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Open its swing shutters every morning upon waking and close at night, what a chore! Especially if they are numerous. Why not enjoy the joys of automatisms specially designed for these "French" joineries? They allow to maneuver without effort, without even having to open the window.

Motorize shutters

Practical tip

To respond to the great diversity of bays to equip and the needs of users, different drives shutters are proposed by the company Voltec. Guaranteed 2 years, the model VE 2, corresponds to most configurations.
The remote control allows, depending on the model, to control several automations. Equipped with an automatic limit switch and an anti-crushing safety, it costs 600 € approximately provided and put down. This is a high price, but still lower than that of a motorized roller shutter with aluminum deck. We keep the existing shutters, the actuator is much more discreet and the work is done quickly without damage to the masonry and interior decoration.

For several years, the various motorisation systems have been making everyday life easier: motorized shutters, garage door openers, automatic garage doors, etc. But the shutters were still poor parents. The gap is now filled with these new systems finally quite discreet, and a rather basic pose.
Built on one level, our house offers many openings: French windows, windows and entrance doors, immediately overlooking the outside. All equipped with shutters to respect the regional habits, they require daily maneuvers that have become a real test for the owners. As there is no question of replacing them with motorized roller shutters, it was decided to equip them with automatic controls.

Discrete and safe engines

The automation of a swing shutter involves an electric actuator, which is placed between the window and the leaves. Quite close to operators for portals, it takes again the kinematics (the movement) of the human arm. It is a question of going to fetch the leaf as far as possible, to facilitate the movement as much as possible. Indeed, the larger the gesture, the less the motor will require power. Respecting this principle, the actuators use bent control arms fixed on the leaves. By simply pressing a button on the inside or on a remote control, they open, close, open and block the shutters in any position. It is no longer necessary to open the window, to bend over and clear the shutter stops. These are models of the Voltec company that were chosen here and put by a specialized company. However, the implementation is not complicated, and can safely be addressed by an average handyman.

The actuator is an aluminum box in which is housed a 220 V motor from 100 to 170 W. Its small thickness (53 mm) makes the mechanism virtually invisible and does not change the appearance of the bay equipped. It does not diminish the glass surface. The appearance of the shutter and the facade remains almost intact. The internal and external elements do not require any lubrication, the system requires no maintenance, except the external cleaning of the box.
An electromechanical torque detection system provides a number of advantages and safety. At the end of the race, when the motor detects a resistance (front wall, shutter stops), it slows the closing or opening of the leaves and stops automatically. This avoids the tedious end-of-stroke settings. In the event of an obstacle, the detection system also provides anti-crushing safety by cutting off the motor power supply. Likewise, in the event of strong winds, the device stops the movement of the shutter preventing any deterioration by overheating. It also allows automatic restart as soon as the wind pressure decreases. Thus, the shutter cycle is completely carried out in all cases. In the event of a power failure, the arms are disengageable to allow manual operation of the shutters.
Accessories are available to automate the operation of shutters with 3 or 4 leaves or a espagnolette. In the latter case, they are more resistant to manual pulling from the outside. However, an actuator is not an anti-tamper product per se. Additional security may be necessary (metal bars, opening detector...).
The opening and closing of the shutters are controlled either by a button placed inside on the electric circuit, or with an infrared or radio remote control. A simulation of presence during long absences can be ensured by a clock, a twilight switch...

A quick pose without damage

The actuator can motorize the shutters with 1, 2, 3 or 4 leaves. In most cases, the installation is carried out under lintel. An installation on a railing for window of floor or on the window support in case of curved lintel is possible.
The drives are supplied in standard sizes (100, 120, 140, 160, 180 cm) depending on the width of the window panel. Lower, middle or upper dimensions require custom manufacturing. It is the same if the depth of the lintel, shutter closed, is less than 15 cm and if the thickness of the leaves is greater than 36 mm.
Above all, it is imperative to check the functioning of the leaves. Then remove the beat (stop) of the lintel that will interfere with the installation of the actuator. That of the window sill is kept. Unscrew or unclip shutter stops that are no longer used for anything. In the open position, the arms of the actuator firmly hold the leaves on the facade. The original spanish can also be removed, the mechanism now also shutters hermetically closed.
Closed shutter, draw from the inside a line showing the location of the outer edge of the box. With an installation template made on site or with the actuator under the lintel, determine the location of the drilling points. Special plates are available when the lintel presents problems for the direct fixation (plumbs, difficulties of drilling...).

Fasteners must be made with particular care to ensure the proper operation of the engine. Drill the holes with a diameter equivalent to that of the dowels. Use dowels appropriate to the nature of the materials and the length of the screws.
Position the actuator and loosely screw the lag bolts. Check the level of the actuator in depth and width. Block if necessary before tightening the screws.
At each end, install the arms on their axis and screw without blocking. Open shutter, mark in pencil the location of the roller placed at the end of the arm. Repeat from inside, shutter closed. These two markers indicate the stroke of the arm. Insert the slide into the roller of each arm. Make sure it is under the actuator when the shutters are closed. Position each slide by covering the markings previously drawn. Screw them in horizontally to ensure that the roller moves smoothly in the rail. Then lock each arm by firmly tightening their respective bolts. Connect the actuator power supply to a grounded circuit.

Take the measures of the shutters

Take the measures of the shutters

Perform the very first operation. This consists in taking the precise measurements of the shutters, and in particular the total thickness of the leaves, which must not exceed 36 mm.

Disassemble the Spanishettes

Disassemble the Spanishettes

Then dismount the Spanishettes. Here, only the lower and upper hooks are sawn, by inserting a sheet of cardboard or plywood to avoid damaging the wood.

Set the games

Set the games

Check the hinges and the good movement of the leaves. Adjust the games and lubricate if necessary. Unscrew or loosen the flap of the lintel and the side shutter stops that are no longer used for anything.

Identify the location of the actuator

Identify the location of the actuator

Mark with a pencil the location of the actuator. Either by plating the thickness of the shutters on the outer edge of the lintel, or by closing the leaves and drawing a line from the inside.

Report the actuator template

Report the actuator template

Cut out a piece of the packing box. Place the actuator on it and, with a cutter, cut out a template for its installation, following its contours. With a felt mark locate the fasteners.

Mark the bindings

Mark the bindings

After removing the system, mark the two locations of the fasteners with a cross at the ends of the template. Place pieces of double-sided adhesive at regular intervals. Remove the protective film.

Mark the location of the holes

Mark the location of the holes

Present the template under the lintel. Apply it following the line showing the position of the actuator. With a hammer and a point, mark the location of the holes to be made for fixing.

Drill and fix

Drill and fix

Remove the template. Drill the holes with a diameter equivalent to that of the dowels. Strong fixation is imperative. Use dowels adapted to the nature of the material and the length of the lag bolts.

Position the actuator

Position the actuator

After pegging, position the actuator under the lintel, following the path. If you work alone, plan to brace one end or block it with mason pegs.

Screw and tighten the lag bolts

Screw and tighten the lag bolts

Screw the lag bolts, without tightening them completely, with a spanner of 13. Check the level of the device in depth and width. Block if necessary. Finish tightening lag bolts with a ratchet.

Screw your arms

Screw your arms

Screw without locking, with a wrench, the arms on the axes of the actuator, at each end. Do not forget the "Belleville" washer between the bolt head and the arm. It stands out and prevents any play.

Spot the arm stroke

Spot the arm stroke

Mark with pencil, open flap, the location of the roller placed at the end of the arm. Repeat from inside, shutter closed. These two marks indicate the stroke of the arm in the slide.

Thread the rollers of the arms

Thread the rollers of the arms

Thread the roller of each arm, with a mallet in wood or rubber, into the rail of the corresponding slides. Make sure they are under the actuator when the shutters are closed.

Position the slides

Position the slides

Position each slider by covering the marks on the arm stroke. Screw them in horizontally to ensure that the roller moves smoothly in the rail.

Check the operation of the actuator

Check the operation of the actuator

Operate the shutters by hand to check the operation of the actuator. Then lock each arm by firmly tightening their respective bolts. Clip on their head the protective cover.

Connect the cable

Connect the cable

Connect the operator cable to a 220 V electrical circuit with a grounding plug and protected by a circuit breaker. To pass the cable, drill the window carpentry or masonry.

Protect and secure the cable

Protect and secure the cable

Protect the electrical cable from the appliance if it is partially placed outdoors. Secure by screwing or gluing a molding or conduit section adapted to protect it from shocks and weather.

Check the motorisation

Check the motorisation

Perform opening and closing tests with the remote control and inverter inside to check that the actuator is working properly. No other adjustment is necessary.


Video Instruction: Somfy Motorized Rolling Shutters - Storm Protection