Cooling the (almost) impossible enclosure Frank Federman
The installer will, more often than he would like, run into a home theater installation in a cabinet that seems impossible to cool. You've probably run into it (or one very much like it) yourself. It's built-in, of course, and can't be moved. It often backs up to an outside wall, so forget venting into little Johnny's bedroom closet The left side butts up against a fireplace, and the right side either (pick one) ends at a wall, continues into the next cabinet, or is considered untouchable by the wife. The top? No - either we can't get permission to use the top for ventilation, or it's made of granite!
Closets can be difficult, too - they can be located at the intersection of two exterior walls, with the third wall blocked by a fireplace or cabinetry. This paper will refer to cooling cabinets, but the general principles described apply to closets as well. Details specific to closets will be italicized.
The cabinet was designed and built with no thought given to cooling the audio-video gear that was to be housed within it. You can be sure that the owner gave a lot of thought to that gear - you probably spent a LOT of time discussing it with him! The cabinet maker was told to allow for ventilation, and said he would...He didn't.
This is good stuff. Having built a 6 fan active cooling system for my cabinets, I appreciate seeing other possibilities. Mine wasn't impossible, but they sure didn't plan on having air flow when it was designed.
No slight on manufacturer's of active cooling systems sold as kits but the component parts can be procrured at retail pricing for 20% to 25% of what they charge for this stuff. It is not rocket science.