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Advice on cooling my wall unit entertainment rack

1399 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Murilo
I currently have a wall unit, with about a 6 foot rack for my components. I designed it myself, but the person who built it was suppose to leave 2 feet in behind so i could hook everything up. When i checked on it, it was to late he left about 6 inches behind the components.

The area is enclosed and gets fairly hot, particularly my ps3 when you play a blue ray, and then the fans get to noisey.

Im looking for comments and suggestions on how to improve this without spending ridiculious prices on fans (i seen some going for over a hundred).

I can drill hole in the unit, Im just not sure where to drill.

My biggest issue is I dont really have anything or method to get hot air out. So IM blind on this one and starting from scratch. I need to get the hot air out mainly, but I also wouldnt mind cooling it as well.

I read a white paper on air flow, and cabinets, but it was very confusing. I believe almost all my components have back exahust, it gets hot mainly in behind the components first, then it will build up and just make the enitre enclosure to warm.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Just to mention my original idea was to put fans at the bottem mainly of the enclosure, toward the back. The fans would then shoot up air where the exhaust and heat is coming from my components. and then at the top drill a hole and have an intake.

The problem was I found a fan intake and its 100 dollars from smarthome, i am on a tight budget at the moment, and dont want to spend 100 on a intake fan.

My other fear is since the cabinet is 6 feet high, will fans have issues blowing air up, and be strong enough to blow air up from the bottem shelf to the top.

Any comments on this or other methods i should consider would be helpful.
Only pic i have taken on my samsung instinct which has a crap camera. There is also a door on it, its opened for the picture, but I like to leave it closed, looks better (no reflections, its tinted glass, and keeps everything quiet.
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We need better pictures to give you better advice.

There are significantly cheaper fans than your average entertainment system fans that places like smart home sell. But recommendations for the best application of them will be difficult when we can barely see the rack.

All I have is a camera phone and no flash.

Theres not much to show its a cabinet with shelves, about 7 shelves with a small space in behind, the shelves and everything are wood shelves, its not a rack or anything special.

He was suppose to leave almost 2 feet behind each device, but all he ended up giving me was a few inches.

Any advice would be helpful so dont be afraid to recommend even general advice.

Again all it is, is a square cabinet with devices in it, with small space in behind, not much else, all wood, shelves are wood, no special rack.
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Here i tried to put some arrows on it, dont laugh its the best i can do.

Anyway as you can see by the other picture the most room is on the top. The bottem has a bit of room, but there is wood seperating it,a nd then the cabinet below where my sub is. its hallow and not to thick at the bottem and top so you can drill holes and run wires.

My idea was to put fans at the back at the bottem, and put an intake at the top.

Again my biggest issue is getting the hot air out, or to circulate.

The entire shelving thing is 5 feet. There is a spot at the top right where the woodwork

The second pick shows where the shelving stops i put lines where it stops, there is wood where it stops but its all hallow, so one can drill holes. At the bottem it stops right before the bottem door, thats where my sub goes. And at the top i also put another line where it stops.

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So I know you guys are hesitant to recommend anything because of the bad pictures. But i was wondering after reading about intake an exhaust fans? I still dont really understand it.

Do you drill a square hole for the exhaust at the bottem with a fan in the middle of the square hole, and the same thing for one at the top? Would that work or be useful at all in my application. Im really lost with this fan stuff.
Without knowing the layout of your theater it's very difficult to advise a solution, but here's the basics:

You (obviously) need air flow at the back of your cabinet. Hot air rises, so you want your exhaust fans at the top pushing hot air out, and your intake fans at the bottom pulling cool air in.

Like others have mentioned, you really don't need expensive fan arrays. That being said, your DIY abilities might be lacking in this area since you're having such a hard time devising a solution. Maybe a pre-made solution will work best for you. You can get these individual fan kits for (relatively) cheap:

Pictured fan can be found here .

Place one at the bottom back, right corner of your rack configured as an intake, and another at the top back, right corner as an exhaust. Variable speeds, so you can adjust the amount of air flow each is utilizing. They also make kits with 2 and 3 fans each, which would give you more air flow (and cost more as well). Just cut a square hole at each location, mount the panels in place and plug it in. You could also place an extra exhaust fan at the same height as your PS3 if that is a hot spot giving you trouble. Be advised, this solution will be circulating the air in your theater with the air in the rack.

The space between the back of the cabinet and the back of your shelves/equipment will also play a role in how well the air is exchanged. If you have 6 inches of space from the back of your components to the back of the cabinet, I think you'll be OK there as long as your cabling is organized and not clogging up the back.

What is on the other side of that wall the cabinet sits flush against (left side)? Another (pricier) option would be to exhaust the hot air outside similar to a bathroom exhaust fan, or with a utility room next to the theater. Don't know where your room sits in respect to the rest of your house, so this may or may not be another option for you.

- HDVids
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I know I've read some threads here and there, where people are using computer case fans, 12 volt transformer, and thermostat, to help cool racks. But that depends on how comfortable you are with that sort of thing.

I agree with HDVids, that the air should come from the bottom and exit out the top.

I didn't see whether the backs of the shelves are open or not. If they're not you might have to drill some holes through each one to get the air flowing properly.

Heck due to convection you might be able to get away with just vent holes in the top and bottom (and shelves if necessary). The heat rising out of the top will draw in cooler air from the bottom. Even though a fan would probably work better.
What's to the left of the rack on the other side of the wall?
Thanks everyone.

I wont be doing this, I will have to get my installer to do it. Hes an electrician, and god knows what else but he mounted and ran cables for my screen and plasma and projector, he also took my projector apart and fixed it, so the fan application should not be difficult for him.

The other side of that wall is outside ground level is near the top.

I thought about that, but the problem is there is cement on the wall. I actually had cables run in before the cement was put on the sides.

I shouldnt call it cement, im not sure what it is, its like cement its decorative and hard, my wife handles all that stuff, and shes not around at the moment.

I just know my satellite installer was not willing to drill into it.
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