Non-standard roller shade application

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Old 05-01-10, 09:49 PM
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Non-standard roller shade application

I am planning to use a 95cm x 198cm Levolor roller shade in a non standard application. I want to use it sideways to unroll across the top of my stairs to keep my cool air conditioned air from escaping down the stairs of my two story townhouse.

Is there a way to modify the ratchet and pawl mechanism so that the pawl is never engaged and there is always tension on the shade when unrolled? I plan on just pulling the shade across the top of the stairway and latching it to the side of the wall.

I'm hoping I can simply bend/cut/or damage some part of the mechanism to accomplish this. I'm actually trying to reproduce one of the conditions that typically occurs when the ratchet & pawl mechanism gets dirty. That condition being when you pull the shade down, it never locks/engages.

Thanks!

Mike
 
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Old 05-02-10, 06:36 AM
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You've got the right idea. It will be difficult to find a single notch roller but you can improvise by bending the metal edge on one pawl so that it becomes inoperable. You need the one pawl so that you can wind the spring and hold it to the tension you need.
 
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Old 05-02-10, 09:54 PM
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Hi johnam,

Thanks for giving me confidence that I am on the right track. I have attached a link to a picture showing the end cap with some of the mechanism components annotated. Can you or anyone else help me out in identifiying the various components and giving me a hint on how to go about "bending the metal edge of one pawl" to get the desired result?

Here is the link to the image:

Picasa Web Albums - mmbridges

I labeled what components I could see with letters. I believe

A is the flat tab that is attached to the spring
B is the pawl 1
C is the pivot piece (pin) that pawl 1 rotates about
D is the pivot piece (pin) that pawl 2 rotates about
E is pawl 2
F is maybe the body where the ratchet teeth are located
G is the body that the pawls and pins are attached to
H is the cylinder body that the shade wraps around
I is the shade

Looking forward to hearing from everyone. Thanks!

P.S. Does anyone know how to embed my picasa image directly in the body of the message? I tried all of the hints in the help section of this forum to no avail.
 

Last edited by mmbridges; 05-02-10 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 05-03-10, 04:46 AM
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Your great photo has changed my thinking. Since you'll be mounting the shade in a vertical position rather than horizontal, which is the way it is designed to operate, you may not have to do anything. Wind the spring to the desired tension and set the shade into the brackets. Since the pawls will not pivot in this position, when you pull the shade you will have constant tension. The problem now is when you roll the shade back on the roller you still have the tension and must have a way to stop the shade at that point. The brackets present another problem since the open bracket (spring end) will cause the shade to fall out. There is a bracket used for outside installations that has two holes that allows for inserting a cotter pin or even a brad to prevent the shade from falling out. You will only find this in a shop that deals in custom window shades. I know that you will find a way.
 
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Old 05-03-10, 07:54 AM
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I have always wondered about what controls how the pawls engage or disengage. You seem to suggest that they are influenced by gravity. Is that the case? With regards to stopping the shade when it is being rolled back up, I am thinking another latch on the retracted side of the wall. What do you think?

In terms of the brackets and a vertical mounting scenario I need to get a visual. I'm not quite sure how "the open bracket (spring end) will cause the shade to fall out", so off I go to Home Depot this weekend to look at some brackets.
 
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Old 05-03-10, 08:50 AM
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Pawls fall into the notches by gravity and another latch will hold the shade when it's retracted. This is the bracket I was talking about, notice the two small holes that you insert something to close the opening: http://www.shadepull.com/images/76OB.jpg
 
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Old 05-03-10, 12:49 PM
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Thanks for the pic johnam. I now see what you are talking about. The particular roller shade I have I believe works with brackets that are closed on both ends. The way you get the shade/roller into the bracket slots/holes is by pushing the pin on the non/mechanism end of the roller in. It works just like toilet paper holders. So I'm not that concerned about the roller slipping out of the brackets.

I am concerned about how the pawls operate in a vertical mounting scenario. Since gravity will be normal to the pawls axis of rotation I can see how it won't pull the pawls into the ratchet teeth. However what prevents them from accidentally slipping into place via some other means?

Do I need to be worried about that case? If it does happen how would the shade behave? How would I be able to disengage the pawls so that the shade would roll back up?

I want to avoid having to continuously have to yank on the shade to get it to disengage. I want to ensure that the pawls never engage. Your thoughts?

P.S. Thanks for engaging me in this discussion. It has been very helpful.
 
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Old 05-03-10, 01:19 PM
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I wasn't aware that the make a spring loaded pin on the roller. So that takes care of the shade coming out of the brackets.

The pawls might fall into the notch at times but you need one pawl in order to wind the spring. This could be a problem. I guess you can mount the shade with the spring end up so that you can disengage the pawl manually if it engages. Now you need someone to hold on to the shade.
 
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Old 05-03-10, 09:54 PM
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It turns out I was mistaken. The Levolor shade I got from Lowes does not have the spring loaded pin. I think I saw this concept when I was at Home Depot. I may have to go back and get one of theirs. I don't remember the brand.

So assuming I can get one of the shades with the spring loaded pin, I still have to solve the occasional pawl engaging problem.

Given the diagram I posted previously do so you see any way to bend or jam one of the pawls open? Or is it just too tight a fit and too difficult?

I guess before I do that maybe I just have to try it out. A single shade with two mounting brackets is not expensive. I'll let you know how it turns out next week sometime.
 
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Old 05-04-10, 04:33 AM
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Push the pawl under the metal the metal ring and crimp the ring with a needle nose plier so the the pawl remains in place. Good luck.
 
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Old 05-31-10, 08:49 AM
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Smile check out the mechanisms of retracable screen doors

you should check out the mechanisms of retracable screen doors, these allow you to pull it closed, when it is closed, one side it lcoked into place, and there is a constant tension, when you unlock the door, the screen rolls right back into itself, there is no tugging or anything
 
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Old 05-19-13, 10:59 AM
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Roller Shade with Exposed Pawls for Easy Removal

I just finished solving my need for a roller shade with constant tension (pawls removed or disabled) for my skylight. I was looking for a cheap shade to experiment removing the pawls so shopped WalMart where I found A ROLLER SHADE WITH EXPOSED PAWLS. Right out there in the open for creative folks! I didn't have to do any hacksawing or other stupid roller tricks. I just pried up each pawl with a thin standard screwdriver and twisted them off with a pair of needle-nose pliers. So-o-o easy.

The shade I found was labelled "Magic Fit Peel to Width Roller Shade" by Levelor ("a NewellRubbermaid Company"). They were labelled as adjusting from 25" to 37.25", but I was able to simply unroll the shade, remove the shade entirely, and cut the open end of both pieces of the telescoping tube to accommodate the 17.5" length I needed, file off the rough edges, put the telescope back together, cut your shade to width and stick back onto the roller.

The spring mechanism only projects into the tube about 12", so one could go even narrower if needed.
 
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