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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.