The ‘Wevolor’ (referred to hereafter as ‘Wevolor’, or ‘device’) is software running on an ESP32 development board. It actions commands from 'If This Then That' (hereafter IFTTT). IFTTT can be triggered by many events including home automation such as Amazon Echo (hereafter 'Alexa') and Google Home. The Wevolor relays the actions to the Levolor Premium 6-Channel Remote Control (referred to hereafter as ‘remote’). If configured correctly the Wevolor can action commands from IFTTT. In turn IFTTT can take commands from Google Home or Alexa such as “Alexa, trigger close the blinds”, or timed commands like closing the blinds at sunset and opening them at 6am. Those commands are then relayed to the remote to execute the action.
You should have an IFTTT Account and optionally a home automation hub such as Amazon Echo.
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. Make sure the remote has good batteries and is physically clsoe (within 10 feet) of your Wevolor.
Note: The Wevolor requires IFTTT, and the Levolor Premium 6-channel remote. Amazon Echo / Google Home etc. are optional. See IFTTT for home automation and other triggers supported.
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 'Wevolor' 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 Wevolor WiFi. Type '192.168.4.1' into the browser. Note: on an Apple Mac or iPhone you can type 'Wevolor.local' and that works too.
A 'Configure your Wevolor' page should be presented.
IMPORTANT The unique 16-character identifier for your Wevolor should be noted. It is needed when setting up IFTTT.
Configure the following sections:
WiFi - enter the SSID (name) and Password of your home WiFi. 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.
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.
Key - Each remote has a different key - four characters long (representing two hexadecimal bytes) such as 'BA0A' or 'BC09' - required to unlock it ready to take commands. The field is case insensitive, only characters 0-9, a-f and A-F are acceptable. If you know the key, enter it. If not, leave blank, and the Wevolor will probe your remote. Note: Wevolor probing for the key may take a significant time - typically 15 to 45 minutes.
Group - Set what blind group or groups you want 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 'Wevolor' WiFi network available.
If you didn't fill in the remote key field, Wevolor will now probe your remote. You will see a white flashing light on the remote and the bright LED on the device will also flash. Leave it until the while flashing stops. This could be 5 minutes, or may be up to 1 hour. This probing is a one-time activity. When complete the white flashing light on your remote will stop and the Wevolor will become operational. Once operational, go to http://Wevolor.local (or device IP address) in your browser. The setup page should be displayed and the key field will have been completed. It is recommended to take note of the four-character key for future reference.
Go to the IFTTT web site or Download the IFTTT app on your phone. If you don't already have an account, sign up for free.
IFTTT has 'triggers' (this) and 'actions' (that). Using Alexa as the example, a voice command "Alexa open the blinds" is our trigger and the Wevolor activating the remote is the action.
On the IFTTT web site, click the 'Create' menu item taking you to a 'Create Your Own' page. Click on 'This' and select the Amazon Alexa service or your preferred service such as Google Assistant etc. Follow the steps to configure IFTTT to access your account, and set your specific trigger. For example, with Alexa the trigger can be "Say a specific phrase".
Next click on 'That'. Wevolor uses the 'Webhooks' action service. Click on it and select 'Make a web request'. This is where the unique 16-character identifier you noted earlier comes in. Let's assume it was '00112233AABBCCDD'. The URL field should be set to 'https://hghst.net:9443/set/00112233AABBCCDD/open' to open the blinds. 'https://hghst.net:9443/set/00112233AABBCCDD/close' would be the URL to close the blinds. Make sure you use your Wevolor's unique 16-character identifier and the correct action. Also note that alpha characters in the identifier are always upper case, and the actions lower case.
Wevolor supports 'open', 'close', 'tiltopen', 'tiltclose' and 'favorite' actions. While 'stop' is also implimented, it will be of limited use given the delays in issuing and acting on commands.
A new feature introduced in vesion 5.1.1 is the ability to override the default group(s) that commands are sent to. Simply add '/123' to the command to execute on groups 1,2 and 3. Adding '/123456' would execute the command on all six groups.
Another new feature is the ability to 'set' multiple Wevolors. Add additional 16-character identifiers to 'set' commands
separated by a '+'.
For example 'https://hghst.net:9443/set/00112233AABBCCDD+22446688AACCDDFF/open' would send the open command to two Wevolor's.
As well as the actions listed above, one additional is 'toggle'. Sending toggle will open your blinds if previously closed and vice versa. Note: If toggle is used before an 'open' or 'close' command is set, it will initially open your blinds. Toggle allows a single IFTTT action to be set up which both opens and closes your blinds (handy since IFTTT recently changed to only allowing three applets to be configured without paying for a Pro account).
No other fields need to be changed.
Repeat for the other actions you wish Alexa to perform (close, tiltopen, etc.).
Save. IFTTT should show you your new 'Applet' for example 'If you say "Alexa trigger open the blinds", then make a web request'. Note the 'trigger' word in there. If you prefer not to have that you can set a routine in the Alexa app to recognize "Alexa, open the blinds" without the 'trigger' word.
Go ahead and say to Alexa "Alexa, trigger open the blinds" and your blinds should activate.
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://Wevolor.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://Wevolor.local’ (or the device IP address) web-page will display setup information and allow you to change the Remote or WiFi settings.
The device also serves other web-pages which may be be useful:
STATUS - http://Wevolor.local/status - display status information about your device including when it last booted. 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://Wevolor.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 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 config page does display, record what is shown for debug purposes. The ‘BLE State’ should be one of the following:
"BLE_INITIAL" - the device has not found the Remote. Move it physically closer – within 10 feet. Make sure the batteries in the remote are good. If you named the remote, make sure it exactly matches the name in the Levolor app.
"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 once the action is complete, in order to save the remote’s batteries. If your blinds are not responding 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send as much background information as you can, and a description of the error. Suggestions for features and changes are also welcomed.
The https://hghst.net:9443 website mentioned above sits between IFTTT and your Wevolor. Your Wevolor polls that site to see if new commands are available to execute. The advantage of this method is that your Wevolor stays on your local WiFi network and no special ports need to be opened which otherwise might be a security risk. If for whatever reason the hghst.net site is down, your Wevolor will not operate correctly. While every effort will be made to keep the website operational, occasional outages can't be ruled out. Also, your Wevolor sends information to the website for purposes of developing and improving the Wevolor code. That information is limited to the last boot time of your Wevolor (to understand how stable it is), and the remote key (to optimize the method of probing remotes). No confidential information (such as WiFi credentials) are ever sent or visible in any way to the developer. If you are interested to view the information sent, go to https://hghst.net:9443/status/your-unique-16-character-Wevolor-id. If you want to know what the time numbers mean http://hghst.net can help with that.
There's no membership or cost to running your Wevolor but if you feel inclined to help me pay for the website hosting etc. you can Buy me a coffee
(©) Copyright 2020, Roger Hoggarth.