HowToAV talks to AV Rack expert Nick Pidgeon of Visualization from some great tips and techniques on professional design and build of audio visual racks and cabinets.
You should always think about the rack design before the actual physical build, this saves time and frustration during the build stage. To start a rack design however you must have a system design in place first, this should include as a minimum:
Other documentation such as line drawings and connection panel layouts would also help further during the build phase.
Predominantly yes, however there are certain situations when you cannot for example some site constraints such as access to the building so you have to build it on site. But most of the time you can build a rack off site, this is usually the best option to do as you have access to all tools etc and wont have to return the next day if you forget anything, you have the ability to test it beforehand and ofcourse get the rack ready in time for when the site is ready.
Ventilation is important in a rack system as there is alot of heat to dissipate, therefore rack space planning and knowing where the rack is going is important - depths and widths are key things to consider. Once you have worked out the total rack units going into your design, you should then think about the size it needs to be calculating for ventilation space for each piece of equipment. As a rule it is advised to always go bigger - always take as much room in that space as you can. You must also bear in mind that there is more to a rack than just the rack unit itself, consider the cables and where they will fit etc. The more space you allow will also help with future proofing, if you later need to add something to the rack the space will account for this.
It all comes down to serviceability, if it is neat and tidy and you can see what you are looking at then you can service it. And if you can standardise on rack builds with the cable types, cable clours per signal type, cable identification schemes, rack shelves and equipment where possible, this saves time during the build and servicing the system at a later date.
There is a rack for every use, however there is not a 'one rack fits all' solution. There are three primary types of racks: open frame racks, rack enclosures and wall-mount racks.You have to consider the space, what the rack is being used for and the location/space it is going to be used. The more room you have the better you can plan that rack around it.
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