latest line of MAX A/V products comes with a refined set of features that have
helped make Panamax a household name. The MAX® 5400-PM (MSRP $699.95) is one
of their latest power management units specifically engineered for performance
and value. Panamax's Level 4+ Power Cleaning and Filtration is designed
to eliminate common symptoms of contaminated power (including loss of detail,
pops, hisses, hums and visual artifacts) often associated with dirty utility power.
5400-PM features Voltage Regulation circuitry that provides a consistent
range of voltage to the connected equipment even with the input voltage varying.
The AVM (Automatic Voltage Monitoring) circuits protect equipment against prolonged
over/under voltages by disconnecting the power and only reconnecting it when safe
power returns. This is particularly important should the input voltage fall out
of the correctable range of the MAX® 5400-PM.
front panel of the MAX® 5400-PM has a USB connector for providing power to
a USB device. While not all USB devices are compatible with the connection, it
does provide a convenient way to charge USB products. A wired LAN connection and
an extra power outlet is also available for the user while providing full protection
on the interfaces.
down the main Power button for two seconds activates the turn-on or turn-off sequence
for all the outlets. The Bank Status Indicators display which corresponding bank
is on or off. When flashing, this indicates the bank is in transition to either
off or on. The Ground Isolation switch controls the ground connection of
banks 3 and 4. When enabled these power banks have Balanced Power with an isolated
ground connection. Alternatively, when disabled these banks have Balance Power
with a common ground reference. Depending on the system application some users
will prefer one over the other. A Convenience Outlet on the front of the unit
provides a quick and convenient way to plug in temporary components such as camcorders
and video game systems.
The Power Indicators
display the status of the
panel outlets. The
outlet bank icon will be lit
when the corresponding
outlet is turned ON. The icon(s) will flash during the startup and shutdown (delay)
process. The Wiring OK indicator should normally be ON. This indicates
that the wall outlet is properly grounded and Line/Neutral polarity is wired correctly.
The Startup and Shutdown sequence is initiated by pressing and holding the Power
panel meters on the MAX® 5400-PM are digital. The left panel meter displays
the incoming line voltage. Should this voltage drop below 90VAC, or exceed 142VAC,
the display will turn off and the Unsafe Voltage indicator will begin to
flash in "red" indicating that an unsafe voltage condition has been
encountered. The panel meter located on the right displays either the output voltage
or the actual current draw (0-15A) of the system. Pressing and holding the Meter
Lights/Meter Toggle button toggles between the two display modes. Quick press
cycles on the Meter Lights/Meter Toggle button changes the meter brightness
between four brightness levels. Surprisingly there is no display off mode.
MAX® 5400-PM has a detachable heavy duty power cord which is held in place with
a locking clip that screws into the back of the unit. This prevents the power
cord from being accidentally pulled out. A large ground lug is available for connecting
to earth ground. Five power banks provide sequential power for amplifiers and
preamplifier electronics. Banks
1 & 2 outputs are always on, so it is best to connect components such as DVRs
and displays to these power outlets. Bank 3 & 4s include Linear Filtration
Technology (LiFT) and are turned on immediately by the front switch or the
DC trigger input and turned off with a 10-second delay. Bank 1 through Bank 4
include balanced two-stage Pi filters to virtually eliminate noise on the power.
Bank 5 offers a high current output for subwoofers and power amplifiers. Once
triggered, power to Bank 5 is delayed for 5-seconds to allow for preamplifier
electronics to settle. When commanded off, Bank 5 turns off immediately. The MAX®
5400-PM is designed to provide noise isolation between all 5 outlet banks, preventing
noise from one component from contaminating other components plugged into the
coaxial protection circuits provide protection for cable, satellite and TV antenna
connections while achieving optimum signal quality. The new design has the smallest
signal loss on the market with less than 0.5 dB of attenuation from 0 MHz to 2.2
GHz. The new design virtually eliminates signal loss. The clamping level for this
interface is 75V, which meets the demands of both cable and satellite voltage
while minimizing exposure to damaging spikes and surges.
set of protected RJ-11 telephone jacks are provided for use with digital video
recorders (DVRs) and satellite TV receivers where telephone lines are typically
needed. The protection circuitry utilizes auto-resetting PTCRs (positive temperature
coefficient resistors) and solid-state SIDACtors that provide fast reaction to
voltage transients without adding excessive capacitance or resistance to the line.
The clamping level of the MAX® 5400-PM telephone protector is 260 volts, well
above the typical ring voltage (90-130VAC) and normal operating voltage (48DC).
The LAN protection circuits for 10/100 baseT Ethernet lines provide full 8-wire
protection with 52V clamping.
MAX® 5400-PM weighs a moderate 36 pounds and is designed to fit into a standard
equipment rack. The unit measures 17" W x 12.75" D and 3.5" H (standard
2U rack mounting) and includes a set of rack mount ears. The long 10-foot heavy-duty
12-gauge detachable power cord provides low loss even with heavy loads on the
unit. The MAX® 5400-PM also includes a 4-foot telephone cable, a 4-foot CAT-5
cable, and a 3-foot RG-6 patch cable.
inside of the MAX®
5400-PM is simple, yet effective and makes the unit a more attractive design.
toroidal transformer seen in the chassis is used for the voltage regulation circuits.
This autotransformer is responsible for the boost and buck voltages needed to
compensate for the under/over voltage coming into the unit. All of the power lines
use heavy 12 gauge wire to ensure high current carrying capability. Common mode
chokes and filter capacitors can be seen on several of the boards. MOVs (Metal
Oxide Varistors) are also placed between each of the power lines to prevent large
transient voltages from damaging the connected components. Panamax has board layouts
that are clean and organized with great build quality. Heavy-duty high current
relays can be seen throughout the design of the unit. Separate circuit cards are
used for the front jacks, rear jacks, and display.
More and more power conditioning units are offering voltage
regulation circuits. The MAX® 5400-PM is one of those units that can compensate
for line voltage problems. Unlike a UPS which completely disconnects the incoming
line voltage and switches to battery power, the MAX® 5400-PM continues to
use the input power. Using a toroidal autotransformer from Plitron, the MAX®
5400-PM boosts or bucks the incoming voltage based on the input level. We tested
the over-voltage/under-voltage capabilities of the MAX® 5400-PM and plotted
them in the chart above using a variac to change the line voltage. The unit can
compensate for voltage variations from around 90VAC to 141VAC. When the incoming
line voltage is between 90VAC and 105VAC, the unit boosts (Boost 2) the output
voltage by approximately 15 VAC. From 105VAC to 115VAC the unit boosts (Boost
1) the output voltage by approximately 10 VAC. The unit bypasses any compensation
in the line voltage between 115VAC to 125VAC as this is fairly normal for utility
power. Beyond this the unit bucks (decreases) the output voltage by approximately
10VAC. During our tests, the unit detected an under-voltage condition when the
utility voltage dropped below 90 volts. An over-voltage condition occurred when
the line input reached about 141 VAC. In both cases, the MAX® 5400-PM shut
the output off when the unit could no longer provide safe voltages to the connected
experience with Panamax power conditioners has been great over the years (more
than a decade) and with each new generation of products comes an improvement in
quality and functionality. Our reference system has been connected to a variety
of Panamax products and we have never had any issues. Historically, utility power
here in Los Angeles has been very good with few power failures, mostly during
bad storms and utility transformer failures. None of our electronic components
have ever failed due to power issues when connected to a Panamax power conditioner.
The peace of mind Panamax provides us based on our experience with their products
ran our system with the MAX® 5400-PM providing conditioned power and there was
a noticeable improvement in one particular area. During the hot weather season
here in Los Angeles we connected a portable air conditioning unit that required
significant power from the AC outlet. As a result, the line voltage dropped substantially
and caused noticeable issues with the Mitsubishi LCD display we had in the same
room. It was determined that the line voltage was dropping far enough to cause
problems with the display's power supply. Connecting the MAX® 5400-PM boosted
the line voltage to a normal level while providing full protection and corrected
the issue. This is just one example of the benefits of the MAX® 5400-PM. More
serious issues that can cause damage to components can be prevented using this
Panamax MAX® 5400-PM is a perfect balance of features and value for protecting
the equipment you love. The voltage regulation and monitoring circuits provide
users with value-added features that work well in practical situations. While
no one wants to ever see a potentially catastrophic surge enter their house, it's
good to know that your components are connected to a Panamax power management
unit that comes with a $5,000,000 LIFETIME LIMITED CONNECTED EQUIPMENT PROTECTION
POLICY. In addition, Panamax provides a 3-year product warranty against any
defects in design, material or workmanship to the original purchaser. The Panamax
MAX® 5400-PM is one of the best bang for the buck we have seen.