LA Audio File

Product Review (May 2005)
Panamax MAX® 5510-PRO
ACRegenerator® A/V Line Conditioner

By Kevin Nakano

MAX5510-PROPanamax offers a comprehensive line of power protection products including the MAX® line, which is specifically designed for audio and home theater systems. The MAX® product line has been around for more than a decade and continues to provide customers with quality power products at reasonable prices. The latest MAX® 5510-PRO builds on the original MAX® 5500 design, yet offers capabilities geared for custom installers. Featuring an RS232 interface that can work with home automation and control systems, the MAX® 5510-PRO continues to offer users Tri-Power Filtration System that includes transformer isolated or balanced power for digital sources, separate Balanced Double L filtration circuits for reduced EMI/RFI on analog components and two inductorless, high-current outlets for power amplifiers or powered subwoofers. The MAX® 5510-PRO comes with a 10-foot heavy-duty detachable power cord, convenience light and a pair of rack mount ears. A pair of RG-6 patch cables, a telephone cable and an ethernet cable is also included.

Panamax's Isolated Power uses the secondary windings of the internal 750VA toroidal transformer so that the output power is completely isolated from the input power. Balanced Power makes use of a center tap on the secondary windings that is connected to chassis ground. This creates a balanced output with each power signal (hot and neutral) equal yet opposite in polarity with respect to earth ground. This type of power isolation can be beneficial, resulting in lower noise in some components.

Front Panel
MAX5510-PROThe front panel of the MAX® 5510-PRO has a stylish look similar to the original MAX® 5510, but does not include the bulky XLR-style lamp connector. Instead, the area has been streamlined and replaced with a power/status LED. We like the cleaner look, but users will no longer have access to the detachable light on the front of the unit.
The MAX® 5510-PRO has solid build quality that results in a unit that weighs about 31 pounds. The Power Switch button on the front panel is one of two ways to activate a turn-on or shutdown sequence for the Isolated and High Current outlets. Status indicators are provided for Switched Outlets, DC Voltage Trigger, Unsafe Voltage, Isolated Power and Balanced Power status. Panamax has kept the convenient front panel outlet for temporary devices needing AC power and we made good use of it.

MAX5510-PROBlue Glow
Panamax has also improved the backlight on the two front panel meters used for current and voltage monitoring. They now have selectable colors (blue or amber) and light intensity (low and high). We preferred the blue backlight set at the lower intensity level for our home theater viewing. The backlighting looks great and is evenly distributed over the panel without any hot spots. The blue backlight certainly gives the
MAX® 5510-PRO a more modern look found on most of today's components. Both meters can be manually zeroed using the slotted trim on the lower front of each meter. The accuracy was good when we compared it to our bench meters. We used a Powerstat Variable Autotransformer to check the under-voltager and over-voltage shutoff. The unit detected an unsafe voltage when the utility power dropped below 94 VAC or went above 139 VAC.

MAX5510-PROThe guts of the
MAX® 5510-PRO have been completely reorganized from the earlier MAX® 5510 we reviewed. However, many of the same protection and design features are still part of the new PRO version. The center of the unit is occupied by a large 720VA toriodal isolation transformer along with several modular circuit boards. The layout is well organized and divided into functional blocks with the details silkscreened on the top of each circuit board. The main power supply board also contains the microprocessor used to provide the intelligence and communication via the RS232 interface. Several smaller boards hold the display and control electronics, coaxial protection circuits, and protected LAN/telephone circuits. Three separate heavy-duty relays are used to engage power to the rear outlets as long as the utility voltage levels are within acceptable limits. The analog meters are mounted to a separate circuit card and also include the blue and amber LEDs. The dual “balanced, double L” filtration circuits are clearly seen on the output boards that utilize the large chokes and output relays. Heavy gauge wire is used throughout the output stages for the power outlets.

MAX5510-PRORear Panel
The rear panel of the MAX® 5510-PRO is densely populated with connectors. The detachable power cord can be 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 from the unit. A ground lug is also available for connecting a solid ground wire to the unit. A total of ten power outlets grouped into three functional blocks are available. Two High-current Outlets are specifically designed for power amplifiers and powered subwoofers to provide noise filtration without limiting current. These outlets can be configured to either turn-on instantly or provide a 10-second delay to prevent "speaker thump". Four Isolated Outlets provide isolated/balanced power from the secondary windings of the internal 720VA toroidal transformer. This completely isolates the incoming power from the secondary output. These outlet are current limited to a total of six amps. The Isolated Outlets Delay Switch configures these outlets to be "No Delay", "Always On" or "10-second delay". The four Always On Outlets are designed to provide power to analog components such as preamplifiers, receivers, VCRs and tape decks. These outputs are always powered on as long as the unit is connected to wall power and fall within the allowable voltage range. Each of the two banks has indepenent Balanced Double L filtration circuits.

The MAX® 5510-PRO has a 15 amp main circuit breaker for the input power. There's also a secondary 6 amp circuit breaker specifically designed to protect the isolation transformer in case of an overload. However, the majority of digital components draw little current, so this should not be a problem. The unit has both 12V input and output triggers allowing it to be easily daisy-chained into a system. We used our Parasound AVC-2500u A/V Controller to drive the trigger input on the MAX® 5510-PRO and it worked perfectly. The Trigger Delay switch allows the unit to insert a delay between the time it receives a trigger and the time it sends out a trigger. The user has the option of selecting zero or 10-seconds. This can be useful when connecting multiple power conditioning units together or as in our case for providing a delayed trigger to our five-channel Parasound (HCA-2205AT) power amplifier.

Something new to this product is the RS232 interface that allows an external controller to command and request status from the unit. The baud rate is a modest 9600 bps with one start bit and one stop bit. The interface uses three wires (TX, RX and Ground) to send and receive data with no flow control. There are ten commands and five status requests that can be sent to the unit.

Two sets of satellite connections and a set of cable connections provide protection from potential voltage spikes. Satellite connections work over a range from 950 MHz to 2.2 GHz with a loss of less than 1dB in signal level. The clamping circuitry for the satellite connections is set at 27V to handle the 13 and 18 volt control voltages used for the LNBs. The cable/antenna connections are designed to operate over a range of 5 to 950 MHz with a clamping threshold set at 0.7V, well above the level of the modulated video signal. All F-connectors used for both are gold-plated to ensure long-term contact reliability. A pair of protected LAN/telephone line (RJ-45) connections is also provided for set-top boxes and media servers, as are protected line level A/V jacks for audio and video signals.

The Panamax MAX® 5510-PRO ACRegenerator® continues to offer their lifetime $5,000,000 Connected Equipment Protection Policy along with a three year parts and labor warranty. This is one of the best warranties we've seen in the industry and provides consumers with the confidence they need to maximize performance while protecting their costly components. The MAX® 5510-PRO is the company's flagship power product that meets the needs of both high-end consumers as well as custom installation professionals.

- 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® 5510-PRO ACRegenerator®

AC Specifications
Protect or Disconnect Circuitry Yes
Thermal Fusing Yes
Catastrophic Surge Circuit Yes
Single Pulse Energy Dissipation 2100 Joules
Spike Capacity 90,000A
EMI/RFI Noise Filtration 60dB - 120dB
Line Voltage 120VAC, 50/60 Hz
Clamping Level (TVSS Voltage) 330V
Initial Clamping Level 200V
SurgeGate Plus Yes
Overvoltage Shutoff 134VAC
Undervoltage Shutoff 95VAC
Protection Modes L-N, N-G, L-G
Maximum Current Rating 15A (1800W)
Response Time <1ns

Product Features
Number of Outlets 11
Always On Outlets up to 9
Switched Outlets up to 4
Delayed Outlets 2
Cord Length 10 ft.
Connectors Straight
Length 12"
Width 17.25"
Height 3.5"
Weight 31 lbs.

Coax Specifications
Antenna/Cable Lines Protected 1
Antenna/Cable Clamping 1.4v
Antenna/Cable Attenuation <1dB up to 950 MHz
Satellite Lines Protected 2
Satellite Clamping 27v
Satellite Attenuation <1dB (950MHz-2.20GHz)
Coax Connectors Female

Telco Specifications
SignalPerfect Circuitry Yes
Fuseless / Auto Resettable Yes
Clamping Level 260V Telco / 8V LAN
Capacitance 30pf (approx.)
Suppression Modes Metallic & Longitudinal
Wires Protected Telco: pins 4 & 5
LAN: pins 1,2,3 & 6
Connectors RJ-11/45

RCA Specifications
RCA Clamping 6.5v
RCA Protection Modes Signal/Sheath to Ground
RCA Wires Protected 5 wires
RCA Attenuation <0.06dB
RCA Connectors Audio (phono) Jacks

DC Trigger
Connection 3.5mm mini-plug
Voltage and Polarity 5-30VDC, bi-directional
Curent Requirement >25mA

Agency Approval cULus
Product Warranty Length 3 Years
Connected Equipment Policy Length Lifetime
Connected Equipment Policy Amount $5,000,000
Lightning Protection Yes

2 - Rack ears with screws for rack mounting option
1 - IEC 320, 120V/15A detachable 10 foot power cord
1 - USB LED Convenience Lamp
2 - RG6 Coax Cables for Satellite, Cable and/or Antenna
1 - RJ11 Telephone Cable
1 - CAT-5 Ethernet Cable

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

Phone: 800-472-5555

Model: M5510-Pro
Source: Manufacture Supplied
MSRP: $1499

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