Curtains can really make a room look good, but part of the reason for that is because they can be opened up as well as left closed. Not being able to open a curtain means that no light can be let in and whatever scene lies just outside is never going to be seen. For older folks — seniors and the elderly — there’s nothing good about not being able to let in sunlight during the day. But continuing with the elderly, many times infirmities limit their ability to open that curtain. Not to mention the fact that having to have someone else open or close a curtain takes away the personal power of the person by denying them that simple act. Which can only bring on a morose attitude and unhappy thoughts. So how do you bring back the ability to control the curtain when there are physical issues confronting you? By installing the SwitchBot Curtain, is how.
The SwitchBot attaches to a curtain and automates opening or closing it. The actual installation is pretty simple and is heavily explained through the iOS/Android app that is used to make it behave. But first an important note: no WiFi network is needed because the SwitchBot uses Bluetooth exclusively. As will be seen, this not only makes the power source more efficient, but also eliminates having to have a wireless home network.
So we’ve checked the type of curtain rod that’s being used and have gotten the right version of the SwitchBot. USB-C has charged the internal battery for months of use, and so now the clamp mechanism is enacted to place it over the rod (obviously on the side of the curtain you can’t see). Someone — in this case our nephew since a tall ladder was needed and he’s young enough not to be concerned — finishes this up and consults the examples on the app to make sure all is correct. It is, so he comes down but then goes back up to install the solar panel (we’ll get to that accessory near the end). Now finished he goes through the process on the app to test and set the curtain so that it will open and close on command. We thank him, wipe off the pretzel crumbs and grab our phone back to make some final adjustments as he heads off.
Through the app we can see there’s a lot more possible than just opening and closing the curtains — and yes if that curtain hadn’t been some 12 feet up we would have done it ourselves (probably). We try out the quieter setting but the motor is really slow and it’s not all that more quiet — we’ll leave it at the faster setting because putting up with less than a minute is no big deal and the curtain is in the living room anyway. We like the option where we can pull the curtain a bit and then the motor will take over and finish the job — the phone gets used too much anyway. Scheduling it for a time and day or telling it to wait a minute or more before activating the motor has its place, but letting the light sensor on the SwitchBot decide when there’s too much light and then closing on its own seems a much better spending of time.
Now there are a few accessories that add/enhance the SwitchBot. The most understandable, and perhaps most useful, is the SwitchBot remote. After coordination with the app, the remote will now activate the motor so as to either open or close, using two buttons. Simple and effective and removes the need for the smartphone to be on hand. A button battery will power it for a year or more no doubt. Like the remote, the other really useful accessory is the SwitchBot Solar Panel. It snaps onto the back of the SwitchBot (not blocking the light sensor) and can provide it with ongoing power — provided there is enough sunlight for it to absorb (bright sun is of course great, but even a general amount of ambient light will be absorbed over time and it‘s possible to position the panel off the ‘Bot and onto the curtain). There is also the SwitchBot Thermometer and Hydrometer, which provides information on its surface, but requires the Hub Mini accessory To show off elsewhere. When the Hub is added, then WiFi becomes available for remote use, along with voice commands through virtual assistants like Alexa and infrared control added to WiFi control over devices.
A single SwitchBot Curtain is the basic package (rod or u-rail), comes in black or white and does all that is needed for mastering a pesky curtain, but you can add another for controlling two curtains separately or one long one. It requires a smartphone with Bluetooth and the free iOS/Android app. For more details, go to www.switch-bot.com