The continued evolvement of home automation technology in the last decade is overwhelming. Companies like Nest, Google and Vivint creation of smart home systems have not only made our homes effective but also smart. Although, these technologies aid in day-to-day tasks like switching on and off lights or playing music, they don’t have the muscle to move things around.
This is where actuators step in. Actuator control of both small and large objects is sublime. Their mode of operation to deserve praise with manual or automatic (using remotes or motion sensors) options available. Have you wondered how a TV pops out of a cabinet or window opens automatically? If you want to how they work, then you have to learn about electric linear actuators.
An Actuator Defined
So what really is an actuator? It’s simply an electro-mechanical device that moves items in a straight line. The mode of operation is by extension and retraction.
Home Automation and Actuators
The Jetsons gave us a brief of what we’re seeing and experiencing currently, smart technology at its best. The main application of actuators is in the manufacturing sector. This is mainly because of their power to move bulky equipment, which humans can’t lift. However, with the advancement of technology, small 12v actuators are now available for home automation.
Use of actuators for home automation varies and multiple. This allows fulfilment of projects in the home, which could include motorized TV lifts, automated spice rack, recliner seat, garage and window openers.
Automated Recliner Seat
In a recliner seat, an actuator replaces the already-installed manual system. The design of recliner seats makes them ideal for automation using actuators. Automation of the seat is done by you installing actuators on the frame of the seat. The actuators are synced and programmed producing the desired movement.
Nevertheless, since recliners differ, it’s important to understand how their mechanisms work before embarking on automation. The main parts of the seat are chair, reclining mechanism, and footrest. The principle setup is attaching the actuator to the footrest then connecting it to a control system. Finally, you’ll need a power supply unit to connect your actuator.
Unlike the recliner seat, TV lifts differ. You should note that there are two types of TV lifts, motorized (pop up) and ceiling (drop down). The pop-up lift setting is usually in furniture like cabinet or drawer and does as the name suggest ‘pop up’. Drop down as the name suggest slides down from above with its location on the ceiling floor.
Both require different mechanical setups with drop down slightly complex to implement compared to pop up. The factors considered when setting up are your TV’s size and external connections as they affect your lift’s functioning. Similarly, there are large numbers of pre-made lifts with built-in actuators ready for use.
Shifting the focus to your TV, linear actuators are used to extend and retract your screen. For the pop-up lift, a bracket holds your TV in position attached to an actuator. A control system takes over the programming functionality.
Like the pop-up, the drop down lift, the attachment is by a bracket to take the weight of your TV. A linear actuator is then used to either extend the TV while in use or retract it when not. Remote control for both lift types is available.
Automated Pop-up Kitchen Spice Rack
The kitchen, like the living room, also takes centre stage. Implementation of automation can be in the form of kitchen spice rack fitted on your counter. Depending on your counter surface, a rectangular section is cut out where the spice rack pops up. It can also double as a chopping board.
The spice rack is not only meant for your spices but it can serve as a TV, kitchen appliances or even cutlery. The rack is hollow in the centre to allow fitting of an actuator. A rocker switch and battery are disguised either on the side or beneath your kitchen counter
Garage Door Opener
For your garage, actuators play an important role in opening and closing your door. Although garage doors come in different weights, sizes, and mode of operation, linear actuators accommodate them. The thing that differs is the opening and locking mechanism, which ranges from keys, touchpad or remote control.
Installing a garage door opener requires patience and a high degree of accuracy. You will probably need an extra set of hand or hire a specialist.
Automatic window openers can be implemented in your either home or greenhouse. Actuators used in these settings are small and easy to install. An added advantage of the automated window is the ability to integrate sensors for control.
Sensors are installed and control temperature (rain, wind, storms). They type of window dictates which type of actuator to be used. Automated windows provide you with energy efficiency all year round.
Electric actuators from www.progressiveautomations.com provide customizable options for any home-based project idea. It’s quite helpful since every project varies in complexity.
Regardless of your home setting, linear actuator projects are possible and their efficiency is sublime providing hassle-free home automation. These devices are ideal for any home automation project and only require a control system.
Finally, should you embark on a home automation project and want to go it on your own and you’re not tech savvy, it’s advisable to seek professional advice. This is important because actuators come in different forces.