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post #1 of 6 Old 07-08-2013, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
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I am in the framing stage of a new house and I am getting everything planned for all the lv wiring. I have a 36" by 48" AV closet framed in where I will home run all wiring for audio, video and network distribution. I have spent a few months researching best practices and then some for how to wire. I then payed for an hour consultation at the site from a couple local shops to validate my plan. I feel good that I am on the right path. Now, I need help to figure out the layout of the rack.

The AV closet will have standard wood doors on both sides, accessible from the hall on one side and from the bonus room on the other, so that I can get to the front and back of the rack without having to roll it. It will be a 42U skeleton rack (Slim5 or similar) bolted to the floor inside the closet and I will cool the room rather than the rack. Here are a few questions:

1. Any issues with having all my network gear, patch panels, etc in the same rack as the AV gear? My thought was to have a router and 24-port gigabit PoE switch at the top with patch panels under it. Then, patch panels for video and control (keypads) beneath than.

2. Any rules to where to locate different components? For example, I will have a 2U APC SmartUPS that weighs 62lbs and logic would say to mount that at the very bottom. Then, I have a couple 2U 12-channel digital amps that weigh 32lbs each. Can I put those directly above the UPS or will there be power interference with the audio?

3. The UPS will only be for a computer and NAS so that, in the event of a power failure, I can have them gracefully shut down via a network management card. Any reason to plug anything else into a UPS? Even though a DVR, for example, has a hard drive there isn't a way (or need) to send a remote shutdown command to it, right?

4. For the UPS, power conditioners, etc...what plugs into what? I will probably use a vertical PDU from the UPS since it will be at the bottom and the NAS and computer will be closer to the top. But what about a power conditioner for the AV gear? Any reason to plug that into the UPS? I was also thinking of using a WattBox IP power strip for the modem and router. The IP power strip will send a constant ping and monitor connectivity and reboot the modem and router if Internet connectivity are lost. I assume I can't plug this into a UPS, right?

I'd appreciate any other recommendations on how to layout gear in the rack.

Thanks!!
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-08-2013, 12:16 PM
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Heavy stuff at the bottom of the rack - unless you're in an earthquake-prone area, no real need to bolt the rack to the floor. Nothing wrong with mixing all the gear in the rack, but I'd leave gaps between the UPS, computer and amps more for breathing space than interference potentials.

The only issue with patch panels in the equipment rack is the royal pain it would be if you need to re-arrange or otherwise remove the rack. If you ever move, you won't be able to take the rack with you, either. I'd suggest running all the house wiring to a wall-mounted patch panel, perhaps with the router/switch gear there as well (shelf or screwed to a panel on the wall), and then just patching to the equipment as needed.

You want your DVR on the UPS as probably the highest priority, as any power glitch will interrupt recording and most DVRs take a long time to reboot and resume a recording - so a 1 second glitch ruins an entire recording. If the power stays out, at least the DVR will continue recording as long as it can. PCs and other hard drives same thing - it's to prevent loss of data / restart times rather than damage to the equipment. I put all my network gear on the UPS as well for the same reason - takes it a long time to reboot - and if the power is off, these are low-power-consuming devices, so you can continue to work with Internet access from mobile (battery powered) devices even in the dark! (that is, as long as the cableco keeps their stuff running)...

Jeff


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post #3 of 6 Old 07-08-2013, 02:05 PM
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I am a fan of leaving at least 1RU of space between every single component as a minimum distance. Consumer gear typically requires this for best long term reliability.

I generally go for heavier stuff at the bottom, but not at the cost of accessibility, so if you have a UPS that works better above the amps, then put it there, if not, then put it at the bottom, then the amps.

Anything which requires front panel human interaction put at a convenient standing height, then spread gear out around it.

I am a stickler for looks, so I always recommend rack mounted gear, or custom face plates for all gear, and NO WIRES hanging out the front. So, patch panels and the rest on the back of the rack.

I have no issue with the patch panels being in the back because my mentality says that if/when you move you just leave the $150 (or so) Slim-5 rack right where it is.

I would recommend the 26" deep version of the Slim5 as this gives you far more room to work with your gear and to rear mount equipment as necessary. It forces you to be smarter with your gear.

I use two of these racks in my (currently) unfinished basement and it certainly takes some time to do it right, but it looks really good when done and is very accessible, and incredibly reliable.

You should not have any cooling issues as long as you have good airflow within the rack space and are forcing cool air throughout. I have not cooled a space, but I leave my racks very open (vent panels) and have actively vented the rooms where I have put racks into in the past as necessary.

If you have not, I think you may be able to download RackTools from the MiddleAtlantic website and they may have some white papers you can read on suggested layouts.


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post #4 of 6 Old 07-08-2013, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Jeff and AV_I. I appreciate the input! Have you guys ever used the IP controlled power strips by chance?
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-08-2013, 06:09 PM
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The IP power conditioners and such are more for the installers/integrators for service issues that need equipment resets. If it is your place and rack and you know what you are doing, it isn't necessary.


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post #6 of 6 Old 07-08-2013, 06:15 PM
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We've used the Extron units and have not had good results. Their reporting has given us fits of errors and we have been diagnosing THEIR product almost since it has been released.

I would remind you that you really don't want to stack surge suppressors. I generally get one good one for the rack, then I use power strips without surge in them for the rest of my equipment. Doesn't seem to be a big deal, but can cause some headaches for some devices... or so I have heard.

Most UPS systems have built in surge with power regulation, which is about all the surge you should need in a rack, but then I would use vertical power strips for the rest of the wiring. Hit up Monoprice and buy some 1' and 2' IEC type power cords and throw all those 6' power cords away. Really cleans things up.


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