Review: BALDER HD-1 (Pre-production sample) AA/14500

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UPz
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Review: BALDER HD-1 (Pre-production sample) AA/14500


Balder HD-1 (Pre-Production)

LED: XP-E (Final model will have XP-G & XM-L)

Battery: 1x AA / 1× 14500

Modes: 2 (High-Low) memory.

Switch: Piston Drive.

Price: TBA

Date: July 2012

Links:

Balder / ForoLinternas / Review at BLF by old4570 / RdL

PRESENTATION:

Balder has sent me a pre-production sample of what will be their new AA flashlight, which will soon be in the market in the new HD range.


This little flashlight comes in the now Balder’s classic telescopic box, with a small silicone diffuser and keyring loop.

Being a pre-production unit, does not have the regular card with the main features, but from my conversations with the manufacturer I can say that will be sold at least three versions:

  • HD-1 XP-G R5 CW
  • HD-1 XM-L U2 CW
  • HD-1 XM-L T6 NW

EXTERIOR FINISH:

The first thing that stands out in this new Balder is the original body design. Along the tube we see some slots that shows the guts of this compact: A piston which is housed the battery and it works as switch, similar to that found in some Nitecore.


Another thing you notice is how compact it is. Thanks to this system switch, gains some valuable mm, achieving a total length of 83mm, 19mm diameter and weighs 39.4g without battery.

It comes with a handy clip, similar to that found in the SE-1, and has also two slots next to the button to set the ringkey loop or a landyard.

The design of the area around the button on the piston, is also designed to allow the use of this flashlight candle mode, and it comes with a small silicone diffuser, which is useful to illuminate a room with a diffusely light.

The head of the HD-1 has a silver part, followed by another finished with a nice knurling, which gives a very good grip and makes it much easier unscrewing .

The lens is glass, and then we have a small reflector slightly textured.


This pre-production unit has a cree XP-E perfectly centered, but the final version will have a XP-G (economic) and XM-L (premium).

OPERATION:

The Balder HD-1 has only 2 modes, high and low, and no memory mode.

These modes are selected by pressing it, just as in flashlight with “clickie”.

The main difference is that to turn it off, you have pass by the two modes. Starts on High, press and switches to low, and we press again to turn it off.

Fortunately, by having only two modes is not very cumbersome.

To avoid the parasitic consumption, it has a system that after a few seconds from being turned off(standby), blocks the flashlight. So to turn it on after a period of inactivity, it is necessary to hold two seconds the piston.

Using as reference the high mode current draw, the intensity distribution on modes would be approximately as follows:

  • 100% – 2%

CONSUMPTION AND BATTERY LIFE:

Sanyo eneloop NiMH 2000mAh@1.4V:

High: 2050mA

Low: 48mA

Li-Ion TrustFire “Flame” 14500 900mAh@4.2V:

High: 2550mA

Low: 20mA

The low mode is achieved by PWM, but must be of very high frequency because I could only notice it through the camera lens.

Being a pre-production sample, I imagine that the circuit installed in this unit is designed for XM- L, and hence the exorbitant high mode draw with Li-Ion for a XP-E.

Consequently, I’ve avoid to take measures for graphs or beamshots, since it would be totally irrelevant. We’ll have to wait for the final version for this.

I have checked the system equipped to prevent a parasitic consumption with a eneloop:

After turning off the flashlight, this enters on standby for about 5 seconds, during which has a consumption of about 4 mA and after that drops to 0.02mA to remain stable.

PERSONAL CONCLUSION:

Balder again pleasantly surprised me with one of their flashlights. Although perhaps still too early to assess the outcome of the HD-1, the flashlight has a lot of numbers to became a budget reference EDC.

With its successful policy of building the best possible flashlight within a tight budget, I have once again to take my hat off to the outstanding work of this young company.

Smile I like:
  • Compact.
  • Original and versatile.
  • XM-L versions promising!
Sad I dislike:
  • IU / need to complete cycle for shutdown .

EDIT:

As per request of BetweenRides, I’ve taken a pair of pics of the light without the pocket clip:


Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:06
budynabuick
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There is another Balder I must have. I really love the Balder offerings. I want them all. I do have a B-Day coming up. Thanks UPz!

Keith

BetweenRides
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Thanks, Upz! I'm really liking this light. Can you do a favor and post a pic without the clip attached? I'm a pocket carry guy, don't use the clips.

Some feedback for Balder: Since the slot for the clip is incorporated into the design, they should also include a slot towards the front to allow users to select the clip orientation position, forward or backwards. There is just enough room.

scaru
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Thanks for the review UPZ! 

UPz
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BetweenRides wrote:

Can you do a favor and post a pic without the clip attached? I’m a pocket carry guy, don’t use the clips.

Sure!
Here you go:

BetweenRides
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Love it! Thanks UPz.

Great photos, by the way.

UPz
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You’re very welcome.

What do you think about the UI?
IMHO, only two modes may match a XP-E/XP-G, but not the XM-L model. Looking at the current draw taked by the driver on this sample, if it finally goes out like this will be like having a 2 modes Turbo-Ultralow light.
Adding a third mode will be nice, but cicling arround all three modes to turn off the light will be a pain.

Cheers!

BetweenRides
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I agree there is room for a 3rd Medium mode, especially with XM-L. UI does seem a bit cumbersome, though. I like The hold down for 2 seconds to turn it back on, why not make the opposite for turning it off instead of having to cycle through all the modes?

SashiX
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I like the compact size of that one. Using piston drive system, you can shorten the body for 8-10 mm. But, I agree with BR, a third mode would be welcome, especially for XML model. UI can be improved. What about twisting “switch”? Twist the head to on/off, use piston to switch between modes.

UPz
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The piston in this balder isn’t so sofisticated as the one on the EX11 or the D11.
This piston has not a floating ring, and it only acts as a “spring” on the circuit.
The driver board has actually 3 modes: High-Low-Standby. You can access the mode by pushing the piston and making an interruption on the circuit.
Basically the light is always ON.
That’s why you have to cicle all modes to turn off-standby.

fishinfool
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Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

janko.hrasko
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this looks like a very nice light, i always wanted to try piston.. but it was too expensive Smile
maybe i’ll buy it, especially with neutral xp-g (v2 would be nicer) or mod it with nichia 219 nw
is the pill removable?

UPz
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I’m trying to dissasembly. Still have no luck.

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Yup, looks like a must have!

Can you measure the diameter UPz?
Thanks

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BetweenRides wrote:

I agree there is room for a 3rd Medium mode, especially with XM-L. UI does seem a bit cumbersome, though. I like The hold down for 2 seconds to turn it back on, why not make the opposite for turning it off instead of having to cycle through all the modes?

I think I’d rather be able to give it 2 quick presses to turn it off as opposed to having to hold the button down for 2 seconds. That’d get old real quick.
BetweenRides
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JohnnyMac wrote:
BetweenRides wrote:

I agree there is room for a 3rd Medium mode, especially with XM-L. UI does seem a bit cumbersome, though. I like The hold down for 2 seconds to turn it back on, why not make the opposite for turning it off instead of having to cycle through all the modes?

I think I'd rather be able to give it 2 quick presses to turn it off as opposed to having to hold the button down for 2 seconds. That'd get old real quick.

Your solution is better than 2 seconds for sure. I think I articulated my comment better in SirJohn's review:

My thoughts on feedback to Balder:

1. Add a slot below the head so the pocket clip direction can be reversed and position either way. Extra slot would still fit with the overall design theme, but allow for using clip on a baseball style hat.
2. Change the On delay to one second from two seconds. Still minimizes accidental turn on, not such a PITA.
3. Add a corresponding Off by holding down for one second. This would eliminate having to cycle through modes to turn off. Can this even be done with the plunger design?
3. Add a Medium mode in place of the 3rd Off mode. Somewhere in the 25-40% range.

So how does this work, Upz? When a flashlight manufacturer sends out a light for review, do you provide them feedback or just a link to the review? If it's the latter, hello, Balder! Smile

budynabuick
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[quote=<

So how does this work, Upz? When a flashlight manufacturer sends out a light for review, do you provide them feedback or just a link to the review? If it’s the latter, hello, Balder! Smile

[/quote]

Saved it before I typed my statement.. Now, great question. Never even thought about it. Yea, Balder needs to take this thread & improve this light. As it stands, I don’t think I want it. Light a fire under-um Upz!

Keith

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I’m curious if they’re accepting feedback for immediate revision considering they already have a larger second batch arriving in a few days. They might just be looking to spread the word about the new light. Hopefully version 2 will see the necessary changes per consumer demand.

I like your suggestions, especially the corresponding 1-second off feature. I’m a little shocked to see you have to cycle through modes to turn it off. That gets a little tiresome quite fast.

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Give away for that first batch maybe? 0:)

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Very nice review, thanks very much! Frontpage’d and Sticky’d.

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