I need your help guys! -cooling question - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 08-11-2013, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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I recently moved into the home my wife and I bought and remodeled. I spent a lot of time designing a space for A/V within our living room. I have a space to mount the flat panel, I have built-in cabinets for my gear, I have conduit runs for several potential sub locations, I ran cat6 for everything, and so on. However, as much as I tried to pre-plan, I wasn't able to come up with a good solution to cool my components in the custom cabinets we had made for them.

The "A/V wall" backs up to my garage, and the initial thought was to have cooling vents into the garage... But there are problems with that. There is now a (mostly permanent) cabinet in the garage right behind the AV cabinets, also, this is a firewall, and opening holes might be dangerous. Actually, my initial design was to have the cabinets go through the garage for ventilation, and rear panel access, but yeah, firewall.

I thought about developing some sort of ducting setup; has anyone here heard of or used this approach?

Here are my current components:
  1. Adcom preamp
  2. two small 120 watt Rotel monoblocks
  3. PS3
  4. Xbox 360
  5. Wii

Here's what will probably end up in the cabinet eventually:
  1. HT pre-pro
  2. 5 or 7 channel amp
  3. PS4
  4. Apple TV
  5. Sonos Play

Here are some pics. Any help is appreciated!

The A/V wall:



The garage:

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post #2 of 13 Old 08-11-2013, 04:49 PM
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Just so I am clear, your components are setup in the brown wood cabinets below the book cases?
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post #3 of 13 Old 08-11-2013, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, that's correct.
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post #4 of 13 Old 08-11-2013, 05:42 PM
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Ok. You can vent to the sides if those are windows that I see but MAY have code violations. What is above the space? Attic? Second story?
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post #5 of 13 Old 08-11-2013, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Bookshelf above the cabinets, but attic above that. Outside to the right, and an empty cavity behind the TV to the left.

I don't think I would want to vent outside, but would be fine to vent into the empty space behind my TV. I guess the question is, even if I pull air from the right side, will it "flow" efficiently enough through all the boxes of my cabinet, out to the left?

To be clear, I still need to drill vent and cabling holes through each box, but I can put said holes wherever I want to.

This image shows the left part of the right hand cabinet area (there are 4 "boxes" in total). There are also cabinets to the left of the TV, although I don't anticipate using them at this time.
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post #6 of 13 Old 08-11-2013, 10:31 PM
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Look at the cabinet cooling solutions from Coolerguys, Activethermal, and Coolcomponents. Lots of solutions.

And you should be venting to the room, not to outside, and absolutely not exchanging any air with or making penetrations into the garage...


Jeff

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post #7 of 13 Old 08-11-2013, 11:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks jautor!

Is there a reason why specifically should I be venting into the room, instead of say the empty void behind my TV (which is similar to a attic space)? I don't plan on venting outside and the garage would be a last resort.
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post #8 of 13 Old 08-12-2013, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColinRobertson View Post

Is there a reason why specifically should I be venting into the room, instead of say the empty void behind my TV (which is similar to a attic space)? I don't plan on venting outside and the garage would be a last resort.

You need the air to circulate. Pushing air into a void, if it doesn't lead anywhere, will just heat the void to the cabinet's temperature, and then you'll be right back where you started. And that's assuming any air would circulate to begin with - as the air has to go somewhere. Moving air into an unconditioned space means that air has to be replaced somehow - usually from leaks around doors, windows, etc. (from outside). Which just means your HVAC system has to work that much more to condition that new air.

You want to vent it into the room or somewhere else within the house. The garage is NOT an option, as you'll violate code by opening a hole that allows toxic gases into your home.

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post #9 of 13 Old 08-12-2013, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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The garage is NOT an option, as you'll violate code by opening a hole that allows toxic gases into your home.

This makes sense.

I'm fairly sure the space behind the TV is open to the attic (and thus, outside), so my current plan is to draw air from the room on the far right of the cabinets (not sure if it needs to be forced), then use temperature controlled fans to pull the air from the far left of the cabinets into the space behind my TV. My concern with this approach is I would be worried that not all of the boxes (or every shelf with a piece of gear) would get good enough cooling.

Thoughts?
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post #10 of 13 Old 08-12-2013, 11:45 AM
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If that space behind the TV is open to the attic, I wouldn't use it as a vent. You're essentially running an exhaust fan 24/7, or in the case of a controlled fan, allowing unconditioned air into the cabinet. It's not a huge hole, of course, but still something to avoid. If at all possible, look for a place to vent into the room. In my case, I used slots on the bottom of the cabinet for intake, and vented out the top of the cabinet, behind my TV. Works well.

As for ensuring proper circulation within the cabinet - you'll probably want to pull air in from the front lower edge, and make sure there's enough air space around the shelves so that air moves across the components, to be vented from the top rear to wherever it can. You can use the flex-duct solutions to route to the exhaust point if needed.

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post #11 of 13 Old 08-12-2013, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I guess I don't understand what you mean by uncontrolled air. What would be the problem? Also, if I used a fan controlled by a temperature probe, it shouldn't be running 24/7 unless the air coming in from the room or the space behind the TV is really hot all the time, which it shouldn't be.

I really appreciate your comments and insight, by the way. Major help.
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post #12 of 13 Old 08-12-2013, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm going to take a close look at the cabinets when I get home. Maybe putting vents at the front lip and rear top won't be too difficult. I would still be concerned with noise levels, however. Even still, they would be much lower than my prior, nearly open, rack, I would think.
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post #13 of 13 Old 08-12-2013, 12:29 PM
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"unconditioned air". Air from outside the temperature / humidity-controlled space in your house. Replacing conditioned air with unconditioned air makes your HVAC system have to work that much harder to "condition" the replacement air. Again, this isn't a huge volume of air, but if the fan doesn't run 24/7, you're probably drawing in outside humid, hot/cold air into your cabinet.

The cabinet fans are very quiet - I can hear mine only after using the equipment for a while, and then having every thing turned off. Slight whir while it brings the cabinet back down to ambient afterwards...

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