Garage Electronics Rack

  Now that we have a place to put some machines, we need equipment to accompany the work. Not tools - No, we need electronics. Computers, music, telephones, and intercoms. All that stuff needs a central point from which to radiate - ergo, the need for an Equipment Rack. It will hold the patch panel for all thecabling (ethernet, intercom, speakers, etc.), any ethernet switches, a music amplifier, TV distribution, and any other electronics that will run the garage. You never know when you might need "The Google" like Mr. Bush did once. For more on this astoundingly amazing capability (and so that someone other than me knows about it), see the Garage Media System page.

  Blank Wall for Rack Cabinet The electronics cabinet will go in the upper corner here. Note the board attached to the ceiling to hold up that corner. Also note the power outlet to juice up the electronics.

  As is today. It has flush fitting doors on top and bottom. Originally, I was just going to mount a rack to the corner. But then I was a little worried about dirt and dust getting all over the wires. So I thought I would put it all in a cabinet. Even though it only needs to be half this big, I thought I may want to put a computer or other electronics in it to keep them dust free also. And how could I resist taking four days to do what I could have done in about an hour!

  This is the hole where all the cabling will come down through. There is also the plug to energize all the electricity hungry copper wiring.

  The ceiling frame is complete. I just couldn't resist hanging the rack. Of course I debated on which wall to put it. I started with it on this wall. But the door will swing into the cabinet, knocking off all the treasures on any possible shelf.

  The corner hanger is in place. The rack is still on the side wall. At this stage, there was not going to be any formal shelves. But seeing that expanse of wall to the left, I figured I could mount some shelves. It was about here I started thinking of making it a fully enclosed cabinet.

  Finally relocated the rack to the back wall. Now the front rack face will open to the right, without sweeping everything off the shelf. I used the old rack bone to make the shelf base. Note the left mid shelf base is inset to allow a channel for running wires (and leaking motor oil) down to the lower shelf once everything is buttoned up.

  The next day and nearing completion of the framing. I really got tired of a stupid FM radio and the staticky crap it plays (along with the commercials). So I pulled a one of the two house runs through and terminated one ethernet cable so I could get some Radio Paradise into the garage. Ahh . . . much better!

  When I first started thinking about the doors, I was going to overlap the frame, putting the doors on with flat hinges. But to make it a bit more finished, I decided to inset the doors. Here are the lower doors all hinged up.

  Doors all finished. An astute eye will see the Panduit connector that ties the blue ethernet run to the white patch cable. This was necessary to get reasonable music into the garage while working. One day, all the computer stuff will be either in proper drops or in the cabinet.

  Complete. Note the battens running down the center of the doors. This covers the giant gap that amateur carpentry creates. I'll put some handles or knobs on the doors and something that holds the doors closed.

  The inside of the lower cabinet. Note the chase for cables or leaking oil.

  Wiring up. Here I've mounted the top panel for keystones (cheap crap) and the lower panel for Panduit Ethernet jacks (expensive non-crap). I donated some old orange and black mini-coms to myself for the uplinks to the house. But it took me some time to decide to use my jacks I had for the remaining house jacks (blue and white) for the Ethernet. I robbed a Panduit panel from my cable tv install. I'm still short one in the house, but that will await another $50 or so. Nothing beats panduit. Those keystone jacks were the equivalent of dirt when it came to reliable etherent. But for simple speaker and F-Type cable, they are D-. Again, A+ for Panduit!

  A closer view of the panels in the rack hinged back in rest position. The Panduit panel gives lots of growth room. Note the Yellow, Red, Orange and Black donated min-coms to the far right. These are mostly uplinks except for the red (that's the garage telephone). Then the blue and whites are for the garage drops. The speaker banana jacks (one each for + and -) took a new soldering gun to get enough heat in them fast enough to keep from melting the trashy Chinese plastic crap mounts. The astute Chinese Crap Spotter will find one of the trashy little F-Type Keystone Connectors already out of position.

  This is a high drop for Cable TV and a single speaker. There are six of these drops up in each top corner of the garage, allowing multi-speaker and multi-TV installs. This will give me a place to put all the old CRTs.

  Fittin' Time! An old junker Sony amp (aren't they all?). This one's down from 5.1 channels to two - just enough to run the two TIC Corporation ASP120 outdoor speakers. Figured even though its insulated, the garage would be outside like in temps. Junker notebook running Radio Paradise into analog inputs..

  When I get my replacement media PC's I'll take the old ones and put in the top cabinet, then put a monitor and keyboard on the little table top. That's going to be my office, but I need to make a new chair (I have some 2x4's left I'll use). You see I have some important papers and a flashlight for night time work. Note one of the TIC ASP120 speakers.

  Here is the other speaker. This one had to have a new box put in to terminate the wires. I have six different locations where I ran speaker cable, but none here. That's OK cause I learned about "Old Work" boxless boxes for low voltage. Cutting and installing was easy. Running cable was a little less easy since I had to move floor above. Also installed the two line phone. Line 1 for regular phone. Line 2 goes to my KCE Technology FX-207 phone switch so I can call the house.

  The last bit of electronics. This is the Nutone 8" intercom that's plumbed into the house intercom. The 8" gives improved thump for the garage. Also, completed the etherent wiring (note the little blue spec - that's one of 11 Panduiut Minicom Cat5e jacks used for Etherent and phone. Also an old house TV that is getting excessed due to the move to HiDef and computer driven LCDs, Plasmas, and Projectors. Pretty cool - I watched NASCAR for the first time in 10 years (with the volume down so I don't start using double negatives and ending sentances with prepositions). What better program to watch in the garage!

Wire Me