Product Review (June 2005) - Panamax
MAX® 1500 Home Cinema UPS and
Line Conditioner

By Kevin Nakano

Panamax, recently acquired by Linear LLC, has responded to a demand for emergency backup power for today's A/V products, venturing outside its traditional power protection market. The new MAX® 1500-UPS offers customers a powerful 1500VA / 1000 watts of uninterruptible power with a true sinewave output and improves upon conventional UPS designs by adding the ability to send IR commands to connected equipment in the event of a power failure. Furthermore, the unit has the capability to learn IR commands directly from any existing remote control with its built-in IR detector and sampling system. The unit has a slick contemporary look instead of the industrial face seen on most UPS designs and offers noise filtration and the patented over/under voltage protection circuitry. A 10-foot heavy-duty detachable power cord, a pair of rack mount ears, a phone cord, DB9 serial cable and the Home Cinema Power Control software are included.

Front Panel
The front panel has a separate Power and Test button. The Test button is used to test the UPS by switching to battery power momentarily. If the unit passes the test, it returns to the on-line state. If not, the batteries may need to be recharged. The Test button can also be used to silence the audible alarm when running in the battery mode. The front display panel has separate four step indicators for both battery and load levels. Five indicators provide status information about the unit's operation. Under normal conditions the Power On light is illuminated indicating the presence of utility power. If the wiring from the wall is problematic such as a floating ground, the Line Fault light will illuminate. The AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation) Mode indicator will stay on constantly if an over-voltage condition is detected and will flash if an under-voltage condition exists. In this case the UPS will lower or raise the input voltage to compensate for the condition. In the event the incoming power is too far out of range, the UPS will switch to the Battery Mode as indicated by the light.

The MAX® 1500 UPS has a solid chassis design and weighs a hefty 58 pounds. Almost half of the weight is due to the battery tray, which weighs 27 pounds and is balanced out by a pair of large and heavy iron core transformers used in the power supply. The tray is occupied by four 12V/7AH lead-acid batteries connected in series supplying the backup power and is located behind the front removable panel that is held in place by four screws. The rear panel fan automatically turns on when the unit switches to the battery mode. We were glad to see the fan as the unit does generate considerable heat when loaded and operating from backup power. Heavy gauge wire and ferrite cores are used on the power lines that feed the rear panel outlets. The IR electronics is located on a separate circuit board in this densely populated chassis.

Rear Panel
The rear panel of the MAX® 1500 UPS has six outlets grouped into two critical load outlets and four non-critical load outlets, with each group having an independent circuit breaker. The main circuit breaker limits current from the incoming utility power. The unit is designed to sample one or two IR signals from an existing remote control. Holding down the Program/Test button for more than five seconds, puts the unit in the sample mode. The user can then send a command to each of the IR channels and the unit will respond with a blinking green light. The user can also test the programmed IR command by simply pressing the Program/Test button momentarily. Two IR outputs are designed to interface to IR flashers available from a variety of manufacturers. Independent IR delay switches select the delay time (30 seconds or 5 minutes) from when the power failure occurs to when the first IR command is sent out. If both IR outputs have the same time delay then IR-1 is sent two seconds before IR-2. This mode works well for projectors that require two back-to-back presses of the power button. The RS-232 port runs at a modest 2400 baud with 8 data bits and one stop bit. The DTR and RTS signals are used along with the data signals for handshaking.

The unit also provides protection for Ethernet or telephone connections using a pair of RJ-45 connectors. Pins 4 & 5 have a 260-volt clamping level while pins 1, 2, 3 & 6 are clamped at 7 volts. This allows the RJ-45 connectors to be used for either computer or phone applications.

Software Interface
The MAX® 1500 UPS includes a CD, which contains the Home Cinema Power Control software used for communication with the unit. Using the provided RS232 cable with a PC, the user can get the UPS status that includes input voltage, input frequency, battery capacity, output voltage, output load and temperature. The panel also displays the schedule for powering the unit on and off as well as a countdown clock when power is lost. When power is lost, the Input voltage is displayed in red along with the Countdown timer. The unit appoximates Backup Time based on the battery capacity and the load.

The Setup button opens a new window that allows the user to select the communications port as well as various delay times. The time to initiate a shutdown sequence when a power failure occurs is set for 5 minutes (300 seconds), but can be adjusted through the software interface. The time between the power failure to the initial warning can also be defined in this panel. Pressing the red Run button initiates a self-test for a duration defined by the UPS Self-Test time. The software also provides the user with an audible voice and an alarm, both of which can be disabled through the user interface.

The Advanced settings allow the user to set the low battery cut-off voltage. The Low Voltage Failure (88V-97V) and High Voltage Failure (137V-147V) values determine when the UPS switches to battery backup. The Battery-Mode Output Voltage setting defines the output voltage of the UPS when running from the inverter. The user can select from 110V, 120V or 130V. If a HTPC (Home Theater PC) is used with this unit, the user can determine the when the shutoff occurs based on Low Battery HTPC Shutoff setting (in percent). The NCL (Non-Critical Load) outlet on the rear panel shuts off based on the Low Battery NCL Shutoff setting. If the HTPC is connected to the NCL outlet, the user must be sure to set the Low Battery HTPC Shutoff value higher than the Low Battery NCL Shutoff setting. The Cold Start checkbox allows the UPS to start-up in the absence of AC power.

The MAX® 1500 UPS performed well in our setup and had no problem maintaining power to our Optoma H77 high definition DLP projector when power was lost. The projector only required about 28% of the load capacity of the unit. Our projector, like many, requires two sequential IR commands to shutdown. Panamax has implemented their IR outputs in a manner that sequences the IR outputs making it a perfect match for virtually all of the current projectors on the market. Once power is lost, the UPS starts a timer based on the setting on the back of the unit. When the time expires, the preprogrammed IR commands are sent in sequence. We successfully shutdown our projector with plenty of reserve power left in the unit.

While most users will want to power off their projector immediately after power is lost, the design allows up to 5 minutes before any powerdown sequence begins. The advantage of this is if power is returned within this time period, the user can continue to view their video without interruption assuming all other components are powered. We happen to have a separate UPS for our HTPC, so this worked great for us.

Panamax has done an excellent job executing their MAX® 1500 UPS product and making it capable of controlling today's A/V components. Projectors with their costly internal lamps that require proper cooling when turned off will especially benefit from the new design. Failure to properly cool down the hot lamp can result in damage to the expensive bulb or projector. The design ensures the projector will shut down without user intervention. Panamax does not supply the IR flashers, so they must be purchased separately.

- Kevin Nakano

OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player

Review System

Projector: Optoma H77 High-Definition HD2+ DLP™ Projector
Screen: Stewart Filmscreen 100" FireHawk Screen on a Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall
Video Processor/Scaler: Anchor Bay Technologies DVDO iScan HD A/V Processor
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box: Samsung SIR-T165 Terrestrial HDTV Receiver with DVI
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
D-VHS VCR #1: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
D-VHS VCR #2: Marantz MV8300 D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables
DVI Cable: AudioQuest DV-1 20m DVI-D Cable
DVI Extender: Gefen HDTV Extender
HDMI Cables: Accel Corporation HDMI Adapter and Cables
Video Generator: Sencore VP403 SDTV/HDTV Video Pattern Generator
Color Analyzer #1: Sencore CP5000 ISF Certified All-Display Color Analyzer
Color Analyzer #2: Milori ColorFacts Professional with GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro

Review at a glance

Panamax MAX® 1500 Home Cinema UPS

Product Features
Number of Outlets 6
Switched Outlets 6 Total (2 assigned critical load)
Length 15.3"
Width 17"
Height 3.5"
Weight 58 lbs.

AC Specifications

Voltage Range 88VAC - 147VAC
Frequency Range 47 - 63 Hz

On Battery Output VoltageSine Wave 120VAC ± 5%
On Battery Output Frequency60 Hz ± 1%
Transfer Time 4 ms

On Utility Over/Under Voltage Protection
On BatteryInternal Current Limiting
Patented Power Management CircuitYes
Overvoltage Shutoff 144±8VAC
Undervoltage Shutoff 90±6VAC
Thermal Fusing Yes
Initial Clamping Level 200V Peak, 141V RMS
UL 1449 Suppresion Rating330V
Protection Modes L-N, N-G, L-G
Response Time <1ns
Single Pulse Energy Dissipation 1650 Joules
Peak Impulse Current52,000A
EMI/RFI Noise Filtration 50dB (100kHz - 1 MHz)

Telco/LAN Specifications
Fuseless / Auto Resettable Yes
Clamping Level 260V Telco / 7V LAN
Capacitance 30pf (approx.)
Suppression Modes (Telco)Metallic & Longitudinal
Suppression Modes (LAN)Differential & Common Ground
Wires Protected Telco: pins 4 & 5
LAN: pins 1,2,3 & 6
Connectors RJ-11/45

Product Warranty Length3 Years
Lightning ProtectionYes

2 - Rack ears with screws for rack mounting option
1 - IEC 320, 120V/15A detachable 10 foot power cord
1 - DB 9 Serial Cable
1 - RJ11 Telephone Cable
1 - Home Cinema Power Control Software

Company Information
Panamax, Inc.
1690 Corporate Circle
Petaluma, CA 94952

Phone: 800-472-5555

Model: M1500-UPS
Source: Manufacture Supplied
MSRP: $999

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