The ‘Wevolor’ (referred to hereafter as ‘Wevolor’, or ‘device’) is software running on an ESP32 development board. It bridges between your Amazon Echo home automation (referred to hereafter as ‘Echo’ or ‘Alexa’) and the Levolor Premium 6-Channel Remote Control (referred to hereafter as ‘remote’). If configured correctly the Wevolor can interpret commands from Alexa such as “Alexa, close the blinds”, or timed commands like ‘close the blinds at sunset’ and ‘open the blinds at 6am’. Those commands are then relayed to the remote to execute the action.
You should have at least one Amazon Echo, working and operational.
You should have a Levolor 6-channel remote which is paired with one or more blinds so you can successfully open and close the blind(s) using the remote.
Note: The Wevolor only works with Amazon Echo ('Alexa') home automation, and with the Levolor Premium 6-channel remote. No other configurations are supported or tested.
Power the device on by connecting a USB power supply to the device micro-USB connector.
Check the bright LED (blue or red) on the board is solid-on. Note: some devices have a dim constantly flashing LED too - this one can be ignored. The bright LED being on signifies the board is in ‘setup mode’. If this is your first time powering the Wevolor and the blight LED is not solid-on, you may need to reset the device using the reset button on the device itself, or by removing and reconnecting power.
A WiFi network ('access point') is 'served' by the Wevolor device to allow setup. On a phone or computer, connect to the 'BlindsBLE' WiFi network. Password is 'setupmode'. Note: It may takes a minute or so for the WiFi network to show up in the available networks list on your phone or computer, if it’s not there, wait a minute.
Once connected to the BlindsBLE WiFi. Type '192.168.4.1' into the browser. Note: on an Apple Mac or iPhone you can type 'BlindsBLE.local' and that works too.
A 'Configure your Wevolor' page should be presented.
Configure the 3 sections:
WiFi - enter the SSID (name) and Password of your home WiFi that Alexa is connected to. Both have a maximum length of 31 characters. The password is shown as you type it, but you are the only one who can see it. It's important you get the SSID and password correct, so double check.
Alexa - set the name Alexa will recognize. The default is 'Blinds'. Maximum length Wevolor allows is 31 characters.
Name - If you have only one remote you can leave this blank. If you have more than one you can specify which you want the Wevolor to connect to. The name should match exactly the name the remote was given in the Levolor phone App.
Group - Set what blind group or groups you want Alexa to open and close. These are the same as the 6 numbered buttons on the remote. Default is Group 1.
'Submit' the form with the green button. A red 'RESTART' button will appear. If you are happy with your settings, hit the RESTART button to apply your configuration.
Close the browser window or tab, as configuration is now complete. The bright LED should now be off, and there should no longer be a 'BlindsBLE' WiFi network available.
If you wish to check the status of the Wevolor at this stage, go to the ‘command’ web page – see ‘Other Useful Features’ below. State should read ‘REMOTE FOUND & READY’. If not try moving the remote closer to the Wevolor. See ‘Troubleshooting’ for other suggestions.
Simply ask "Alexa, discover devices". After a few minutes Alexa should come back with "one new device found". At this point you should be able to say "Alexa, turn on Blinds" (or whatever you set the 'Alexa Name') which should close the blinds or "Alexa, turn off Blinds".
Assuming you want something more logical than "turn on" or "turn off" you can use the Amazon Alexa app on your phone to make a routine for "Alexa, open the Blinds", "Alexa, close the Blinds", and set other routines to open the blinds at sunrise, or close them at 7pm etc.
That's it! Leave the Wevolor plugged in and physically close (10 feet or so) to the remote, and it should work well.
If there is an issue, see ‘Troubleshooting’ below.
If the bright LED is solid-on at any time the device has not been able to connect to the WiFi and has gone back to setup mode. It will cycle between retrying the WiFi and setup. If the bright LED is on you can repeat the ‘Steps to configuring’ above, to make changes to the WiFi or other settings.
If the device is connected to the WiFi and operational you can still make changes by using your browser to connect to http://BlindsBLE.local. If you're not on an Apple device you'll need to find the IP Address of the Wevolor - probably something like '192.168.1.xxx' or ‘10.0.0.xxx’ (your WiFi router will list everything connected to the WiFi).
Note: If the Wevolor device becomes disconnected from WiFi - for example your WiFi network goes down - the device might need manually restarting with the ‘reset’ button or by disconnecting and reconnecting power.
As stated above, the ‘http://BlindsBLE.local’ (or the device IP address) web-page will display setup information and allow you to change the Remote, Alexa or WiFi settings. The device also serves other web-pages which may be be useful:
COMMAND - http://BlindsBLE.local/command – allows commands to be sent straight to the remote (Alexa is not involved) to control the blinds. Unlike when Alexa is in control, the other features of the remote are available – TILT-OPEN, TILE-CLOSE, STOP and MOVE-TO-FAVORITE. This is useful if you wish to control the blinds when you are around the house, but not close to your remote.
STATUS - http://BlindsBLE.local/status - display status information about your device including when it last booted, and when Alexa last sent a command. This may be valuable when debugging the device and checking connection to your remote. See ‘Troubleshooting’ if the status page is not displaying or to help interpret the status.
If you believe the device is properly configured, yet is not performing as expected, try resetting the device with the ‘reset’ button.
If you still believe the device is not performing properly, please take a look at the status page at http://BlindsBLE.local/status (again, if not using an Apple Mac, iPhone etc., this .local address may not work, and you will have to find the IP address of the device). If the status page does not display, it's likely the device is not connected to your WiFi. If the bright LED is solid-on at any time, the device has reentered setup mode. Retry the ‘Steps to configuring’ being especially careful about the spelling and capitalization of the WiFi settings.
If the status page does display, record what is shown for debug purposes. The ‘BLE State’ should be one of the following:
"SCANNING FOR REMOTE" – the device has not found the Remote. Move it physically closer – within 10 feet. Make sure the batteries in the remote are good.
"FOUND REMOTE" – the Remote has been found but not yet configured. It’s unlikely you will see this status. Refresh the web page and hopefully the state will have progressed...
"REMOTE FOUND & READY" – the Remote is found and is ready to receive commands. This is the expected state if all is well.
"REMOTE CONNECTED" – the Remote has received a command and is executing it. The Wevolor will automatically disconnect from the Remote after 30 seconds in this state to save the Remote’s batteries. If the command came from Alexa, the type and time of the command, and the state of the blinds will also be displayed. If status shows a command received but the blinds have not responded, check the remote is working properly by using it to open/close. Also check the ‘group’ is set properly in the Wevolor configuration.
Any other problems, please contact me via e-mail at email@example.com. Please send a screen shot of the status page, and a description of the error. Suggestions for features and changes are also welcomed.