AV Corner

It’s taken a while, in excess of ten years, but I think I have completed AV Corner to a working situation. All the hot technology sits in a corner underneath shelves and has a somewhat restricted airflow. I have bought two or three small fans in the past to try and encourage circulation of air but they have ALWAYS been too noise and stupid. Let me tell you that any desk fan, USB powered, that claims to be silent – is not. I recently purchased some shelves that worked really well in creating separation between the units and the last thing I wanted was a QUIET fan just to help circulate the air.

I must have been bored at work when I searched for AV Fans. I’m not sure why I hadn’t used that search term before but I had always gone for “silent USB fans”. I found a company that makes fan units for AV cabinets and they had some options that would work for me. That company is AC Infinity. So, the thing is that the options they had that would work for me were less than GBP20 and so well worth giving it a go. I ordered the Multifan S7, from Amazon and waited for it to turn up. I am fully aware that I could have made something like this using some PC components but this one was delivered working and there are somethings I don’t want to do. I did consider using my Raspberry Pi as a fan controller and that is still an option but it would require more time than I have at the moment.

The double fan unit turned up and once unpacked I tested it. The fans were indeed very quiet. I was impressed. All I had to do was decide where to place them and how to power them. I have gone for a fan which draws air from the Amp upwards towards the PS4 with the hope that it will be both a little cooler than they have been and then the second fan is placed as a general circulation device to the right of the system.

Decent Fan System - Finally
Decent Fan System – Finally

Both fans are powered from the NVIDIA Shield Pro USB port. This means that when the TV is on the fans will be on. It is very rare that the amp is on by itself and the Shield turns the TV on so even when playing on the PS4 the Shield is powered up. There is an option to keep the USB port power on even while the Shield isn’t powered up but that’s not necessary. The fans are indeed quiet and with the TV playing at normal volume you can’t hear them. When playing the PS4 it doesn’t matter what the TV volume is the PS4 is running at the noise level of a RB199. I might take the PS4 apart and give it a good clean. I’m curious to see whether it is clogged up or not.

Radiating, Convecting and Blown

Back during my self-isolation period in March I had a shift around in the lounge / entertainment room. I wrote about it in this communication. A part of the entertainment system that has always bothered me is tech-corner. In this corner of the room there are a number of heat producing devices all stacked but separated by two layers of Lego bricks.

Entertainment Corner [asymmetric]
Entertainment Corner [asymmetric]

There is an AV-Amp, the PS4, a Blu-Ray player, PSVR interface ,Nvidia Shield TV Pro and ancillaries. The AV-Amp gets quite warm just by being powered up and the PS4 sounds like a Harrier hovering straight above the house. I have spent occasional minutes searching online for a “stacking system” or something to make this whole collection on electronics a little more stable. Two days ago I tried again and search for hi-fi stands. This produced no helpful results but did lead me to looking at computer monitor stands and laptop stands. I went and found the tape measure and chose a product which seemed like it would do the job well.

Yesterday the stands arrived and I installed them into Tech Corner.

Aeration Stands
Aeration Stands

Although it looks as though there is a large gap above the amp – there is – but the whole point of this was to spread out the devices more. The Blu-Ray player is rarely used, but it works better as a disc player than the PS4 and so will maintain its position in the corner for now. Most movies are either streamed through the internet connection or via the LAN from the NAS Drive. The PS4 now has more radiating space and hopefully air circulation around the corner will be improved. A few years ago I had a small fan in the far corner to push the air around and I might consider that again, if I can find a silent one. It doesn’t need to be a powerful fan, just strong enough to push some of the hot air out of this cave.

The devices in the photograph are slightly different from the March picture. Top to bottom they are:

Blu-Ray Player
250GB SSD – expansion drive for the PS4, to the right of PS4
USB-C hub – for the PS4
PS4
LAN Switch – grey, to the back
AV-Amp – Sony STRDN1080
NVIDIA Shield TV Pro – now “standing” to the left of the Amp
PSVR interface – bottom right
Bloody cables are all over the place, caused by length of cables not matching dimensions of room.

Breather

I’m slightly paranoid about electronic gear overheating. This might be down to a fear of setting my house (and street) on fire and relying on Jase to put it out but is also to do with breaking electronic kit.
Everything has an optimum operating temperature. Whether that’s me at about 36 or so Celsius or the sun running at a few million Celsius. Electronics are no different. Why do you think that stuff has fans and air circulation grates?
My amplifier has loads of grating over the top of the housing. This indicates that the contents are likely to get quite warm. The Blu-Ray player I bought has tiny feet and a solid base. Now, the only sensible arrangement for the kit is amp at the bottom, then the disc player and finally the Sky box.
All of these items have a fan or large vents. Why then do they stack so to leave very little room for air circulation? Granted, you don’t need a great deal of space to move air but you would think these things would be designed to fit with other electronic kit? No. They are designed to look good and functionality comes a close second! (See the original PS3 for cooling issues)l
So, rather than pay loads for spacers for my kit I used Duplo and Lego. It looks rubbish but adds a little colour and a certain something!

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