When we were planning the Automated Home 2.0, we knew we’d need a high quality 19″ data rack and so we turned to UK experts Penn Elcom.
The Data Cabinet
We have a slightly different layout here than in the old house. The Epitome Living team ran all our data and audio cables to a Penn Elcom wall mounted cabinet in the garage. The R6425-12UK (video) is a 12U unit, 250mm deep with a locking glass door. It’s M6 threaded and has cable management and knock-outs on the top, back and base.
Inside, the speaker cables from each room are wired into speakON connectors and the data cables are terminated into modular CAT6 keystones in a 1U patch panel.
All the cables between this cabinet high on the wall, and the 19″ rack below are neatly enclosed in zip-up cable tidies, providing a neat umbilical between both units. This break out arrangement has the advantage of allowing the rack to be completely disconnected from the house wiring.
The 19″ Rack
We chose the 4086-V-42UK (video) data rack to sit below the wall mount cabinet. This is a 42U unit that’s also M6 threaded (so no pesky cage nuts to deal with). It’s a 600mm wide x 800mm deep floor standing rack and we added the optional dual caster and foot setup to make it easy to move. We chose the locking perforated steel door for a cool look and a practical protection as the unit sits in the corner of our garage. The doors and sides are all on quick releases so removable in seconds without tools. This provides all the access when you need it while looking really neat once you’re done.
Over spec’ing on the rack height means we have plenty of extra room inside. This allows for future expansion (we’ve already used some of that extra capacity) and has the added advantage of providing more space for cable management and heat dissipation.
Penn Elcom have their own manufacturing facilities in the UK and offer a huge range of accessories, with everything you need to kit out any rack project. We’re still running this Synology NAS and Mac mini server combo so we got the Penn Elcom R1498 Mac mini custom shelf with a magnetic front and their standard 4U shelf unit holds the NAS.
The EL team made a neat rack mount DIN Rail enclosure for the Loxone Audio Server and extensions. The 2U shelf below holds the 12 channel amp for our whole house audio system, and a mesh shelf above provides a home for our HDHomeRun and myenergi and Airthings hub, along with some other bits and pieces. Other accessories we used include some 1U Brush Plates, a few solid and vented panel spacers, and 4 of these PDU6-UK on the rear to distribute power. To finish things off I’d like to use PE’s custom service to create one of these Laser Etched Panels to go at the top of the rack.
Is a rack build ever finished? It always feels like a work in progress, just waiting for the next addition or upgrade. But with this top quality hardware from Penn Elcom, we’re ready for anything.