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Old 06-10-2015, 06:47 PM   #15
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2014 23' International
Miller Place , New York
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zipdee nightmare

We have a 2014 27 ft fb with a auto awning .Never has worked correctly .On our second trip awning was stuck open on a Saturday read directions to manually closethe awning, Directions did not specify the arm to to insert tool to manually roll it up.After removing screw and inserting tool the spring that holds tension let loose.Arm flew off and awning came down and scratched door .Had to tie it up and travel 150 miles to a zipdee. dealer.It is now at colonial airstream.Zipdee said they would replace bad board and motor only. Airstream said they would goodwill door This has been a nightmare.The instructions to close a fully extended awning are poor and not accurate.I share this to warn other owners that you must only remove thru bolt and insert tool on front arm only.I would also like to say Tony at colonial airstream and his staff have been excellent in helping me resolve this concern.Thank you colonial airstream
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Old 06-21-2015, 10:00 PM   #16
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I retrofitted a Relax Kit on my 2006 34' Classic SOD at Jackson Center last November. It was Zip Dee's latest kit that was so new the wiring diagram in the instruction manual had not been updated. After an afternoon of talk between Airstream an ZipDee they got got everything working good. The mechanism is clever and works good. Several tips:
1. Depending on the awning length you have, the new rear support may not be over a rib at the lower end. The retrofit arms are shorter then the originals. This entails a scab reinforcement plate of equal skin thickness between the mount and the trailer. No biggie, but just be aware that if you want the rear awning arm to line up with a rib you will need the a whole awning rather than the retro kit.
2. The factory recommends a separate power switch for the awning 10 amp circuit. I added one as Airstream just wired the fused line direct to the battery. There is a 7-8 amp draw when operating and a significant residual drain when in standby. I used a 15 amp switch inside the door where the control panels are located under the front edge of the sink. The panel LEDs (6) are enough pilot lights to know power is on.
3. Any time there is power interruption, the the awning control should be placed in "Closed", before selecting any other function. This resets the motor controller computer so the arms will operate in sync. Keep the remote control in your pocket, turn on the power switch, press closed then open, and say "Abracabra, Open Ole Sesame." You will really impress you audience. My wife is still scratching her head.
I like no effort awning deployment while I do other things. Beside,s new toys are fun.
guskmg
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Old 10-17-2016, 08:47 PM   #17
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Box Elder , South Dakota
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I've operated mine about 6 times during the first year of ownership (in month 13 of ownership now). It just ground to a halt and froze up while trying to close it. ZipDee's web site has no troubleshooting documents. It's after dark now and no one to call for support. I can open the main door about 1/4 of the way and squeeze through it, so I'll just wait 'til morning and then start working the phones for help.
I assumed something like this would happen, but didn't think it would be so soon. At least i'm within the 2 year original warranty period...

Any advice from experienced "Relax" owners?
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Old 10-17-2016, 09:17 PM   #18
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2016 28' Pendleton
Kalispell , Montana
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I'm on our second relax awning on my Pendleton. The first never seemed to retract or extend right and then had an unfortunate experience with a thunderstorm. When we replaced it I thought about replacing it with a manual zipdee but stuck with the relax for ease of putting out. Still always worry about it retracting fully as there's no good way to manually retract. Difficult to find any help on the internet and zip dee support is not available on the weekend when these things always happen.
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Old 10-17-2016, 10:08 PM   #19
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The more I read about this issue, the happier I am that my awnings are manually operated.

Not to be a Luddite, but the electrical ones seem to be full of parts that can go out at an inopportune time.


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Old 10-18-2016, 03:14 AM   #20
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I agree. I would not have chosen this Relax, but it came bundled on an otherwise perfect-for-me model. The manuals may be a pain in other respects, but they don't get stuck half-in and half-out.
Especially since retraction is often done right before vacating a space.
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Old 10-18-2016, 05:50 AM   #21
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Relax came standard on our 2017, so far so good. New board, new arms and now an auto cutoff switch on the Firefly light panel which must be manually turned on to open the awning, which is a safety feature added when some of the previous versions opened on their own.

I am not overly excited by the awning and IF it does malfunction I'll probably go back to the manual Zip Dee as I found that very easy and simple to operate, especially when I added the new hold down pins Zip Dee sent me at no charge for our previous AS.

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Old 10-18-2016, 10:03 AM   #22
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Avila Beach , California
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Sorry to hear of all the problems with your awnings. We too have had 2.5 years of anxiety and worrying each time we "attempt" to retract the thing. We have had the awning in to the dealership 5 times for the same problem (ours was one of the first, silly us). After multiple calls to Zip Dee and the dealership regarding our dissatisfaction, we went to the GM of Bay Area Airstream, who by the way is great! He (Mr. Steve Perry) committed to flying the head awning guy (Nate) out from Zip Dee to fix the blessed thing once and for all. They replaced everything but the canvas and roller, e.g mother-board, switches, motors, control arms etc, but ultimately found that it was a bad ground- go figure, wouldn't one think that would be the first thing that one would check? Apparently not.
Here is something we did learn, and could be the source of many of our problems: If for any reason power to the mother board is lost while it is deployed, the mother board/brain gets confused and doesn't know whether the awning is deployed or retracted. This can happen simply if due to moving about in the trailer while parked you momentarily lose the ground. If you press the open and close button in succession, the awning will drop very low, actually to the point where the door won't open, but the brain will finally figure out it is deployed as far as it will go and begin to retract, but sometimes only partially. Deploy the awning again and it should stop in the proper place after which you should be able to retract it. By all means...check for a bad ground everywhere...at your battery and/or the motherboard.
Finally. We too thought of replacing our "Relax" awning with a manual. Very expensive to replace all the panels where the holes were...ugh! Think were stuck, but mildly confident we have our issue figured out...time will tell.
Best of luck to all of you with the "Relax" awning- which we have learned through our hard experience, is anything but...relaxing.
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Old 10-19-2016, 12:23 AM   #23
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I spoke to a very nice guy at Zip Dee today, as well as a tech at the dealership I purchased it from. It's still not working. My next step, per the Zip Dee guy, is to literally get jumper cables and apply 12v current to the motor contacts to force it to retract. I'll do that while on the phone with him. The dealer tech predicts it will be a bad wire, or an arm sensor, or the motherboard. This motherboard is dated 2014 on my 2015 model year Airstream.

I've got the motherboard unplugged for the night. Logrider, thank you for your story, I will try the resets in the morning. Today, it only moved a few inches with each attempt. It's stuck in the "block the door" position that you described. Upper arms fully retracted but lower tubes out and awning deployed.

How does this thing work? Are there actuators in the arms to make them move? It seems to me the roller works, but the arms sensors are confused (if indeed there are arm sensors) or an arm actuator is refusing to work.
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:25 PM   #24
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I am not an expert, but what I have learned about the awning might be helpful. There are 3 motors. One in each of the awning arms (these lift the awning up/down -- hopefully in the right sequence). The third motor is in the end of the awning tube, located on the right side (as you face the trailer). When you deploy the awning by pushing the "open" button, the mother board sends power first to the motor that unrolls the awning. Once it unrolls to a certain point, it will begin moving the awning arms to the proper location for full deployment (as you know, if the arms don't deploy to the full up position, you may be unable to get out of your trailer). Once it's fully open, it's wise to push the rear tilt button -- just in case you have heavy rain. As Logrider outlined (and Nate from ZipDee IS the expert, BTW), if you have any disruption in the sequence of opening the awning you must push the "close" button to reset it. I had one instance where I found it necessary to do a reset of the mother board....there is a very small contact switch under the left edge of the mother board (which as you probably know, is mounted on the wall behind the lower drawer under the microwave). As others on here have already posted, the awning does draw a significant amount of battery power to function correctly, so a full battery charge is good insurance. I am told that the early versions had a problem where the motors would burn out if they were undervolted. I think this was fixed by replacing the motherboards in the early versions. There are a LOT of wires involved in the awning. If you look at the lower end of the awning arms you'll see where the wires enter the trailer (front and rear arms). Make SURE the wire bundles are NOT contacting the arms as they open and close. If you wear through the insulation you'd have a mess. At the bottom of each of those arms is where the awning arm motors are located. When the awning is in operation, those motors spin at very high RPMs. You can see the shaft spinning if you watch the awning in operation (and this is one of the emergency close locations). If the wire bundle should touch that spinning shaft (and it should never do this), instant wire destruction. So, if you have a Relax awning, just know that plenty of volts/amps, a good ground, and understanding the basic function can really be helpful. I had an issue where my awning wouldn't roll all the way up and a phone call to Nate with instructions on how to adjust the limit switch (under the black plastic protector on the awning roller) was a quick and easy fix. I regularly inspect where the wiring bundles go into the trailer .... just in case.
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Old 10-21-2016, 01:01 AM   #25
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BAB, Thank you! I hope it's the motherboard (mine is a red dot marked 11/14) and not the motors. That would be an easier swap-out than motor replacement.
I am in that unfortunate situation with the arms retracted into the tubes and the awning out and low, so I have to squeeeeze through the front door. I've disconnected the Relax board and am reconditioning my house batteries hoping it was a voltage issue. Will try again tomorrow with fresh batteries... Of course I'm on shore power, but didn't realize the wiring issue about power for this coming through the batteries whether you're plugged in to shore or not.
I read some other threads here and I do think I have the grommet to prevent wire fray, but don't know about the motor damage you described. I have a 2015 model, probably produced early in the year.
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Old 10-21-2016, 07:07 AM   #26
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I'm not at my trailer right now, lbdesign, but unless my memory fails me, my control box was delivered with a red dot, and replaced with a green dot. Hope the fully charged battery issue fixes it, but if it doesn't call Zip Dee and ask for Nate. If anyone can help you, he can.
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