Professional Protective Case for DJI Phantom 3 & 4
By John Waike
This article was originally published in the October/November 2016 issue of The Drones Magazine.
I purchased my DJI Phantom 3 Professional the night before taking a well deserved vacation to Aruba to celebrate my wife’s birthday, and to leave the cold Winter behind, even if only for a week. Having been to the island a few years before, I knew this time I wanted to pack a drone, but what to do when the smallest rig you have is a F550? DJI had just announced the P4, but that wasn’t coming out for another couple of weeks so that wouldn’t work … BUT … that meant P3 prices would be slashed, yeah! Oﬀ to Best Buy and walked out with P3 Pro, back pack and three ba eries, enough to satisfy my portability issue and now I could take it with me as a carry on to the island.
Mfg/Dist: QUADRA-BOX Included in Package:Case, Shoulder Strap, Custom Cut Foam Insert
While the DJI backpack oﬀers wonderful molded insert and room for most everything needed for a day of ﬂying, up to four ba eries, where this case failed me was I that own an iPad Air which will not ﬁt in the slot provided for a tablet. That means I need to carry my iPad, sunscreen and ﬁlter pack along with my backpack. No big deal, but deﬁnitely inconvenient on long hikes. So when asked if I would be interested in reviewing the Quadra Box Phantom case I jumped at the chance, especially when it looked like it might accept an iPad Air!
DIMENSIONS: 16.3 x 9.4 x 14.4 inches
WEIGHT: 6 pounds
MATERIAL: Case: Durable black canvas covering a hard molded plastic shell, Polyethylene foam insert
MISC: 14 Day Money Back Guarantee, check manufacturers website for more details
• Compact Design
• Can be converted from P3 to P4 with slight modiﬁ cation (manufacturer has video to explain)
• Lightweight, handle or carrying strap
• Flat design allows it to be used for launching
• Can ﬁ t a lot of gear into small footprint
• Bargain priced compared to stock
• DJI backpack and competitors
• Although you can pack plenty of gear inside, including an iPad Air, there are concerns of parts contacting one another (iPad and motor housings)
• Have to remove props
• Shoulder strap could use a bit more cushion
My ﬁrst impression was this is small compared to my backpack … same height and width, but only about 16 inches in length where my DJI case measured in at 19 inches. So I began unpacking my backpack and started arranging my everyday gear, seeing where things might ﬁt, ﬁrst and foremost the iPad, which slipped right in, yes! Drop in the P3 and that’s when my enthusiasm faded. Although the slot allows the Air to ﬁt in it comes at a cost, the bottom of the motor housing rests on top of the iPad’s edge, which is not good in my opinion, but I may have found a little way around this issue. I’m going to take a couple of thin pieces of dense foam and put it between the two points. It will need to be thin, otherwise it will cause the cover to put pressure on the motor spindle when zipped up. You will ﬁ nd this a nonissue if you use any device less than 7.5 inches in length.
The layered foam insert is precision cut for a snug ﬁt on a P3 and with a little modiﬁcation can accommodate a P4 when you upgrade. The company provides a video on their website to help with the modiﬁcation which shows you where you need cut the foam to allow for the longer landing gear, gimbal clamp and spare battery. There are enough cutouts to drop four P3 batteries into the case and if you so choose, one in the quad’s belly, but I personally don’t recommend that practice. The two corner locations that will accept ba eries are cut deeper, allowing them to sit underneath the motor housings, but it might be worth cutting a couple of small, dense foam pieces for that spot while you’re at it. I was able to lay my sunscreen on top of the P3 and when I took my Polar Pro ﬁlters out of the case I was able to ﬁnd a spot for them inside too. The charger and cord slipped into a nice space that allowed me to also store two sets of props on top and yes, you must remove the props to store. Tablet cable, micro SD cards and a few other little accessories found their way in as well so now I could easily travel to any location on foot or in a vehicle with everything I need all in one case. The carry handle has a nice rubber grip, the shoulder strap seems comfortable enough and the case is deﬁnitely light, even fully stocked.
THE LAST WORD
The price point at which they oﬀer this case seems to be a sweet deal for those looking for a budget case. Although you can ﬁt a lot of stuﬀ inside, there isn’t much “wiggle room”. You have to remember which pieces to take out ﬁrst, like the radio before the Phantom, and as I mentioned before, if you are cutting a slot for a tablet as big as the iPad Air you should plan beer for where to place it so there’s no interference with the motor pod. Maybe I’m nit-picking, but just because you can design everything into a compact package, it doesn’t mean you should. I’m eagerly looking forward to more test ﬂights with my Quadra Case, especially to see how it holds up in real world conditions. You really can’t get much more case for less money and the lightweight design is excellent for those long treks.