Top Gear

Quad Lock 360

Quad Lock, a multi-part system, popular with cyclists and motorcyclists, is now available for the aviation market…

Quad Lock
The Quad Lock fix for providing some navigation information for the RV-8’s backseat passenger. A USB power lead runs up the back of the black tubular support frame to provide power for the charger

I’d bet that there’s probably more than a few people who turned the page and on first glance of the photos thought of the RAM mount system that’s popular with pilots for securing tablet and phone devices.

This though is Quad Lock, a multi-part system that’s been extremely popular with cyclists and motorcyclists for holding smart phones rather than bigger heavier tablets

More specifically it’s their new 360 system which Quad Lock thinks has some synergy with the aviation market, and having played around with it for a while, I’m inclined to agree.

What started out as an iPhone Bike Mount whose production was funded via the Kickstarter platform 10 years ago, this latest Quad Lock 360 system is a modular range of mounts, arms and cases plus a few other accessories that allow users to create a mount to suit their particular need.

With over 200 different combinations, there’s a useful build-your-own tool on their website that helps you pick the items for a particular need.

I’d initially become interested in Quad Lock while looking at ways to fit my iPhone into my RV-3 cockpit, particularly using their wireless charging option that connected the phone to power just by clicking the phone into place, without having to fiddle with leads. By the time I got around to ordering some parts, they had introduced the 360 system.

Quad Lock’s 360º connections allow for tremendous flexibility in putting your chosen elements together so that they fit your chosen space neatly and easily.

I use the RAM system in a couple of other aeroplanes and occasionally find the parts lock up before I find the perfect angles for everything.

The trade-off for the fine adjustment is that an Allen key is needed for some of the component to component connections.

Sensibly though, should you need some level of day-to-day adjustment, Quad Lock provides you with the option of a thumb-screw to replace the Allen key on items like the pivot arms.

Quad Lock
There’s a wide range of components in the Quad Lock 360 range
Top Gear
Two and four hole AMPS mounts are available, and there’s a flexible adhesive mount too

While I’m still plugging away at that particular RV-3 project – it’s part of some other panel tweaks I’ve got planned, Steve, my partner in the RV-8, suggested the Quad Lock system would be a good way to provide a SkyDemon display in the back seat for the passenger.

We picked the medium bar clamp as a base to attach to the tubular mid-cabin brace structure, the small dual pivot arm, and on the end of both of these, their weatherproof wireless charger.

All the parts have a really good quality feel to them, if you need an Allen key they provide it, screws come with a blue thread lock pre-applied (it’s cleverly not stick, but you notice it if you’re screwing something together) and with the wireless charger there were three different lengths of USB lead, plus tiewraps.

If you didn’t want the option of charging, and just wanted to click a phone into place, then there’s a simple lever head attachment that you can select.

Whatever you choose, the case fits into place on a four-tongue attachment, and a spring clip locks it firmly in place (hence the name Quad Lock).

The case for my iPhone X is fine to hold in day to day use, and as a case it offers what looks like good edge protection if I were to drop it.

With all the parts assembled, we plugged a power cable into rear seat USB power socket, and ran it up to the charger.

We swapped the Allen key adjustment in the pivot arm for the thumbscrew too, so that the passenger can easily make adjustments to the device depending on their viewing angle.

The setup looks really smart and is easy to use. The only gotcha was on my part in not reading the manual fully, and not realising the charger unit has an on/off switch on the rear face of the unit.

So far, it’s proven to be a great way to mount a phone for this application.

Granted, this isn’t a very heavy item to hold, but it’s vibration free and the phone easily clicks easily into place every time.

The click/twist/lock works first time every time too, and it’s easy to flip around from portrait to landscape depending on your viewing preferences.

Cost wise, the Quad Lock compares favourably to RAM mount items, and personally, I think the Quad Lock components just have the edge in terms of quality.

There’s a pretty wide range of mounting options beside the bar clamps, with two and four-hole AMPS pattern screw attach base plates, and a flexible 3M VHB adhesive mount (the same sticky stuff used to hold GoPro cameras on the outside of aircraft).

It’s a shame that currently they don’t offer a case for the iPad Mini, but I’m hoping that might come along in the future.

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