3 Types of Enclosure Cooling for NEMA 4X Computer Enclosures

Posted by ITS Enclosures on May 31, 2017 9:15:22 AM

When deploying enclosures in a challenging environment, thermal management is critical.

Enclosure cooling is necessary for maintaining the optimum performance of electronics and for keeping a computer system protected from elevated levels of heat. Since a NEMA 4X enclosure requires a watertight seal, a unique set of challenges must be overcome when installing a NEMA 4X computer enclosure. NEMA 4X enclosures are unable to utilize an open cooling system, meaning the cabinet requires a closed loop cooling system that uses forced convection. With a closed loop system, no seal is broken. The market has several closed loop solutions that will keep your enclosure cool and protect your electronics. 

Below are three common types of enclosure cooling for NEMA 4X PC enclosures:

  1. Heat Exchanger
    A heat exchanger can be used to transfer heat from the inside of the cabinet to the outside, so that internal electronic components can operate at safe levels. It is important to note that a heat exchanger is an ideal enclosure cooling solution ONLY when the electronics can operate safely above the external ambient temperature. A heat exchanger is advantageous when humidity is not a major concern and a low heat load is generated by the electronics installed inside of the enclosure.

  2. Vortex Cooler
    Vortex cooling units produce cool air by using compressed, clean, dry air through a tube. These units do not have refrigerants or moving parts, so they are especially valuable in demanding, harsh environments - such as hazardous areas. A vortex cooling unit is operated by a thermostat, which is powered from the inside of the enclosure.

  3. Air Conditioners
    A NEMA 4X rated air conditioner can be installed in an environment where the electronics - inside of the enclosure - need to be cooled at or below the ambient external temperature. An air conditioner is especially beneficial in high humidity areas. To properly cool electronics, air conditioners use refrigerants and forced air. It is important to note that air conditioners require frequent filter maintenance, so that the unit can run at its maximum capacity. The filter should be changed and/or cleaned at least once a month. In especially dirty or dusty areas, every two to three weeks is recommended.

Prior to deploying a NEMA 4X computer enclosure, maximize your research and conduct a thorough examination of the installation environment. Compile a list of ALL electronics which will be installed inside of the enclosure. The list should include the average heat load and operating temperatures. This information is helpful in determining the NEMA 4X cooling system that will best fit the desired application.

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Topics: Enclosure Thermal Management