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post #1 of 29 Old 05-16-2020, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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First AV Rack - Go big or go home!

So I'm putting together my first real AV rack. Sure I've had some stuff from Salamander Designs over the years, but that is consumer level. It's time to get with the professionals

I don't want to do this more times than I have to so I'd like to do it right the first time. The rack will live in a bedroom without AC. I'm in Seattle and it gets warm here occasionally, sometimes the house can be 80+ in the summer as we don't have AC.

Anyway I'm considering the Middle Atlantic BGR series 41 RU edition. This should be enough to hold my AV equipment and a server or two.

Initial questions:

1) Active cooling or passive?
2) If I go active cooling, side panels seem required? How about rear? I'd like to go without a front door so I'd fill in the empty spaces with blanks
3) What about things like Blu-RAY players that aren't rack mounted? Use a shelf? Will that mess with active cooling since the front is open?
4) How quiet are these "quiet" AV fans anyway? Any recommendations? I'm used to super silent PC fans currently.
5) Do these units take standard post mounted casters or do I have to use the manufacturer casters?

I was thinking of making two zones. The bottom area would be amps and have an fan above them to remove hot air. The stuff above wouldn't be as warm like source components.

I'm sure there is a bunch of stuff I haven't even considered yet. Feel free to fill me in.

Looking forward to this!
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post #2 of 29 Old 05-16-2020, 04:26 PM
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Middle Atlantic has a great white paper on thermal management that you should read. It will answer a lot of your questions. AC Infinity also has a short little blurb describing different cabinet cooling configurations.

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post #3 of 29 Old 05-16-2020, 04:38 PM
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Before you purchase the Middle Atlantic Rack take a look at the APC line. They are better made, have a wide array of accessories and are price competitive. Refurbished APC racks can be an excellent deal.

Current system:
Sony 75X900e/Sony STR-DN-1080, CS-3/CS-8/CS5
Sony X800 4K blu-ray player/Dish Hopper3
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post #4 of 29 Old 05-16-2020, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cheddarhead View Post
Before you purchase the Middle Atlantic Rack take a look at the APC line. They are better made, have a wide array of accessories and are price competitive. Refurbished APC racks can be an excellent deal.
Thank you! In what aspect would you say that APC is higher quality? I'm not sold on Middle Atlantic so totally open to alternatives.
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post #5 of 29 Old 05-16-2020, 05:55 PM
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First AV Rack - Go big or go home!

With the Blu Ray player or other source devices there won’t be an opening. You will purchase a shelf and faceplate that literally fits the device perfectly. Could always place some gasket material around where the two meet for even extra protection/seal.

Sorry I can’t help with anything backed up by data/white papers regarding air circulation as I use an entire room basically for my racks so I use a dedicated supply and return that is tied into the HVAC system.

Good circulation should be all that is needed would be my thoughts and could easily break the rack into quadrants if one wanted to but in my view that seems like it would/could trap more heat unnecessarily unless running fans nonstop every time heat generating devices are fired up. This is just me thinking aloud without any data that backs up my thoughts.

The design of the devices will also play a role in temperature most likely. Top mounted exhaust devices, front to rear cooling fan setup devices, etc... Some of my Class D amps have exhaust fans mounted on the top of their housing and some have them pulling air from front to rear.

Just babbling now so will quit lol

Bests
Alex


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post #6 of 29 Old 05-16-2020, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pultzar View Post

1) Active cooling or passive?
2) If I go active cooling, side panels seem required? How about rear? I'd like to go without a front door so I'd fill in the empty spaces with blanks
3) What about things like Blu-RAY players that aren't rack mounted? Use a shelf? Will that mess with active cooling since the front is open?
4) How quiet are these "quiet" AV fans anyway? Any recommendations? I'm used to super silent PC fans currently.
5) Do these units take standard post mounted casters or do I have to use the manufacturer casters?

1. Yes
2. I do not use a back panel on mine but it is an pretty tight alcove 2" gap on sides and top, 4" bottom, and 6" in back
3. My Bluray I put on a half shelf and it has a grate bottom so air can go through it.
4. Pretty quite on low and medium, but annoying on high. my fans are all ac infinity
5. I have a Sanus rack and it would be hard to retro fit casters to it others may be different.

My Theater Build - Full Circle Cinema
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post #7 of 29 Old 05-16-2020, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cheddarhead View Post
Before you purchase the Middle Atlantic Rack take a look at the APC line. They are better made, have a wide array of accessories and are price competitive. Refurbished APC racks can be an excellent deal.
Am I blind or are all of their racks about 36" deep? They look super nice but I feel like I may have to climb inside of it to hook things up
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post #8 of 29 Old 05-16-2020, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Am I blind or are all of their racks about 36" deep? They look super nice but I feel like I may have to climb inside of it to hook things up
NVM, I found the AV version. Looks nice!
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post #9 of 29 Old 05-17-2020, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Pultzar View Post
NVM, I found the AV version. Looks nice!

I mostly work with network racks but this is what I know about the APC line. The first time I specified APC racks on a job, I had the following conversation with my lead tech:


Tech: "You're buying APC racks for every job from now on."
Me: "Why?"
Tech: "Because if you don't go find a new lead."



He felt that strongly as to the quality of the APC racks. Rarely will you find a sharp edge that will cut your hand or a mis-aligned part and the availability of accessories is excellent.


FYI: Most of our work is modernizing old data centers at small military sites. 2-4 racks of network equipment per site. We frequently replace hardware that is 8-10 years old.

Current system:
Sony 75X900e/Sony STR-DN-1080, CS-3/CS-8/CS5
Sony X800 4K blu-ray player/Dish Hopper3
Roku 4 Premier/Sony PS-4

Last edited by Cheddarhead; 05-17-2020 at 10:33 AM.
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post #10 of 29 Old 05-17-2020, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cheddarhead View Post
I mostly work with network racks but this is what I know about the APC line. The first time I specified APC racks on a job, I had the following conversation with my lead tech:


Tech: "You're buying APC racks for every job from now on."
Me: "Why?"
Tech: "Because if you don't go find a new lead."



He felt that strongly as to the quality of the APC racks. Rarely will you find a sharp edge that will cut your hand or a mis-aligned part and the availability of accessories is excellent.


FYI: Most of our work is modernizing old data centers at small military sites. 2-4 racks of network equipment per site. We frequently replace hardware that is 8-10 years old.
I like how the self leveling feet work as well. As far as cooling goes, all I'm seeing is ventilated rear doors. Have you experienced solid rear doors as an option?
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post #11 of 29 Old 05-17-2020, 12:36 PM
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I like how the self leveling feet work as well. As far as cooling goes, all I'm seeing is ventilated rear doors. Have you experienced solid rear doors as an option?

No, we always have airflow from the front of the servers/switches out the back so we use the ventilated rear doors, usually the half doors. What kind of cooling are you using that you want solid rear doors?


It's amazing the amount of heat that pumps out that ventilated door.

Current system:
Sony 75X900e/Sony STR-DN-1080, CS-3/CS-8/CS5
Sony X800 4K blu-ray player/Dish Hopper3
Roku 4 Premier/Sony PS-4
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post #12 of 29 Old 05-17-2020, 12:44 PM
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I am running the Middle Atlantic SRSR-4 series rack and love it. I am using AC Infinity Rack Mounted 2U fans. One for intake (bottom), one for exhaust (top). I was going to install another fan exhausting air out of the backside of the rack but the two fans I am running now keep everything cool so I haven't bothered. The fans only kick on when temps rise above 80 degrees and I have them programmed in 3 stages. I have never had stage two kick on, even during spirited listening.

Let me know what questions you may have.

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Thanks.
- Jay
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post #13 of 29 Old 05-17-2020, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay_waller View Post
I am running the Middle Atlantic SRSR-4 series rack and love it. I am using AC Infinity Rack Mounted 2U fans. One for intake (bottom), one for exhaust (top). I was going to install another fan exhausting air out of the backside of the rack but the two fans I am running now keep everything cool so I haven't bothered. The fans only kick on when temps rise above 80 degrees and I have them programmed in 3 stages. I have never had stage two kick on, even during spirited listening.

Let me know what questions you may have.

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How do you manage the IR control on your devices?

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post #14 of 29 Old 05-17-2020, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cheddarhead View Post
No, we always have airflow from the front of the servers/switches out the back so we use the ventilated rear doors, usually the half doors. What kind of cooling are you using that you want solid rear doors?


It's amazing the amount of heat that pumps out that ventilated door.
I was thinking that solid doors would be better for pulling air up through the enclosure, ie for amps. But I see what you mean if a server is also in there.
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post #15 of 29 Old 05-17-2020, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Is there a trick to loading heavy gear into the rack without tipping the entire thing on its back to drop stuff in?
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post #16 of 29 Old 05-17-2020, 01:27 PM
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How do you manage the IR control on your devices?
To the left and back there is an IR blaster on the foot of the speaker pedestal. Never fails.

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post #17 of 29 Old 05-17-2020, 01:34 PM
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To the left and back there is an IR blaster on the foot of the speaker pedestal. Never fails.

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Do you mean its outside the rack? Thanks

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Do you mean its outside the rack? Thanks
Yes, my recessed rack is in the back left corner of the room and my rear left surround is a few feet out of the picture frame. I use a Harmony Elite and the hub sits on top of the left rear surround speaker, near the rack.

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Thanks.
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post #19 of 29 Old 05-17-2020, 01:37 PM
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You can see it in this picture.

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nonstopdoc1 likes this.

Thanks.
- Jay
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post #20 of 29 Old 05-17-2020, 01:40 PM
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Is there a trick to loading heavy gear into the rack without tipping the entire thing on its back to drop stuff in?
It is a pain in my situation where the rack cannot be easily removed. Even though my rack slides all the way out, nearly killed myself with an Emotiva XPA-7! Just needs a couple sets of hands and be careful not to cross-thread the machine screws.

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- Jay

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post #21 of 29 Old 05-17-2020, 08:08 PM
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Is there a trick to loading heavy gear into the rack without tipping the entire thing on its back to drop stuff in?
I did find it helpful to put something under the components you are mounting to keep them at the right height. That is about all I can offer.

Thanks.
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post #22 of 29 Old 05-18-2020, 07:49 AM
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Is there a trick to loading heavy gear into the rack without tipping the entire thing on its back to drop stuff in?

Ah yes, the A/V industry still has not understood the utility of standardized slide-in rails to allow easy mounting of equipment.

The only tip I can give is load the rack bottom to top with your heaviest equipment at the bottom, not gaps between equipment and always have at least two people when racking and stacking.


One trick my tech uses is to buy a set of universal shelf rails, mount them upside down, slide your equipment in and secure it. Remove rail universal rail rinse and repeat. You have to install the rails upside down to allow access the mount holes for your equipment. It work for him.



Sample rails: https://www.amazon.com/NavePoint-Uni...9813127&sr=8-3

Current system:
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post #23 of 29 Old 05-18-2020, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Cheddarhead View Post
One trick my tech uses is to buy a set of universal shelf rails, mount them upside down, slide your equipment in and secure it. Remove rail universal rail rinse and repeat. You have to install the rails upside down to allow access the mount holes for your equipment. It work for him.

Sample rails: https://www.amazon.com/NavePoint-Uni...9813127&sr=8-3
That is an amazing idea!

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post #24 of 29 Old 05-26-2020, 09:54 AM
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You can see it in this picture.

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Do you have a door/cover for the rack or leave it exposed? If you can't hear the fans but they can keep that stack cool, looks like a winner to me. Thanks!
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post #25 of 29 Old 05-26-2020, 10:11 AM
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Do you have a door/cover for the rack or leave it exposed? If you can't hear the fans but they can keep that stack cool, looks like a winner to me. Thanks!
I thought about trimming out the opening and possibly adding a door but I also did not want to affect cooling. I can here the fans when it is dead silent (which is rare) but the stack is pretty efficient so the fans don't kick on very often. Right now, I will leave it open.

Thanks.
- Jay
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I thought about trimming out the opening and possibly adding a door but I also did not want to affect cooling. I can here the fans when it is dead silent (which is rare) but the stack is pretty efficient so the fans don't kick on very often. Right now, I will leave it open.
Very nice! How deep is it?
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post #27 of 29 Old 05-26-2020, 02:33 PM
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First AV Rack - Go big or go home!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pultzar View Post
Is there a trick to loading heavy gear into the rack without tipping the entire thing on its back to drop stuff in?


Easy with a faceplate. Put a temporary faceplate on the rack and slide your equipment in while the faceplate holds the majority of the component in place while screwing it into the frame. You’ll need to basically just balance it while threading the new screws.




Edit after reading further down the thread-

Using an extra set of rails is an even easier way to mount components by oneself. I need to try that for sure.


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Easy with a faceplate. Put a temporary faceplate on the rack and slide your equipment in while the faceplate holds the majority of the component in place while screwing it into the frame. You’ll need to basically just balance it while threading the new screws.




Edit after reading further down the thread-

Using an extra set of rails is an even easier way to mount components by oneself. I need to try that for sure.


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While this is a good idea, this only works if the rack ears support the component from the bottom right? If the rack ears purely bolt to the side of the component frame, you still have to hold the component up while bolting it in.

Right?

Thanks.
- Jay
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post #29 of 29 Old 05-27-2020, 06:20 AM
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While this is a good idea, this only works if the rack ears support the component from the bottom right? If the rack ears purely bolt to the side of the component frame, you still have to hold the component up while bolting it in.



Right?


Yes and no. The rack ears will sit atop of the faceplate so that the faceplate is doing the brute work and one will only have to balance the component while screwing it into the rack. Then remove faceplate from below and place it directly beneath where the next component will go and repeat.

Most power amps and similar constructed components that have molded ears are supported by the entire length of the component whereas added ears generally don’t work the same but the ears themselves will hold the weight of the component just fine.

I have used this method with all my gear except stuff that uses shelves and custom faceplates with zero failures. My rack is right beside the closet door so I can reach around from behind the rack with one hand, pull the component tight up against the rack rails, while the component is resting on the temporary faceplate that is being used just to mount components, and screw the component in place all by myself. Sure two people make it even easier for sure but it can be done with a single person.

Now that I know about the rack rails I will use this method just because it’s even easier. It will work the same way with components that don’t sit flush with the ears. The ears will rest on the rails is how I’m visualizing it.

Bests
Alex


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