Programmable Logic Controllers (or PLC’s) are a way for motorized shades to communicate with home automation systems. They can also be used as "group controllers", allowing several shades to be operated from a single "master" switch.

Omron ZEN nano controllers excel with their high quality components and entry level pricing.  These PLC’s are about the same costs as most off the shelf group controllers.  The true value of a PLC is its ability to be custom programmed.

A PLC has a series of "inputs and outputs" controlled by a program and relays.  This allows Brading to write custom software specific to each job or application.  When interfacing with full home automation systems such as Crestron or AMX, as well as lighting systems including Vantage, Lutron Home Works and Lite Touch, a ZEN PLC is flexible enough to work within all these structures.

A basic wall switch, light, temperature or wind sensor, contact closure, RS232, RS485 or USB command can trigger the programmable logic controller.  Most often, the interface with home automation systems should be done via a "momentary pulse" contact closure.  This is the safest of all integration methods since trouble shooting the system is quite simple.  A PLC is truly the "hinge" between the motorized shades and the automation system.

Another advantage of a PLC is its ability to operate shades individually, as a "master group" or as a "sub-group".  This cannot be done with store bought controllers, which only offer individual or master control.  Sub-group control is especially helpful when there is a large quantity of motorized shades within a specific area or room.

ZEN controllers can operate 12 volt DC, 24 volt DC or 120 volt AC motors, on the "output" side of the controller.  As well, the switches can be either low voltage or line voltage, which are the "inputs" of the PLC.  Snap on modules allow for easy, cost effective expansion when more inputs or outputs are required.

Omron PLC’s are the most flexible of all shade controllers and can be easily re-programmed on site.  It is quite common for homeowners to want to change and optimize the efficiency of their home automation system after a year or two.  Simple software revisions are effortlessly uploaded to the controller in a matter of seconds to accomplish this task.

Brading offers a complete custom software programming service to ensure peak performance in the control of our motorized window coverings.


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Brading Specialty Shades is the leading provider of high end specialty shades to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Southern Ontario. Our shading solutions include roller shades, folding shades, vertical sheers, drapery tracks, horizontal sheers, cellular shades, blinds, shutters, skylight shades, sunroom shades, exterior shades, and home automation. Our suppliers include Lutron Shading, Silent Gliss, Hunter Douglas, Elarashade, Solarashade, Solara Sky, Window Quilt, Aristocrat Awnings, Somfy, Omron, and Pentagon.