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-   -   Main Awning conversion to electric (https://www.irv2.com/forums/f103/main-awning-conversion-to-electric-510212.html)

WoodyS 10-09-2020 06:41 PM

Main Awning conversion to electric
 
I've got a 2008 KSDP 3623 that has an A&E Dometic 9000 series manual main awning -- and I want to convert to electric. I don't need anything fancy such as auto-retract (WeatherPRO for example). I just want a good solid electric awning. I don't even need keyfob or remote control.

I see that Solera (part of Lippert Components) offers a manual to electric conversion kit. And if I understand how it works, I keep my original A&E rail, aluminum cover, awning material (which is Sunbrella and matches my other window and door awnings), and drum. And just the arms get replaced with the Solera motorized arms.

This sounds like exactly what I'd like. And I'm assuming it's cheaper than replacing my awning with even a Dometic electric awning -- unless Dometic offers a similar conversion kit.

Anyway, here are my questions:

1) Has anybody converted from a manual A&E 9000 to electric on a Newmar?
2) Is this Solera conversion kit good?
3) Any tips on powering the electric awning? Is the coach pre-wired? Where did you get the 12v power? Where did you install the controller?
4) Are there any arm to coach mounting tips I need to know about?
5) Other opinions/recommendations/cautions.

P.S. I just broke the spring torsion pin on the front arm and have to do something. So now seems like the time to convert to electric.

Thanks,
Woody

Skip426 10-09-2020 07:47 PM

JMHO: If the " KIT" doesn't have the ability to slope the awning for shade or water drainage ... you don't want it!:whistling:

howes1387 02-23-2021 07:26 PM

Did you end up doing the conversion? I am looking at doing the same and looking for people who have done it.

WoodyS 02-23-2021 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by howes1387 (Post 5648368)
Did you end up doing the conversion? I am looking at doing the same and looking for people who have done it.

I'm in the process of having the conversion done. The RV awning awning guy says he can do it for around $1,200 complete -- parts and labor. He'll be using all A&E/Dometic hardware. I'll keep my original awning, drum and the aluminum protector cover that my 18 ft. A&E 9000 manual awning already has.

That's all I know at the moment. I hope to meet with the guy at my coach and discuss details and schedule the project in the next day or so.

Skip Y 02-24-2021 02:59 PM

As the rafter arrangement is so different between A&E manual and power operated awnings, I'm curious as to how the conversion is done.

WoodyS 02-24-2021 10:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skip Y (Post 5649198)
As the rafter arrangement is so different between A&E manual and power operated awnings, I'm curious as to how the conversion is done.

My understanding is that I'll keep everything from my current A&E 9000 except the arms.

The new arms will be shorter and I don't think I'll have as much adjustability as to the overall pitch of the awning. I'm pretty sure the original lower arm mounting holes will have to be filled and sealed -- and at least two new mounting holes will need to be made. I currently have no idea how or where the guy will get 12v power for the arm motor.

Still waiting for a walk-through and more detailed explanation of the conversion.

bonzocfi 02-25-2021 08:51 AM

I have an electric awning with all the b's & w's. Wish I had the manual awning. I feel the electric is worthless. If it is windy, I bring the awning in. If it is raining, I bring the awning in. If I rely on the auto retract function, I'll be buying a new awning.

WoodyS 02-25-2021 11:09 PM

Sounds like you have an infamous WeatherPro awning. And what's more, you have one of about the same vintage as is on our 2005 5th Wheel trailer. It actually worked the first year we had it. But never since. And I've had it updated twice under warranty. Each time it got A&E's latest "fixed" version. And neither later version ever worked. It's the wind sensor that's the problem. So now, it's just a powered awning. And seriously, that's fine.

There are two main reasons we want to convert the manual awning that came with our 2008 KSDP over to powered.

1) So my wife can extend and retract it. The manual awning is way too complicated for her -- and requires too much strength.

2) Because the last time I brought it in, I did something really dumb -- and it got away from me -- and broke.

That said, I MUCH prefer the manual awning's rigidity and adjustability.

Oh. I just thought of a third reason I want to convert to a powered awning. The arms are well above my head! I've whacked my head on the manual arms more than once and I'm really tired of it -- even though I think I finally learned my lesson and haven't banged into an arm in over two years now.

WoodyS 03-10-2021 07:47 PM

3 Attachment(s)
OK, I now have a power awning. The awning guy just did the conversion from A&E/Dometic Manual 9000 to Power 9000 (or is it now a 9500?). All he did was replace the two arms, drill a hole in the sidewall for the power wires, connect those wires to 12v in the coach and install an OPEN/CLOSE switch. It took him almost exactly 2 hours and the total bill was just over $1,200 -- including parts, labor and tax.

Attachment 320881

Note that the awning is out too far in this work-in-progress shot. In the proper "normal" position, the outside edge is about a foot lower. And by adjusting the two independent angle adjustment slides, I can lower both or either end another 18" - 24".

All conversion parts were A&E/Dometic. No generics. And black to match my original awning hardware.

As I mentioned originally, I'd broken the front torsion assembly shaft. But the new motor conversion part included that part.

Details:

1) The new arms are about 18" shorter than the original manual arms. So he had to drill some new holes to mount the new shorter arms (middle and bottom). And yes, he gooped Silicone Seal in each new hole before putting in the screws or fancy expanding pop-rivets. And that left the two original mounting brackets lower down. He removed them and filled the holes with Silicone Seal.

2) To cover the old lower mounting holes (and slight paint fade difference and indentations the brackets left in the paint), he recommended I buy two amber reflectors (the plain flat rectangular or oval ones) and stick them over where the old brackets were. He usually has these and does it himself as part of the job, but he was sold out today. I doubt that I ever would have thought of such a clever idea for covering the old holes and marks.

3) He took 12v power for the awning motor from the false bottom of the overhead cabinet behind the passenger's chair. There's a 12v light fixture there and he spliced into that 12v line. NOTE: The false bottom of that cabinet was stapled in (instead of being screwed in as my Chinook's false cabinet bottoms are). So he had "fun" getting the bottom up enough to run wires and work. He removed the light and the hole behind it was large enough for him to get his hands in to pry the cabinet bottom and staples up. The original Newmar wiring for the light used those awful problematic "Scotchloc" electrical connectors. He cut them out and replaced with crimp connectors.

4) He installed the OPEN/CLOSE switch in the bottom front of that overhead cabinet. He didn't install a wireless controller box -- just the simple OPEN/CLOSE switch. But if I later want the wireless key-fob option, I can add that myself.

5) I (and others) were concerned about adjustability of the awning angle. These latest A&E/Dometic arms have both the "auto-dump" feature (if/when rain water builds up, the back awning arm will dip to drain the water -- and then spring back up. BUT in addition to that old feature, the new arms also are individually adjustable for awning angle. There's a knob you can loosen and pull the leading edge of the awning down -- looks like an additional 18" - 24." In "normal" position the awning is already at a mild angle (unlike the old A&E WeatherPRO awning on my 5Th Wheel Trailer which goes out almost perfectly straight).

The only complication with the new angle adjustment is that the awning will only fold up in the normal position. So if you change the angle, you have to re-adjust the arm/s you changed back to their normal positions before bringing the awning in.

Attachment 320882

For those contemplating this manual to power conversion yourself, I think these are the A&E/Dometic part numbers (or maybe this service guy's own part numbers):

Power Awning Hardware PAH
Power Awning Motor assembly PAM
Power Awning Torsion assembly MISC
Power Awning switch PAS

The guy who did my conversion is a RV awning specialist and he said these manual to power conversions are his main work. And the reason most people have the conversions done is that they've broken the manual awning one way or another (usually wind or hitting a tree) and it doesn't cost that much more to do the conversion to power. And he does so much of this work he even stocks all the parts himself.

Attachment 320883

I'm thrilled! Just what I'd hoped for.

bresdogsr 03-11-2021 04:11 AM

Looks great.
For future reference, who was the awning guy and where is he located?

WoodyS 03-11-2021 11:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bresdogsr (Post 5667719)
Looks great.
For future reference, who was the awning guy and where is he located?

Don Kosen of RV Tech in San Diego, CA. Don covers most of Southern California; Los Angeles County, Riverside County, Orange County and San Diego County. I think Imperial County also.

He's got a waiting list at the moment but I lucked out because of the rain. His other customers' RV's were outside. But mine is in an indoor RV storage place so he could work on my awning while it rained outside.

howes1387 03-12-2021 02:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WoodyS (Post 5667531)
OK, I now have a power awning. The awning guy just did the conversion from A&E/Dometic Manual 9000 to Power 9000 (or is it now a 9500?). All he did was replace the two arms, drill a hole in the sidewall for the power wires, connect those wires to 12v in the coach and install an OPEN/CLOSE switch. It took him almost exactly 2 hours and the total bill was just over $1,200 -- including parts, labor and tax.

Attachment 320881

Note that the awning is out too far in this work-in-progress shot. In the proper "normal" position, the outside edge is about a foot lower. And by adjusting the two independent angle adjustment slides, I can lower both or either end another 18" - 24".

All conversion parts were A&E/Dometic. No generics. And black to match my original awning hardware.

As I mentioned originally, I'd broken the front torsion assembly shaft. But the new motor conversion part included that part.

Details:

1) The new arms are about 18" shorter than the original manual arms. So he had to drill some new holes to mount the new shorter arms (middle and bottom). And yes, he gooped Silicone Seal in each new hole before putting in the screws or fancy expanding pop-rivets. And that left the two original mounting brackets lower down. He removed them and filled the holes with Silicone Seal.

2) To cover the old lower mounting holes (and slight paint fade difference and indentations the brackets left in the paint), he recommended I buy two amber reflectors (the plain flat rectangular or oval ones) and stick them over where the old brackets were. He usually has these and does it himself as part of the job, but he was sold out today. I doubt that I ever would have thought of such a clever idea for covering the old holes and marks.

3) He took 12v power for the awning motor from the false bottom of the overhead cabinet behind the passenger's chair. There's a 12v light fixture there and he spliced into that 12v line. NOTE: The false bottom of that cabinet was stapled in (instead of being screwed in as my Chinook's false cabinet bottoms are). So he had "fun" getting the bottom up enough to run wires and work. He removed the light and the hole behind it was large enough for him to get his hands in to pry the cabinet bottom and staples up. The original Newmar wiring for the light used those awful problematic "Scotchloc" electrical connectors. He cut them out and replaced with crimp connectors.

4) He installed the OPEN/CLOSE switch in the bottom front of that overhead cabinet. He didn't install a wireless controller box -- just the simple OPEN/CLOSE switch. But if I later want the wireless key-fob option, I can add that myself.

5) I (and others) were concerned about adjustability of the awning angle. These latest A&E/Dometic arms have both the "auto-dump" feature (if/when rain water builds up, the back awning arm will dip to drain the water -- and then spring back up. BUT in addition to that old feature, the new arms also are individually adjustable for awning angle. There's a knob you can loosen and pull the leading edge of the awning down -- looks like an additional 18" - 24." In "normal" position the awning is already at a mild angle (unlike the old A&E WeatherPRO awning on my 5Th Wheel Trailer which goes out almost perfectly straight).

The only complication with the new angle adjustment is that the awning will only fold up in the normal position. So if you change the angle, you have to re-adjust the arm/s you changed back to their normal positions before bringing the awning in.

Attachment 320882

For those contemplating this manual to power conversion yourself, I think these are the A&E/Dometic part numbers (or maybe this service guy's own part numbers):

Power Awning Hardware PAH
Power Awning Motor assembly PAM
Power Awning Torsion assembly MISC
Power Awning switch PAS

The guy who did my conversion is a RV awning specialist and he said these manual to power conversions are his main work. And the reason most people have the conversions done is that they've broken the manual awning one way or another (usually wind or hitting a tree) and it doesn't cost that much more to do the conversion to power. And he does so much of this work he even stocks all the parts himself.

Attachment 320883

I'm thrilled! Just what I'd hoped for.

Thank you for the details.

How did he put the wires through the wall and where, I am wondering if he just silicones around the or has some sort of bulkhead fitting.

WoodyS 03-12-2021 10:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by howes1387 (Post 5669054)
Thank you for the details.

How did he put the wires through the wall and where, I am wondering if he just silicones around the or has some sort of bulkhead fitting.

He drilled a hole through the awning support, coach side-wall, ran the two wires, and Silicone Sealed around the wires.

As to where he drilled the hole. He put a tape mark on the window next to where the arm was mounted. Then once he had access to the cabinet's false bottom, made measurements from the center (of the top to bottom space) of the false bottom (where the 12v wires to the light was) to that tape.

Then he went outside and measured from the tape mark to where the center of the cabinet's false bottom was and drilled the hole through the back of the new arm, through the coach's sidewall, and into the cabinet's false bottom space. He'd of course established that the cabinet overlapped where the awning arm was. And his measurements were good as the hole ended up being perfectly centered top to bottom in the false bottom space.

He did this after all the new arm hardware had been installed, aligned and tested. Incidentally, he tested the awning after the new arms had been installed, but before drilling the hole through the side of the coach), with the battery pack of one of his cordless tools. That cracked me up. But that's all it takes to run the awning out and back. The motor doesn't draw that much current.

WoodyS 03-12-2021 11:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bonzocfi (Post 5649944)
I have an electric awning with all the b's & w's. Wish I had the manual awning. I feel the electric is worthless. If it is windy, I bring the awning in. If it is raining, I bring the awning in. If I rely on the auto retract function, I'll be buying a new awning.

I have an A&E WeatherPRO awning on my 2005 5th Wheel trailer and it only worked for about 6 months. I had it repaired under extended warranty and by that time A&E was up to generation-3 of the system. And that one never worked even a single day!

So I gave up, turned the automatic sensor off, and have been using it as a simple power awning ever since. That system has both a sensor ON/OFF switch as well as a manual IN/OUT switch on the controller, as well as the wireless key-fob controller.

HOWEVER -- I just learned while talking to the installer that the latest versions of these "automatic" awnings no longer have a sensor ON/OFF switch or a manual IN/OUT button! So it's harder to manually operate them.

But to get around this, you don't need a new awning at all. All you need is a simple switch. That's what my conversion has -- just a IN/OUT switch. It doesn't have that big black controller box at all. And to convert to a simple power awning, all you need is to remove that entire controller box and have the simple IN/OUT switch put in its place.

I'm sure you could do it yourself. Or, a professional could probably do it in 15 minutes.

And if I were in your shoes, that's what I'd do -- remove the controller box and install the simple IN/OUT switch. Unfortunately, you lose the wireless ability without the controller box.

As the installer explained to me, the automatic wind sensor systems have built-in time-delay features so the awning doesn't retract as soon as there's a little wind gust. Instead they sense a gust (or the newer systems sense vibrations on the arm) and then wait to see if it happens again within a minute or so. If it happens again within the time-span, the awning retracts. But if it doesn't happen again within the time-span, it does nothing.

The problem is, many wind storms (particularly in deserts) come on full-blast without much warning. And by the time the auto-sense system figures that there's a real wind danger -- it's too late and the awning has been destroyed.

So better to take no chances and trust no automated systems. At least that's my opinion.


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