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A new house we are about to build will have a 5 x 10 foot AV closet.


2' of the 5' width is for the equipment, the other 3' of width is a "hall" of sorts to access the equipment. So, all of the equipment will be along one wall.


On the plans it is called an "I.T. closet". This I.T. closet will contain; ethernet distribution, security system, telephone system, audio and video distribution systems, audio amplifiers, etc. It will contain more gear than your typical AV Closet used with a home theater. My architect considers this 5 x 10 space to be somewhat oversized for the application.


I am struggling with the best way to mount this equipment. My last home had similar equipment. In my last home some wall space was set aside for the security system and telephone system (these are designed to be wall mounted) the remainder of the equipment was mounted on long, 2 foot wide wood shelving that the trim carpenter built.


The problem with the wood shelving was that when changes were made over the years the shelves were sometimes not at the best height making changes more difficult.


So I am searching for ideas that are more flexible, easier to modify and looks decent.
 

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Will you be installing and maintaining the equipment yourself?


The AV source components, amps, switches, battery backups, power conditioners, computer server/NAS, and AV patch panels would all fit nicely into an AV/server rack. The modem, router, and other miscellaneous devices could fit on rack shelves.


The telephone and alarm equipment would fit neatly into flush-mounted, oversized enclosures. Leave room for extra stuff, on the off-chance that you may need to make changes to the alarm equipment.


That room can get hot, include a means to cool it. And, make sure there is lots of conduit run from this room to the attic and basement, for the addition of future cable pulls.


The rack is infinitely flexible for future changes.


Find installers that are comfortable using racks. If you'll mostly DIY, some good rack info is available at the cocoontech forums.


In summary, consider using a rack for stuff that you can, and flush-mount enclosures for the rest.


You may want to consider leaving room for a 2nd rack down the road.
 

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I would imagine that your low voltage installation company would be providing you with an equipment rack of some sorts (Middle Atlantic) or the like -


If you are doing this yourself, I still suggest a Middle Atlantic rack for the A/V gear, and depending on the amount of Ethernet wiring, possibly a separate Ethernet rack (PPM or DWR) wall mounted racks work well.


If the racks are in at basement level, you may want to use wall mount racks in case of any flooding..


Pending the amount of wiring for each system - Telephone and Coax distribution could share a panel and Security should have it's own enclosure as well.


5x10 is a nice size closet - Figure each equipment rack to be 2x2 and your telephone/coax and even security can be in flush mount enclosures.
 

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I use both wall mount (actually wall mounted cans) and a four post computer rack for my equipment. The alarm and much of the low voltage stuff goes inside the wall mounted cans while the larger equipment (like amplifiers, source equipment and computers) are mounted in the rack.


I did use network patch panels to terminate my cat5e wire in the rack. It could go in the cans, but there is so much of it, I was afraid I would fill the cans up quickly doing this. I also used a homemade coaxial patch panel to terminate my coaxial cables, but this is wall mounted as to not use up critical rack space.
 

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There are more affordable options to Middle Atlantic, it's the Ferrari of racks.


Standard width is 19", depth varies from 19" to 40", choose wisely, for your equipment and space. You can get a used server rack on ebay or Craigslist for less than $200, sometimes $50. Read as much as you can about computer racks before purchasing, you don't want to buy the incorrect size - don't buy the first one you see. The shelves, plates, and rails can get expensive. Buy a rack as tall as you can, to allow for as much future expansion as possible. Generic shelves may be good, until you find a proper rack. Leave lots of slack (service loops) in the cable when it's run, to allow for greater flexibility in room layout.


Edit - don't buy the wrong width.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky Cap /forum/post/18219583


A new house we are about to build will have a 5 x 10 foot AV closet.


2' of the 5' width is for the equipment, the other 3' of width is a "hall" of sorts to access the equipment. So, all of the equipment will be along one wall.


On the plans it is called an "I.T. closet". This I.T. closet will contain; ethernet distribution, security system, telephone system, audio and video distribution systems, audio amplifiers, etc. It will contain more gear than your typical AV Closet used with a home theater. My architect considers this 5 x 10 space to be somewhat oversized for the application.



The problem with the wood shelving was that when changes were made over the years the shelves were sometimes not at the best height making changes more difficult.


So I am searching for ideas that are more flexible, easier to modify and looks decent.

First, tell your architect that he can make his equipment closet as small as he wants in his house.



It is easy enough to use adjustable shelf racks. They even have a system now that has a track at the ceiling line and the standards hang down from it. That way you can mount the track all around the room and slide it whenever you want. If you want to move the shelves to a completely different wall at some point it is all easily doable with no screwing to the wall needed. I have used this in a couple of closets at my home with wood shelves in places instead of wire and it works great.

http://www.closetmaid.com/main.cfm?classification_id=8
 

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