Product Review (February 2006)
Active Thermal Management Cooling System

Keeping components cool can be a daunting task with the high power dissipation found in many of today's set-top boxes and receivers. No longer are we in the days of a simple stereo system producing 50 watts RMS per channel. Many of the current receivers are capable of producing five or six channels of audio in excess of 100 watts RMS each. These high power components typically sit inside cabinets with little air circulation which causes an enormous amount of heat build-up. This ultimately affects the reliability of these products and can greatly shorten the life of the internal electrical components. A company called Active Thermal Management (ATM) has introduced several products that address this problem with solutions for both cabinets (Enclosure Coolers) as well as for individual components (Equipment Coolers). For this review we received the System 3 and the Cool-Sat products that we put to the test.

Enclosure Coolers
Enclosure Coolers are designed for use in closed cabinets or in sealed areas where poor ventilation is a problem. The System 3 priced at $124.95 is one of several products offered by ATM that is designed to keep the enclosed area cool even with high powered components. The System 3 is capable of moving 15 to 20 cubic feet of air per minute, and can typically replace the air twice a minute. The system includes two ultra-quiet 3.125” fans with grilles, a plug-type power supply, a thermal switch, and a terminal strip pre-mounted in a small box for interconnections. Two resistor values are provided for higher flow or lower noise operation. The system can be set up to pull cool air in or push heated air out. This thermally-activated ventilation system is ideal for smaller installations where hot air needs to be removed. The two fans are designed to be mounted in the enclosure with the thermal switch positioned near the hottest component. Once the thermal switch temperature reaches approximately 100° F, the fans turn on and the enclosure gets air flow.

Equipment Coolers
Equipment Coolers are designed to cool a single piece of gear. The Cool-Sat priced at $99.95 is ideal for components that have limited ventilation and localized heat buildup. We found this product to be very effective in cooling products such as our Samsung SIR-T165 high definition receiver. This set-top box gets very hot easily producing temperatures over 125° F. Once we installed the Cool-Sat the average temperature on top of the set-top box dropped to 105° F. My only complaint is that the power adapter is hardwired directly to the unit making it difficult to place the adapter outside of the cabinet if needed. However, we have been told that all ATM products will soon feature in-line disconnects to solve this problem. The Cool-Sat is a very quiet unit and only adds 2.5” to the height of the component. Power consumption is very low (less than 5 watts) so you won't feel guilty about keeping it constantly on.

Conclusion
Solving your cooling problem just got a lot easier with the offerings from
Active Thermal Management. Their systems are designed to get you started in no time and they offer a variety of solutions for both cabinets as well as individual components. Larger cooling systems are also available if needed. We recommend checking out their website for more information. All of the products we covered performed flawlessly, but the price may cause some people to rethink their options. The ATM products offer simple solutions to a rather complicated issue.

- Kevin Nakano




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Review at a glance


Active Thermal System 3 Cooling System

Specifications

Fans:

Dual 80mm

Air flow:

30 CFM (As Shipped)
38 CFM (Optional Resistor)

Speed Control:

Two resistor values are provided for higher flow or lower
noise operation

Power Consumption:

4 watts

Control Box Size:

3" x 2" x 1"

Fan Size:

3.125" x 3.125" x 1"

Features

  • Extremely quiet
  • Airflow adjustable at time of installation
  • Completely automatic operation
  • Rated for continuous operation
  • Package Contents

  • 2 - 80mm fans (3 1/8" square, 1" thick) with finger guards.
  • 1 - Small control box for connecting power supply and thermal switch.
  • 1 - Resistor for optional fan speed
  • 1 - Thermal switch with leads
  • 1 - AC Power Supply
  • 1 - Instruction Manual

    Company Information
    Active Thermal Management
    25570 Rye Canyon Road Suite D
    Valencia, CA. 91355
    Phone: 661-294-7999
    Fax: 661-294-1115

    Source: Manufacture Supplied
    MSRP: System 3 $124.95, Cool-Sat™ $99.95
    Warranty: 2 year limited warranty

    Email: techinfo@activethermal.com
    URL:
    www.activethermal.com

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