How To's & GuidesVentilating a Windows Home Server Cabinet on a Friday...

Ventilating a Windows Home Server Cabinet on a Friday night – Video Edition

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I had a plain and ugly server cabinet on Thursday. With a trip to Ikea and the Cooler Guys, I am now the owner of a sweet, well ventilated, wife-accepted server storage facility. This is not a rack or a case. If the cabinet door in your living room is propped open then this article is for you too. Read on to see what I ended up creating…

Happy HP MediaSmart Server

Background

Last year I spent about $300 creating a Home Depot bought modular closet rack. Now I must say, with clothes and stuff on it I am sure it makes a clean set up, but for technology it just never looked good. It was functional but never really fit with the room. Since my wife and I just installed new bamboo floors, and remodeled the office, it had to go.

But what was I to replace it with? Anything with doors would get hot.

I have an Ikea, I mean Idea…

Old WHS Closet

Equipment Needed

Cabcool 802U Dual 80mm USB Powered Cabinet Cooling Kit

Ikea Bookcase

Six Beers (Optional as always)

Some wood and cheapie air register grill (if you want to attempt an attic vent)

The Cooler Guys

I usually do not endorse any one specific website but after looking around I found only one reliable location for USB fans and cabinet ventilation. I bought all of my own equipment and am not affiliated with this website in any way. That being said, they have some GREAT stuff. They are in Washington and delivery only took a few days.

http://www.coolerguys.com/

They have more than just cabinet equipment. Check them out. You will end up buying something from them!

The kit I bought was $24.95. That is way cheap and easy for this kit!

USB Powered Cabinet Cooling Kit

Directly from their website:

Cooling Unit includes the following:

All necessary screws, cables, and fasteners to complete the unit are included
Fan Specifications:
Dimensions: 80x80x25mm
Rated Voltage: 5 Volts
Connector: USB
Tail: 16 inch /Dual
RPM: 1500 +/- 10%
CFM: 20
dB: 19.7
Bearing: Sleeve
MTFB: 30,000 hrs

The Installation

Let me start by saying that unless you do a “built-in” you do not have to worry about ventilation or hoses. Just buy the kit and cut out the back part of your cabinet.

I am pretty sure I went overboard on the ventilation in this project but it was really fun. Those hoses (shown below) weigh only a few ounces and the vent to the attic only cost me about $5 in wood and $6 for the vent grill.

WTH?

This might look a little ugly. Ok it is. But that 2×4 is just a sideways “u” that the cabinet bolts to. Since the closet is 10 inches deeper than the bookcase I needed a secure mount for the Ikea bookcase. In addition, since there is 10 inches of space (depth) I had room for my D-Link switch, cabling, LED lighting, hoses and my waterproof USB safe that I use for WHS backups.

To turn the space back into a closet I just slide the cabinet out (it is on casters) and remove the 2×4. I even left the closet door railing on the top so I could put the doors back in. The only real damage I did was in the ceiling and I can just patch it and popcorn it if I ever move.

Behind the Bookcase

I needed my vent to rise about the cellulose insulation. That is alarm company wiring btw!Attic Vent

Cabinet Installation Video

Lets see some video!

Final Product

I was very impressed with the results. Once I finished the molding it brought the whole unit into a whole new look.

BEFORE and AFTER

BEFORE AFTER

How Does It Vent?

Since it is Ikea furniture, the doors do not close with any good tolerances so there is plenty of space for fresh air to get in at the bottom. If you have a sealed cabinet you could just add a vent for intake. Remember that heat rises so place the fresh air vent as low as practical.

And finally…

Thank you to my wife. She was very supportive of this project and helped with most of the job. I gave her the right side of the cabinet. I am sure girl-stuff will go in there. It is all about balance.

So pretty...

Mental Note: It sure reduces the server noise. Those Black Caviar drives I recommended and purchased perform great but sure make a lot of noise! The doors block all of the sound!

The whole project was about $360 with $50 being for the hoses and the attic vent thing. If you already have an existing cabinet (it is the one in your living room with the door propped open) then just get the $25 cabinet kit.

My EX485 looks so happy. I do too.

Happy HP MediaSmart Server

See you you next Friday night,

Timothy Daleo

Timothy Daleohttp://usingwindowshomeserver.com
Timothy Daleo is a Project Resource Analyst and Oracle Applications Trainer in Pasadena, California. In addition to financial analysis, Tim has been developing training materials since 2003 and supporting direct projects through various auxiliary databases since 2005.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, the cabinet looks awesome!!! Great job, you have definetly inspired me and best of all, it has a very high wife acceptance factor 🙂

    jvk

  2. Any burglar will be happy you have you home server in a glass storage area. This will make it easy for him to find it. Just wondering if you had thought of that or did not care?

  3. Looks excellent, ive done similar with the same sort of cabinet (beech not white), i have just one fan at the back a big 28cm one.

    Yes it has cut the noise but the temperature is still around 29c, although yes you get venting around the door, my shelves are wood and a tight fit allowing just 5mm gap behind the glass door, this just puts the server (acer easystore whs) in a small area. if the wife allows it i might try taking an inch off the back of the shelves and putting the server at the bottom to allow the heat to rise.

    Love your fans, couldnt find anything like that in the UK

    Great work!

  4. CPU around 70c

    System around 40c

    I worry about HDD around 45c

    Im going to run ducting pipe from case outlet to fan, see if that helps

    Thanks

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