APC H15 vs Panamax 5300ex - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 02-11-2009, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been reading a lot about the h15 over the last year and have come to a decision that I think I'll be picking one up in the next week or so (especially now that it's $150.)

But over at Crutchfield they're running the 5300ex for $250. I know it's $100 more, but is it a better unit? Does anyone have any thoughts between the two brands and which one would be a better surge protector/power conditioner?


Thanks
Mark
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post #2 of 16 Old 02-11-2009, 03:04 PM
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i just bought the pana and after reading what it can do, no hesitation there.bought it through Vanns for $250. seems pana has great reputation. i havent installed it yet but it looks nice.
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post #3 of 16 Old 02-11-2009, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I know of panamax. I only thing was - does it offer power regulation in the 5300ex? I don't see it in the machine's specs. In which case the h15 is a better deal @ $150.
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post #4 of 16 Old 02-11-2009, 06:34 PM
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The Panamax 5300 does not boost or trim the incoming power like the H15 does. The Pana will shut down if the voltage varies too much providing protection but does not regulate like the H15.
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post #5 of 16 Old 02-24-2009, 06:30 PM
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Hello all:

I'm at the point of making the same decision: APC H15 or Panamax MAX 5300-EX. Here the pros and cons from my perspective:

APC H15

pro:
- has automatic voltage regulation
- higher rated surge rating (Joules) than MAX 5300-EX
- displays current draw if desired
- ability to set AVR to three different ranges
- silver chassis version available for $149 from Audioholics

con:
- users on other threads report that filtering doesn't work correctly with cable and satellite coaxial connections (not fully bi-directional).
- one reviewer reported that it blew fuses on his sub amp (speculated that large transient draw from sub amp was causing voltage regulation to jump up to the next tap).
- black chassis model available from Crutchfield for $349 (seems to be near to the best price from reputable dealers that actually have it in stock).


Panamax MAX 5300-EX

pro:
- has automatic voltage monitoring - disconnects power if out of range
- manual shows that filtering is fully compatible with satellite, cable, and antennas. (Bi-directional for cable and satellite, and surge clamping voltage set specifically for each type of input)
- black chassis version available at Crutchfield for $249.

con:
- does not buck/boost voltage, only turns off power until it is stable again.
- only displays input voltage



I'm basically concerned with only two things: 1) surge protection, and 2) over/under voltage disconnect. I already have POE protection for the whole house, so this surge protections would be for redundancy. My real concern is for brownouts/overvoltage surges and for those rare power failures where the power cycles off & on rapidly. I want a unit that at a minimum would keep the power turned off during such events. AVR would be icing on the cake, but not a necessity.

Cosmetically I want a black unit. So either the Panamax or the black version of the APC would work.

My cable signal is already pretty clean. But if I am going to get a unit that filters the coax line, then I definitely want one that is bi-directional. It seems the Panamax may have the advantage here.

The voltage regulation on the APC is definitely a consideration. But the power in my area is mostly stable with regards to voltage. So I don't know how useful this would be.


Any feedback would be useful. Especially any real world experiences, as well as any inside technical knowledge you may possess on these two units.


Thank you

Frank
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post #6 of 16 Old 02-24-2009, 08:46 PM
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Does the cable filter have any impact on picture quality. I was getting a hum through my amp and the only way to get rid of it was to filter the incoming cable line.
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post #7 of 16 Old 02-25-2009, 08:54 AM
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Hello all:

I figured that I would give an update. I have ordered the Panamax unit from Crutchfield. Price was $249 with free shipping. Crutchfield's item number is 299M5300EX.

Here is a photo of the unit:


I discovered while researching this unit that the Panamax $5,000,000 warranty (for connected devices) could be invalidated if a non-approved extension cord is used (it has to be one of their cords or an "equivalent"). I asked Crutchfield if they sold one of the "regular" Panamax cords (not the 12 gauge, oxygen-free, uber snake oil cord), and they said that they did. So I bought that also, for $19.98 (for a 10 foot 14 gauge cord). Crutchfield's part number for the cord is GEC1410.

[The extension cord is for my plasma television, so that it can plug into the unit. I know that the extension cord that I currently use for this purpose is more than capable. But I didn't want problems down the road using the warranty if I should ever need it. And I didn't have to pay for shipping, so I that makes up for the price of the cord]

After looking at the APC H15 and the Panamax M5300, I decided on the Panamax for the following reasons:

- It will disconnect the power if there are brownouts or spikes.
- The specs reveal that it was designed for bi-directional communcation on the coaxial filter circuits. Some users have reported problems with the APC H15 in this regard.
- the two high current outlets (bank 3) do not use current limiting devices such as inductors, hence high inrush currents (such as from a subwoofer) will not be limited, which is desirable for high power amplifiers.
- the noise filtration (Level 4) seems to have very good specs. There was also an impressive video demonstrating this on Crutchfield's site featuring the M5400-PM, which also regulates voltage. (It is a level 4+, due to the added voltage regulation.)
- it comes in black
- the price is good, given its performance specifications. Actually, the current price is a great deal, considering that it's list price was $549.00 (that price seems inflated). Plus, the shipping was free from Crutchfield.
- I could order it from Crutchfield, whom I've done business with previously. They are a first-rate company, with great customer support.
- I haven't read any bad reviews on this unit.

FYI

Frank
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post #8 of 16 Old 03-01-2009, 11:17 AM
 
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Quote:


- It will disconnect the power if there are brownouts or spikes.
- The specs reveal that it was designed for bi-directional communcation on the coaxial filter circuits. Some users have reported problems with the APC H15 in this regard.
- the two high current outlets (bank 3) do not use current limiting devices such as inductors, hence high inrush currents (such as from a subwoofer) will not be limited, which is desirable for high power amplifiers.
- the noise filtration (Level 4) seems to have very good specs. There was also an impressive video demonstrating this on Crutchfield's site featuring the M5400-PM, which also regulates voltage. (It is a level 4+, due to the added voltage regulation.)
- it comes in black
- the price is good, given its performance specifications. Actually, the current price is a great deal, considering that it's list price was $549.00 (that price seems inflated). Plus, the shipping was free from Crutchfield.
- I could order it from Crutchfield, whom I've done business with previously. They are a first-rate company, with great customer support.
- I haven't read any bad reviews on this unit.

I am sure you have a very good unit and I am not attempting to bad mouth or persuade you into buyers remorse...But I would like to counter some of your reasoning to pay a higher price for a unit that is not as capable as the unit you decided against...

1] The specs and real world performance in the H15 is the concluson that it does suppoert 2 way communication with cable...However there is a signal loss as is with even the Panamax unit..This is possible that caused a loss of communication IF the signal was too low to begin with...In this case the unit itself cannot be blamed...

2] Where did you see that the H15 limits the current out??? On the contrary...the H15 is designed to keep the output current consistent and stable which IS desireable for high current/power amplifiers...There is no high in rush current from using a subwoofer...Actually a high in rush current is BAD for electronics...A subwoofer will draw down the input voltage under heavy demand...The H15 will boost the power instantly to the correct output voltage necessary...automatically and instantly...

3] I haven't found any video of the H15 doing its job though I have literally watched mine work as it should...A video would be nice but also another added expence to be passed onto the customer so I can live without it...The EMI and RFI on the H15 is second to none and absolutely necessary even if you think it isn't...In this respect I would say both units are equal...At least from what I have read about both...

4] The H15 also comes in black though it costs more currently than the equivalent model in silver...A can of black spray paint can take care of that quickly enough though...I have painted many silver components black with fantastic results and only I know the difference...

5] The Audioholics price of $149.99 is unbeatable at this time...Free shipping anda free 3 year extended warranty beats the Crutchfield deal in my opinion.

6] Crutchfield IS a first rate company to do business with...I have had past dealings with them and will surely have more...On the other hand Audioholics is also a highly recommended online dealer that I myself have no complaints about...If I had a need to buy one of the products that they carry I certainly would not hesitate to consider a purchase from them again...Past experience has definately made me a reason to be a repeat customer same as with Crutchfield...

7] I haven't read any bad professional reviews on either unit either...I always take internet forum reviews with a grain of salt for obvious reasons...

8] The H15 has a $750,000 coverage warranty compared to the $500,000 warranty from Panamax...

9] I myself do not want the power interrupted when I am in the middle of watching a show/movie...the H15 regulates the power therefore it is unnecessary to disconnect the power or shut down...

As I said I am not bashing your decision...The panamax unit is a good looking unit...My only complaint about the H15 is that the display is not bigger...But I figure it like this...A power conditioner should be as unobtrusive as possible...almost invisable in my opinion...The H15 does not bring any undo attention to itself but still looks great integrated in my system I think...Ultimatly I bought the unit for the same reason anyone should consider a power conditioner...I want to protect my investment...I have already had a surge protector fail me once and I lost a great...and expensive...AVR as well as a subwoofer that was nearly $1000 when I bought it...due to a power surge during a summer lightening storm...After finally replacing those units I do not want to take the chance of anything happening to the new ones...

Anyway I just wanted to get the record set straight so as to cover both sides of the fence so to speak...
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post #9 of 16 Old 03-10-2009, 11:31 AM
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Hello all:

I ordered the Panamax on a Wednesday at noontime from Crutchfield, and received it two days later on Friday afternoon, via UPS standard ground shipping! Thanks for this go to Crutchfield and UPS.

The unit was very well packed, with the original carton placed inside of a generic brown-box shipping carton (no logos visible). Biodegradable packing puffs insulated the inner carton from the outer one. No signs of damage to either carton.

I removed and inspected the unit. There was no signs of damage to it. However, I could hear something rattling around inside. I removed the top cover and found that a small L-shaped piece of red fibrous cardboard insulation was loose inside the unit. There are two flaps made from this material that are located inside the unit and cover the rack mounting holes. These appeared to be intact. I could not find anyplace where the small piece of insulation would have come from, so I assumed that it was just mistakenly dropped into the unit during assembly. I called Panamax technical support, and left a message to see if it was ok to open the unit. They responded within half an hour.

I integrated the unit into my system. Here is what I observed:

  • Outlet Bank 1 will always turn on if the unit is plugged in. So you can never really turn the unit completely "off" without unplugging it. The good thing is that the unit waits about 5 seconds after plugging it in (or, until after stable line power is restored) before it energizes Outlet Bank 1. Outlet Bank 1 has 4 outlets.
  • Outlet Bank 2 is turned on or off by either the DC Trigger input, or by holding the front power button for 2 seconds. When turning on, it does so immediately after holding the button for 2 seconds. But when turning off via the power button or DC trigger, it waits 10 seconds. (This allows the high-power components plugged into Outlet Bank 3 to fully shut off -- see next note). Bank 2 also has 4 outlets
  • Outlet Bank 3 turns on about 5 seconds after Outlet Bank 2 in response to a DC trigger or the power button being held for 2 seconds. Only subs and amps/AVR-amp combos should be plugged into this bank. The delayed turn-on allows the pre-amps, etc. (that are plugged into Banks 1 &2) to fully power up before the amps come on, helping to prevent loud pops that may potentially ruin speakers, etc. With most modern gear this is not much of a problem. But it's still a nice touch to have. It also helps to minimize power line dips during power up. Also, Bank 3 does not use Pi filters, thereby allowing for maximum current availability when the amps are pushing out high voltage. Bank 3 has 2 outlets

The M5300-EX has "Automatic Voltage Monitoring". So if the line voltage drops below 90V AC, or rises above 142V, the unit will cut the power to all three Outlet Banks. After stable power is restored, the power will be turned back on. I didn't test these voltage limits (although I think I still have a Variac, so I may be able to try it). But I did try unplugging the unit a few times. Depending on the status of the unit prior to the power loss, two different scenarios will occur:
  • If the front power button is "off", Banks 2 & 3 will be off, but Bank 1 will be "on" (as previously described). When the unit's power is restored after a failure, Bank 1 will again be "on", and Banks 2 & 3 will stay off.
  • When the state of all three banks are "on" when the line power is lost, the following occurs: After about 5 seconds, Bank 1 & 2 turn back on. Then after another 5 seconds, Bank 3 turns back on.
Since Banks 1 & 2 are really identical except for their power states, it really shouldn't matter what components you plug in here. Panamax has one of the Bank 1 outlets labeled for the TV/monitor, and other outlets for cable/satellite, DVR, and Digital radio. I put my cable/DVR box on Bank 1. But I put my TV on Bank 2 in the "Aux" outlet, so that if I should ever want the turn off the power to the TV, I could do it via the front power switch on the Panamax (remember, Bank 1 will always be "on" when line power is present).

As far as filtering goes, there was no improvement, or noticeable degradation, of audio or video fidelity. I really didn't expect that there would be, as my power and cable signals are already pretty clean. I also did not seem to loose any bi-directional capability, as my cable "on demand" services are still functioning properly.

Interestingly enough, the unit came with an addendum sheet along with the (rather sparse) user manual. The addendum was labeled "Tech Note", and said the following:
Product Upgrade.

New and improved cable/sat/antenna signal protection.

New Benefits: Reduced attenuation.
New and improved coaxial protection circuits! Achieve optimum signal quality from our new coaxial protectors that have the smallest signal loss on the market - less than 1 dB of attenuation from 0Hz to 2.2GHz.

Updated clamping level. Our upgraded coaxial protection has been specifically designed to virtually eliminate signal loss. The new clamping level of 75V will meet the demands of both cable and satellite voltage while minimizing exposure to damaging spikes and surges. Overall, I'm very pleased with the unit. I payed $249.99 for it. I think that it's worth the money for what it does. At one point the price on these was over $500, I think. That would have been way overpriced, and I never would pay that much for this unit. But the current price point seems just about right.

Is it as good or worse than the APC H15? I guess that depends on your needs. I almost bought the H15 at $149 from Audioholics. If you have unstable power, and you don't mind buying the unit in silver, then the H15 at that price is hard to beat, and I would say go with the H15.

However, if you don't need the Automatic Voltage Regulation of the H15, the M5300-EX, with its "Automatic Voltage Monitoring" will work just fine. And the warranty is $5,000,000 (not $500,000 as previously mentioned). Not that anyone could ever possibly have that much gear hooked up to one unit!

Best wishes,

Frank
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post #10 of 16 Old 03-19-2009, 12:21 PM
 
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Looks like there IS a video for the H15...

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/kZBVYssmZ7Ip6qYrNy
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post #11 of 16 Old 03-24-2009, 06:19 AM
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Hi all,

I just got the H15 yesterday and am not sure how to use the ground post for non grounded components. What wire is supposed to connect with it?

Thanks
Tim
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post #12 of 16 Old 06-24-2009, 12:37 PM
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I am getting a used 5300-EX and I looked at the manual online and I was thinking it would recommend what units to plug in where, but I did not see that.

Are there any recommendations others have for what to plug in where? I have a plasma, avr, BD, cable box and cd player.

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post #13 of 16 Old 06-24-2009, 12:48 PM
 
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The labeling of the outlets are only just something to give you an idea...It really doesn't matter what gets plugged in where as long as the particular outlet can handle the power requirements and/or if the outlet is switched or not...
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post #14 of 16 Old 06-24-2009, 01:00 PM
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I was kind of figuring that, but unlike APC I looked at that labels their's, the Panamax just has banks.

Since I am a newbie, I figured there was some importance on the time delays and such they note, that certain units would be better in plug x vs. plug y say.

Sorry as I read I must be blind....they are labeled, but what I guess in my defense I was getting confused with Hi current vs switched and always on.

I only have my avr left on in stand by mode and all other units are turned off at night.

Sooooo with that said, I can plug any of my units into any of the plugs? Or should I follow their recommendations?

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post #15 of 16 Old 06-24-2009, 01:12 PM
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Should have included this in my response.

So if I want to turn on my units like I normally do with my remote and turn them off the same way does this come into play on the always on plugs in the unit?

I did not plan of turning the conditioner on/off nightly as I do with all my other components.

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post #16 of 16 Old 02-01-2011, 08:35 PM
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As much as possible you should attempt to obey the labels. Panamax, Monster and APC all filter/surge differently inside based on anticipated usage.
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