Smart Blinds Weekly Log

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Project page: Smart Blinds

Week 1

September 11
0.5hr Sam

  • Created a wiki page.

September 12
Sam and Toby

  • Met with TA Will
  • Learned the basis of wiki.
  • Studied the circuit and built the night light on the breadboard.
  • Discussed the material needed for the project.

September 14
2hr Toby

  • Created a proposal draft

2hr Sam and Toby

  • Met with TA Will
  • Finish soldering Night Light on perfboard
  • Discussed proposal
  • TA gave advise on the proposal

Smart Blinds 1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg

Week 2

September 18
2hr Sam

  • Created budget
  • Created Gantt Chart

September 19
0.5hr Toby

  • Finished the proposal before meeting with the instructor

2hr Sam

  • Finalized Gantt Chart and material list

0.5hr Toby and san

  • Meet with TA and instructor

September 21
2hr Toby

  • Finalized proposal based on instructor's advice
  • Created a presentation power point

Week 3

September 24
3hr Sam

  • Started to learn Onshape
  • Designed rough draft of night light case

September 26
1hr Sam

  • Updated Gantt Chart

1.5 hr Toby

  • Looked for user interface and AC/DC convertor online
  • Updated budget and presentation

September 28
2hr Sam

  • Learned additional Onshape techniques
  • Finished Night Light Case

NightLightBottom.JPG NightLightTop.JPG

Week 4

September 30
2hr Toby

  • Ordered material online
  • Reviewed programming for Arduino
  • Learned the code of Arduino to stepper motor

October 2
1.5hr Sam

  • Researched onshape design techniques for fitting parts
  • Exported Night Light case stl file

October 3
1hr Sam and Toby

  • Met with TA Will
  • Discussed the Arduino programming of photo-resistor and stepper motor control

October 5
2hr Sam and Toby

  • Built the circuit for stepper motor and photo-resistor
  • Wrote codes for Stepper motor and photo-resistor separately
  • Succeeded in turning on the stepper motor and reading inputs from the photo-resistor


  • The purchased photo-resistor did not provided desired inputs, so our team built a simple circuit containing a photo-resistor
  • Need to find the correct delta timing for photo resistor reading in Arduino coding
  • Need to figure out the codes for stepper motor in order to achieve desired effects

Week 5

October 7
1.5hr Toby

  • Wrote codes to gain the correct outputs of photo-resistor
    • The arduino will read 100000 inputs over a time interval of about 3 minutes and calculate the average of the total inputs

2hr Sam

  • Took measurements of blind components and stepper motor
  • Created a preliminary design of motor to blind connection

October 8
3hr Toby

  • Met TA Will
  • Found a more useful arduino library for the driver online
  • Figured out the functions of the codes
    • Able to turn on the stepper motor for a desired number of rotations
    • Able to stop and reverse the stepper after a certain number of rotations
  • Built a primitive interface between the stepper motor and the luminosity reader


  • Have yet tested the codes
  • Some loop logic errors may still exist

October 9
2.5hr Sam

  • Started 3d design of part to translate stepper motor rotation to blind movement
  • Updated Gantt Chart

October 10
2hr Sam

  • Finished 3d design of adapter


Week 6

October 16
2hr Toby

  • Add temperature function
  • Learn the basics of Arduino user interface display

October 19
2hr Sam & Toby

  • Edited Arduino code
  • Welded RBG display

RGB Welds.jpg

October 20
3hr Sam & Toby

  • Connected RGB display to Arduino
  • Changed screen display using buttons
  • Created circuit for all four components
  • Created a sensor circuit on a perf board



  • Get everything running from the same power and ground
  • Figure out why photo-resistor stopped working

Week 7

October 24
2hr Sam & Toby

  • Met with instructor
  • Debugged the circuit


  • Circuit still doesn't work

October 26
2hr Sam & Toby

  • Figured out why photo-resistor and the temperature sensor are not working properly
    • Arduino Uno board only has one ADC channel, which is multiplexed to read inputs. In our original design, the temperature inputs were read immediately after the photo-resistor, which caused interference between each other.

October 27
2.5hr Sam & Toby

  • Finished the interface between the user-interface and the motor
  • Obtained correct readings from the sensor
  • Finished the circuit diagram for the system

Untitled Sketch 2 bb.jpg


  • The stepper motor does not provide enough torque to turn the shaft inside the blinds to turn the slates
    • A new design is needed to be connected to the gear set on the blinds to turn the slates

Week 8

October 28
0.5hr Toby

  • Updated the budget and the objectives
    • Change two optional objectives to real objectives
    • Omitted materials we did not need or purchase in the budget

2hr Sam

  • Researched functions for RBG display
  • Edited existing code
  • Created new code to run motor and display simultaneously

October 31
2.5hr Sam & Toby

  • Met with instructor and TA Will
  • Discussed poster and final report
  • Tested different power supply to the device
    • Tried separate power supply to motor and the board
    • Tried single power supply to the board
    • Chose single power supply to the board

Potential problems: When then motor is moving, the lightness of the display will drop if we we power up display screen and motor at the same time.

November 2
3hr Sam

  • Created final version of circuit

Week 9

November 5
2.5hr Toby

  • Put all separate testing codes into one main program

Challenges: Have yet tested the codes, might need to debug

November 6
1hr Toby

  • Started on reimbursement process and final report
  • Updated the reference section in the project page

November 7
2hr Sam

  • Created final layout of system

November 10
2.5hr Sam & Toby

  • Soldered final circuit
  • Debugged code
  • Challenge: A potential loop logic might cause the stepper motor go slower

Week 10

November 12
1.5 hr Toby

  • Wrote a draft for the electronics and programming in the final report.

November 13
2hr Sam

  • Took measurements to mount all components onto board

November 16
2 hr Toby

  • Finished the draft on final report.
  • Redesigned some of the codes.

Week 11

November 24
2hr Toby

  • Finished the draft on the poster.

November 27
2hr Sam

  • Finalized poster and components

3hr Toby&Sam

  • Finished resembling the device and the blinds.

Challenge: Need to debug the codes again
November 28
3hr Toby&Sam

  • Fixed all the parts on the board.
  • Fixed the codes.

Challenges: Still need to work on the auto opening and closing. May need to do some calibration.
November 29
2hr Toby&Sam

  • Finalized project
  • Discussed presentation

1hr Sam

  • Printed poster

November 30
1.5hr Toby&Sam

  • Demo

Week 12

December 2
0.5hr Toby

  • Fixed the flashing problem on the display

December 3
1hr Toby&Sam

  • Dismantled the project
  • Worked on the reimbursement

Week 13

December 12
2hr Toby

  • Finalized report and repository