April Rack Build

Once schematic drawings have been created, as a rack builder, it is my task to go through the plans and set out a build schedule so that we keep the project to time. Within this planning phase I calculate exactly how many cables we need and cut them to length depending upon whether they are internal or external, and then label and terminate where necessary.


Whilst the cables are being made, we put together the rack (in this case a Middle Atlantic Slim 5) and place our Circle Automation logo blanking plate at the top, insert the power distribution unit, router and network switches so we can see how we want the cables to flow. We feel every rack should be a piece of technical brilliance with a focus on serviceability and design; as a result cables must be traceable and tidy and we take pride in the way we dress our cables using Panduit CBOT cable combs.




The power for this particular rack is distributed by a Pakedge P8E power management unit. This unit was to be connected up first, we use our power schematic drawing to dress in the power cables to trailing sockets located to the rear of the lacing tray on the power side of the rack. This then left us with strategically placed sockets for our rack contents. At the Pakedge P8E we left serviceable loops through which we ran the outgoing network cables.


A Netgear JGS624PE network switch was used for the house network and a Netgear JGS524E network switch for the internal network as we did not require POE within the rack. We then labelled the side of the rack with the rack units so we can accurately assign rack space for things like lacer bars, trailing sockets and shelves.




Next we dressed in the external speaker cables, control cables and CAT6 for the IP camera’s, all cable combed and tied to the lacing tray. On the exit, all of the cables tied in their individual bunches were put into a sock to keep them tidy upon exiting the rack.


The next step was to dress in the internal network cables along the lacing tray. We assigned a row on the tray for the bunch, pushed the terminated network cable through the brush plate and connected the pre-terminated ends to the internal network switch. From there we combed back the cables into a perfect bunch just behind the brush plate, and then dressed the cables along a lacer bar and down the lacing tray, pulling off one cable at a time where one was required to provide network to devices.




Once all of the main cables were in, we put in the devices and measured each cable to it’s destination, labelled and terminated them, leaving a service loop so it is supported well and not too tight.


Internal audio/video cables and RS-232 control cables were finally run in and terminated to complete the rack.


Mike Quinn | AV System Designer/Audio Programmer