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Keep Computer Towers Cool, Accessible

Also, a tip to help prevent damage caused by falling ice

Fig. 1: This sturdy bracket supports a computer shelf.Fig. 2: If the computer tower is enclosed, the shelf helps avoid cooling problems. Bryan Waters, chief engineer for Colorado Springs’ KILO(FM) and KRXP(FM), was tired of heat killing his computers.

Most engineers mount computer towers inside rack cabinets or under the console, but the buildup of heat can cause eventual failure. Crawling around on the floor to get at the unit is just as much hassle.

Bryan found some sturdy L brackets with sleek angled support arms and mounted them to the back side of the console cabinetry, seen in Fig. 1. The computer tower rests on the shelf, which is supported by the brackets. He can access the computer easily for any IT work; it’s out in the open, so there is no heat buildup, and it’s mounted high enough so you don’t have to crawl on the floor to access it, as shown in Fig. 2. Since the computer is mounted at the rear of the console cabinetry, it’s out of sight.

Bryan included a picture of cushioned bouncy stools used in each studio, Fig. 3. Found at the Relax the Back store (online at, the Swopper Office Chair comes from Germany. It can be adjusted for height, shock absorption (bounce) and lateral movement. It is an ideal jock chair, built to withstand weights up to 290 pounds. There is also a Swopper on wheels. At an MSRP of $699 the cost may seem a bit steep, but if you are going through multiple control room chairs in a year, it’s worth considering.

Fig. 3: The Swopper is a rugged office chair.Fig. 4: Steel or aluminum stair treads form an effective ice bridge. Several engineers offered this tip. If you’ve found a reliable chair model for your jocks (or your own workshop), send me the information to share with other engineers. Email [email protected] and include a couple of high-resolution photos.


In the last column, we touched on the damage that can result from ice falling from a tower.

Since then, I’ve heard from several engineers who have used steel or aluminum stair treads to form an inexpensive, yet effective, ice bridge in order to protect their transmission lines.

Seen in Fig. 4, the treads are available from a number of sources.

Visit and search for “stairs and stair treads.” The site lists dimensions and pricing for the stair treads.

Fig. 5: Nothing is more basic, but a pencil in the right place can be a big help. One in particular comes in a wide variety of styles and materials. Plus, many of the treads have bolt slots on each end, so the treads can be ganged together to form any length ice bridge.


Some tips are about the barest of basics.

Here’s one from Townsquare Media’s Andy Soule. A $3 investment at Dollar Tree yields two packages of pencils and a pair of sharpeners, shown in Fig. 5.

Andy was annoyed by having pens and markers at his transmitter sites dry out, so he placed pencils at all of the sites. He keeps personal logs and notes on equipment at each site. Basic? Yes, but having these pencils at hand saves time and annoyance in running back to the truck merely to grag a working pen.

The pencils also are good for making temporary marks on things.


Workbench wants your facility, project and workbench ideas. You’ll help your fellow engineers and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Send tips to [email protected]. Fax to (603) 472-4944.

Author John Bisset has spent 45 years in the broadcasting industry and is still learning. He handles West Coast sales for the Telos Alliance. He is SBE certified and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.