I was asked by my friend and the Creating Smart Home mastermind Toni if I could test a Switchbot Curtain, a retrofit device for opening and closing your curtains. So this is written from a purely home-automation amateur’s perspective. (Editors note: If it didn’t hit you yet, this is the first ever guest article in the blog 🙂 )
First, I have not used any home automation devices or gadgets before, apart from a few smart lightbulbs in my house. So I am an absolute rookie in the home automation scene. Additionally, I am a Designer, not a developer, so I don’t have the technical understanding and/or nerd-like interest in home automation. I’m looking for out-of-the-box solutions that work right out of the bat without needing complicated configurations or installations.
I have a separate movie room next to my living room at my house, where I have a large screen and a projector that requires a dark room for the best image quality. I have windowed double doors to my living room and, on the other side of the room, large windows and a door to our yard – So curtains are a must. When we moved in, I installed new curtain rails and bought thick darkening curtains to achieve that pitch-black room.
Every now and then, I think it would be cool to have some automated systems in my movie room. I’ve been thinking of a solution where I could press one button or switch, and my projector would turn on, the white screen would start to lower, and like in this case – the curtains would close. That’s where Switchbot Curtain comes in.
Fitting the Switchbot to my curtains
I had a slight hiccup in the installation process. I have U-rail curtains, so I got the U-rail Switchbot, but my curtain rails are super slim. Even though in the Switchbot package, you have many different fitting pieces for your curtain rails, they were all too wide for my rails. This being said, most people will find the right part of the package, but I was one of the unfortunate ones who didn’t. Switchbot does offer some type of service for you; if the Switchbot Curtain does not fit in your rails, where you can contact their support directly, and they will find a solution for you, but this time, I didn’t try that, but rather we thought we could 3D print a part that fits ourselves.
As we printed the parts I needed, we had to change the design to ensure it would still be durable enough to be installed on the device. So rather than making wheels like you would have in the original part, we decided to go with this sort of a “brick” design that wouldn’t have any moving parts.
Installing the Switchbot Curtain
After the hassle of playing around with the 3D-printed parts, the installation was super easy. And honestly, I’m 100% sure that in most cases, the installation process, from unpacking to the finished outcome, would take 5 minutes or something – So it’s effortless.
All you do is install the Switchbot app, plug your Switchbot Hub into a socket (needed to communicate with the actual device), and add a new Switchbot Hub from the app.
After the Hub is set up, you add your new Switchbot Curtain from the app and calibrate it. The calibration part is also hassle-free, and you tell the bot when the curtain is fully opened and then move the bot to the fully closed position – Done and done.
Using the Switchbot Curtain
I don’t use Home Assistant or anything like that (at least for now), so I could use the Switchbot Curtain from my phone or, as I chose, through a Switchbot remote. Switchbot remote is a switch you can install on your wall or hide between your sofa cushions as you do with your tv remote. I installed the switch next to my light switches in the room, so I could turn off the lights and then press one button from the control above them to open and close the curtains. Neat!
To set up the remote, add it to your Switchbot app and choose what device or scenes you want it to control. If I have one critique for the remote, it would be that you can’t set one button to control multiple devices – I have two Switchbot Curtains. I want to use one button from the remote to close both of my curtains and one to open them, but in the app, you can just set up one device for one button without creating scenes that complicate the setup. It would be easier if I could select all the devices I want to operate from the same button (There might be a reason why it doesn’t work like that, but hey, I’m not an expert!)
I recommend the Switchbot Curtain to everyone, especially the rookies like me who don’t want to configure and set up complex devices or solutions. The installation was easy (and would’ve been much easier if not for my stupid-ass curtain railings), and the setup with the app was very straightforward. All in all, it’s an amusing little robot behind your curtains doing what you expect it to do. The bot is not very silent, at least with my heavy curtains, but if you have lighter curtains that don’t require a lot of effort from the bot, you can put it in silent mode. (I haven’t tested the silent mode, so I don’t know how silent it will be.)
I also recommend checking out other Switchbot products. Switchbot is unfamiliar as a company to me. Still, I saw from the app that they have many different devices for different use cases, from smart curtains to cameras and air conditioners.
The writer is a designer passionate about beautiful things that work straight out of the box without the hassle of complicated installation. I expect things to work without having to figure out every detail of the product or service I use, but rather that everything is solved for me. I don’t want to think – I want to put my feet up and enjoy.
Need a SwitchBot device? You can get 10% off with the creatingsmarthome.com code 10UPF4RLGELVDV directly from the SwitchBot store.