By Jamie Swedberg
Until recently, there have been two options for installing a motorized retractable awning: plug it into a wall socket, leaving an unsightly cord hanging, or hardwire it into the electrical system of the home or business. To this day, good installation crews have an electrician on board for exactly that reason.
But as manufacturers create new ways to connect motorized systems without dabbling in high-voltage wires, installation becomes less complicated.
Nice Group USA Inc., San Antonio, Texas, has developed a new line of tubular motors with low-voltage sensor wires in the motor cord lead. “You could actually connect everything up yourself,” says manager Dale Spuzzillo. “You don’t really have to have an electrician to do it. What’s more, it gives you the ability to add a low-voltage switch directly off the motor so that if the customer’s transmitter falls in the pool or their dog runs off with it right before their big party, they still have a direct switch they can use to operate it.”
Another technology on the horizon is a handheld device for installers to use when programming automated retractable awning systems. Spuzzillo says dealers can use the device to set the rotation of the motor; the up and down limits; the wind, sun and rain limits; and any other necessary parameters. Then, if there’s another awning being installed in the household, they can hit the “copy” button and transfer all of the first awning’s settings to the second one.