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Racks or enclosures for Home Servers and other equipment RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

     

    Anyone knows of any quality enclosures or racks to store my Home Server and all the other equipment (i.e., cable receiver, audio receiver, TiVo, etc.) I'd like to store them all nicely in one "box", but am not sure if there are any good solutions out there? Any help would be appreciated.

     

    Also, should I be worried about coolig. I have all my equipment stored in a little closet right now and sometimes it gets a little bit hot, but I didn't have any trouble with it yet, so I am not sure if I should be worried about it and if yes what solutions are out there to help out?

     

    Thanks,


    Vlad

     

    Monday, March 31, 2008 2:57 PM

Answers

  • What happens to equipment that gets, and stays, too hot? The usual. Electrolytic capacitors slowly cook themselves dry, lubricants evaporate, transformers overheat and catch fire (not really, unless there's an electrical short somewhere Smile ) Electronics operated outside their manufacturer's recommended environmental conditions typically have a significantly shorter life span. "Significantly shorter" may still be longer than you plan to keep even the newest piece of equipment.

    I wouldn't (don't) keep the AV equipment in the closet. Of course, if you don't you have a cable management nightmare to contend with; I'm afraid that the snakes' nest behind our TV stand could probably eat a small child without any drama at all. And the pets are afraid of all the glowy blinky things back there (which light up the family room very nicely when the lights are off)...

    But everyone has a different way of organizing their AV equipment. Putting it in a closet is not a bad idea per se (it gets it all out of sight, which makes for a clean installation), and you might be able to achieve sufficient ventilation by just putting a grill at the bottom and top of the door. If you like contemplating the quantity/quality of equipment you own, then a high quality rack in the living room becomes more attractive. Or maybe you're like me. If I were to put my equipment out of sight in a rack, it would be a very high-end, very custom rack. I don't want to spend the money, so I use a TV stand with room for other components. It keeps the gear off the floor, anyway.
    Monday, March 31, 2008 8:18 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • You don't give us a lot to work with. Smile

    Are you looking for a traditional AV rack? A rackmount rack? Open or enclosed? Where will you be putting it? How much can you spend? Have you looked at web sites like RacksAndStands.com?

    Cooling: Generally speaking most of your AV equipment is probably rated to work in ambient temperatures up to around 30-35° C or so. An enclosed rack with no active cooling will easily exceed that, at least up near the top. Active cooling is a must IMO, and most inexpensive racks won't have it.
    Monday, March 31, 2008 5:02 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for your response Ken, but it just created a ton of other questions in my mind :-)

     

    I wish there was more I could give you to work with :-)

     

    My issue, is that I have all these pieces of equipment stacked on top of each other or next to each other in a little closet behind my living room and am not sure if there is a better way to organize them.

     

    You scared me now with the need for cooling. What acutaly happens to this equipment if it is too hot in the environment? Does it stop working or performance goes down?

     

    Would I be better off by taking the equipment outside of the closet and have them out on room temperature or should I look for some cooling products? What would be a good place to start? Are there any racks out there that would actualy have active cooling incorporated in a solution that I can just buy as plug and play or am I better off trying to do something on my own?

    Monday, March 31, 2008 6:28 PM
  • What happens to equipment that gets, and stays, too hot? The usual. Electrolytic capacitors slowly cook themselves dry, lubricants evaporate, transformers overheat and catch fire (not really, unless there's an electrical short somewhere Smile ) Electronics operated outside their manufacturer's recommended environmental conditions typically have a significantly shorter life span. "Significantly shorter" may still be longer than you plan to keep even the newest piece of equipment.

    I wouldn't (don't) keep the AV equipment in the closet. Of course, if you don't you have a cable management nightmare to contend with; I'm afraid that the snakes' nest behind our TV stand could probably eat a small child without any drama at all. And the pets are afraid of all the glowy blinky things back there (which light up the family room very nicely when the lights are off)...

    But everyone has a different way of organizing their AV equipment. Putting it in a closet is not a bad idea per se (it gets it all out of sight, which makes for a clean installation), and you might be able to achieve sufficient ventilation by just putting a grill at the bottom and top of the door. If you like contemplating the quantity/quality of equipment you own, then a high quality rack in the living room becomes more attractive. Or maybe you're like me. If I were to put my equipment out of sight in a rack, it would be a very high-end, very custom rack. I don't want to spend the money, so I use a TV stand with room for other components. It keeps the gear off the floor, anyway.
    Monday, March 31, 2008 8:18 PM
    Moderator
  • Friday, May 16, 2008 12:26 PM
  • If you want Quality that can sit in your living room Check out BDI furniture

     

    http://www.bdiusa.com/

     

    We use a Revo for our HomeServer and a DVD Player ( not into all that newfangled stuff ) but they make all kinds of furniture for Home Theaters

     

    Warning it Ain't cheap

    Friday, May 16, 2008 8:25 PM
  • Depending on your level of enthusiasm for this sort of thing, and the constraints of the actual space, it should be possible to sort the closet to improve ventilation.  What you need is to have open shelves of some sort to allow an updraft and d good venting at top and bottow.  Possibly you could add in a thermally controlled fan  to aid circulation that kicks in at a certain level. 

    Monday, May 19, 2008 12:51 PM
  • Closets work well for keeping equipment out of sight, it keeps the clutter confined and everything "home runs" to one place.  1A2 Key System phone gear (Yes, it's antique - but it just won't die), burglar and fire alarm, DSL Modem and Network equipment, TV splitters and amplifiers, etc.

     

    But if you want the gear installed in a confined space to have a long lifespan you do need to provide proper ventilation.  I would consider a practical limit of 90 F, if it goes above that for extended periods trouble is likely. 

     

    Put a thermometer in the closet and see how bad you have it.  If it's going above 110F, you need to drop an air conditioner supply duct into the closet, install a powered ventilation fan, or take other drastic measures.

     

    For office buildings where they turn off the main air conditioning system overnight and weekends and the whole building goes above 100F, you might have to install a seperate air conditioner just for that server closet.  A window unit or "Mini-Split" system works well for this.

     

    If you don't generate that much heat, it might be as simple as cutting some vent grilles into the door.  And if that almost works, get a small desk fan and put it inside the closet pulling cool air in through the lower grille.

     

      You can cut the vent grilles through the closet wall, but you have to be VERY careful about concealed electrical wiring or plumbing in that wall cavity, make a peep hole and find out before cutting the big hole.  And you must line the through hole - place 2X4 header blocks between the studs to keep a fire from getting inside the walls.

     

    And when in doubt, call in a professional.  Explain the problem and what you think will solve it - but see if they have a better idea for your exact situation.  I've earned HVAC Tech and Electrican paychecks for twenty(mumble) years...

     

       --<< Bruce >>--

     

    Friday, June 13, 2008 6:15 AM