Coolerguys 120 mm USB fan AV Cabinet Install Results - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-25-2013, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I recently had to install a glass door on the front of my 4.6 cubic feet (internal volume) AV cabinet because my 1 year old son started walking, and the components are all well within his reach. It is worth noting that i drilled several evenly spaced 1" holes on the individual shelves based on where the component sits on the shelf, they are not visible with the components in place. Drilling the holes was crucial in my case, as there was zero room for air to move between shelves, so a fan mounted in the center would have only been effective on the AVR (see diagram below). I really hope this helps someone out there with a similar problem. I will try and find the time to upload photos, but like I said, I have a one year old at the house to keep me plenty busy.

Here is a simple diagram of where everything is positioned, my apologies for the lack of pictures...

(IR=IR receiver for the harmony one to control the PS3, H1=harmony one charging base)

This is a table of measured temps in degrees F, before the fan (ambient 75 deg F)...


Fan was installed dead center in the rear of the cabinet, being used as an exhaust fan, measured temperatures after the fan (ambient 75 deg F)...


During temperature testing, all components were on, volume at -24db.

The on board temperature readout from the 609 was 4-5 degrees higher than the temperatures I measured externally before the fan, and after the fan was lower than the temperatures I measured externally by 4-5 degrees F, so the on board measurement before was about 135 deg f before the fan, and 95 deg f after the fan, a 40 deg f drop!!!

I purchased the fan from coolerguys, and it is plugged in to the usb port on the back of the DVR. The fan is about as close to silent as it gets, the only time i can hear it is if everything is muted and nothing in the house is making any noise, AND I have to be standing within about 5 feet.

I did not expect the fan to work this well, I was expecting to have to buy at least one more, but this single fan is more than sufficient for my AV cabinet of roughly 4.6 cubic feet, $30 well spent I'd say.

I hope this helps somebody out there.

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post #2 of 12 Old 01-25-2013, 11:04 AM
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Ever think about putting an intake through the side to maximize cooling even more?
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-28-2013, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryWA View Post

Ever think about putting an intake through the side to maximize cooling even more?

To be honest, no not really. If operating temperatures were higher maybe, but the way things are now I don't know that I see it as necessary. I feel like temperatures measured below 100 deg F are great, I admit I don't know too much about it though, so I could be wrong.

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post #4 of 12 Old 01-28-2013, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by GaryWA View Post

Ever think about putting an intake through the side to maximize cooling even more?

Based on my experience there is a good chance that the cabinet doors leak air like sieves and the problem all among was one of letting the hot air exit.

There is also a pretty good chance that a goodly percentage of the observed benefits would be obtained by simply putting a 120 mm hole (no fan) in the back of the cabinet at the center top. As it sits, the fan is spending part of its energy drawing hot air down from the top shelves. If the hole were at the top of the back, simple convection would rule.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-28-2013, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corekneelius View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryWA View Post

Ever think about putting an intake through the side to maximize cooling even more?

To be honest, no not really. If operating temperatures were higher maybe, but the way things are now I don't know that I see it as necessary. I feel like temperatures measured below 100 deg F are great, I admit I don't know too much about it though, so I could be wrong.

Back in the day, operating temps of 160 degrees were considered to be max for tubed analog equipment, and 140 degrees was the max for SS digital gear.

Today it seems like 120 degrees is an OK maximum for chips, more like 110 degrees max for hard drives, but the goal is closer to 100 degrees for everything.
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-31-2013, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Based on my experience there is a good chance that the cabinet doors leak air like sieves and the problem all among was one of letting the hot air exit.

There is also a pretty good chance that a goodly percentage of the observed benefits would be obtained by simply putting a 120 mm hole (no fan) in the back of the cabinet at the center top. As it sits, the fan is spending part of its energy drawing hot air down from the top shelves. If the hole were at the top of the back, simple convection would rule.

You are right, there is a small gap around the perimeter of the door.

After reading the Middle Atlantic white paper titled "Controlling the Temperature Inside Equipment Racks", I made the decision for placement and direction of airflow, and decided that forced air movement through the cabinet was the way to go versus "natural" convection. I would be shocked if cutting a 120mm hole in the top without a fan produced similar results. At the end of the day, this has worked very well for me, and I am happy with the result.

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post #7 of 12 Old 01-31-2013, 12:03 PM
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I would be interested to see if cooling was helped even more if you moved the hottest component (the Onkyo) to the top shelf. I think Middle Atlantic suggested that....hottest component on the top so it actually creates convection cooling. In addition to the fan you might be able to get a few more degrees out of the cabinet.

Not that the 40 degree drop is anything to complain about.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-31-2013, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post


Today it seems like 120 degrees is an OK maximum for chips, more like 110 degrees max for hard drives, but the goal is closer to 100 degrees for everything.
Components will handle much more than this. The problem comes when they get hot enough for their tiny solder joints to have a problem. Hard drives can also handle higher temperatures, they just *might* not last as long. Some will run in the 110º range out in completely open air.

An exhaust fan in any cabinet with a top will likely produce similar results. Hot air likes to go up, not out. I was able to considerably reduce the temperature of an open front cabinet with exhaust fans because of this.
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-31-2013, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jkaetz View Post

Components will handle much more than this. The problem comes when they get hot enough for their tiny solder joints to have a problem. Hard drives can also handle higher temperatures, they just *might* not last as long. Some will run in the 110º range out in completely open air.

An exhaust fan in any cabinet with a top will likely produce similar results. Hot air likes to go up, not out. I was able to considerably reduce the temperature of an open front cabinet with exhaust fans because of this.

Ive seen more than a few references to this being at least some of the issue with Onkyo HDMI boards.

The video processing CPUs are BGA format (Ball Grid Array) and the contacts either "float" after the solder heats up to much, or many heating/cooling cycles cause them to expand/contract enough to no longer make good contact. Reflowing them (with a hot air reflow station) seems to fix it, but reflow stations are expensive.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-31-2013, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corekneelius View Post

I would be shocked if cutting a 120mm hole in the top without a fan produced similar results. At the end of the day, this has worked very well for me, and I am happy with the result.

My story is that I cut the hole for the fan to address a very noticeable thermal problem. I had to suspend the project at that point due to time constraints. When I came back to it I noticed that the cabinet temperature was now close to room temperature, so the fan installation was put on hold.
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post #11 of 12 Old 02-01-2013, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisexv6 View Post

Ive seen more than a few references to this being at least some of the issue with Onkyo HDMI boards.

The video processing CPUs are BGA format (Ball Grid Array) and the contacts either "float" after the solder heats up to much, or many heating/cooling cycles cause them to expand/contract enough to no longer make good contact. Reflowing them (with a hot air reflow station) seems to fix it, but reflow stations are expensive.
I've seen those too. I'd be nice if manufacturers would own up to manufacturing flaws like that or implement active cooling solutions to keep the temperatures in check. It's not really the components fault it came unsoldered. Still, splitting hairs as a broken AVR is a broken AVR.

My cooling solution consists of a couple blower fans from an old dell server on top of my new Denon avr. My TV stand only offers a couple inches clearance on the top and sides but has an open front and back. The fans are running at their minimum speed which keeps them silent while also keeping things cool to the touch. Before the fans the heat would just accumulate over the AVR. A little air movement goes a long way.
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post #12 of 12 Old 02-01-2013, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

My story is that I cut the hole for the fan to address a very noticeable thermal problem. I had to suspend the project at that point due to time constraints. When I came back to it I noticed that the cabinet temperature was now close to room temperature, so the fan installation was put on hold.

I thought about trying this. Maybe I should have tried that first? Alternatively I could have just removed the entire back panel completely. I'll never know now, I like my fan!

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