Product Review (April 2004) - Panamax

Plasma and LCD flat-panel technology have become the display of choice for modern day consumers searching for an alternative to the intrusive-looking and bulky rear-screen projection televisions. However, these new fixed-pixel displays are particularly sensitive to noise in the power line and video signals. Professional installers are usually called in to tackle the difficult task of mounting and wiring the units into place. Whether you're the type of person that relies on a professional installer or a do-it-yourselfer, Panamax has just made the installation a little less complicated with the introduction of their new MAX® In-Wall products. Those installing the display can purchase the In-Wall kit along with the optional video interface module that meets the customer's specific requirements. The Panamax In-Wall kit (MIW-POWERKIT-TL) includes both the inlet and outlet units and is designed to accommodate one of two common plug-in modules for the video interfaces. The front plates are sturdy with an attractive brushed metal look. Also included in the kit is a hefty 12 gauge input power cable with a standard 3-prong plug on one side and a female twist-lock connector on the the other side. The twist-lock connector mates directly to the power inlet faceplate. The power cord will work with any power conditioner capable of supplying the needed current. Lastly, a full 50 feet of premium quality 12-2 NMB electrical wire is provided to run power through the walls. The power outlet panel that provides power to the display has addition noise filtration capacitors to help eliminate interference.

Panamax offers two commonly used video interface units called the PRO Signal Low Voltage Modules. Each video module provides protection from potentially damaging transients by clamping the signals. The MIW-5RCA (shown) has five discrete female RCA connectors on the front panel and five discrete female BNC connectors behind the wall. All connectors are gold-plated for maximum reliability. Panamax also offers the MIW-VGA that has a standard high density 15-pin D-sub on the front panel with the same five discrete female BNC connections behind the wall. This module also includes a 3-conductor stereo jack just below the 15-pin connector design to carry two-channel audio. The rear of both modules use RG-179U (75 ohm) coaxial cables to carry the video signals from the front connector(s) to the rear BNC connectors. Video bandwidth attenuation is less than 0.6 dB from 0-38MHz and less than 1.9dB at 100MHz. A standard 5-BNC to 5-BNC video cable can be used to carry the signals from panel to panel behind the wall. The modules are designed to snap into place with one of three possible positions (Flush, moderate recess and deep recess).

Everyone has slightly different requirements for their flat-panel display and this is what makes the Panamax Max® In-Wall system so functional. We installed the MIW-5RCA modules on both the inlet and outlet panels. These video modules offer some flexibility and can work in two different configurations. If your installation requires full RGB/HV signaling, then the module is pretty straight forward with all five signals being used for video. However, you can also run component video (YPrPb) using the first three RCA connectors (red, green and blue) and still have two-channel audio on the remaining two RCA connectors. We opted for the latter case since our display was set up to use component video. This allowed us to send line level audio to the display when watching the news and other media that in our opinion didn't require an elaborate sound system.

We powered the display (via the inlet panel) using our Panamax MAX® 5510 to provide clean line voltage to the display. Considering the cost of the flat panel, it's a wise decision to use a good power conditioning unit to protect the display from any damaging transients or surges. The heavy gauge wire used on both the input power cable and in-wall power cable ensures little drop in line voltage even with higher power flat panel displays.

Panamax In-Wall products offer customers a simple installation solution for flat-panel displays without the unsightly wires associated with this type of video products. The modules snap easily into place
and provide an easy way to connect the video signals to the display. While many displays have several input connections, this system requires that the video switching be done at the input into the inlet panel. There are simply not enough connections on the panels to satisfy all video inputs on today's displays. A high-end scaler and/or switcher would be the ideal solution for such applications. Regardless of the final configuration, Panamax has come up with a clean in-wall interface that simplifies the installation of today's modern looking displays.

- Kevin Nakano

Review System

Display: Mitsubishi LT-3020 Platinum Series 30" LCD Television
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: HD-5000 HDTV Receiver/Controller
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables
DVI Cable: Monster Cable M Series M500DVI DVI-D Cable
Power Conditioner: Panamax MAX® 5510 ACRegenerator® A/V Line Conditioner
Video Generator: Sencore VP300 SDTV/HDTV Video Pattern Generator
Video Signal Analyzer: Sencore VSA794 NTSC Video Signal Analyzer
Color Analyzer: Sencore CP5000 Multi-Display Color Analyzer

Review at a glance

Panamax MAX® In Wall

AC Specifications
Protect or Disconnect Circuitry Yes
Thermal Fusing Yes
Single Pulse Energy Dissipation 675 Joules
Spike Capacity 26,000A
Line Voltage 120VAC, 50/60 Hz
Clamping Level (TVSS Voltage) 330V
Initial Clamping Level 141V RMS/200V Peak
Protection Modes L-N, N-G, L-G
Maximum Current Rating 15A (1800W)
Response Time <1ns

Product Warranty Length 3 Years
Lightning Protection Yes

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

Phone: 800-472-5555

Source: Manufacture Supplied


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