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iPad Cart for School Answered

I am a teacher in a public school with a limited budget.  Our community has bought 50 iPads for the students coming up next year, but did not budget anything for a cart.  The administration has tasked me with solving the issue on the cheap and I seek your help.  The requirements are:

Preferably, it's mobile. 
It needs to be locked.  This can be a simple padlock  with a latch.
My colleagues hope to have two carts of 25 each, but three carts of 20 each (with some empty slots, obviously) is okay.
They have not told me if needs to power AND sync, or just power.  At present the cart they have only powers them up.
For IPad accessories, what's in the box is what I have.

My school is looking to do this very cheaply--a simple box with a power strip inside is preferable than a big cash outlay, but I'd like to do better than that.  I certainly don't want to spend the year dealing with small issues that come up with middle school students being unable to do this or that.

I have thought of using a two drawer filing cabinet (top for iPads, bottom for the guts)  and a 24 USB port hub with AC adapter.  But I could make a box out of wood, too.  I know it needs ventilation, but ideas on this end are appreciated.  I tinker and build but my tech knowledge hits a wall, which is why I'm looking to crowdsource this to success.

Thanks in advance.


I'd personally opt for a server cabinet on wheels. They're great as you can easily make/get various U sized adaptations for various tasks.

here's an example: http://www.comms-express.com/products/12u-600-w-x-600-d-prism-data-cabinet-data-rack/

This particular one is pricey, but there are loads out there.

If you have a look at this:


You can see how adaptable they are.. Those shelves are easily adjustable, its esy to make new adapted shelving i.e. for horizontal (or probably in your case vertical placement of the units.

The backs of server cabinets often have built in cooling, if not, there's ventilation and provision for fans to be installed. They also usually have the 4-6-8-10-20 way mains connections built in too. On top of this, they are lockable.

I've seen somewhere, maybe for mass laptop storage, get a set of those metal file folder organizer racks, wire or solid metal. It makes it easy to slide ipads in and pull it out of the bunch. You can then use any rolling or lockable cabinet to store them to fit. I'm from NYC so I would prefer a metal cage of some sort and ensure the doors can't be pilfered open just enough to slide an ipad through the crack. You can always drill a set of holes for ventilation or cut a window hole to fix in some metal screen or louvers. Depending on the ipad, the newer ones require 2amp or 1 amp power supplies, you might need several separate powered hubs to connect so you don't overload a hub. Powered hubs are ones that have an external power supply attached. Go on ebay to source a bunch of replacement charging cables to use when they get worn out. Good luck.