My Home Theater Rack and Equipment room - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 04-26-2013, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I thought I'd share this (I'm probably gonna post picks of my rack in the "show us your rack" thread, but this really goes beyond that). I don't have any really early pictures of demo (I took them, but I think directly in text messages and those are long gone now), but you'll get the point.

I started with a fairly large closet in center of my house. in July of 2011, I had my A/C replaced and they refused to put it in the Attic again, so it went into this closet. I had plans on removing the closet to open up the living room, or opening the other side and making a little Den for the kids, etc. but the A/C had to go somewhere. Once that was done, I pretty much knew I was going to tear down the dry wall and put in my whole house audio/video distribution system in there as well as a rack for my living room/home theater. I am currently running only the living room out of it, but every chance I get, I run more wires. Work has just been crazy and we now have a baby on the way, so other things have taken over. This was started in September of last year, and by the end o this post(s) it will be up to where it is today. On with the pictures (it might take me a few posts to get them all in!!).

First I removed the drywall. It was fun. It caused a big mess. My Girlfriend thought I was bat crap crazy! She puts up with it though. After that I had to relocate some studs to make room for the SMC enclosures and the Rack passthrough. I don't have pictures of these steps. I was more interested in getting it done than documenting it at the time smile.gif

At the point I have pictures, you can see the wholes I drilled in the top plate for the SMCs (none of my interior walls in my house are load bearing, so I didn't have an issue doing this). You can see I doubled the studs up. I was planning on putting wire shelving back into the closet, and the extra space between the SMCs would allow me to put the vertical supports in. I opted not to do this because the rack is on wheels and it would hinder me moving it easily.


Here you can see the SMCs installed. I went with 3. One is for network, one is for audio/video, and the last is just for whatever else and a pass through to the patch panels below it. I used PVC that extends about 24" into the attic so that even through the insulation, I can easily pass wires down. One of them, however was just under a ceiling joist, so I just stopped it short of the joist (as I said, no load bearing walls, so the joists don't actually sit on the walls. there is about 1-2" between them. It's very odd looking when there is no drywall up).




IN this picture you can see the 2 power blocks for the first 2 SMCs. EAch one has 6 outles on it for plugging stuff into. I don't think I'll need 6 in each, but better to do it now than regret it later. These will be wired to reverse outlets in the recessed outlet boxes below them (more on this later).


Here is a shot looking from the outside in (from the living room). I couldn't remove all the drywall in the closet because the A/C Unit was already installed and I didn't want to have to try and re-install drywall around it (it's about 3-4" away from the walls).


Here is the rack. It came in earlier than I needed it, but I was anxious, so I started putting stuff on it. This if far from the last iteration of it's layout.


Here is inside the first (network) SMC. I'm using leviton SMCs. I've used them before and like them. They have some good products and I really like these new punch and twist ones. My only issue is they are wider than their old style and I"m scared I won't have room to run all the wires I hneed to run (each of those panels is 24 ports).


Under the 3rd SMC, I installed 3 8-gang low votage rings (They fit exactly between 16" on center studs). These will hold either pass-through ports (brush style) or Quickport panels that go to the rack. 8 was probably overkill, but I wanted to make sure that once drywall was up, I was done.


Here is my first 'receccesed' outlet box. This is for the wirless router that will sit on the wall above it. It has 1 enclosed outlet electrical box and 1 LV ring. It is recessed to that the plugs don't stick out.


Because my GF had a 3y/o, I was constanly putting back up pieces of drywall I saved to keep him out. He thought that room was a jungle gym and would jump around and swing. I'm not a party pooper, but I didn't want the little guy to get hurt. She didn't live with me yet, so this was only on the weekends (this project was part of many that I did to prepare the house for her and her kids, including a new 9x11 master bath, a new 12'x24' shed for my crap, new tile floors, and new trim throughout the house).





Here's a shot of the most of the outlet boxes installed. I installed a total of:
  • 4 4-gang recessed electrical boxes around the bottom (more on this later),
  • 1 4-gang at the top near the router (for reverse outlets run to the 4 boxes around the bottom to go to a battery backup that will go here).
  • 1 2-gang for the router (1 LV, one regular),
  • 1 2-gang recessed box near the A/C (mainly because the A/C had pump).
  • 2 2-gang recessed boxes on the other side of the rack that go to the TV, Subs, and the back porch TV
I ran all the electrical myself except the lines from the breaker box. I already had 1 20amp circuit in the room (that I had installed just before the A/C was installed just for this purpose), and I had an electrician pull a second 20a circuit during this part of the job.


Here is one of the lower outlet boxes all wired up. There are 3 outlets, and 1 inlet on the two under the SMCs with power in them. They are color coded for a very specific reason.
  • Black - 1st 20a Circuit
  • Gray - 2nd 20a Circuit
  • Colored outlet - Goes to color coordinated power inlet under the UPS (near the router. It's an APC Structured wiriing battery backup)
  • Colored Inlet - Goes to the SMC directly above it (These didn't need to be color coded, but I had already painted them, so just used them)
(For the one under the 3rd SMC, there are 2 black outlets for the 1st 20a Circuit and 2 gray outlets for the 2nd 20a circuit. The one under the router towards the floor is wired just like the SMC ones above, but instead of a power inlet, has 2 Cat6 and 1 RG6 run to it just in case I ever need them there. I doubt I will)


Here's a shot of me wiring up the boxes (ok, I'm not in the pic, but all my tools are. I was alone in the house when I did this)


And here is one with all the outlets wired and the boxes covered to protect them from the Drywall guys that will be coming eventually (I decided to hire this out due to all the cuts around the outlets).


Here is a great shot of the cutout for the Rack. I am using a tripp-lite rack on casters so I can roll it out of the way. I am doing this because I have a development server that I will face backwards, but will be towards the bottom under the opening. It should maximize my usable rack space. To the left you can see the 2 dangling power lines for the 2 circuits. These will be run into the 2-gang box to the left of the opening, and then run under the rack opening to the other side for all the other boxes.


Here is the start of the LV wiring within the closet itself. I ran it around the wall (which in hindsight was probably a bad idea. I should've run it up and over and back down). The LV over the 4-gang box on the left is for a 2-gang LV recessed box that will go directly above it. That box is not installed because it will be located directly behind, but slightly below the battery backup. Since it won't be attached to a stud, I just ran wires there. The drywall guys will leave a whole for me.


At the bottom of this SMC, you can see all the lines running out the bottom and to the left. There is a space about 3" wide next to that stud before you get to the corner stud (I wish I had gotten a picture of it). The wires run there then up that "channel" and back over. Like I said, I should have run it up the ceiling and then back down from the attic.


Here's a shot looking into the closet from the hallway. I removed even more drywall so that I could minimize having to match texture.


Here's from the other side. The bound up cables are the ones that go to the battery backup.


Here is that channel I was talking about. If one of those cables goes bad, I'm sol. I can't replace them. Oh well. Lessons learned!


Here is the back of the SMCs. I drilled 2" holes between them to run cables between them. I used a ton of those metal plates to keep the drywall guys from screwing into my wires.


Here you can see how the electrical is run under the rack opening. I'll have to "unwire" it to get the rack in (it's too tall to fit through a doorway).


Here's a picture looking from the hallway into the closet. Those recessed boxes maximize space. The backs of them rest up against the drywall on the opposite side on a standard 2x4 stud wall.


Here's a couple of more pics of the box for the wireless router. You can see how the LV is wired and the color coded outlet (that goes to the power inlet in the box next to it). I used black cat6 ports for data, and the blue one is to signify it's the raw signal from the modem.



Here is the rack in place! The drywall guys hated me, but I had no choice. It had to go in before drywall. It's ok though because the Tile guys hated me even more!! they had to tile half the floor, let it dry, grout it, then move the rack and do the other side. IT was worth it though.



The drywall guys came and did their stuff! They were mexican and I'm sure they were cussing me out in spanish, but they did a most amazing job in there.


Here is the rack opening all drywalled out. I'm glad I measured carefully. The rack barely fits between the two bump outs I made without pulling any paint off.


And here you can see the bump outs I just talked about. This way when the rack is pushed in, the walls go back a little past the front of th rack. It allows me to give the appearance of an installed rack, but I can pull it back if I need to, I also plan on framing in the front to cover any gaps, but haven't gotten there yet.


Here is the rack pushed into place. I don't have the MA faceplates or blanks at this point, but it did feel good to see it in place.


Another angle. Once again, the openings will all be filled in eventually/


Here is the inside of the closet with the rack pushed into place. the SMCs all have extender rings (to give more internal space) and locking doors on them. The third one is inaccessible with the rack in place, but it shouldn't hold anything vital. The first 2 SMCs are all full accessible with the rack in place. There will/is enough slack in the lines going to the rack so that it can be fully moved out of the way and pushed to in front of the A/C on the other side.


Here is a pic of the outlets after the trim is installed on them. I like that they're recessed and the plugs don't stick out. I know it was overkill for a small space, but as I keep saying. Better to do it now than regret it later. It also allows me to plug in something without draping power cables all around the closet, which was one of my goals.


Here is the space for the router and battery backup. You can finally see the other 2-gang box installed. It's for all the cat6 and rg6 that go to the BBU (network protection, telephone protection, cable protection).


And fast forward some, and here is the closet as it is today. I wish I had taken more pictures of the wiring phase of the house, but the attic was hot, and I was not wanting to be up there more than I had to.

This is the rack as it wired today with custom length cables made by me (except power and HDMI, which were measured and purchased to be as close as possible. For the most part they were dead on).


Here's the back of the 4u MA drawer, the APC battery backup and my local dev server/NAS (with almost 20TB of storage I think)


And now to the rack specifics. It's tight in the closet now (With all the drywall up), so it's hard to get good pictures, but I tried.

Here is the 24 port switch that is dedicated to the rack. Way more ports than I'll need, but it was rack mountable and I got a great deal on it.You can also see the lacing rods i used for the back of the AV receiver (I used 3, one 'upper', one 'mid', and one 'lower).


Here is the actual back of the receiver. Instead of running the wires to the shelf then over and back up. I just used lacing rods on the back, ran them over then through the rack the Receiver. At one point I had some quick port patch panels up there, but removed them and ran straight from the wall to the receiver. Under the receiver is my HTPC that I use for all my TV watching (the GF uses the Roku for some dumb reason). Due to the limited number of cables, I did run them to the shelf, over then directly into the HTPC. IT's IR reciever is also mounted right under the shelf with a IR emiter strapped to it.


Here is the Wirless printer, Cable box, Roku and PS3 bluetooth Harmony adapter. (not a great pic as the last 3 are on a shelf directly below the printer. they also nee to have their cables cleaned up a bit as I just got my Harmony 900)


Here is the back of the 4u drawer again and the top of my dev server. it has 20 hot swappable drive bays (16 hooked up to a 3ware card, the other 4 to the MBs sata connectors).


And here is the battery backup for the server. I plan on getting a rack mountable one, but at this point it works and I already had it, so it's free.


And finally, the part that is most important. Here is the rack from the living room. I plan on framing it out, so you wont' see the numbers on the tripp-lite rack and it will also help with some of the light bleed when someone goes into the closet. It looks pretty sweet as is though and everyone loves and is in awe when they see it. My next step after the framing of it out is to add a hinged panel to hide it away. It looks cool and all, but I put it there to be stealthy, but look good when you open it.



Here is the battery backup and the router. you really can't see the 2-gang recessed box behind the battery backup, and to some degree, I wish I hadn't placed it behind the battery backup (hard to get the cables to plug in). Its a lessong learned though and hopefully those cables aren't swapped out very often at all. I also ordered 2' and 3' power cables from monoprice to go from the battery backup to the inverse power plugs. they work pretty nicely. I wish they made a 2.5' version though so I could take the loops out of 2 of them. The wireless range though is great being up so high and the BBU doesn't seem to hinder it's signal (a concern of mine).


This is inside SMC 1 (Networking and Telephone). I haven't yet terminated the wires from any locations I've run yet, but I plan on doing it soon. For now I have some of levisons 12port angled quickport inserts for the ports coming to/from the BBU and router ports on the wall.


Here is SMC2 (Audio/Video distro). as of right now, I'm only running the living room on it, but I'm about to do the Kids room and my master bedroom when I get time. I was using a monoprice cat6 -> hdmi wall plate adapter to get to the living room, but while running wires to my new master bath, I somehowe fried them (and 1 of my hdmi ports on my receiver. Thank goodness it has 2!). I am now using a 60' redmere cable with great success. I don't even have the sparkles on the PS3 that I had with the monoprice adapters


Here is SMC 3. It's just a passthrough at the point, but my original intention was to use it for the whole house audio (if I ever get to it).


And here are the 3 8-gang patch panels. I really think that 3 was overkill, but I wasn't sure at the time. I'm just gonna install blanks (they are here waiting) to tidy it up. You can also see 2 more 2-gang recessed outlets in the corner. The bottom one feeds my TV and one of my subs in the living room (so they can plug into the APC HT battery backup) and the top one goes to the other sub in the living room and the out inlet goes to the back porch for my TV there (not installed yet)


Here is a closeup of the cable management for the receiver. I tried to get a good picture, but it's all black on black in a very confined space.


Here is the HTPC cable management. a few USB cables (IR Emitter and wireless keyboard charger/dongle), HDMI, power, and ethernet.


Here is the back of the APC s20BLK HT battery backup. There is a lot of stuff goign to this. Some of it is just small stuff like the IR repeater and some other small things. I want to reduce this by putting in a tripp-lite vertical outlet strip on the right side of the rack. They have a 2 circuit one with black and grey outlets that match my scheme great and would provide power the height of the rack for things that don't need battery backup.


Here is the back of the PS3. It and the Wii are pretty well hidden behind stuff, but I still tried to make it look pretty.


And finally, here is my rolling shelf that I got off amazon. IT can easily fit through the door (so I can take it out if I need to), it provides even more storage and it looks pretty nice. My only problem is it blocks the printers paper feed tray. Oh well, you can't win them all!




I hope you all enjoyed this. It took me a long time to get to this point, and I plan on updating this thread as I continue my process. The A/V distribution will be hopfully coming soon as I start to add some TVs to the house. I'm right now trying to get past the lowest common denominator for 7.1 surround sound. If I can get past that, I'll fly through it.

Please feel free to make suggestions and/or ask questions.

P.S. Sorry i posted this when I was half done. I accidentally hit submit instead of previous once (I kept losing track of what picture I was on.....LOL)
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post #2 of 36 Old 04-26-2013, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Just gonna bump this up some cause I added more pictures to the post and I accidentally hit "submit" instead of "preview" one of the times I was checking my progress.

Hope you all enjoy. I can't wait to hear some comments smile.gif
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post #3 of 36 Old 04-26-2013, 02:49 PM
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Nice job! My comments, for anyone else looking to do similar things, is that the structured wiring panels are a compromise used for those of us that don't have an unfinished utility space (aka basement / furnace room / etc.) or, in this case, a dedicated closet. The panels are recessed with doors so they don't intrude (physically or aesthetically) into the finished closet.

With a dedicated or unfinished space (which this closet certainly qualifies as!) bulk entry plates for the cables, and wall-mounted plywood sheets (painted if so desired) would save a whole bunch of work and extra connections to enter/exit the panels. Then a wall-mounted patch panel for cat6 lines, surface mounted coax splitters/amps/switches, and various other gear becomes simple.

Regardless, I'm jealous of the space! I went with a simple panel in my house, centrally located in what could be a bedroom. Doing it over, I would have located all that gear into a semi-dedicated closet (I have one in my game room, which would have been more appropriate - and was bigger, too). Moving it out of a bedroom closet gets rid of the aesthetic concerns for most folks, and then a wall mounted panel would have been easy.

Jeff

PS - And we'll start poking you soon if you don't get the trim strips on that rack... smile.gif

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post #4 of 36 Old 04-26-2013, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Nice job! My comments, for anyone else looking to do similar things, is that the structured wiring panels are a compromise used for those of us that don't have an unfinished utility space (aka basement / furnace room / etc.) or, in this case, a dedicated closet. The panels are recessed with doors so they don't intrude (physically or aesthetically) into the finished closet.

With a dedicated or unfinished space (which this closet certainly qualifies as!) bulk entry plates for the cables, and wall-mounted plywood sheets (painted if so desired) would save a whole bunch of work and extra connections to enter/exit the panels. Then a wall-mounted patch panel for cat6 lines, surface mounted coax splitters/amps/switches, and various other gear becomes simple.

Regardless, I'm jealous of the space! I went with a simple panel in my house, centrally located in what could be a bedroom. Doing it over, I would have located all that gear into a semi-dedicated closet (I have one in my game room, which would have been more appropriate - and was bigger, too). Moving it out of a bedroom closet gets rid of the aesthetic concerns for most folks, and then a wall mounted panel would have been easy.

Jeff

PS - And we'll start poking you soon if you don't get the trim strips on that rack... smile.gif

Since the closet is also a utlitiy closet (storage, vacuum, etc), and I wanted it to look nice. There was also the GF acceptance factor here. She liked that it's all put away out of site (Except the rack).

Another benefit to it is that I can easily cut off certain rooms TVs physically and lock the SMCs up so kids can't re-hook them up. I did what I did for very specific reasons. I agree that in a dedicated space, you can forgo most of this. I also needed to utilize the space between the studs so that when you move the rack in and out, it doesn't hit any equipment. It would suck to pull the rack out and rip a modem off the wall. Either way, thanks for the coompliments. It took a lot of work, but it turned out great. I just have to add some baseboards and some door trim and it will look like a finished closet. The closet looks big, but if you were to step into it with everything it in, it really closes in on you now...LOL.

Thanks for the compliments though. EVERYONE who sees the inside of the closet asks me how much to do it at their house...LOL (and it's not even done yet!)

P.S. Oh, and the trim strips are actually installed, but the rails are a lot "thicker" on the Tripp-lite racks than the MA racks, so the trim strips only cover the screws, not the whole rail. That is why I will be actually putting framing in the opening (with "groves" for the trim strips on the top and bottom) so that when you push it into place, it looks finished and you don't see those stupid white markings.
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post #5 of 36 Old 04-26-2013, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Meili View Post

Since the closet is also a utlitiy closet (storage, vacuum, etc), and I wanted it to look nice. There was also the GF acceptance factor here. She liked that it's all put away out of site (Except the rack).

Probably splitting hairs, there... It certainly is a utility closet! biggrin.gif

What did you do for venting?
Quote:
Another benefit to it is that I can easily cut off certain rooms TVs physically and lock the SMCs up so kids can't re-hook them up. I did what I did for very specific reasons.

Well, that's an interesting use case!
Quote:
P.S. Oh, and the trim strips are actually installed, but the rails are a lot "thicker" on the Tripp-lite racks than the MA racks, so the trim strips only cover the screws, not the whole rail. That is why I will be actually putting framing in the opening (with "groves" for the trim strips on the top and bottom) so that when you push it into place, it looks finished and you don't see those stupid white markings.

Ha! I didn't zoom into the pictures, so I thought the white U markings were the screws showing. I guess that's another vote for MA rack products for these applications!

Jeff

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post #6 of 36 Old 04-26-2013, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Probably splitting hairs, there... It certainly is a utility closet! biggrin.gif
Yeah I am. I just like those SMCs. I don't really know why....LOL.
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What did you do for venting?
Currently, I didn't. The A/C is in there and the "air return" isn't hooked directly up to the A/C. It pulls from a vent in the door (I added a second vent in the wall next to the door so I can remove the vent in the door. I also plan on adding a secondary vent in the foyer side right next tot he A/c). In these vents I will put el cheapo air filters to keep as much of the dog hair out (I have a great pyreneese). This is something the door vent doesn't currently do because it doesn't accept an air filter.

Because the a/c pulls air through the closet, It pulls the hot air from the closet out. It's not the best system, but so far so good. I will eventually add a vent with fans above the closet door with a thermostat and I've even considered adding a vent into the closet (something the installer recommended if heat became an issue).
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Well, that's an interesting use case!
yup.....if kids still used land lines, it's another good use for it, but it's all cell phones now. At least it will still work for the TV. I can also block their laptops and stuff from the internet through the router. Or if I'm feeling extra mean, just facebook and the like biggrin.gif
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Ha! I didn't zoom into the pictures, so I thought the white U markings were the screws showing. I guess that's another vote for MA rack products for these applications!

I went with the tripp-lite for the strength, portability (casters), height, and cost. For $400 I got a rack that I can grow with (it gets deeper if I want to make it so, but it's currently set at 28" deep, it's also 47U). Looking now, I see I could've probably gone slim 5 without an issue and put it on casters as well. My only concern is the 26" depth. I wanted at least 28" for my server because it faces into the actual closet and I needed space between the wall and the back of the server for cables and air flow (it has 9 fans in it). I could re-measure, and I might upgrade/switch some day. I do like that the MA racks offer a bit more versatility in the wire management department, though I didn't do too bad with what I had. I ever made my own front to back lacing bars out of slotted aluminum from HD (painted black to match the rack). My only issue would be the width of the rack, but I'm thinking probably just another layer of drywall on each side might just be enough to make the slim 5 fit nice and snug.

And to be honest, everything except the rack itself and 2 cheap shelves are MA (lacing bars and all). I learned my lesson on the shelves which is why the third is MA.
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Jeff

Frank :P
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post #7 of 36 Old 04-26-2013, 08:12 PM
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I really appreciate the detailed write-up. Thanks a bunch for doing that.

Nice job. I know that was a ton of work, and planning.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #8 of 36 Old 04-26-2013, 08:19 PM - Thread Starter
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There were many a nights with graph paper trying to make sure everything fit so I could access as much as possible. I really wish I had taken more pictures, but I'm more of a doer than a "stop and take pictures at every step" kinda person (though I often wish I was the latter).

Anywho, thanks for the compliment. I plan on adding to this as I do the finishing touches. It was a lot of hard work, but reading over threads here at avs forum really helped me out (especially with the rack cable management). I thought I'd give back. That's why if anyone has questions or wants more detailed pictures of my setup, I'm glad to do it. Anything to help people out.

I'm also open to any suggestions on modifications to the system smile.gif I have yet to get an hdmi matrix, but that will probably be happening at some point in the next year (I hope).
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post #9 of 36 Old 04-26-2013, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Meili View Post

EVERYONE who sees the inside of the closet asks me how much to do it at their house...LOL (and it's not even done yet!)
I bet! You did a good job.wink.gif
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And to be honest, everything except the rack itself and 2 cheap shelves are MA (lacing bars and all). I learned my lesson on the shelves which is why the third is MA.
Did the cheap shelves fall apart or something?
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I really appreciate the detailed write-up. Thanks a bunch for doing that.

Nice job. I know that was a ton of work, and planning.
Ditto. I like words with my pictures.biggrin.gif

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post #10 of 36 Old 04-26-2013, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Oppiz, the non MA shelves just had fitment issues and were of lesser quality. They are OK, but the MA stuff is just great and it works. Didn't help that the first two came in slightly bent up (box was fine). They straightened out OK, but still.
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post #11 of 36 Old 04-30-2013, 09:31 AM
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Great write up and nice trick on the slotted aluminum for the lacing bars, I had the same idea for my cable management. Also I went with the APC AP7830 for my vertical outlet solution if you're interested. It's rated for 20A and you'd have to install a twist lock outlet for the power cord. Actually I only went with that one because I got a great deal on it, but was looking at this one previously. I have a question about your rack, did it come with the casters or did you purchase them? Mine does not have casters or leveling feet, both of which I want to install.
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post #12 of 36 Old 04-30-2013, 10:16 AM
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Awesome write up...it was very interesting to read though.
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post #13 of 36 Old 04-30-2013, 10:17 AM
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*through.

Didn't know how to edit comment. Sorry.
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post #14 of 36 Old 04-30-2013, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Great write up and nice trick on the slotted aluminum for the lacing bars, I had the same idea for my cable management. Also I went with the APC AP7830 for my vertical outlet solution if you're interested. It's rated for 20A and you'd have to install a twist lock outlet for the power cord. Actually I only went with that one because I got a great deal on it, but was looking at this one previously. I have a question about your rack, did it come with the casters or did you purchase them? Mine does not have casters or leveling feet, both of which I want to install.

I like the Tripp-lite vertical PDUs because they have "buttons" on them that go into slots on the rack. I don't necessarily need them though. I may check out craig's list before I actually purchase anything and just go with what I can find (for cheap). We do have baby on the way now and I have to watch my spending (not a concern when I started the project...LOL). The one you linked to, is that one that is currently in my cart for me to buy (I'm considering the dual circuit one, but not sure I really need that at this point in time)

About the casters, I think it was a kit for that specific rack, but to be honest, I think most if not all casters have the same spacing for the holes. I actually see that MA has some soft wheel casters for their racks that I may buy and try and put on mine (easier on the floor than the hard plastic type that I have now). It'll require me to jack up the rack somehow, but I could do it. the casters make moving the rack out of the way a lot easier, but it is heavy, so moving it around isn't actually that easy. I'm looking to get some rack ears (for anything) with handles and just install them on the back side so I have something to grab on to when I move it around (the finger slot raceway on the left side makes it hard to grab that rail for moving it around). I actually thought I had some lying around, but can't find them frown.gif
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Awesome write up...it was very interesting to read though.

Thanks smile.gif I've been meaning to do it . I really wish I had take more pictures (though I do have a lot up there already). I can't wait to get back to it and add to it as I finish the project up.
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post #15 of 36 Old 05-03-2013, 04:46 PM
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Wow. That's pretty impressive. I have to ask though, why not just put the rack behind a few inches behind a closet door so that it's totally stealth? And why is so much backed up? I can see TiVos, PCs, and central networking gear, but the rest seems kind of overkill for that once in a blue moon that the power goes out... Or does your area have really crappy power?
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post #16 of 36 Old 05-03-2013, 05:15 PM
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UPS don't have to just provide standby power. They're also great at making sure your equipment doesn't suffer from brownouts or transients. So it's not just about total loss of power. We lose power around here way too often, so we've got an automatic generator. But there's a 30 second interval between loss of power and when the generators kicks in. The UPSes handle that.

That and fiber gear typically has it's own backup, provided by the telco. One more battery to babysit...
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post #17 of 36 Old 05-04-2013, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow. That's pretty impressive.
Thanks smile.gif
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I have to ask though, why not just put the rack behind a few inches behind a closet door so that it's totally stealth?

The hinged panel is just as good (basically the same thing), but it won't go down to the floor and you won't see the back of my Dev server. That closet is also more than big enough to hold the rack, so putting the rack just behind the closet door would have made it difficult to get into it (You can walk around in it). If you mean on the living room side, it was just plain cheaper to do it the way I did instead of adding the expense of a door and it looks cleaner this way. Baiscally the way it is now was free because I did all the framing, and I can't honestly say that dry-walling the opening would have added up to the cost of a door (and trim, etc)
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And why is so much backed up? I can see TiVos, PCs, and central networking gear, but the rest seems kind of overkill for that once in a blue moon that the power goes out... Or does your area have really crappy power?

Actually what you see is (from top to bottom living room side):
  1. Marantz 7002sr receiver
  2. HTPC
  3. PS3
  4. Wii
  5. (drawer)
  6. APC HT power conditioner/battery backup (for all the HT stuff, including the TV and subs in the living room)

And inside (top to bottom)
  1. 24port ethernet switch
  2. Epson Printer/scanner/copier
  3. Roku/Cable box (non DVR)
  4. Dev server
  5. Dev server battery backup/power conditioner

Besides the above, I would like to add more (Hence all the blank space on the front). I just haven't added it yet. Besides that. I run a web development company on the side and the server, while also holding my movies, music, and some tv shows, is my development server for my company. So I like to keep that up for as long as possible. We don't lose power a lot, but when we do, I like to keep stuff up for as long as possible. Take the Structured media backup (on the wall) for instance. I work from home, and my workstation is on battery backup, but if the power goes out and I don't have my router up, I can't work. That little battery backup will give me almost an hour of internet access with no power (my workstation also happens to be a laptop, so it can stay on that long, I probably will lose my 3 monitors though). The one for my dev server keeps it up. I prefer not to lose any data to it being shut down improperly.

The HT one, while it does in fact act as a battery backup (mainly for the HTPC), it also cleans the power going to the equipment. I haven't paid a ton of money for the stuff I have, but I'd like to keep it alive for as long as I can. power around here isn't really that bad, but there was a reason that Dell for the longest time wouldn't offer Accidental Damage Protection in Florida (I believe the lightning capital of he US). Even whole home surge protection isn't enough to protect you all the time, so I tend to keep at least an AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulator) on equipment that I don't damaged by surge. That particular unit was overkill, but I liked it's looks, network manageability, and features, so I splurged.

I also keep 2 circuits in that room. One for networking/server and one for HT (to keep them separate, I don't want a tripped circuit on the HT taking my server/network down). I have been vary careful to keep the two different types of equipment to their own circuits (even in the rack). I know it's overkill, but the server is my partly my lively hood (it brought me in an extra 50k last year alone), so I tend to make sure it's up when I need it. Doesn't hurt that I can watch/listen to media streamed through it while i work.
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post #18 of 36 Old 05-05-2013, 07:17 AM
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I meant another door, not the entrance door. So people would just think it was a closet. Gotcha. Clean over total stealth. Guess I have New England with our woodwork and colonial style doors too engrained in my head. biggrin.gif

Ok, so you're basically using UPS'es as power conditioners for the A/V side? Do most people down there have whole home surge protection in addition to surge protectors at the end-use locations? Up here, whole-home is unheard of, and a lot of people use really bad surge protectors or sometimes don't use them at all. I try to keep everything surge protected...
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post #19 of 36 Old 05-05-2013, 10:23 AM
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Unheard of doesn't make it unnecessary. You'd be surprised how many pieces of equipment fail because of low voltage and other transient problems. Total loss of power or severe spikes are probably not the biggest causes of problems. Stuff like chronically low voltage that makes a power supply have to work too hard to rectify it up to the desired levels tends to make it run a lot hotter and consequently make it likely to die earlier. Whole house surge suppression would be of no help there. So a UPS acting as a line voltage stabilizer can really help.

That and if you keep it connected to a PC and track the values with graphs it makes for a powerful bit of evidence to get the utility company to fix their issues.

As for woodwork, yeah, traditional styles can make for interesting issues with modern gear. I've had to beat back our architect's tendency to keep trying to add trim everywhere.
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Unheard of doesn't make it unnecessary. You'd be surprised how many pieces of equipment fail because of low voltage and other transient problems. Total loss of power or severe spikes are probably not the biggest causes of problems. Stuff like chronically low voltage that makes a power supply have to work too hard to rectify it up to the desired levels tends to make it run a lot hotter and consequently make it likely to die earlier. Whole house surge suppression would be of no help there. So a UPS acting as a line voltage stabilizer can really help.

That and if you keep it connected to a PC and track the values with graphs it makes for a powerful bit of evidence to get the utility company to fix their issues.

As for woodwork, yeah, traditional styles can make for interesting issues with modern gear. I've had to beat back our architect's tendency to keep trying to add trim everywhere.

It's not practical to put a whole-home UPS in, but I would agree that a whole-home surge protector should be part of the electric code everywhere, as it seems like a really low cost protection, as long as it doesn't cause people to stop using local surge protection.

Yeah, we tend to have bulkier woodwork with the colonial style up here. I like cleaner, simpler myself, but with traditional inspiration. We have a ton of faux Colonial styled buildings from the '80s and early '90s that I think are kind of ugly, but to each their own I guess. I was in MI last week, and it was interesting to see how different the style is out there. Much more brick, tall roofs (snow and ice), simpler on the trim, but often with more roof lines and bumpouts and stuff. But really, a ton of brick.
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post #21 of 36 Old 05-06-2013, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I meant another door, not the entrance door. So people would just think it was a closet. Gotcha. Clean over total stealth. Guess I have New England with our woodwork and colonial style doors too engrained in my head. biggrin.gif

It was an option to add a door, I just wanted the complete stealth look, and when it was open, I didn't want people to see that it was just a server rack there. The benefit of this being cheaper was just bonus to me. I did see in the "Show us your rack" thread where someone used a pocket door to hide their rack and that was a very serious contender at one point. I loved that idea! However, the GF saw something she liked on pinterest (Some foam panels covered with fabric and hung on the walls), and I said "I could use that to hide the equipment rack, and just put hinges on one" (though i won't be using foam for that one). It was just a happy coincidence and compromise smile.gif Either way, after having the 4 y/o turn off everything by hitting a button the APC UPS, I need SOMETHING to cover it....LOL I probably should have located it at the top, but i'm unsure if I really want to relocate it (and rewire) the whole rack at this point. It was just bad placement.
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Ok, so you're basically using UPS'es as power conditioners for the A/V side?

I am in a way. For the server, it is definitely a UPS as well. I want that thing up as much as possible. In the past 5 years, I've only had to manually shut it down due to power loss a few times (extended power outages). Besides that, it is up 24/7. For the AV stuff it is a benefit that I have battery backup as well. I could have bought a similar unit without that feature, but the HTPC is always in "Sleep". So I like that even if we lose power for 5 seconds, the HTPC doesn't shut down.

And finally for the structured wiring, waiting a couple of minutes for the cable modem to power cycle is a bit of a hassle and since I often remote desktop into my workstation in California, I prefer to not lose any time whatsoever. Earlier in my career, I works tech support for a local ISP. We got tons of calls for fried modems (DSL or in computer). They were either fried through the telephone line or the power line. Either way, I'd rather be protected and get the benefit of not having to wait for it to power cycle, Which, while power is great here, during the daily storms in the summer, you can lose power for a couple of seconds here and there. It's funny cause you can hear all the UPSs beep all at the same time in unison...LOL

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Do most people down there have whole home surge protection in addition to surge protectors at the end-use locations? Up here, whole-home is unheard of, and a lot of people use really bad surge protectors or sometimes don't use them at all. I try to keep everything surge protected...

No, we don't all have them. I've thought about adding it, but haven't retrofitted my house yet. I'm planning on having my panel moved from it's current location (my new master bedroom), to the laundry room right next to it. Perhaps when I do that I will. However, that still doesn't cover you 100%. If you have telephone, cable or satellite, then you still have ways for surges to enter your house. I've also heard, and I can't be 100% how true this is, that if a lightning strike is close enough (say in your back yard), the surge can transfer to lines between the panel and the outlet. So basically, any wires in your attic. I'm not gonna put a surge protector on every ethernet connection in my house either though. So I'm not 100% protected, but I feel like the most important stuff is.

At the same time, I don't put a lot of faith in the power strip surge protectors. Well, that's not 100% true. You have to be careful. Some of them are just power strips, some are surge protectors, neither anywhere near as good as the stuff in the closet. Which, except for the structured wiring one, act as Automatic Voltage Regulators (AVRs) instead of just "Surge protectors. That is to say that they have capacitors to absorb the surges, and use that stored capacity to make up for brownouts (instead of relying on the batteries). That is a feature I look for in UPSs as we can get a lot of brown outs and constantly switching to the battery for correction is bad for the battery (kills them faster).
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Unheard of doesn't make it unnecessary. You'd be surprised how many pieces of equipment fail because of low voltage and other transient problems. Total loss of power or severe spikes are probably not the biggest causes of problems. Stuff like chronically low voltage that makes a power supply have to work too hard to rectify it up to the desired levels tends to make it run a lot hotter and consequently make it likely to die earlier. Whole house surge suppression would be of no help there. So a UPS acting as a line voltage stabilizer can really help.

That and if you keep it connected to a PC and track the values with graphs it makes for a powerful bit of evidence to get the utility company to fix their issues.

As for woodwork, yeah, traditional styles can make for interesting issues with modern gear. I've had to beat back our architect's tendency to keep trying to add trim everywhere.

This is why I have my setup the way I do. I have too much invested even in my "modest" setup to risk having pieces of it killed by surges or low voltage. The added benefit of the APC HT one is that it does track that information for me and I can access it via a browser. It also handles network managed shut down of multiple PCS if I so choose.
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It's not practical to put a whole-home UPS in, but I would agree that a whole-home surge protector should be part of the electric code everywhere, as it seems like a really low cost protection, as long as it doesn't cause people to stop using local surge protection.

Actually it is, it's called a whole house generator, and I plan on adding one of those in the next few years as well. They are great during hurricanes when you're out of power for a few weeks at a time. The only downside is that there is a 5-10 second delay between losing power and them kicking on (to prevent them from turning on too often for small outages). So because of this you still need to have local UPSes on anything that you want to keep running in the interim (computers, etc). Still, besides the benefit of keeping power no matter what, it would be nice to have a place to offer hot showers, hot meals, and cold drinks to family and neighbors if a hurricane hits again (like it did in 2004/2005 where we got hit multiple times). If you get a big enough one, you even get to keep your A/C (at lease for as long as you have gas in your tank).
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Yeah, we tend to have bulkier woodwork with the colonial style up here. I like cleaner, simpler myself, but with traditional inspiration. We have a ton of faux Colonial styled buildings from the '80s and early '90s that I think are kind of ugly, but to each their own I guess. I was in MI last week, and it was interesting to see how different the style is out there. Much more brick, tall roofs (snow and ice), simpler on the trim, but often with more roof lines and bumpouts and stuff. But really, a ton of brick.

In Florida, except for the newer houses that mimic architecture from all over the country/world, it's mainly ranch houses. Short shallow roofs that make running wires a PITA. What is worse is no one has basements, so don't get the "bonus" room above or below the house. My Girlfriend is from Missouri and she complains all the time about how if we lived up there, we'd basically have double the square footage because we could finish the basement. I agree, but I just love it here in FL.
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post #22 of 36 Old 05-06-2013, 03:49 PM
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Haha, it must be good if it got the GF's approval!

Yeah, at a certain point, you're toast. But at least you can do a good job of protecting against near-ish strikes. With Ethernet, theoretically, if everything on the network is behind a surge protector, you're safe, even if you don't surge protect the Ethernet itself.

Whole house generators are great. But it would impractical to do an actual UPS, so you'd need the local UPS'es. Look at how much gas those things burn. You need MASSIVE tanks if you want to go even upwards of a week. I think the goal is to get through a few days, where roads are re-opened and the propane trucks start running like crazy to keep generators up, even though the power companies are still putting the pieces back together.

That's interesting. We have some finished basements here, but a lot of older houses have awful, dingy, smelly basements. The newer ones are pretty nice. A house without a basement is weird to me, but it's because I've always lived in New England.
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post #23 of 36 Old 05-06-2013, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah.... I guess I shouldn't say "approval"..it's more "acceptance"...LOL. She's just happy she can get to the Roku and that's about it. She doesn't understand half of it, and doesn't care to. But....she does love that eventually she won't have to SEE it...LOL.

Yeah, the Generator would merely be for "emergencies" and I probably won't run the A/C on Generator (in a long term outage), but it would still be nice to have. Even if you only have power for an extra week, it would be worth it. Most people run the generators that run on gas and you have to fill it up every 3-12 hours or so. So a week without filling up the tank is good. I also plan on adding a gas stove top, and we don't have gas lines here in my neighborhood, so I'll have the tank anyways. I have a place back next to the Shed (small barn..LOL) that will keep it out of view for the most part.

And about the Basements.....I can't imagine a house with one! I've only ever been in 1 house with a basement, and it was one of those where the back of the basement was at ground level (front was under ground), so it didn't really feel like a "basement" (that was in SC).
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post #24 of 36 Old 05-07-2013, 10:57 AM
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IN this picture you can see the 2 power blocks for the first 2 SMCs....These will be wired to reverse outlets in the recessed outlet boxes below them (more on this later).


At the bottom of this SMC, you can see all the lines running out the bottom...


Colored Inlet - Goes to the SMC directly above it


I also ordered 2' and 3' power cables from monoprice to go from the battery backup to the inverse power plugs. they work pretty nicely.

^^ So you're using the inlet (reverse) to hook up a UPS to the SMC? Is the UPS shown servicing all 3 structured cabinets? Also I see several cables running from the wireless router to the wall plate, then to the switch? I thought you only needed a single cable from router to switch and then that feeds the network? Something like this...Service in --> UPS --> modem --> router --> switch --> network?


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Here is inside the first (network) SMC...


Here is the 24 port switch that is dedicated to the rack. Way more ports than I'll need, but it was rack mountable and I got a great deal on it.

^^ I'm curious why you chose to separate the equipment on the rack from what's in the cabinets? It seems like there is a lot of space left on that (42U?) rack and wouldn't it be easier/simpler to keep it all together? For example, using a rack mounted patch panel and switch for your LAN instead of the quickports in the cabinet and a rack switch, or maybe I'm missing something?


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I ran all the electrical myself except the lines from the breaker box....and I had an electrician pull a second 20a circuit during this part of the job.


To the left you can see the 2 dangling power lines for the 2 circuits. These will be run into the 2-gang box to the left of the opening, and then run under the rack opening to the other side for all the other boxes.

^^ Did you run a single 12/2 romex for the second circuit? Just an FYI and you may already know this, but you can run a single 12/3 romex and get 2 circuits out of it.


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And here you can see the bump outs I just talked about. This way when the rack is pushed in, the walls go back a little past the front of the rack. It allows me to give the appearance of an installed rack, but I can pull it back if I need to, I also plan on framing in the front to cover any gaps, but haven't gotten there yet.


^^ Definitely show your trim work once you get around to it. Personally I'm leaning towards a flush look with the rack as close to the exterior (visible to guests) wall.


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There will/is enough slack in the lines going to the rack so that it can be fully moved out of the way and pushed to in front of the A/C on the other side.

^^ Where are you keeping the service loops, just sitting on top of the rack?
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post #25 of 36 Old 05-07-2013, 03:42 PM
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Yeah.... I guess I shouldn't say "approval"..it's more "acceptance"...LOL. She's just happy she can get to the Roku and that's about it. She doesn't understand half of it, and doesn't care to. But....she does love that eventually she won't have to SEE it...LOL.

Yeah, the Generator would merely be for "emergencies" and I probably won't run the A/C on Generator (in a long term outage), but it would still be nice to have. Even if you only have power for an extra week, it would be worth it. Most people run the generators that run on gas and you have to fill it up every 3-12 hours or so. So a week without filling up the tank is good. I also plan on adding a gas stove top, and we don't have gas lines here in my neighborhood, so I'll have the tank anyways. I have a place back next to the Shed (small barn..LOL) that will keep it out of view for the most part.

And about the Basements.....I can't imagine a house with one! I've only ever been in 1 house with a basement, and it was one of those where the back of the basement was at ground level (front was under ground), so it didn't really feel like a "basement" (that was in SC).

Hah. You can add new toys without her noticing. smile.gif

You're going to have to way upsize your propane tanks from what you'd use for cooking. It's not bad to have 3-5 days worth of propane, and it's a lot more convenient, but you also can't just add more gasoline- you need a propane truck. I like the propane ones, but you have to plan accordingly to store a lot of propane on-site.
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post #26 of 36 Old 05-07-2013, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
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^^ So you're using the inlet (reverse) to hook up a UPS to the SMC?

Yes, sort of.
One goes to the Router right next to it. Unnecessary, I know. Originally the router was to be somewhere else and I put it there and just didn't change that part of the plan.
3 go to outlets located in the 4-gang outlet boxes across the bottom of the closet. 2 of these use short 1' power extensions to go to Power inlets that feed the first 2 SMCs (the third is not powered since I am using the hole to pass cables down to the 3 8-gang LV rings below). The other goes to an outlet and isn't being used by anything at this point in time.
Here's an image of one of the 4-gang outlets and you can see the Yellow inlet that feeds the SMC above and the orange outlet that goes to the corresponding Orange inlet under the battery backup on the wall.

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Is the UPS shown servicing all 3 structured cabinets?

No, see above. Only 2 are powered by the UPS, the other is not powered.
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Originally Posted by Spec4 View Post

Also I see several cables running from the wireless router to the wall plate, then to the switch? I thought you only needed a single cable from router to switch and then that feeds the network? Something like this...Service in --> UPS --> modem --> router --> switch --> network?

This is tricky. The switch on the rack is for all the stuff in the rack. Only 1 cable from router goes to the rack. 24 ports is overkill, but I got a great deal on it and it was rack mountable. Win/Win.

The other 3 are there to feed the first SMC. If you look in the first SMC (picture below), you'll see a small Dlink switch. This is so that I don't have to feed multiple wires from the rack back out to feed ports in the house, the switches in the SMC can do that. Yes, they only have a 1Gbps link between them, but there isn't much talk between the rack and outside the rack, and once a device knows the receiving device is on the same switch, it won't try go to the router and back, the switch will send it directly to the device instead.

I currently have it setup like this:

service IN -> UPS -> Modem -> router -> split to 4 jacks in SMC1
SMC port 1 -> Rack
SMC port 2 -> Switch in SMC1
SMC port 3 -> currently unused (for use in another switch in SMC1)
SMC port 4 -> currently unused (for use in another switch in SMC1)

Here's the picture of SMC 1 in it's current state (switch is in upper right corner):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spec4 View Post

^^ I'm curious why you chose to separate the equipment on the rack from what's in the cabinets? It seems like there is a lot of space left on that (42U?) rack and wouldn't it be easier/simpler to keep it all together? For example, using a rack mounted patch panel and switch for your LAN instead of the quickports in the cabinet and a rack switch, or maybe I'm missing something?

I'm unsure what you mean by "cabinets". Are you referring to the SMCs or something else? There is a rack that holds all the equipment for the HT and Development server (perhaps AV distribution later). The SMCs are merely there as patching stations to feed the house. There was no reason to put patch panels for the house network on the rack (And all the cables associated with it, which would be alot) or for the cable tv distribution (though I will likely not ever use it, it is there just in case I want to). I have the capacity to patch 72 ethernetcables at this point in time an I can probably get another 48 in there if I want (for telephone/network). This would include enough to switch 16 locations at once (more if I move the modem to the cabinet next door). This allows me to completely disconnect the rack for whatever reason and keep the "home network" up and running without issue. This will likely never happen, but you never know.

The reason for spacing stuff out on the rack was because I have planned expansion. With the AVR receiver and HTPC up top, it keeps the 4y/o from touching them (which is why I regret not putting the HT UPS up there as well). The game consoles are lower so that he can reach them. I also left room for my GF's Xbox360, which I have yet to put int here and anything else I want above (extra receiver/amp, Wii U, etc). On the backside, things are places to offer the most flexibility and usability. The Dev server is down low because it goes front to back and I don't want it visible from the living room (it faces into the closet, same goes for it's UPS). There is space above the printer so you can open the scanner. I custom cut and crimped all my Ethernet, RG6 and speaker cables, so spacing wasn't an issue. The power and Ethernet cables worked out wonderfully buying different lengths from Monoprice (they for the most part are fit exactly without any loops thanks to good measuring/luck).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spec4 View Post

^^ Did you run a single 12/2 romex for the second circuit? Just an FYI and you may already know this, but you can run a single 12/3 romex and get 2 circuits out of it.

I did, but that was because there was already a 12/2 run from the panel. Had I added both circuits at the same time, I might have run 12/3. To be honest, I guess you might be referring to the outlets in the room. I really should have run 12/3 between all the boxes!! Where were you when I was wiring the closet for electrical! Great tip smile.gif I really wish I had thought of that.
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Originally Posted by Spec4 View Post

^^ Definitely show your trim work once you get around to it. Personally I'm leaning towards a flush look with the rack as close to the exterior (visible to guests) wall.

I wanted a flush look, but because I also wanted to fit the 3SMCs in there, I needed to be able to pull the rack out. I suppose I could have put one in that pulled out (into the living room) giving me the room I needed, but at the same time, I needed/wanted to be able to mount the Dev Server below the opening so it would be hidden. I also had concerns about hurricanes and being able to remove the rack from the house completely. This of course is no where near possible as it is too tall to get out the door. I didn't think that part through very well...LOL

Also, because the PS3 sticks out so far, and I wanted a door, it kinda just worked out that it sits so far back. If it weren't for the PS3, I was gonna put a DVD/CD holder on the back of the door to hold media and keep that hidden as well (at least some of my collection). the PS3 stops that, but I am going to completely remove the Closet door in the hallway and replace it with a custom made bookshelf on hinges. This will hide the fact that it's a closet and keep most people from walking in thinking it's a bathroom or something. I also think it's just a cool idea and it should be a fun project.
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Originally Posted by Spec4 View Post

^^ Where are you keeping the service loops, just sitting on top of the rack?

There are no service loops for the rack. The cables for the rack all come from the 3 8-gang LV oulet boxes under SMC3. There is enough slack to pull the rack out and out of the way (to in front of that A/C). As far as service loops for all the drops, they are in the Attic. It's a bit of a mess up there right now, but I plan on fixing that before I run too many more runs. Wires run in the rack itself, are all custom cut to exact lengths and terminated. This keeps it nice and neat and if I need to rearrange the rack, I can do so by just cutting existing cables down, or making new ones (I bought 7,000 feet of cable to run the house. I have some left over...LOL)
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post #27 of 36 Old 05-07-2013, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

Hah. You can add new toys without her noticing. smile.gif

She saw your post and gave me "that look".....LOL. She did say "yes..I'm happy as long as I can start the roku".
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

You're going to have to way upsize your propane tanks from what you'd use for cooking. It's not bad to have 3-5 days worth of propane, and it's a lot more convenient, but you also can't just add more gasoline- you need a propane truck. I like the propane ones, but you have to plan accordingly to store a lot of propane on-site.

I plan on putting in a good size tank. Since it's going next to or behind the 12'x24' shed/barn, it will be pretty well hidden, yet still accessible to be refilled.
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post #28 of 36 Old 05-07-2013, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Spec4 View Post

^^ Where are you keeping the service loops, just sitting on top of the rack?

It dawned on my, you might have been referring to the loop for the rack to the wall plates. All the cables that go to the wall plates are run down the left side of the rack (when looking from the back) towards the front on a custom lacer bar I made. From there, they droop down and come to the back side of the 3 8-gang boxes. Basically it makes a big U going from the front side of the rack to the back side of the rack, so that when I pull it out and to the side there is enough cable there to maneuver it, but not so much that it catches on the rack casters. It literally is just enough cable to pull it back an over to in front of the A/C unit. If I ever need to move it further (not that it can go much further), I can just disconnect the cables for the rack. I've done my best to keep all the cables labeled as well as their corresponding jack on the wall (especially the speaker cables).
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Originally Posted by Sir Meili View Post

She saw your post and gave me "that look".....LOL. She did say "yes..I'm happy as long as I can start the roku".

biggrin.gif:D:D
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Originally Posted by Sir Meili View Post

I plan on putting in a good size tank. Since it's going next to or behind the 12'x24' shed/barn, it will be pretty well hidden, yet still accessible to be refilled.

That's going to be an awesome setup!
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post #30 of 36 Old 02-19-2014, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

PS - And we'll start poking you soon if you don't get the trim strips on that rack... smile.gif


Ok, so you asked for it, and I did it. I actually trimmed out the rack, but it was hard to find trim the exact thickness I wanted. I went through a bunch of different ones before I decided that there would be no great way to get a perfectly fit trim (nor really did I want that since the rack has some wiggle room). So, I went with a trim that wasn't quite wide enough to fill the gap from the drywall to the trim strips but did at least overlap the rails. This still left the white marking visible, which sucked.

So, I got out the black paint I used for the trim, and I pushed the rack out and I was OOOOOOH SO READY TO PAINT THEM! But alas, I didn't, and for good reason too! I saw something (I dont' remember what), but I had an epiphany! I removed the trim strips, loosened up all the rack screws and ran black electrical tape down the sides of the rack going just behind the equipment and wrapping around the sides (I wish I had a pic of this). I then tightened everything back down and put the trim strips back on and TADA! all black. It worked out really well even though the electrical tape isn't super dark black. it's hard to tell when standing more than a foot away, and that was good enough for me.

Then I noticed the next problem.. Something was keeping the rack from being pushed all they up to the trim. This was odd cause I pushed the rack all the way in and actually installed the trim right up next to the rack with it installed so I would have a very small gap. Apparently this didn't work and even if it did, I noticed another problem when I was putting the tape on earlier. This room is far from air tight, but the A/C's air handler is in that room, so it is drawing air (and dust!) from every crack it can find even though there is a big vent on the door and a 20x20 vent next to it in the wall (door is being replaced, so I put a vent in the wall to prepare for that). So the rails were actually lined with dust, which is not so good. I already covered the gaps between the faceplates from behind, but I never did the rails.

So I was stuck again. It was starting to get frustrating and I thought that perhaps a new rack on rails would just be easier at this point. Then I thought....... if it's an air leak problem and I want to seal that up, why wouldn't I do the same thing I would do on a door? So I went to home depot, bought some rolls of the foam weatherstripping (the kind for sealing doors and windows and the like) and ran it down the back of the trim. Now when I push the rack up, it compresses the foam keeping it pretty air tight and also fills the gap between the rack and the trim. And it's black, so you don't notice it. The other bonus is that if you turn on the lights in the closet there is almost no light leakage in the rack. There is some around the equipment, but I don't think I'm gonna worry about it since the light in that room is off most the time.

Anyways. I just wanted to update. And here is a pic of the final product (I also got a wii U and replaced the Wii. If someone wants to buy a MA Wii shelf and faceplate, let me know!)
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