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Old 08-31-2021, 03:10 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Tuscany 45AT
State: Ohio
Posts: 12
THOR #16882
Saga of an Awning...

Sorry about the length but....

Last winter while in Florida our main awning got a mind of its own, and typically refused to extend. But, after days of pushing the extend button on the firefly it would extend, only to not retract, once again, after many, many attempts. A call to Thor tech support garnered no help other than to say probably bad motor, take it to a dealer. I soon discovered if I “shook” the end of the awning where the wind sensor is located it would retract every time. They still tried to explain it was a bad motor.
I checked into the Girard web site (Girard Vision model) to determine if a schematic was available, but only a “sorta” block diagram with 4 wires going to the motor. How complicated could the tracing of 4 wires be, I ask myself. Well, after exposing the Girard controller I soon discovered 2 relays and a BIG bundle of wire behind the front right compartment. Not to be deterred I called Thor tech support back and explained the problem to another person who stated that’s a problem for upper tier tech support. I asked if I could speak to them and was told that’s only for dealer technicians and mobile repair people. So then I asked her if they could provide me with the total schematic since I have a degree in electronics technology and designed telephone systems for Bell Labs for 35 years. Her response was this is obviously not a telephone system. So much for Thor support!!
Next up was Girard Systems again. By this time I opened up the Girard controller and determined that the controller was not outputting any voltage at all. I talk to a person in their tech support, explained the situation again and he advised that the controller was bad, no kidding Sherlock!! I asked him where to order and the price. He stated from them and it was ~$700.00 !!! As I had opened the unit up and noted the minimal components, I told him that price was obscene!! He immediately hung up on me. So much for Girard.

Next up was Firefly Systems. Now that was a real professional to talk to and he explained the operation of the G6 firefly controller and the fact that, no, the relays I hear actuating in the front cabinet was not part of their circuit. Had to be a combination of Thor and Girard.

So, that left me with no alternative than to find what voltages “from-to” to get the awning to extend and retract. I accomplished that and then started looking for a method to by-pass the Girard controller. I came up with a device on Amazon that actually has a remote which provides an “extend and retract arrow” and has the ability to handle the voltage and currents needed. Of course I got it the next day and started laying out the circuit. Within the hour I had it installed and operating the awning, in and out.
Bottom line, cost was $18.94 including shipping!! Far cry from $700.00

So here is my take on tech support:

Thor - willing to talk but no help 4
Girard - rude and 0
Firefly Systems - Very professional, informative 10



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Old 08-31-2021, 03:20 PM   #2
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Chateau 24F
State: Ohio
Posts: 2,246
THOR #16721
Moral to your story... nothing beats an old fashioned analog switch. As I've stated before, there's going to be a lot of unhappy campers when a tiny dot of corrosion somewhere deep within one of those wiring harness bundles, or a loose wire causes those automated systems to fail. They're impressive and fun while they work...
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Old 08-31-2021, 03:20 PM   #3
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2015 Vegas 24.1
State: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,439
THOR #2601
Not to rub salt in an open wound here -- but my 2015 Vegas has an awning too. There is a switch right inside the door to the left of the steps. Push the switch to EXTAND and 12 VDC goes to motor on the awning. Push the switch to retract and 12 VDC goes to the opposite side of the awning motor to RETRACT. No controllers, no firefly -- pretty simple. There are fuses and o course you go through the perennial call to Thor asking the oft repeated question, "Where is the fuse for the -----------."

I'm glad Nomad fixed the awning -- but that should not have been that difficult. And Thur and Girard tech assistance should have provided some technical assistance as their name implied.

Owning an RV should not be a constant lesson in self discovery every time a problem crops up.
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Old 09-04-2021, 08:46 PM   #4
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: South Carolina
Posts: 569
THOR #22342
I have been finding little covers, plastic caps on the Carefree Awning will come loose and fly off in the breeze. I called Carefree and they stated that the covers come off all the time.

I have started putting little dabs of sealant along the hinge line, snaps etc. This helps secure the covers.

And yes. I am all for analog switches. I have a 2021 THOR and it still has the analog AC controls etc. I am thinking.

this is probably the way to go. Touch screens are cool looking, but nothing beats the old analog AC unit slide thermostat. At night, i like to slide the temperature slide just enough to turn the AC unit on again.
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Old 09-04-2021, 09:03 PM   #5
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: '17-Vegas 24.1
State: California
Posts: 2,085
THOR #13362
Quote:
Originally Posted by txc2936@yahoo.com View Post
I have been finding little covers, plastic caps on the Carefree Awning will come loose and fly off in the breeze. I called Carefree and they stated that the covers come off all the time.

I have started putting little dabs of sealant along the hinge line, snaps etc. This helps secure the covers.

And yes. I am all for analog switches. I have a 2021 THOR and it still has the analog AC controls etc. I am thinking.

this is probably the way to go. Touch screens are cool looking, but nothing beats the old analog AC unit slide thermostat. At night, i like to slide the temperature slide just enough to turn the AC unit on again.
I agree with your assessment of Analog switches vs the new Thor touch screens.
The idiot lights work great and tell me what I need to know.

Regarding the thermostat, however…my plug ‘n play $50 Coleman Mach digital replacement works flawlessly. And DW loves it

(But I kept the manual OEM thermostat nearby just in case)
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Old 09-04-2021, 10:08 PM   #6
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: South Carolina
Posts: 569
THOR #22342
yes, if i go digital, i will change out my thermostat. IF you say plug and play.. That would be good enough for me.
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