Maintaining the temperature inside of home theater cabinets or equipment racks is critical to the proper functioning and longevity of the devices working in it. Today’s systems generate more heat than ever. Microprocessors in cable and satellite boxes generate a large amount of heat. In addition, home theater and whole house audio amplifiers have traditionally been the largest generator of heat in systems.
In order to make sure the equipment does not overheat and fail, thermal management and design is vital. We recommend using an equipment rack for the larger installations as you can take a systems approach to the thermal management of the equipment. Racks are superior for ventilation, security, and the ability to service the equipment. Cabinets and furniture can be more aesthetically pleasing, but proper care needs to be taken to ensure there is a good plan for ventilating and maintaining the proper air flow. Failure to do so will cause premature breakdown and shorten the life of the equipment. Racks can be designed into a custom space or an equipment closet to achieve any aesthetic goals of the home or business.
There are two types of systems for proper thermal management, passive convection and forced air ventilation. The location of the system and the amount of heat that will be produced by the equipment will determine which system will be appropriate.
Passive Convection relies on proper placement of equipment and vent panels throughout the rack to ensure proper airflow. Heat flows from hot to cold and you cannot make heat come out of a cabinet unless the outside air is cooler. Convection is the process of air passing over a hot object and carrying the heat away. It is better to focus on removing the heat rather than adding cold air.
Forced Air Ventilation adds in fans or other mechanical means to move the air from the rack, and pulls in fresh air from another area, or the room. This is required when the BTU/hr. (Measurement of heat produced by a device or system) is too high for natural convection to properly vent the system. Forced Air ventilation will move a lot more air, but can cause problems if not properly designed. Forced air systems typically close off more of the rack in order to create an efficient path for the air to travel. This eliminates any hot air pockets or stagnate air in the enclosure.
Laguna Home Theater engineers all audio visual equipment rack installations to current standards relating to thermal management, heat release, and temperature requirements. We use these standards, work with equipment rack manufacturers, and communicate with our clients to ensure that proper thermal management is taken into account when designing your systems.
For more information please feel free to contact Laguna Home Theater at 949-204-3331
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