Originally Posted by JHBrandt
I agree a laptop cooler wouldn't be effective in cooling a device with an unvented plastic base. Plastic is a poor conductor of heat, so without vents for air to flow through, you'd just be cooling the bottom of the base. It wouldn't help heat escape from the inside.
If you must leave the Pal running in a room w/o AC, a better approach would be to replace the HDD with a low-power 2.5" model, and/or move it to an external enclosure. The heat produced inside the Pal is equal to its energy consumption, and I believe the stock HDD uses roughly 5 watts, about 25% of the Pal's 21-watt standby energy usage. A 2.5" HDD can use as little as 1 watt, saving about 1 small calorie per second vs. the stock HDD.
The Pal's internal fan is temperature-controlled, so the hotter it gets the more it should run. As long as air can flow freely, the temperature isn't too extreme, and energy usage/heat production is minimized, you should be OK.
If the temperature in the room will regularly exceed 40 C (104 degrees Fahrenheit), cut power to any electronics in the room during those times. Also, when cleaning the Pal, inspect it for bulging electrolytic capacitors. I would expect high temperatures to reduce their lifespan even more than usual.
Bummer, I thought I had hit upon an easy, $3 way to keep my DVR running longer. Now I know why no one ever recommended one of those before. Thanks for the info, and an explanation that makes sense to me. :-)
You all are just so way above my head most of the time, it amazes me how you think nothing of opening up the equipment and changing things. I built my own computer, but for prebuilt electronics, I just buy a warranty and leave them be. I have only opened one of my Pals (have had 4 or 5 over the years), and even that was very difficult for me to accomplish. And now with warranties, I am not going to even take the chance of accidentally snapping off a piece of plastic that might void my coverage, even to open and dust it. So the best I can do with ones that are around a year old, is to shut them off and put a vacuum right up to the vents occasionally.
I don't have room for an external enclosure either. I don't think the hottest room gets over 90 degrees ever, or I wouldn't be able to stand being in there to watch recordings anyway. I do make sure that the blinds are closed during the time of day sun is coming into the room, so it won't shine directly on the DVR.
I'm sure your advice will help everyone else, I just can't be that type of pro-active until I have a unit that isn't under warranty anymore. And if something happens before that, I will be paid in full by Square Trade to get a replacement. My biggest focus now is on watching or making copies of recordings ASAP so I won't lose too much if a HDD dies.
Thanks again. Now I know not to carry out my plan to pick up a few more laptop coolers on Saturday.