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Author Topic: JNIOR in a drawer
Bruce Cloutier
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From: Gibsonia, PA, USA
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 - posted 03-14-2019 03:23 PM      Profile for Bruce Cloutier   Author's Homepage   Email Bruce Cloutier   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Often the JNIOR is just left loose on the bottom of a pedestal or somehow hung on the back of the rack. I had mentioned in some other thread how a drawer can make for a cleaner (more gratifying) installation. So I tried it.

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This is a 1U Sliding Rackmount Drawer (UD1) I grabbed from Rackmount Solutions for $120. You guys can probably find better pricing. Point is that the JNIOR and any accessories can be laid out inside easily and mounted just with double-sided tape (if you don't feel like drilling). There is an oval breakout at the back of the drawer for cabling. Plus I have some cable management sticky gadgets around that we'll use when we wire this up to make it all layout pretty. I'm thinking about showing this off at CinemaCon just to try maybe to encourage neater installs.

Do you think that this might be a problem if everyone had such easy access to the wiring? You know, curiosity might cause someone to accidentally disturb things. I suppose you could get a drawer with a lock. But, my bet is that you'll tell me that the $100+ drawer is a hard sell. Plus it would probably collect dust and not be so nice when you open it. What do you think?

People are replacing the Christie ACT with our Panel and a JNIOR. In the future we hope to offer an alternative.

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Frank Cox
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 - posted 03-14-2019 05:02 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How often does the average user need to access that gadget anyway? I have personally never physically touched mine. It was installed in the base of my projector pedestal (screwed to the side) when the tech installed the rest of the system and has never required any attention since then, at all.

I don't think you need a drawer. Just a shelf that extends into the rack with a front cover that screws onto the rack like everything else. Put a cover over the shelf so it turns into a shell, and you're all set. Your shelf probably doesn't need to be more than about, what, maybe ten inches deep if you mount the gadget facing in, maybe six inches if you mount it horizontally instead?? I'd be surprised if the whole thing (shelf and cover) weighs more than two pounds.

A sheet metal guy could probably make you a stack of shelves and covers for a lot less than $120 each. Paint it black, drill screw mounts on the front panel, and slap a logo on it. All you're looking for is a way to hide it away and make it look pretty. Mission accomplished.

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Carsten Kurz
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 - posted 03-14-2019 05:17 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Frank, the mounting addresses more the installer/technician, not so much the average cinema operator, as indeed he rarely ever touches a JNIOR again.

- Carsten

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 03-14-2019 06:08 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This thread opens all kinds of questions...

Do you need special permission to touch a JNIOR?
Will it sue you if you touch it the wrong way?

Anyway... I think the drawer method is a step up to just wrapping it to a rack post or slapping it into the bottom of a rack or pedestal.

Still, I have a few problems with this:

- You just put the devices in there? So they're now essentially "flying" loosely in a drawer? Or do you fixate them in any way?
- I now need to account for extra cable length for all connections, in order to allow the drawer to open or risk some connections pulling itself loose while doing so.
- You're still hiding the device from sight.

I think a 19" rackmount version with integrated control panel would still be a great solution. [Wink]

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Bruce Cloutier
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 - posted 03-14-2019 06:27 PM      Profile for Bruce Cloutier   Author's Homepage   Email Bruce Cloutier   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So the $120 is retail and not what some sheetmetal contrivance would cost us. It is still too expensive. On the bottom of the rack there is a 2U enclosure made from plastic. You can't really see it in that photo. The whole plastic enclosure is $30 retail. It just doesn't present as well as the rest of what is in the rack. You know, looks cheap (to me anytway). But, that leads to lower product pricing which it sounds like you all want.

A 2U shelf with that Control Panel over the front is another good mounting approach.

It is a good thing that the product seems to never need attention. As Carsten suggests we want to make the installation and servicing easier. Plus with the JNIOR laying on the inside you might disturb it when pulling an HDMI cable or some such and inadvertently create automation issues. A clean and neat installation will lead to even better reliability. We want the theater operator/owner to have even more reason to not have to touch the JNIOR.

The JNIOR is also underutilized. You have I/O there that can be applied to just about anything. Perhaps to delay the turning off of the attic exhaust fan until temperatures in the projector reaches some acceptable level. Who knows? If the thing were more accessible you might get more value out of it by building on what is there (and you already paid for).

My motive for posting though is to get feedback from all of you theater owners, operators, and integrators. I am working towards a rackmounted automation peripheral and want to make it slick. Ease of installation and application being part of that.

That little plastic box has been great for us. It is limiting us as I can't get much more into the thing. I'm looking for a new form factor.

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Sean McKinnon
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 - posted 03-15-2019 10:27 AM      Profile for Sean McKinnon   Author's Homepage   Email Sean McKinnon   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Not to reinvent the wheel but A cool option in my opinion would be to have a rackmount "box" with the control panel built into the front and the phoenix connectors on the rear

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Ioannis Syrogiannis
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 - posted 03-15-2019 11:35 AM      Profile for Ioannis Syrogiannis   Email Ioannis Syrogiannis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I would agree that the control panel or equally a rack-mounted automation peripheral would be nice and efficient to "host" the space needed for the device.
Instead of having to use another U on the rack and another hi or low price drawer or fixed space, the mounting on the actual peripheral would be ideal, given that access to the JNIOR device would be fairly easy. One or more compartments on the back of the peripheral device that would provide mounting clips and convenient connectors (and maybe a 12V/24V power supply that would render the need for a PSA-120-125 non-existent as the need for another power supply cable and socket) for the different JNIOR devices would be ideal for use and would worth the extra dollars. It would be a nice upgrade for those long forgotten JNIOR devices also, inviting further expansions.
Alternatively, an additional part, mounted behind the conceptual automation peripheral could be an alternative option provided for the end user. So it could be removed with the device and troubleshoot or repair. Though that would add complexity and remove slickness.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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 - posted 03-16-2019 10:47 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sean is onto something (and I think I mentioned it elsewhere) to take Christie's ACT approach and merely put the I/O on the rear of the chassis with the control on the face.

Once you have a pull-out drawer, you have added to the work. You ether have to make your own service loop that doesn't get caught on anything as it is pulled in/out or it is on a zig-zag type arrangement to allow the cables to be strain relieved and routed. Mind you, this is better than just a rackmount chassis that has a removable top...those you lose the rackspace above or have to still have slack so the whole thing can be pulled out.

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Bruce Cloutier
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 - posted 03-16-2019 03:27 PM      Profile for Bruce Cloutier   Author's Homepage   Email Bruce Cloutier   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
All great comments guys! Steve, some of this we did cover elsewhere. The enclosure approach (like ACT) is an obvious one. I had been thinking about something that might be no more than 5" deep. We need to minimize the metal to keep that cost under control and at a minimum. The option being plastic or some hybrid (metal face plate with a plastic enclosure behind).

If the unit is that short then you have issues accessing the connections from the rear especially if there is hardware directly above and/or below. That's where I get into thinking about creative approaches. I understand the cabling issue with the drawer or in removing the unit to access connections on the back.

Still thinking...

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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 - posted 03-16-2019 08:47 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How about the eCNA10 approach in a rackmout? the face hinges down revealing all of the connections inside. At that point, one is always working outside of the rack/pedestal once the cables are routed.

Definitely a metal case. I like things grounded/shielded. Metal cases break less easily too.

In Middle Atlantic Racks terms... a "Lock Box"

https://www.middleatlantic.com/products/accessories/rackmount-storage/lockboxes/lbx-3.aspx

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 03-17-2019 03:18 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Although a metal case will be quite a bit more expensive than a plastic one, I also would say that it should be a metal case.

Like Steve mentioned, my preference is also a properly grounded chassis. There isn't also a whole lot of other 19" rack mountable equipment I can think of, that comes in a plastic case.

If you want to make a rack-mount kit instead of a dedicated rack-mountable version, which I think, is fine, then you could go for a tray solution, rather than a totally enclosed box.

This tray wouldn't need a top cover, the side and back-walls don't need to be full height either. It also woudln't need to be a drawer, so no expensive rails either. Two-post mountable should be more than sufficient.

On this tray, you could make some slots for the JNIOR itself and maybe two to three modules. Personally, I like when it's properly fixed, not just crammed in there. So something with screws or a decent clip-in solution would be great, also maybe some perforations in the base plate to be able to strap some cables together. Also, put some cheap, compatible cable straps into the package and you'll be the hero. [Wink]

You could also make the front panel switchable between a control panel or just a blank with a Integ / JNIOR label on it, so people at least know what's behind there.

Also, I would make the power supply a part of the solution. Something with a standard IEC C12 connector would be welcome. It would make it easier to directly connect it to an UPS and not having another PSU block dangling around on your already crowded PDUs is worth something. It would also make international options simpler, since the only thing you need to swap is the power cable.

quote: Bruce Cloutier
If the unit is that short then you have issues accessing the connections from the rear especially if there is hardware directly above and/or below. That's where I get into thinking about creative approaches. I understand the cabling issue with the drawer or in removing the unit to access connections on the back.
The solution will never be perfect for all scenarios, so a good trade-off should be made. I guess it would help if your solution is at least 2U high, even if it fits in 1U and if you make it at least about 12" deep. That should also provide ample space to allow more than just the JNIOR in there. (Hint: PSU, extra modules [Wink] )

Nobody is able to cram their hands into a deep 1U space, but 2U is usually doable, at least if you don't need to reach all the end of the rack when it's crammed between two extra-deep units.

If you could combine the control panel with the tray (optionally or not), then there is even less of a discussion why you would require two rack units for something that could fit in one.

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Bruce Cloutier
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 - posted 03-17-2019 07:46 AM      Profile for Bruce Cloutier   Author's Homepage   Email Bruce Cloutier   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Steve Gutta
How about the eCNA10 approach in a rackmout? the face hinges down revealing all of the connections inside. At that point, one is always working outside of the rack/pedestal once the cables are routed.
I had independently thought of this not realizing that the eCNA10 had done it or anyone else for that matter. In that arrangement I had figured that routing the cabling to the connectors would be more difficult, they would get in the way or be an issue if secured down. How does it work for you?

The hinge could be to the side. The front panel could snap off. I guess there are all kinds of options. But, it was this thinking that led me to the drawer where the whole thing comes out and can be worked from above.

The drawer could hold the JNIOR and expansion modules as originally posited in this thread. Alternatively, the electronics could be in an small enclosure behind the panel and the drawer pull out far enough to allow you to work connections behind.

I get the service loop and moving cable management issue. I note that some keyboard drawers have a hinged conduit where cables can be strapped and made to fold behind the drawer in a controlled fashion.

The idea of having the control panel separate from the JNIOR like it is now being an expansion module has merit. It is just unfortunate the the JNIOR doesn't cleanly want to be a part of the rack.

How often do you guys have rear rails to work with?

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 03-17-2019 10:46 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bruce Cloutier
I get the service loop and moving cable management issue. I note that some keyboard drawers have a hinged conduit where cables can be strapped and made to fold behind the drawer in a controlled fashion.
I hate those frick'n things and I know I'm not the only one. Many server manufacturers, including Dell use those "cable management arms" and they're hell to work with.

In order to securely fit the cables, you have to strap them extremely tight, often too tight for comfort. (Cable straps that are too tight can damage the copper and fiber wire cores of cables, often not immediately, but over time, by over-stressing it. I've seen this happen with UTP Cat5e and Cat6 cabling myself) You're bending your cables uncontrollably while you pull out the tray, not all cables like being bent back-and-forth all the time, especially not around the often rather tight corners as often is the case in such arm-solutions.

Also, there never seems to be sufficient space inside the cable arm to fit all the cables. Additionally, you're combining signalling and power into one small space, increasing the chance of interference and which in some localities is even against the code.

The last Dell server I bought, had the cable arm at an ~$80 up-charge, so those things possibly aren't entirely cheap to engineer and produce either.

Also, those cable management arms tend to get stuck between other stuff in the rack, like that new cable that some guy ran by it, without realizing the potential of it getting stuck in there...

Don't overthink it.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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 - posted 03-17-2019 11:40 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There is an eCNA10R on eBay right now with enough pictures to see how it all fits together (it came out of a Regal)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/EPRAD-eCNA-10-D-Cinema-Automation-Control-Regal-ECNA10R-CR0005-theater-light-/262214892845

Cable management is very easy as most connectors are detachable and are well labeled (both with numbers as well as description of what the terminal does).

They even have wedge mounts to angle the automation up on lower (pedestal) installations.

To give you an idea of the density they have in that box...the one on eBay has 24 relay outputs and 16 inputs (contact closure or suitable AC/DC...jumper selectable). Manual overrides are on the front panel as well as configurable soft keys.

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Sean McKinnon
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 - posted 03-18-2019 07:01 AM      Profile for Sean McKinnon   Author's Homepage   Email Sean McKinnon   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Steve Guttag
Sean is onto something
Thanks Steve, Usually people are saying "I think Sean is ON something..." J/K Lol

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