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Author Topic: Rackmount retrofit kits  (Read 1138 times)
WU7X
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« on: May 06, 2004, 02:11:50 PM »

An audiophile friend of mine has a neat caster mounted rackmount system that is only 3-4 feet tall and is angled back about 45 deg.  

I am wondering if anyone makes or sells rackmount retrofit kits for ham equipment. I assume such kits would have to include shelves to hold the ham equipment as few pieces are built specifically for rackmounting.  The parts I would like to install on a similar rack would be, from bottom to top: my Astron 35 amp rackmount ready power supply, my Kenwood TL-992A amp, a Palstar 1500CV tuner, and my TS-850S transciever. I may even consider getting a rackmount ready computer case thus cleaning up my desktop.

Any suggestions or tips are welcome.

Dale WU7X
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2004, 05:39:38 PM »

You might want to re-think this; unless you're completely out of floor space and need to stack all your equipment in a vertical space as a rack equipment cabinet does, such mounting is highly inconvenient to actual operating.  For equipment that requires hands-on adjustment, like your TL922, Palstar tuner and TS850S, having equipment at three different heights above ground, including having the amp down so low you'll have to bend over to reach it, does not make for comfortable nor efficient operating.

I own lots of rack mounted equipment, but would never consider mounting my ham gear that way -- unless, that is, some day when the station is so completely automated it requires no adjustments.  Then, it wouldn't matter where it is!

If, however, you're really set on this idea, Knurr makes a great line of quality rack mount cabinets, workstations, adapter kits and hardware that is reasonably priced and not overly heavy.

http://www.knurr.com

WB2WIK/6
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N3ZKP
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2004, 12:33:21 AM »

Not to mention the heat buildup inside the rack cabinet from the amp ...

Lon
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AA4PB
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2004, 09:40:16 AM »

I use three racks with sloping fronts similar to what you are talking about. I got them at hamfests. They bolt together to make a caster mounted assembly about six feet wide and they have a desk-top work area in the front. These racks are available from the electronic supply houses but are quite expensive new (probably about $1500 for an assembly like I use).

You can find custom rack mounting kits for some equipment (the Icom PRO for example). You can purchase various size shelving units for other equipment. In some cases I custom made my own mounting panels.

Heat build up is not a problem as there is plenty of open space in the rack and the back is open.
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WU7X
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2004, 08:37:18 PM »

I tend to agree with AA4PB.  My friends rack is open in the back,and air can circulate freely.  As far as reaching the various components goes, I control my TS-850 pretty much through computer software.  I have marked the various positions for both SSB and CW on the front of the linear, and the tuner should be very easy to reach in the center of the stack.

Consider this: instead of having to crawl over the top of my desk to get at all the wiring connecting all this equipment, all I have to do is to turn the rack around on it's casters.  If in the event there is heat build up, I can install 12 volt fans alongside and between the various pieces of equipment. The hardest thing I see going for this arrangement is cutting the front panels to make everything look really professional. My buddy's rack, btw, is probably 22" wide, rather than 6 feet, so it is pretty maneuverable.  

If I can get this going over the next couple of months, I'll take some photos so you guys can see what it looks like.

Thanks for the input from all of you.  I respect all of your comments, and would like to hear more.

73,

Dale WU7X
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WU7X
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2004, 08:38:17 PM »

I tend to agree with AA4PB.  My friends rack is open in the back,and air can circulate freely.  As far as reaching the various components goes, I control my TS-850 pretty much through computer software.  I have marked the various positions for both SSB and CW on the front of the linear, and the tuner should be very easy to reach in the center of the stack.

Consider this: instead of having to crawl over the top of my desk to get at all the wiring connecting all this equipment, all I have to do is to turn the rack around on it's casters.  If in the event there is heat build up, I can install 12 volt fans alongside and between the various pieces of equipment. The hardest thing I see going for this arrangement is cutting the front panels to make everything look really professional. My buddy's rack, btw, is probably 22" wide, rather than 6 feet, so it is pretty maneuverable.  

If I can get this going over the next couple of months, I'll take some photos so you guys can see what it looks like.

Thanks for the input from all of you.  I respect all of your comments, and would like to hear more.

73,

Dale WU7X
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2004, 05:05:58 PM »

No sweat.  The average RETMA rack equipment cabinet has 19" rail spacing and is between 22" (very narrow!) and 26" (more typical) wide.  In most situations, the wider, the better, as there's more room for ventilation alongside, as well as in front of and behind, the equipment -- and there's also space for "cable management," including perhaps a vertically installed AC outlet strip or two.

The average cabinet is also 31" deep, which may or may not be deep enough for some of your larger items.  Some large amplifiers can be almost that deep, so they might hang a bit out the back of the cabinet -- but if you don't use a rear door, that shouldn't matter.

As for serviceablity and accessibility, my regular operating "desks" provide that just fine, since they're on casters and everything is configured with cable loops behind the equipment, so I can take the entire desk and pull it out away from the wall towards the center of the room, and all the gear comes with it.  I've been doing that for about 30 years now, and to me, it's the only thing that makes sense...unless you have a large enough room to make a walkway behind the gear, which is even nicer!

I've had rack cabinet mounted equipment, and still have test gear installed that way, but it is inconvenient to adjust anything that's not within comfortable reach when seated in a chair.  If I have to bend over or stretch to reach some control, that becomes old very fast.  That's why station consoles, mixing boards in recording studios, and almost anything requiring adjustment is almost always installed "horizontally," rather than vertically stacked.  It's just more comfortable.

Then, when installing equipment that requires no adjustments at all, such as computer room servers, telephone central office equipment and so forth, vertically stacking is the most space efficient means and is almost always used.

Good luck whichever way you go!

WB2WIK/6
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WU7X
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2004, 10:49:50 AM »

There is another way to go that doesn't require a rack mounting system.  I am familiar with it because I have ordered three of these desks for at work.  A company called Anthro Cart makes a line of desks, carts, etc. One of their products is a curved desk that is on very large casters. The neat thing is you can modify it by adding all kinds of additions shelves, computer platforms, etc.  Take a look here to see what they look like:

http://www.anthro.com/_Ac/AC_Cnsl_Naked.asp

I have no financial interest in this company, just like their products!  

Dale WU7X
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WA1WLA
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2004, 10:43:27 PM »


I wouldn't have it any other way, I have all my equipment rack mounded for a long time.
(Ask for a picture)
I have a double bay table top console that is easy to reach all the equipment.
Go here  www.novexcomm.com They make rack panels for every radio except the TS-850
WA1WLA
Constantine
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