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Old 04-26-2012, 07:04 PM   #1
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OK, this is for you electrical wizards

Gents,
The answer to this situation may be simple but, so far, it's eluded me. This might be a long post so, grab a beer, soda, some wine and relax and read.

We have an '04 Itasca Horizon, 36GD, with the 330 CAT. Mileage, around 44K. Here's the situation. Our door awning, the one over the entry door is electric. The control for it is on a switch panel just inside the door, right by the passengers right knee. That switch resides in a vertical row, along with about 10 other switches. Under normal conditions, that switch which, is a spring loaded toggle, is pushed on one side for "Out" and pushed on the other side for "In". The awning will extend and retract for the most part, normally.

However, here's what happens. If any of you have that same awning which we think is a "Carefree", you know that it has two arms, with what I'd call elbows in the middle of each arm. Now, in the fully retracted position, the elbows are folded in a tight bend and, the awning is against the coach. When you push the button to open or extend the awning, the motor turns, which in turn, turns a shaft that not only un-rolls the awning fabric but also converts sliding mechanisms to slide out the inner portion of those elbow/arms. All's well OK.

But, here's where the problem occurs. If, we let that awning go ALL the way out, that is until the elbows actually "lock" in the open position, when it comes time to retract it, there's not enough power to "Kink" the elbows and start the retraction process. And, if I try it too many times, it runs out of power completely for a minute or two.

If I wait, and manually kink the elbows myself and, push the button to retract at the same time, it will bring the awning in. If, I go all the way in 'till the awing is against the side of the coach and hold it for say, 2-3 seconds, then try and extend it again, there's no power. I have to wait. If, I don't hold it for the extended amount of time, it will go in and out, many times. It's only when the motor is strained for a few seconds that the system seems to shut down.

Now, when I run it all way out to the point the elbows are straight, and the normal switch will not bring it in, I can jump the two wires at the motor with an auxiliary battery and it will bring it in with no problem. Fact is, I can run it in, out, in, out, in, out as many times as I please and, even hold it in the out or in position and still run it in and out, it won't quit. But, working it normally with the switch, it has this problem. Hmmmmmm.

Here's some pics of the switch/wiring behind the switch etc. There's six wires that go to that switch. In doing some preliminary testing, for the life of me, I cannot find any of those contacts, in the wiring housing that attaches to that switch, that are "HOT". No matter what I try and do for combination of testing, touching any combo of contacts, I cannot light up my test light. But, hook that switch to the wiring harness and, out the awning goes and back in again. Now that's magic.

So, sorry for the long winded explanation but, it takes that much to paint as clear of a picture, of a "conditional" problem with this awning. It's like the switch is running out of power if there's a strain on it.
Scott


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Old 04-26-2012, 07:45 PM   #2
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Hi there,

After reading through your problem, it does indeed sound like a power related problem. It sounds like the motor is not getting enough power to generate the torque needed to retract the awning. There are several possibiliites for this. One is that your batteries are not adaquately charged to deliver the power needed (hence the unit working when you hook a battery directly to the switch.) Sceond is that to do the job, the motor is requiring more current than the circuit is designed to deliver. Even thought it doesn't blow the fuse, it can result in voltage loss in the power wiring to the switch.) In this second case, the question is why is the motor requiring more power than the circuit was designed to deliver (I am assuming that the awning worked previously). This could be a motor fault (drawing more current than it should) or it could be that the amount of energy needed to retract the awning has increased to the point that the system can't deliver enough torque.

I would start by cleaning and lubercating the arms and other mechanical portions of the system. Run them in and out a few times with the battery hooked directly to the switch. Then try it again connnected normally. If that doesn't work (and assuming your battery is good and fully charged) I would lean toward the motor.

Dave
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:57 PM   #3
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This is a pure guess, could there be an automatic resettable circuit breaker somewhere in the system. When it gets too hot, it shuts down until everything cools down. A lot of headlight systems have these types of circuit breakers instead of fuses.

You won't be able to read any voltage at the switch connectors unless the other lead of your meter is grounded. Jumpering between two "hot" leads won't display voltage.

Could the awning have been replaced with a slightly longer fabric? That would allow the awning to travel too far and cause the arms to lock.

Let us know what you find out.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:57 PM   #4
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Scott,

The little motors that run that awning are pretty much a POS. I have read a post somewhere on this forum that the plastic cover the goes over the motor can collect water when driving in rain and create a puddle at the bottom of that cover which in turn will allow the motor to become soaked with no where for the water to escape.

Could it be that the motor has become slightly damaged and will work under ideal conditions but when stressed it doesn't have enough power to work properly through the normal wiring loomb?

After reading the post (located somewhere) I drilled a 1/4 inch hole at the bottom of the cover to allow the water to drain out easily.



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Old 04-26-2012, 07:59 PM   #5
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I think all you need to do is adjust the motor limit (out) setting. See page eight of the attached service manual.

I don't think you have an electrical problem. The motor "stalls" when a low voltage condition occurs. This is probably caused by either mechanical binding of the arms or, they are over extended.

The motor may also have some sort of thermal or over-current protection feature. That may be the reason for your reset delay after the motor stalls.

Try lubricating everything and adjusting the limit switches.

As an aside, be sure to check the rotation pins (see page two). If the set screws come lose and they back partially out, the awning will not function properly. I had this problem when my coach was new and it caused the awning droop and hit the top of the entry door. I found both set screws loose and the pins completely out of the lower e-ring collars.

Service manual attached.
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File Type: pdf Marquee, Service Manual.pdf (1.37 MB, 93 views)
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:14 PM   #6
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Is there a limit switch or "stop" that might be letting it go out too far? This could be putting the mechanism in just enough of a bind as to not work correctly? Just a thought.
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by f14av8r View Post
I think all you need to do is adjust the motor limit (out) setting....
Yep.
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:43 PM   #8
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The switch probably provides a ground versus sending a 12 volt current to the motor. If the motor has enough resistance it probably won't let the test light come on due to the current limiting nature of the motor. If you use a voltmeter you will probably see 12 volts.

I bet a beer if you do the following you will have it fixed or be 95% there. As mentioned you could have a tired inline thermal breaker but looking at the socket I can see the problem.

It has been overheated/over worked and needs to be replaced. So how do you find one? Don't worry about it. Just cut one wire at a time off the back and put an insulated push on female connector and then attach it to the switch. Do this one wire at a time and when you are done the thing probably will work fine. What is happening is the socket is heating up and dropping the voltage across the switch instead of across the motor. Think of it as a garden hose that you are stepping on. You provide some resistance and the volume at the sprinkler head goes down.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:07 PM   #9
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Not All

Not all of them have limit switches. Mine didn't.

I was able to remove and re-install mine by myself because I had no other choice. I posted how I did it somewhere in this forum. Search for : Door Awning Refuses to Retract.

A friends door awning was doing exactly what you describe.

The hinges & Moving parts get stiff with age and collect 'munge'. We sprayed a little WD in moving parts & it worked OK. But the WD is just going to attract more dirt so perhaps a dry graphite lube would be better? Removal and cleaning probably would be even better.

Good idea to drill a hole to let water escape. You will need the little plastic (and expensive) pins to put the cover halves back together.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:09 PM   #10
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Fire up, it appears your door awning in the same as I had on my 03 Journey. The switches by the door do not wire directly to the motors on the awnings. They go to the awing control box located in the basement. There is over current protection build in the controls and it does not take a lot of binding to trip them.
Over the years I found that good lubrication was the key to smooth operation. Be sure an spray lubricate around the main motor shaft area where the shaft connect to the awing roll.
Check the motor housing for water and dirt. While you have the cover off drill a 3/8" hole in the botton to keep it drained.
One last thing you should have a manual crank that helps when things are binding while you lubricate.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmiller10 View Post
Hi there,

After reading through your problem, it does indeed sound like a power related problem. It sounds like the motor is not getting enough power to generate the torque needed to retract the awning. There are several possibiliites for this. One is that your batteries are not adaquately charged to deliver the power needed (hence the unit working when you hook a battery directly to the switch.) Sceond is that to do the job, the motor is requiring more current than the circuit is designed to deliver. Even thought it doesn't blow the fuse, it can result in voltage loss in the power wiring to the switch.) In this second case, the question is why is the motor requiring more power than the circuit was designed to deliver (I am assuming that the awning worked previously). This could be a motor fault (drawing more current than it should) or it could be that the amount of energy needed to retract the awning has increased to the point that the system can't deliver enough torque.

I would start by cleaning and lubercating the arms and other mechanical portions of the system. Run them in and out a few times with the battery hooked directly to the switch. Then try it again connnected normally. If that doesn't work (and assuming your battery is good and fully charged) I would lean toward the motor.

Dave


Dave,
First of all, I want to thank all of you for helping me to analyze this problem. This can be a worrysome situation, in the right predicament. As in, not retracting when we're packing up to either move on in a trip or, to go home and, it ain't coming in. Now, you mentioned the motor might need more battery power. The coaches batteries are almost brand new. They are (4) 6V Golf Cart, Costco batteries and, the coach remains plugged in 24/7. The "One Place" panel tells me they're at 13.2V constantly.


I measure them right at the posts about once a month and they're the exact same, 13.2 V. Now, in my tests, I did take the plastic cover off the motor. There appears that there has neen no puddling of water or, rust, or corrosion of any type. But, I'm only looking at the outside of the motor itself. There are two wires that connect to the motor. In my initial investigation when this happened while we were camping at our local desert, I found out that it appears the operation is the same exact operation as the Kwikee steps below the door and, the Kwikee slide step cover that provides a floor for the passenger while in transit.

And that operation is, those two wires on those motors serve "dual duties". That is, when rotating in one direction, one wire is "HOT" and one is "GROUND".

And, when rotating in the other direction, those wires assume opposite rolls. One more thing. You mentioned that it worked better when I hooked the auxiliary battery to the switch. Well, I may have mis-represented that. I don't hook the battery to the switch, I clip it right to the leads on the motor. When I do that, I can run that awning in and out as many times as I like and, it will run till the arms have straighted out completely and will over come the resistance of re-folding them elbows on the onset of the start of retraction.


Another words, by bypassing the entire wiring system/switch etc, and running that motor directly off an auxiliary battery, nothing stops that awning from extending or retracting, as many times, in as close in frequency as I want.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Martind4 View Post
This is a pure guess, could there be an automatic resettable circuit breaker somewhere in the system. When it gets too hot, it shuts down until everything cools down. A lot of headlight systems have these types of circuit breakers instead of fuses.

You won't be able to read any voltage at the switch connectors unless the other lead of your meter is grounded. Jumpering between two "hot" leads won't display voltage.

Could the awning have been replaced with a slightly longer fabric? That would allow the awning to travel too far and cause the arms to lock.

Let us know what you find out.

Martin,
Thanks for your input. I don't think that little motor is getting hot. After all, it's about 62 degrees outside and, in the latest test, I ran it out one time, to the full extent, arms completely straight and it would not over come the force needed to re-bend those elbows. I felt the motor, thinking what you suggested and it was completely cold. But, again, like stated above, a quick hook up of some jumper wires from an outside battery, and it came zooming right back in.


And, I know and realize how and where to use my Digital volt-ohm meter. I checked the input leads to the motor and it was 13V, making that motor extend or retract that awning. Now, as stated in m first original thread, as long as I don't tax that motor by holding on the button on the switch after it has stopped in extending or retracting, I can continue to use the switch and it will extend and retract several times without issue. It's only when I hold on the button for a second or two or three after it's stopped that the non-op happens. And, I can actually hear that motor trying to turn, in the form of a silent little "click".


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammie View Post
Scott,

The little motors that run that awning are pretty much a POS. I have read a post somewhere on this forum that the plastic cover the goes over the motor can collect water when driving in rain and create a puddle at the bottom of that cover which in turn will allow the motor to become soaked with no where for the water to escape.

Could it be that the motor has become slightly damaged and will work under ideal conditions but when stressed it doesn't have enough power to work properly through the normal wiring loomb?

After reading the post (located somewhere) I drilled a 1/4 inch hole at the bottom of the cover to allow the water to drain out easily.



Sammie


Sammie, thanks for your input too. I've had that little plastic cover off twice now and like stated above, I've noticed no evidence of puddling etc. in it's base. But, that doesn't mean it didn't or hasn't happened, it just means I can't see real evidence of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 336muffin View Post
Is there a limit switch or "stop" that might be letting it go out too far? This could be putting the mechanism in just enough of a bind as to not work correctly? Just a thought.
Well Sir, if there's a limit switch or stop, I have no idea where it would be but, I could certainly take a hunt for it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by YC1 View Post
The switch probably provides a ground versus sending a 12 volt current to the motor. If the motor has enough resistance it probably won't let the test light come on due to the current limiting nature of the motor. If you use a voltmeter you will probably see 12 volts.


I bet a beer if you do the following you will have it fixed or be 95% there. As mentioned you could have a tired inline thermal breaker but looking at the socket I can see the problem.

It has been overheated/over worked and needs to be replaced. So how do you find one? Don't worry about it. Just cut one wire at a time off the back and put an insulated push on female connector and then attach it to the switch. Do this one wire at a time and when you are done the thing probably will work fine. What is happening is the socket is heating up and dropping the voltage across the switch instead of across the motor. Think of it as a garden hose that you are stepping on. You provide some resistance and the volume at the sprinkler head goes down.


YC1,
I surely want to thank you for sending the link on the manual for that awning. I've got that saved now and will use it for all the needed referance to that awning. You think that switch is "Burnt"? Well, I looked at it real close and, all the contacts appear to be just fine. There is no evidence corrosion or heat of the contacts where the switch tangs enter the wiring receptical. Now, if you look at the picture of the switch, the lower pic, you'll see six tangs. In my test(s) with my VOM w/sound for resistance, I touched mutliple combinations of tangs and pushed each side of the rocker.


The sounds of the volt meter ohm function seemed to be perfect and on the opposite side of the "pushed" side. So, If I pushed on the right side, the left tangs had no resistance. If I pushed on the left side, the tangs on the right side had no resistance. The switch, from what I can tell, is in good shape. I'm no expert here. I suppose the contacts inside the switch could be burnt, I have no way of telling.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Muddypaws View Post
Not all of them have limit switches. Mine didn't.

I was able to remove and re-install mine by myself because I had no other choice. I posted how I did it somewhere in this forum. Search for : Door Awning Refuses to Retract.

A friends door awning was doing exactly what you describe.

The hinges & Moving parts get stiff with age and collect 'munge'. We sprayed a little WD in moving parts & it worked OK. But the WD is just going to attract more dirt so perhaps a dry graphite lube would be better? Removal and cleaning probably would be even better.

Good idea to drill a hole to let water escape. You will need the little plastic (and expensive) pins to put the cover halves back together.


Muddypaws,
Thanks to you and others here for suggesting I do a "cleaning and lubing" of that system. I should have (and will later) taken pictures of the outside of that awning. We got lucky when we purchased this coach. It's got the real fancy Gold annodized awning covers that for the most part, seal the entire awning when completely retracted. That includes the large patio awning too. I will look into seeing what it takes to get that system apart so a thourough exam can take place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grtharris View Post
Fire up, it appears your door awning in the same as I had on my 03 Journey. The switches by the door do not wire directly to the motors on the awnings. They go to the awing control box located in the basement. There is over current protection build in the controls and it does not take a lot of binding to trip them.
Over the years I found that good lubrication was the key to smooth operation. Be sure an spray lubricate around the main motor shaft area where the shaft connect to the awing roll.

Check the motor housing for water and dirt. While you have the cover off drill a 3/8" hole in the botton to keep it drained.
One last thing you should have a manual crank that helps when things are binding while you lubricate.


grtharris,
You could be right in the fact of the control box. However, at the moment, the only control box I have in the first compartment just to the aft of the right front tire is the "Wind Pro" control box. And to the best of my knowledge, that box is in control of the main patio awning and is the governer of that patio awning in the even of windy conditions. Since I'm pretty sure there's no wind sensors in the door awning, I'd just about bet that, that Wind Pro box has no bearing on the opertion of the door awning. Again, I'm no expert here, just trying to surmise.



Again to all, thanks so much for your sharing your experience and thoughts here. You can't believe how much I appreciate your suggestions. This door awning has done this little booboo thing every once in a while, while we've been camping and at home but, it hasn't really posed a problem 'till our last trip and we were packing up to come home and it would not retract. Fortunately, I had my motorcyle there too and I carry a set of jumper cables on the bike. I rolled the bike close to the door, popped out the jumper cables and connected them to the leads on the motor and zap, that awning went right in.

So now, it's time to try and figure out it's problem. Thanks again.
Scott
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:08 AM   #12
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As per the wireing diagram both awnings are power by the same control box.
Drawing 147416 S1 F3 location 18 B ( upper right hand corner)
I actualy made a plug so I could bypass the control box and move the awnings if the box when out. Which it did once.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:27 AM   #13
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I do not know how Carefree senses "Fully extended" I do know how A&E (Dometic) does it, So I will cover both methods..

But it sounds to me like the awning is over extending a bit.

Now, as I said there are two ways to sense full extension.

Method one is to use a limit switch.. With this kind of switch when the awning is fully extended, the switch either opens or closes sending a signal to the control board "Th-Th-Th-That's all Folks" and it stops.

The other method (Which A&E uses is to monitor motor current and when it climbs. SHUT DOWN. Usually works.

I suspect your awning is very slightly over extended.

Oh, the 2 minute pause.. Thermal breaker in the motor cooling down.
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:43 PM   #14
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It wasn't I that sent you the schematic but I did just look at one. Now that I see there on my schematic there is a relay involved with mine. That said yours may not have a relay and due to the looks of the female contacts I think this may be the case. It is easy to make a switch reverse voltage and they may have added a relay on later models because the switches were failing. In any case doing the following test will be a great place to start to determine if it is a ground issue or a supply issue.


I didn't re-read my post but if I said "switch I indeed mispoke". I truly meant to say the socket the switch goes into. Those contacts are on the right end are wide and look burned or dark. In any case you should at least use some needle nose pliars to make the connection tighter "AFTER" you use some sandpaper to make them shiny inside.

To prove a voltage drop, now I am confident you can use a digital voltmeter. Pull your shoreline cord out and use the ground lead to connect your voltmeter to for the ground. This will provide a known constant ground. Now measure both sides of the wire coming off the awning motor when going in and out. You should see zero volts or very close on the ground side and close to battery voltage on the high side. If you see voltgage on what should be the ground side during one of the operations then jumper that ground side to the ground of the shoreline cord. If it goes faster you need to chase that back. Make sure you don't reverse the switch during that procedure or you will be looking for the blown fuse.
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