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Old 06-17-2019, 09:24 AM   #1
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2017 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
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Carefree Freestyle RM Awning - Operation Reversed - Help!

Hello all -- first, I know there's a forum for items like the awning, but since most Interstates are shipped with this awning, I'm looking here for help with this problem. Unfortunately I've had minimal help from Carefree of Colorado and their suggestions have not helped, so I'm hoping someone here has had similar issues or one of the engineers who I know frequent these forums can help troubleshoot my problem.


Here’s a review of the history:
  • I damaged the awning hitting a low rafter which pushed the unit backward on the mount about two inches.
    • Both left and right end caps were broken.
    • I’ve restored the awning to its correct location and replaced both endcaps.
    • To replace the left end cap (motor end) I had to cut and subsequently splice all wires. I soldered the connections and reviewed the colors carefully to be sure all connections are correct – they are!
    • I tried to fine tune the motor in and out limits. The “in” limit seems to be correct, but I’ve never been able to adjust the “out” limit to stop the motor and I may have gotten it way out of specs in my efforts.
  • The awning operates perfectly mechanically, i.e. extends and retracts as it did when new, however …
  • Several operating “quirks”
    • The operation of the switch is backwards. “Extend” retracts and vice versa.
      • Again, I’ve checked the wires and they are all correct.
      • The awning is not rolled backwards; it rolls off the top.
    • If I extend the awning 95% (before sagging) I can retract normally.
    • If I extend the awning beyond initial sagging then try to retract, it stops shortly after the sagging is gone. Pressing the button again will not cause it to retract unless I switch the power off and on again, then it will continue to retract.
    • I tried reversing the brown and gray wires at the direct control module and the “extend” and “retract” functions are no longer reversed (but now the wires are reversed!).
    • If I shake the awning to simulate gusting winds it retracts for a second or two then reverses and extends (yikes!). This is true whether I have the brown and gray wires "correct" or reversed.
  • My guesses:
    • Could incorrect setting of the out limit on the motor cause this?
    • Is the direct control module malfunctioning? It looks fine physically but may have been damaged when the awning was pushed backward.
The awning is functional but my biggest concern is safety, especially the gusty wind behavior.


Thanks in advance for any help!


David
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:19 PM   #2
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ARCHERTC - First, sorry about the troubles. My guess is the Direct Control module got damaged, maybe the wires shorted out somehow from the motor end cap side depending on state of power to the unit at time of accident. Since I do not know enough about the original engineering of the Direct Control module, my guess is as good as yours. However, engineering logic seems to defy that Carefree designed their module to behave that way JUST because you have overshot the limits way out there. But then again, we all know we've seen weird engineering designs within all of our AI's every year, right?

Your "Quirks" list is what leads me to believe it is the Direct Control module somehow getting damaged. I think (from reading your accounting) that you are already leaning towards that. On mine, I can't even open it other than remove that plastic protective covering. So if it happened to my unit, it would be a R&R situation since I would not be able to look inside. Even if I did, I have no access tot heir processor diagrams, so I would not even know what to do with it once I have it's guts exposed.

This is their procedure by their book (if you already didn't do it this way, worth re-doing OUT limit switch):

"If the fabric sags:
3.1. Retract the awning until the fabric is tight then retract an addition 10"-12".
3.2. Using a 4mm Allen wrench turn the “OUT” limit switch COUNTERCLOCKWISE to reduce the time the
motor runs.
3.3. Extend to confirm that the adjustment is correct.
3.4. Repeat the procedure until the awning extends correctly"

Wiring diagram attached & pic of DC module in case you need it. Good luck

EDIT: Pull fuses out and strap both sides of lead rail until you get it sorted. Also, may want to make your own short home-made switch/wiring harness and attach directly to the connectors of the DC module to eliminate the original harness but only after you re-do the OUT limit adjustment again.
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:17 AM   #3
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Hi Alex - thanks so much for you input. There are two observations which seem like clues. One, if I reverse the brown and grey wires, the switch work "properly", but the awning extends in a Gusty winds simulation regardless. Second, the way that the awning won't retract fully if "overextended" without turning the power switch off and on again. I don't know how the DC module would "know" that position which suggests a mechanical issue (motor limits) but the fact that I have to turn the power of then on suggests an electronic issue. Thoughts about this?

Thanks again!
David
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcherTC View Post
Hi Alex - thanks so much for you input. There are two observations which seem like clues. One, if I reverse the brown and grey wires, the switch work "properly", but the awning extends in a Gusty winds simulation regardless. Second, the way that the awning won't retract fully if "overextended" without turning the power switch off and on again. I don't know how the DC module would "know" that position which suggests a mechanical issue (motor limits) but the fact that I have to turn the power of then on suggests an electronic issue. Thoughts about this?

Thanks again!
David
DAVID - Yes, I agree. Those 2 behaviours is what leads me to believe the issue is an electronic/controller/brains issue. Not merely a mechanical or wiring issue. Without me standing right in front of it, but your description of the work you did, it seems you went through it thoroughly and doubtful that you crossed any wires in your solder job. Besides there aren't that many wires and they are all color coded. One has to really be color-blind to mess up our re-connections. Plus you even went out of your way to prove it by intentionally reversing the wires.

The question now is how expensive is the Direct Control module coz that is the only way to finalize the troubleshooting.

UPDATE: Looks to be around $80

UPDATE2: I seem to be interchanging DC & DR habitually - Direct Control vs. Direct Response. The accurate Carefree term is DR (Direct Response).
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:21 AM   #5
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DAVID - Just want to revisit the wiring just to confirm. You said you "soldered the connections and reviewed the colors carefully to be sure all connections are correct" AND "reversing the brown and gray wires at the direct control module and the “extend” and “retract” functions are no longer reversed (but now the wires are reversed!).

How did you connect the motor lead wires at the end cap?
1. brown-to-brown and blue-to-blue? - This is INCORRECT
2. brown-to-blue and blue-to-brown? - This is CORRECT <-- Pls. confirm

And at the Direct Response side?
1. brown-to-black and blue-to-red? - This is INCORRECT
2. brown-to-red and blue-to-black? - This is CORRECT

This would only address the "switch work "properly" " issue. But not the other "gusty wind" and "overextend" issue. That I still believe is both DR & Limit adjustment
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Old 06-20-2019, 08:58 AM   #6
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Solved!

Hi Alex -- OMG you're right about the motor wire colors at the endcap and I missed that! Why in the world would they reverse the colors?


Ironically, I decided to try reversing them before reading your note and the unit performed properly, both the switch extend and retract functions and the gusty wind retraction. I thought I had it backwards but hey, it was working the way it should so I was happy to live with it.


In fact I restored the factory setup .


Thanks so much for your thorough review and assistance -- I won't be worrying anymore why I had to wire it backwards! (it's not!)



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Old 06-20-2019, 11:09 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ArcherTC View Post
Hi Alex -- OMG you're right about the motor wire colors at the endcap and I missed that! Why in the world would they reverse the colors?
DAVID - Well, just remember what I said in my very first response - "But then again, we all know we've seen weird engineering designs within all of our AI's every year, right?" This is just one of those. You & I would assume because common-sense dictates brown-to-brown & blue-to-blue would be the right wiring connections.

You are welcome.
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