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There Is Always Something Part Four

Shades. They provide relief from the sun, don’t they? In a motorcoach, they also provide relief from the heat and, at night, privacy.

Shades can also be shady. There are numerous synonyms for shady: suspect, questionable, dubious, doubtful, untrustworthy, tricky and irregular.

All of these synonyms apply to the current state of my MCD shades. They are definitely shady. They have never worked consistently since we first got the coach. They have become progressively worse and, during our trip from Florida to California, the MCD shades have become downright frustrating.

There was a technical service bulletin released by Newmar. TSB 486. This is what it says:

Newmar and MCD shade have determined that certain 2016 and 2017 Dutch Star coaches (all floorplans withremote-controlled power shades) and 2016 and 2017 Ventana coaches (4311 floorplan only) may experience remote-controlled power shade failures. MCD has created the attached troubleshooting instructions to diagnose the 14-channel remote and remote motors. If the original remote-controlled motor(s) have failed and currently need replacing, the motors and remote(s) will be replaced with a 15-channel remote, new remote control motors, and a two-channel bedroom remote. The driver side “Sway Shade” will also be replaced as a complete shade. Replace the bezel in the wall to ensure the proper fit of the new 15-channel remote.

When we took our coach into the dealer to attend to the long-running issue with the MCD shades they did, well, nothing about the shades, even though our coach is on the affected unit list.

I raised the issue with MCD directly at the recent RV show in Tampa. They agreed to help us out. We are now in the midst of trying to arrange for these shades to be replaced.

For now, the shades are shady. I never know if they are going to work.

Every day, at least one shade fails to retract.

Every day, I reprogram at least one shade.

There is some good to come out of all this.

I have become an MCD programming shade master.

People from around the world come to me seeking insight on how to get their automatic MCD shades to retract. I am only too happy to help them out. For a very generous fee.

I have every step in the the user-friendly process outlined below memorized.


Easy enough to follow right? I especially like the description of the beep cycle: beeep, beeep, beep-beep-beep.

I even wrote a song about the beeps.

Would you like to see the lyrics?

Of course you would.

MCD Shades Go Beep, Beep, Beep by the Cleaver dude.

Copyright under dispute (I’m innocent).

While riding in my Dutch Star coach, what, to my surprise,
All MCD shades would not retract, not even on either side.
The remote must have wanted to lead me on
As the shades kept refusing to move. Beep! Beep!
I’ll show them that the Cleaver dude is not a dude to scorn.

Refrain:
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
The shades went, beep, beep, beep. (Beep! Beep!).

I pushed my finger down on the remote to give the shades a shake,
But the MCD shades stayed stuck in place; as if they had a brake.
The shades must have thought they had far more sense
As I kept on pressing up, up. Beep! Beep!
I’ll show them that the Cleaver dude is not a dude to scorn.

Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
The shades went, beep, beep, beep. (Beep! Beep!).

My coach went into a long term site and we wanted to have some light.
And soon we were in a sunny place, but the coach inside wasn’t bright.
When I pulled the remote out from the wall, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
The MCD shades would just not move, you’d think those shades would try.
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
The shades went, beep, beep, beep. (Beep! Beep!)

Unfortunately I am currently embroiled in a copyright suit with some old song recorded by the Playmates. Heck, even their arrangement is the same as my song.

Beep, beep.

Programming MCD Shades

Our MCD shades have had their fair share of ups and downs — sorry about the bad pun!

Newmar had issued a Technical Service Bulletin on the MCD shades and it reads as follows:

Newmar and MCD shade have determined that certain 2016 and 2017 Dutch Star coaches (all floorplans with remote-controlled power shades) and 2016 and 2017 Ventana coaches (4311 floorplan only) may experience remote-controlled power shade failures. MCD has created the attached troubleshooting instructions to diagnose the 14-channel remote and remote motors. If the original remote-controlled motor(s) have failed and currently need replacing, the motors and remote(s) will be replaced with a 15-channel remote, new remote control motors, and a two-channel bedroom remote. The driver side “Sway Shade” will also be replaced as a complete shade. Replace the bezel in the wall to ensure the proper fit of the new 15-channel remote.

Newmar included the coach numbers that were impacted by this TSB and our coach was on the list. We have had numerous issues with the shades since we took delivery of our coach.

Right now all of the shades seem to be working however a few of them need to have their limits adjusted. As we are rolling with an archaic remote controller from 2007 — MCD has the word “innovations” in their business name so perhaps a clunky remote from before the era of the iPhone was innovative — the procedure to program the shades, in keeping with much of the technology in RVs, is not particularly user friendly.

I’m including the instructions here as I fear that MCD Innovations will drop the page that contains the instructions and I might not find them again on their website.

Directions to Link and Set Limits

If you do not have the two small holes drilled in the face of your 14-channel remote, the cover of the remote must be removed for Key 1 and Key 2 access.

  • Select the button on the 14 channel remote you want to link the shade with.
  • Start the motor by holding the learning button on the shade until it just starts beeping, then you should release the button.
  • Link with Key 2 on the Remote: While motor is beeping, press and hold Key 2 (left-hand button) to link remotely to the motor. A Chirp will be heard if successful. NOTE: In rare cases, Key 1 will marry the remote to the shade. Try this only after several attempts are made using Key 2 above with no results.
  • Program with Key 1 on the remote: Press and hold Key 1 (right-hand button) to get into the program mode. You will hear the motor Chirp.
  • Confirming the upper and lower limits: Lower the shade with the DOWN button and manually stop it by pressing the STOP button where you want the lower limit to be set. NOTE: You can bump the shade up or down (1/2” at a time) once you stop the initial movement of the shade as it first travels up or down. This allows you to accurately set the limit where you want the shade to stop. When you have the shade positioned properly, press Key 2 to confirm that limit. A Chirp should be heard.
    Using the UP button, move the shade to the upper stop position and manually stop the shade by pressing the STOP button. Bump the shade up or down to position it correctly and, again, press Key 2. You are now out of the programming mode.
  • Test the shade limits: start by pressing the DOWN button on the 14-channel remote and keep your finger near the STOP button. If the shade does not stop at the limit you set, stop it manually. If the shade stops at the limit properly, press the UP button and test the upper stop point. Again, Be sure to keep your finger near the stop button in case the limit is exceeded. If the upper and lower stop points work properly, you are done.
  • NOTE: If the shade goes UP when you push the DOWN button, you can easily change the direction of the motor by holding the STOP button for that shade and then pushing Key 1, together, until the motor Chirps. The motor should now be reversed. Test the shade to be sure it is correct.
  • If you need to Link the shade to the All Night or All Day button on a 14-channel remote, press the All Night/Day button on the remote. Hold the learning button on the shade you want to Link until it just starts to beep and release it. Press Key 2 on the 14-channel remote to Link to the remote. If the limits were set previously, those parameters are stored in the motor of the shade, so no more programming is necessary.

NOTE: If you need to clear a motor of all its limits, hold the learning button for that shade for three sets of a series of beeps. All previous limits will now be removed and you MUST manually stop the shade.

To unlink a shade for either the 2-channel or 14-channel remote: Hold learning button on the shade for 1 beep cycle only, you can then re-link to another button. The shade will un-link from all buttons (individual and all).