by Jon R. Barnes
This article was originally published in August/September 2016 issue.
DJI’s series of Phantom 3 aerial imaging drones ship with one flight battery in the box. The majority of pilots probably pick up an additional flight battery or two soon thereafter. The primary reason for doing so is that most pilots prefer to spend their time flying instead of waiting for the flight packs to recharge. The stock chargers included with Phantoms capably recharge the flight batteries, but they are limited to charging one pack at a time. Additionally, this same charger is used to replenish the battery used in the Phantom 3 transmitters, but it is not designed to handle both of these charging tasks at once.
FOR: DJI Phantom 3 Standard, Advanced, Professional, 4K
Pilots who like to use their DJI P3’s to shoot an abundance of aerial media are no longer hamstrung by the somewhat limited capabilities of the DJI stock battery charger. The Venom Pro Quad charger allows pilots to keep their inventory of Phantom batteries recharged and ready for flight, four packs at a time! Add in its ability to simultaneously recharge a DJI Phantom transmitter and whatever phone or tablet a pilot is using to fly their Phantom, via the pair of included USB ports, and this charger becomes an absolutely indispensable accessory for any serious Phantom pilot.
Venom’s release of the P3 Professional Charger, an exciting new Phantom 3 specific product, is guaranteed to shift the items on most Phantom 3 pilots list of “must have” accessories down a line. That is because this charger comes with the ability to do something that most Phantom 3 pilots have been asking for since DJI’s initial release of the P3 Advanced and Professional. The Venom P3 Pro charger comes equipped with four 100 watt battery bays and is purpose designed to concurrently recharge up to FOUR Phantom flight packs! It also comes with a dedicated output to recharge the battery in the Phantom 3 transmitter and a pair of USB ports to allow pilots to top off the batteries in whatever Apple or Android powered device that they are running the DJI app on. Just to reiterate, all of these batteries and devices can be charged simultaneously! Venom specifies this charger as being able to accommodate and charge the batteries used in all of the thus far released Phantom 3 variants.
The bright red and black Venom charger is an appropriately hefty feeling device, weighing in at just under six pounds. Venom includes an AC power cord and Phantom transmitter charger cable in the box. Other items include a warranty card, with a serial number decal designed to be affixed to the charger, and a nine page black and white operating pamphlet. A rocker style switch turns the charger on and off and a vertically stacked pair of fans located on the opposite end of the charger keep cooling airflow moving through the charger. Operation is as simple as double clicking the status push button of a Phantom 3 battery and dropping it into one of the battery bays. The charger will initiate a charge cycle with no other user input required. Additional functions include the ability to discharge battery packs to a safe storage voltage and to cycle the packs. These functions are invoked by pushing either the “Store” or “Cycle” buttons. No matter which function is selected, individual status LEDs on each battery bay keep a pilot informed of the process and signal when it is complete.
Empirical evidence suggests that Lithium chemistry batteries do best when they are occasionally cycled. Venom recommends that performing such a task every 20 battery cycles can help to optimize the battery. Phantom 3 pilots can theoretically accomplish a battery cycle without actually flying their Phantom, by simply powering it up “on the bench” and letting the idle electronics slowly drain the battery, however, the Venom charger allows pilots to much more elegantly accomplish this task in an unattended manner. Though DJI Phantom 3 batteries do include embedded circuitry that will slowly discharge the batteries to a safe storage level, Venom’s charger allows pilots to more proactively manage this process in a manner that is much more conducive to overall battery pack longevity. However, at a discharge rating of ten watts per bay, discharging a fully charged battery can take quite a long time.
Venom offers a one year warranty on their charger. After this year expires, Venom continues to back the unit in the form of a 30% discount towards the purchase of another unit should it be necessary. Pilots who find that having only one flight pack for their Phantom 3 fills their needs may not see a pressing need to purchase this charger. It is a safe guess, however, that the majority of P3 pilots have multiple additional battery packs in their inventory. For these pilots, the Venom Pro Quad charger completely eliminates the ensuing bottleneck caused by reliance on the stock DJI charger and allows pilots to maximize the amount of time their Phantom 3 spends in the air. This heavy duty charger also provides the invaluable ability to simultaneously recharge a pilot’s Phantom transmitter … AND a pilot’s cell phone, phablet or tablet of choice! This item is an absolute must-have accessory for Phantom 3 pilots!
VOLTAGE: AC 100V-240V
MAIN OUTPUTS: (4) Charge @ 100 watts/6 amps; discharge @ 10 watts
USB OUTPUTS: (2) @ 5.3 volts DC/2.3 amps
TRANSMITTER OUTPUT: 17.5 volts DC
DIMENSIONS: 11×4.9×6.1 in. (280x125x155mm)
WEIGHT: 5 lbs 13 oz