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A different thermal problem

This question is real. I couldn't make up something this good.
My company is relocating, and I have been volunteered to assist in the inventory for our department. In order to be complete, they have requested the weight and BTU for each system. Apparently they are checking the air handling capabilities of the new site.
It would seem an easy thing to find, but everyone I talk to just chuckles and mutters 'BTU?'.
To make this easy on myself, I figure that I can just estimate.
Any ideas where to look, or even how to guess? We have everything from 386, 486, pentium, pentium pro, pentiuim 2, pentium 3, twin P3, sparks, rs6000, macintoshes, and a few I probably don't have in this list.
I also need the info on the monitors, but I'm just going to use one set of numbers for each size screen, of which we have 14, 15, 17, 19, 21 inchers of various manufacturers.
_Any_ help would be appreciated.
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1 Solution
BTU is a measure of energy consumption.

If you know the power rating of a device in WATTS (most common for electronic devices) and how long you run it, you can just convert that to BTU.

Most devices have a power requirements sticker on them somewhere.

The formula is:

1 WATT-HOUR = 3.41442 BTU

for example a computer that takes 250WATTS to run and you run it 24 hours a day.  That's:


in BTUs that is:

6000/3.41442 = 1757.25 BTU
>>6000/3.41442 = 1757.25 BTU

That would be true if and only if ALL energy is converted into heat, i.e.: a resistor. But this is not the case for a computer, where you have motors, lights, and other non-heating sources (yes, yes... a motor hots, but a  250-watt motor does not generate the same temperature than a 250-watt iron).

>>BTU is a measure of energy consumption

It stands for "British Thermal Unit".

Think about what you're saying....

"That would be true if and only if ALL energy is converted into heat"

You're thinking at the component level.  In that case, you need to think at the "macro" or "room" level.

Where is the energy going?  It all ends up as heat somewhere and in this case it in the room.  the fact that for a time it was stored as kinetic energy in the disk platter doesn't matter at the "room" level.  The only exception might be any radiant energy that somehow made it untouched out a window. So even the tiny percentage of energy converted to light in the display will hit a wall or other object and be converted to heat.
deltreeAuthor Commented:
Just what I needed actually. I'm using the listed voltage/amperage on the systems to get to BTU. The only thing wierd is that the monitors compute at lower BTU than the systems. The monitors seem to toss off more heat, tough.
I think that the monitors give off heat in a more concentrated way directly out of the top and give the impression that they are hotter.  Systems use forced air cooling which tends to dilute the heat since it's moving faster.  While the total heat is greater, it doesn't feel as hot.

Remember, the total heat (i.e. energy) contained in an airlow is the proportional to the temperature x the airflow.  So a high volume cool flow may easily have more heat content than a slow moving high temperature one.

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