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Auto open cabinet doors to cool electronics

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cbonilla

New Member
I have a fair amount of A/V gear in a cabinet which of course generates heat. The cabinet is landlocked (under a stone top, bathroom shower on the back side, refrigerator on one side and another closed cabinet on the other) so there is nowhere to vent heat out of the cabinet without opening the doors.

Does anyone have any thoughts on how I could craft a small device that would take the switched 110v output from the receiver (alternatively a thermostat, but that seems overkill) and then nudge the cabinet doors open a few inches?

Cabinet doors do not need much force to open, they are on Euro hinges so they will self close if only open a bit, so the device does not have to close them, just push them open.

Right now I leave the doors propped open a few inches, but I live in fear that they will someday end up closed and all the electronics will get fried. And when not in use I'd like them to be closed anyway.

Thoughts?

Carlos
 

Mike_2545

Super Moderator
Put a small block of wood in the door frame to prevent it from closing, you can even screw it in place so no one removes it.
 

cbonilla

New Member
Agreed that would work, but I would really like to be able to close the cabinets when the electronics are off. Having the doors ajar spoils the look of the bank of cabinets

Carlos
 

kpatz

New Member
Is there anyplace you can stick a fan to vent the cabinet? I'm sure you could get creative, such as putting it in the kick panel near the floor or something.

What's your AV gear doing in the kitchen cabinet anyway? Like I should ask... my gear is in a kitchen pantry cabinet, the back wall faces the home theater room where there's a louvered door for access. The cabinet on the kitchen side makes it easy to access the back side of everything for hooking up cables etc. When I put a HTPC in there I installed a fan in the side where it isn't visible from most anywhere.

Maybe put some kind of vent in the cabinet door?
 
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cbonilla

New Member
These cabinets are actually in the media section of my master bedroom. I used kitchen cabinets for storage and to house electronics. The refrigerator is an under-counter model and primarily for beverages and has an ice maker. It is faced in the same material as the cabinet doors.

Cabinet doors are solid -- there's a continuous run of about 15'. I thought of putting in a louver in the toekick, but the problem is that to efficiently exhaust air you also have to let air in and there is nowhere that allows a vent to be placed at the upper end of the cabinet. Basic convection cooling seems to keep everything at a happy temperature, it's also quiet. I would love to be able to make the doors open and close on their own.

Carlos
 
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cbonilla

New Member
I've thought of that before. This unit only has a 3/4" throw, which I don't think is enough. Ideally I want about a 3-4" throw. Let me look at these.

Any thoughts on how to make it work?
 

gaspode42

Member
How about if you got some threaded bar, and put a nut in it. Fix the nut to the cabinet and then turn the bar by a stepper? We used to make instrument draws using a similar design.
 

Mike_2545

Super Moderator
I've thought of that before. This unit only has a 3/4" throw, which I don't think is enough. Ideally I want about a 3-4" throw. Let me look at these.

Any thoughts on how to make it work?

Use one like that to operate a lever; 4 to 1 ratio will give you 3"
 
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kpatz

New Member
Does the stone top overhang the front edge of the cabinet? You could cut a notch (say 1/4" by the width of the door) out in the wood right where it meets the stone top; it would be hidden by the stone top unless you're looking straight on at it. That plus a vent in the toe kick would give you the 2 vents needed for convection cooling. Add a fan if you need to.

See my attached sketch to see what I mean.
 

Attachments

Boncuk

New Member
How about using a push solenoid?

Push the door open with the solenoid and close it via a spring.

It requires little space and can be adjusted for any gap size.

See attachment.

Remark: The solenoid was too strong and separated the hinge from the door. :D

Boncuk
 

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cbonilla

New Member
I have considered actuators before, so I appreciate the suggestions. Part of my problem is that I have no idea on how to wire the device together. As I think of it:

  • Always on 12 volt DC
  • Switched outlet on receiver to a relay that sends power to the actuator when receiver turns on
  • How do i turn off the 12v power when I have reached maximum travel -- if power keeps flowing to the actuator won't I burn it out?
  • Switched outlet on receiver to a relay that sends power to the actuator when receiver turns off and reverse the current
  • How do i turn off the 12v power when I have reached maximum retraction -- if power keeps flowing to the actuator won't I burn it out?

Any guidance would be appreciated
 

cbonilla

New Member
Agreed that heat rises, but I have found that temps stay reasonable with doors ajar even at the receiver (which is on the top shelf). But that also reinforces my earlier point. A vent in the toekick space won't relieve the heat at the top of the cabinet. With the door ajar I could always add a fan if necessary and blow it out the front of the cabinet.

Carlos
 

mneary

New Member
.......refrigerator on one side...........
How is the refrigerator condenser (usually in back) ventilated?

I really like the idea of the door lock actuator for its elegance. In my car, door locks are pulsed for about 3 seconds.

For appearance, though, I would let the air in via the toe kick. To let warm air out, I would mill out vents inside the top of the doors. If the door is 1/2" thick, mill 3/16" off the inside of the door across the top edge.
 

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