Using USB-Powered Fans (AC Infinity MULTIFAN S5) to Cool Entertainment Devices (Comcast X1 DVR)

Standard

Our X1 DVR simply can’t handle any heat buildup. This is probably largely due to the fact that it lacks any fans and several comments on the Internet seem to indicate that the device is underpowered and thus works harder to handle high-quality audio and video (and as a result it generates more heat). I’m undecided on whether or not the box needs to be replaced. The features are fine and when it isn’t having issues it works very well.

Lately I’ve started to experience the same symptoms of the box overheating even though it’s still outside of the entertainment cabinet and the air conditioner is usually on. This may have something to do with using a different TV, which is directly above a small part of the DVR’s case and perhaps restricting airflow in that area.

Last weekend I attempted to use a very inexpensive USB fan to cool the box. It was very basic; little more than a USB plug and a fan motor. It did actually work but it was on a flexible arm, which generated a lot of vibration and thus a lot of noise. Even though it only cost about $5 it simply wasn’t going to work. I also suspect the fan wasn’t intended for continuous use as I noticed the motor was warm when I removed. I dropped it into a box of unused devices and decided to look for something specifically made for this purpose.

That’s when I found the AC Infinity MULTIFAN S5 on Amazon.com, which appeared to be a much better device for cooling the DVR (and indeed, it is). It features two fans that work from a single USB connection. In addition, more fans can be chained together though I don’t have a need for this capability. They truly are very quiet. The fans have a single switch that can be used to turn them off or to a low, middle and high speed. The highest speed isn’t very loud and the set is much, much quieter than the first fan that I had tried.

At $16 it looks like a good deal and even if I replace the DVR with something better, down the road, I can still reuse the fans with other devices. So far I’m extremely pleased with this purchase.

Updated 2018/08/08: These fans have given me the ability to place the Comcast DVR inside a the entertainment center. One fan is sitting directly on the cabinet vents, behind the shelf where the DVR is located, and the other is sitting directly on the DVR itself. So far, the DVR appears to be staying cool. I may order another set for my Xbox One as it generates a lot of heat when it is powered on.

Vitamin D Video: A Licensing Surprise

Standard

Last December I purchased a copy of Vitamin D Video for OS X. However, I’ve been moving various services  over from my iMac to the new ASUS EeeBox. At first, I assumed this would require that I purchase another license for the Windows version of Vitamin D Video.

I figured it was worth a shot to see if the licensing would transfer over to the Windows version and to my surprise, it did. The Windows version accepted the OS X license file for Vitamin D Video.

Many companies would go out of their way to force users to purchase a new license for the same software under a different platform. I’m impressed (and pleased that I saved an additional $50).

Updated 08/31/2011: In a response from Vitamin D Video, regarding a related matter, I was informed that the ability to use the license across platforms was intentional.