Saturday, June 14, 2008

Real Ultimate Kid-proof Entertainment Center Cooling

My trusty ReplayTV 5040 quit working the other day, turned out the hard drive had gone bad. I suspect this had something to do with the balmy 94 degree temperature I keep inside my entertainment center. The reason it's so hot is that I have to keep the glass door to my entertainment center shut to keep my kids from terrorizing my electronic equipment.

I got a new hard drive installed in my Replay, but I don't want this one to get cooked too. So how can I keep my Replay cool while at the same time keeping little hands off of my electronics? Read on for the exciting duct tape filled pictorial!

This first pic shows what the Replay's entertainment center shelf looks like before I started hacking.

Here you see the two perfectly circular holes I cut, but what could they be for?

The top left hole is for an exhaust fan (a Thermaltake Mobile Fan II External USB Cooling Fan Mfr. Part# A1888) and the bottom right hole is for my custom cut "Solo cup exhaust dock". Basically I cut the bottom off of a Solo cup to that my Replay's Solo cup would dock into the entertainment center more easily.

I think grey duct tape looks really good on a Replay. The Replay's cup channels the air into the entertainment center cup. This way none of the Replay's hot exhaust air gets stuck inside the entertainment center.

The next three pics show the cup and fan mounted from the back of the entertainment center. Notice again the professionalism of the holes I cut.

My creation with my Squeezebox and Replay installed.

Another shot with the cooking door closed.

How well does my setup work? Before I started it was 94 degrees in the ReplayTV section of my entertainment center. Adding the Solo cup duct work lowered the temp to 88.5 degrees. Then turning my exhaust fan on (to its lowest speed so I can't hear it) further lowered the temp to 83.5 degrees. So I got just over 10 degrees of cooling from my modifications. I.e. I'm happy and I hope this lets my new Replay TV hard drive live a little longer.

When my kids are older and I can leave my entertainment center door off the temps inside my entertainment center are: 85.0 with no modifications, 82.5 with the cup duct work and 80.5 with the cup duct and fan turned on. So even with no door my hacks help. Note that all temps were recorded when the house was 77 degrees.

Below is the last pic of my entire entertainment center. This is the ultimate low-cost high-value kid proof entertainment center setup. Notice the duct tape on the TV? I cut a bottle of baby wash in half and taped it over the TV's buttons. This prevents my youngest from playing his favorite game of "shut the TV off". I.e. our TV is now operated by remote only. The best part of the grey duct tape is that it's practically invisible on our black TV. You really have to look to spot it.

If you think you have a better kid proof entertainment center you are wrong and I will send my kids over to your house to show you just how wrong you are.

One last note to any critics out there who say that simply removing the back panel of my entertainment center would've been better. I choose to do it my way instead because:
  1. I think it looks better to leave the back panel on to hide the plethora of cables in back of the entertainment center.
  2. This is geekier.
  3. This involved duct tape

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