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PRO Battery Racks: Gen III vs. Gen IV


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#1 maxfischer

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 07:21 PM

I'm about to take delivery of a PRO CineLive sled.  I currently have the Gen IV battery rack on order.  Should I consider going with the Gen III?

 

Chad gave me a great comparison of the two:

 

Gen 3 has built in weight to help balance heavier camera packages and/or
accessory combos.
Gen 3 has removable battery positions that allow the operator to remove any
of the three for weight reduction if needed.
Gen 3 uses a 3 jumper block battery management system like the Gen 2 battery
rack.
Gen 3 uses an index able rear section the allows the batteries to be flown
parallel or perpendicular to the ground.

Gen 4 is half the weight with half the height of a Gen 3.
Gen 4 does not have removable battery positions.
Gen 4 uses one propriety jumper block.
Gen 4 cannot change the position of any battery plate.

 

 

I'm going to be dealing with Alexas (and hopefully Amiras soon!) and lots of AKS.  I'd hate to get the IV and always have to add weight to the bottom or extend the post.  But priority is sled "feel" and "performance" (I know a slightly subjective thing).  Will the Gen III fly better, with it's additional weight and fine-adjustment of dynamic balance?  And if so, is it worth almost 3x the price (once you add in the jumper blocks)?  I'm a fan of "Buy once, cry once," but it's a big chunk of change...

 

Thanks in advance, Max


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#2 brett.mayfield

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 11:00 PM

Hey Max

 

I have the Gen IV. Overall, I like it very much, in terms of weight, profile, ease of use, rigidity.

I have found it best when flying Alexa, because batteries will draw power from what I consider the best positions, the two rear (top and bottom) plate, as well as from the plate under the sled. I fly a lot of Epics and since it isnt drawing 24v, the lower rear plate doesnt come into play much, which frustrates me a bit, because id like that extra (useful) battery weight to be behind the post rather than directly under it.

 

A few notes of caution. the screw used to lock the slide can be easily blocked when using a CamWave or tall batteries (if slid all the way in). The slide also binds a bit. It usually requires two thumbs and some wiggling rather than a smooth pull. Not a big deal, but there is a bit of binding, as one would expect with the weight of a battery. I have indexed my own slide with pencil, grease pen, whathaveyou, as each shoot requires.

Below is a photo of an Alexa setup with a fair number of aks. The total payload was about 46 pounds. Im 5'10" and prefer a very tight sled when possible. I obviously could have put anther battery on the rack but I was flying with an Atlas arm and that was as much weight as itd take.

 

I prefer the look ease of the Gen IV but to be frank id love to have the jumper block functionality of the III. I was on a budget, so the IV worked for me and I have always been happy with my builds. To me, the cost was the deal maker and I think i actually get a bit more bang for my buck with the IV.

 

The picture below was also the best the sled ever flew.

 

IMG_20140415_155325911_zps396c586e.jpg


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#3 Brian Freesh

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 02:11 AM

Honestly I think Chad gave you everything you need to know.

 

I debated saving the cash but was able to pull off the purchase with a Gen III so i went for it. Jack himself tried to talk me into the IV as well as some other operators.  Good points were raised all around, but ultimately I didn't want to have to worry about ever upgrading the battery rack.  In the end the III is more versatile, if you can afford it you'll never have to change your battery rack again.  If you get the IV you are more likely to upgrade to the III at some point.  I rest easy knowing I'm as prepared as I can be (with my sled).  Everyone who tried to talk me into the IV ultimately agreed that purchasing the III made the most sense.

 

But that decision was based on how versatile I want to be now AND in the future, and was based on the fact I could afford it (if barely).  Had I needed to purchase a sled immediately and was a little more tight on the cash, the battery rack is probably the first thing I would have compromised on (and the last as the savings is so significant).

 

Brett and I purchased at the same time and coincidentally have worked together since.  His rig is great, and a bit lighter than mine, which is nice.  We had very light cameras that day (mine was a tad lighter actually, go figure) and he still had to extend his post a bit, I did not, but didn't have to lower my gimbal too much.

 

You've got all the facts, just figure out what's best for you (though I'm not sure how the gen III has any sort of fine tuning for dynamic balance.)


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#4 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 06:33 AM

(though I'm not sure how the gen III has any sort of fine tuning for dynamic balance.)


You mean that big silver clamp that locks the rear batteries in place?
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#5 James Davis

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 08:25 AM

Wow....seems to be a bit of confusion here....

 

Both battery hangers allow you to tune the rig for dynamic balance:

Gen 4 has a sliding dovetail system with a friction/clamp knob

Gen 3 has a sliding post mechanism similar in looks to the pro centrepost

 

I've tried both, they both work great.

The Gen 4 allows you to run 1, 2 or 3 battery configurations with no issues, if I want less weight at the bottom end I run two batteries, generally I prefer a shorter post though, so I just run three.

When I had to build a lightweight running rig with a C300 a short while ago I went with just one battery on the rear, I did not need to remove any components from the battery hanger, it worked perfectly.

I regularly deal with Alexa's with plenty of Ak's and shit stuck to them, no problems over here.

I rented pro rigs for quite a while and after using rigs with the Gen 3 and Gen 4 base I decided that I preferred the 4 for it's slim profile and simplicity, so that's what I went with for my Pro Rig purchase.


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#6 maxfischer

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:14 AM

Just to clarify, I was noting (and assuming) that the Gen III has a more elegant way of adjusting for dynamic balance.  Indexed, quick release clamp, etc would make it easier to find just the right setting.  

 

Anyway, I think I'm going to stick with the Gen IV, but thanks for everyone's input!  Max


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#7 James Baldanza SOC

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:23 AM

I have the Gen IV.

It works great!

The only thing I wish it could do is run both C/M on the bottom battery plates.

My nanoflash sits on the top battery plate and I would like to run the Alexa in 12v 

mode with the bottom battery plates.

-James


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#8 Brian Freesh

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 01:24 PM

Gotcha Max.  The Indexing is good for finding the same spot again, but you can adjust either rack in as small an increment as you want.  Your limits for balance are simply the range of travel (and of course whatever battery plates you are using).  Since you are going with the IV you can always make your own marks to remember where you had a different setup.


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#9 thomas-english

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 01:56 PM

You can just get different battery wiring blocks made to do what you want. 


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#10 James Baldanza SOC

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 01:59 PM

You can just get different battery wiring blocks made to do what you want.


Not from GPI-Pro.
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#11 James Davis

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 03:26 PM

Yes you can James they are called jumper blocks and they work just fine with the Gen 4 base:


http://www.gpiprosys...mper-blocks.php
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#12 brett.mayfield

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 03:32 PM

Im in the same boat of thinking as James Baldanza about the jumper blocks...i dont have anything other than the Gen 4 block, and was told twice by Pro that the other jumper blocks are not compatible with Gen 4 rack.

have you found differently, james d?

 

brett.


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#13 James Davis

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 10:36 PM

I borrowed some alternative jumper blocks from Optical Support, they seemed to not think it was an issue to swap jumper blocks on a Gen 4 base either.
They plug in just fine, seem to alter the
battery configuration ok and work as intended.


Nothing exploded or stopped working but by all means if I've done something stupid for whatever reason, please let me know.
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#14 Brian Freesh

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:15 AM

I'd be interested to hear what Pro has to say about that James, I too have been told they are not compatible and that there is only one jumper block for the Gen IV. The website and the manual say the same. Obviously you've got it working, so I'm curious to find out where the disconnect is.
 

Looking at pictures it looks like they would be physical incompatible. You'd have to remove pins off the regular jumper blocks to make them even fit, and I assume that would lose you some functionality as well.

 

http://www.gpiprosys...rack-genIII.php

http://www.gpiprosys...-rack-genIV.php

 

Does your gen IV rack have 3 positive and 3 negative terminals, James?  I haven't looked at one closely in person in awhile, and it probably had the jumper block on it at the time, so I can only go based on these pictures.


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#15 James Davis

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 08:14 AM

I will pull the jumper block off later today and take a look, as far as I know the jumper blocks were not modified in any way to my knowledge but I will speak to Optical Support later today and check that I just haven't been doing something totally stupid that I shouldn't have been.


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