Removal of Awning Control Box - Will Awning Open?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

Bill N

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Posts
2,551
Location
Ozark, Missouri
I put this in Winnie Specific issues because while it is a A&E  One Step awning, it is wired to a 15 pin connector that is how Winnie elected to  wire it in (good idea by the way).  My control box is suspected to be bad and I have bought a new one on ebay but it will be coming with loose wires and not in a 15 pin connector. 

My question is this:  If I remove my control box before I receive the new one  (only 4 screws and unplug the connector) will my awning remain closed or does it need power to keep the brake energized?  I suspect it will stay closed but would like some confirmation on that.  Because if it does open I would have to reinstall the connector and hope it would close which has been it's major problem to this point.  I would like to get a look at the wiring on the old box before the new one arrives is the reason I am asking.  Thanks

I know - silly question - but I have heard that silly questions are the ones that are unasked.

Bill
 

emiddleb

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Posts
325
I don't know for sure, but I suspect it will remain closed.  Most A&E awnings come with a crank for manual open/close during power issues so would seem it wouldn't move.

If you are concerned about it opening, how about just doing a quick zip-tie wrap around the upper arms and/or the roller itself?
 

Bill N

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Posts
2,551
Location
Ozark, Missouri
Thanks folks.  I got in a hurry and went ahead and unhooked it in a safe place.  No problem at all.  So I guess it  takes power to release the brake.  Then I started looking around for another 15 pin connector as Winnebago uses that system to wire in to the awning but I have not found a duplicate yet that is affordable unless I want to buy a 1000 from Germany....lol  BUT I think I have figured out that I don't need a new connector.  I opened the old box and notice that all of the wires go to slip on connections so I should be able to just transfer them to the new box unless it is grossly different inside.  Good thing I have the paperwork for the awning as it shows the Winnebago wiring diagram for the connector and while the box is designed for two different awnings Winnie only wired it for the one they used (the One Step) so they did not put in connecting pins for all wires coming out of the box.

Funny thing Paul is that I found another bunch of control boxes on ebay including some from Colaw Salvage who told me they had none but all of them were used (some looked very much abused) and none were the same part number of the new one I bought.  A couple of the used ones were pretty steeply priced.  I am happy with what I am getting.

Paul, would you mind telling me what were your problems that led you to change out the box?  Mine were just intermittent operation mostly when retracting (hours waiting before it would finish retracting) but all of the problems happened when we just had to be out of the campground or pay for another day.....lol  I am really hoping this fixes the problem as it is beginning to get stressful and hoping I did not waste a pile of cash.

Bill
 

PJ Stough

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Posts
2,159
Location
Central Iowa
My problem was that at time the awning would stop going out, and I would have to wait a couple of minutes and try again.  Sometimes it would take two or three times to get the awning to go out.  Bringing it is was the same problem, however, it usually took one or two times of waiting a couple of minutes to bring it in.

However, lately, it has been going out just fine, but it usually takes three attempts to get it all the way in.
 

emiddleb

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Posts
325
Most of the A&E/Dometic awnings suffer from two design issues... low-torque motors and thermal cutoff protection.  Anything that puts a bit of strain on the motors (winds, water pooled on the awning, dirty joints etc) causes the motors to work hard and then overheat.  Then you have to wait for the motor to cool down before it will operate again.

In my case, one of my awnings started having the stop/start issue.  I took a can of silicon spray and flushed out years of campground dust from all the joints and the ends of the rollers, and the awning started working properly again.  Now it is part of my semi-annual maintenance.
 

Bill N

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Posts
2,551
Location
Ozark, Missouri
Paul 1950 said:
My problem was that at time the awning would stop going out, and I would have to wait a couple of minutes and try again.  Sometimes it would take two or three times to get the awning to go out.  Bringing it is was the same problem, however, it usually took one or two times of waiting a couple of minutes to bring it in.

However, lately, it has been going out just fine, but it usually takes three attempts to get it all the way in.

Well working on the theory that going out is a lot easier on the workings than retracting I am beginning to wonder if some sort of thermal resistor in the box (was it you that mentioned that first?)might be part of the problem.  Looking inside my box I don't see anything that would resemble that but electronics stuff doesn't always looks like you think it should.  Anyway, I hope when you say it takes multiple attempts to get it in you are not having to wait hours between attempts.  Originally when the problem started it was that if for any reason I stopped while putting it out I had to wait at least 15 minutes before it would move again in any direction.  I have had so many variations of the problems that I am confused even trying to remember exactly all the problems.  However, the latest was this:  The awning would go fully out without stopping on it's own.  I never stop it midway anymore because of previous problems.  However, when attempting retract it usually will not even try to move unless I start the engine.  Then it may retract about half way and stop.  This is the point when it takes many hours before it will operate again and complete the retract.  I always start the engine to do this but I am not positive that is required.  Afterall, my power levels are at 13.5 on both house and chassis batteries (shore power).  So I am crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.  I am not even sure which set of batteries operates the awning.

Bill
 

Bill N

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Posts
2,551
Location
Ozark, Missouri
emiddleb said:
Most of the A&E/Dometic awnings suffer from two design issues... low-torque motors and thermal cutoff protection.  Anything that puts a bit of strain on the motors (winds, water pooled on the awning, dirty joints etc) causes the motors to work hard and then overheat.  Then you have to wait for the motor to cool down before it will operate again.

In my case, one of my awnings started having the stop/start issue.  I took a can of silicon spray and flushed out years of campground dust from all the joints and the ends of the rollers, and the awning started working properly again.  Now it is part of my semi-annual maintenance.
 

Bill N

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Posts
2,551
Location
Ozark, Missouri
emiddleb said:
Most of the A&E/Dometic awnings suffer from two design issues... low-torque motors and thermal cutoff protection.  Anything that puts a bit of strain on the motors (winds, water pooled on the awning, dirty joints etc) causes the motors to work hard and then overheat.  Then you have to wait for the motor to cool down before it will operate again.

In my case, one of my awnings started having the stop/start issue.  I took a can of silicon spray and flushed out years of campground dust from all the joints and the ends of the rollers, and the awning started working properly again.  Now it is part of my semi-annual maintenance.

Thanks for that post Ed.  I have always had doubts that the control box is the problem but I have just invested a pile of money to replace it.  Now I am going to go through the procedure you described and try lubricating all the joints and reduce the drag on the motor.  This is a 16 year old coach and while it has been stored in covered storage the original owner took it to South Texas for its first 12 years and spent 3 months each winter with the awning out.  I just replaced the fabric last summer.

Bill
 

John Canfield

Site Team
Joined
Aug 8, 2006
Posts
13,629
Location
Texas Hill Country
Long on my to-do list is to pull the control box and attempt to reverse-engineer the circuitry. I suspect the motor current is monitored and when it reaches a set threshold, a timer starts which locks out voltage to the motor for a period of time. A low tech control would be thermal detection in the motor itself but when I connect 12V directly to the motor, it always runs quite well.

I totally agree with Ed, it's really a pathetic design and poorly engineered. Dometic probably used a contractor to design the control box, must have been the low bidder.
 

Bill N

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Posts
2,551
Location
Ozark, Missouri
John Canfield said:
Long on my to-do list is to pull the control box and attempt to reverse-engineer the circuitry. I suspect the motor current is monitored and when it reaches a set threshold, a timer starts which locks out voltage to the motor for a period of time. A low tech control would be thermal detection in the motor itself but when I connect 12V directly to the motor, it always runs quite well.

I totally agree with Ed, it's really a pathetic design and poorly engineered. Dometic probably used a contractor to design the control box, must have been the low bidder.
I agree John.  A&E does have an emergency procedure and even provides a two wire plug which goes right from the battery connections (that you make with the jumper plugged into the provided two wire plug from the battery) to the extend/retract switch.  Initially when the problem began that always worked but no longer.  I think when the RV tech told me it was the logic board he was right but specifically it must be some sort of thermal sensor that is shutting it down halfway during the retract and then resulting in a long wait to continue the retraction.  I am going to try to reduce any drag by lubricating any moving parts that I can access.  When the new box arrives I may be able to do some experimenting but if the darn thing works good I may just wipe the sweat off my brow and say PTL.

Bill
 

John Canfield

Site Team
Joined
Aug 8, 2006
Posts
13,629
Location
Texas Hill Country
Bill N said:
...A&E does have an emergency procedure and even provides a two wire plug which goes right from the battery connections (that you make with the jumper plugged into the provided two wire plug from the battery) to the extend/retract switch. Initially when the problem began that always worked but no longer....
Ah, then the motor does have a thermal shutdown.
 

John Canfield

Site Team
Joined
Aug 8, 2006
Posts
13,629
Location
Texas Hill Country
Could be a combination of both. I think the mechanical design of the awning as a whole is very lame and the motor might be undersized and have internal thermal protection. The control board is most likely monitoring motor current. I'm getting anxious again to tear into the control board but I have way too many irons in the fire to start another project at the moment.
 

Bill N

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Posts
2,551
Location
Ozark, Missouri
John Canfield said:
Could be a combination of both. I think the mechanical design of the awning as a whole is very lame and the motor might be undersized and have internal thermal protection. The control board is most likely monitoring motor current. I'm getting anxious again to tear into the control board but I have way too many irons in the fire to start another project at the moment.
Thanks so much John.  I developed a pair of very wet feet after I received this brand new control box kit yesterday.  It contains in addition to the control box a wind sensor and enough telephone wire to run it up to the roof, a remote button activator, and a new additional extend/retract button like the one Winnie has in the motorhome.  I opened the box up and took a look and it is totally different stuff but Dometic says it should work if I figure out the wiring which I think I can do.  Anyway, after looking over the part numbers and other stuff I find a used unit at Colaw Salvage just 50 miles from me and they will guarantee it to be working.  The difference:  $358 for the new unit and $125 for the used one.  I am returning the new one today - just not worth the risk of that much money to not have it work.  I can drive to Colaw and pick up the used unit and let it be the test dummy.....lol.  Thanks again for being there John.

Bill
 

SargeW

Site Team
Joined
Dec 12, 2008
Posts
8,180
Location
Where ever we park it!
My suspicion was that the wiring that runs to the motor was not heavy enough. I had tons of trouble with the patio awnings on various coaches. But running a long jumper from the battery bank almost always made it work. Then the motors themselves would get weak and not be able to pull the awning back in. I have replaced an awning motor on my last coach. The hardest part was paying for it. 

My current coach has a 110 volt motor, and it has worked perfectly. I had changed out the control boxes on a few of the awnings I was having problems with and it never made much of a difference. It always linked back to a weak motor and voltage. 
 

Bill N

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Posts
2,551
Location
Ozark, Missouri
Just one note Marty.  I notice on both of the control boxes that I have bought to use on my coach that the wiring coming out of the box to the connectors is heavier than it was on the original box so maybe they got smart later.  What was fomerly #14 and #16 is now #12 and #14.

Bill
 

John Canfield

Site Team
Joined
Aug 8, 2006
Posts
13,629
Location
Texas Hill Country
Good thinking - voltage drop. That's something else to monitor - I can use the 'emergency' 12V cable and measure voltage/current with the awning in operation.
 

Bill N

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Posts
2,551
Location
Ozark, Missouri
Winnebago used a 15 pin MATE-N-LOK connector to connect the A&E control box to the coach wiring bundle.  My used replacement box does not have the 15 pin connector but rather several two and three pin connectors. I would like to get a new 15 pin to put on the new box so that if it doesn't work I can put the old box back in easily.  BUT I am having great troubles finding that 15 pin connector.  Googled it and it seems I have to buy either 40 of them or 1000 of them  or I can get one for $5.13 and $45.00 shipping from Germany.  I don't see anything like that in the Winnebago Parts catalog.  Anybody have a possible source for an AMP MATE-N-LOK 15 pin connector.  I am specific because half of the connector is still on the coach wiring and mating would be much easier if I didn't have to take that off.  Also a pin extraction tool would be possibly handy in a pinch.


Bill
 

Latest posts

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
120,565
Posts
1,211,277
Members
125,671
Latest member
obmika
Top Bottom