* Cooling the Overhead Electronics Cabinets *


In most motorhomes, the electronic equipment for the TV and audio systems is contained in overhead cabinets above the dash area. Due to the location, and to the fact that the front cap area is not as well insulated as the rest of the motorhome, these cabinets get much DoorMeshwarmer than the rest of the living area. Now you cram into these small cabinets a VCR and/or DVD player, Satellite TV tuner, satellite dish control box, TV switch box, surround sound equipment, etc. The cabinets are already quite warm! You have added to that the heat of the electronic equipment, and you can have equipment failures due to excessive heat.

Some owners have wired 12v fans into the cabinet areas to help exhaust the hot air. Though these fans pull a small amount of power, I wanted a solution that did not require the use of 12v battery or 125v inverter/shore power.

I decided a simple way to help ventilate the hot cabinets would be to replace the smoked glass in the cabinet doors with wire mesh. The glass was easily removeable, but I had trouble finding a small gauge wire mesh. After several trips to big-box hardware stores with no success, one day while browsing in a Camping World store I came across some aluminum mesh disposable grill toppers. I had recorded the glass size in my PocketPC, so pulled out the measurements and compared them to the size of the toppers. Each of the 4 pieces of glass was apx 8 1/4" x 14". I found I would need one topper for each glass, so bought 4 of the disposable aluminum mesh toppers for $8.54. On the way back to the RV park, I stopped at a WalMart and bought a can of gloss black spray paint for $3.37.

DoorMesh After removing the glass from the doors, I pulled the plastic wrap-around edges off the glass. As the glass was held in by plastic clips against the plastic edging, I decided the best way to secure the wire mesh would be to re-use the wrap-around edging on the mesh piece for each door. After careful measuring, I used an old pair of scissors to cut the mesh to apx 1" oversize all around. (Don't use the wife's good sewing scissors -- they probably will work great, but her appreciation and admiration of your finished product will be greatly reduced!!). I then folded each side over apx 1/2". This provided for a secure fit of the plastic wrap-around pieces on the four edges of the mesh. Before putting the edges on the mesh, I laid the mesh out on a newspaper and spray painted each piece black, turning it to ensure I covered both sides.

In a short time the paint was dry, I slipped the edges onto the painted mesh, popped each one into a door, and secured them with the plastic clips that had held the orignal smoked glass. My total cost was $11.91 and about 1 hr labor. The appearance of the doors with the black wire mesh is very close to the original appearance with smoked glass. The final result is good looking doors and much better air circulation into the cabinets resulting in lower temperatures for the electronics that live there! If I feel I need forced circulation, I have a 6" 120v "desk fan" that will fit on the shelf just inside the metal mesh, pulling cool air into the enclosure and forcing hot air out on the other levels.

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