Logo  Jane and John's RV pages

Goodbye pleated blinds, hello MCD American Duo shades!


Page 1:   - introduction to the problem, a few words about MCD, a Lat/Long for the MCD factory

Page 2:  - this page - measuring and preparation for the MCD product, idea of costs

Page 3:  - installation of the product, Part I

Page 4:  - installation of the product, Part II - a few movies of shade movement (or lack of) and how effective the day shade really is!

Disclaimer: this project write-up is based on my best recollection of the events and the product. Contact MCD Innovations before you make any decisions about their products

Coaches parked at MCD

You will have full hookups (and 50 amp electricity!) The hookups are on the wall of the building, so be sure you have enough sewer hose and maybe an extra 50' water hose. I always carry a 10' sewer hose extension for those times when my 20' hose won't reach - this was one of those times.

The coach at the extreme right side of the picture had to boondock for a day or two since all of the hookups were in use. This guy might have been a drop-in (no appointment.)

Normally you arrive on a Sunday, and plan on staying all week (or five business days) if they are going to install shades in your entire RV. I think we arrived on a Sunday and didn't get finished for about ten calendar days, but we were in no rush and readily agreed to a couple of extra days (it was our choice.)

The place is very pet-friendly; be certain Bobbi at the front counter gets to meet your pet, she'll have a treat ready. There is plenty of grass available for walks and for playing ball or Frisbee with your doggie.

The MCD camping is a little noisy at night with some traffic noise, but running your AC blower should drown that out and make for a good night's rest. There is a manufactured home park immediately behind MCD, but there were no issues or problems from that community while we were there. Most residents seem to be working-class and well-behaved.

Speaking of the area, it is fairly a nice part of town with mostly offices, small warehouses and some light manufacturing. Not one time did I feel like I had to look over my shoulder while walking our dog at night around the building (and it is well-lit.) Interestingly, Dave and Carla (the principals of MCD) are fulltimers right there in space one (they test all of the products on their coach!)

MCD welcome bag

Monday morning about 8:15 AM - the tech's will stop by your RV and introduce themselves and drop off a 'goodie' bag with a list of things to do in the area, places to eat, etc. Practically anything you need in the way of shopping is fairly close by.

If you are there for new shades, you get to discuss your requirements, pick out a particular material for the night shade and get measured.

Dave and Jane looking at samples

We were fortunate enough to have Dave, head kahuna of MCD, personally talk about the products with us. Dave is showing Jane some material samples - all of the samples of the night material were fortunately pretty close in color (at least to my 'guy' eyes, I'm sure the females would disagree!)

We made our selection of material and after seeing Dave and Carla's remotely operated motorized shades in their Monaco, I knew right then and there I had to have that as well. I asked Dave if he could design a remote control for the TV/DVR and to control the shades ;-) That way when you are watching a football game and it's time to lower the night shades, you don't even need to get out of the chair or inconvenience the spouse. It's almost heaven ;-)

Closeup of the shade mechanism

Here is a close view of the American Duo (day and night shades) product giving you an idea of the size. The Duo shades are about 5.5" tall, or figure 6". Notice the night shade (lighter color) has wires - this is for the motor inside of the shade tube. The black wire (actually shrink wrap) contains the antenna for remotely operated shades, and programming wires to set the operational limits.

The significance of this picture is to give you an idea of how the shades will be hidden in your present valances. If you have about 6" of room between the top and bottom of the valance, the American Duo shades will be almost completely hidden when installed.

If you don't have that much room, they can usually hide everything within a 5 inch space (top-to-bottom). However, if you don't have that much room, they can place the night shade on top and the solar (day) shade on the bottom of the stacked shade assemblies that go on side windows. Then by adjusting the upper stop limit, the only thing that would show, say below a valance that is only 3 or 4 inches deep, would be the night shade hem rail and some night shade fabric which looks perfectly okay. The rollers themselves would be completely hidden and the shade/valance area would look great.

Of course if you are only getting one shade (day or night), then you will need much less room in the valance. If your windows are heavily tinted, you might be able to get by with just the night shade, but there will be times when the day shades will be a huge benefit to keep out bright sun and block a lot of the UV radiation. Our windows are tinted, but we wanted both day and night shades.

Measuring for the large windshield shade

With product selection behind us, the next step is for the guys to take measurements. Andrew (left) and Tyler use an expandable rod for an exact idea of how wide the windshield shade needs to be made. Measuring went fairly quickly - after about two hours this first project stage was completed.

This is a good point in the project to discuss cost. Every RV is a little unique of course and everybody will have slightly different requirements. As a general rule of thumb for an MCD factory install, figure about $1500 to do the dash area (cockpit) in a motorhome, and then roughly $200 per window if you are doing an entire RV.

If John wasn't so enamored with remote control of motorized shades, our entire job would have cost roughly about $4400. As it was, we were around $6400 (less tax.) If you do the labor (which I don't recommend for the dash area), then the cost is considerably less expensive (MCD's labor rate at the time of our visit was $85 an hour.)

Also involved in the expense for us were three custom made and ultra-leather covered trim boards that hide the cockpit area shade rollers.

Expensive - depends on your perspective. We considered this a refresh and update of our interior while adding considerably more enjoyment when using our Horizon. Each will have to decide for themselves if the product is 'expensive.' If you are ready to solve problems and enhance your interior - this is for you!

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