Equipment racks say a lot about your AV Contractor

If you are considering setting up a AV integrator in your home or the office, you may want to have a look at your potential contractor’s previous racks on other job sites, this is a great indication of good industry practice.

Here are some simple points to bare in mind when looking at the back of the AV rack you are evaluating:

Appearance and equipment location:

Knowing what to look for when it comes to appearance may seem daunting; however logic plays a big part when it comes to identifying if the rack is in the right order.

-At the top: should be the contractor’s identification as well as what wireless gear.

-In the centre: should be all the user-operated equipment

-On the base: amplifiers, and all other heavy equipment

-Switching and routing equipment should be organised based on the way the cables enter the rack
-Power supplies should be mounted or places on rack shelves.

Wires and simplification:

Simplicity is key to any well-operated system, so why not expect it when it comes to the wiring and organisation of your AV rack?

-Velcro cable wraps should be used for easy and re-usable cables organisation.

-There should be a sufficient loop on each termination to allow for re-terminating

-Cables should be separated by signal type whenever possible

-For easy identification wires should be labelled 1-2 cm from connectors

-Lacing bars vertically and horizontally should also be visible, this being used for the general organisation as well.

 ADA accessibility

While every piece of equipment installed in an AV equipment rack does not need to be accessible to presenters, certain pieces –for example, computers and DVD players — often do.

-The accessibility of the rack itself should be wide enough for wheelchair-bound users to be able to access- one would be looking at between 32’’ to approximately 48’’.

-Relating to the equipment location as previously discussed, wheelchair-bound users should also be able to access the user-operable equipment, in order to achieve this a rack should not exceed a maximum of 48’’ in height.

Heat maintenance

Heat plays a big role in the consistency and productivity of your rack, when inspecting a rack, bear these tips in mind,

-Internal rack temperature should not exceed 85 degrees

-In a rack using convection cooling

-> The hottest devices should be at the bottom of the rack to maximize upward airflow

-> The top of the rack should be fully vented

-In a rack using forced air cooling

-> Larger slower spinning fans are more reliable than faster fans

-> Vents should be at least five rack units away from cooling fans

->There should be an inlet air filter in dusty locations


  • Adjacent racks with similar equipment should be organized in a matching fashion