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Old 04-02-2014, 01:35 PM   #1
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Automatic awnings......IMO useless

I guess it is my day to vent. Am I the only one who, having had several RV's with the manual awnings, think the Carefree, A&E, Girard, etc. auto awnings are pretty much useless and generally more trouble than they are worth.

We're on a 2 week trip and have tried in the past three days to sit under the awning and enjoy a little shade. Breezes that my previous manual awnings would have laughed at make this thing stow. And while it is trying to stow, if a little bit of wind gets under the fabric, it acts like a drunk stork.

We're headed to the beach and I know we will likely not be able to use it. I will see all those folks with the good old manual awnings, maybe with a couple of tie down straps, sitting in the shade and laughing at all of us with our big class A rigs with awnings that are useful only on calm days .

When my Carefree eventually dies, I will surely investigate the possibility of replacing it with a manual that I can actually use and enjoy.

I feel better now....
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:43 PM   #2
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Never had an auto one, but if I were to design one, I would include a bypass switch for situations like yours.
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smlranger View Post
I guess it is my day to vent. Am I the only one who, having had several RV's with the manual awnings, think the Carefree, A&E, Girard, etc. auto awnings are pretty much useless and generally more trouble than they are worth.

We're on a 2 week trip and have tried in the past three days to sit under the awning and enjoy a little shade. Breezes that my previous manual awnings would have laughed at make this thing stow. And while it is trying to stow, if a little bit of wind gets under the fabric, it acts like a drunk stork.

We're headed to the beach and I know we will likely not be able to use it. I will see all those folks with the good old manual awnings, maybe with a couple of tie down straps, sitting in the shade and laughing at all of us with our big class A rigs with awnings that are useful only on calm days .

When my Carefree eventually dies, I will surely investigate the possibility of replacing it with a manual that I can actually use and enjoy.

I feel better now....
Turn off the wind sensor at the control box. Then you can add a drop down screen shade and stake it to the ground. Now if it is real windy you would have to be careful with any type of awning. Also stow the awning at night or when you will be away. Worked for me.
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:47 PM   #4
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That is precisely why I bought a used 5th Wheel. When looking and trying to decide new vs used I looked at everyone's great new electric awnings that stuck straight out about 12 foot high, were not able to be lowered to 3-4 feet off the ground to block the late evening sun and constantly rolled themselves back up. I went with a 5 y/o 5th wheel with a functional awning!
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:47 PM   #5
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Mine has a high med and low switch for the range of wind abuse before it stows or a on off setting as well.

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Old 04-02-2014, 01:50 PM   #6
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I leave the sensor turned off. If I think it's getting too windy, I bring it in with the touch of a switch. If I'm going to be away from the coach, I bring the awning in. No problem.
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:59 PM   #7
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I too turned off the wind sensor and I was much happier.
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Old 04-02-2014, 02:33 PM   #8
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I rarely use the awning.
Google Earth lets me choose long-term sites where my rig would face West or North, so there is shade on the door side during the warmer times of day.
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Old 04-02-2014, 03:08 PM   #9
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Got to agree. I had manual awnings on several rigs and after tying them down, they were good for a fairly still breeze. The electric one on our Montana doesn't have a wind sensor, but the arms are so flimsy, I'd never try tying them down.
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Old 04-02-2014, 03:25 PM   #10
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We have one on our Forest River Georgetown and it is useless. It comes out pretty much straight with just enough slope to drain water but not far enough to shade anything but the coach. The wind sensor works but by the time it brings the awning in the storm would have arrived. I really miss my old manual awnings that worked, sloped and shaded everyone. It is so useless I seldom put it out except to dry it off. The next lucky person that buys this coach can figure out how to make it work.
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Old 04-02-2014, 03:38 PM   #11
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Thank you so much for posting your concerns.

I've been tossing around the idea of a replacement automatic awning for my HR Endeavor, as the bar locks and the handles that adjust the height are all worn out after 15 years. The fabric is not too bad, yet faded a bit.

After reading your post, nada, ain't going to do it...

I think I will just buy all the rebuild parts and maybe a nice new fresh fabric and call it done. Should cost me only a few hundred or so to get it looking good again.

If there's one thing I like is a low cover awning. I've noticed many of the autos don't do that too well.
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Old 04-02-2014, 03:43 PM   #12
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I have fulltimed with both manual and electric. Currently I have an electric Weather Pro. I would swap it even up for a manual awning in a heartbeat.
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Old 04-02-2014, 04:02 PM   #13
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I don't think they are useless but you do have to be careful. As for the one that come straight out over a slide is a bad manufacture design on the part of MH.
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Old 04-02-2014, 05:31 PM   #14
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I've certainly turned the wind sensor off as suggested. However, the hardware is so much more flimsy than the manual awnings I've had, I don't trust the Carefree not to get mangled in a quick burst of wind.

The other limitations have also been noted.... most of these are not able to be pitched very much and really are limited in terms of provision of shade and protection from rain. With my manuals, I could pitch the awning down very low and sit under it in all but the most heavy rains.

Part of the limitations are self imposed. Having a four slide coach (DW fell in love with the two LR slides) limits the way an awning can be mounted and deployed. Unless, of course, you have an awning mounted directly to the slide room. I've seen those but they are limited in length buy the slide room.

The price we pay, I guess, for having to have these fancy things
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