CW however there is a 2 piece bracket that allows leveling and more flexible installation.

In many residential applications clients may ask to blackout a room or to have a dual shade system one to filter out the light and the other to block the light. Lutron provide custom dual-mount bracket that allows the fabric to unroll closer to the glass and minimize the space required for installation. (Shades are installed one above the other). 2.5" side channels are available to facilitate blackout conditions.

Roller 20 ™ and Roller 64 ™ can be installed inside a 3.75" wide x 3.75" high metal fascia or a pocket in various colors. A Curved fascia is also available for the Roller 64tm system. Roller 100tm, Roller 150tm and Roller 200CW will require a 4.75" wide x 5" high pocket.

In addition to standard SheerWeave Phifer fabrics and Mermet fabrics, Lutron carries a selected gallery collection of Metallic Sculpted and Textured fabrics. For future information visit one of our showrooms to see samples and select colors.

Lutron Sivoia QED (Quiet Electronic Drive) and Sivoia QS are quiet low voltage  systems. Lutron electronic drive unit (EDU) operates at near-silent noise level only  38dBA at 3ft/1m away (44 dBA for Roller 20tm). Each EDU can be configured and reprogrammed at the point of control without any rewiring, without access to the EDU, and without the use of a group controller. Any group of shades will adjust itself to move in perfect alignment with the each other.

QED is an infrared based system while QS uses RF (Radio Frequency) signals. All types of roller systems mentioned above can be either QED controlled or QS controlled. A new version of QS that was rolled out in 2010 offers a wireless controlled QS system with a new wireless Pico™ control that can be used as a handheld remote, wall mount, or on a tabletop.

Transforming current to 24V AC is done via an individual transformer or a power panel. To eliminate the amount of wiring and in small applications a plug-in transformer (like an SV-50SF-PI or SV-100SF-PI) is used. As an alternative an SV-100SF-JBOX transformer can be used connecting it directly to a JBOX.

In bigger applications with multiple shades, a power panel solution is superior. All the shades are wired directly to a power panel with low voltage wiring. And only the power panel needs to be hardwired by an electrician.
Controlling multiple Sivoia QED and QS shades can be done in the following ways:

- An IR hand held remote or RF wireless Pico™
- SeeTouch Keypad (wall switch)
- HomeWorks and RadioRA 2  controls
- 3rd Party home automation system via RS232
- Contact closure interface.

SV-IR-WH Infrared Receiver (Infrared eye) is connected to an EDU to enable controlling the shade via an Infrared remote control such as the SVIT-WH or SVIT-SH-WH. To enable QS Wireless to work with Pico® wireless control an RF receiver is connected to a QS EDU instead.

SeeTouch keypads are wired directly to each EDU however wiring can be daisy-chained and do not need to require a home-run wiring. Keypads function typically to raise lower or control preset positions of a shade. They also act as group controls. Each keypad can operate virtually unlimited number of shades as one or up to 4 individual groups. Keypad design is available in a Designer (insert), Architectural (insert)
and Architectural (non-insert) styles. Lutron controls are also available with custom engraving options.

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