After SwitchBot success with their CurtainBot, I noticed other companies following their tracks. Zemismart already takes care of my blinds, bedroom curtain and hallway curtain rod (which I’m yet to cover), now they bring a device that aims to automate all your windows fixtures with a single design? Is Zemismart ZigBee Driver for you?
I always encourage everyone to automate their windows fixtures. Just like smart lights, they control the amount of daylight getting inside the room and provide extra privacy. It’s one of the most flashy and noticeable automation and you should definitely add it to your “to-do” list.
Nothing screams “future is here” like a pair of curtains travelling across the wall minutes before the alarm call. It’s no longer expensive and options are out there to fit almost every window covering there is.
Zemismart brings new devices
Inside the latest parcel from Zemismart, I found 2 devices. Curtain Driver and Blinds driver – here comes the plot twist, both devices are pretty much the same. I’m not sure, how I feel about this, but I have to tip my hat to Zemismart for this ingenious idea. From the product design standpoint – they are able to cater to 2 use cases with a single product thanks to a modular approach.
What’s really nice about these new drivers are the multiple protocols used to communicate with your smart home. Alongside ZigBee 3.0, you will find RF 433 MHz and Bluetooth. If you want true “smart” controls, you will need a ZigBee (or Bluetooth) hub from Tuya, otherwise, you are left with included RF remotes to operate the devices from afar.
A couple of months ago I covered the Tuya hub (under Benexmart, but still fulfilled by Zemismart) that I use for all my Tuya based shenanigans. It’s a great little hub, that works with almost everything I throw at it as long as it comes with ZigBee 3.0 support. I’m going to use it now to see how they fare.
Inside each box, you will find the motorised driver, RF433MHz remote (made out of cheap plastic, powered by 2 x AAA) and mounting brackets which you can either fit with screws or 3M pads (included). For once, the attached instructions are pretty good with IKEA-style pictures and clear steps to follow. I welcome this as instructions in the past, were… challenging at times.
Each device has a power toggle, so make sure to move that dip switch to the left position to turn the drivers on. You will also find the pairing button next to the micro USB port. As included instructions are competent, I’ll skip the setup. Just note that you can link multiple RF remotes or drivers with each other.
Zemismart Roller Blinds Driver (ZM85EL-1Z)
Just like Aqara, the Zemismart ZigBee chainlink driver (Amazon, AliExpress, Zemismart Store, BeSmart) driver hooks up to the wall and yanks the chain on your behalf to open and close roller blinds, verticals and other widow trims. It’s ZigBee so it lasts ages without a charge and topping up is as easy as plugging a USB power bank overnight.
Turns out, that there is a model difference between the roller driver and curtain driver. Despite the physical similarities, these will show up as different devices in the Tuya app – with the main difference being the orientation of the widget to control the blinds and display the animations.
Zemismart Roller Blinds Driver wraps the chainlink around and driving wheel and moves blinds, verticals and other fittings up or down (or side to side depending on the type you have). The box includes 4 different wheels to match your chainlink style and an extension cable for easy charging.
What I really like about the Zemismart controllers is the mounting bracket. One of my biggest complaints about the Aqara driver was a limited adjustment range. You had to be spot on with fitting. Zemismart motorised drivers are more forgiving allowing for about 2 inches of vertical adjustment to tension the chain correctly.
Zemismart Curtain Driver (ZM85EL-2Z)
What sets these apart, is the adapter that latches to the usual chainlink shaft. It translates the rotation of the axis into a roll of the rubber wheel. This wheel is pressed against the window pole or rail and drives the Zemismart Curtain Driver (Amazon, AliExpress, Zemismart Store, BeSmart) along with it.
With 4 attachments, Zemismart Curtain Driver is capable of dragging curtains across rods, I beams and other fittings. I only have a humble rod to test, so my experience will be based on that. I’m slowly running out of un-automated windows, a couple of more reviews and I will be forced to make more windows or move to a new house!
Inside the box, you will find the driver itself with drive module already attached, and 4 sets of fittings to cover your needs, a charging cable (micro USB – c’mon, aren’t we already past that?) and, what’s interesting a solar panel to keep things topped up (you will pay extra for that kit).
Zemismart Curtain Driver supports poles up to 30 mm in diameter. Anything bigger than that, and you probably want SwitchBot Curtain instead as it can clamp around poles up to 40mm. While the installation is still relatively easy – dealing with security pins or threading the clamps in – seems like a hassle. A hassle that you are likely to go through once, but I wish they took the page from SwitchBot.
Unfortunately, the included solar panel doesn’t have any real fittings, which is a shame. It could use a suction mount or a small bracket to make it useful. You will be in charge of fitting that.
Tuya app really shines. Each time I get to test a device with it, I discover new updates, interface changes and polish. Both Zemismart devices pair quickly but show up as 2 different diver types. The Roller driver gets a vertical slider and curtain bot a horizontal one. To my knowledge, you can’t change these right now.
While the roller driver is slower and louder than the Aqara driver I have mounted on my office wall, the curtain driver is as loud as SwitchBot, but a tad slower. Both versions can tackle quite a load. You will be able to pull up big roller blinds and drag the heaviest of the curtains.
Just watch out for telescopic poles. Both SwitchBot and Zemismart curtain drivers have problems changing diameters, you will need either a single piece pole or 2 drivers and a pole that joins in the middle.
I only had them a couple of days, so I can’t comment on the battery performance, but the Aqara (ZigBee) driver lasted about 3 months and Zemismart promises up to 5 months of use on a single charge. This will depend on the size of the load and frequency of use. Anything over 2 months, is fair in my books.
NodeRED and Custom coordinators
While I’m a little pressed for time to play with these more in NodeRED, I have no doubt, that you will be able to pair it with a custom coordinator from Sonoff or Electrolama and take the advantage of ZigBee2MQTT in your automation. I promise, I will cover this at some point, but for now you will have to settle for this project until I have more time on my hands. If you want to take control over existing Tuya devices, you can always look at Tuya API.
They may not be as pretty as SwitchBot devices, but they do undercut their prices, so if you are strapped for cash, and you want to automate your curtains (Amazon, AliExpress, Zemismart Store, BeSmart), or blinds (Amazon, AliExpress, Zemismart Store, BeSmart) you can do so on a budget. A single curtain driver will set you back around $68 with extra discounts available when buying in bulk. The problem is, the price of 2 brings you close to smooth and almost silent motorised rails which Zemismart also offers, which are a much better choice if you are ok with powering these on via mains. So while in my opinion SwitchBot does it better when it comes to on rail robots (unless you are after ZigBee specifically), Zemismart offers excellent motorised rails and poles which you should really consider. Let me know what you think about these in this Reddit thread.
🆓📈💵 – See the transparency note for details.