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Panamax M5100-PM Home Theater Power Management System


About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Panamax M5100-PM - Front View With Accessories

Panamax M5100-PM - Front View With Accessories

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
We take electricity for granted. We plug our components into a wall outlet and, as if by magic, they work. However, electricity is not magic, it is generated in facilities and distributed over a network of substations and power lines. Just as water is essential to our bodies, electricity is essential to home theater components, and, just like water, is not always perfect or consistent; there are spikes, dips, and interference in electric lines just as there are changing pressure levels and periodic contamination in the water supply. This is where the Panamax M5100-PM Home Theater Power Management System can help.

Features of the Panamax M5100-PM

The exterior and under-the-hood features of the Panamax M5100-PM include:

1. Clean Power Level 3 feature improves picture and sound by eliminating noise, pops, and hum across the entire AC bandwidth.

2. Three Isolated AC Outlet Banks. Isolating outlet banks from one another prevents noise contamination between components.

3. Two High Current Outlets for equipment with high power demands, such as amplifiers and powered subwoofers.

4. USB Charger connection included on front panel for mp3 players, cell phones, iPods, and other small electronics.

5. Gaming LAN Port on front panel provides easy access for game controllers.

6. Digital Volt Meter displays the voltage supplying home theater components connected to the M5100-PM power outlets.

7. A 12 Volt Trigger is provided which allows source equipment to activate or deactivate the outlets on the M5100-PM.

8. The M5100-PM protects against blown fuses and potentially damaging speaker thump by powering outlets on and off in sequence.

9. Total number of AC outlets: 11. 5 are always on, 4 standard switched outlets, 2 additional switched high current outlets.

10. AVM (Auto Voltage Monitor) protects against over/under voltage by disconnecting power and then reconnects when safe power returns.

11. Dimensions 17 in. W x 12.75 in. D x 3.5 in H, (4.1 in. Including feet), Weight 13.5 lbs.

12. Suggeested is Price $399 Compare Prices.

For a close-up look at the controls and connections of the Panamax M5100-PM, also check out my Photo Gallery

Additional Components Used In This Review

Panamax M5100-PM - AVM LED On

Panamax M5100-PM - AVM LED On

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
Home Theater Receiver: Onkyo TX-SR705.

Source Components: Sony BD-PS350 and OPPO DV-983H DVD Player

Loudspeaker System 1: 2 Klipsch F-2's, 2 Klipsch B-3s, Klipsch C-2 Center , 2 Polk R300s.

Subwoofer: Klipsch Synergy Sub10 .

TV/Monitor: A Westinghouse Digital LVM-37w3 1080p LCD Monitor.

TV Programming Signal Sources: Cox Analog Cable Service (straight RF feed - no cable box - through the M5100-PM and out to an RCA VR725HF VCR to the S-video inputs of the Westinghouse monitor), Samsung DTB-H260F External HDTV Tuner (RF-in from Antenna/HDMI-out to Westinghouse monitor)

Audio/Video connections made with Accell, Cobalt, and AR Interconnect cables. 16 Gauge Speaker Wire used.

Setup and Use of the Panamax M5100-PM

The M5100-PM is very easy to setup and use. First, connect all of the power cords from your source components, TV, and Home Theater Receiver, as well as your RF coaxial cables, Ethernet/LAN, and Dial-up Phone Line, then take the power cord from the unit and plug it into to a single wall outlet. You are now are set to go.

The most important feature of the M5100-PM, in my opinion, is that instead of a scattering of cheap surge protectors and power cords cluttering up my home theater system, I could connect all of my components into one centralized device and only have one power cord actually connected to the wall outlet.

In addition, I really liked the AVM (Automatic Voltage Monitor) feature, which includes a front panel Digital Voltmeter that continuously displays the actual voltage that is coming out the wall outlet. This monitor displays the incoming voltage and also warns if the voltage is too high or too low (indicated by a "lightning" icon located just to the right of the actual voltage number display). 120 volts is optimum, but unsafe voltages would be below 90 or above 142. In my case, my wall voltage output ranged from a low of 117 volts to a high of 120 volts, which was well in the safe range to operate my home theater system's components.

Panamax M5100-PM - Front View Left Side

Panamax M5100-PM - Front View Left Side

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
Another feature that I found very useful was that the M5100-PM provides isolation between components. In other words, Amplifiers, Receivers, and Powered Subwoofers, are electrically isolated from source components, such as a Blu-ray Disc player, or other source device. This assists in limiting any interference that may be generated from one component affecting the power going to another. In addition, the M5100-PM also reduces the noise generated by external appliances that are connected to the same house current.

In other words, where before I would hear intermittent audible noise and hum through the loudspeakers, depending on what was turned on or off, the M5100-PM eliminated such issues. On the other hand, in my own case, I did not notice any change in the actual audio performance of my components.

In addition to power isolation, the M5100-PM also helps improve signals going through RF cables. In my case, I did notice an improvement in the noise level from analog cable when routed through the M5100-PM, resulting in a slightly cleaner image on my television.

One added feature that I thought was really nice touch is the front panel USB charging port. This was great for charging my iPod. However, it can also be used to charge Cell Phones and other portable digital devices that have a USB charging connection.

Proceed to Page 2: What I Liked, Didn't Like, and Final Take

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