Pelican 1440 roller case for Elinchrom Ranger Quadra kit

An Elinchrom Ranger Quadra transportation solution

As a follow-up to my extensive review of the original Elinchrom Ranger Quadra system, I thought I would share a storage and transportation option I’ve recently added for my Quadra kit: the Pelican 1440 roller case (link to B&H – also called the Pelican 1444 for the divider set configuration).

For the past couple years I’ve transported the Quadra kit in several Pelican cases and other bags. These have included the Pelican 1510 (B&H) ‘carry-on’ roller, which can accommodate either a single or dual generator kit and some heads and accessories; the Pelican 1560 (B&H), which will carry my full kit of two generators, four heads, cables and accessories, as well as a Petrol PL2004 Deca Light Case (B&H) semi-soft sided case for when I need to transport my full Quadra and four-head AlienBee kits together.

The 1510 is a favourite case of mine because of its flexibility carrying a variety of camera and lens configurations when I travel by air. And it’s good for a single dual-head Quadra kit with accessories, but is a tight fit with two generators and extra batteries.

As seen in the image above, the 1560 (using the 1510’s insert) will carry my full Quadra kit and even a few small light stands, but once loaded, is quite heavy. It’s biggest drawback for me is that with my car, it makes inefficient use of the trunk (it’s too wide to be stood vertically and too deep for another case to be placed on top), especially when loaded with another case carrying my AlienBees, plus light stand bags, light modifiers, etc.

The Petrol PL2004 works well for my transportation needs because its length exactly fits the width of my car’s trunk and is tough enough to withstand regular use. But when fully loaded, it’s extremely heavy. While it came with a collapsible cart (a freebie at the time I ordered it, but not necessarily always available as such a kit from B&H), it’s under-specced for the approximately 80lb load. Needless to say, a large, roughly 80lb case is difficult to haul up and down stairs and over other barriers.

Not completely satisfied, and desiring a solution to carry the complete Quadra kit without wasting trunk space with the Pelican 1560, my search continued, similar to that of finding the perfect camera bag.

The Pelican 1440

I’m not sure how long the Pelican 1440 roller case has been on the market, but for some reason it escaped my attention until recently when I read comments about some using it with the full size Elinchrom Ranger system.

In a nutshell, it seems to be as perfect a solution as any I’ve yet found for transporting two Quadra generators, two extra lead batteries, four heads, four standard 2.5m cables, three additional 3.5m cables, as well as chargers and other accessories.

I purchased the 1444 padded dividers configuration, which comes with dividers for a deep main compartment at the bottom and a roughly 4″ deep tray that sits on top. In the image above, the shiny fabric of the divider wall is about the depth of the tray. Below it is fuzzy material to allow flexible divider positioning in the main compartment.

As luck would have it, the bottom compartment dividers are sized to create the perfect depth for the Quadra generator pack with an attached lead battery. Of course it will also fit the pack with a smaller lithium-ion battery. I haven’t yet decided whether I will invest in the lithium batteries and therefore haven’t yet had a chance to handle them in person. But since they’re smaller than the lead batteries, they’ll definitely fit fine in the case, with a bit more room to spare for other things.

As is seen in the accompanying photo, the bottom compartment will carry two generators, each with battery attached, two extra batteries, and cables. In the image you’ll note only three 2.5m and three 3.5m (with green tape) cables. The fourth 2.5m cable rests on top of the other cables, but is not pictured here for sake of clarity.

Others who have used the 1440 with the larger Elinchrom Ranger generator commented on leaving the generator in the case while shooting. This is definitely a possibility with the Quadra as well. My only concern would be heat build-up during prolonged sessions. But for anyone needing to set-up quickly for a short shoot, this would be a definite possibility.

One drawback of the divider set is that the configuration splits the main compartment along its length. This definitely works for the Quadra set, though if several dividers were supplied to split the full width of the case, it allow for greater configuration options.

Another drawback of Pelican roller cases is the wheel wells always eat away interior corner space. In the case of the 1440, it means it’s not possible to place a generator with lead battery attached in either bottom corner position. While the width of the case is wide enough to position two generators side by side, if one is positioned over a wheel well, it will be raised too high up above the dividers and will prevent the upper tray from sitting flush with the case opening. A generator with a lithium battery attached might be short enough for this to work, though the full weight will be supported by just an edge of the battery’s case on the wheel well.

Regarding the wheels, they’re plenty smooth on flat, clean surfaces. Unlike the 1510 case though, the wheel isn’t part of a separately attached housing. With the 1440, the wheel and axle are directly attached the body of the case, meaning if or when they wear out, the entire case will need to go back for service. With the 1510, I’ve worn out the wheels at least a couple times and it’s an easy matter of unscrewing the wheel housing and replacing with a new set.

The configuration as pictured earlier was what first came to mind, and it works. Giving this some more thought, there are likely other arrangements that might be as, or more space efficient. The full interior of the padding around the circumference is lined with fuzzy fabric to allow positioning of the dividers wherever needed.

The upper tray allows for a number of configuration options, but is also limited by the main central divider running its full length. For my needs, this works just fine carrying four Quadra heads, a couple chargers, cords and accessories. A rubber-like mesh zips closed to keep items in the tray during handling. The reflector dishes are slightly too wide for the tray, but the mesh and lid compartments permit a fair amount of flexibility. I believe a total of eight small dividers were supplied for the tray, allowing a fair amount of customizability.

The 1440 ships with a lid compartment set, consisting of one large, two mid-size and two small rubbery mesh zippered compartments. These are fine for smaller accessories, radio triggers, etc.

The construction of the case itself is typical Pelican and feels very durable. One difference with this roller is the extension handle. Unlike all other Pelican cases I’ve used, where the handle is made of the same material as the cases, which when extended tends to flex a lot and can be a bit tiring when maneuvering very heavy cases (and not just because the cases are heavy), the 1440’s extension handle is made of telescoping metal sections, that when extended, is quite rigid.

The exterior tapers from narrowest width at the base to a wider width at the lid due to some exterior ribs that protect the telescoping handle, latches and hinges. As a result, the case does consume a bit more storage space than might be ideal, and isn’t perfectly square, possibly resulting in some storage inefficiency (particularly when dealing with limited trunk space).

Exterior handles are also at the sides and on the lid. Definitely welcome because the full Quadra kit is fairly heavy. One possible drawback of the lid handle is it will prevent easy stacking of other flat-bottom cases/bags on top of the roller.

Fully loaded, the 1440 is quite heavy, at about 52lb, but because all of the weight is in a fairly compact and close to the floor configuration, pulling it by the handle is quite comfortable. Contrast this with the long, thin 1550 case, where a fair amount of the weight might be well off the ground. This weight pushes down against the flexible, springy extension handle and results in a fair amount of arm strain in comparison.

In summary:

The 1440 roller case, in the 1444 padded divider configuration, easily accommodates my two Quadra packs, four heads, seven cables, two batteries and accessories in a relatively compact case that fits well in my car’s trunk (it can be positioned standing upright) and is easy to move around and maneuver, in part thanks to the telescoping metal extension handle. While there are a few minor nit-picks about the case, and primarily about the limited divider configuration options, it’s nothing significant to take away from the main features.

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