First Project: Is This Setup Correct?

Hi everyone!

I’m a complete newbie in this area and would like to seek some advice on an IoT/Home Automation project that I’m excited to get started on.

Basically, I’d like to control window blinds, air conditioners, and fans from one web interface. It’s a little ambitious for someone with no experience so I’ll probably focus on getting the window blinds working before I start on the other devices.

Window Roller Blind

An existing roller blind will be modified into a motorised blind connected to WIFI. The blind will be controlled using a web interface.

Based on what I could research online, I’ll need 3 main items.

  1. Particle Photon
  2. Motor shield
  3. Stepper motor

It seems like the only motor shield available is the Phobot ( Are there any other alternatives? International shipping and availability is an issue for me as I reside in Singapore.

I’ve also been searching on stepper motors and the variety out there is mind-boggling. What kind of stepper motor would be suitable for such a project (voltage, etc.)? What are the specs to look out for?

How does power supply work with a photon + shield? Does the power enter the shield, which in turn powers the photon? Or is it the other way round?

Finally, can such a rig be battery-powered? Not too keen on running a cable all the way up the wall…

The future projects to control air conditioners and fans would involve using a Photon to send out IR signals. Is this doable for someone with little to no experience?

Any other comments on feasibility or tips would be most welcome as well.


You don’t necessarily need your own motor and driver if you can find a cheap motorise-your-blinds-kit and just fiddle its controls (e.g. with the relay shield or your own transistor circuitry :wink: ).

With non-Particle dedicated shields that have a high current demand (like a motor shield) it’s usually necessary to power the shield and the Particle seperately. If yhe shield has a 5V or 3.3V output, you can power the Particle off that but need to make sure it’s properly filtered DC.

Running off a battery will be tricky since the motors do need some power.

About IR there are some threads here discussing that, and the a good place to look is at AnalysIR