AC-Powered Temp-Controlled Exhaust Fan?
December 8, 2010 5:41 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a thermostatically-controlled ac-powered exhaust fan for a box that will be housing a wireless router, a couple of hard disks, and an old laptop.

I would like to cleanup my office by putting some of my network infrastructure into the attic stairway. This infrastructure consists of a cable modem, an Apple Time capsule, a couple of hard disks, and a four-year old MacBook Pro.

The attic is not heated and the stairwell is currently about 52 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm worried about the temperature effecting the performance and reliability of the devices, particularly the hard disks. (The Time Capsule is only rated down to 50 degrees, for example.)

I'm thinking that if I put a cardboard box over the equipment, it will generate enough of its own heat to keep everything at a good operating temperature. But I don't want it to get too hot. Hence I'd like to add a fan that will automatically vent the box if the temperature gets too high, say above 90 degrees.

Because I'm not using a PC enclosure I don't have a power-supply already. It seems simplest to get an AC fan, if I can find a small, quiet temperature activated fan that runs off AC. If that's not an option I could also get a DC fan and a separate DC power supply. But the fan still needs to be temperature activated.

I would appreciate recommendations to specific products rather than general categories. I've been trying to locate these products by googling; I've found lots of stuff that not right and haven't found anything that is obviously right.

Thanks in advance for the help.
posted by alms to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Well I know I've had success with USB powered fans keeping the unit where my PS3 sits nice and cool.

You could even take the fan out of an old power supply and splice the red and black wires and link that up to an old USB cord (cut and splice) to create one if you don't want to go spend 10-20$, but it wouldn't be variable speed then.
posted by zombieApoc at 6:33 AM on December 8, 2010

Response by poster: zombieApoc: great idea to use a USB powered fan. I'd rather just buy one off-the-shelf than put something together. Anyone have a thermostatically-controlled USB-powered fan they'd recommend?
posted by alms at 6:51 AM on December 8, 2010

Mcmaster-Carr, search for 'Thermostat Switches', they have 'line voltage (120v) thermostats... I'm assuming you have a basic understanding of electrics as you'll need to do a little bit of wiring.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:29 AM on December 8, 2010

it's on page 624 of the online catalog...
posted by From Bklyn at 7:58 AM on December 8, 2010

Response by poster: I'm assuming you have a basic understanding of electrics as you'll need to do a little bit of wiring.

I don't really. That's why I'm looking for something I can just plug in. A small, thermostatically-controlled fan that plugs into the wall or into a USB socket.
posted by alms at 8:11 AM on December 8, 2010

Take a look anyway, they have lots of useful stuff, and I don't know but that they might have what you're looking for.
posted by From Bklyn at 10:07 AM on December 8, 2010

I needed a cooling solution for a new entertainment center and gave up trying to find an affordable plug and play ac solution. What I ended up with was a wall wart transformer supplying power to a computer case fan, with an inline thermostat on the positive line. The thermostat is readily available here in California at hardware stores - they are used in attic fans at 120v, but they work the same at 12v.
posted by Big_B at 11:09 AM on December 8, 2010

That sounds like the sort of thing you'd find at a hydroponics shop, if you're comfortable buying from those sorts of places. This sort of thing... (I know, that's a UK one)

A bit more googling turns up a similar thing in the US - not especially cheap though.
posted by ComfySofa at 1:12 PM on December 8, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks ComfySofa. That's about 4x more than I was hoping to pay, but it's good to know it exists.

I think I'll call this resolved. Between all the answers and a trip to Radio Shack I should be able to figure something out. Thanks all!
posted by alms at 8:20 PM on December 8, 2010

Best answer: Just one last note - I'd try running it as is, without a box but with a thermometer nearby, and see how much warmth it generates on its own.

Or, keep adding holes in the box until it comes to a balanced temperature.

(I think passive solutions are the best...)


12 Bucks.
posted by BleachBypass at 2:07 PM on December 12, 2010

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