Express RFU Not Powering On

Hi all!

I'm a middle school student who is essentially our "lighting operator" if you will. We have an older Express 48/96 unit that seems to have no issues. We found our old RFU unit that nobody has used in about two years. While the teacher said it was broken, I found out the RFU port on the board had been disconnected from the cable running to the backstage node. I reconnected it thinking it would fix the issues. Turns out it did not. I've come here since i've tried everything I can think of, including:


1) Directly plugging into the board

2) Making sure the power switch is on

3) Booting everything in the proper order (board first, then RFU)


Anybody know anything I can do? I myself can't send it in for repair and I don't think the district wants to pay for it.




EDIT: fixed typo ;)

  • The problem that I have had in the past is that the wire has been pulled so that the connection to the RFU is not solid. Many times the RFUs get treated roughly. The RFUs will be lowered by their cable or hung from their cable so that the weight of the unit is pulling on the cable. Or the cable will be bent sharply. If you get this working again, be nice to your RFU as someone before you obviously wasn't.

    IMPORTANT, I recommend calling ETC Tech Support and getting their help in troubleshooting the possible connection issues.
    1st, get your teacher involved. The RFU isn't working, but you don't want to make it worse and be blamed.
    In the US, Tech Support can be reached at (800) 688-4116.

    2nd, unplug the RFU and open the XLR connector on the end of the cable. Make sure that all wires are still soldered and that there aren't any loose strands of wire or solder causing two of the leads to short out. I can't tell you how many times I have opened up an XLR connector to find really horrendous cable termination. If this end of the cable looks really bad, or more than one wire is not connected, get help. Call Tech Support. But, if that is all okay...

    3rd, loosen the outside of the cable strain relief going into the RFU and push a little bit of the cable back into the RFU. Sometimes the cable gets damaged where it enters the strain relief, and by taking the strain off of the damaged area, it will be okay. I know it sounds weird, but it has worked for me for years. After this, plug the RFU directly into the console and try turning it on.

    Now, it gets more complicated, and why you really want to have your teacher involved.
    4th, if the RFU still is not working, do you have a computer/technology teacher/lab at your school? Go find them to help open the RFU and check the wires inside of the RFU. You will want a static strap. If anything needs to be re-soldered on the board, that takes particular skill. DON'T ATTEMPT IT WITHOUT TRAINING! Check that the switch is still working. These are the most obvious culprits.

    If it is still not working, the RFU and/or the Express console will probably need factory authorized service.
    Good luck,
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