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Old 01-31-2019, 06:39 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by orlik View Post
I was concerned about the confusion my post might cause but I thought I would post it anyway since it was what I was told by CAREFREE or at least what I understood them to say. Hopefully we'll get to the bottom of it. I think for now if you are concerned about deployment while traveling then by all means strap it down. That is an individual decision. I'm just not there yet for my MY rig. Right now it not clear to me that we should be comparing the Fiamma to the CAREFREE. Maybe that is naivete on my part since I'm new to rving.

Did not mean to imply the one-way drive was power actuated. Michelle explained that once power is applied to the motor it unlocks the one-way drive. I asked several times about just how is that accomplished and did not get a clear answer. I specifically asked about some kind of latching mechanism and again no definitive answer. I don't think she was technical enough to get into that sort of detail. Or maybe that is where they are having some issues and she was avoiding getting into that part of the operation. She used the term "lock" when explaining extracting and detraction. The one-way drive is locked when detracted and unlocked when extracted. After speaking with her it dawned on me that if that lock failed then the awning would deploy if there was power to the motor. This is all too confusing and there are a lot of unanswered questions. There must be something in the motor tube that allows the one-way drive to free wheel out.
Mechanical I suspect. Until we know how the unit is locked in place then we are guessing about what might be wrong. But I am going to add to the pack -up list to make sure the awning power switch is off


It would be helpful if SHAMUS and WACHUKO expanded on their issues more since they are using the same CAREFREE Freedom model as ours.

Well, I hope some of this helps TRONADORA. I think if it was me I would go manual with some kind of pole system assuming you could do it where it still looked proper and you did not have to drill new holes. I see people with their awnings out at campsites without a worry in the world, rain or shine - windy or not.
ORLIK - Yes, very confusing indeed. And it doesn't surprise me that we got differing answers and they did not know (or worse, they did not want to really explain the workings). I am acquiring a spare power awning from a friend that is a brand new take off from a ClassB. I do not know the brand, but it will be my guinea pig to take apart and figure this out.

FYI it is actually much easier to convert back to manual. Just need to remove tubular/motor assembly and put the manual crank/winch in it's place. I have looked at both the CAREFREE FREEDOM & FIAMMA F65 EAGLE diagrams and both are parts swaps. The only caution is you need 2-persons so that the spring arms can be properly restrained with rope/tie-downs.

FYI-2 - The motorized CAREFREE differs with the motorized FIAMMA in that CAREFREE uses a tubular motor that goes inside the awning hollow roller, while FIAMMA use a single motor drive only. IMHO on the surface, the CAREFREE seems a better system because the tubular unit would evenly absorb the spring tension across it's entire length. The FIAMMA has 2 separate end caps attached to the actual hollow awning roller that could affect those twisting forces. Just an opinion, I have no data to prove which is a better design.
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Old 02-01-2019, 06:11 AM   #44
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I heard my name invoked on this subject I've been laying low, wintering in Costa Rica (near a town called Tronadora), and we'll back in the AI full time again by April or May.

When our awning automatically deployed in a gentle fashion when parked (happened only once), it was a sunny day, I had not been fiddling with anything, and I don't believe I had just washed the rig, so I don't think water in the wiring caused it, but I could be wrong. We had however been experiencing motor/gear skipping at full extension and when trying to get it to fully retract and latch... just at the two extremes, not in between. We had also been having trouble getting the latches to take hold (I know this now... did not understand the inner workings then).

The only reason I went with a motorized replacement (from "cough" Fiamma) was so that the rig would be stock and not "downgraded" for the next owner. I would suggest manual awnings to all who ever need to consider a replacement. My only question (and I figure Alex or someday knows the answer) is this: on a manual awning, do you still need to use straps if your gears have never skipped a tooth?

Re: use of legs on an awning... the ones that simply plant on the ground seem to only have value in the rain, which I would only recommend on a manual awning... and with an intentional tilt for runoff. In the wind I don't think you gain anything as the poles could become flailing jousting sticks unless they are somehow secured earthbound. Trusting the poles to be cleated to the van's side would be OK I think in low winds, but if things get gusty then all bets are off.
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Old 02-01-2019, 02:30 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Tronadora View Post
I heard my name invoked on this subject I've been laying low, wintering in Costa Rica (near a town called Tronadora), and we'll back in the AI full time again by April or May.

When our awning automatically deployed in a gentle fashion when parked (happened only once), it was a sunny day, I had not been fiddling with anything, and I don't believe I had just washed the rig, so I don't think water in the wiring caused it, but I could be wrong. We had however been experiencing motor/gear skipping at full extension and when trying to get it to fully retract and latch... just at the two extremes, not in between. We had also been having trouble getting the latches to take hold (I know this now... did not understand the inner workings then).

The only reason I went with a motorized replacement (from "cough" Fiamma) was so that the rig would be stock and not "downgraded" for the next owner. I would suggest manual awnings to all who ever need to consider a replacement. My only question (and I figure Alex or someday knows the answer) is this: on a manual awning, do you still need to use straps if your gears have never skipped a tooth?

Re: use of legs on an awning... the ones that simply plant on the ground seem to only have value in the rain, which I would only recommend on a manual awning... and with an intentional tilt for runoff. In the wind I don't think you gain anything as the poles could become flailing jousting sticks unless they are somehow secured earthbound. Trusting the poles to be cleated to the van's side would be OK I think in low winds, but if things get gusty then all bets are off.
TRONADORA - Nice winter hideaway! So jealous My former boss at HP was relocated to CR to head our big call center there and he has been wanting me to visit. One day I will take him up on it.

Based on diagrams (motorized & manual) I have seen for my CAREFREE FREEDOM and your FIAMMA F65 Eagle, the only diff between the motorized vs. manual is the presence of the motor & it's supporting structure. CAREFREE achieves this by removing it's manual crank assembly and replacing it with the tubular motor & one-way drive assembly. This affects both the left/drive side, right side, and entire length of roller tube. FIAMMA achieves this by actually building the motor & it's supporting infrastructure 'AROUND' it's existing winch assembly. All the modifications happen on the left/drive side only. This is a huge difference because on paper, it may appear that the CAREFREE design for it's motorized version may be less susceptible to that right side (leading edge) catching wind by virtue of having that secondary one-way drive mechanism that is on that same side. The FIAMMA has none of that mechanism that I can see on the diags.

Talking strictly about your FIAMMA F65 Eagle, their diags are actually way, way better than CAREFREE. I was able to pull up breakdown of their motor kit, along with pics of the associated differing & common parts. The manual version has the winch. It appears to be made of plastic but with an internal metal square drive. A plastic winch slot is attached to it via a pin. On the motorized version, this winch slot is not installed. It is left exposed for the supplied FIAMMA hex drive to attach to in case the awning needs to be retracted manually. To create the motorized version, all FIAMMA did was build around the existing winch by encasing it with the surrounding brackets, the motor, an identical end cap with added microswitch, and a differential gear (98667-004) that goes between the motor and end cap. So it is just a manual version that is motor assisted. Whereas CAREFREE actually completely eliminates it's manual crank out of the picture and utilized a tubular motor with the one-way drive on the right side (I still call it a ratchet drive). This is why the CAREFREE motorized version is almost same thickness on the left side vs. it's manual version. Whereas the FIAMMA motorized is so much bulkier on the left side. The pics below hopefully shows it better.

Don't know if this helps your question about strapping manual awnings. But at least for the FIAMMA, given they are using the same winch for both, IMHO it certainly would seem logical to strap either one. The way I look at the straps now, it is just a way to take the constant outward tension produced by those 3 spring arms and transfer those forces away from the motor/winch/crank/one-way drive/gearing and to the straps. It seems to me that by doing so, it would help extend the life of any gearing.

YMMV - Engineering opinions expressed herein by poster has not been verified or supported by any data and are strictly theoretical opinions

UPDATE - agree with you on the legs on our types of awning. That's nothing but a way to stabilize it a bit more. The only arms that I have seen that are truly robust are the one's attached to the entire side of the Class A or Class C. They are actually the only 'arms' since there are no arms up the top. I seen them in very windy conditions in open country in Utah and those folks never even retracted them. However, they don't seem immune to deploying on the road, as I have also seen them do, last time near Brianhead at 10,000 ft asl. CAREFREE even sells safety straps for those arms.
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Old 02-06-2019, 03:25 PM   #46
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UPDATE:

ORLIK - You can tell I am pretty intrigued by this for 2 reasons - the safety issue & just engineering curiosity. Couple of things came up this weekend:

1. Because CAREFREE told you they "suspect the wiring in the wind sensor on some units may have been wired backwards", I tested my sensor behaviour. Actually glad this came up as I never knew at what point it does retract. While I have not measured the shaking I did on the lead rail with an accelerometer, in layman's terms I would say it was not overly sensitive but/and at the same time it would retract before the shaking became concerning. That's the good news.

2. The not so good news is I looked further into their schema and I do not have any confidence in their "wired backward" statement. See attached pics below. Basically, we have the Sensor&Control module enclosed in a "black box" that is attached to the left/motor side of the lead rail. There are only 7 wires going in/out of that 'black box'.
- Pair of red & black going to tubular motor
- Pair of red & black going to +/- battery & wall switch
- Brown, Yellow, Grey going to Extend/Common/Retract 3-position switch

The control module has no external wind sensor wiring. In fact, if you look at the other diagram titled "Jumping the Motor" , they say it is "reverse polarity" protected, so there is no way to mess up the batt connections. And controlling extend/retract functions are accomplished by just shorting out Brown/Yellow or Grey/Yellow. If I was to reverse any of those external wires, it would actually not impact how the wind sensor retracted. It would only mess up the wall switch labeling.

Just a guess - the wind sensor inside the black box is no more than a basic shock or tilt sensor/switch that closes temporarily which tiggers a full retract since only a momentary contact is all the Grey/Yellow needs to fully retract. So, with this, I see nothing that would support their "wired backward" scenario from the outside. BUT from the inside of Sensor&Control module, if they somehow messed up and connected the wind sensor across Brown/Yellow instead of Grey/Yellow, then it is logical to think the wind sensor could actually extend it.

The saga continues.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:21 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Alex AVI View Post
UPDATE: Just a guess - the wind sensor inside the black box is no more than a basic shock or tilt sensor/switch that closes temporarily which tiggers a full retract since only a momentary contact is all the Grey/Yellow needs to fully retract. So, with this, I see nothing that would support their "wired backward" scenario from the outside. BUT from the inside of Sensor&Control module, if they somehow messed up and connected the wind sensor across Brown/Yellow instead of Grey/Yellow, then it is logical to think the wind sensor could actually extend it.

The saga continues.
I've looked at this very closely as well and I think you are right. The only way that wiring mishap could happen is if the wind sensor was wired to Grey/Yellow(extend) instead of Brown/Yellow(retract). Not sure they are formally admitting to anything right now. I still would like Wachuko and Shamus to chime in on how they resolved their issues. Maybe then we can start piecing together what might be happening.

I would like to call them back and speak to one of the technicians or engineers to get a better sense just how the release mechanism works, but I hate to bug them about a problem I'm not currently having. I may do this the next time I have an issue with my awning. The manuals are not very helpful when it comes to the motor and one-way drive operation.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:52 AM   #48
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but I hate to bug them about a problem I'm not currently having. I may do this the next time I have an issue with my awning.
ORLIK - I agree.

BTW - I did confirm from the source of the take-off awning that I will be getting soon that it is a Carefree. Sooooooooo - that means I have a unit I can take-apart & play with without dismantling my own. Not for another 2 weeks yet, but will post when I get it apart. Thanks for your part in all this. I know WACHUKO is back from his other major projects, so hopefully he gets some time back in his AI to chime in.
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:01 PM   #49
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I've looked at this very closely as well and I think you are right. The only way that wiring mishap could happen is if the wind sensor was wired to Grey/Yellow(extend) instead of Brown/Yellow(retract). Not sure they are formally admitting to anything right now. I still would like Wachuko and Shamus to chime in on how they resolved their issues. Maybe then we can start piecing together what might be happening.
Edit: The only way that wiring mishap could happen is if the wind sensor was wired to Brown/Yellow(extend) instead of Grey/Yellow(retract).
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