Review: Balder BD-1 3-mode AA/14500 Flashlight

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old4570
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Review: Balder BD-1 3-mode AA/14500 Flashlight

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Balder BD-1 Review By old4570

 

The Balder BD-1 was provided for review by Balder Flashlights - and I would like to thank them for the opertunity .

 

Specifications from Balder :

 BD-1

Features:
1. Replacement Stainless steel strike bezel
2. Strong metal clip attached on both side.
3. Compact size and light weight, suitable for EDC (every day carry)
4. Mil-Spec Type III Hard Anodized finish.
5. Made from Aluminum alloy, really strong.
6. Water proof to IPX-8 standard.
7. Fully-regulated circuit, Broad input voltage (1.0V - 4.2V) and battery compatibility (i.e. alkaline, NiMH, 14500)
8. Precision Aluminum reflector (Orange Peel)
9. Simple operation. High-Medium-Low. No SOS and strobe modes
10. Tail standing
11. Tactical switch for momentary on.
12. Prominent runtime
13. Anti-reverse protection.
14. Candle mode


Specifications:
1. Dimension: Head diameter 24mm, Tail diameter 24mm, length 106mm
2. Cree XPG R5 LED
3. Lumen and runtime:

Single AA:

Maximum output of 145 lumens for 1.5 hours
Minimum output of 6 lumens for 50 hours

4. Material: Aircraft Aluminum Alloy T6061

5. Weight: 70g (without battery),100g(with battery)

6. Water proof to IPX-8 standard

7. Battery: single 14500 or AA
8. Accessories: O-rings, user’s manual, lanyard

 

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The BD-1 came very well packaged , it's actually packaged in a plastic case that helps protect the light during shipping , and should be more than strong enough to handle the odd bump and grind that post may be subject to .

The package includes the BD-1 light , as well as a lower profile bezel and some spare O rings , as well as some very clear and easy to understand instructions .

On removing the light I found a very modern looking flashlight , that exuded quality everywhere I examined the light , pleasantly surprising me that the light was such a quality product .

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The Body

 

The body is exceptionally well made , the threads are well cut and clean , everything screws together nice and smoothly , it has O rings at all the joins , the knurling is well done and the HA 111 coating is evenly applied and color is even through out .

The light is built in 4 mayor parts , the tailcap , the battery tube , the pill or LED and driver assembly [ lower part of head ] , and the head [ containing reflector and lens ] .

 

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The Tailcap

 

The tailcap consists of four parts , the main body of the cap , a clicky switch assembly [ self contained ] a plastic cap and switch boot . It looks to be extremely well thought out and executed and was ever so easy to disassemble . The clicky is often the source of a lot of issues in a lot of flashlights , and a lot of the time price has little to do with it . This light was no exception , the klicky was very sensitive to pressure and would turn on with the slightest touch from my thumb , and every so often refused to turn off .

As often is the case , all that was needed was a slight adjustment to the pressure put on the clicky switch by adjusting the switch rubber boot [ Trim the little nipple on the inside of the boot ] . Once this was done the clicky ran without a hitch , and was no longer overly sensitive to pressure on the switch .

 

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The Battery Tube

 

The battery tube is made to be exceptionally strong , and from the amount of material looks to be almost bullet proof . Once again very well made , the threads are well cut and clean , and screwing either the head or tailcap on is just butter smooth .

 

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The Head

 

The head consists of the main body encompassing the Lens , and reflector which is threaded and screws into the head holding the lens in place . Normally the Bezel holds the lens in place , but not in this case . Here the bezel screw on , threaded to the outside of the head , and due to the design , offers very little to no bezel block [ bezel blocks light output - spill ] . There are two options here , the larger Stainless Steel bezel that adds bling , and a lower profile , and more subdued bezel for those who may object to having too much bling , on there flashlight .

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The Pill or LED driver Assembly

 

The pill looks to be very well put together , I haven't pulled it apart as yet , but it looks to be easily upgradable , should you wish to go down that path . It has a plastic cover on the driver side that unscrews and a cover over the LED base to stop the reflector from shorting on the negative or positive wires .

 

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Performance

 

This is a AA - 14500 capable flashlight , it has 3 modes , High - Medium - Low [ In that order , with no memory ] , that are activated VIA a tail switch [ Forward Clicky or Momentary on ] . To change modes you use the Momentary function [ turning on the light without fully activating - clicking - the switch ] , and you have all of one second to turn the light of and on again to change modes , or you will stay in High mode [ the starting mode ] . The beam quality on this light was impressive , and surely will not disappoint , and on the 14500 I measured some 5500Lux + @ 1 meter [ throw ] . I did detect a somewhat low frequency PWM in both Medium and Low modes that some may not like , it's never been an issue for me , but I understand it bothers some .

 

AA Batteries

 

I hope I have used enough batteries here for the test : Lets start with some Nimh cells

Kodak = High - 103Lumen - 2.04A , Medium - 35L - 0.68A , Low - 1L - 0.04A

Eneloop = High - 106L - 2.04A , Medium - 35L - 0.68A , Low - 1L - 0.04A

Rayovac = High - 110L - 2.04A , Medium - 37L - 0.7A , Low - 1L - 0.04A

Recyko = High - 107L - 2.04A , Medium - 36L - 0.68A , Low - 1L - 0.04A

 

Some Lithium Batteries [ Cheap ]

1/ High - 74L - 1.53A , Medium - 26L - 0.52A , Low - 1L - 0.04A

2/ High - 92L - 1.78A , Medium - 33L - 0.61A , Low - 1L - 0.04A

3/ High - 71L - 1.57A , Medium - 25L - 0.54A , Low - 1L - 0.04A

A generic Alkaline battery

1/ High - 105 faded to 83L - 2A , Medium - 36L - 0.68A , Low - 1L - 0.04A

Generic [ Cheap ] Dry cells

1/ High - 65 faded to 50L - 1.25A . Medium - 19L - 0.44A , Low - 1L - 0.05A

2/ High - 49L - 1.25A , Medium - 16L - 0.44A , Low - 1L - 0.05A

 

Li-ion 14500

 

1/ 4.2v = High 365 faded to 344L - 1.81A , Medium - 119L - 0.51A , Low - 2L - 0.01A

2/ 4.18v = High 346 faded to 325 - 1.65A , Medium - 117L - 0.52A , Low - 2L - 0.01A

 

 

Conclusion

 

The clip can be relocated onto the tailcap , and for me felt like a much better location than the bottom part of the head . The clip may look like its not very strong , but it actually handles its job rather well , yet is still easy to relocate from the head to the tailcap without marring the finish . Due to the design of the light, the tailcap offers Lock Out , open the tailcap 1/8th of a turn and the circuit will be broken , and the light cant be accidentally activated . [ Turned on ]

You have two bezels to chose from , two different types of batteries [ AA and Li-ion 14500 ] , there are no annoying blinky modes , the light is relatively light for its size , and goes unnoticed when walking [ walked 1.4 kilometers with it ]

The performance on AA's is honestly middle of the pack , but the Li-ion 14500 really brings this light alive , and provides excellent performance [ output ] for a light this size . Its quite amazing how far flashlights have come in the last 12 months and the Balder BD-1 is a good example of this new generation , and the 1 to 2 lumen output is sure to please those demanding a very low low so as not to spoil there night vision , and those wanting output , the 300+ lumen on the 14500 is going to impress .

 

Pros

 

Solid tailstand capability

Forward Clicky

Nice Beam

Excellent Output on the 14500

No Blinky Modes

Excellent Build Quality and finish

Looks to be easy to Upgrade [ new Emitter ]

Dual Battery [ AA - 14500 ]

A Belt Clip that works [ and can be moved ]

Supper Low Low

2 Bezels + Spare O rings

Everything screws together butter smooth

No battery slop [ shaking light vigorously ]

Lock out Tailcap [ If you wish ]

Knurling is excellent

 

Cons

 

Tail switch needed adjustment to work flawlessly

PWM frequency on the low side

 

 

The Last Word

 

The Balder BD-1 is an attractive [ visually appealing ] flashlight , built to very high standards , that is AA and 14500 capable . Has excellent functionality , travels well on ones person , and is easy to use when needed . The BD-1 did not fail to impress , and I'm giving it a solid 9 out of 10 . The BD-1 lost a point [ half each ] for the two cons .

 

 

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http://www.imagebam.com/image/13b8df148799668for larger picture

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http://www.imagebam.com/image/7a05b0148800437 for larger picture

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Light was in medium , and I used two different setting on the camera for the white wall shot .

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:06
old4570
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I didnt have time to do this before ... so here we go ...

14500 first ...

I starts around 340+ on a fresh 4.2v 14500 

I did some 5 minute runs ..

After the first 5 minute run : Did not start with a fresh battery !  [ in fact not sure what the starting voltage was = Sorry about that ] 

But - @ 4.2 its around 340L and @ 3.94 its 315 = So that's rather good [ not taking heat sag into the equation here ]  

315L - Batt Voltage 3.94v - 1.39A measured at tail 

After another 5 minute run 

300L - BattV 3.81v - 1.28A measured at tail

Another 5 minute run and 

275L - BattV 3.73v - 1.28A 

Another 5 minutes

265L - BattV 3.68v - 1,21A

Another 5 

257L - BattV 3.44v - 1.4A  = Id say the light is boosting bellow 3.5v

I got decent output for about another minute and then the light started to fade , and within 2 to 3 minutes it was down to 1Lumen and when I pulled the battery , the voltage was something like 1.5v [ yeas that was a 14500 - unprotected ] , I pop it right into the charger and after a few minutes it was up to 3.3v , so hopefully didnt kill the very first 14500 I ever got . 

But hopefully I have show prospective new owners how the light behaves with a 14500 .. 

Next I will check it with the AA ... 

 

Some AA results 

Nimh Cells , 

1.39v - 101L - 2.02A measured at the tail

1.34v - 95L - 1.91A

1.28v - 78L - 1.8A

1.23v - 70L - 1.52A

1.20v - 62L - 1.47A 

Now various cells were used to check output at different voltage levels , so the individual cell would have some effect on output ..

So I decided to do a run with a single batt @ 1.25v , just to see how the light handles the tail end of a nimh .

 

Start - 75L

1 Minute - 74L

2/ 73

3/ 73

4/ 72

5/ 72

6/ 71

7/ 71

8/ 70

9/ 69

10 Minutes - 68L

11/ 68

12/ 67

13/ 65

14/ 64

15/ 64

16/ 63

17/ 61

18/ 59

19/ 54

20 Minutes - 50Lumen

21/ 46

22/ 45

23/ 43

24/ 41

25/ 35

26/ 30

27/ 25

28/ 20

29/ 16

30 Minutes 14 Lumen 

Regulation on the AA is not that great , but then it is good with the 14500 , guess you cant have it both ways ...

Hope this info helps .

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

how2
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Nice review old4570

alfreddajero
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Did the light get hot when running a 14500, it is a nice light but the clip will just have to go.

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

old4570
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alfreddajero wrote:

Did the light get hot when running a 14500, it is a nice light but the clip will just have to go.

Just for you = 5 minute 14500 run ...

1Minute = Head is warming up 

2Minutes = 50% of the light is warm 

3Minutes = 100% of the light is warm 

4Minutes = Warm 

5Minutes = A little warmer ... But not even close to hot 

I left the light on the table during the run , picking it up every minute to check the temperature ..

Picking it up and holding the light in the hand , the heat [ warmth ] began to dissipate almost right away [ heatsinking into the body ] ...

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

weiser
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Excellent review and happy to see the good performance on 14500. The engineering seems pretty decent to me.

RedForest UK
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All the top quality manufacturers use OP, I much prefer LOP to SMO in all but the most dedicated throwers. Balder are trying to look 'quality' but at a lower price. They have done it very well with the design, and they are trying to do it with the beam too. There is something about imperfect beams which really takes away from the overall quality feel of a light.

Hikelite
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RedForest UK wrote:

All the top quality manufacturers use OP, I much prefer LOP to SMO in all but the most dedicated throwers. Balder are trying to look 'quality' but at a lower price. They have done it very well with the design, and they are trying to do it with the beam too. There is something about imperfect beams which really takes away from the overall quality feel of a light.

 

It's more convenient this way, since most reviewers will take wall beamshots and make a comparison. Secondly come the field beamshots. I think Balder realized that. Maybe with SMO their beampattern wasn't looking perfect. Now it doesn't matter anymore. It's a different acceptance now, they will release SMO reflectors, and no matter how the beampatterns will be, it was done by public request. Though I don't think they'll look bad.

alfreddajero
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Thanks for checking that for me, can you post up pics with the light size compared to other single celled lights for us.

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

jacktheclipper
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Thanks OLD !

Thoth
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Nice review and light, now I need to know where can I buy one of these.

Hikelite
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Thoth wrote:

Nice review and light, now I need to know where can I buy one of these.

cnqualitygoods

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Hikelite wrote:

cnqualitygoods

Thanks! Cool

old4570
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Solarforce L2T - Skyline 2 - Balder - Jetbeam - Nitecore 

 

 

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

alfreddajero
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Thanks old for posting that up for me, i am still in ga ga over the L2T can not wait for payday to get around.

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

old4570
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alfreddajero wrote:

Thanks old for posting that up for me, i am still in ga ga over the L2T can not wait for payday to get around.

Ive got 3 , and still tempted to pull the trigger on a 4th [ Thats crazy ] , why cant I be happy with 3 ? 

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

alfreddajero
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Well its the flashoholic in you lol, always have to get more.

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

WastedNihilist
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I was hoping for a slightly lower price. I'm searching for a replacement for my xeno. The mode separation is ok on alkaline. But horrible on 14500. Thought this might be perfect till I saw the price. You can never have everything. Too bad about the pwm also.

MunkyNutz
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Wasted hit it right on.... "Thought this might be perfect till I saw the price."

Unfortunately, I'd have to agree... I really wanted one, but not for $45 and change. 

Looks like I'll have to wait for the FandyFire copyTongue out.... Nutz

alfreddajero
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Dang that Skyline is sexxxxy........dude let me hold it lol. Now that sounded so wrong lol......

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

SashiX
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Matt, hope you don't mind if I put these graph I have made with your info, much better than text only, IMO Wink

(mouse over to see % performance)

 

old4570
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SashiX wrote:

Matt, hope you don't mind if I put these graph I have made with your info, much better than text only, IMO Wink

(mouse over to see % performance)

 

Unfortunately the graphs dont tell the story as I didnt actually do full run times , I was only checking the regulation @ certain battery voltage levels ...  

So the minutes would be some what misleading [ only partial runs ] 

With the AA I started at 1.25v [ Nimh usually are 1.36v to 1.39v = well mine ] and the 14500 missed out on the 4.2v to 4v range , I think I started at 3.99v as I wanted to see where the output dropped off ...  

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

SashiX
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Yeah, but still, enough to see that regulation is so so with AA (slightly better with 14500). ITP offers better regulation for the same price, IMO.

Just my 2 cents Wink

Tally-ho
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old4570 wrote:
PWM frequency on the low side

This is a no go for me. It is unacceptable in any modern flashlight.

2100
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Wierd that the PWM is low....  On the BD-4 it is absolutely undetectable. > 10kHz.  Or maybe so-called linear driver.

robertkoa
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Great Pro Review- excellent little light.

 

I wonder if you Email the Review to Balder if they can/will easily increase the frequency so there is no "flicker" on  the lower power modes ?

old4570
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Balder knows ...   

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

th@
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Personally, I think a comparison between the Balder BD-1 XP-G and the JetBeam BA-10 would be interesting. They seem to have a similar output on high when using a single AA as well as when using a 14500, with the BA-10 being quite a bit cheaper and having only two modes as opposed to the three modes of the BD-1.
I am thinking about getting one of those lights and have not been able to find suitable information to compare them. I am especially interested in performance and run time on a 14500 (highest mode) as well as in throw distance. Can anyone provide any information as to these points?
At the moment I am using a Xtar WK41 which I bought after having read the review here, and the flashlight virus seems to be consuming me pretty fast, hehe Silly I consider it a generally nice light with many advantages at that price. However, I dislike the fact that it steps down after 5 mins on a 14500, and I don’t seem to ever find the side switch when I need it…

PS. Please forgive me for digging up this thread and hijacking it at the same time. If any of the mods feels my post has to be moved to somewhere else, I am thankful for doing so.