My room has a window with motorized shades, which can be brought up or down using a switch that's in the same enclosure as the light switches in the room.

I want to set it up so I could program the shades to be open now, but close automatically at 5:00 AM.

How can I do that? What do I have to buy and connect?


There are numerous timer switches that replace a conventional switch in a wall box. For example, this is a seven day timer from Honeywell

timer switch

The wiring for simple timers is pretty straightforward. Usually you simply replace the existing switch and wire the new switch the same way. Often you need to add a neutral wire to the switch, and most recently wired switch boxes have a neutral available, even if it is not currently attached to the old switch.

There are also more advanced home automation systems that combine switches with hand-held controls that can both turn things on and off, or program them to come on based on time, temperature or a number of other criteria.

If you are unfamiliar with electrical wiring, even a simple switch replacement can be daunting (or even dangerous). If you are not comfortable with this or if you want a more complex home automation system, you may want to consult with a pro, or find a friend or neighbor with some experience.

SUPPLEMENT Based on the additional information provided, you could accomplish this using two timers. Wire the first one to work the up mechanism and the second to operate the down mechanism. Set the timers to turn on for 5 minutes (or slightly longer than what is needed to fully operate the mechanism), and then off. Just make sure that both are not set to go on at the same time. Clearly mark which is up and which is down.

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  • Hmm, the blinds switch has two possible circuits, up and down, no? How could one switch handle it?
    – Ram Rachum
    Jul 13 '14 at 16:59
  • Good point. How does the current one work? Is it a double throw switch, that you hold for up and it stops when you let go? Is down in the same direction or opposite on the switch?
    – bib
    Jul 13 '14 at 18:48
  • I don't know the electronics details, but it's a switch that has three positions. Roll up, do nothing, and roll down. You don't have to hold it, it stays on whichever position you set it to. If you set it to up it'll roll the blinds all the way up and stop. (The switch will just stay in the up position until touched again.)
    – Ram Rachum
    Jul 14 '14 at 18:34

As far as I understand, you have a switch (to close shades) that should be turned ON at 5.00 AM. Something similar to RTC Alarm.

From EE point of view, what you require is

  • RTC (real time clock) chip to get time information
  • relay(s) to control your switch
  • micro-controller to switch the relay based on time information from RTC
  • electronic components like: resistors, capacitors, crystal, battery, etc., for interfacing these components.

There are a lot of references available online which can help you to understand and do the interfacing of these components.

Read answers to these questions also:


Go to your nearest second hand store and purchase a programmable coffee maker. Take out the circuitry, box insulate it and program your blinds as if it were the coffee pot. You can also use a programmable house thermostat from Honeywell, add a relay to power your blinds. Then draw and study the schematics of whatever circuit you decide to choose and simplify as you go, while you understand the components use, capabilities and standards. Also, get a data sheet for each component of your circuit and study them. You will be amazed how simple those circuits are and operate. Your first step is to find out how much power (current) your blinds need and get the appropriate relay to handle twice that amount of current. Then figure out what is going to control your relay. Lastly, if you provide the electrical specifications of your blinds I can crunch the numbers for you and give you more detailed information. You can also figure it out yourself by knowing and understanding Ohms, Joules, and Watt's laws with the addition of series and parallel circuits. Above all, always keep safety first and do not sacrifice it for any amount of monetary savings, or expedience.


X-10 or similar remote AC controllers.

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