Manual vs Motor Awnings

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Positives and Negatives Associated with Powered Awnings

Many people are now opting for powered awnings for their campers and motorhomes due to the ease it promises of a push of the button, but are these promises empty? Is a flip of the switch all it takes or does it fall short of consumer’s expectations? Let’s explore the Pros and Cons of the powered awning for your RV before you spend the big bucks today...

Advantages: Reasons In Favor Of Powered Motorhome/Trailer Awnings are…

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  1. The obvious first reason is the carefree nature of the powered RV awning. You don’t have to run from one side to adjust to the right height. Many elderly and/or handicap people find this factor of great benefit, so if this is your situation this plus is HUGE!
  2. It’s a time saver! Especially if you’re the only one left having to set up…the rest of the family is enjoying the scenery and the precious vacation time allotted. Another good reason for this time saver is the powered awning is doing its thing while you’re setting up your table, chairs, etc. This alone can cut your set up time in half! This provides the additional benefit of spending more time to relax and enjoy family time.
  3. Instead of having to guess at the height of your awning ratio to door opening factor, it does it by itself! That’s definitely significant since it could stop an incident of door ripping awning if your judgment is off, as well as maybe even causing injury… Once you take that into mind, then it seems sensible to opt for this time saver.

The points above show the positive aspects of electric awnings. There exists a dark side as well. Here’s a discussion of some of the disadvantages.  

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Drawbacks: Reasons Against Powered RV Awnings

  1. You are relying on electronics and a motor not to fail. If you ever had powered awnings in the past you might find they work great for a while but just like everything else that’s got a self powered motor… it will need maintenance which can produce the effect of malfunction and having to figure out putting your awning down manually – which can be worse than a non-powered awning to begin with! In fact many consumers have complained about this…the motors work for a few times but then something breaks leaving you with another fix it bill. Also, another complaint has been the motor is just not strong enough to power through this procedure again and again…this is certainly a bad thing. It could be enough reason to avoid doing it at all.
  2. The cost. Usually the electric awnings are at least double the cost of the manual awnings. Get a quote on the power awning vs. manual awnings – put in the size needed and compare the two prices. Then take these reasons into consideration and see if it’s worth it to you!
  3. A do it yourself installation to an existing RV or trailer can be challenging. The final reason to avoid powered awnings is the time and money it takes to produce the same results…most opinions are the manual awnings are pretty easy to put up and down .

I strongly urge people to contemplate these factors seriously, given that it can contribute to the savings of money and worry of a future break down of equipment and if you decide to go with the powered awning…please let us know what your experience is…was it good or bad?

So that is it. We have considered and looked at the pros and cons of powered awnings for your motorhome, travel trailer and pop up camper. It’s not ideal for everyone; nevertheless,

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depending on your reasons…it certainly is great for some! You’ll want to now think about the points made above and decide if it can be best for you. Hopefully your final decision process is going to be aided greatly by the pro and con info presented here.

MOTORIZED AWNING NEWS UPDATE: Just released on November 19, 2010 – Approximately 4,600 motorized awnings imported by Somfy Systems Inc. have been recalled. The awning motor’s power cable can be severed while the awning is opened or closed manually, causing a potential threat of electrical shock. No injuries have been reported. The recall involves the Sunea CMO RTS motor used to operate retractable awnings, model numbers 525A2, 535A2 and 550R2. “Somfy” is printed on the motor head. It was sold at awning dealers and retailers nationwide from December 2009 to September 2010. Details: Call 800-637-6639
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January 15, 2011 | Comments Closed

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