Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A very cool Tivo

My Series 2 Tivo lives inside a cabinet, atop a VHS player, with the cabinet doors closed and locked to defend the electronics from my two young children. The stereo amp and DVD player are on the other side of the cabinet separated by a partition.

The Tivo gets hot. It's got a 2nd hard drive installed, and it routinely reports 60-66C as the internal temperature. It seems to work fine, but in the interest of component longevity I decided to add some additional cooling.

With the small dimension of the case, the only logical spot was a top mounted exhaust fan, over the Tivo motherboard. I wanted to use a low speed 120 mm fan, but it wouldn't clear the second hard drive. I opted for a 92 mm fan in an 80 mm bracket, a Silverstone FN82 for $3.99 from Newegg. I added a finger-proof grill to the order. The fan is rated at 36 CFM and 26 dBa. Since it's in the closed cabinet I figured I'd never hear this noise over the background, not to mention the TV volume.

Here's picture of the fan with the grill laid on top:

Pretty snazzy lookin', huh. Next step was to put a hole in the top of the Tivo case. Using a handy hole saw at work, I discovered that old, worn out hole saws are ineffective on sheet metal. On to the Dremel, which promptly used up all its cutoff wheels before the hole was complete. Finally, I grabbed the tin snips. Ahh, all finished. A little bit of grinding smoothed out the edges. Check out this fine craftsmanship:

Here's the finishing pics, both inside and out. The black square inside the case is a piece of vinyl damping material left over from an old project. The fan fits nicely in the hole.

All of this would be for nothing if the Tivo wasn't running cooler. Here's the result...
  • Stock Tivo with its exhaust fan and 2nd hard drive: 60-66C
  • Tivo with its cover removed: 48C
  • Tivo with top mounted exhaust fan: 40C
Not only is the Tivo temperature sensor, wherever it is, running cooler, but the two hard drives are significantly cooler to the touch. I am satisfied.

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