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Exercising my DVR

John Wilson

John Wilson

Posted Sep 28, 2009

This last weekend my 5 year old daughter was watching a cake baking challenge on the family’s favorite channel, The Food Network.  It is the only channel that we have found that meets our basic parental criteria of providing entertainment without ever having to answer any questions related to bodily functions (or worse) that may be advertised during the breaks from good wholesome programming.   Allowing our kids to watch actual kid specific television would inevitability lead to questions about the toys we have and the cereal we eat, or worse.  In short,  watching cake competitions makes the whole family happy, for different reasons.  The truth is my kids love watching the cake challenges.

This weekend was particularly warm which caused our DVR, and our daughter, to issue an alarm.

I think the temperature was about 148 when the warning was issued but by the time I initiated my emergency cooling measures and thought about capturing some pictures for a blog the temperature had reduced to 132.

Emergency cooling

As a temperature aware consumer I think it is great that the set top box actually displays the temperature allowing the customer to be more thermally connected to the electronic devices they use.  I must admit that I really enjoyed watching the temperature drop when I put the fan in front of it.

As a thermal engineer, when I look at the above picture, I shake my head side to side in dismay.  First, all of the electronics are shelved in a cabinet with glass doors on the front.  You may notice one thermal/airflow modification I made to the rear of the cabinet where I drilled holes with the biggest drill bit I have.  I did this after the box issued the temperature warning the second time.  If a customer asked my what I thought this change would provide I would tell them it would have little to no effect.  If my wife asked me I would probably spin it a little differently.  It did make me feel a little better after I drilled the holes,  at least I did something.  Still, basically I am running everything stored in a sealed box.

The second, perhaps less significant, issue is that the right side inlet to the set top box is about an inch away from the wall.  Not exactly the way to get unfettered air across the electronics…maybe I should drill a hole in the side of the cabinet.

A couple of other points:  Yes, we still have a VCR, I hope to replace it with a Wii at Christmas time.  Will I change anything to try to prevent the overheating from happening again?  Good question.

Set Top Box, Consumer Electronics, Temperature Aware

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About John Wilson

John WilsonJohn Wilson joined Mentor Graphics Corporation, Mechanical Analysis Division (formerly Flomerics Ltd) in 1999. John has worked on or managed more than 100 thermal and airflow design projects. His modeling and design knowledge range from Electronics Cooling IC packaging level to Data Centers and Clean Rooms. He has extensive experience in IC package level test and analysis correlation through his work at Mentor Graphics' San Jose based Thermal Test Facility. He is currently the Consulting Engineering Manager, WRO in the Mechanical Analysis Division. Visit John R Wilson's Blog

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