# ETC Radio Remote Focus Unit?

#### Fyre

##### Member
Hi, I'm in 8th grade and I'm the Student TD at my school. I run mostly lighting, but I supervise sound, too. We have all ETC products in our theater. (Including: Express 24/48 Console, Sensor Dimming Rack, SourceFour 26's, SourceFour Zoom 25-50's, and SourceFour ParNel's.)

We were looking into purchasing an ETC Remote Focus Unit, and I was given the task of finding the prices and specs on RFU's to buy. We decided on an ETC Brand RFU, but I have been unable to find it on their website. This is strange because after reading the product info for the Remote Video Interface, it talks about an ETC Remote Focus Unit.

I did a Google search for "ETC Remote Focus Unit" and "ETC RFU" and I found this... http://62.232.79.101/etnews.nsf/0/21ac61133ba6fcb380256e31004af854?OpenDocument

That article implies that the RRFU is made by ETC and should be available on their website. Am I missing something, or does it not exist on the ETC Connect website?

I have not decided whether or not I want to spend the extra money on a wireless unit, but I would like to see what options I have to choose from. The only RFU I could find on ETC's website was the WRFU, which plugs into an iPaq or other Palm device (not what I want).

Could someone point me in the right direction to finding the right RFU? Also, comments on different types of RFU's would be appreciated so I can make an educated decision on this matter.

--Fyre--

#### digitaltec

##### Active Member
A remote focus for conventional lights? How do you remotly focus conventionals? http://www.etcconnect.com/products/products.asp?177 is ETC official area on the remote focus unit and has specs and even the user manual. All it is to me is a PDA software that you can buy. It's also not for the console you are currently using given that it states it for the Obsession II and Emphasis. All it is is a remote control for your console where you can program cues from a different location then the console and send it to the console. Why it's called Wireless Remote Focus Unit is way beyond me. I dont know of any conventional lights that have infra red ports on them. To me it's just a wireless console. Maybe Ship or Wolf will be able to explain it better.

#### wolf825

##### Senior Team Emeritus
Hiya,
Well I am not sure if I understand what you are asking about completely. An RFU or Remote Focus Unit for ETC is simply an interface product for their consoles (why they call it a remote FOCUS unit when it doesn't FOCUS anything ). In other words--you have an ETC console like an Insight or Obsession etc...and it sits in one location far from stage. Rather then drag the console down to the stage to turn on lights so they can be focused, or run back and forth or holler up to the booth to call out channels, the RFU allows you to plug into and operate your console from a remote location, like onstage. Its a small box that you can carry around on a 50' cable, and can access channels, dimmers, groups, cues etc away from the console. You can make macro's for the RFU that allow you to patch, record cues, and do other features as well. BUT this must be attached via cable to your console. Your console should have a jack in the back of the console labeled RFU. Most theaters and stages have a cable jack pre-run from the booth/console to the stage where you can plug in the RFU. This is a separate line from the DMX control cable that goes to your dimmers. The console must be ON for the RFU to work. Again--what this does is allow you to access dimmers, channels, console functions and cues from a remote location...and that is all that it does.

The Infra-Red remote is a wireless version of this and is softare only at this time--its intended to workin PDA's. The first IR RFU that ETC tried a while ago was hardware based and LIMITED in distances where it can be used. ETC's wireless has had problems, and works on battery's which can die and need replacing. I would suggest the wired RFU. You can find info on it, I believe thru the doc specs on the ETCconnect website for your console. It should be the ETCNet Remote product if I remember right. As I recall, a ETC remote (RFU) runs around $1200.00 and uses a 6 pin DMX cable. If you contact your local ETC sales rep--they should have a sticker or two around the console for service with a phone number, they can price one for you and get you a cut sheet on the device. http://www.etcconnect.com/products/docschart.asp Hope this helps you with your question... -wolf #### dj_illusions ##### Active Member nice work wolf.... I have a couple of generic remote's that were made by some electronics guru, they are just basically a copy of the ones you see on the strand desks and plug into the end of your dmx daisy chain. However, the proper units are actually able to trigge cues on your desk etc. for example the strand ones have a direct line to the desk and not through your dmx so it is like having a small desk. you can call up a cue and check all the lights are in etc from the stage. the latest thing however, is wireless remotes, which plug into the top of a conventional Pocket PC (new palm pilots) and you plug a little reciever into your desk's remote port and you can do it from ANYWHERE in the theatre, absolute golden stuff.... quite handy, if you have the money too spend. or there is the ones that you plug your conventional cordless telephone into a converter box and into the desk, then the cordless phone acts as a remote, keypad is the desk channels and the * is at and # is enter, a cheaper alternative to the above! #### digitaltec ##### Active Member Thats what I thought it was but wanted someone else to second my opinion. Thanks Wolf. #### LDash ##### Member here in the UK these are called "riggers control" im nto sure wether this is just a nick name for them. just thought ill let you know #### SteveB ##### Well-Known Member To clarify some of what Wolf has said: - ETC "made" a wired Remote Focus Unit (RFU) for the Expression and Express, 50 ft. cable to a (hopefully) RFU port on stage that is itself hardwired back the Express/ion. IF it's still available, they run about$1200. They made the same basic thing for the Obsession I's and II's, which I believe had a different keypad layout (no release as example).

The basic wired RFU for Express/ion is probably the most common RFU you will ever see. As Express, Expression and Obsession is all discontinued, you might have trouble getting an RFU new. Never hurts to ask.

- They also made a Radio Remote that used radio signals to the Express/ion. It had no LCD screen but battery life was pretty good. Also about \$1200 if they still make it. Doubtful.

- I seem to recall an Infrared RFU, but that might have been for early Express/ion. Cannot recall. AVAB had this and it was God Awful and SLOW !. Did I mention SLOW ?.

- They made a WiFi remote for the Emphasis system (which used Express/ion as the console facepanel), as well as for Obsession II. The WiFi used a Windows Mobile PC device - Compaq/HP iPaq, etc... and used WiFi as the connection to the console. All sorts of problems, battery life of the hand held being one issue, frequent dropouts the other. Probably discontinued, as Emphasis is gone as is Obsession II.

- They make a new Radio Remote Focus Unit (RRFU) for Eos, Ion and Congo. Not compatible in any way with legacy consoles.

- There's a stand-alone device called Focus Phone from West Side Systems - http://www.westsidesystems.com/fp/focusphone.html

If you have an Express (without Emphasis), the ONLY devices that will work (as remotes to the console) are the ETC Wired RFU or Radio FU. Or Focus Phone, if Eric still makes them.

If so desired, there are any number of products that can send DMX (but not console channel info) into you DMX dimmers, by-passing the console. Useful for a lot of things, but not as efficient to act as a remote terminial to the console for conventionals "focus" .

Steve B.

Last edited:

#### derekleffew

##### Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
To clarify the clarification...

The original Expression family used this wired, three-window LED remote:

And the Expression3 family used this wired, two-line display LCD remote:

I believe everything (except Obsessions) from the 2X forward, including all Expresses, used the latter. I can find nothing on ETC's site about whether a newer RFU is compatible with an older console, or vice-versa, but I suspect not.

The Obsession wired remote did indeed have a different keypad layout (no <REL> key!):

LDash, British people here call them "rigger's remotes" also, but it confuses US stagehands, as riggers climb in the steel and use pickles, not lighting controls. That aviatory porcine console introduced many of us to that term.

Last edited:

#### SteveB

##### Well-Known Member
To clarify the clarification...

I can find nothing on ETC's site about whether a newer RFU is compatible with an older console, or vice-versa, but I suspect not.

I am certain that the new Radio Remote Focus Unit is only compatible for the Eos, Ion, Congo and Congo Jr. consoles. The base radio unit connects as a client off the consoles and/or backup console processors. As a client, it requires Net3 (which is why ETC call it a Net3 Radio Focus Remote), where as the Express/ion's are Net1 ONLY, with Emphasis and Obsession II's supporting up to Net2.

And as a thread hi-jack, I am totally unclear as to how Eos or Ion or Congo uses a Net3 remote of any kind (RRFU, DMX Nodes/Gateways) when the console is running in Net2 mode for a legacy Net2 system (CEM+'s as example). Just a random question that the OP might not find interesting or pertinent.

SB

#### avkid

##### Not a New User
Fight Leukemia
As much as I hate to say it.............the OP hasn't logged in for almost 5 years.

#### SteveB

##### Well-Known Member
Not to mention that he's no longer in 8th grade, but probably first year college, having been thru the Discover Girls/Boys phase and now moved on to Discover Beer phase and probably hasn't looked at a lighting console in all those years and by now could give a rat's ass about RRFU's, RFR's, WiFi RFU's etc...

Sigh.

It was a good exercise of the memory to recall this stuff though, otherwise it gets rusty and you can't remember replies to stuff like Electro Controls 3201-3214 ellipsoidals,

SB

#### Stofa

##### Member
Hey CB,
I am the main lighting designer at my highschool and have been looking into a RFU for our Expression 48/96. We already have a RFU but the wiring is screwy and wont receive power from the board.

http://www.gearsource.com/Storage/StockImages/reg_0C11AB48-E0CA-20A1-AF7C2D63B467CA8B.jpg

I have been searching for an inexpensive RFU but all I could find is the RRFU which runs about 4-5.

With our limited budget I was wondering if I could find another RFU for the Express 48/96 (as pictured above) or if there is anyway I could get ours repaired.

Pace 220.

#### HansH

##### Active Member
Hey CB,
I am the main lighting designer at my highschool and have been looking into a RFU for our Expression 48/96. We already have a RFU but the wiring is screwy and wont receive power from the board.

http://www.gearsource.com/Storage/StockImages/reg_0C11AB48-E0CA-20A1-AF7C2D63B467CA8B.jpg

I have been searching for an inexpensive RFU but all I could find is the RRFU which runs about 4-5.

With our limited budget I was wondering if I could find another RFU for the Express 48/96 (as pictured above) or if there is anyway I could get ours repaired.

Pace 220.

Hi there,

If your RFU isn't powering up at all, I would recommend checking the fuse on the back of the console. This is most likely the culprit. When you check the fuse, you'll want to meter it with a multimeter set to Ohms, rather than just visual inspection. Also, be sure that when you're checking the RFU, you're connecting it directly into the back of the console into the RFU (not ETCLink) port.

If everything listed above is okay, go ahead and give ETC Tech Services a call at 800.688.4116.

Hans

#### Leonge

##### Member
Hey CB,
I am the main lighting designer at my highschool and have been looking into a RFU for our Expression 48/96. We already have a RFU but the wiring is screwy and wont receive power from the board.

http://www.gearsource.com/Storage/StockImages/reg_0C11AB48-E0CA-20A1-AF7C2D63B467CA8B.jpg

I have been searching for an inexpensive RFU but all I could find is the RRFU which runs about 4-5.

With our limited budget I was wondering if I could find another RFU for the Express 48/96 (as pictured above) or if there is anyway I could get ours repaired.

Pace 220.

Hi, If the fuse at the console is OK, try testing the power switch on the rfu! Over several years I'v had at least 7 bad RFU's. All of them had a bad power switch. With the unit disconnected, open the back. You will see 3 pins on the back of the pwr switch. The center pin is common. In the off position, the center and top position should tone out. In the on position, the center and bottom pin should tone out......they don't on bad units! Replace the pwr switch. Hope this helps!

Last edited:

#### Stofa

##### Member
Hi, If the fuse at the console is OK, try testing the power switch on the rfu! Over several years I'v had at least 7 bad RFU's. All of them had a bad power switch. With the unit disconnected, open the back. You will see 3 pins on the back of the pwr switch. The center pin is common. In the off position, the center and top position should tone out. In the on position, the center and bottom pin should tone out......they don't on bad units! Replace the pwr switch. Hope this helps!

So...,
Got the RFU working... now found an old RRFU. How the hell do I hook it up?

#### starksk

##### ETC Senior Technical Support Specialist
Fight Leukemia
So...,
Got the RFU working... now found an old RRFU. How the hell do I hook it up?

Just connect the base station to the RFU port on the console (or around your building) and then turn on the transmitter to transmit. The receiver has the same connection as the wired RFU so you will only be able to use one at a time.