Where do you put your hardware?

Over the years I’ve built up all this IoT bridge hardware. Two Hue bridges. One PowerView bridge for Hunter Douglas shades. A Z-Wave hub. A UPS to deal with brownouts and short blackouts. A WiFi Extender because the most central spot in the home is the one room with no hardwired ethernet. An Intel NUC for running openHAB (replacing the Z-Wave hub with a dongle, which is both better and worse).

Here’s my question for the community: Where do you put this stuff? All of these devices are basically small bricks, all of which look different, have wires coming out of them, and the assortment is really quite ugly. Yet they have to be located somewhere (roughly) central in the home, in a clean environment, with access to power, and they can’t be tucked into corners if you want decent wireless range without adding even more extenders–which are eyesores in their own way.

A small entertainment cabinet seems like a reasonable idea. I have also thought about adding an outlet to a regular closet and putting the stuff there. But I figured I’d ask and see what other people have done.

What do you do for your setup to keep your house/flat/apartment looking clean?

Here’s an old thread on the topic.

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I used to keep a bunch of gear in a cabinet, but was concerned about the heat. I wired in a 12V fan, but the enclosed space was too much for it in the summer and I didn’t want anything bigger/louder.

I now have my two RPis, ADSL modem, and UPS tucked into a repurposed TV bench that has a hidden area for wires in the back. Lots of ventilation and you wouldn’t even know they were there. All of the power bricks are tucked out of sight, and my Orbi mesh router sits on top.

The big thing for me is that you can’t see any of the indicator lights. I hate how manufacturers default to using ultra-bright LEDs on pretty much everything these days (if you feel the same, I highly recommend LightDims stickers).

A TV cabinet or A/V console is the direction I am leaning as well. Hiding those LEDs is high on my list, too. The part that has me stumped, though, is concealing the USB dongle for Z-Wave. Elevation seems to be key for getting reliable connectivity.

A simple table lamp (without putting a bulb in it) is one of my ideas. Thread the USB connector up the center post and all you see is a lamp. Doesn’t matter if it lights up or not.

My Z-Wave stick is directly in the RPi, about one foot off the floor. It doesn’t have any issues, but at the same time my Z-Wave devices are all fairly close to it. I don’t know what kind of distances you’re working with, but if you’re well within 30 feet and having connectivity issues then I’m inclined to think it’s more about interference than height. Putting your Z-Wave stick inside of a closed vessel like a lamp will make it harder for it to communicate other devices.

The lamp idea would be putting the dongle where the bulb would normally go, so it would only be blocked by the lampshade.

I’m technically OK in terms of distance but I have obstructions to deal with. The center of the house is the stairs going up to a landing, then reversing to go up to the 2nd floor. There’s a wall on one side, and behind that wall is the kitchen and specifically the refrigerator, which is great at blocking signals. So I don’t have direct LoS to all the devices. I use one repeater to turn a corner that otherwise produces blind spots. I also need to reach down to the basement, and there aren’t outlets in the stairwell going down.

I have a good location for the Z-Wave controller that reaches everything reliably (which is also excellent for the Hue and Hunter-Douglas controllers), I just don’t want to see the Z-Wave dongle. But if I have to, I’ll do repeaters in some fashion. Probably wall switches since they aren’t an eyesore like wall outlets can be.

Elevation isn’t really important. A central mostly unobstructed location is. Or attach external antennas although that isn’t easy to get it right.
What about a version hanging off your ceiling ? Turn your datacenter into a mobilé :-). When your visitors are asking it’s “art”. Great elevation. SCNR, pls move on.

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I’ve made a lot of changes since the post Markus posted. I created and mounted a couple of shelves to the bottom of my desk. I’ve a desktop formatted server class machine and all the networking and external hard drives and such are on those shelves. The UPS was acquired later so it sits on the floor. The wires are for the most part attached to the bottom of the desk with staples and Velcro. The NUT server is an old RPi 1 that I attached to the side of the UPS.

Everything is high enough that it’s mostly out of sight unless you are sitting at the desk. Some day I may move everything to a cabinet but I don’t want to have to hear the whine of fans all day and keeping everything out in the open helps with cooling and keeping the fan noise down.


Elevation isn’t really important.

Elevation is important when it lets you clear obstructions. I assume that’s my issue. For whatever reason, getting it a foot higher than “desk level” seems to be magic.

Hanging from the ceiling would be fun, but the foyer and living room have a 20’ ceiling and I’m not going up there. :slight_smile:

Not mine, but love the creative use of the door to mount all devices:

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