Motorized Window

This post doesn’t cover anything highly technical but does show a window modification that if done properly and carefully can be very useful. I was helping someone who wanted to be able to open and close some windows in their apartment on their own from their power wheelchair. Below is a video and pictures of the first version in the living room using a motor I had on hand. Note that these windows have stops that prevent them from being opened more than 5 or 6 inches.


Below is the second version in the bedroom. It’s the same basic setup, but with a smaller motor and mounted completely horizontal, directly to the window and the metal frame. The video also shows the mechanism and mounting in more detail.



The motor used is a linear actuator such as this one from ServoCity:

The switch I used was this momentary reversing rocker switch (DPDT):

The bracketing I used also came from ServoCity.

The details of this implementation however are less important than the general concept and being able to apply it in a way that suits a given individual and their environment. For some users having limit switches will be very important. Further, other users will need to be able to trigger the full motion with just a momentary switch activation. That switch activation may be sip-n-puff or an IR command from a Tobii or other AAC device, or a voice command. However these will require more and better safeties.

Some key points:

  • make the mechanism safe for the user and other people and pets in the area
  • include appropriate hardware safeties (limit switches, fuse, etc.)
  • include a reasonable alternate way to still be able to open and close the window if the mechanism fails, usually this means a reasonable way to detach the mechanism and return the window to manual operation
  • make the attachments and other modifications so they do not cause damage and are robust enough
  • related to these, as much as possible spec an appropriate motor that’s strong enough for the job, but not so strong as to be dangerous if something goes wrong
  • make the end result practical and easy enough for the user so that it can be enjoyed
  • make sure the user has at least a basic understanding of what was done and understands the limitations and what can go wrong


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