Most homes built today were designed with little respect for the high demand of home audio/video equipment. With technology advancing at an unfathomable rate along with the popularity of the Smart Home, the population should be embracing the fact that most people desire a safe, convenient, and attractive place to house their abundance of AV equipment.
Serving in the Marine Corps, I was an electronics technician on air station navigational aids, radars, and communications equipment. Most of the time I was working on radios by repairing circuit boards, replacing parts, and fine tuning . The radios were advanced for their time, but had been in years of operation. They were old but they still worked well and they did so for two main reasons; they were kept in a cool environment and they were kept dust free.
From a very young age I have always been an AV and home theater enthusiast. Over the years the technology has advanced to what would have been considered sorcery back in the day, but the common need to ensure its longevity has never changed.
Over the years I have seen equipment go from being displayed in AV furniture to being installed in non ventilated cabinets , pantry’s,and linen closets until they malfunctioning or burn out. For the most part, this seems to have become standard policy. I recently toured a beautiful high end home and the builder walked through the whole house showing me all his beautiful craftsmanship and attention to detail. You could see the pride in his face regarding what he had created. Then he took me to the kitchen pantry and you could see the look on his face change when we turned to the metal rack frame and AV equipment bolted onto the middle of the wall, right where 5 or 6 more pantry shelves could have gone. Somehow this has become acceptable and it seems through a lack of choice… for him and the installer. With little to no thought about where the AV should have gone during the planning stage, the integrator is left with the same options he or she always is, and the cycle continues.
Here’s the 101 on Home Electronic Equipment:
Stay below 85 degrees Fahrenheit
To achieve the highest rate of performance out of your equipment and ensure an optimum equipment life, it is recommended that you keep your system operating at a standard temperature below 85 degrees F. Studies have shown that every 10 degree increase over 85 degrees F leads to a drastic 40% reduction in your equipment’s life span.
Equipment installed into a closet or an enclosed space without proper ventilation will ensure the premature demise of the equipment inside. What makes it worse is when the equipment is placed on the top shelf, so when the heat tries to rises out of your equipment there is nowhere for it to go. It gets suffocated in its own heat. Cutting into the sheet rock and installing fans to exhaust air into the attic helps remove the hot air, but does not do anything about cooling the components as they generating internal heat. Which leads me to my next subject.
Where does the heat come from?
Ironically, the heat that threatens components is produced by the component. As entertainment systems are used to watch movies, play video games or music, the components convert the power they consume into heat. Higher-powered components in addition to an increased number of devices will generate more problematic heat.
Proper Air Flow
With proper air flow the heat will dissipate and equipment will thrive. In the absence of air flow, hot air will build up in a pocket around each heat producing component. If this is allowed to happen, the temperature will rise until the system has fried itself. When a stream of cool air blows through equipment protected in an Aegis AV Cabinet, the mixture with the hot air forces the hot air up through cross drilled ventilated shelves and is drawn out through exhaust fans that are properly located at the top of the cabinet. Constant air flow creates an ongoing upward stream of warm air. This process is called convection.
Never Stack Equipment
Another trend I have noticed is stacking equipment on top of another piece of equipment. This is never a good idea, stacking equipment traps the heat within the nucleus of that component and internally cooks that equipment. Heat that is designed to rise out of the component now gets trapped by the drastic reduction of ventilation caused by another heat producing item sitting on top of the exhaust vents. When electronics companies engineer their products, they design them to dissipate the range of heat that their products
produce. Not other equipment like a receiver, cable box, or a matrix switcher… So a marathon session playing Call of Duty is going to turn that enclosed non-ventilated cabinet into an oven. Not only will it cook that specific device, but also heat up and degrade components that aren’t even being used. Some equipment isn’t even designed to dissipate heat. I have seen equipment burn out in less than a year by doing the stacking method. The picture below shows how equipment should be optimally spaced.
Aegis AV Cabinets introduce filtered and cooled air into the equipment so hot air is blown out and rises through the cross drilled ventilated shelves and exhausted out through fans in the back. The probe monitors the environment inside and is controlled by a digital thermostat that maintains optimal operating temperatures inside the equipment compartment.
Dust is the silent killer of home AV equipment, and can cause electronic equipment to fail in several ways. Most heat generating components have fans or heat sinks to try and help dissipate the heat created by that component. When dust accumulates in those places, it blocks proper air flow and suffocates that area that is designed to dissipate heat. Opening that closet to grab your coat or walking in that pantry every day introduces fresh dust into that area… When dust accumulates on circuit boards and solder joints, it can attract moisture and complete circuits that weren’t meant to be completed. This in turn will draw more and more energy and convert it into more heat , which will cause the unit to work overtime to keep operating as designed until it burns out. Ultrasonic humidifiers are more popular in homes currently because they help provide relief for allergy and sinus sufferers. The humidifier can fill up an entire house overnight which gets sucked into electronic equipment, build up and create conductivity when it is collected in the dust.
Each Aegis AV Cabinet has clear rubber seals lined in the gaps of the glass and back removable rear panel. Along with an elastic dust guard that collapses over the wires coming in and out of the internal, concealed cable farm. Each intake fan is filtered to reduce the amount of contaminants being introduced into the cabinet and are easy to access, wash clean and reuse. We want to make sure that our cabinets help home electronics flourish in a pristine environment designed to ensure their longevity and allow them to work at their peak performances.
Aegis AV Cabinets has developed a turn key solution for any developer, home builder, AV integrator or AV enthusiast to protect their equipment by controlling the temperature inside the compartment they are housed, and reducing the amount of dust allowed to enter. Aegis cabinets are beautifully designed and hand crafted to compliment any home decor. Each cabinet offers digitally controlled filtered cooling, RGBW custom lighting, key-less security, network grade surge suppression, optionally integrated home automation, and much more.
If this article has sparked your interest and you are looking for a new solution for your customers; we would love to hear from you. To see more about what Aegis AV Cabinets can do for you, feel free to visit us on our web page at www.aegisav.com. We have several videos, 360 degree rotating images of our expanding lineup of products and detailed information on the features and benefits of our cabinets. With optionally built in home automation from Samsung SmartThings, that is designed on an open platform, Aegis cabinets can connect to hundreds of existing and new automated devices being developed every day and make integration easy.
We would appreciate feedback, input and comments. Most of the expanded features of our cabinets came from customer feedback we have received from AV integrators across the world. We designed our cabinets with integrators in mind to help them provide the perfect solution and allow them to incorporate whatever equipment they want and to instill a platform that allows them to expand in any direction and let their creativeness run free…