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Old 12-27-2014, 10:31 PM   #1
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Replacing mechanical awning with electric

Hi all. I haven't posted in a while and have traveled many miles since.

Last July I coming out of the mountains of eastern Utah heading for Moab about 7:30pm. I was hit by a heavy cross wind which sucked out my slide-out awning and shredded it. I initially thought we had suffered a blow out, it was that loud. Fortunately no structural damage occurred. We limped into Green River for the night. I borrowed a ladder the next morning from the Ace hardware and duct taped the #@&@#$ out of it. Come to find out the closest repair facility was in Grand Junction Co. Ten days later the parts finally came in from Dometic an we were on our way. We never made it to Moab.

Now in Wyoming we again hit heavy winds and the patio awning is partially sucked out, breaking one of the latches on the support arm. I was able to stop quickly enough to prevent any damage to the awning. We were able to deploy it and roll it back into its carrier. Again I drove carefully into the next town Gillette Wyoming. Again I found the Ace store and now I purchase a Six foot ladder. Its still is on board. I gave the awning a closer look and confirmed the latch on the arm had been broken. I duct taped it together on both arms and we continued toward the east coast and back to California without further incident.

Now for the real question! Has anyone converted from a mechanical patio awning to an electric driven? What brand did you settle (i.e. Care Free or Dometic) on and how has it worked out for you? Who did the work for you? I live in the SF east bay.

Thanks for you comments and assistance.
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Old 12-27-2014, 10:36 PM   #2
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Replaced my a&e manual with carefree electric. Not difficult but took four neighbors to help install new carefree.
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Old 12-27-2014, 11:45 PM   #3
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I have an electric awning. I always thought it was exempt from wind damage when stowed. I was wrong.

Recently I installed an awning lock. Now I can secure the stowed awning, while standing on the ground, and drive with peace of mind.

Save Your RV Awning with an RV Awning Travel Lock!
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Old 12-28-2014, 06:38 AM   #4
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Think twice, maybe three times before you change to electric. When they work great, when they don't it is almost impossible to close or fix.
I have A&E awnings, at different times the motors for both the over the door and the big awning have failed and had to be replaced. Closing them, especially the big one manually was , shall we say not easy. Repairing them was, expensive and challenging. Then the wiring harness from the coach to the control box developed a short so it only worked intermittently, requiring a Mcguyver type field repair. After a while I was wishing for my old manual awning with the lock so I could trust it to open and close.
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Old 12-28-2014, 10:13 AM   #5
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We have a Dometic Electric Awning and I wish we could replace it with an old fashioned manual awning! Because it comes out over a slide it is straight out and if it rains, even a little bit, it will collapse bending the arms. It is so weak that we rarely use it. Hate it!
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:31 AM   #6
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My slide topper (A&E) has an "anti-billow mechanism" that keeps the roller (and topper) from rolling out unless the slide is out.

It is basically an arm bolted onto the front end at about the 10:30 position. If you try to unroll the topper, it contacts the side of the rv and will not let the topper unroll. When the slide is opened, the roller moves out with the slide and the "arm" will clear the rv as it unrolls.

We just traveled from Missouri to Washington state via Yellowstone. Nasty, nasty side winds (from both sides) going through South Dakota and Wyoming. Slide toper never unrolled.

BTW, I made an awning lock for our main awning. Used a modified gate latch and the material bead hole in the awning cap. This was AFTER our tried to unroll in some moderate side wind a year ago. No issues since.
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Old 12-28-2014, 12:01 PM   #7
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Take a look at the Zip Dee mechanical awning.

Ours has built in locks and has not billowed in the past 12 years we have had it.
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Old 12-28-2014, 01:22 PM   #8
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The Zip Dee mechanical awning is bullet proof if you want to stay with mechanical. We replaced our Zip Dee with a Girrard electric which I consider the bullet proof elctric model.

You can go to the Girrard factory and save some $$ on an awning. They have some slightly freight damaged awnings which they will sell at a reduced price even after repairs are made. We got an extra long main awning and a separate door awning for way less than the cost of a single awning. That included choice of fabric, paint to match, and installation.
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Old 12-28-2014, 02:08 PM   #9
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Got a 94 vectra with mechanical awnings that we're getting caught by the wind wen I first bought it. Found that if you remove the brackets from the coach, you can wind the tension springs tighter and eliminate the problem.
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