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Heinrich S 02-22-2014 08:32 AM

I am having a custom cabinet made for my electronics. It is going to be enclosed as I am going for a clean minimalistic look.

My concern is the heat. What do people do in these cases? Install fans?

The back of the cabinet will be left open and the bottom section can have slats made if it would help with air flow. There will be ample room for the amp and at least 2" of additional height above it.

If I don't intend on playing my equipment loud, should I be concerned about the heat reducing the life of the equipment? Or should I consider adding fans? I need to chat to my carpenter on Monday, so if there is anything I should ask him to add, please give me tips and advice. Thanks.

Here is a pic of what it will look like :



The cabinet will be made of solid oak. Truth be told, I'm not going to be listening at very loud levels, which I assume would affect the heat build-up inside the cabinet from the amp. I've been told that solid wood can warp due to temperature. Is this a big issue or can I have a solid wood cabinet as I really like the look of solid wood furniture.

Ratman 02-22-2014 11:54 AM

IMO, if there are vents on the equipment that will placed in the enclosed cabinets, the cabinets should be ventilated. I'm sure you can find quiet muffin fans that can be controlled thermostatically.

If it's a custom job, do it now. Retrofitting after installation could be costly. Especially if you add and/or upgrade to more heat generating hardware.

Even if it doesn't look like it's going to rain, it's nice to have an umbrella... just in case. wink.gif

Heinrich S 02-22-2014 12:44 PM

I don't think the carpenter will know exactly what to do as far as the fan solution goes. He just builds cabinets. frown.gif

I wouldn't know where to start to get this done to be honest. It might be dead simple to do, but I don't have the foggiest idea. I figure some members on the forum must have enclosed cabinets, so i can possibly see what they did with their installs.

FYI, my cabinet will have three doors. It's not a long line of doors like you see in the pic, but it looks very similar with no door handles.

Ratman 02-22-2014 01:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heinrich S View Post

I don't think the carpenter will know exactly what to do as far as the fan solution goes. He just builds cabinets. frown.gif.

You asked about fans. I suggested fans. The carpenter can cut holes for fans.
It's up to you decide if, when and how to install them. You asked, I just provided my opinion.
(and it can be very simple)

Jack D Ripper 02-22-2014 02:42 PM

An open back will help a lot.  Large holes in the bottom to let air in would be good, particularly at the front of the cabinet, to encourage airflow from the front bottom to pass over the gear and out the top back.  But what, precisely, is needed depends on the dimensions of everything, and the particular gear you are using.  Some of it generates more heat than others for the same output.  You probably want to go with at least twice as much space around the gear as the manufacturer recommends, given the front, sides, and top will be closed off.  In other words, I recommend placing the gear inside in a manner that seems to waste a lot of space, as that "wasted" space is there to allow for the heat from the gear.

 

If you own the place, you could also consider an in-wall installation of the components, depending on what the room is behind the wall.  Basically, you cut a hole in the wall, put the gear on shelves in the other room, so that the front of the gear is at the wall.  You then leave plenty of air space around and above the gear in the back room.  You could have nice wooden doors in front of the gear so that you would have a very minimalist look.  Obviously, this depends on the back room not being used in a manner that is incompatible with doing this.


Heinrich S 02-22-2014 03:48 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack D Ripper View Post

An open back will help a lot.  Large holes in the bottom to let air in would be good, particularly at the front of the cabinet, to encourage airflow from the front bottom to pass over the gear and out the top back.  But what, precisely, is needed depends on the dimensions of everything, and the particular gear you are using.  Some of it generates more heat than others for the same output.  You probably want to go with at least twice as much space around the gear as the manufacturer recommends, given the front, sides, and top will be closed off.  In other words, I recommend placing the gear inside in a manner that seems to waste a lot of space, as that "wasted" space is there to allow for the heat from the gear.

If you own the place, you could also consider an in-wall installation of the components, depending on what the room is behind the wall.  Basically, you cut a hole in the wall, put the gear on shelves in the other room, so that the front of the gear is at the wall.  You then leave plenty of air space around and above the gear in the back room.  You could have nice wooden doors in front of the gear so that you would have a very minimalist look.  Obviously, this depends on the back room not being used in a manner that is incompatible with doing this.

Okay, so you suggest leaving the rear open. That was my idea from the get-go, so I'm glad you agree. The rear of the cabinet will be 4-5cm away from the wall. So when you access the equipment manually by opening the front doors, you suggest making holes in the bottom piece. Would slat-type holes be good enough or should I just make big round holes? I bought an apartment, but I really don't want an in-wall job. I actually want to have wood in the room. It's just me, I like it. biggrin.gif

The cabinet will be around 1.5 meter long and about 550mm high. I'll be using an AVR and a decoder wih a Blu-ray player. Not a whole lot of stuff will be going in. LOL. I think I'll have more than enough space around the equipment. I guess I just don't know if that will be enough. Unless I make holes on the top, but then it might look ugly. Arrgg..

Jack D Ripper 02-22-2014 05:45 PM

I am thinking about a slot hole in the front, under the vertical front wood of your picture (which I notice does not go down to the floor), that draws air in from the room up front rather than from behind.  The bigger this can be, the better.  In fact, if you can just have the bottom shelf not go out to the front door of the cabinet, that might be best.  Maybe a 3 cm gap if you are okay with it.  This, I think, would help with the airflow.  You might also want other venting in the bottom, depending on how the rest of the cabinet is being made.  I should also tell you that I am not an expert on the subject of airflow, and that you might want to get a second opinion from someone who is.  If you have room, you might want the receiver on the bottom, with no shelf above it, so it has a lot of space above it to the top portion of the wood.  The reason being, 550 mm is not a lot of space for shelves when you are also concerned about heat and have the front, top, and sides closed off.  The BD player can be placed beside it, though it can be in another section if you need a vertical support for the top surface of the cabinet.  This will take more horizontal space than you may be wanting to use (because I am suggesting that you use the entire vertical space just for your receiver), but it will help with your heat issue and probably make it okay, assuming you do keep the back open and do everything else I have suggested, and don't try to do something crazy, like put tube equipment in there with it.

 

I personally hate fans, as they can make noise, and are something that use electricity and can malfunction.  So I recommend being generous with passive solutions instead.

 

 

As an aside, I have never had a problem with gear overheating.  But I am someone who understands that when a manufacturer puts vent holes in equipment, that they mean for them to not be blocked.  And I pay attention to warnings about how much space there should be around the gear, as per the manufacturer's instructions in owner's manuals.  I suggest you pay attention to that sort of thing as well, and read the owner's manuals now, even if you have not yet purchased the equipment that you are planning on using.

 

As another aside, I like real wood, and I like solid wood, rather than veneer, for cabinets.


amirm 02-22-2014 07:10 PM

I put in an elaborate Panasonic in-line fan in the attic to pull the air out and exhaust it elsewhere under the control of my automation system. I have slats at the bottom and it was totally ineffective with the Onkyo AVR I had without the fan running. The thing would get so hot as to make the granite slab above it nearly too hot to touch. I had to always leave the doors open and it will still cook itself although not as bad.

So here is the best solution I have found: get an AVR with a class-d amplifier. I have the Pioneer Elite but the Yamaha Avantage also have the same. There may be other brands. Class D amps are very efficient and hence run cool. I have my PC that is my media center, the AVR and other bits and pieces and I can leave the doors closed with just convection cooling from the slats below. The setup runs absolutely cool. The Pioneer case is just warm to touch after playing for a while. Great thing is that there are no fans to make noise or pull dust into the cabinet. Just put slats in the toe kick area. Open back would also do the same.

BTW if your room will remotely look like that picture, it will be gorgeous smile.gif.

Heinrich S 02-22-2014 11:11 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

I put in an elaborate Panasonic in-line fan in the attic to pull the air out and exhaust it elsewhere under the control of my automation system. I have slats at the bottom and it was totally ineffective with the Onkyo AVR I had without the fan running. The thing would get so hot as to make the granite slab above it nearly too hot to touch. I had to always leave the doors open and it will still cook itself although not as bad.

So here is the best solution I have found: get an AVR with a class-d amplifier. I have the Pioneer Elite but the Yamaha Avantage also have the same. There may be other brands. Class D amps are very efficient and hence run cool. I have my PC that is my media center, the AVR and other bits and pieces and I can leave the doors closed with just convection cooling from the slats below. The setup runs absolutely cool. The Pioneer case is just warm to touch after playing for a while. Great thing is that there are no fans to make noise or pull dust into the cabinet. Just put slats in the toe kick area. Open back would also do the same.

BTW if your room will remotely look like that picture, it will be gorgeous smile.gif.

Unfortunately my receiver is Class AB. I don't have the funds right now to buy a new receiver. I hardly use my existing one! biggrin.gif I'll have to try the passive cooling that Jack mentioned. Hope I don't fry my electronics to death. frown.gif No, my lounge won't look quite as nice as the pic you see, but baby steps ... baby steps...smile.gif

A9X-308 02-23-2014 01:34 AM

Have the cabinet made with the shelves having as much open area as possible, eg perforated steel plate. With this inset into the timberwork, it will look normal from the front with the doors open but still allow plenty of air flow. Place the largest heat generating devices, eg AVR at the top and if possible prop the items sitting on the shelves up a bit so they sit higher than they do with the feet only to allow more airflow around them. If everything still runs too hot, get some quiet computer fans, eg Nexus or Scythe at the rear to draw air through. If you control them from a small DC supply you can trigger the supply via the 12V out on the AVR so the fans come on automatically as soon as the AVR is powered on. Choose good fans and you won't hear them and with a variable DC supply or computer fan controller you can set them to the lowest speed you need to do the job. Some time ago, a friend and I modified his cabinet this way to do exactly what you want and it worked a treat.

Heinrich S 02-23-2014 03:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Have the cabinet made with the shelves having as much open area as possible, eg perforated steel plate. With this inset into the timberwork, it will look normal from the front with the doors open but still allow plenty of air flow. Place the largest heat generating devices, eg AVR at the top and if possible prop the items sitting on the shelves up a bit so they sit higher than they do with the feet only to allow more airflow around them. If everything still runs too hot, get some quiet computer fans, eg Nexus or Scythe at the rear to draw air through. If you control them from a small DC supply you can trigger the supply via the 12V out on the AVR so the fans come on automatically as soon as the AVR is powered on. Choose good fans and you won't hear them and with a variable DC supply or computer fan controller you can set them to the lowest speed you need to do the job. Some time ago, a friend and I modified his cabinet this way to do exactly what you want and it worked a treat.

I was going to have removable shelves. The receiver and blu-ray player and decoder would be able to fit without me need to put on a shelf. I could space them out quite a bit too, as I have about 1.5 meter of width to work with. So you recommend that I put the amp closer to the top of the cabinet, not on the bottom. I'm terrible at visualising this stuff.

Basically all that I can do is possible make holes in the bottom panel. There will be caster wheels at the bottom of the cabinet, so it's not going to be flat on the ground. So I could ask the carpenter to make holds on the bottom, if you think it would help. The back of the cabinet will be left off ... and I'll have around 5-7 cm or so of space between the cabinet and the wall.

I'm not keen on having acoustically transparent mesh grills in the front of the cabinet. I wish I could see some cabinets with passive cooling to get an idea. I don't want to butcher the design, but at the same time I don't want to cook my equipment. As far as fans go, I'm not clued up with exhaust and intake ..etc etc. wouldn't know where to start and where to place the fans.

dbrown3611 02-23-2014 10:25 AM

Will you be using the AVR and Blu-Ray equipment remote controls? If yes will you not then need to have the cabinet doors open during use? Would this not solve your airflow problem?

Heinrich S 02-23-2014 10:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbrown3611 View Post

Will you be using the AVR and Blu-Ray equipment remote controls? If yes will you not then need to have the cabinet doors open during use? Would this not solve your airflow problem?

I'll be using an infrared repeater with the doors closed. That was the idea anyway. But I'm somewhat rattled now as far as the build goes. I haven't given the carpenter the go ahead yet, but I'm a little nervous now as I probably haven't put enough thought into the design as far as passive cooling goes. I'm not an expert on passive cooling and neither is my carpenter.

Jack D Ripper 02-23-2014 11:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heinrich S View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Have the cabinet made with the shelves having as much open area as possible, eg perforated steel plate. With this inset into the timberwork, it will look normal from the front with the doors open but still allow plenty of air flow. Place the largest heat generating devices, eg AVR at the top and if possible prop the items sitting on the shelves up a bit so they sit higher than they do with the feet only to allow more airflow around them. If everything still runs too hot, get some quiet computer fans, eg Nexus or Scythe at the rear to draw air through. If you control them from a small DC supply you can trigger the supply via the 12V out on the AVR so the fans come on automatically as soon as the AVR is powered on. Choose good fans and you won't hear them and with a variable DC supply or computer fan controller you can set them to the lowest speed you need to do the job. Some time ago, a friend and I modified his cabinet this way to do exactly what you want and it worked a treat.

I was going to have removable shelves. The receiver and blu-ray player and decoder would be able to fit without me need to put on a shelf. I could space them out quite a bit too, as I have about 1.5 meter of width to work with. So you recommend that I put the amp closer to the top of the cabinet, not on the bottom. I'm terrible at visualising this stuff.

Basically all that I can do is possible make holes in the bottom panel. There will be caster wheels at the bottom of the cabinet, so it's not going to be flat on the ground. So I could ask the carpenter to make holds on the bottom, if you think it would help. The back of the cabinet will be left off ... and I'll have around 5-7 cm or so of space between the cabinet and the wall.

I'm not keen on having acoustically transparent mesh grills in the front of the cabinet. I wish I could see some cabinets with passive cooling to get an idea. I don't want to butcher the design, but at the same time I don't want to cook my equipment. As far as fans go, I'm not clued up with exhaust and intake ..etc etc. wouldn't know where to start and where to place the fans.

 

I would definitely not put the amp at the top of the cabinet.  Heat rises, and so without a lot of airflow, it will get warm at the top of the cabinet.  I recommend that you put the amplifier on the bottom shelf, and not have a shelf above it at all, so there is plenty of room above it for the heat to rise.  (In other words, with your removable shelves, don't put in the shelf above it; have nothing between the top of the amplifier and the top of the cabinet.)  The BD player can go next to it, or in another section of the cabinet.  And, again, I would want a gap in front, so that the bottom of the cabinet does not meet the front door, but instead has space for plenty of air to enter  which should naturally tend to come in, as air at the floor is cooler than air at the top of a room, unless something is heating the floor.  Which means, of course, that if you have underfloor heating, you will want to do this differently; my advice is predicated on the idea that you have some other form of heating, like forced-air, steam radiators, etc.


Heinrich S 02-23-2014 12:21 PM

Hi Jack

There is no underfloor heating. As I said I'll have removable shelves, but the cabinet will be big enough that I could keep all components on the same level and spread far enough apart that there is ample space around them. I'll keep them all on the bottom.

I don't know if making holes in the bottom would be worthwhile as far as additional cooling goes, as there would probably be 3 cm of height with the casters in place. When you say a gap in front, I'm not sure how that would look.

Jack D Ripper 02-23-2014 12:50 PM

Perhaps I am not being clear with my idea.  It would not be visible with the door closed.  It would only affect the look of the cabinet while open.  And then the front of the bottom shelf would simply be further back than the top and sides; otherwise, it would look like a normal shelf.  The idea is to have air from the front to go under the door and up into the cabinet space.  Then it will go up and out the open back.  Thus, you have cross ventilation for your gear, to keep it cool.

 

Now, from looking at your picture again, it is unclear whether or not there is a vertical piece on the front below the door that is recessed (the "kick" area), or if there is no such piece.  If there is, my idea is to have the front of the bottom shelf end at the point of the recessed vertical piece, so its top is still covered by the shelf, but the shelf goes no further forward.  If there isn't such a vertical piece, such that there is nothing (other than your casters) under the bottom shelf, then you could instead just go with large slot holes on the bottom, starting close to the front.  Either way, I would not put a shelf over the amplifier, and give it plenty of space above it.  If, over time, you find that you don't need that extra space for heat dissipation, you can then put in your removable shelf and use more of the space.  But I would not count on being able to do that.


A9X-308 02-23-2014 02:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack D Ripper View Post

I would definitely not put the amp at the top of the cabinet.  Heat rises, and so without a lot of airflow, it will get warm at the top of the cabinet
I would, so that it doesn't heat anything else above it with the heated air exiting the back of the cabinet directly.

Jack D Ripper 02-23-2014 03:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack D Ripper View Post

I would definitely not put the amp at the top of the cabinet.  Heat rises, and so without a lot of airflow, it will get warm at the top of the cabinet
I would, so that it doesn't heat anything else above it with the heated air exiting the back of the cabinet directly.

If you read the rest of my post, you will see that I recommend having nothing above it.  Consequently, there could not be anything else above it that is being heated.


Heinrich S 02-24-2014 02:51 AM

Maybe what I should do is draw a diagram of the cabinet in google sketch... to show you where the vents will be and where the equipment will be placed. I don't know, probably would be more helpful?

amirm 02-24-2014 07:51 AM

Since you have casters, put a series of slots on the floor of the cabinet assuming you are placing the AVR there. The slots should be where the AVR amplifier heatsinks are. Don't put them in the front as they are rarely there. Convection cooling works best when there is least amount of static pressure (resistance to air moving). So a straight shot up is ideal. Of course you may change your AVR in the future so spread them out some.

Here is an example from Salamander: http://www.salamanderdesigns.com/assets/download/manual_chameleon_501500.pdf

Theirs is a bit too small but then again, you will be compromising the structure of the cabinet and cause the bottom to sag if you go too far.

BTW, if you already have your Marantz AVR, and it is under warranty, you can do a quick test. Get a cardboard box the same size as one side of your cabinet. Put the AVR in there and cut some holes on the bottom and back. Then let it "cook" for a while by playing whatever you will be playing. After 10 minutes or so, touch the top of the cabinet. If it is too hot to touch, then you will potentially have problems. Likewise if it shuts down you may have a problem. But if it does neither, it means that it has excellent thermal management and will survive pretty brutal environment smile.gif.

BTW2, the Berlin version of Salamandar is very close to what you are building. Take a look at their site.

Heinrich S 02-24-2014 08:24 AM

Hi Amirm,

I have a technician friend who gave me his input. He said to me that I'm probably worrying over nothing. I won't have the receiver on all day and I won't be playing my music or movies at very loud volumes all the time.

He seems to think that ventilation through the bottom floor and at the back should suffice given the conditions I'll be using the equipment in. There will be no holes in the front. My equipment is still in its boxes, so I'm going to leave it until I move. So he seems to think I'm blowing this way out of proportion and I perhaps I am. But I might as well get as much information and advice about this as possible before I commit to this design.

BTW, the receiver seems to have fans on the side and top, unless I'm mistaken (Marantz SR-6008)

amirm 02-24-2014 08:45 AM

He may be right. But maybe not smile.gif. The only real data is when you try it. Fans in the unit should be helpful in this regard.

Note that in the solution I mentioned, there were no holes in the front. Just like your friend said: bottom vents and back vents.

arnyk 02-24-2014 09:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heinrich S View Post

I am having a custom cabinet made for my electronics. It is going to be enclosed as I am going for a clean minimalistic look.

My concern is the heat.

That has a lot to do with what equipment is inside and what your climate is like.

I live in a temperate climate but I've lived in subtropical and hot/arid climates and the rules were different for each place. The worst is probably subtropical.

The worst case is probably summer. Do you run the AC all summer or do you live in a place like the UP or Michigan or the hills of Bavaria where AC is truly optional.
Quote:
What do people do in these cases?

As little as possible consistent without frying the equipment.
Quote:
Install fans?

Try to avoid them, but if push comes to shove - there are lots of easy and attractive options along those lines.
Quote:
The back of the cabinet will be left open and the bottom section can have slats made if it would help with air flow. There will be ample room for the amp and at least 2" of additional height above it.

Open back cabinets solve most heat problems.

My current cabinet has a closed back and was problematical until I cut some ventilation holes in it. A single 100 wpc receiver would overheat in the summer with the AC off if played loud. SF moves with cool EFX were its undoing! I added some inconspicuous holes just below the top of the shelf with the AVR totalling about 16 square inches and that was that.

Quote:
If I don't intend on playing my equipment loud, should I be concerned about the heat reducing the life of the equipment? Or should I consider adding fans? I need to chat to my carpenter on Monday, so if there is anything I should ask him to add, please give me tips and advice. Thanks.

Here is a pic of what it will look like :



The cabinet will be made of solid oak. Truth be told, I'm not going to be listening at very loud levels, which I assume would affect the heat build-up inside the cabinet from the amp. I've been told that solid wood can warp due to temperature. Is this a big issue or can I have a solid wood cabinet as I really like the look of solid wood furniture.

Where do you plan to put the equipment?

mtbdudex 02-24-2014 10:02 AM

Like most here have said:
Put the hot stuff up high, and adequate space.
I'll add my real world experience.

I've got my DIY cabinet, it's opened on the front only and gear stacked like you see.
_MG_1158.jpg

I have 2" on each side, for the gear that runs hot, AVR and seperate Amp I give those 1" above.
The backside is enclosed, but air can flow up-up.
The pro amps have fan that pushes air out the front, I did the fan mod, for lower noise.

Been this way 5 years now, temps never get over-hot, yet it's on my bucket list to add a "sucking vent" like amir described. I'd put mine 30 feet away and suck thru a 3" or 4" vent line.

You could designate 1 side for your "hot" running gear and jsut worry about how to vent that?
Just keep in mind that fans tend to be loud, so pick quiet one(s).

Heinrich S 02-24-2014 11:09 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk 
Where do you plan to put the equipment?

In the living room?

Heinrich S 02-24-2014 11:12 AM

Quote:
Like most here have said:
Put the hot stuff up high, and adequate space.
I'll add my real world experience.

I originally was going to put shelving in later, as I'll only have three components in my cabinet for starters, but I could put in a shelf and put the receiver at the top. Just cut large diameter holes in the shelving for improved air flow.


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