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Tech Tip Of The Day: Overheated Rack Gear

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By PSW Staff May 20, 2010

Provided by Sweetwater.

Q: Hi! I’m an intern at Studio Name Omitted and I have a question for you. I love the way a rack of gear looks all lit up, but every so often there are these open spaces.

It seems to me like we’d save a lot of space if we got rid of the blank spaces and condensed the racks. Are these spaces important or something?

A: As you mention, there is a temptation, with an equipment rack in a studio, to pack the entire rack full of gear, top to bottom.

But remember that most gear needs steady airflow to maintain a suitable operating temperature.

Tubes, for example, put out a lot of heat. This heat must flow out of the item to prevent overheating.

If another piece of gear is positioned directly above a heat-producing device, it will also be absorbing the heat from that device.

For that reason, it’s a good idea to leave blank rack spaces above pieces of equipment that get warm or hot. It takes more rack spaces to do this, but your equipment will last longer and perform better if it is kept cool.

A way to handle the aesthetic concerns you’ve mentioned (in your own studio, of course) is to use solid and mesh blank rack panels that can be installed into empty rack spaces. These will hide unsightly cable mess while still maintaining air flow and providing a nice look from the front of the rack.

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charlie says

In larger broadcast plants they wil connect flexible ducts into the top of the racks that blows air from ac unit. At the same time covering up any holes in the racks with pieces of metal or wood. This obviously keeps gear cool but also keeps positive air pressure inside the rack which keeps things dust free. Some guys will put foam air cleaners over vents as well.

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