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Old 01-26-2018, 06:59 PM   #1
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2018 27' Flying Cloud
Atlanta , Georgia
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Manual vs automatic awning

We are purchasing a new globetrotter and canít decide whether or not to go for the power awning. Would love to hear pros and cons of each option.
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Old 01-26-2018, 07:10 PM   #2
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Manual vs automatic awning

Iíve had both (currently have automatic)

Manual:

Pro - simple, always works, nothing to go wrong. Also provides a steeper pitch front-to-back for shedding rain to one end of the trailer or the other.

Cons - manual intervention to deploy


Automatic:

Pros - press a button. Done. Sweet. Kids and the like can operate.

Cons - quirky - sometimes doesnít quite behave and a reset is required.


Many people who invested in the new automatic awnings absolutely hate them because they can have gremlins.

Personally, I really like mine and Iím happy. I think the newer units have most of the bugs worked out (mine is a 2017).
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Old 01-26-2018, 08:40 PM   #3
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K.I.S.S. Manual
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Old 01-26-2018, 10:16 PM   #4
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Electric awning is fine until it breaks after your warranty expires. Very expensive to fix. Donít ask how I know this.
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Old 01-26-2018, 10:35 PM   #5
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Manual.
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Old 01-26-2018, 11:59 PM   #6
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Our '2018 Classic has the automatic awning as standard and it works fine (so far). But honestly, there was nothing wrong with the manual awning on our Flying Cloud and if I had been given the choice to save some money on the Classic by going manual, I probably would have gone that way.
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Old 01-27-2018, 05:26 AM   #7
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We had the spring in our manual awning break while camping 800 miles from home. The good news with the manual awning is you can roll it up by hand. I don't know if you can do that with the power awning (if it breaks).
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Old 01-27-2018, 06:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
I think the newer units have most of the bugs worked out (mine is a 2017).
I don't believe that is true based on the many discussions from recent owners on this forum and other RV forums that I have read. I will never have another power awning after my experience with one.
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Old 01-27-2018, 06:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeinca View Post
Our '2018 Classic has the automatic awning as standard and it works fine (so far). But honestly, there was nothing wrong with the manual awning on our Flying Cloud and if I had been given the choice to save some money on the Classic by going manual, I probably would have gone that way.
The power awning is a $3799 option on the models where it is not standard. I choose not to get a power awning, although the lure of the push buttons is difficult to overcome!
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Old 01-27-2018, 07:04 AM   #10
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One of my support arms on one side stopped extending. I called Zip Dee to see if parts were available before I took it apart. I was told by their service dept. that no parts were available. My only option was to purchase a whole, new arm at about $1500. I asked if I could ship the entire assembly to them to see what they could do with it. They agreed and fortunately, all that was wrong was an internal bolt had come loose that connected the motor to the arm extension rod.

My Airstream was down for 3 weeks during this ordeal. If they had come back to me that I needed to replace the whole arm, I was prepared to rip the power awning off and replace it with a manual. I will never own another power awning.
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Old 01-27-2018, 07:31 AM   #11
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Go with the manual....and as much ďmanualĒ as you can opt for.

Having an older Interstate, there is no electronically moved anything...awning, step, bed, sewer discharge, etc....and thatís how we like it.

A bit more physical labor, but thatís good for us, and soooooo much less to go wrong.

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Old 01-27-2018, 07:51 AM   #12
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I have always preferred manual operation of nearly everything. If it's not there, it can't break. That applies to power windows, power door locks--and power awnings.
Also, just FYI, even if you get the power main awning, all the other awnings on the trailer are still manual.
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:44 AM   #13
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My automatic awning froze in an awkward position in Escanaba at the International Rally. A Zip Dee rep and Airstream rep could not fix it and removed it, and sent it to Jackson Center for repairs. When I got to JC, I was told it couldnít be repaired and they ordered a new one. Because the damage was caused by a puff of wind, it became a $6,000 insurance claim instead of warranty work. I replaced it with another automatic, but Iím not sure if manual would have been better. If this had happened with no reps available, I would have been in big trouble.
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:53 AM   #14
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It's just me, but I always opt for "manual" if there is an option.

If I had some physical limitations, that might push me towards "automatic".

(Probably why I like our 1981 Ford Bronco so much... NO-tech, and the only thing "automatic" is the transmission!"
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razorhog View Post
My automatic awning froze in an awkward position in Escanaba at the International Rally. A Zip Dee rep and Airstream rep could not fix it and removed it, and sent it to Jackson Center for repairs. When I got to JC, I was told it couldnít be repaired and they ordered a new one. Because the damage was caused by a puff of wind, it became a $6,000 insurance claim instead of warranty work. I replaced it with another automatic, but Iím not sure if manual would have been better. If this had happened with no reps available, I would have been in big trouble.
All the more reason to have manual instead of power awning. Also manual awnings all around on my 31 AS installed at ZD factory lots less total cash for all.
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:53 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post


Automatic:

Pros - press a button. Done. Sweet. Kids and the like can operate.
Cons - Kids and the like can operate.
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Old 01-27-2018, 10:05 AM   #17
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Automatic or manual

This is sort of like Power windows or manual windows in a car.

An Airstream or a tent

Old vs new

I have had both my 2018 Classic 33 has a power awning and I would never go back.

If you go thru life second guessing progress we all would never leave home.

If there wasnít a market driven by customers wanting a product I would be camping in my 15 foot Serra Scotty.

Earl
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Old 01-27-2018, 10:47 AM   #18
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I had the manual on my first AS. Loved it. Second one came with the automatic. Knew it would be problems and it has had glitches. Currently working. It is convenient but not worth the trouble. Donít know what I would do if it stopped working. Well. I do know. It stopped working. Drove miles and mikes to a ZipDee dealer. The service manager came out and it worked perfectly. Oh, just remembered. Both arms and circuit board replaced under warranty at JC within the first few months. Iíd go manual.
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Old 01-27-2018, 12:52 PM   #19
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I would say it depends on your proposed camping style.

If you like to camp in (fairly) remote spots like we do the less automatic stuff the better. Electronics are great until they stop working at the most remote spot at the least opportune time.

We do like the motorized lift on the front hitch, but a switch went out on us on a trip around the Gaspe in Eastern Canada, so we had to winch it up and down manually for 3 weeks. That would not have been such an issue if you did not have to remove the gas tank cover every time to do so....and then be careful to avoid hitting your knuckles on the gas tank every revolution...

Also we can never use the furnace for heat as it is not feasible to run the furnace on batteries...

Airstream should design options for people who like to camp at full hookup spots near 'civilization", and also for those of us who prefer National Parks and such where reliability trumps push button convenience.
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Old 01-27-2018, 01:05 PM   #20
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