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Racks & Mounts

Jan 12, 2012 4:55 PM, By Mark Johnson

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Racks and mounts serve a number of practical purposes: They help organize and securely hold various types of equipment. They help position the gear ergonomically for access or viewing where it can operate most effectively. And they help secure it from theft. In their most basic form, racks and mounts are utilitarian workman-like tools. With added engineering and design creativity they can also exhibit a certain elegance that’s generally only appreciated by those with a technical bent.

Mounts are used for attaching speakers and videos monitors to walls; suspending projectors, displays, and speakers from ceilings; and are used in a multitude of applications including boardrooms, digital signage, and home theater. As flatpanels become more ubiquitous sources for visual communication and entertainment, the methodologies and available products for handily positioning the screens in our sightlines has likewise increased. There are slim mounts that provide a low profile against the mounting surface to mounts that cantilever out and provide a wide range of motion side to side, as well as tilt and even rotate for landscape or portrait orientation. Many mounts available have the word “universal” included somewhere in their names. That generally refers to the ability to attach just about any make or model display to the mount. That is due to compliance with the VESA Mounting Interface Standard (MIS), also known as the Flat Display Mounting Interface (FDMI), which are standards defined by the Video Electronics Standards Association. The original and still most common, MIS-D 100, specifies a 100mmx100mm-square bolt pattern. Additional patterns were established later to accommodate larger displays.

Traditionally, racks held amplifiers and system processing for sound systems. Many refer generically to racks as “amp racks” regardless of what’s actually in it. If it’s used for installed AV, it’s probably in a rack or on a mount of some sort. Form factors for racks can be freestanding, wall-mounted, or even desktop. They can be gangable, where modular racks attach to one another for installations that require multiple racks. All racks hold to a standard mounting rail spacing width of 19in. as set forth by the now-defunct Electronic Industries Alliance. The height of the products to be mounted in the racks is typically stipulated in rack units (RU), which is 1 3/4in. high.

Some manufacturers specialize in racks, some in mounts, and some produce both, so it’s a good idea to check the manufacturers websites if you’re looking for more than one type of equipment mounting solution. For mounts, we’ll look at examples of flatpanel wall mounts. The racks in this showcase are standalone models intended primarily for permanent install.

Atlas Sound FMA series

Atlas Sound FMA series


The Atlas Sound FMA series provide the ability to configure the rack to specific requirements. The rack features 11-gauge adjustable rails with hash marks to indicate rack unit increments. Increased rack width provides for better cable management and working space. The racks are available in a variety of depths and heights.

Audio Video Metals features the Floor Mount Pull Out Rotating Rack, which facilitates access to the sides and back of the rack even when the rack is positioned flush to a wall surface. The rack proper extends full and can rotate left or right with locking positions at 45 degrees and 90 degrees.

Lowell Manufacturing LXR-IAV

Lowell Manufacturing LXR-IAV

The Raxxess series from Chief features the CPROTR captive rotating rack. Designed to facilitate installation, wiring, and maintenance, the freestanding rack pulls out of the enclosure and rotates 90 degrees. It’s also a good option for locations with restricted access to the back of the rack. The rack is available in 35 and 42 space heights.

The STR series of racks from H.O.M.E. (now House of Commercial Product but originally stood for House Of Metal Enclosures) are available in five different heights that features an 11-gauge bottom panel, 11-gauge mounting rails, and 16-gauge side and top panels, and can be assembled in the field. The 16-gauge removable front door features a three-point locking system.

Lowell Manufacturing’s LXR-IAV pre-assembled racks come ready to go with the most commonly used accessories already installed. These include a utility shelf, vent panel, AC power strip, cable-management bar, and casters (quantities depend on size of rack). The finish is a black powder epoxy.

Middle Atlantic Products BGR rack

Middle Atlantic Products BGR rack

The new BGR equipment rack from Middle Atlantic Products features the patent-pending LeverLock interior management system that facilitates cable management as well as mounting of small devices on the interior sides of the rack. It’s available with optional solid, vented, or Plexiglas front doors.

The R8010 slide and rotate rack system from Penn Elcom slides forward and rotates for access to the back of the rack. It includes a hinged cable-management system that allows extra cable to be neatly run and enables the rack to move forward or back.

Racks Unlimited features a 38RU 19in. rack with an adjustable depth of up to 28in. The company’s website offers the ability to build your own rack for your specific needs selecting items and accessories from their menu. Features include L-shaped adjustable mounting rails, removable side panels, a smoked Lexan front door with vents and lock, and lockable rear louver door.

The Winsted V8801 70in. Pro Series I rack is 40RU high (70in.) and features vented side panels for convection cooling when fans are employed. The rack uses adjustable 14-gauge front and rear rack rails, and a variety of vertical and horizontal lacing bars for cable management are available.

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