One thing you need to keep in mind when deploying Axia gear is that a lot of their equipment is based on standard computer hardware. This, for the most part, is no worry at all as their hardware has been specifically chosen to meet the 24/7 demands of radio.
However, things do occasionally go wrong (as with 99% of gear). And when something as crucial as your main console in the studio dies – well, that can only be bad.
I experienced this late last year when the Element console in the main studio locked up. The screen was frozen, and no buttons would function. Thankfully, the distributed architecture meant that audio from open channels kept streaming as if nothing had happened (The actual studio “Engine” was unaffected). This gave us the chance to switch to the second studio with the only interruption on air being a skipped talk break. We didn’t even go to emergency program audio.
Once the immediate issue had been sorted, it was time to get the main studio up and running again. A simple reboot of the console’s power supply resulted in this GRUB Boot Loader screen displaying on the VGA output (and nothing else happening with the actual desk):
A little investigative work on my part, and advice from the holidaying SuperTechSteve, revealed that the Compact Flash card that stored the software and config for the power supply unit was defective. The fix was as simple as finding a replacement card and writing the image to it.
Axia provides instructions and a CF Card write utility on their website, but you need to contact their support team in order to get the actual image. While we waited for their support team to get back to us, we tried downloading an image of the defective card. This resulted in the utility crashing – clearly there was a fault.
The moral of the story is this: be prepared to replace components of your system at any time. This means having parts such as a spare pre-imaged CF cards at your disposal (preferably one for each studio, pre-loaded with the config). It is also handy to at least one motherboard and correct power supplies. Axia resellers can sell you a spares kit, but make sure you get the correct type of motherboard – Axia has changed this a few times as newer hardware is available (the type of motherboard can impact the type of CF image you need).