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Electronics Enclusure Buying Guide

Aug 17, 2007
When purchasing an electronics Enclosure kit, make sure that the package you purchase has all the features you need. These requirements change depending on what type of electronic components you are purchasing the kit for. A few of the more common, general types of Electronic Enclosure kits are given below, along with the recommended features to consider for each when making a purchase.

The main factors that become desirable in ANY shielded electronic enclosures are the following - Static Shielding, Impact Shock Shielding, Heat Shielding, Magnetic Shielding, and DirtDust proofing. The reasons for these five factors are as follows -

1. Static Shielding takes into account how much electricity can be run through the enclosure and into it's components, as opposed to how much is grounded and absorbed by the shielding itself. Sudden electrical surges can be damaging to electronic components, even - sometimes especially - to those that are dormant. Good grounding against power surges keeps the items stored in the enclosure safe from sudden electrical discharge.

2. Impact Shock Shielding minimizes the damage taken by any equipment stored in the enclosure from sudden physical impact and vibrations. Needless to say, most electronic equipment is physically fragile, and thus is suceptible to damage from impact, so shock proofing is extremely important.

3. Heat Shielding is a given as well, as most pieces of electronic equipment tend to be heat- sensitive. Some manufacturers even go so far as to place built- in heat sinks into their electronic enclosures, allowing temperature built up inside the enclosure to be flushed to the exterior, keeping the components inside relatively cool.

4. Magnetic Shielding is the final general factor to consider in an electronic enclosure, as electro- magnetic pulses can destroy most electronic equipment no matter what it's nature. While EMP bursts are not as common a threat to electronic equipment as the abovementioned 3 factors of electricity, physical shock, and heat, it is nontheless something to consider, especially if you know that the equipment you are intending to keep safe will be taken into areas with high electro- magnetic activity.

5. DirtDust Proofing - keep this in mind as well when making a purchase of an electronic enclosure system. It is one that is sometimes overlooked, yet can lead to severe damage to electronic equipment. For especially sensitive electronics, something as simple as dust buildup can wreck your equipment, or even potentially become a fire hazard with enough dust accumulated.

Now, given the above protection factors to consider, the next list outlines some of the general types of Electronic Enclosures, along with any additional recommendations to take into consideration for each when making a purchase -

1. Shielded Cabinets - these are cabinets constructed usually for the purposes of storing andor transporting heavy electronic equipment. Because they are general- purpose in the sense that these cabinets are designed to hold just about any type of electronic gear, it is a good idea to take all of the above five protection factors into account equally. For cabinets designed for long- term storage, it's a good idea to focus on static and dust shielding, but for cabinets designed to facilitate transport of electronic equipment, it's a better bet to focus on impact and heat shielding.

2. Computer Boxes - these are meant to hold a processor and most of the general internal hardware of a computer. Emphasis on computer boxes is usually placed on Heat management and Dust Proofing, as these are the common things that gradually destroy a computer's internal hardware. This involves Personal Computers, however. For larger industrial mainframes taking into account all of the above five factors again becomes essential. Actually, given that mainframes are such large investments financially, it's even a good idea to go a step further along all of the given protection routes; for example, in terms of impact shielding, look into enclosures for a mainframe that can withstand even seismic levels of shock.

3. Car Electronics Enclosures - these hold the electronic equipment of a car; design shape varies from part to part that is being held, but the most common factors to consider in enclosures for automobile electronic parts are resistance to impact (obviously, since these components will be stored in moving vehicles) and heat shielding. DustDirt proofing is, surprisingly, not too high a priority due to the fact that the actual electronics involved in automotive electronic parts already takes dirt and dust buildup into account. The possible exception to this rule would be the soundsystem of the car, but by and large, things like the car's electronic fuel injection system simply need to be heat and impact shielded.
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