Product Review (February 2003)
Add-A-Motor Window Cover Drive System

Innovative products always seem to catch my eye. That's what happened when I saw the Add-A-Motor window covering drive system. This product is unique in that it allows customers to install a motorized drive to existing window covering hardware such as draperies or vertical blinds. However, the requirement for this system to work properly is the cord used to open and close the coverings must be in a loop so the installed unit can drive it directly. Once installed, the user can open and close the window coverings with a simple X-10 command by adding the X-10 appliance (AM486) module used for switching power to the drive unit. When power is cycled to the drive unit, the drive will run into the stop, each time alternating directions. We currently have an X-10 Active Home system, which uses a computer module in the wall with a fixed schedule programmed into it. This allows for full 24/7 automation of the window covers. Weekends can be programmed different than weekdays if desired. An IR remote control version is also available for users who prefer this type of control. The stop points on the motor drive are fully adjustable to custom fit your particular setup. The motor drive unit attaches slides onto a guide that mounts to the wall or frame. This allows for easy removal if needed.

The drive wheel is made of a rubber-like material and has a "V" grove. This combination results in a substantial amount of friction to ensure a good grip of the cord when properly installed. A cover with for the drive wheel with an automatic shut-off feature helps prevent possible injury to kids sticking their fingers near the unit. The design of the drive assembly deserves some special credit because of the clever way the limit switches work with the internal relays. The implementation is very simple, allowing for a momentary interruption of power to alternate the opening and closing of the window covers. The operational span is up to 13 feet one-way or up to 25 feet in a center-open system. The kit we received included the motor drive unit, mounting hardware, AC power adapter, and the X-10 appliance module. The system was fairly easy to install and worked well for us.

Fully automated window covering assemblies are available, but you'll pay a hefty price for them. The Add-A-Motor system offers an alternative by retrofitting existing draperies or vertical blinds. The result is an automated or semi-automated drape control system at a fraction of the cost of other setups.
- Kevin Nakano


Review - At a glance
Add-A-Motor Drapery Control

Features:

  • Automatically moves window covering to any opened or closed position.
  • Compact design: 2 x 3 x 4 inches.
  • Good build quality.
  • Includes UL/CSA AC-DC power supply.
  • Cord/chain loop is secured inside case with auto turn-off if cover is removed.
  • Low voltage DC motor.
  • Maximum run duration 45 seconds.
  • Patented stop circuitry.
  • Quick wall mount release.
  • Operate practically any window covering that has a loop-end cord or bead-chain
  • Compatible with a variety of X-10 controllers
  • Great for hard to reach window coverings

    Company Information
    Add-a-Motor, Inc.
    15821 E. Jericho
    Fountain Hills, AZ 85268

    Toll-free: 888-233-6686
    Tel: 480-836-8170
    Fax: 480-836-4208
    Email: addamotor@cox.net
    Website: www.add-a-motor.com

    Source: Manufacturer Supplied
    Warranty: One Year
    MSRP: $150, Street Price: $12
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