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Old 10-14-2019, 11:25 AM   #1
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2019 27' Globetrotter
San Luis Obispo , California
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An Awning Problem Solved

The electric awning on our 2019 GT had been erratic for awhile but last week we were going to be in big trouble when it refused to retract the night before we were to leave for home.

Luckily by hitting the On-Off button over and over the awning went up one inch at a time for 48 inches! (we noticed a noise under the sink concurrent with each click, a wire problem later discovered)

The important part was when we got home and eventually found the circuit board wire that had become disconnected...

Located behind the sink, get your flashlight and remove both trash buckets and start looking for a lonely wire that has become separated from the wire harness (i.e. Bunch of Wires).

To permanently reconnect that wire to it’s companion wire of the same color take a close look at the wire connector and you will see that there is a tiny “lever” to lift with your fingernail in order to permanently reconnect the loose wire.

Then sit back with a beer and happily say... “Geez it’s good to be Meee!” (but especially good to avoid a long trip to the shop)
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Old 10-14-2019, 12:35 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting your experience with the power awning on your Globetrotter!

I cross my fingers every time we retract ours. For some reason ours will start to retract then occasionally stop about 3’ short. Pressing the “Close” button again will complete the process.

Once in a while it will stop at the same point when deploying. I called ZipDee directly (twice) and spoke to a woman and then a man. Each time they said the “expert” would call me back. Still waiting...

Glad you solved your problem and got to enjoy that beer!

Cheers,
Jeff
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Old 10-14-2019, 01:53 PM   #3
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Same thing happens to my 2019 Serenity ZipDee awning. Almost closes all the way then stops about 6 inches from the body of the AS. Turning the switch off and and on will make the awning close all the way. What's up with that?
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:59 PM   #4
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What works for me is to push the close button after turning the power on to the awning. Any time the power is off to the awning, you need to perform that step. That resets the limits, then press open. I think it is mentioned in the manual some place but I can not recall for sure.

Rick
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Old 10-14-2019, 04:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rperrym View Post
What works for me is to push the close button after turning the power on to the awning. Any time the power is off to the awning, you need to perform that step. That resets the limits, then press open. I think it is mentioned in the manual some place but I can not recall for sure.

Rick
Rick, thanks for the tip. I saw that as well and made sure the power switch was not turned off but the problem persists.

There’s no rhyme or reason when it happens. Sometimes it will open and close several times in a row without a hitch before stopping short. I’ve caught it on video and sent that to ZipDee as well...

I love the power feature and can deal with the stopping as long as it closes with a second push but it is frustrating.
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Old 10-14-2019, 05:39 PM   #6
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If you had disconnect shore power, then you would also have to reset the limits. You probably already know this so sorry if I stated the obvious.
Rick
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:34 AM   #7
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I am contemplating trading our 15 FC in on a 20 GT, but this is one of the elements that scares me. Is there not a manual way to retract it, should a problem occur?
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:39 AM   #8
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Hi

One thing to try when the awning has issues (like stalling) is to get out the can of spray lube. Apparently one needs to lube the arms fairly regularly. Since there is a bit of road grit / dirt blowing around the arms, a lube / wipe / lube process may also be useful.

Bob
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:41 AM   #9
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Thanks for the tip I'm sure it will be the first place people look when trouble brews!
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:51 AM   #10
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Also had a similar experience with my ‘16 Classic.
Persisted on behaving poorly for first half of trip. Called ZipDee many times. Main take away from that conversation is to have the “Emergency” kit so that you can power it in manually (via electric power). Last half of trip (8 nights total) the awning worked. No rhyme or reason. While I may never find source of intermittent operation, I discovered, like you, that circuit/control box for ZipDee is on floor under sink. Mine appears to be haphazardly installed by A/S factory personnel. In fact the box is free to slide around on floor only kept in place by Cat cables and power wires. We have all dropped sizable $$ on these trailers and it disappoints me to uncover evidence of poor workmanship. Ugh! Sorry for long reply but I feel your frustration.
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SGandMT View Post
I am contemplating trading our 15 FC in on a 20 GT, but this is one of the elements that scares me. Is there not a manual way to retract it, should a problem occur?
SGandMT, there is a manual process but there's quite a few steps. See page 14 for manual operation on their PDF: http://nebula.wsimg.com/150b3241bb4a...&alloworigin=1

Uncle Bob, it's a brand new unit so not a lubrication issue but good point for preventive maintenance of the unit once it gets some use.
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Old 10-15-2019, 02:03 PM   #12
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Unhappy Zip Dee Relax awning

I just replaced all moving parts of my Relax awning along with control panel and switch panel. A COSTLY thing but not working on a Classic '14, one of the things is NOT to turn off power when deployed as it looses it memory where it is. A close cycle must be done to reset the memory. A MUST is the emergency power cable and wrench for the retracting the arms. I had to use my power cord to get mine back in when the wire at the awning head broke after the NEW instillation. I can not understand why Zip Dee can not make these work 100% of the time. I want my manual awning back!!!!
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Old 10-15-2019, 02:45 PM   #13
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An awning problem solved:
We have had many problems with our auto awning. Similar to you, we were at a camp ground in Idaho and couldn’t get Awning in. ZipDee were very helpful; however, there are inherent problems with ZipDee awnings and Airstream should halt putting them on units until the problem is resolved. Some of the problem rests with Airstream such as a screw put in by them penetrating the wiring thereby creating a short. I took my unit in for warranty repair on Oct 18, 2019 and, of course, auto awning worked fine! I hold my breathe every time I press the OUT or ON button!!
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Old 10-15-2019, 05:54 PM   #14
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I installed a carefree on my Overlander......Manual...the electric stuff looked like a problem waiting to happen, and I love mine. It always works like a charm....I did have to modify it to fit, since they no longer make curved arms to wrap around an Airstream, but I am still very happy with it. I think I have a grand total of $600 in it?
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:19 AM   #15
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We picked up our Tommy Bahama in May. Of course the awning worked perfectly when the dealer demonstrated it to us. The very next time we used it we had issues. The roller would roll up but the front arm wouldn't retract. I called Airstream and Zip Dee. Airstream was zero help. Zip Dee gave me some hints to check, mainly the lights on the control panel. Sure enough, the front "Home" light was lit even though the awning was deployed. The Zip Dee person said to check the wiring where the two arms were attached to the trailer. On my unit these two locations had small round plates riveted to the inside wall. I CAREFULLY drilled out the rivets and checked these connections. They are very cramped - just jammed into the wall space and getting them out to check was difficult. In fact, I was worried I would do more damage pulling them out. Had I not been so careful when I drilled the rivet, I would have drilled right into the wire bundle. When all was said and done, nothing made any difference so I used the retract screw at the bottom of the arm with my drill driver to lower the arm.

We took the trailer back to the dealer last month to have the awning fixed - they are 2.5 hours away. They said they thought they could fix it in a day, but of course it took two. They worked on it a long time, changing out the front arm as well as the control panel. The awning works now, but it's always a moment of anxiety. On our latest trip the awning came back to within a foot and then stopped, which isn't uncommon. Normally pushing the "close" switch a second or third time will cause it to continue retracting. This time, nothing. I was very concerned as we were many miles from home and I couldn't figure out how to make it continue rolling up. Finally it did retract the rest of the way, but how do you manually do this operation if its DOA?

When this happens to an arm, there is the actuator screw you can turn to retract or extend. But what do you do if the roller quits? Bottom line, I don't care for this awning at all - seems far too complicated and when it fails, its a major issue as you can't go down the road with it flapping in the breeze. Our trailer was already spec'd so I couldn't get it with a manual awning, which may not have been an option anyway, but I wish it were and I had. It's tempting to just bite the bullet and put in a manual awning but it's a brand new, very expensive trailer and obviously I hate to do that.
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Old 10-16-2019, 03:23 PM   #16
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I am having similar problems with the awning on my 2018 27' Globetrotter. I came here to see if anyone else was having this problem. Mine will stop while going out, going in, just about anywhere in the operation. I usually need to reverse the operation (out or in) that I'm trying to accomplish and then start over. I try to help it along by pushing in or out when I'm having trouble, but it doesn't seem to improve the operation.

I've become sort of an electrical guru about Airstreams since installing my own solar. I carefully monitor all electrical operations on 12V. I believe the problem is VOLTAGE DROP. My awning works perfectly when connected to shore power or while the generator is running. It works perfectly when the sun is shining and my solar has the voltage up. It seems that it doesn't work when the batteries are not receiving a charge at 13.5 Volts or above. When all else fails, I plug into my generator or shore power and the awning will retract.

I asked the factory how to retract the awning manually in an emergency. They told me there is a kit to retract the awning, which I have found. It appears there is a flexible cord that connects under the awning arms that can be used with a drill to retract the 1" aluminum extensions. They told me to then roll the awning in, one must remove the screws on the motor on the front arm, roll up the awning, and then replace the screws. I haven't had to manually roll up my awning yet, but am afraid the day may be coming. I will be listening into this thread to hear if anyone has any tips.

P.S. I did WD-40 all the moving parts. That seemed to improve operation, but it still doesn't like to operate on battery power alone without some charging going on. My roll-up motor sounds like it is starving for voltage and then the whole operation stops.
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Old 10-16-2019, 03:58 PM   #17
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Shore power doesn't make any difference in my situation - in fact I've never tried on battery alone. As many have said, the awning stops going out, retracting, and everywhere in the middle. It's very frustrating. Thus far its really the only system on the trailer I'm unhappy with. There have been other issues, but I've been able to resolve them myself. This awning is basically a case of severely under-powered actuators, an overly complex control system and poor design. I wish I could have bought the trailer with a manual awning.
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Old 10-16-2019, 04:48 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by BobnGayl View Post
Shore power doesn't make any difference in my situation - in fact I've never tried on battery alone. As many have said, the awning stops going out, retracting, and everywhere in the middle. It's very frustrating. Thus far its really the only system on the trailer I'm unhappy with. There have been other issues, but I've been able to resolve them myself. This awning is basically a case of severely under-powered actuators, an overly complex control system and poor design. I wish I could have bought the trailer with a manual awning.
Maybe mine has more problems than I'm aware of. I basically only use solar power for 12V operations and always have the breaker turned off to my 120V controller. I have not had my power awning long, only 38 days of use, so mine may not work well on shore power either. I've only used it with shore power a couple of times and fired up the generator once or twice to help get it in. Now I roll mine up before the sun goes down so it has higher voltage from the solar which seems to work for me. I do believe either the roller motor is too small or the wires going to the motor are too small which is causing the voltage drop. I will be doing more testing to try to figure out how to improve its operation.
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Old 10-16-2019, 04:59 PM   #19
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One other piece of information from ZipDee that I wanted to share on this thread was not to use WD40 on awning mechanisms. The two reps I spoke with at ZipDee were quite emphatic about this during my call about erratically behaving powered awning. While this tidbit of information is not directly tied to awning’s malfunction, WD40 is not a friend of the mechanical pieces. You might want to call ZipDee for an explanation and their recommended lubricant.
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Old 10-16-2019, 06:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarchib View Post
One other piece of information from ZipDee that I wanted to share on this thread was not to use WD40 on awning mechanisms. The two reps I spoke with at ZipDee were quite emphatic about this during my call about erratically behaving powered awning. While this tidbit of information is not directly tied to awning’s malfunction, WD40 is not a friend of the mechanical pieces. You might want to call ZipDee for an explanation and their recommended lubricant.
sarchib, good point! WD-40 is more of a solvent than a lubricant. I was watching this video about how to lubricate your garage door and they explain why you don’t want to use it for lube.

Wind it up to 0:22 sec: https://youtu.be/Y1lUm7koF2A
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