Product Review (October 2011)

Active Thermal Management
Cool-Stack I Component Cooler™

By Kevin Nakano

Keeping your A/V components cool can be challenging, especially when they are placed in cabinets or other confined areas. Running electronics at high temperatures can result in component failure and greatly reduce the operational life and reliability of the electronics. DVRs are notorious for overheating and failing for this very reason and with the internal hard drives, it can make matters even worse. A company called Active Thermal Management (ATM) has several solutions to keep component temperatures under control. We are covering the Cool-Stack I component cooler in this review. The ultra-quiet Cool-Stack I is a 1 RU high rack-mount ventilator designed to mount above the heat producing component, pulling warm air up and out through the front of the rack.  This natural upward flow of hot air is aided by four 80mm fans that turn slower than normal and push air out of the eight front vents, resulting in virtually silent operation.

The Cool-Stack I is available in both Intake and Exhaust versions. For larger rack installations two different Cool-Stack I units can work together with the Intake version mounted low in the rack pulling cool air in and blowing it up while the Exhaust version mounted at the top pulls warm air up and blows it out of the cabinet. This push-pull configuration keeps air moving through the cabinet in an efficient manner that results in optimal cooling.

The back of the chassis has the input power jack and the temperature sensor interface. The 9VDC, 500mA power adapter provides more than enough power for the cooling system. When the temperature cable is not plugged in, the Cool-Stack I will remain on with the fans continuously blowing. When the temperature sensor is connected, the unit will remain off until the temperature reaches approximately 90 degrees Fahrenheit at which time the fans begin to blow.

12V Trigger Option
All Cool-stack I units are shipped in the Thermal Switch Operation mode. Using the jumper blocks, the user can change the unit's configuration to the 12V Trigger Operation by moving the two jumpers on the pc board from pins 2 & 3 to pins 1 & 2. The large power resistor on this board is used to drop the input voltage going to the four fans from 9VDC to 7VDC, resulting is the fans running much slower than the 12VDC rating of the fans.

Temperature Sensor
The Cool-stack I is the ideal cooling solution for small to mid-sized racks. Using the 4-foot cable with the attached temperature sensor, the Cool-stack I will automatically turn on when the temperature sensors reaches 90 degrees F. The aluminum clip and magnet makes it easy to attach the sensor on top of the warmest area of a component. This allows the unit to only operate when needed and shut down when the component is not generating any heat. We like this feature and use it in this mode to conserve power. An indicator light on the front of the unit turns on when the fans are operating. This lets the user know when the unit is providing cooling to the system.

The Cool-stack I Component Cooler™
is an effective cooling product that keeps your hardware from overheating. It provides peace of mind in situations where components are placed in confined spaces. The build quality of this cooler is excellent and the unit operates without making much fan noise.

- Kevin Nakano

OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player

Review at a glance

Active Thermal - Cool-Stack I Component Cooler™


  • Very quiet
  • Airflow automatically starts when temperature sensor detects heat
  • Rated for continuous operation
  • Package Contents

  • Rack with four 80mm fans
  • 9VDC Power adapter
  • Temperature sensor with cable
  • 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
    Cool-stack I   (EXHAUST) - P/N: 00-301-03
    Cool-stack I   (INTAKE) - P/N: 00-302-02


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