Being virtually impossible to demonstrate, surge protectors are often sold by preying on a customer’s fears. “Well, you want to protect all of your gear, right? I mean you’ve made a sizable investment here, and we all know that lightning storms and electrical surges are just lurking out there waiting for that perfect moment to go out in a component-destroying blaze of glory. That’s not what you want to happen, is it?”
Panamax’s M4315-PRO IP Power Management component, front and back
Don’t get me wrong; I’m a firm believer in power protection. Living near the ocean, I get plenty of lightning, and have seen many examples of unprotected systems wiped out by a massive strike. So I promote, sell, and install products that not only protect against massive electrical surges, but that also protect for equally problematic under voltages and clean up noise riding on dirty Romex.
But power isn’t cool. It isn’t sexy. And, it’s almost impossible to demonstrate.
“Are you seeing this?”
“Exactly! That’s filtered, protected power in action, my friend! It’s a wonder to behold. Am I right?”
But with its new BlueBOLT service, Panamax is adding features to ho-hum power protection that not only makes it more sellable, but that are easily demonstrable and offer amazing realworld benefits. These new features make power management actually exciting to talk about.
Panamax sent me the new M4315-PRO ($649.95) and this 15-amp model features nine outlets (eight in the rear, one on the front) along with protection for dual sets of coax jacks, and telephone and LAN connections. (They also offer the M4320-PRO, which is identical except with a 20-amp plug and two 20-amp outlets.) It features all of the filtration (EMI and RFI), over and under voltage protection, and isolated outlet banks that you’d expect from a quality surge protector, but the real trick is BlueBOLT. This is Panamax’s cloud based technology that allows dealers–and/or end users–to remotely log into and manage their system from anywhere in the world.
The M4315-PRO comes with the BlueBOLTCV1 card pre-installed, however an RS-232 card is also included that can be used in its place. Though, seriously, if you’re just looking to control a surge protector via RS-232, buy another model. This system is about IP control.
Like many 1U-sized protectors, the rear outlets are tightly spaced together, meaning that power packs and sideways oriented plugs will encroach onto another outlet’s space. The 19-inch wide, rackmount front panel has a dimmable display that shows current voltage or amps, along with LED’s displaying each outlet’s status and indicators for various problems. After connecting my components and an Ethernet cable, I went about the process of establishing an account. Let’s face it, most installers aren’t networking experts, and part of the beauty
of Panamax’s system is that they have taken all of the grief, such as opening ports on the router, port forwarding, and non-static IPs, by hosting their own web service. I simply clicked onto www.mybluebolt. com and set up an account and then registered the component by entering its unique MAC address along with a supplied 12-digit code. The system checked in and started reporting its status almost immediately.
Dealers can set up all of their customer’s systems under one umbrella and then authorize customers to access their own systems. This is a great way to avoid having to keep up with dozens of different log-ins and passwords.
BlueBOLT provides real-time and historical data voltage input, current draw, and energy consumption by kWh and in dollars.
Once the component is registered and communicating with the Panamax mother ship, you can name and see the status of each outlet, set up e-mails alerts (for instance to notify you if power is lost, or connection to the server is interrupted), and then get into the next aspect of the system that makes it so cool: energy management.
We all know that “green” is the hot buzz word right now, and with the M4315-PRO clients can see exactly how much power their system is using–in volts, watts and amps–and how much it is costing them on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Currently energy usage is combined for all outlets, though Panamax says future models will report usage on a per-outlet basis. The system also can be programmed to shut off specific outlets at certain times of day; say cutting power to components that draw lots of standby power overnight.
So, why would remotely accessing a surge protector be beneficial? Ever have to ask a customer to hard-power cycle their cable box or Blu-ray player? Ever have to roll a truck because the customer wasn’t comfortable pulling the plug?
But what if the modem or router is the part that needs a reboot. No internet means no remote access right? Well, yes, but Panamax figured this out, and the system can automatically reboot an outlet connected to a modem and/or router if network connection is lost. This feature alone can head off service calls likely before the customer even knows there was a problem.
Panamax’s BlueBOL T technology not only makes power management cool and up-sellable, but the remote IP access can actually eliminate truck rolls
Outlets spaced closely together makes wall-wart use difficult; rack-mount faceplate is there whether you want it or not.
- 9 outlets (8 rear, 1 front) with 1800W total current capacity
- Protection for dual sets of coaxial (cable, satellite, antenna), LAN , and telephone
- BlueBOL T-CV1 IP card provides web-based power management and control
- Provides real-time monitoring of energy usage