Sunday, April 3, 2011

First shade has arrived

My first roller shade arrived, along with accessories:

Pictured above:

  • Fascia and brackets
  • Shade
  • Internal hem bar (removed from shade)
  • Somfy Sonesse 30 (ST30) RS-485 motor (Somfy #1000658)
  • Power and RS-485 cables (included with motor)
  • End plug
  • Limit Setting Tool (Somfy #9014599)
  • Meanwell DRP-240-24 power supply
  • Power/Control Distribution Board (Somfy #1870193)
  • Smart Switches (Somfy #1810827 and #1810828)
Everything above was purchased from AV Outlet, except for the power supply, which I got off of Ebay.

I decided to just purchase one shade first, so I could make sure that this was really what I wanted.

The roller tube came with a bunch of metal shavings in it:

I cleaned this out, since I don't want any of this getting into the motor.

One thing missing here is the cable for the dry contact port on the motor, which is also used to connect the limit setting tool. It seems like this should have been included with the motor, so I fired off and email to AV Outlet. (Update: I just received the cable from AV Outlet. They were great about this.) In the meantime, I figured out a workaround. The RS-485 cable has a three conductor connector, which will fit in the four connector dry contact port:

The ground pin in the port is the same ground as the power port, so I plugged in the three pin connector such that it didn't cover the ground. I then used an alligator clip to jump the ground from the power supply output to the ground on the limit setting tool. Here's what my temporary wiring looks like:

Note there's a fuse (2 amps) in between the power supply positive terminal and the power lead for the motor. The power/control distribution panel has it's own fuses, which is what I will use in the final setup.

Next post will about mounting the shade.


  1. Happened upon this post while conducting an increasingly desperate search for a cable. I hope you can help.

    My Graber shades with Somfy motors were installed months ago, and I've been saving up to purchase the RTS interface and the Somfy connect components. I have those now and so would like to tackle installation. It appears that I need this USB/RS-485 adapter I need is shown on p. 6 of this PDF:

    Note the very small adapter that's pictured there. It fits the small port just above the power connector on the motor's housing shown on p. 1 of the same PDF.

    I emailed Worthington Group, the author of that PDF, to see if they have that cable/adapter in stock. No, they say, the $75 version is no longer available, but they'd be happy to sell me its replacement for $386. ಠ_ಠ

    Do you have any idea where I might find this adapter for a more reasonable price? I've searched high and low and am coming up short.


    1. My motors came with that connector, but not a USB-RS485 adapter. I think the connector is some type of JST connector. You can probably acquire them cheaply at DigiKey or Mouser, but unfortunately, I don't know exactly what to look for.

      If your motor did include the connector pigtail, as mine did (see the photos in this blog post), then you should be able to attach just about any USB-RS485 adapter to it.

      You can see how I did it in this other blog post:

      I also have this adapter, which is probably worth the extra ten bucks, because it comes with the USB cable and screw terminals, and you don't have to solder anything:

      USB to RS485/RS422 Converter FTDI CHIP with Terminals 5 ft. Windows 10 Supported

      I have not tested that one with the Somfy motors, but it works better than the Sparkfun adapter for one of my other projects.


  2. Hello, thank you again for your work! I see you are using the power / control distribution board. This product is very expensive, do you think it is necessary? I would like to use a single 12v power supply and a simple RJ45 HUB. Do you think this is possible? Cordially.

    1. You don't need the distribution board. It's basically just a fuse holder, with the additional function of injecting power into the RJ45 connector (used to power the smart switches). There are no logic chips at all on it. It should be pretty easy to rig up an alternative.

  3. Hi Mark ! Can you send a pictures of the back of distrubition panel ? I want to emulate it with a cheaper solution. Thank you !

    1. I couldn't find any photos of the back in my library, so I'd have to take apart everything to get at it, and I don't think it's worth it. It's a very *very* simple circuit. The 24V power supply simply powers the motor connectors through the fuses. The 12V power supply (barrel connector) goes to the RJ45 ports (whichever pins Somfy assigned to power). The RS-485 A/B pins from the RJ45 connectors are wired in parallel to all of the motor connectors. And, of course, all the grounds are tied together.

    2. And when I say "not worth it", I'm referring to getting a photo. I just don't think there's much to glean from such a photo, because the board doesn't do much. It's certainly worth it to figure out an alternative to this board!

    3. No problem, I understand. I just can't understand what is going on with the ground pin of the rs485 connector. This panel does not have an ground pin but version 2.0 of this panel has one. Can you help me ?

    4. I'll certainly try to help. I'm not familiar with the 2.0 version of this panel, but are you talking about the 4-pin connectors on the the board that I have? For those, the pins are +24V, 0V, A, B. The OV pin is being used both to power the motor and as the reference or ground for A/B. It's possible to have an RS-485 device where the power ground is isolated from the RS-485 ground, in which case an extra pin would be needed, but that's not the case for these motors.

      *Using the term "ground" here is probably a bit of a misnomer, since it's not earth ground.


    5. Yes I'm talking about the 4 pin connectors on the panel. on the version 2.0, the connectors are 5 pin and the motors cables too .. so you mean that it would be enough to put a jumper on the pin 0V and gnd, then connect the 0V to the power supply? In your connection, what did you do with the cable gnd? Cordially.

    6. So I just had a look at my setup to refresh my memory, and I'm actually only using the 24V and 0V pins of the 4-pin connectors. The RS-485 pins of those connectors are not connected. Instead, I have the RJ45 port connected to a punch-down block, which then branches out to each motor over CAT5E.

      On the motor, there are two JST connectors: a 2-pin connector for power and a 3-pin connector for RS-485. So I am keeping the RS-485 ground separate from the power ground between the circuit board and the motor. However, these two grounds are definitely connected together on the circuit board. I'm not sure if that's the case at the motor, too, but I suspect it.