Cooling Fans for Computer Cabinets

Computers generate a lot of heat and need cooling. Here are some basic ideas for cooling computer cabinet built-ins. May 22, 2006

I design and build custom home offices. I want to find a way to force the hot air from the computer's CPU out of the cabinet if the door is closed. This is also needed for stereo equipment. I have been drilling ventilation holes but I want something more. I have a cooling fan from Radio Shack but it has no switch. I would like to find a source for a fan, 110 volt, that has a built in heat switch that turns on the fan when the air in the box gets too hot. Anyone have any experience or sources to share?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
Graybar has what you need. A few years ago I built a sales display with all the CPU's inside the cabinet. I mounted the fans behind shop-built louvers mounted to the exterior of the cabinet. I don't remember the exact brands, but Graybar had both the fans as well as externally-mountable switches. They operated like heat lamp switches in a bathroom, where you turn the dial and it spins back to zero over the course of an hour or two (depending on the model) and then shuts itself off after that period of time has elapsed. It worked great, did the job, and the PCs stayed nice and cool.

From contributor B:
We have worked with an A-V firm that uses Radio Shack muffin fan(s) and a thermostat (from Grainger?) that switch the little fans on at 90 degrees. Be sure to leave a way to get make-up air into the space, and the fan can be at the exit.

From the original questioner:
I called Graybar. They helped somewhat, but I was thinking of going the way of the Radio Shack fan and temp switch. I have an attic fan switch that is rated from 80-130 degrees. I think I will wire that up and give it a try. I was hoping to find something pre-engineered. But until then Iíll have to play the engineer part.

From contributor C:
You can use an air conditioning thermostat that will switch on when it gets too warm.