Pros and Cons of storing AV kit in cupboard

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by mpledge52, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. mpledge52

    mpledge52
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    I'm moving around the furniture in my living room and as a result I'm debating whether to hide my AV kit in a cupboard or have it on display. I've come up with a list of pros and cons for putting in it an a cupboard and I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to overcome the cons.

    Pros:
    - Much neater and tidier
    - Not limited by storage in TV cabinet (i.e. don't need X shelves for X devices) so can add new devices easily without worrying about space, and can choose from a wider range of TV cabinets

    Cons:
    - Cost of setup (routing wires, IR repeater, storage rack, extending cabling etc)
    - Difficult to keep temperatures down, so potential overheating
    - Unknown status of devices

    I'm not too concerned about the cost factor as this is acceptable when taking the pros into consideration. It's the other two I have concerns with.

    It's an under-stairs cupboard so has a reasonable amount of space (probably about 2m^3), but it's still enclosed so will heat up over time. Having to use fans to keep everything cool is a bit of a pain not to mention expensive.

    The other problem is how to know the status of the devices. Without being able to see the device, how can you tell whether little power light is on? I don't want to have to cycle through all sources on my TV to see if there's an input, or poke my head in the door.

    Anyone done something similar and have any smart ideas to overcome my concerns?
     
  2. Donnacha

    Donnacha
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    I have something similar, see my sig for my home cinema thread. I have a cupboard with the following equipment inside: HTPC, Xbox 360, AV Amp, Darbee Darblet, cassette deck, turntable, BT router and my Synology NAS.

    The pro for me is the tidiness of all equipment out of sight, away from kids and accidents. Additionally closing the door blocks out the noise of the PC and xbox !!

    The cons are the heat (although nothing has ever overheated ....yet), the dust (huge build up) and the inability to get in behind the gear to clean it properly or swap out cables !! If I could start again I would probably have put it on a rack system that could slide out from the cupbaord so I could get to the wiring easily....as well as getting the hoover in there !
    i have not done anything special about the heat, but with a PC that's on regularly and kicking out heat it gets noisy and hot !
     
  3. Andrew K

    Andrew K
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    use a Harmony Smart Control to manage it all and it will be much easier
     
  4. Member 581642

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    ... and/or if the devices are network controllable you can generally see their status via an app
     
  5. mpledge52

    mpledge52
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    I don't want to use an app, I'd much rather use a traditional style remote.

    Having to use a phone is just a pain. What happens when I want to make a call and someone else is watching the TV? What if I need to charge my phone? The only way this solution will work is if I have a dedicated phone/tablet just for this task, which seems a bit OTT. Phones and tablets also need charging more regularly, and unless the screen is on 24/7 you need to turn on the screen before you can perform an action, so it's always going to be slower than a remote too.

    I've currently got a Logitech Harmony 300 which I like, but I can't use this to check the status of the devices. Can you do this with a Logitech Harmony Ultimate (or another type of universal remote)?
     
  6. Member 581642

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    No harmony device can know the status of a piece of equipment as they are all in essence IR devices so only one way communication.
     
  7. Member 581642

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    There are remotes that have both IR and Wifi connectivity (so can check the status and control of a IP enabled device) however in that case you may as well have a tablet.
    Tablets can be roughly the same price as the higher end Harmony devices.
     
  8. Superleedsdub

    Superleedsdub
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    Harmony smart control comes with a physical remote in addition to mobile apps, very easy to use and to programme, I've been using it in my av cupboard for a year with no issues.
     
  9. mpledge52

    mpledge52
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    I did notice that it has a remote, but it looks quite basic, i.e. it doesn't look like you could achieve all functionality via the remote alone. There looks to only be 3 buttons on the top of the remote so I presume you can only control 3 different devices? I need to control at least 4 devices, and on my current 300 remote I use quite a lot of the buttons in order to map them to all the various actions I need to carry out.
     
  10. Member 581642

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    The Harmony Ultimate is the one then but still no status fedback
     
  11. Superleedsdub

    Superleedsdub
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    The 3 buttons at the top are for activities not devices(you can create 3 activities), it can control up to 8 devices.

    I use it for my blu ray player, Sky hd box, roku 3, marantz av receiver and even a raspberry pi running Xbmc with no issues. I used to use a harmony 900 and do miss the lcd touch screen, but I do find the smart control very useful. Mapping controls to the buttons on the remote is fairly straightforward
     
  12. Superleedsdub

    Superleedsdub
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    Edit: you can create 6 activities not 3
     
  13. Donnacha

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    I use a Harmony 785 in my cupboard. There is a Keene IR hub in there with a receiver outside the cupboard routing the signal inside the cupboard.

    If I want to see what device is on, I open the door to the cupboard :)
     
  14. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965
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    I moved all my gear out of my room and under my stairs earlier this year. The main reason was so that I don't have any LEDs lighting up my projector screen as I changed my projector (X35 to X500) and suddenly started noticing the green glow on the corner of the screen on black outs. Also I don't like to see any AV gear when I walk into the room (I'm planing on hiding all the speakers and subs next year behind AT fabric baffle wall and AT pelmet for the Atmos ceiling speakers).

    I use a simple Harmony remote that cost about £20 (300i ), plus my system is fairly simple in that I only use an Oppo player or PVR as sources. I also have a couple of sets of Marmitek 'pyramid' IR to RF remote extenders to control the rack from the living room or conservatory depending where we are watching.

    I don't really need to know much about the equipment once it is on and working, so I don't miss on screen information (old school non HDMI processor at the moment pending a DTS:X replacement). I made sure that the master volume is set to a safe limit incase of remote runaway and I've set the inputs directly on the remote so I don't need to cycle through them all for my two sources.

    I'm really glad I did it now as my projector viewing is improved due to the lack of LEDs (and any peripheral vision annoyances) and it doesn't really matter what the gear looks like (so I could consider something like an Anthem amp which IMHO looks ugly, but sounds good). I'm currently using an old Denon AVR3805 as a power amp until I get my Arcam P7 back from repair, but I don't see this mismatch of equipment like I would if it were in the room...

    Rack 2041 & DDRC88A.jpg
     
  15. Donnacha

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    Nice rack !
     
  16. Singhisking

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    Ive just done the same thing! Put all my stuff on a hifi rack i was going to sell and stuck it in the walk in wardrobe (asked for permission from the missus first :D).. I thought overheating was going to be an issue but going by what most of you have said or have i feel quite lucky with the space i have..
     
  17. mpledge52

    mpledge52
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    Thanks for all the responses folks. Do any of you have any extra cooling where you've stored them? For example, KelvinS1965, your kit is tightly packed on that rack and I'd be worried about things overheating, particularly my xbox and AV receiver.
     
  18. Member 581642

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    Good spacing and ventilation/airflow is the key
     
  19. mpledge52

    mpledge52
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    Good spacing is easy enough to achieve, but airflow is going to be a problem in a closed space, hence my question on how people have got around this problem.
     
  20. Member 581642

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    Vents in doors front and rear and side
     
  21. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965
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    Note that my AV processor, subwoofer amp and 'power amp' are all spaced out. The other items don't really get hot (miniDSP DDRC-88A, Lumagen 2041 and Oppo '93) but they have space for any vents where appropriate due to the different depths of various items. (I spent a fair bit of time deciding on which item to put where so that vent slots weren't blocked). The iNuke sub amp has a pair of (loud) fans that help pull any air from the power amp below and push it out the front of the cupboard.

    I may add a 1U fan panel at the top just to play safe, but for now I tend to just leave the door open when we watch a film anyway. There is another cupboard to the left of the rack (at 90 degrees) and I can vent into that, then out of the top of it if I make some vent holes to the left of the rack.

    The only problem with the rack is that however big you get, then you soon think of ways to fill it: Since getting my rack I've added the miniDSP '88A, will probably add a second iNuke 6000 sub amp to power an extra pair of subs at some point, plus the 'stop gap' Arcam AV8 is likely to be replaced with a Marantz 7702 MkII processor which is a bit bigger than the AV8. I'm in danger of running out of space already...
     
  22. Dominic

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    All my kit is in a large lader cupboard in my utility room. I use a couple of PC fans powered by a mobile phone charger, so they run slower than the 12v noisy spin speed.
    This keeps everything cool,
    2 sky boxes, 2 amps a PC and a PS3 and Xbox.
    I find blowing air directly over the heat sinks on the amps helps keep them very cool, rather than just moving the air in the whole cupboard.
     
  23. Donnacha

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    I have vents top and bottom of the cupboard, but not sure how good they are ? Fans would be better
     

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