Just to make it easier for everyone
Some months ago the LR/Kitchen slide gearmotor on our ’99 Trop-I-
Cal started to make ominous clicking sounds. It soon quit working altogether. I pulled the gearmotor and found a couple of missing teeth on two gears. Shopping around I found parts were not available and a new gearmotor was close to $1,000.
A search to find a less expensive alternative led to this unit:
With shipping it was about $200 and seemed to have similar specifications to a stock gearmotor. It does have a worm gearbox instead of the axial gearbox with electric brake. The only drawback to this I can see, in the event of motor failure you cannot just release the brake to manually crank in the slide. You would need to remove the gearmotor (4 bolts) to release the slide for manual operation. Not too big a job. You’d need to remove the busted motor to fix it anyway.
The mounting flange on the new motor was a different bolt pattern, but it was simple to make an adaptor. Just two flanges and a spacer welded between them works fine. The driveshaft on the new motor slipped right in and uses the same drive pin as the old one.
In the next picture you can see the wires to the old motor lying in the background and the new wires which I ran across the coach inside a length of PVC electrical conduit. The old wires were #10 and are really undersize, especially for the new motor which draws a few more amps than the old. It can peak out at 33 amps which, at 12 volts, calls for #6 wire.
Below is the other end of the conduit in the compartment housing all of the electrics for the coach.
The wires exit the conduit and run across the top of the main control board, then down to a new double-throw double pole solenoid controller which I installed in place of the Power Gear controller. The old controller was wired with #10 wire, again too small IMHO. The solenoid was $25 on eBay and will handle up to 150 amps surge and 75 amps constant current. Next to the solenoid is a 50 amp automatically resetting circuit breaker. I bought a box of five of them off eBay for $5 – got lots of spares now. If the slide hits the limit of its travel, and you are silly enough to continue holding on to the switch, the motor will draw too much current and the 50 amp breaker will pop. It will automatically reset itself. I believe this is the same sort of current limiter which the old system uses, only with a 20 amp breaker.
To the right of the new controller you can see the controller for the rear slide. It is a lot smaller. I used the same wires from the plug for the old front slide controller to actuate the new solenoid. Note the red and white wires zip-tied in the old plug.
The old controller needed to be grounded in order to actuate. One or the other of the wires running to the slide switch would be grounded by the switch to run the slide in or out. The new solenoid works just the opposite. The key switch needs to supply +12 volts to actuate the solenoid one way or the other. It was a simple matter to remove the grounding wire from the rear of the key switch and connect it to a 12 volt source behind the switch panel.
That completes the installation. As I said on the National Yahoo group, the entire cost of the new installation was around $250. Getting the satisfaction of doing it myself and knowing I have a safe and more durable design – priceless!
Here’s a short video of the new gearmotor in operation:
’99 Trop-I-Cal 37’
Gig Harbor, WA