Power Conditioners in Action
Mar 29, 2013 11:37 AM, By Patrick Barron
A look at two IP-addressable options.
Another product I was able to evaluate has been on the market for a while, but the Panamax M4315-PRO still epitomizes the features of the BlueBolt product line. From a feature standpoint, the Panamax excelled by having eight individually controlled outlets that are grouped into four filter-isolated pairs with one always on outlet on the front. One of the pairs of outlets is high current, which would be ideal for power amplifiers or powered subwoofers. This unit has two front-panel programmable reboot buttons, a front volt/amp meter, outlet status, and warning LEDs with the BlueBolt IP system control and monitoring. The back of the unit has eight outlets with one always on outlet on the front. The rear also incorporates the M4315-PRO’s AC inlet, ground lug, Cat-5/Sat connections, LAN Cat-5 protection passthrough, analog telephone/DSL protection passthrough, and DC trigger. Setting up this unit was significantly different than the WattBox procedure; however it turned out to be extremely simple. The power cord was plugged in and the Ethernet cord was connected from the back of the unit to the network in my office. There is no CD with software to install because the entire setup procedure is web based. By going to www.mybluebolt.com you are able to quickly set up a free account that is based around your email address. No IP configuration on the unit itself is required as long as there is a DHCP server on the network to assign an IP address.
After completing the registration, an email was sent with the registration acknowledgement that arrived before I could switch windows on my computer to access email. Once logged into the web portal, the first step was to add a location, which I named “Office.” After the location was added, there was an option to add devices. The process of adding a device involved entering the MAC address and a special key that was provided on a sticker in the box. An extremely large yellow paper was in the box with a warning not to lose the sticker with the MAC address and key. I decided to place the sticker on the front of the unit after I entered the values into the boxes provided on the website. There was a process called “device claiming” that took place to locate the specific box located in my office. I have no idea how this process works, but in exactly 10 seconds the website had located the box and made a connection.
The full array of controls on the website was now available. The top of the page had tabs for energy management, device controls, device admin, scheduled conservation, alert settings, and location details. The energy management tab displays meters that measure watts, voltage, and amps, and creates a plot that can be viewed by day, week, or month (Figure 4). The device controls tab (Figure 5) provides individual outlet control while showing realtime voltage and current readings. This page also allows editing of the settings for each outlet, which can change the name that appears associated with each output. The responsiveness of the power buttons on the webpage is exceptionally quick. From the time a button was pressed, less than two seconds passed before a click could be heard from the power conditioner turning an outlet on or off. The tab called scheduled conservation (Figure 6) has options to set up a schedule to turn outlets on, off, or cycle power based on the time and day.
The alert tab (Figure 7) gives the user several options for automatic emailing based on various conditions, which include under voltage, overvoltage, and lost connection, and it can send emails when the device recovers from a power loss event. Options exist to send an email every time the front breaker is switched on or off.
Overall, the Panamax is a feature-filled power conditioner that excels in many areas. The web portal allows set up for many different sites and multiple units on each site. The customization ability for enabling specific events, schedules, and email addresses makes the setup extremely open ended and powerful. One feature that would have been nice to have in the web portal is the ability to configure a global email address or email group that would affect all units at once. In the previously asked question about what would happen if a technician left the company and new email alerts need to be entered, it could be a tedious process to sort through dozens of sites, changing emails in each device.
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