Somfy Motorized Roller Shades Overview Technical Information
When considering a motor one must consider things like Budget, Size of Shades, How they are to be powered, Will they fit in the space I have?, How they are to be controlled. A quick over of the motors is provided in this section touching on cost, size, lifting capacity.
Somfy R28 12VDC Motors for Roller Shades
Attributes: Small Size, Least Cost, Battery or Low Voltage 12VDC Wired Power, Wireless RTS RF Control
The Somfy R28 motors are tubular motors that fit inside the tube with only a small portion of the motor outside the tube. The biggest benefit of the R28 motor is its ability to be powered by a 12VDC Battery pack or by a power supply. The external battery pack can typically be easily concealed behind the roller tube and the batteries typically last 1 to 2 years (depending on shade size and frequency of use). These motors are perfect for post construction applications where power has not previously been provided. The Somfy R28 motors carry a 5 year warranty and they will provide years of trouble free operation. The R28 series motors are the smallest of the the Somfy motors for roller shades but pack more than enough power to lift quite large shades. The R28 motors can lift 8lbs on a 1.5 Rollease Tube and can be used on shades up to 96" W x 96" H depending on the weight of the material and some sizes extending down to 144" H. The Somfy R28 series of motors install in the tubes easily without hardware and the shades mount with common Rollease hardware so installation is fairly simple. Our R28 motorized shades are built with 1.5" tubes but we can also use these motors with 1.25" tubes.
The average battery life of 1 to 2 years is quite common. We have some customers indicate they have gotten as low as 9 months and some as long as 5 years. Battery life is directly related to the use of the shade and its size. The life of the batteries have been pretty repeatable for similarly sized shades with similar usage in the same residence. Very tall shades have long run times and will diminish the batteries faster than a wider shade that is short. If you have a 48" W x 96" wide shade the batteries will not last as long as a shade that is 96" W x 48"H.
Upsides to the R28 Motor
The motor is small and very strong for its size and battery use. Don't want to use batteries? Well, you don't have to. The motors can be wired to remote or local DC power supplies. The motor features a reset/programming button and well as a disconnectable power lead on the motor head. We like low voltage power wiring because it is less expensive and easier to run than 120VAC line voltage.
Downsides to the R28 Motor
It is a little bit limited in its size range of shades. We can't go past a 96" wide shade due to motor not being compatible with 2" tubes. If you buy many shades as battery powered the cost can get expensive to maintain. Because this motor runs on the basis of low power consumption the speed of the motor has more variance with shade size than larger motors.
R28 RTS - Images and Downloads
– Somfy R28 RTS Shade Motor
– Rollease R Series mounting bracket
– Somfy R28 12VDC RTS Shade Motor Programming Instructions
Sonesse 30 ST30 Motors for Roller Shades
Attributes: Quiet, Small Size, Moderate Cost, Covers Wide Range of Shade Sizes, Low Voltage Wired Power, Wired Dry Contact or RS485 Control or Wireless RTS RF Control
The Somfy Sonesse 30 ST30 motors we use are tubular motors that fit inside the tube with only a small portion of the motor outside the tube. The biggest benefit of the ST30 motor is its quiet operation and its ability to lift large shades. The small sized Sonesse 30 can lift 17.5lbs on a 1.5 shade tube. The Sonesse 30 motors are powered by an external 24VDC power supply. The Somfy Sonesse 30 ST30 motorized roller shades are available as RTS RF Controlled Motors, DCT Dry Contact Controlled Motors or RS485 Controlled Motors. The ST30 motors carry a 5 year warranty and they will provide years of trouble free operation. We commonly use these motors on shades up to 120" W x 144" H depending on the weight of the material. The ST30 series of motors install in the tubes easily without hardware and the shades mount with common Rollease hardware so installation is fairly simple. Our Std ST30 motorized shades are built with 1.5" and 2" tubes depending on the width of the shade. The user can power these motors with their own 24VDC power supply or we can provide power supplies for individual or multiple shade installations.
We only offer the Sonesse 30 RTS motor with our shades on the website but we can provide any of the Sonesse 30 motors including the DCT (Dry Contact) and RS485 motors.
Upsides to the ST30 Motor
The motor is small, strong and quiet. The motor features reset/programming button and well as a disconnectable power lead on the motor head. We like low voltage power wiring because it is less expensive and easier to run than 120VAC line voltage.
Downsides to the ST30 Motor
We can't go past 120" wide shade due to motor not being compatible with 2.5" tubes.
Sonesse 30 RTS - Images and Downloads
– Somfy Sonesse ST30 RTS Shade Motor
– Rollease R Series mounting bracket
– Somfy Sonesse ST30 24VDC RTS Shade Motor Programming Instructions
Sonesse 30 DCT - Images and Downloads
– Somfy Sonesse ST30 DCT Shade Motor
– Rollease R Series mounting bracket
– Somfy Sonesse ST30 24VDC DCT Shade Motor Programming Instructions
Sonesse 30 RS485 - Images and Downloads
– Somfy Sonesse ST30 RS485 Shade Motor
– Rollease R Series mounting bracket
– Somfy Sonesse ST30 RS485 Motor Brochure
– Somfy Sonesse ST30 RS485 Shade Motor Programming Instructions
– Somfy Digital Network (SDN) Brochure
– Somfy Digital Network (SDN) Instructions
Sonesse 40 ST40 Motors for Roller Shades
Attributes: Quiet, Mid Size, Moderate Cost, Shade Sizes up to 120" Width, 120VAC Motor, Wireless RTS RF Control, RS485 and Wired Motors available upon Request.
The Somfy Sonesse 40 ST40 motors we use are tubular motors that fit inside the tube. The Somfy Sonesse ST40 is the middle weight in the Somfy line of Sonesse motors. The Sonesse 50 motors are powered by standard 120VAC house line voltage and can be plugged into an outlet or hard wired. The ST40 motors carry a 5 year warranty and they will provide years of trouble free operation. The ST40 motor has been engineered with superior noise reduction technology. The although a middle weight, we do consider this motor to be a heavy duty motor with its 4Nm torque and 27lb lifting capacity. Sonesse 40 motor is used in internally profiled 2" tubes diameter for shade widths from 22.75" to 121.25" and does not have any practical limits within these sizes respect to it use with roller shades. Similar to the R28, ST30 motors and unlike the ST50 motor, the ST40 uses normal size Rollease R-Series mounting brackets so you do not sacrifice power for a larger light gap on the sides of the shades. We only offer the Sonesse 40 RTS version of this motor with our shades on the website but we can provide the wired or Rs485 version of the motor with the shades.
Upsides to the ST40 Motor
The motor is moderate in size, strong and quiet but a little overkill for many installations.
Downsides to the ST40
We can't go past 120" wide shade due to motor not being compatible with 2.5" tubes. The reset procedure and removing power from the motor can be tough to deal with since it does not have a power disconnect or reset button on the motor.
Sonesse 40 RTS RF Wireless Controlled Motor - Images and Downloads
– Somfy Sonesse ST40 RTS Shade Motor
– Rollease R Series mounting bracket
– Somfy Sonesse ST40 120VAC RTS Shade Motor Programming Instructions
Sonesse 50 ST50 Motors for Roller Shades
Attributes: Quiet, Large Size, Moderate Cost, Covers Wide Range of Shade Sizes, 120VAC Motor, Wireless RTS RF Control, RS485 and Wired Motors available upon Request.
The Somfy Sonesse 50 ST50 motors we use are tubular motors that fit inside the tube. The motors are in the largest line-up of motors offered by Somfy which also includes the LT50 series of motors. The biggest benefit of the Sonesse 50 motor is its quieter operation than the LT50 motors and its ability to lift very large shades. The larger sized Sonesse 50 motor can lift 35lbs on a 2" shade tube. The Sonesse 50 motors are powered by standard 120VAC house line voltage and can be plugged into an outlet or hard wired. The ST50 motors carry a 5 year warranty and they will provide years of trouble free operation. The Somfy Sonesse 50 ST50 motorized roller shades are available as wired rocker switch controlled motors or wireless RTS RF controlled motors. We commonly use these motors on shades up to 144' w x 144" h. The ST50 series of motors install in 2" tubes but require a screw to be installed through the tube and into the motor drive. As an upgrade, the motors are offered with 2.5" tubes on smaller sized shade and are used by default on the larger widths. The use of the 2.5" tube allows for easy installation into the tube without hardware. The Somfy Sonesse 50 ST50, as you might expect, uses heavier duty components and brackets which take up more mounting space so this must be considered prior to purchase. Installation is still quite simple but it is a much heavier job.
We only offer the Sonesse 50 RTS version of this motor with our shades on the website but we can provide the wired version of the motor with the shades.
Upsides to the ST50 Motor
The motor is big, strong and quiet but a little overkill for many installations.
Downsides to the ST50
The motor is big and the smallest shade we can make with this motor is 38" W Tip to Tip. The brackets and hardware for this motor are large, requiring more space for installation. This motorized shade assembly has larger side gaps than the smaller LT30, ST30 and ST40 motors. The reset procedure and removing power from the motor can be tough to deal with since it does not have a power disconnect or reset button on the motor.
Sonesse 50 RTS RF Wireless Controlled Motor - Images and Downloads
– Somfy Sonesse ST50 RTS Shade Motor
– Somfy ST50 Star Head Motor Bracket
– Somfy 10mm Idler Bracket
– Somfy Sonesse ST50 RTS 120VAC Shade Motor Programming Instructions
Our preference for motors is the R28 motor where shades do not exceed 96" width. This motor is a little noisier than the ST30, ST40 and ST50 but with relatively short run times we do not feel like the increased cost of other motors is warranted. Where shades up to 120" width are required we like the ST30 motor over the ST40 and ST50 motor because of the compact size and ease of use. If you require an AC motor the ST40 is the choice for shades up to 120" Wide. This motors uses brackets silimar to the R28 and ST30 motor options. The light gaps will be bigger than the LT30 and ST30 Motors but less than the ST50. If you truly have very large shades and you can hide some of the ugliness of the hardware you simply can not beat the ST50 motor.
Noisy is one of those relative terms that not everyone hears the same way. The LT30 motor at 75dBa is noisier than the 44dBa noise level of the Sonesse 30 and Sonesse 50 motors. Do we consider the LT30 motor noisy? No, but some will. The best way to answer this question is with a simple demonstration.
RTS RF Controlled Motorized Shades (Applies to ALL RTS Motors - R28, LT30, ST30, ST40, ST50 Etc.)
Wireless Control of shades. You only need to have power at the shades and control of the shades is achieved wirelessly. The Somfy motors with built-in RTS RF (Radio Frequency Controlled) can be operated in groups or individually. Unlike IR motorized control the RTS motorized shades do not require line of sight control. This means you can control your shade in the living room from the bedroom in an automated fashion or with a hand held remote completely wirelessly. The RTS Radio frequency technology provides the user virtually limitless grouping capabilities all wirelessly. Each RTS remote control possesses a unique ID code so you can have multiple remote that look identical but can be used for different aspects of shade control. With the hand held RTS remote control the user can command the shade to move to its Full Up, Full down or customer preferred position with a momentary button press.
Each RTS motor can memorize up to 12 RTS channels of remote control. More than one remote can control the same shade allowing for more versatile set-ups. This allows the end user more flexibility in control. One remote can be lying around for casual room use and you can have one remote to command all shades at once, you can have a wireless wall mounted control, a programmable 7 day timer or a home automation all controlling the same shades without confusion in control.
Quick Run Down of the more Popular Somfy RTS Controls
Networked RS485 Wired Motorized Shades
Wired control of shades. You will need to have power wiring and 3 wires for RS485 communication which is normally done of CAT communication cable. This is the bullet proof system used typically for very large installations or where more control of the motor is required. The RS485 motors are part of Somfy's Digital Network capable motors and is capable of controlling thousands of motors on a single RS-485 network. Each segment of the SDN system architecture supports 256 unique devices. You can use some of Somfy's programmable Smart Switches to control these motors our use you own automation system providing control over RS485. System scalability is one of the major benefits of the SDN system design approach. With the SDN, network design remains a constant and allows system designs incorporating 50 motors to follow the same wiring architecture as a system with 1000 motors.
The SDN system is a standard half duplex, bi-directional RS-485 network. Bi-directional communications makes it possible to receive feedback from each motor on the network. This allows the system to view the position and status of any motor on the network, in real time. Since the SDN network runs over standard network architecture, it is possible to establish a remote connection to the system from anywhere internet access is available. This defines a new level of commissioning and support services that can be offered for today's energy efficient Intelligent Building. Motor positioning is accomplished by sending standard commands over the RS-485 network from Somfy Smart Switches or third party building automation systems. Sixteen programmable percentage based preset positions are available to manage the position of each motor. Encoder based positions of the motor allow the precise alignment of the end product. Programming of the intelligent motors is done through Motor Configuration Software.
Dry Contact Wired Motorized Shades (Applies Only to the Sonesse 30 DCT Motor)
Wired control of shades. You will need to have 2 wires for power wiring and 4 wires for dry contact wiring. The dry contact wires do not require any power. All you need to do to control this motor is to short the control wires to tell the motor to move. Naturally shorting of the wires would be done with a switch or relay. We do not currently offer this motor for direct purchase on our website but we can build shades with the Somfy Sonesse 30 DCT motor. The DCT version of the Sonesse 30 is a dry contact wired control motor. Perfect for those installations where automation systems are in place that utilize relays for external equipment control. Additionally, the ST30 DCT motor can be controlled via IR control when wired to an IR controlled relay interface like our AVUA-IRRTS. One of the benefits of this motor is the flexibility. You can wire several switches to one motor for control from different locations. If you need to have a switch concealed somewhere for control you can simply use a tiny momentary push button switch. The Somfy ST30 DCT motor stores the limits set by the limit setting tool and memory is not lost when power is disconnected. With the momentary press of a button you can command the shade to go to the Full up, Full Down and a customer specified preferred Position. No need to hold the button down and wait for the shade to reach the desired position. The Sonesse 30 series shade motors also have adjustable rotation speed so you can closely match the speeds of other shades in the same room.
Standard Wired Motorized Shades (Applies Only to the Sonesse 40/50 Std. Motor)
Wired control of shades. The old school way to wire and control shade motors. This is a 4 wire motor that contains a ground wire a common wire and 2 switched wires for directional control. The Standard Version of the Somfy ST40/ST50 Motor is controlled via wired wall switch. Modules and interfaces are available to convert a standard wired motor to be optionally control via RTS, IR or RS232 with add-on modules. We only recommend using this motor if you want to use a wired switch. The addons interfaces for conversion of the motor make it a more expensive option than buying an RTS motor. This is a simple, easy to use and easy to install solution for your shade motorization needs. The upper and lower limits are programmed for the shade stopping position by the use of two simple push buttons on the motor head. The shade can be commanded to move to the set limits with the use of a maintained single pole double throw wired wall switch.
When considering a motorized shade solution one must consider the options available to them both with the motors and the installation. Here we will discuss the options for several motors in retrofit and new construction environments and the differences between low voltage and line level wiring requirements. First and foremost we must recommend consulting with and electrician or getting familiar with electrical wiring codes.
Low Voltage wiring is the designation provided for low power devices and can be use for an array of voltages both AC and DC. Here we will consider the needs for 12VDC and 24VDC since those are the two DC voltages. Low voltage device wiring electrical code is far more lax than that of 120VAC line voltage and the options for running the low voltage wiring are more flexible and the wire itself is far cheaper. The typical wire AWG we recommend for use with low voltage power wiring is 18AWG and this is because of the inherent resistance associated with wiring. If too small a AWG is used over a long distance there may be enough resistance in the wiring to cause a voltage drop across the wire resulting in less voltage to the motor. The effects of the lower voltage on the motor performance are generally small but the lower the voltage the more current the device will need to maintain performance. If the voltage drops too far the the motor may not function properly. Anyhow, it is a small caution. The use of 18 AWG wire is good for wire runs of up to 100 feet without a concern and 24awg wiring can be used for up to 20 feet. Low voltage power wires only require 2 conductor and there is no requirement for shielding or a ground wire. There is significant savings over 120VAC line voltage that typically has a requirement of 14AWG or 12AWG 2 conductor wire plus ground. Low voltage wiring does not require a junction box like line voltage does so when a low voltage wire exits a wall it can do so with less ugliness through a small hole.
Line voltage wiring is typically 120VAC 2 conductor plus ground wire cabling. Most residential circuits are either 15 or 20 amp so they will require 14AWG and 12AWG wiring respectively. The typical installation of line voltage wiring will require a junction box where wire exit the walls which is the biggest downside to line voltage wiring. This requirement typically results in a visible big ugly outlet next to the shade motor. Some have the ability to hide the outlets but for most it is a challenge. We have been told that there are some instances where a line voltage wire is allowed to exit a wall through a hole in the wall without a junction box (check with your electrician) but the wire is still larger and not flexible so one must consider this as well.
In either case, line or low voltage, all wiring installed within a wall must be rated for in wall use and consult your electrician about wiring codes.
Retrofit Installations: Hey, batteries are great for many customers in retrofit installation and Somfy even has Solar Rechargeable batteries to mitigate some of the expense of maintaining batteries for the 12VDC R28 motors but in many cases low voltage wiring can be retrofitted to an installation easier and with less cost than many think. Often the cost of retrofitting wiring is paid off before you replace the batteries a couple times and this is one thing that many do not consider when they decide to go with batteries. If you only have a couple shades the battery cost isn't all that much but when you have 12 shades battery operated you may second guess that decision after buying batteries a couple times. Line voltage wiring can also be retrofit but the challenges are bigger than with low voltage. The direction on which way to go typically revolves around the construction of the house. Houses built with crawl spaces, basements and attics are pretty simple to retrofit with low voltage or line level wiring. Those of you on slabs and with vaulted ceilings do face some significant challenges and we discuss some options below for the tougher installations.
Low Voltage Retrofit Options
The first thing to remember is the wires are small which provides many benefits. Low voltage wires can be run behind baseboards, window trim and under carpet all of which can be accomplished with little damage to the house. If providing power locally to a motor from an outlet below the window, one option is to put a small hole above the outlet, fishing wire up the stud space and then pulling the wire out of a small hole near the motor and pass the wire over to the motor. Low voltage wiring technically does not even have to go behind sheetrock or through studs. Another option is to cut some groves into the sheetrock using a utility knife gluing the wire in place an then mudding over the groove. If we are going through that hassle though might as well cut all the way through the sheetrock and stuff the wire into the wall space. There is also the option of flat wires that adhere to the walls which can be easily applied and then painted over.
Line Voltage Retrofit Options
The options here are limited. The least expensive way to retrofit line voltage wiring is typically to cut the sheetrock and install wiring running down to an outlet below. If tapping into a nearby outlet is not an option cutting of sheetrock and drilling through studs will be required. An experienced electrician can usually accomplish these tasks with less destruction than you might think. Again, always consult an electrician for line voltage wiring.
New Construction Installations: Well, really not much to say here about running the wires. The options really are unlimited for both Low Voltage and Line Voltage installations.
Local and Remotely Powering DC Motors
Local powering of motors is really on related to low voltage motors like the R28 and ST30. Local powering refers to where the power supply is placed. In a locally powered installation a small DC wall plug adapter/power supply is installed near the motors and plugged into an outlet. We have small dc power supplies that can power up to 3 shades from a single source for the R28 and up to 2 shades for the ST30 motors. Installation is fairly simple and the power connectors can typically be wired directly to the DC Adapters so there is little mess and work in connecting the shade motors.
Remote powering again is more specific to low voltage wiring and refers to placing a power supply in a remote location like a closet, attic, basement or equipment rack. Typical, remote powering would consist of running a wire from each motor location back to the planned power supply location. These individual wires running to each motor are considered branch wires. You do not have to run a wire from each motor back to the remote power supply though. Trunk wire(s) that carry power for multiple shades can be run out to more convenient locations that then branch out to multiple motors.
Remote Distribution of Power
The R28 and ST30 low voltage motors have power connections that can be removed from the motor head easily but the ST40 and ST50 line voltage motors do not have the ability to easily remove power at the motor head. If you are using outlets instead of hard wiring for the ST40 and ST50 motors you will have the ability to remove power from the motors. So why should I care about this? There will be instances where you will need to remove power from shades individually and a convenient disconnect is nice to have that is specific to the motor. Keep in mind that the reset procedure for a the ST40 and ST50 motors is via toggling the power on and off to the motor. These two motors unlike the R28 and ST30 motors do not have a reset button on the motor. Our preference is to use a labelled distribution terminal blocks that provide the ability to individually remove power from each shade. This way you don't have to get on a ladder to remove power or have to mess with wire nuts to disconnect power. A typically distribution panel for power would consist of some thing like our DIN Rail Power Product Offering.
Where should the power wire be placed?
The power wires should exit near the motor location and the options depend on the space you have for the installation of the shade, brackets and power. The biggest thing you need to remember is that you can't have the power exit where the brackets and motor head are going to be. The power wires will need to exit either in front, behind, below or to the side of the motor. In instances where the power wires must exit from the side and you will need to understand the size of the motor and brackets being installed to ensure there are no complications. If you are able to run the power down the above the shade motor it is best to put the power location a minimum 6" space from the motor head to allow the wire connections enough length to bend. If you are running wires to line voltage keep in mind that power cords aren't all that flexible and you may want a little more distance.
How much power is needed?
The R28 motors require 12VDC 0.8A per motor nominally.
The ST30 motors require 24VDC 0.75 per motor nominally.
The ST40 & ST50 motors require 120VAC 1A per motor nominally.
Somfy does recommend spacing RTS motor heads a minimum of 19" apart to avoid RF interference between motors. The motors do not have a drive side preference and can be placed at either end of the tuber. Motors should be mounted on the side where power is accessible.