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Specifications (Cont')

In a network scenario, the incoming ISP line can experience voltage spikes just like anything else electrical. Since this line runs at something in the ballpark of your 50V telco wire, clamping was chosen to engage at 70Volts DC. If your high speed Internet service has no spike protection, it should. What's more important, a little $$$ invested in long term piece of mind, or a blown hub?

A standard LAN connection would have approximately 5VDC due to the voltage from the ISA or PCI slot. The MAX 8 also sports a LAN pass-through for say, a server or other critical connection. This connection I chose to spotlight. The center RJ-45 modules pop right out and are completely separate from any other connection. If the LAN voltage gets clamped, it has no effect on the 120V protection for example.

The LAN module featured to the right has a simple design. All that was used for clamping was nine 1N4007 diodes per twisted pair. At 0.7 volts each, 6.3 volts would be the cutoff level per line. A simple design that works.

The four pairs of office grade telephone jacks have a clamping rating of 260V. The last time I measured the DC level on my home telephone, my meter read 50 volts. Why choose 260V for clamping then? I have no idea other than possibly office grade interior phones run at higher voltages. For home telco use, the MAX 8 offers little spike protection. As noted before, both the RJ-11 and RJ-45 plugs into the dual device receptacles.

EMI & RFI (electromagnetic interference & radio frequency interference) has become a serious issue today. Computers, cell phones and other electronic gadgets emit huge amounts of radiation, especially those without metal cases. The current trend of so much plastic, colored or otherwise, will end up causing cancer over a long period of time (i.e.. years). Think about it. What frequency does your microwave use to cook food? It's in the GHz range. We now have several processors in the GHz range.

The major parts I saw in the case for general line filtration were the huge red 225,000µF 400V capacitor and the donut shaped green inductor (also with red wire). This provides 50dB of attenuation in the 100KHz to 1MHz range. 50dB equals a reduction of 316 times from the input noise value.

Lastly, I was greatly disturbed by the lack of a fully shielded metallic case. Even on TrippLite's ISOBar/Tel lineup, all models above the $50 price point come in a heavy duty metal case. At well over $150, the lack of metal case is totally unacceptable. EMI & RFI can run wild if such a source is placed near the Panamax. Only if that kind of "dirty" signal emanates from an outside source and sneaks into the AC line can the MAX 8 manage to filter it out. I have serious reservations about placing this protector in the vicinity of any such source. These can include computers, fax machines and fluorescent lighting.

Conclusion

When all is said and done, the MAX 8 is a great idea, but one that requires a few improvements and tweaks here and there before it can rein king over all other units. That being stated, I do believe that if Panamax chooses to place the guts into a metal case and lower the price somewhat, the MAX 8 would be the de facto standard in surge protection. At nearly $170 and a small consumer market presence, the asking price will lead wary buyers to the Belkin or TrippLite products, which offer similar performance in many of the same categories but at a significantly reduced price. Recommended with caveats.

William Yaple
01/27/01

 





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