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Old Nov 13, 2012, 03:12 AM   #1
cstromme
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This is probably a horrible idea; putting a Mac Mini in a mini-fridge

Just moved to a new house and had to place my Mac Mini server in the attic. Now this is really nice and cool at this time of the year, but during summer it's going to get blistering hot up there, meaning I have to find a solution that won't kill my Mac Mini and the two WD external drives I have connected to it.

Is there any good reason why I couldn't just buy a mini-fridge and put them inside that? The only thing I can think of is condensation building up, but I have no idea if that will be an issue or not.

Something like this.

And yes, I'm pretty sure this is a terrible idea, but I figured it was worth mentioning here and getting some feedback.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 03:19 AM   #2
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Condensation would be an issue, even with a quality fridge. It would also fall outside of the recommended operating temperature range as quoted by Apple. They aren't describing internal temperatures, which can get much higher on certain components.


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Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)
Storage temperature: -40° to 116° F (-40° to 47° C)
Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 03:23 AM   #3
cstromme
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That's what I figured as well (re: the condensation). I don't think the temperature would be much of a problem though as I could easily get a fridge to run at 7-9 degrees celsius, which is probably above the temperature in the room right now.

Anybody have any other suggestions? I would imagine a cooling pad wouldn't be able to combat summer temperatures in an attic.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 03:25 AM   #4
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That's what I figured as well (re: the condensation). I don't think the temperature would be much of a problem though as I could easily get a fridge to run at 7-9 degrees celsius, which is probably above the temperature in the room right now.

Anybody have any other suggestions? I would imagine a cooling pad wouldn't be able to combat summer temperatures in an attic.
Not to put too fine a point on it but the Mini is a very small computer, and a couple of external hard drives aren't that big either. Do you really have that little space in your house/apartment that you can't put them *somewhere*? (Bookshelf, etc.)
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 03:28 AM   #5
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Not to put too fine a point on it but the Mini is a very small computer, and a couple of external hard drives aren't that big either. Do you really have that little space in your house/apartment that you can't put them *somewhere*? (Bookshelf, etc.)
Nowhere that I have a direct ethernet cable to the router no. The two places (other than the attic) that have ethernet cables to the router are both places where there's no chance my fiancee will allow me to place the server and the drives, nor do I really want them there myself.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 03:38 AM   #6
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Some form of aircon, or something as simple as a domestic fan on a stand should keep you in range. Attics do get VERY hot though...If you can I'd try to find a place for them that isn't a heat magnet.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 03:53 AM   #7
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Place the mac mini and hard drives next to the entrance of the attic, get a desk fan to draw cool air from the living area and it should be ok, don't you think?
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 03:56 AM   #8
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Unfortunately there is no open entrance.

I think I might have to find another solution here, luckily I should have all winter to figure something out.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 03:58 AM   #9
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Unfortunately there is no open entrance.

I think I might have to find another solution here, luckily I should have all winter to figure something out.
Not even a door that you can leave open a few centimetres?
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 04:11 AM   #10
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No door. There's a hatch in the floor, but leaving that open means we'll see it in the ceiling in the office, so no luck.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 05:10 AM   #11
poloponies
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Ethernet cable is cheap and you're already in the attic. Fish it down a wall and put the Mini in a living space. Done.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 05:22 AM   #12
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Ethernet cable is cheap and you're already in the attic. Fish it down a wall and put the Mini in a living space. Done.
And swap the fiancee, if she "would not allow".
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 05:26 AM   #13
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condensation will KILL the mini in no time.

just built a little vented wood cabinet for the mini with one or two 20mm fans on the bottom.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 06:00 AM   #14
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No door. There's a hatch in the floor, but leaving that open means we'll see it in the ceiling in the office, so no luck.
Maybe you could cut open a 120mm x 120mm hole in the hatch, put a vent in it and attach a fan behind it.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 06:55 AM   #15
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That's what I figured as well (re: the condensation). I don't think the temperature would be much of a problem though as I could easily get a fridge to run at 7-9 degrees celsius, which is probably above the temperature in the room right now.

Anybody have any other suggestions? I would imagine a cooling pad wouldn't be able to combat summer temperatures in an attic.
a wine cooler

it has humidity and temps that are better then a mini fridge.

most are at 55f.

also a cigar humidor not sure if you can get one that is big enough.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:09 AM   #16
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Condensation won´t be a problem inside the fridge. Condensation happens when something cold hits something warm, not the other way around.
Think of it this way, your cold beer will create condensation on the glas inside the bar, but your hot chocolate will not create condensation when you´re outside skiing in the cold air.

However, no normal fridge can cool consistently, it´ll overheat and brake if it has to be full on 24/7. Which it probably would have to be if you put something (i.e. a computer) inside it that generated heat.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:33 AM   #17
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I was going to say you can try to find one of those portable rolling air conditioners... But you would have to run it all day and that would get super expensive. unless it cools down up there in the evenings?
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:49 AM   #18
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Putting something like that in a fridge will most likely break the fridge, if it has a compressor it will overheat and switch off.

Could you just not put a desk fan on and point it towards your Mini+drives? The ambient temperature won't be any cooler, but you should be able to bleed some of the heat off into the air.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:49 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cstromme View Post
Just moved to a new house and had to place my Mac Mini server in the attic. Now this is really nice and cool at this time of the year, but during summer it's going to get blistering hot up there, meaning I have to find a solution that won't kill my Mac Mini and the two WD external drives I have connected to it.

Is there any good reason why I couldn't just buy a mini-fridge and put them inside that? The only thing I can think of is condensation building up, but I have no idea if that will be an issue or not.

Something like this.

And yes, I'm pretty sure this is a terrible idea, but I figured it was worth mentioning here and getting some feedback.
Why did you have to place your Mini server in the attic? Are your other rooms really so small that there's no room for a Mac Mini?
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:51 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cstromme View Post
Just moved to a new house and had to place my Mac Mini server in the attic. Now this is really nice and cool at this time of the year, but during summer it's going to get blistering hot up there, meaning I have to find a solution that won't kill my Mac Mini and the two WD external drives I have connected to it.

Is there any good reason why I couldn't just buy a mini-fridge and put them inside that? The only thing I can think of is condensation building up, but I have no idea if that will be an issue or not.

Something like this.

And yes, I'm pretty sure this is a terrible idea, but I figured it was worth mentioning here and getting some feedback.
I know you say there is "no where else" you can put it, but many of us have faced the same issues and have come up with some pretty creative fixes.

For example in my new house:
1. All the phone wire was actually Cate5e then switched to standard RG11 connectors. I was able to hack off the RG11 and attach a proper Ethernet connector (actually an Ethernet plate with a CAT5E recepticle). Now in all bedrooms we have Ethernet (which can also can be used as standard telephone "port")
2. I had one place where I couldn't run ethernet into a cabinet in my living room. Instead I used a MOCA setup that sends ethernet signals over COAX. They run upwards of 400mb/s (although mine is a cheap one that only does 100mb/s but it is only a run for a couple of media streamers so 100mb/s is more than enough for that).
3. The last option off the top of my head is Ethernet over power. Turns your whole electrical system in your house into ethernet wires.
4. What about running a wire into the attic and down using paintable raceway? I've used that in a few places and once you paint it to match the walls, it is really hard to tell without looking closely.
5. What about moving your whole setup? I've recommended moving people's entire networks to their living rooms so they can directly wire stuff. You can always hide stuff in cabinets and/or behind other components and never even realize it is there.

These are just a few. Frankly, I'm not sure you even want to leave your mini in the attic for the winter, but that's just me.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:57 AM   #21
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Get an Airport Extreme/Express and add that to one of the network cables (the current system hard wires to it) and put the MM and drives on a book shelf or somewhere.

Do you have the actual server without the wireless card? If so, good luck.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:07 AM   #22
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A mac mini and HDs combined are the size of 2 large books. You can't stash them in the basement or something?
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:13 AM   #23
cstromme
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Yeah I'm probably going to see if I can't find somewhere else to put them next year. Thanks for all the good suggestions.

And just to clarify, it's not about not having the space to put them, but they have to be somewhere where the noise isn't an issue and they don't stand out. Also the good thing about the attic is that it's probably the only room where it's okay to have a "messy" setup with an old 12" LCD display hooked up to it at all times.

At this point I'm considering building an isolated box for them, with proper cooling, and placing that outside behind the house where it's not visible (have a pretty nifty storage space underneath the porch).
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:39 AM   #24
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This is probably a bit beyond the topic, but since some people have been complaining about the heat of the new mini it seems interesting to think about ways to cool it.

Presumably the mini uses its aluminium case as a heatsink to some extent, so it occurs to be that you could probbaly build a heat exchanger and butt it up to the outside of the case. Perhaps a lump of metal with drilled out channels to allow water to run through it. This could be fed by a simple drip of water from the mains, a closed pumped system with anoether exchanger to dissapate the heat, or an actively cooled system with a heatpump. There must be components or even complete systems you could buy or modify. Probably a lot more hassle than just making a box in your porch though.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:46 AM   #25
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My biggest question at this point is if it will get hot underneath the porch during summer. The house is just 2 years old, and the previous owner didn't really live there, so he probably has no idea.
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