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Old 01-26-2021, 04:52 PM   #1
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From manual to motorized patio awning

Has anyone replaced their manual patio awning with a motorized one? My RV is a 2002 Land Yacht (Airstream) diesel pusher. As a solo RV'r, it is impossible to raise and lower it by myself. Even with help, it's quite the ordeal. Experience and advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-26-2021, 06:08 PM   #2
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Cindy in CDA-

What is the make and model of the awning that is on your RV now?

My coach has a Carefree of Colorado manual awning, the kind with the springs. Carefree offers a conversion kit to remove the springs and use a manual crank instead. I installed that kit. The awning is much easier to handle now. Perhaps something similar is available for your RV.
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Old 01-26-2021, 06:23 PM   #3
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I replaced my damaged original manual awning on our 96 Fleetwood Storm with a motorized Carefree Travel'r in 2019. I could not be happier with it. The cost difference between manual and motorized was not that much and ease of use is soo much better with the motorized one. The old manual one was such a pain to put out and retract that I seldom used it.
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Old 01-26-2021, 07:59 PM   #4
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Cindy.....you need to determine how you will use your awning to decide what is best. If you like to stay in one play for long periods of time, like 7-10 days, and keep it open in the rain, you may want to stick with a manual awning and figure out a way to make it work.

If you're like us, we typically only stay in one place for a few days and we only put out the awning when we're sitting under it. As soon as we go in, we bring it in. In our situation, the powered awning is a better choice.

One of your issues may be the design of your coach (Airstream curved walls) and do you have the structure under the skin to support a powered awning (can the roof carry all the weight)
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Old 01-26-2021, 08:40 PM   #5
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I briefly considered it for our 2007 Coachmen Mirada. Looking at the install data as best I could determine on a couple of models, I would have to fish power and control wiring up inside an exterior wall. Other options were out thru the roof and across the roof outside (probably in plastic conduit), or inside in exposed decorative conduit, and carefully penetrate the wall in exactly the right place with some sort of decorative cover and sealant outside.

I have run wiring under the coach and also penetrated the floor a couple of places for new 12V and Ethernet wiring. But Im not sure how I would run awning power and control wires inside an exterior wall, which is full of insulation and has aluminum struts at unknown places. I desired not to run conduit on the roof or exposed inside.

So due to the following, I opted for fabric replacement on the old manual guts:
- no good options I could think of for running wires to the unit
- expense $$$ on an older motorhome
- the units I looked at looked more susceptible to wind than the strutted manual one I have now.
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Old 01-27-2021, 07:34 AM   #6
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I've owned several manual awnings and all of the could be raised or lowered one side at a time although I had to do it in several steps and alternate between front and back to complete the steps. Our current motorhome has an electric awning but I wish it had a manual because it needs to be rolled up at much lower wind velocities. We dare not leave it out when we leave the site.
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Old 01-27-2021, 07:53 AM   #7
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Airstream Power Awning

https://www.colonialairstream.com/power-awning/
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Old 01-27-2021, 08:09 AM   #8
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I am in the process of Replacing the (1 year only) Zip-Dee Air/Electric patio awning with a manual Zip-Dee... It has NEVER worked like it should, even when new..
After the fiasco with the air/electric, Foretravel went with the Girard system.. Unfortunately, our coach does not have the needed backing support panels to support the Girard.
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Old 01-27-2021, 12:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evofxdwg View Post
I briefly considered it for our 2007 Coachmen Mirada. Looking at the install data as best I could determine on a couple of models, I would have to fish power and control wiring up inside an exterior wall. Other options were out thru the roof and across the roof outside (probably in plastic conduit), or inside in exposed decorative conduit, and carefully penetrate the wall in exactly the right place with some sort of decorative cover and sealant outside.

I have run wiring under the coach and also penetrated the floor a couple of places for new 12V and Ethernet wiring. But Im not sure how I would run awning power and control wires inside an exterior wall, which is full of insulation and has aluminum struts at unknown places. I desired not to run conduit on the roof or exposed inside.

So due to the following, I opted for fabric replacement on the old manual guts:
- no good options I could think of for running wires to the unit
- expense $$$ on an older motorhome
- the units I looked at looked more susceptible to wind than the strutted manual one I have now.
The teck who installed mine had similar concerns about the extra expense of installing the switch on an interior wall. He suggested that we use an waterproof switch (from Carefree) as it would save several hours of installation expense installed outside near the front support arm. I later installed a power cot off switch in the front storage bay so that the switch would be disabled when the MN was unattended.
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Old 01-27-2021, 03:14 PM   #10
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I'm wondering why deploying your manual awning is such a chore - the several manuals I've owned have all been easy enough for one person. Maybe your awning is out of adjustment or damaged, or perhaps just some friendly advise on procedure? Or maybe you need a better manual awning than whatever yours came with.



Power awnings are generally easy enough to use deploy & retract, but they often aren't as effective as manual awnings when it comes to sun & rain protection, rain run-off, and winds.
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Old 01-27-2021, 03:57 PM   #11
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We had a manual awning on our old '94 Airstream Legacy, and now we have a power one on the present rig.

I would just as soon have another manual because the power awning as there is no way to lower it for more shade when the sun is low. Also, it has that annoying habit of dumping water off one end at the most inoppertune time.

With the manual, you can have one end low to drain the water also.

I would think long and hard about going electric. Maybe have someone take a look at yours. It might just need some adjustments like others have said.
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Old 01-27-2021, 04:24 PM   #12
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If you slide the pull strap to near the end with the latch on it you will have no more problems retracting it. Nothing says the strap has to be in the middle. On a previous trailer I did that for years with no ill effects.
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Old 01-28-2021, 12:38 PM   #13
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Good tip. Placing the pull-strap nearer one end makes deployment quite a bit easier. I also wonder if Cindy has an awning hook and if her strap has a loop for the hook to pull. That too makes a big difference.
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Old 01-29-2021, 07:12 AM   #14
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