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Author Topic: Carefree OtD troubleshoot  (Read 1573 times)

Joel Ashley

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Carefree OtD troubleshoot
« on: July 30, 2019, 04:05:07 AM »
As many of you know, our coach has been parked for a couple of years.  On the warmest summer days among other procedures I leave the awnings extended partially to help the nearby house shade the rig interior midday.  A family reunion ensued the 4th of July for several days, and afterward my bored stepson asked to pressure wash the rig, so I let him. 

I surmise that despite my cautions regarding seams and sealant areas, he may have watered the innards of the Carefree Over-the-Door awning, as when I went to extend it with the main awning the other day, it wouldn’t move.  I can barely hear the switch activate I think, but the motor doesn’t react.  I’m not sure it was the stepson’s doing at all, but the unit worked last summer.

Removing the unit myself is apparently ill-advised safety-wise, esp. given it is currently closed and I guess tensioned.  So I’ll begin with unscrewing the multi-device panel from over the doorway inside, and perusing the awning’s keyed switch, testing with my multimeter.  I did find online what is probably the right service manual, with diagrams, but as is consistent for Carefree no real troubleshooting section.

Interestingly, tonight I was on a ladder doing a preliminary check and found the top housing quite warm.  Thinking it was from a day’s solar exposure, I felt the nearby roof radius and main awning’s aluminum shield.  Both were not warm at all.  Could the OtD awning motor get hot without the switch or it’s key being on?  Or is it just leftover solar warmth I’m feeling, trapped in the top casing?

Has anyone dealt with a dead unit before and can provide guidance beforehand?

Thanks,
Joel
« Last Edit: July 30, 2019, 04:10:31 AM by Joel Ashley »
Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
Clackamas, Oregon
36.9 ft. 2006 Monterey Ventura IV, aka"Monty Rae"
C9 400HP Cat
towing a 1997 Ford Explorer Limited, aka "Pearl"

Joel Ashley

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Re: Carefree OtD troubleshoot
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2019, 10:06:37 PM »
Okay, this is gonna be a “fun” project, I can tell.  No replies here is unusual and commonly means it hasn’t happened to others. 

Plus there’s no YouTube videos specific to this discontinued Freedom III model.   The end that the tubular motor must slide out of is next to the main awning apparatus which of course is thereby in the way;  and the parts breakdown and service manual imply that because the unit is in the closed position so the end cap’s mounting bolt is inaccessible, one must carefully and accurately drill 3 holes in the cap to get at the motor mounting screws, thus requiring a new cap.  But even drilling such holes would be a trip since the main awning will prevent drill alignment.  Oh joy.

I reckon I’d better find an electric glitch on the back of the interior switch panel or the awning will just have to be dead.  I’m not gonna try removing the main awning by myself just for the sake of the little one that has minimal shade value anyway.  It looks to me like the OtD awning can’t be removed whole without it being at least partly open, to access fasteners inside.

Seems like these devices should have a manual (alternative crank drive) method of opening to avert such circumstances;  it has to be open to effectively do any repair at all or remove it.

Joel
Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
Clackamas, Oregon
36.9 ft. 2006 Monterey Ventura IV, aka"Monty Rae"
C9 400HP Cat
towing a 1997 Ford Explorer Limited, aka "Pearl"

Steve Huber Co-Admin

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Re: Carefree OtD troubleshoot
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2019, 10:26:51 PM »
Joel,
Can you apply 12v to the lines coming from the control unit inside the coach to the motor to extend the unit?
Steve
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Bill Lampkin

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2005 Patriot Thunder Lexington, 3 slides
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Joel Ashley

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Re: Carefree OtD troubleshoot
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2019, 10:43:19 PM »
Hi Steve.  I haven’t found time to even remove the over-door inside panel yet.  I will test the key switch and the main switch when I get behind there.  For some reason the service and other documents at Carefree don’t mention a keyswitch, even though it says “Carefree” right on it.  After turning the key to “On” and pressing the rocker switch I think I hear a dim “buzz”, so I suspect the keyswitch is okay.  Not sure there is a control unit... the documents don’t indicate that either.

If the motor side of the rocker switch has 12v and the ground wire has continuity, I suspect applying remote 12v to the motor wire will work, but it may if there’s a resistance issue at the switch or something.  I’ll try it.

Yeah Bill, that’s one of the manuals I was consulting.

Thanks,
Joel

Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
Clackamas, Oregon
36.9 ft. 2006 Monterey Ventura IV, aka"Monty Rae"
C9 400HP Cat
towing a 1997 Ford Explorer Limited, aka "Pearl"

Tom Webber

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Re: Carefree OtD troubleshoot
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2019, 03:51:34 AM »
When our 2006 Monterey was in North Georgia a couple of years ago my wife tried to close our awning that had eight inches of snow on the door awning. Something broke and it would not retract. Had to have a mobile RV tech cut the fabric and remove the unit so we could go to FL.
Went to RV Specialists in Fruitland Park, FL and they discovered a plastic gear attached to the motor shaft had broken.  In contacting Carefree we learned that they no longer use that style motor. Contacted Beaver Coach Sales and they had one at that time for $400.00. Thought I would just do without but RV Specialists was able to epoxy the gear and it has worked fine ever since.
06 Monterey
CAT 350HP C9
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Fred Brooks

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Re: Carefree OtD troubleshoot
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2019, 02:42:22 PM »
   Hi Joel,
 I believe on that model you will find that the motor is mounted vertically on the left side. Bogus engineering allows water to get into the motor and traps it at the bottom. There is no real fix except changing the motor and sealing the replacement at the top. Watch out for the arms, I can't remember if they are spring loaded to extend and then the motor retracts the fabric and fascia panel. Fred
Fred & Cindy Brooks
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Joel Ashley

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Re: Carefree OtD troubleshoot
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2019, 09:11:17 PM »
Fred, I’m pretty certain that it’s a tubular (horizontal) motor, from the online documents and the two awning ends looking like twins (no vertical bulge on the left end cap).

I did get the cabinet panel down, and discovered Steve was correct when he mentioned a controller.  Though not in my wiring Beaver diagram book or the online discontinued product Carefree diagrams, it’s there... double-sided taped to the back wall just above what appears to be a main awning controller module.  Of course with a Magnum inverter remote, Kingdome satellite control, two sets of awning controls, the Aladdin reset, and front slideouts switches up there, the area is a snake pit of wiring.  That’s always fun... trying to support the loosened panel without straining any wire while tracing and checking individual wires and connections of various styles.

After perusing the situation a bit, I elected to put this project on hold until I had more time.  The reason is twofold. 

One, the on/off switch with a key has voltage going to the next in line rocker switch, regardless of whether the key is turned to ON or OFF.  This is me scratching head full of electrical ignorance 🥴. 

Two, the blue wire from the rocker switch to the controller connects in a port labeled “MPX” BUS;  so I check the Multiplex modules and fuses in the bathroom cabinet, and all seems okay.  But pulling the 10amp minifuse (#8) marked for awning, thermostats, sat power, and TV booster does not shut off any of those things.  This is my multiplex ignorant head scratched into oblivion 🤯.

So anyway, I will have to sort this out when time permits.  Perhaps I’ve misinterpreted the MPX mark on the controller port.  Regardless, it has 12v power there.  I assume the controller is intended to behave like a relay and put higher amp power to the awning motor.  I’ll need to check that function.  I did note by touching the meter to a nearby door jamb bolt head that the obvious ground wires all do have continuity to chassis ground .  If need be, I may remove the controller, disassemble it, and look for blown capacitors or some other obvious circuit board malady.  That proving okay, I reckon I’ll have little option but to try getting the left end cover and plate off and replace what’s probably a failed motor.

Joel
« Last Edit: August 02, 2019, 09:24:55 PM by Joel Ashley »
Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
Clackamas, Oregon
36.9 ft. 2006 Monterey Ventura IV, aka"Monty Rae"
C9 400HP Cat
towing a 1997 Ford Explorer Limited, aka "Pearl"

Bill Lampkin

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Re: Carefree OtD troubleshoot
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2019, 02:56:23 AM »
Joel, Pictures are worth a thousand words. You are right in that the controller should act as a relay. If you wind up with a bad controller, check Intellitec, still in business. Also, Visone, for used parts, also NW RV Supply in Eugene.  The mux-is this awning controllable from another switch? That''s what the mux wire should be for. Anyway, if you want, you could check for a good motor by labeling (first) each lead, then remove the two motor leads from the controller and check for ohms. A motor winding should have some nominal resistance, a bad motor would register infinite ohms on your meter (open winding).

We all need a project!!
2005 Patriot Thunder Lexington, 3 slides
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Joel Ashley

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Re: Carefree OtD troubleshoot
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2019, 05:09:01 AM »
Now I’m thinking the “MPX BUS” wire from the rocker switch is labeled such cuz it behaves like the other Multiplex system inside the coach... one wire and one touch go and stop anywhere along the extend/retract motion.  The ground and 12v wires on either side of it power the controller/relay, while that then let’s full amps through to the motor via the yellow and white wires in the connector to the right (see pix in prior post).

Gettin there I hope.

Already got nuf projects, thank you Bill 😁.
Joel
Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
Clackamas, Oregon
36.9 ft. 2006 Monterey Ventura IV, aka"Monty Rae"
C9 400HP Cat
towing a 1997 Ford Explorer Limited, aka "Pearl"

Joel Ashley

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Re: Carefree OtD troubleshoot
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2019, 11:49:37 PM »
I gave up on this.

The control module had 12.78 volts at both the “extend” and the “retract” motor connector ports with no wires plugged in to them and the Extend and Retract buttons tried.  This implied the controller was working normally.

But when the wires to the motor were plugged in to the controller port as normal, with the “Extend” button pressed the extend wire showed only 11 volts.  Worse, the retract wire, that shouldn’t have any voltage with the “Extend” button pressed, showed 1.6 volts.

Pressing the “Retract” button puts 0 volts to the extend wire and 12.78 volts to the retract wire, as it should.

I’m no electrical whiz but am surmising a fault or short in the motor wiring or windings, or corrosion freezing it, is siphoning 1.6 volts off the extend side over to the retract side. 

When I finally managed to figure out how to get at the tubular motor, I found that on this particular (2006) model you have to slide the long motor out towards the rear of the coach (left).  It’s the only way.  You can’t remove the awning because it’s 3 mounting bolts are covered by the closed mechanism that’s stuck in retract mode.  The awning can’t be pulled out manually because the motor’s gears engage it in the tube and are locking it up.  It’s a dilemma.  The motor would pull out to its left and disengage the roller, and Carefree’s manual describes that well enough.  But the coach’s main Eclipse awning’s right arm lays inches away against the coach wall, blocking the motor’s removal path!

This was getting too involved.  Removing a main awning arm and stabilizing that roll tube was not on my agenda.  Getting the OtD awning off and to my workbench was, but that was no longer an option.  The next time I’m in Bend it will have to be on the list for Jeff at Bend RV Repair or at BCS.  At least I can save them some labor time with what I zeroed in on.  And thanks to Jeff who called and eased my spring arm strength concerns;  they are relatively weak and easy to restrain if the motor was slid out, disengaging the roller.

I have to add that for once I was very pleasantly surprised by my entreaty to Carefree.  The first person that picked up the phone was friendly and helpful, and knowledgeable enough to not need to pass me off to others.  She knew their products, even discontinued ones like mine.  And she spent a good 20 minutes with me trying to assist.  This is not my normal expectation of Carefree, given mine and others’ past experiences, and the evolution of the popular nickname, “Careless”.  Perhaps there’s finally been a management and customer service attitude change there.  We can hope.

Joel
Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
Clackamas, Oregon
36.9 ft. 2006 Monterey Ventura IV, aka"Monty Rae"
C9 400HP Cat
towing a 1997 Ford Explorer Limited, aka "Pearl"

Steve Huber Co-Admin

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Re: Carefree OtD troubleshoot
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2019, 03:06:38 AM »
Joel,
Think you've got a bad controller (or relay module) not motor. The 12v & gnd are switched by relays and if one of the contacts is resistive it could yield your symptoms. You wouldn't necessarily see it with a meter as there would be no load applied. You can  check this by applying 12v and gnd directly to the unplugged motor wires (yellow and white) and then reversing the signals. One way will extend and the other will retract.
Steve
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Joel Ashley

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Re: Carefree OtD troubleshoot
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2019, 08:30:33 AM »
I considered that weeks ago when I first took the panel down (see Aug. 2 post pix) but didn’t conceptualize at that moment a handy way to apply 12v.  I reassembled the overhead today thinking that because there is 12v at the Motor- (extend) and also at Motor+ (retract) ports on the black control module when the switch is operated, the problem must be the motor. 

I suppose you could be right... the 11v at the extend and 12.8v at the retract wires crimp connectors between the controller and the motor when the rocker switch is operated may imply something else.  Before putting the snake pit of wires and “cabinet” cover all back today, I should’ve found a solid 12v source nearby to run a wire from, and to the two motor wires to clarify the motor’ status.  Neither did I try Bill’s suggestion of checking the ohms on the disconnected motor wires.  I may yet remove the panel and try it.  Thanks for reminding me.  There’s supposed to be two contacts for applying remote 12v under the motor end, but with the unit stuck closed you can’t get at them.

If it is the controller I may be able to track down the resistance source and repair it.  I’ve been learning a little about electronic circuits and pcb diagnosis.  My new LCR Research Pro 1 tweezers testing tool is proving a bit over my head, but I’m learning.

Joel
« Last Edit: September 25, 2019, 08:54:44 AM by Joel Ashley »
Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
Clackamas, Oregon
36.9 ft. 2006 Monterey Ventura IV, aka"Monty Rae"
C9 400HP Cat
towing a 1997 Ford Explorer Limited, aka "Pearl"

Joel Ashley

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Re: Carefree OtD troubleshoot
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2019, 07:53:40 AM »
Steve, I took the panel back down and alligator-clipped a wire to the entry door latch pin and another to the main (red) hot wire going from the battery into the control module.  Using a meter I confirmed an unwavering 12.8v there and a solid ground on the other wire.

Inserting the wires’ probe pin ends into the yellow and white wires’ connector (disconnected from the module) and alternating them, I got no movement from the awning, neither out nor any budge in (it’s already closed).  To confirm that, I squeezed the probe pins into the crimp connectors where the white and yellow controller wires transition into the motor’s wires, and no movement.  I think it’s safe to say it is a bad motor.

I might stand a chance of repairing it if I could get the awning off the coach or at least slide the tubular motor out, but the doggone main awning is in the way of that, and the closed unit blocks access to the 3 mounting bolts holding the entire device on the coach.  I’ll have to let a knowledgeable tech do it if and when we ever can get on the road again.  The main Eclipse awning’s right arm will have to be removed, and I’ve had more than my share of dealings with that confounded thing.

Joel

Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
Clackamas, Oregon
36.9 ft. 2006 Monterey Ventura IV, aka"Monty Rae"
C9 400HP Cat
towing a 1997 Ford Explorer Limited, aka "Pearl"

Laurel Moore

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Re: Carefree OtD troubleshoot
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2019, 01:38:17 AM »
Joel,  I know this is an older post but if you’re still working on it I can tell you I had the motor go out of my 2009 Contessa I took the in caps off all the closure release the spraying arms let them hang down pre-and pull the motor out to the right . It was a fairly simple job but time consuming hope this helps
Laurel Moore
2009 Beaver Contessa 43ft
Toad 2011 Jeep Wrangler
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