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Cooling a small box in the attic

5987 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  ScottR
I just moved into a house that has about a dozen Cat5e cables with RJ45 terminations gathered into one spot in the attic, where it awaits a network switch to tie everything together. I put a remote temperature sensor up there and it hit 130 degrees with it being only 92 degrees outside. I had a fan blowing on it too. When the dog days of summer hit, it will only get worse. My network switch is rated at a max operating temp of 122 degrees.

I looked at extending the dozen Cat5e cables down through the ceiling into a nearby closet, but then I thought, "why suffer the signal loss of extending the cables with female-to-female couplers when there's a freakin' air conditioner and duct work within 3 feet of the switch location. I thought it might be either clever or ridiculously stupid to put the switch in a small enclosure and somehow tap into the existing AC duct work to cool the case. The case would only be about 12" wide x 8" deep x 3" high. Could a small hose be run from a nearby duct into the enclosure? How would I manage air flow within the enclosure?

Completely clueless,

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  1. Yes, I would definitely need to remember to disconnect the enclosure from the duct when we start using the heat during the winter!
  2. I have a managed switch with a web interface to configure and monitor each port as well as perform a soft-reset. This would save me the hassle of going into the attic to check on status, but if I needed a power-reset I'd still have to go up there. Good point.
  3. I was concerned about signal integrity, but if I get decent Cat5e-rated female-to-female couplers to extend the runs into the living space I suppose I should be OK. I just know that whenever you introduce a connection, you will change the signal-to-noise ratio, even if it's a small amount.
Thanks for the feedback.

I'm off to my cable shop...

It's not just for Winter, even during Summer the A/C will cycle on and off, there will be times when the attic is very hot but the A/C isn't running.

The couplers shouldn't cause you any issues. Especially since it is a managed switch, with more power consumption thus more heat, I still say try to get it out of the attic.
I've decided to do as you suggest. For $90, I can extend all 10 runs with shielded couplers into a nearby closet that will serve my purposes just fine.

The risk of screwing something up is much lower this way.



Thanks for your suggestion and for confirmation that I'm not completely out to lunch for considering such a solution. I went to Fry's and bought the necessary cables and couplers. The funny thing is that they had a sale on terminated hot-pink Cat5e cables from Cables Unlimited in the exact lengths I was looking for. They even have fake diamond jewels on the hoods! The slogan on the package reads, "Ka-BLING, where cables and bling come together!" They would be perfect for wiring a human-sized Barbie house. They'll be in the attic and in a closet, so they won't be a source of embarrassment until we ever decide to sell the house.


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