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Old 10-18-2016, 04:50 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.

Bud
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Old 10-18-2016, 09:03 AM   #22
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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 10-18-2016, 11:23 PM   #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, 07:25 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, 12:01 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, 06:07 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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Old 05-09-2017, 01:21 PM   #27
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An update on this:
Replacing the motherboard, a good rest, and a series of resets (open/close), and now it's operating correctly again.
But I'm gonna keep an eye on it, and maybe "exercise" it a bit more.
I am now also committed to only running it while plugged in to shore power and with the battery in "charge" mode, just to be safe on the voltage issue.

Thank you again to all who responded.
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Old 05-09-2017, 01:56 PM   #28
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To Logrider. If and it hopefully does not come up, if I replace the awning with manual I will not replace and panels. I would find aluminum or stainless screws, caulk and cover the holes left by the removal. At least that's the plan. But hope it does now come to that.
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Old 05-09-2017, 03:41 PM   #29
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As many of us have found, the awning really does require 12V and a solid ground. If you "undervolt" it may not operate correctly (or not at all). Since my trailer didn't come with a "kill" switch (a lesson learned and fixed in the '16 and '17 models), I installed one. In order to make sure I got a full 12V to the motherboard, I used a heavy gauge wire from the panel to the switch and the same heavy wire to the motherboard. That made a world of difference to a more "confident" deployment and retraction. Having said all that....I still get a mild chill when I push the open or close button. I do know how to do it retract it manually, but this is not something you want to do in rain, wind, or early in the morning for a quick getaway. Clearly, the awning was NOT ready for prime time, and it must be a source of major frustration for Nate (who IS the true expert), Zip Dee, Airstream, and most of all for those of us who own a "Relax" awning. Some of the early lessons could easily have been avoided by better communication between Zip Dee and the Airstream factory in terms of pinched cables, undervolting the motor, etc. This is the price you pay for being an early adopter....but "early" shouldn't be happening 4 years after the first Relax awning was installed. IMHO
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Old 05-09-2017, 03:51 PM   #30
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Ours works fine, am reading through the posts on the awning issues and will see if ours had the ``upgrade`` to address issues. We`re very happy with the operation of the awning though, and love the fabric that was chosen.
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Old 06-01-2017, 04:17 PM   #31
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Maybe if the price comes down, lol, and they correct/improve the initial flaws, I'll consider it as it seems like a nice to have thing---if it works reliably.
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Old 06-01-2017, 04:41 PM   #32
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Copy from today WBCCI Facebook page,

"I am sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but I learned today of the untimely death of Jim Webb, President of Zip Dee. I know many of you knew Jim and he has helped many of our members over the years. The WBCCI family sends our deepest condolences to the Webb & Zip Dee family."
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Old 06-09-2017, 09:44 AM   #33
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Zip Dee relax problems

Hi
I have a 25 foot FB 2014 international sterling with a zip dee Relax 12 V Awning
2 weeks ago I had a problem closing my awning. I called zip dee and talked to Linda at zip dee and she said to cut the power supply and then turn it back on basically a reboot with no luck. She said they have had problems with this unit and will send out a new board and motor to take care of this problem. The awning would stay 18 inches either straight up or straight out. Since traveling in this setting was not an option I opened the 14 page relax manual provided me by Bay Area Airstream of Fairfield CA where I purchased new in Nov 2014. On page 12 to 14 it states to insert winding tool and remove the head bolt tried to remove the 2 head bolts and they would not go completely out. I followed all the steps in order and secured the awning against the trailer for transport to home so it would deploy ..I followed all the steps That were provided in the manual provided but not sure if the faulty board and or motor were at fault. I found out later from both Vinny of North Bay AS and Bay Area AS that there is a power jump device that will roll it up closed. Linda said the 2014 doesnt have that . By the way that tool was there

Has anyone out there used the winding tool and removed the head bolt to close the awning in an emergency situation? The head bolt would only come out half way and locked up . The top of the arms have both shifted to the right and are rubbing against bottom securing frame. BA AS says each of the arms is $1100.00 each!!!!! They are going to take a look at it but I am worried they ll say it's bent and needs to be replaced. Hard to imagine these arms are over 1/2 of total price of awning"!!!! I followed all the steps from the provided manual until I could take it to the dealer to get the motor and board installed.

Worried about the cost Any suggestions? Thank you. George
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Old 06-09-2017, 10:22 AM   #34
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Good to see that some owners are very happy with them - for my part though I am pretty sure I would not switch to an electric awning for half the price!

That is becasue I just seem to be doomed to have problem with any electric/electronic gadgets on trailers. Every time I flip a switch or press a button, I dread the moment when nothing happens!

The fewer power gadgets the better for me!

I'd even think twice about replacing the tongue jack with another electric one if it failed and I couldn't fix it!

We have had problems with electric tongue jacks on our current and previous trailers

Luckily I was able to fix them both - same problem, corroded round connectors.

It always seems to happen to me just at the worst time though - like in the pouring rain just as we are wanting to leave the campsite!

Brian.
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Old 06-09-2017, 11:21 AM   #35
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We have a 2014 Intl 27FB with power awning. We had the board replaced and the firmware updated in the past under warranty, as a preventative measure. Perhaps this is one of the reasons for our success to date. We also say a little prayer every time we push the button. That can't hurt, though we realize that sometimes the answer is, "No."
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Old 06-10-2017, 12:48 AM   #36
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When mine failed to retract, I did use the jump cables direct to the house battery to force it to retract. That worked.

After replacing the motherboard, it still didn't work. But eventually, it did. I can't say for sure which thing I tried did the trick, but I think it was a combination of having fully-charged batteries, being connected to shore power so there would be no voltage drop during operation, and trying the retract-deploy-retract reset trick several times.

The voltage-drop thing is something I read about here -- the older motherboards did not deal well when the battery was not at 100% -- it draws or wants a lot of power. I suspect even the new motherboards still prefer lots of power for the motors. Something for all owners to keep in mind. If you are not on shore power with fresh, young batteries, maybe connect to your TV with the engine running to ensure enough juice during operation?

PS: but I'm still apprehensive each time I push a button on this...
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Old 07-17-2017, 05:21 PM   #37
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mine failed right out of the box. I had to go to jackson center to have both arms and the control board replaced. It worked fine on the last trip but now I am in the mountains of Colorado and the darn thing isn't working right.

When I push "open" it starts to unwind the fabric. After it has unwound about a foot the stainless steel arm in the rear comes out about an inch then stops. It does not come out at all in the front. Then a clicking noise starts at the circuit board and continues while the awning unwinds all the way. So-it unwinds all the way but the stainless steel arms do not extend. Then when I hit "close" it winds up with the rear stainless steel arm retracting that one inch. Then it stops with about 12-18 inches to go. I can get it closed by pushing the "open" then the "close" buttons. Then it closes all the way. I would really like to get this thing working. Can anyone offer any suggestions?

PS I got along fine with the mechanical awning. I suspected this would be nothing but trouble and so far that is exactly what it has been. Hope someone can help.
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Old 07-17-2017, 05:54 PM   #38
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Your best bet is to call Zip Dee. Ask for Nate. He is the total expert on the Relax Awning. You've got plenty of data points that will let him diagnose the issue(s) over the phone, and hopefully provide a fix for you. It could well be something fairly simple...like a bad ground.
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Old 09-09-2017, 07:07 PM   #39
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Well, today our Zip Dee Relax awning decided it doesn't want to open anymore. Of the two failure modes (1) refusing to open or (2) refusing to close, we clearly achieved the least inconvenient. Given we're outside our two year warranty window, this will probably be an expensive failure. <sigh>

In future I would not purchase a Relax version of the Zip Dee awning. Despite the gee whiz value when it properly deploys and puts itself away, I wish we had purchased a standard manual version of the awning instead. <sigh>

We're on the road now, far from our home Airstream dealer. Will call Zip Dee on Monday to see whether they can give us any ideas on how to get it working reliably again. Somewhere east of Denver we may also seek out an Airstream dealer to see whether they can help us if we can't get it working again on our own. Heck, maybe a visit to Jackson Center is in order, who knows.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:30 PM   #40
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Who has a Zip Dee Relax 12v Automatic Awning?

There is a set of what look like small jumper cables that came with your welcome kit from the dealer. These have a little connector on the other end from the red and black jumper cable that hook to the electrical cable at the front arm of the awning. Look near the round part of the awning arm that says zip dee and the cable should be there. Connect the jumper cable cord to that wire and then use your camper or truck battery to manually override and retract the awning without using the switch or control board.

You can also check under the sink and look for several cables going into the bottom of the control board. One of the connectors clicks into place and sometimes comes loose. Make sure it is snapped in and try the button again.
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