Power Conditioners

Panamax M4320-PRO AC Power Conditioner

ARTICLE INDEX

Set Up and Use

I connected my system through the Panamax M4320-PRO. For this particular unit, you need to make sure you have a 20-amp circuit and a 20-amp wall socket. My theater is already set up with 20-amp circuits, so I was good to go. If you don’t meet the circuit and socket requirements, you could hire an electrician to upgrade your electric circuit or you could drop down to the Panamax M4315-PRO which is a 15-amp model with all the same features as the M4320-PRO.

I want to take a second and talk a little about the basic performance of the unit before I go into details about the system set up. I was interested in getting the strongest impression of the impact that this component could have, so for two weeks before the review, I ran my system sans power conditioning. This was an interesting experiment, and I must say that the improvement in the picture and sound with the M4320-PRO in the system was immediately apparent and very substantial.

I saw obvious improvement in the picture: more detail, less color drift and fewer visual artifacts. But the biggest improvement (to me) was in a much lower noise floor in the audio department. Solo violins being played pianissimo benefitted the most. OK, well, any solo instrument being played pianissimo benefitted. A lot. There was much more separation between the sounds and the spaces in between them. Right on the cutting edge of sound is where you will hear the differences the most.

Although the M4320-PRO does not have voltage regulation, power factor correction or a battery back-up (all useful features) the fact remains that $750 is indeed money well spent to bring about these kinds of improvements to your system’s performance and protection.

Now back to the system set up: I went on-line to register with the BlueBOLT website. Their software is constantly being updated and consequently I was not able to complete my registration straight away. This prompted me to call Panamax customer service. I must say that I had about the most pleasurable customer service experience that I have had in quite some time. They were able to get my account set up in less than 5 minutes and I was all set.

I then logged into the BlueBOLT web interface and keyed in the MAC address for my unit. I named it “EQ Rack”. I also input the electric rate for my local utility. The BlueBOLT system allows the end use to input various rates depending on your utility company’s rate schedule. For instance, some electric companies charge different rates for electricity depending on the season or charge a higher rate once you exceed a given level of usage.

After setting up the system, I took control of it on the internet. I’ve added some screen shots off the BlueBOLT web interface in the section below so you can learn about some of the basic functionality the system provides.

This is the Device Administration page. Currently, there are four options to drill down from this page.

This is the outlet controls page. You can see here that I named each outlet in accordance with my particular set up. You can power on/off or cycle power to any outlet. I can see parents using this to turn off the TV when their kids are supposed to be doing their home work. Notice there are no controls on this page for the front outlet.

You can use the “Add a Scheduled Command” page to set up things like a re-boot of your modem or router as I’m demonstrating here.

These are the Device Meters. It looks like my system is loafing here, but in reality my system rarely pulls over 5 amps and I don’t often see voltages below 117 V, particularly with the receiver under test in this case as opposed to a massive Class A/B multi-channel amplifier. (FYI, my plasma display and one of my subs are not plugged into the power conditioner.)

This is a partial shot of the Energy Management page. What you don’t see was cut off from the bottom. It is an accounting of the overall kWh consumed by your system for a selected duration. The portion that was cut off also indicates the accumulated costs of running your system over the same period. What you do see is one of the selected graphs that indicate wattage by day in this particular instance. It can also chart line voltage or current draw.

The Alert Setting page is the launch point for the user to define certain thresholds that will generate e-mail alerts for power events and energy management events. For example, you could have it e-mail you when you are within a certain limit of your monthly energy budget for your system.