Product Review (July 2010) - Panamax
MB1500 Battery Backup (UPS)

By Kevin Nakano

Panamax MB1500Panamax has introduced a new family of UPS products designed and engineered specifically for home theater systems. The flagship MB1500 UPS combines power management, voltage regulation and surge protection along with AVM (Automatic Voltage Monitoring) and Battery Backup to provide the ultimate in clean power to your delicate electronics. Similar to the original MAX® 1500-UPS, the new MB1500 UPS provides a True Sine Wave Output instead of the cheaper implementation of a stepped sine wave commonly found in mainstream computer UPS systems, which can cause problems with some equipment that is sensitive to non sinusoidal voltage. The new MB1500 UPS features Advanced LiFT (Linear Filtering Technology) Noise Filtration with Protect or Disconnect Voltage Protection. This UPS design can also send IR commands to connected equipment in the event of a power failure

The MB1500 has an attractive and contemporary look and offers sophisticated noise filtration and the patented over/under voltage protection circuitry. A heavy-duty non-detachable power cord, a pair of rack mount ears, an RS232 serial cable, USB cable, and Power Control software are included.

UPS Mode
Should the utility voltage drift outside of range such that the MB1500 can no longer compensate with the AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation), the unit will disconnect from the utility power and activate the UPS mode. Transfer time from normal to UPS mode is less that 4 milliseconds. The UPS output capacity is 1500VA (600W) with a 0.6 power factor. The unit can run on batteries for 12 minutes at full load and 30 minutes at half load. UPS voltage is 120 ± 5 volts at 60 ± 1 Hz, which is near ideal. The AVR works in two modes, Standard and Sensitive. The Standard Mode (120V ± 10%) has a capture range of 90 – 140 VAC. The Sensitive Mode (120V ± 5%) has a capture range of 98 – 135 VAC.

Panamax MB1500 UPSUser Interface
The two-line backlit LCD screen provides user information from the different menu items. The display has a modern blue color that can be dimmed from 100% to 25% to prevent distractions while watching movies in a dark setting. The display can be difficult to read in direct sunlight. The Menu Navigation Knob is used to control the menu items. Rotating the knob clockwise navigates to the next screen, while turning it counter-clockwise returns the user to the previous screen. Pushing the button selects the menu item.

Panamax MB1500 Menu TreeSetup Menu
The flow diagram on the left (Click to Enlarge) shows the menu structure of the MB1500. Users can choose from a variety of settings including Display Brightness (100%, 75%, 50% or 25%), Display Scroll Mode, Display Sleep Mode, Auto Regulation (Normal or Sensitive), Non-critical Bank 3 & 4 Setup (20% to 100%), External Battery Setup, IR Setup, IR Output Delay (0 to 60 sec), Buzzer Mode, UPS System Test and System Information. The knob/push button interface takes some getting used to, but can be mastered in little time. In fact, the limited clutter on the front of this unit makes it quite attractive.


Panamax MB1500Front Panel
The front of the MB1500 UPS has outlet indicators that illuminate blue when any of the Banks 1, 2, 3, or 4 are switched on. Press and hold the Power Button for 2 seconds to turn the MB1500 ON or OFF. The Line Fault Indicator LED will illuminate red if a wiring problem such as a bad/missing ground or reversed wiring within the AC receptacle is detected. There is also an IR Detector used for sampling IR remote control signals that can be stored in the unit and transmitted in the event of a power failure. This is particularly useful in case a component needs to be shutdown within a limited amount of time while battery backup is still available. The Removable Battery Access Panel provides quick and easy battery access for maintenance.

Panamax MB1500Inside
The Panamax MB1500 UPS has a very solid chassis design that doesn't flex or feel weak. This unit weighs over 70 pounds with the majority of the weight from the rechargeable lead-acid batteries and the large amount of magnetics designed into this unit. The battery tray is occupied by four high capacity 12V/8AH (HR9-12FR) lead-acid batteries. The battery tray is located behind the front removable panel and has a convenient handle that makes it easy to remove from the chassis. The rear panel fan automatically turns on when the unit switches to the battery mode. The fan provides adequate air circulation as the unit does generate considerable heat when loaded and operating from backup power. Heavy gauge wire and large chokes are used on the power lines that feed the rear panel outlets. The UPS has a nice layout with various circuits conveniently partitioned.

Panamax MB1500 UPSRear Panel
The rear panel of the MB1500 has a total of eight outlets grouped into four banks. Banks 1 & 2 are Critical-Load Outlets that ensures temporary uninterrupted operation of connected equipment during a power failure and are fully AVM protected for critical-load equipment. These outlets provide uninterrupted power to components such as DVR's that need to run continuously powered. Banks 3 & 4 are designed for non-critical-loads in that these outlets will shut off when the batteries drain to a designated level to reserve remaining battery energy for the critical load outlets. These outlets will shut off when the batteries drain to a specified level (20% to 100%) allocating the remaining battery charge for the critical load (Banks 1 & 2) outlets. Both sets of outlets provide uninterrupted power to the connected equipment for as long as adequate power remains in the batteries. A large fan in the center of the unit cools the electronics when the UPS mode kicks in. Two 15A resettable circuit breakers provide overload protection for the outlets. There is also a large ground lug available.

The MB1500 has the ability to learn two IR commands. After a power failure and the selected delay, the IR codes will be sent to both output jacks. This gives the user the ability to control two different pieces of equipment or use a two-step macro for one component. The delay settings can be from 0 to 60 seconds in 5 second increments. The IR commands will also be transmitted immediately after the battery charge falls below the critical battery voltage threshold. This ensures that equipment will be properly shutdown if the MB1500’s load level is extremely high.

Panamax External BatteryExternal Battery Pack
The large power connector on the back of the MB1500 is provided for those looking for additional power reserve. The high current interface is designed for the Panamax Battery Extension Pack (BATT1500-EXT Sold Separately). This battery pack contains 8 additional HR9-12FR batteries (twice the number of batteries contained in the MB1500) that triples the runtime of the unit in the event of a power anomaly. This battery pack is heavy and weighs about the same as the MB1500 making this one heavy duo.

Panamax Power Control SoftwarePower Control Software
The USB interface on the back of the unit provides the communications link needed to run the Power Control (Version 2.2) software provided with the UPS. We installed the software on a laptop running Vista 64-bit and it worked without any problems. The software resides on the computer tray and has a status indicator for the data link. Power Source, Battery Capacity, and Estimated Runtime are displayed on the top of the main Power Control window. The Monitor tab screen provides Current Status and a Summary screen. The Configure tab provides Schedule, Notification, Runtime, Voltage Thresholds, and Self-Test.

The MB1500 comes standard with an RS232 module plugged into the back of the unit, which allows communication between the unit and an automation, media server,
or computer system. This 9600 baud serial interface allows the installer to program a number of variables including the Critical Load Battery Threshold. A full table of controllable features are documented in the owner's manual.

An optional TCP/IP BlueBOLT™ module (sold separately) allows for additional functions, such as remote diagnostics, control of individual outlet banks, and configuration of email alerts. The Remote Power Management technology provides secure, hosted IP (Internet Protocol) system control. BlueBOLT™ allows custom electronics installers, integrators and end-users to remotely monitor and control power to the connected equipment by accessing several power management components via the internet.

Panamax BlueBolt CV-1BlueBOLT™ CV-1
The BlueBOLT™ IP Communications Card (Model: BlueBOLT-CV1, MSRP $249.95) is designed to connect to the internet directly through a switch or router and will find its home server with minimal configuration. Since the interface is hosted by Panamax/Furman, you only need to set it once. All devices are controlled through an easy-to-use interface at with no static IP addresses needed.

Setting Up Locations
BlueBOLT™ enabled devices can be managed through the BlueBOLT™ website with each product location customized for easy identification. Adding a device requires the user to enter the MAC address and Key number included with the BlueBOLT™ card. Once the product is identified a picture will appear making it easier to identify the component being controlled. Since the interface is hosted at the BlueBOLT™ website, users can remotely monitor and control their power equipment from anywhere in the world. Simple system reboots as well as comprehensive monitoring of power status is made easy with this system.


Device Administration
The Device Admin tab provide the user with the option to change the device name, delete the device or request the device firmware and IP information. The latter option initiates a request from the
BlueBOLT™ server and results in a display of the physical IP address, product name and the IP firmware of the unit. Panamax has made it extremely easy to control the UPS from remote locations. This is ideal for custom installers and advanced users who want to be able to monitor and control the MB1500 UPS without having to be onsite.

Panamax BlueBoltMonitoring
The Monitoring tab provides the user with both input voltage, output current and battery status. Each of the outlets on the rear panel can be controlled remotely using relays within the MB1500. The green button turns the outlet on or off while the blue button provides a power cycle on the outlet. The Edit Outlet Setting button allows the user to name the outlet as well as indicate whether the outlet bank is used for a network device such as a switch, router, or modem that your
BlueBOLT™-enabled product is connected to. Indicating that this outlet or bank has a network device connected will deactivate its On/Off controls as well as trigger a confirmation prompt to be issued whenever you attempt to cycle power to prevent a network interruption.

Alert Settings
BlueBOLT™ can notify users by email if the MB1500 is disrupted for any reason. Email addresses and event alerts are inputted through the Event Alert Settings menu. The following events can be individually enabled or disabled. Battery Discharging, Battery Charging, Voltage Regulation (Under-voltage and Over-voltage), Power Loss , Under-Voltage, Power Normal, Power Recovery, Over-Voltage, and Connection Lost. Since the BlueBOLT™ server can detect a loss of connection, it can directly send the email notice. The frequency of alerts can be set to 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or 24 hours.

The Monitoring tab provides a strip chart style history of the information from the privious week with both voltage and current readings for that duration. The current steps seen in our power profile are due to the LCD flat panel being turned on and off over time. The lower current is due to a Dish Network ViP 922 DVR that is constantly powered on. Utility voltage remained relatively stable during the week with roughly 5 volts of fluctuation. There is no way to change the time scale so you are stuck with a full week's worth of information.

The MB1500 UPS performed well in our setup and we had no problems maintaining power to our system during a complete power outage. For this test, our system was running a high definition recording of Kung Fu Panda on our Dish Network Vip 922 Sling Loaded DVR connected to a Mitsubishi LT-52148 LCD television. Current draw on the MB1500 was over 4 amps during normal viewing of the movie. When power was removed from the UPS, the unit immediately switched to the internal UPS inverter and absolutely no discontinuity was perceived by the viewers. The UPS fan turned on and the estimated runtime was displayed on the front of the MB1500. In addition, the
BlueBOLT™ monitoring interface running on our laptop recognized the power failure and reported it accordingly.

The new Panamax MB1500 (MSRP: $1299.95) is a superb UPS with high quality true sine wave output capability for the best power available to your electronics. No longer do you have to put up with cheaper stepped sine wave UPS inverters. The IR transmitter and serial port/IP interface options give users the ability to fully monitor and control their power management system. The Panamax MB1500 UPS is a fine example of the years of experience that Panamax has in making quality power conditioning products. If you have been looking for that ultimate power firewall for you A/V equipment, this is it.

- Kevin Nakano

OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player

Review System

Display: Mitsubishi LT-52148 1080p 120Hz LCD Display
Set-top Box: Dish Network ViP 922 Sling Loaded HDTV Satellite Receiver
Blu-ray Player: OPPO BDP-83 Blu-ray/DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio Player
Remote Control: Remote Technologies Inc. T3-V Controller

Review at a glance

Panamax MB1500 UPS

AC Power

Surge Protection: Non-sacrificial AVM (Automatic Voltage Monitoring)
Current Rating 12 A maximum (7.5 A maximum battery load recommended)
Overvoltage Shutoff, fast rise 150 ±5V
Overvoltage Shutoff, slow rise 140 ±5V
Undervoltage Shutoff 90 ±5V
Automatic Voltage Regulation, Sensitive Mode Capture Range 98-135V
Automatic Voltage Regulation, Sensitive Mode Output Range 120 ±5%
Automatic Voltage Regulation, Standard Mode Capture Range 90-140V
Automatic Voltage Regulation, Standard Mode Output Range 120 ±10%
Noise Attenuation: 40dB min from 100kHz-2MHz
75dB max @ 270kHz
Linear Attenuation Curve: From 0.05-100 Ohms line impedance


UPS Output

Voltage 120 ±5V, True Sine Wave
Frequency 60 Hz ±1%
UPS Output Capacity 1500VA 600W @ 0.6pf
UPS Backup Time (full load) 12 minutes
UPS Backup Time (half load) 30 minutes
Transfer Time <4ms


Dimensions 19”L or D x 17”W x 4”H
Weight 72.5 lbs.


Voltage 85-137 Vac
Frequency 57-63 Hz

MB1500 Owner's Manual

MB1500 Spec Sheet

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

Phone: 800-472-5555

Model: MB1500
Source: Manufacture Supplied
MSRP: $1299.95 (BATT1500-EXT: $649.95, BlueBOLT CV-1: $249.95)

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