The Panamax MX5102 delivers exactly what it claims — battery backup and voltage monitoring. While there are other choices out there, the Panamax has its own feature set that may make it perfect for your application.
On looks alone, the Panamax MX5102 is a winner. The black brushed aluminum case just begs to be shown off.
The Panamax MX5102 ($649.95) would make a great addition to any home theater.
It isn’t hard to know that the Panamax MX5102 UPS is a quality piece of equipment. You just have to pick it up. At 27 pounds, its diminutive case belies its weight. The MX5102 comes with a number of cables. Short coax and Ethernet jumpers are included as well as telephone cords (does anyone use these anymore?) and a pair of adapters for rack mounting.
The back of the unit includes 10 outlets in four different banks. Each of the banks is isolated from the others so that any noise from one component can’t contaminate the power going to the other banks. The most important in this case is Bank 4 with the 2 UPS outlets. These two outlets receive power from the batteries (at a 10ms delay when the power goes out).
Bank 1 is always on which is good for gear that you never want to power down (aside from power outages). Bank 2 is the switched bank that provides a shutdown delay. Bank 3 is for high current devices like amps and subwoofers and includes a startup delay. This means that your amps turn on last and off first. Both of these delays are designed to reduce speaker “thumps” that occur when the amplifier amplifies another piece of gear that is turning on.
The front of the unit includes a rather large readout, two buttons, and a few lights. The button to the left is the power On/Off. The button to the right is the Meter Dimmer/UPS Test button. With a quick press, the display will cycle through various levels of brightness until you find the one you like. If you press and hold the button, the UPS will run a test cycle.
Putting it to the Test
The first test of the MX5102 came barely 30 minutes after turning it on for the first time. We had just finished installing a projector and screen and were taking a break after preliminary setup when the power went out.
We saw the lights go out and ran to the home theater. The Panamax MX5102 was beeping (as it was supposed to) and the projector was still on. We switched the projector off and noted the amount of time left on the battery. According to the manual, the MX5102 should be able to maintain full power for 3 minutes at full load. While to the uninitiated that doesn’t sound like very much, most of the competition is in the same camp (similar APC models can run up to 6 minutes at full load).
We had an SMS-1 plugged into the second UPS outlet. According to the readout, we could have run the SMS for another 60 minutes. Obviously, with most gear you’re going to have plenty of time to shut everything down before the batteries die. We’ve had the power go out a number of times since then and the unit has never failed to maintain power to our projector so that we could cool down the bulb properly.
Needs Removable Power Cord, More UPS Protection
We really have only two complaints about the MX5102. We’d really like to see a removable power cord rather than a fixed one. Secondly, we feel a little confused that only two of the outlets are UPS protected.
The Panamax M5102 does has LAN protection and IR control. In our application, our power rarely varied much off of 120 (as low as 116 rarely above 120) so voltage regulation was not as needed as the additional LAN protection. The fact is that if you have one unprotected inlet for a surge, your entire system is compromised. With the MX5102, we are completely protected.
Read the entire review at Audioholics.com.
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