Modern day TV stands may look great aesthetically, but can lead to problems of heat build up when the doors are closed and can result in fried electronics. After being forced to enjoy audio/visual entertainment with the TV stand doors propped open, I decided to come up with a solution that is not only practical, but looks cool as well!
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Step 1: Buy a Computer Fan
These can be picked up at any electronics store. I picked up this LED computer fan which has the heat transfer fan, as well as blue LED lights built in. It was on sale for $10, but usually runs around $18. I opted for the larger fans to transfer more heat from a larger space.
Step 2: Obtain a Small Electronics Transformer
Most of us have these lying around our house. They are the power cords from random electronics that we no longer have or use. Check the voltage requirement as well as the amperage requirement on the back of the fan packaging to ensure that your transformer will adequately power the number of fans you are choosing to use. I chose two, one for each side of the stand. The best way to connect the fans is in parallel, meaning both fans connect directly to the transformer, as opposed to in serial, meaning one fan attaches to the transformer, and the next fan attaches to the previous. By connecting parallel, each fan is getting the full power of the transformer, instead of each successive fan getting half of the previous fan's power.
Step 3: Prepare the Cords
Cut the ends off of the transformer cord, as well as the fan cords. Ensure you have a current tester to figure out which side is the positive (+) and negative (-) from your transformer wire. Your fan should have a red (+) and black (-) wire, but you might want to connect the wires with some wire nuts and plug it in to test it before you use a more permanent wire attachment. I used crimp style terminal wire connectors, to maintain an in-line connection for easier wire running.
Step 4: Prepare the Space
Measure the diameter of the fan, and then use a marker to draw a circle on the back of the stand where you would like to install the fan. I chose the center of each compartment, since I only used two fans. Depending on the amount of heat you need to dissipate, you may opt for two fans on each side. Cut out the circle using a box cutter or exacto knife. Place the fan over the circle and use a drill to drill out the corner holes to mount the fan. Using bolts with nuts, secure the fan to the back of the TV stand.
Step 5: Connect an Optional Switch
I purchased a fan power switch for $3 from Walmart, to be able to control the power to the fans so that they are only running when your electronics are on. In today's austere economy, we all can save power and money whenever we can. The positive wire should be the wire that connects to the switch. I chose to mount it to the inside of the cabinet on the underside of the top, where it was easily accessible, but out of sight when the door is closed. I mounted it using a 3M Command strip.
Step 6: Make It Look Professional
Nothing can ruin the looks of a mod more than sloppy work. Wires hanging down everywhere makes for an unsightly job, and can get snagged on a variety of things, possibly ripping the wire out. There are a variety of methods to mount wire, from clips to even strapping tape. The important thing is to run the wire where it is out of sight of the unknowing observer.
Step 7: Final Test
Plug the cord in, and then flip the switch on and off to ensure each fan is working properly. It is up to you whether you want the fans blowing into the space, blowing out of the space, or some combination of the two. Depending on how much space you will have behind your TV stand, you may find that one works better than the other. If a fan is not working, check the connections to ensure that no wires came disconnected during the install, or to make sure that you didn't accidentally cross-wire the positive and negative wires. Your final result will be saved electronics as well as a cool backlit effect for your entertainment center!