Butler Curtain Controller (CM80) – Review

The Add-a-motor is primarily designed as a ‘retro fix’ for previously installed tracked curtains. It does not need a specially designed track like the Swish system. As long as your curtain track has a loop pull cord this unit will work on either cord or chain.

The instructions states that it will pull curtains of up to 60 lb weight. The curtains I have installed the ‘Add-a-motor’ onto are 8ft wide and are lined and interlined and weigh around 50lb. I must admit I think the unit is running at its maximum dealing with this weight.

The unit is quite compact at approx. 4cm wide, 10cm tall and 4cm deep. It comes supplied with a plug in power supply unit supplying 12v DC. If you purchase this from the U.S. you will have to source your own power supply unit (comes with 110v transformer) readily available from suppliers such as Maplin for around £10.

The unit is supplied with comprehensive setting up instructions and was installed in around 15 minutes. Setting up of the curtain travel took quite a bit of setting up and relies on two arms hitting a rocker switch. One arm for open the other for close. The arms are adjustable depending on the travel required but are very notchy not allowing for fine adjustment, but with a little perseverance full opening and closure of the curtains can be achieved with the motor turning off just at the right time.

X10 Control – Full X10 control of the curtains can be achieved via an AM10 appliance module. I found an ‘on’ for 30 second then ‘off’ command to close and the same to open the curtains was satisfactory. The unit turns itself off at the end of travel but will not reset itself until power is removed from the unit. If you use a home controller such as Homevision then you can use ‘flags’ to keep track of the status of the curtains.

Gripes – A few gripes perhaps the biggest being the noise of the unit I suppose the best way to describe it would be a small electric tin opener although it does not run for long, it does not give much Kudos to the owner of a home cinema system when somebody is opening a tin of Whiskas as the lights dim! The second is value for money the price of £78.55 + vat in this country seems a lot when you see what’s in the unit (a small motor, plastic gearbox, two relays, and a switch. But then anything with a niche market will always be above market value. Lastly if anything is if the way of the curtains (such as Kids toys) and they are heavy like mine then the unit just carries on going and starts to slip on the cord. It will still turn off but the curtains are not closed. This then entails setting up the travel again. A variable strain limiter may have been the best solution.

Conclusion – I have had the unit installed for a couple of weeks now and it has proved reliable. I think that if you have lighter curtains then perhaps the slipping problems will not be so much of an issue. All in all if you don’t mind the noise then it is a much cheaper solution than the Swish tracked system which also requires a ‘X10 universal module’. Also if you get your skates on and import one now on special offer from Worthington Distribution (be prepared to wait about a month) then for around £40 its not a bad buy.

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2 Comments on "Butler Curtain Controller (CM80) – Review"

  1. Mr M. Brader | February 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm |

    i have a small home cinema,and am looking for a electric curtain controller, which as a proscenium of 7ft in width.
    Would your Butler Curtain Controller(CM80)be suitable for what I am looking for to controll my curtains.

    Kindest regards

  2. this is good thanks 4 helpinggggg

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