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Old 04-20-2019, 11:16 AM   #1
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Girard Nova and the useless wind sensor

Today is the perfect day for being outside with my Girard awnings. This is the first time since having my coach that the weather cooperated with extended awning usage.

We have clear skies, bright sun ,70F, and a very gentle almost non existant breeze. Under the awnings it feels like 68...ideal Texas weather. Probably the only day for the year, and may be different in a few hours.

As the title suggests, all the nice things I had to say are clouded by a problem. Randomly my awnings decide its time to store themselves.

No reason for this, as they do it independently of each other, and the breeze is nothing at the time.

One time it happened when a child had a sudden outburst of laughter, which may be a coincidence, but I did read somewhere that noise does affect.

Another time it happened when the dog ran up the steps of the coach entryway (bounce?).

So with remote in close proximity, I am researching the wind sensors and being interrupted to stop the stowing of the awning and redeploy.

What I have found is that many day to adjust the number from a default of 3 to a higher number, which only serves to make it less sensitive. Keep adjusting to the point that it stays out at your comfort level. BUT if you read the Girard manual never more than 5. The numbers go all the way to 10, but you should ignore any number higher than 5, or else warranty is void. (Point 1).

So with a setting of 5, awnings still retreat with no reason, and you are left with playing with the remote all day.(Point 2)

I have also read that others continue to put the number far past 5, and then exercise common sense and only deploy when winds permit. This voids and chance of warranty claim, but avoids the frustration of playing with the remote all day. (Point 3)

I have then read about several that have had awnings deployed, wind sensor set at 3, and a microburst came up and wrapped the awning over the roof. Newmar tried to get Girard to cover this, but Girard specifically says Microburst are not covered. Microburst are the #1 risk with these awnings, and no matter what we do, there is no way to retract the awning in time. A microburst will come and go before you can react. This is why we have insurance for the awnings. The only way to prevent a microburst damage is to NEVER use your awnings. (Point 4)

So after all of this research, I have decided that the best option is to disconnect the power to the awnings once deployed. I have installed a power button inside to control power to the girards. This was originally a fail safe to ensure they do not deploy while traveling or in the garage. Now this mod gets a bonus feature, prevent the unwanted retraction.

The downside right now is that if I want to retract quickly, I have to run inside flip power on and hit retract. That's good enough for now, but before I get to my summer home in Montana, I will be adding a switch to the TV bay.

Of course all of this means that awnings are only out when I am outside. If for some reason I want to take a walk and leave awnings out, I can engage power and risk the default setting of 3 protecting me.
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:19 AM   #2
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Here is a write up I did regarding the Nova awning protection switch.

http://www.newmarhoots.com/girard-no...ection-switch/
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:09 PM   #3
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Thanks for all the knowledge I have gained from you. I definitely feel your pain with these awnings. I thought they were the greatest things ever until my rear awning deployed on its own as we were departing the rv park this past Wed. I had completed my final walk around check so it was not out when I entered the coach. I can not be sure when it happened but as I began pulling out in the dark with my focus on a tree to the left I was completely unaware it was open. Luckily my daughter saw it and got my attention. Now hereís the really fun part. It wouldnít go back in. It had power but acted like it was a stripped gear or something. After customary call to Newmar they sent a mobile repair guy. We ultimately had to pull the awning in manually with ropes on both ends. It is now strapped closed and power to both has been pulled.
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crockdar View Post
Thanks for all the knowledge I have gained from you. I definitely feel your pain with these awnings. I thought they were the greatest things ever until my rear awning deployed on its own as we were departing the rv park this past Wed. I had completed my final walk around check so it was not out when I entered the coach. I can not be sure when it happened but as I began pulling out in the dark with my focus on a tree to the left I was completely unaware it was open. Luckily my daughter saw it and got my attention. Now hereís the really fun part. It wouldnít go back in. It had power but acted like it was a stripped gear or something. After customary call to Newmar they sent a mobile repair guy. We ultimately had to pull the awning in manually with ropes on both ends. It is now strapped closed and power to both has been pulled.
This is on your 2019? According to your profile your from Waco. I am about an hour north of you on 35w (Grandview). Who is your dealer? This can be a pretty big ordeal to get fixed. I would think that Newmar will probably send you to NIRV, but their wait times are atrocious. What is the plan for the repair?
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Old 04-20-2019, 01:00 PM   #5
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I have tried multiple fixes with my randomly retracting awnings. A couple of thoughts.



The sensors are actually accelerometers not wind sensors. They are sensitive to some noise, and coach movement at least mine are. I can shut them off with a remote I installed, but then you loose the LED lighting. I did find that Newmar installed my sensors in a vertical manner where the factory indicates flat mounting. See photos. I'm waiting to go out next week to see if that makes a difference. If yours are vertical, change to a flat mount. I have found that a setting of 5 seems to fix the random retracting issue, but then there isn't the necessary retraction when it gets windy. At one point Girard indicated that there need to be an additional ground wire run from the awning to the chassis, since then this idea was abandoned.



On previous versions, Girard supplied and Newmar did install an actual wind sensor on the roof. I'm sure you could retrofit back to an actual wind sensor. You can find it on Newgle.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/bvxnti2z2d...wning.pdf?dl=0



Another thought is to have a personal weather station measuring wind and issuing a command to retract the awnings when medium wind is measured. I'll leave that for you aluminum hat guys.



I am well out of warranty but Newmar is continuing to help with a solution. If the sensor position does not fix this, I am going to replace the sensors to see if that fixes it. Definitely following this to see what develops.
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Old 04-20-2019, 01:07 PM   #6
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Yes, 2019 and yes, NIRVC. Luckily we were already planning to be there a week from Monday after their customer appreciation event. I will post a follow up after repair. I had read of others that deployed on their own but couldnít find any info. on my exact issue. We are full time and use the awnings quite a bit so I will also be adding a power disconnect!
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Old 04-20-2019, 01:21 PM   #7
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The idea of a wind sensor for awnings is flawed. Once enough force is present, it is too late to retract. Microburst are instant. Less than 1 second and it's too late. My awnings take 20 seconds or so to retract.

Any wind less than damaging is hard to predict with either speed or motion. Direction and force are what matter.

Wind rarely starts out at a low level and then builds up. It is either present or not, often coming like a thief in the night without warning and gone just as quick.

I believe the only safe way to enjoy your awning is to be there 100% of the time it is deployed. Watch for movement and decide when its safe to put it away.

Changing the values to a higher number will eventually be equal to disabling the sensor all together.

@winepress makes a valid point about the LED lights. They will not work with my kill switch.

My experience had been that winds usually occur during the day, and nights are calmer. So hopefully my setting of 3 wont be so problematic during the night, but that is something I need to watch for.
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Old 04-20-2019, 01:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crockdar View Post
Yes, 2019 and yes, NIRVC. Luckily we were already planning to be there a week from Monday after their customer appreciation event. I will post a follow up after repair. I had read of others that deployed on their own but couldnít find any info. on my exact issue. We are full time and use the awnings quite a bit so I will also be adding a power disconnect!
Wow, glad you discovered this in time. I always thought power to awnings was disabled when the key was turned on at the ignition.
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Old 04-20-2019, 03:07 PM   #9
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Wow, glad you discovered this in time. I always thought power to awnings was disabled when the key was turned on at the ignition.
I will find that out for sure in this ordeal. The Newmar CS rep wasnít very knowledgeable and it was too early to call Girard. It probably deployed before key was on as I was putting new destination in Nav. but I canít be certain either way. We have used them quite a bit. The only possible cause I can come up with was there was an adjustment made at the dealer when I was there earlier that week. Over time they were not opening the exact same amount, maybe an inch off. The tech made an adjustment to line them back up but I donít know if he moved the back one in or the front one out. Wish I had watched him! Hopefully he took pics or made notes. Another thing I noticed as we were troubleshooting the back one after it failed was that on full retraction the motor on the front one continued to run. I donít know how long it would have ran as I stopped it. Not sure if that is normal. I had never noticed it before.
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:22 PM   #10
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"crockdar"......What was the time frame that the awning deployed in relationship to when it was last used?
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Old 04-21-2019, 05:27 AM   #11
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another thing that will often cause my rear awing to retract is when the washing machine goes on high spin....

i just unplug them in the basement...the low tech, lazy solution...

and i've taken to leaving them unplugged at all times, save when in operation....just to be sure there is no errant deployments......
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Old 04-21-2019, 06:07 AM   #12
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This is disturbing. I admire the Girard awnings but they seem like a huge fail. They look great how they add to the body lines of the coach. They look great when extended. But this is form over function, they have form but seemingly zero function. So many problems (mounting, sail arms, alignments, adjustments, opening/closing when not expected...), so many downfalls, this reminds me again be careful what you wish for. I wish for a high line coach but my VTDP+ with Carefree awnings and the Shade Pro extension (Vista Shade) may be better in the end (for me). You can tie them down, etc. Which makes me wonder, would it be of value to have eyelets or something in the Girards so you can extend them, power them off, and tie them down for protection?
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Old 04-21-2019, 06:28 AM   #13
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You guys are awesome. I'll add this to my list of things to check out and possibly add a kill switch and sensor placement.

My Excursion used a spin sensor to measure wind. It was all over the place on when it worked, or didn't.
I always retracted when I wasn't around. Sounds like this will be the same.
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crockdar View Post
Thanks for all the knowledge I have gained from you. I definitely feel your pain with these awnings. I thought they were the greatest things ever until my rear awning deployed on its own as we were departing the rv park this past Wed. I had completed my final walk around check so it was not out when I entered the coach. I can not be sure when it happened but as I began pulling out in the dark with my focus on a tree to the left I was completely unaware it was open. Luckily my daughter saw it and got my attention. Now hereís the really fun part. It wouldnít go back in. It had power but acted like it was a stripped gear or something. After customary call to Newmar they sent a mobile repair guy. We ultimately had to pull the awning in manually with ropes on both ends. It is now strapped closed and power to both has been pulled.
Crocker For clarification, are you saying the rear awning deployed with the engine running?
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