Let’s talk about RV awnings…
We kind of like our awning. Why? It provides shade and a little protection when we want to sit outside. It also helps keep the passenger side of the coach cooler by keeping the direct sun from coming in to the living area and cooking me as I work.
But we don’t like it when it’s broken.
Let’s rewind for a minute…
When did we last use it? Well we used it in our driveway in Virginia Beach before we left. It auto-retracted when it got windy and we think that’s the last time we used it. We tried using it when we were in Gettysburg, PA, to no avail. There was nothing coming from the extend/retract switch. Nada. We added it to our ‘fix’ list.
After Gettysburg, we stopped in Boston, for a night. Suddenly, we lost half the power to the panel that housed the awning switch. That included the reader for the water, grey and black tanks, as well as the on/off for the hot water heater! Yeah – that’s helpful! In the rain (things always break when it’s raining!) John was able to get most of the panel back up and running by changing a fuse, but as soon as we tried opening the awning again… it fried. Again.
No Hot Water? I Don’t Think So!
Hot water is kind of a necessity so we took all hands off our awning switch, and left it alone until we arrived in Maine where we’d heard of a superhero mobile RV technician called ‘Randy’. After a couple of phone calls, we finally connected (the dude is busy!) and booked him to take a look at the awning. He stopped out during the second week we were in Maine. After some reverse engineering, he said – ‘it needs a new motor’. Ok – how do we get one of those? He ordered one from the manufacturer, and we waited… For a week.
It Works! Oh Wait a Minute…
Fortunately we were able to book another week in Maine (ok – it wasn’t that hard of a decision!) and Randy came back a week later, to install the new motor. It worked…. for a minute. Agh! So over the course of the next day, John and Randy reverse engineered the whole system, ordered another part, and kept looking for a short. Collectively, they eventually found that all the wiring that powered the awning was being synched in the mechanism of the awnings. And squishing the cables , shorting them. Aha! 3 days, 2 new parts, 1 RV technician, and a Security Engineer later, and we had a working awning! Phew!
Note: After reading a heap of blogs, reviews, and Facebook posts, we learnt that these particular awnings have caused many problems for RV owners. We’re happy it isn’t just us! Anyway, we have been using our awning now a couple of times and so far, so good! (Touch wood, knock on wood, and cross everything that ours stays functional!)