AV Rack Design – Thermal Management

Often Overlooked but Vitally Important

AV racks generate a lot of heat. Our AV Consultancy work often means we are tasked with dealing with the heat in a cost effective manner – after all installing an air conditioning unit in 100+ apartments is an expensive undertaking if it doesn’t have to be done!

Our usual approach is to rely on convection as much as possible – cool air is taken in at the bottom of the rack and is expelled at the top as warm air. The skill is designing racks to ensure no hot spots (leading to premature equipment failure) and ensuring convection is enough. We have a master spreadsheet which details our usual equipment (from sources such as Sky receivers through to AV receivers for home cinema’s) and when we combine this with the anticipated ambient temperature we can work out if rack fans are required (they seldom are due to the way we design!). Should rack fans be required then intelligent fans from the likes of Middle Atlantic change their speed as required, using less energy and making less noise.

Once we have the heat safely expelled from the rack we have to deal with the room (this is where our competitors like to use expensive air conditioning units) – if we don’t then the ambient temperature will rise and the rack will quickly over heat. A good air source at the bottom of the rack room allows air in and then our master spreadsheet tells us how much heat we need to deal with – this can be translated in to air flow per hour and therefore an extract fan and ducting which moves the correct volume of air can be specified. On the continent where heat recovery air handling systems are common this air is used to heat the home.

The savings of a proper design can be huge:

– No initial outlay for an Air Conditioning unit

– No Maintenance of an AC unit

– A contribution to the heating of the home

– Longer life AV and IT equipment.

Rack Thermal Management