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post #1 of 12 Old 10-10-2011, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Electronics Components Cabinet

I am trying to design a simple, but nice looking, electronics components cabinet for an entertainment room. Does anyone have any suggestions they'd like to throw out, or plans?

I am thinking of about 5' high and 4' wide. I need about 15 shelves of varying sizes to hold things like a cable box, AVR receiver, maybe a computer and small monitor, etc. But my concern is heat dissipation. I would prefer to have it passively cooled using conduction basically. I am assuming leaving air-space between each set of shelves and in the rear with vents up and down should accomplish this, but I am guessing some here have much better opinions and ideas.
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-10-2011, 01:24 PM
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It might help to make a list of all the electrical components, their sizes and accessories that you want stored/displayed. If any of the components have their own requirements for ventilation make a note. Then make a pencil sketch with the overall dimensions so that you can plan what will go there and any modifications needed for the cabinet.








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post #3 of 12 Old 10-10-2011, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post

It might help to make a list of all the electrical components, their sizes and accessories that you want stored/displayed. If any of the components have their own requirements for ventilation make a note. Then make a pencil sketch with the overall dimensions so that you can plan what will go there and any modifications needed for the cabinet.








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Thanks. I actually have done that a bit (or a lot). I have a few sketches, but I am mostly concerned about how to keep the cabinet cool without rigging up some PC fans into the cabinet. Are there any techniques for passively cooling a cabinet? Also, I am clue-less on hardware and drawers, is there a good place to get hardware? Also is there any specialty hardware that works well with a components cabinet?

I also am unsure of materials. Should I use plywood, and if so, any type in particular?
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-10-2011, 01:33 PM
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Welcome!

Forget about fans. Regardless of how "QUIET" the fan is supposed to be, the cabinet acts as a sounding board. The fan that I put in mine sounds like someone using a circular saw over on the next street.

Second, think chimney. You want a good air flow through the area where the components are being housed. You would be amazed how much heat a simple set top box generates.

Third, the IR repeater can work VERY well. But they are expensive. Glass in the doors may be cheaper but a bit more difficult to build. If you want wood doors, the IR repeater can transfer the signal to the inside. (I told my kids that I used IR Transparent stain.) Just be sure to get the type that offers one receiver but drives multiple transmitters. (I got mine from Rockler a few years back.)

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
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Remember that when we have the "BIG ONE" everything east of the Rockies falls into the ocean.
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-10-2011, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Welcome!

Forget about fans. Regardless of how "QUIET" the fan is supposed to be, the cabinet acts as a sounding board. The fan that I put in mine sounds like someone using a circular saw over on the next street.

Second, think chimney. You want a good air flow through the area where the components are being housed. You would be amazed how much heat a simple set top box generates.

Third, the IR repeater can work VERY well. But they are expensive. Glass in the doors may be cheaper but a bit more difficult to build. If you want wood doors, the IR repeater can transfer the signal to the inside. (I told my kids that I used IR Transparent stain.) Just be sure to get the type that offers one receiver but drives multiple transmitters. (I got mine from Rockler a few years back.)
Yeah, I was definitely planning on using an IR emitter. The components I plan to put in there will likely generate a lot of heat, so I was thinking of a chimney in the back basically, with venting around the bottom to hopefully create convection drawing cool air in the bottom and expelling heat out the top. Has anyone tried a setup like that?
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-10-2011, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OffToARockyStart View Post
Yeah, I was definitely planning on using an IR emitter. The components I plan to put in there will likely generate a lot of heat, so I was thinking of a chimney in the back basically, with venting around the bottom to hopefully create convection drawing cool air in the bottom and expelling heat out the top. Has anyone tried a setup like that?
It's true that hot air rises. But just configuring an air chase, with a vented top and bottom may not be sufficient. I've never had a problem with just allowing air space to the sides and above, with an open face. If enclosing, there are many small fans available that are very efficient and quiet to exhaust air from an opening. Doing that creates a draw for cool air to be drawn in.








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post #7 of 12 Old 10-10-2011, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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It's true that hot air rises. But just configuring an air chase, with a vented top and bottom may not be sufficient. I've never had a problem with just allowing air space to the sides and above, with an open face. If enclosing, there are many small fans available that are very efficient and quiet to exhaust air from an opening. Doing that creates a draw for cool air to be drawn in.








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Oh, I forgot to mention I need the front to be closed off to keep the lights on the equipment from being visible.
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-13-2011, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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I apparently need to practice with Sketchup. My attempts to do a design failed miserably. I don't suppose anyone has designed something similar to what I have described?

It will be for a dedicated theater room. I am hell-bent on doing the entire room myself despite a distinct lack of skill.
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-13-2011, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OffToARockyStart
I apparently need to practice with Sketchup. My attempts to do a design failed miserably. I don't suppose anyone has designed something similar to what I have described?

It will be for a dedicated theater room. I am hell-bent on doing the entire room myself despite a distinct lack of skill.
I just did a small cabinet for my son's small NYC apartment. Getting into the project, the thing that struck me is how electronic components are different now than they were 10-20 years ago. The older cabinet designs for the classic entertainment center just don't make much sense for the newer electronics. You really need to make a list of the components, then go get some typical measurements. Maybe I'm an old codger, but it was an eyeopener for me.
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-13-2011, 06:22 AM
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I just did a small cabinet for my son's small NYC apartment. Getting into the project, the thing that struck me is how electronic components are different now than they were 10-20 years ago. The older cabinet designs for the classic entertainment center just don't make much sense for the newer electronics. You really need to make a list of the components, then go get some typical measurements. Maybe I'm an old codger, but it was an eyeopener for me.
This may not be exactly what you had in mind, but its what I came up with for my son's 500 sq. ft. apartment. The goals were to keep it small, provide some cabinet top space, and be able to view the screen from various angles. So the television is attached onto a backboard with a commercial swingout mount. I used brass inserts and screws to attach the backboard to the cabinet so that it would breakdown easily.The backboard is 3/4 plywood framed by 1 1/2 edging. This gives a 3/4 deep recess to route cables. I used velcro cable ties to fasten things down.

The larger cabinet opening is for a laptop used for netflix, gaming, etc, on the larger screen. The other openings are small compared to traditional entertainment centers. There is still plenty of room for air circulation for newer style components that are generally pretty shallow and short. The whole cabinet is compact and fits well into a small urban style apartment.
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Last edited by Jeffk; 10-13-2011 at 06:25 AM.
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post #11 of 12 Old 10-30-2011, 05:31 PM
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Most new electronics have a cooling fan in the back putting vents in the back of each section and leaving a decent amount of room around each component should be enough putting vents in the bottom front will also create good circulation.
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post #12 of 12 Old 10-30-2011, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OffToARockyStart View Post
I am trying to design a simple, but nice looking, electronics components cabinet for an entertainment room. Does anyone have any suggestions they'd like to throw out, or plans?

I am thinking of about 5' high and 4' wide. I need about 15 shelves of varying sizes to hold things like a cable box, AVR receiver, maybe a computer and small monitor, etc. But my concern is heat dissipation. I would prefer to have it passively cooled using conduction basically. I am assuming leaving air-space between each set of shelves and in the rear with vents up and down should accomplish this, but I am guessing some here have much better opinions and ideas.
You should consider just how warm/hot each component gets. Putting the hotter units on a bottom shelf will heat the components above them. Some brands such as Onkyo are known to run very hot and it may be inadvisable to put something similar inside a cabinet since it could shorten its life. You should have a lot of fun setting up your home theater.
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