Introduction: Home Theater Cabinet Cooler

Have you ever felt how warm the your expensive home theater electronics get sitting in a cabinet? Have you ever had any thing shutdown do to over heating? Wondered if the heat is shortening the lifespan of your expensive electronics?

I decided that I had had enough. Even with keeping the cabinet doors open, it was still getting warmer then I liked and even occasionally going into thermal shutdown after a long movie. So here is my solution...

Parts used:

1x CAN_D box - brains of the operation

1x 140mm computer fan - the cooling device for the cooling system

1x Scotch bright pad - filter to keep things clean

1x 12v 1A wall wart / transformer - power supply

?? ft masking tape - used for many parts of this operation

Tools used:

Computer / USB cable - programming the CAN_D box

Wire cutters, strippers, and crimper - necessary tools of the trade

Jig saw - great for making a big hole

Drill & bits - mounting holes for fan

Pen / marker - so the hole doesn't look like a 5 year old was playing with dads tools

Screw driver - hopefully one that fits the screws that come with the fan

DMM - for figuring out which wire is + and which is - on the power supply

Step 1: Coding CAN_D

The code for this project is simple

Get a bunch of temp readings

Average them to smooth things out

If the temp is hot, turn on the fan

If the temp is cold, turn off the fan

To program CAN_D just connect a USB cable from your computer to the box. Then compile and upload.

(Note: due to the current state of CAN_D multiple programs are required to compile / upload to the box. Hopefully with in the next year I can get some help modifying the Arduino IDE to work with the CAN_D box)

See attached files for the full code

Step 2: Get Data

Although the CAN_D box has an internal temperature sensor, its location inside the microcontroller which is inside the plastic box makes its accuracy for direct measurements somewhat inaccurate. So in order to simplify life by continuing to use the built in sensor, additional data is needed.

Using the CAN_D box, and a laptop with a serial data plotting program (SearialChart), temp data was obtained under multiple conditions to see how the system was behaving.

Ambient / room temp (75*) - CAN_D reading 115*F

TV cabinet doors open - 139*F

TV cabinet doors closed (after 2hr movie) - 155+*F (temp was still rising)

Using this data an on temp of 150* and an off temp of 135* were chosen

Step 3: Fan Install

With the right tools the fan install went faster and better then i could have hoped for.

  • Cover both sides of the "wood" with masking tape to keep it from disintegrating when being touched with power tools
  • Place the fan on the inside of the cabinet and mark the mounting holes
  • Drill out the 4 mounting holes
  • Using a couple of drill bits inserted through the new holes. Hold the fan on the backside of the board and mark the circle to be cut
  • Cut out a big and hopefully circular hole and remove the tape
  • Using the screws that came with the fan, mount the fan on the inside of the cabinet (Blowing INTO the cabinet)
  • Lastly slap the simple scotchbright pad filter on the backside with some extra tape

Step 4: CAN_D Install

Grab a 12v wall-wart (transformer) out of your box of random wires (I know you have one... we all do...)

  • Cut off the end
  • Use a voltmeter / DMM to figure out which wire is + and which is -
  • Cut / strip / crimp all of the power wires and fan wires
  • Insert the wires into the CAN_D box connectors as shown
  • Mount the box using screws or double sided tape
  • Plug all of the connectors in

And your done with this project!

For more info on CAN_D boxes please see the next step or visit

Step 5: CAN_D Info

CAN_D is a project I started summer of 2014 to develop a simple / universal box that can be used in most electronics projects. The idea is to replace the current hobbyist method of a dev board (Arduino, Raspberry PI, ect) and breadboard combo, with a single enclosed box. This project demonstrates one very simple use of the powerful little box. For this project I used one of my hand soldered prototypes so the PCB / components are not all present or soldered quite straight.

Please continue to follow my Inscrutables for more CAN_D uses, and please visit my website for more info on CAN_D (

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