FAQ - Sales Related Information
How quiet are the products?
Our products have been designed to be very universal, meaning that they can be operated very quietly or more aggressively depending upon the application. We recommend using Universal Power Supplies which allow you to change the voltage which will then change the speed of the fans. The key is to find the correct balance between noise level and airflow because obviously when the fan speed is reduced, the airflow is decreased. The good side is that typically the goal is to achieve some level of airflow and rarely do systems require massive airflow so running at lower speeds is typically OK.
How important is it to keep my equipment cool?
Extremely important. Heat is simply a by-product of today’s electronics and this applies to computers and most of today’s electronics including audio video equipment. Now in days, more and more AV equipment is computer controlled which these computers do generate heat. Traditionally with AV systems it was only amplifiers that generated heat but today you have amplifiers, receivers (w/amps inside), cable and satellite boxes (especially high-def boxes), some DVD players, line scalers, game boxes, etc. that are all generating heat. The larger problem in today’s systems is that multiple components are generating heat and it is often times difficult if not impossible to properly ventilate all of these components without cooling products.
The consequence to components overheating is that if the equipment has thermal protection, shut down will occur if the equipment gets too hot and typically that will occur at a very inconvenient time (middle of the party or movie). If the equipment does not have thermal protection, it may keep operating when it gets too hot but will eventually shut down to never start back up again! Even if the components do not trip the thermal protection or immediately burn up, providing adequate ventilation is vital to the longevity of the equipment.
It should also be noted that most everyone knows to protect their systems with proper surge protection but the reality is that one may never see the benefit of that protection where the benefit of thermally protecting your equipment is realized every day!
What if I have equipment that has built-in fans?
It is good and bad that some manufacturers have fans built into their equipment. In a perfect environment, these built-in fans will generally do a good job of keeping the equipment cool. But these fans can give consumers a false sense of security because once you place the equipment in a cabinet or closet where heat can build up, they are no longer able to properly cool themselves. Additionally, sometimes the built-in fans are loud when they come on or work somewhat erratically. Overall, it is good that most manufacturers use fans in their products but these fans do not eliminate the need to properly circulate air around other components and then out of a cabinet, closet, or room.
If installing equipment in a closet, is it adequate to have a HVAC vent in the closet to cool the equipment?
This is a huge misconception for many reasons. First, if asking the HVAC contractor to do anything, have a return vent installed in the closet – this will draw air through the closet regarless of whether the AC or heat is on in the house. Next, ensure that there is space under the closet door for air to enter and be pulled through the closet. As for the AC vent, there are two very fundament problems. First, it is only effective for moving air when the HVAC is on and second, what if the heat is on instead of the air conditioner? Hopefully the issues are obvious but we cannot stress enough that even venting a closet properly is not adequate; you should also properly circulate air around individual components and think of cooling in stages – first you provide ventilation to the individual components and then to the surrounding area. The first is most critical and if there are several components generating an abundance of heat, properly ventilating the surrounding area greatly increases the effectiveness of cooling the individual components. The best way to ventilate a closet is to use a system that works in conjunction with the electronics and not based on a different unrelated system in the house (the HVAC system).
When venting a closet, is it best to vent the air out of the house?
Absolutely not!!! People equate this to venting a bathroom but this is a completely different situation. Bathrooms are vented to remove odors and steam and are only on temporarily. When they are on however, the air that is displaced is being replaced from somewhere and that is typically from either the attic or straight from outside. For electronics, the ‘by-product’ is simply warm, not humid, air which HVAC is all about ‘recycling’ warm air to produce cooler air when cooling. When the heat is on, the heat generated by the components can also be useful if properly vented. Introducing humid air, or air that has come from the attic, or through a chimney into the house is much more unfavorable than simply recycling warm air from electronic equipment. This is why the best solution for venting a cabinet or enclosure is to vent the air into the room or to a hallway or other area where the air does not escape the home. We recommend venting to a high spot in a hallway or larger room in the house where the warm air will more easily dissipate and be recycled back through the HVAC system.
What is the optimal scenario for venting equipment?
First, it would involve following the manufacturers recommendations for clearance above and around the components which is usually 3" to 4” above receivers and amplifiers. Next, to assist in the ventilation, we recommend using blowers (Single or Dual-Fan Cooling Units) to help circulate air around the individual components and also direct the warm air away from the components.
Once you achieve proper ventilation for the individual individual components, you then want to ventilate the ‘system’ (the whole of the components) which will involve pulling air out and away from the cabinet or enclosure where the components are installed. Our HiFlo Lite Vent (VS-HFL) is designed to be installed on the back of a cabinet to draw hot air away from the components and out of the cabinet. The Cabinet Vents can also be used and installed on the sides of the cabinet and multiple units can be used to push and pull air. If the components are installed in a closet, or if the room where the components are installed is smaller and is affected by the heat being generated by the components, you then want to vent that room or closet as well. The best thing to do is to vent to an adjacent room or hallway. Use a through-the-wall ventilation system that is either always on or controlled by a thermostat. In extreme situations, a separate air conditioner may be desired to locally cool the hot air generated by the electronics.
What is the best way to power the units?
This is a good question as there are many ways to potentially power the units. You can use the switched power receptacle on the receiver or amplifier to power cooling products. This method provides cooling only when the equipment is on which is appropriate for amplifiers and receivers but not necessarily satellite or cable receivers since they continuously generate heat.
Our products are generally DC powered which it is best to use a universal power adapter (transformer). We do this to provide adjustability so the units can be run silently or more aggressively if noise is not an issue (in a closet). It is not recommended to power our units through a 12V trigger.
Back to the best scenario related to having cooling products on all of the time or just when the equipment is on. Some components are ‘running’ even when they are off, which is usually satellite and cable boxes and some DVD players. With these components you typically want to keep the air moving around the components full time. Then if the components are installed in a cabinet, you would want to consider whether or not to run fans to vent the cabinet full time or only with the equipment. This is simply a judgment call.
It should also be noted that it is acceptable to power more than one of our units from one power supply. Each of the blowers we use in the Single and Dual-Fan Blowers uses approximately 40 mA – that’s 80 mA for the Dual-Fan Unit. This way you can power multiple cooling units from a transformer plugged into the receiver which will only come on when the equipment is on and then other cooling units that will run constantly on another transformer.
Are cooling products only necessary for more expensive components?
Heat does not discriminate! All types of AV equipment, regardless of cost, generate heat. With today's technology, HD DVR's and satellite boxes tend to generate a huge amount of heat, sometimes even more than the amplifiers and receivers. Of course larger systems can generate more heat simply due to potentially having larger amplifiers and more heat-producing components but the bottom line is that heat needs to be addressed with most AV systems.