Review: Balder SE2 - 1x18650 XM-L 3 mode

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old4570
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Review: Balder SE2 - 1x18650 XM-L 3 mode

Balder SE2 review - http://www.mybalder.com/product/html/?60.html Manufactured items home page . 

Purchased from International Outdoor :  Took about two week to arrive . 

Spec;s from Balder .... 

Features:

1. Mil-Spec Type III Hard Anodized finish. 
2. Made from Aluminum alloy, really strong. 
3. Water proof to IPX-8 standard. 
4. Precision Aluminum reflector (Orange Peel)     
5. Simple operation. High-Medium-Low.  No SOS and strobe modes
6. Single 18650 for stronger beam and longer runtime
7. Tactical switch for momentary on.
8. Prominent runtime
9. Advanced Cree XML-T6 LED

Specifications:

1. Dimension:  Head diameter 33mm, Tail diameter 26mm, length 138mm
2. Cree XML-T6 LED
3. Lumen and runtime:
    Single 18650:
    Maximum output of 500 lumens for 1.5 hours
    Medium output of 120 lumens for 10 hours
    Minimum output of 20 lumens for 150 hours
4. Material: Aircraft Aluminum Alloy T6061  
5. Weight: 110g (without battery)
6. Water proof to IPX-8 standard  
7. Battery: Single 18650
8. Accessories: O-rings, user’s manual, lanyardoptional accessories, holster(optional accessories)

 

Some Pictures : 

 

 

 

 Priced around $35 , the Balder SE2 is targeted squarely at the more budget minded flashaholic , or anyone looking for a decent entry level flash light that performs without a high price . After reading all the spiel [ or hype if you will ] about the SE2 , well I just had to have one . So the question begs , is it worth the hard earned ?  And the answer is YES it is , for $35 you are getting a lot of flash light for your money . Think Surefire quality for a Solarforce price , and you start to get the picture , not that Solarforce isn't good [ cos it is ] , but the Balder SE2 seems to just take it another step forward when it comes to value for money . 

Lets move onto performance before you burst : 

Low = 0.016A  for 3 lumen 

Medium = 0.75A for 210 lumen 

High = 2.5A for 630 lumen 

Balder say's the light is regulated , I found this a hook I had to bite , and test .

Test for regulation :  Run the light for 5 minutes , then test output and voltage ..

Results are as follow : Used a IMR 18650 to speed up the test [ 1600mAH or less capacity ] 

 

Start = 4.2v and 630L

5 minutes = 4v and 590L

10 minutes = 3.89v and 550L

15 minutes = 3.82v and 554L

20 minutes = 3.73v and 520L

25 minutes = 3.63v and 450L

30 minutes = 3.58v and 460L

35 minutes = 3.5v and 406L

40 minutes = 3.39v and 346L

 Now right here the light died on me , stone cold dead ! and refused to fire up .. At first I thought it might be some sort of protection built into the light , but even a fresh cell did nothing , dead , no current flowing .. 

Wow I was in shock I can tell you , one test run and a dead light ... Out of desperation I tried reverse polarity for like a fraction of a second , just in case it was some sort of built in protection ..  And with a fresh battery installed it came back to life . Damn I tells you , for a second there , a few minutes actually , I thought a had a dead Balder , but thankfully no . 

Lets check heat sag : 

Start 645L

1 minute - 600L

2 minutes - 588L

3 minutes - 585L

4 minutes - 579L

5 minutes - 574L 

Now for those beam shots : 

  

 OK Conclusion : 

A really well made light , regulation looks to be excellent ... The build quality is just , superb at this price point , nothing negative to say about the physical quality : The beam is very cool white with just a little purplish blue towards the very edges of the beam . The clip looks to be nice and sturdy for such a trim item , but Im not sure it inspires confidence , even though it functions just fine :

If there was anything negative for me to say , it would be the HUGE jump or should that be drop in output form medium to low , dont get me wrong , 3 lumen is fine , but you go to 210L from there , and then over 500 lumen . I would have loved to have seen another level in there between medium and low , something around 30 - 50 lumens [ but thats just me ] .

There is no mode memory to speak of , the light starts on High and then goes to medium and then low , speaking of low , PWM looks to be around 290 - 300 Hz . The light is fitted with a OP reflector , but its not heavily OP . The light will tailstand  but not overly well as the rubber clicky boot extend past the tailcap ever so slightly making tailstanding just a little unsteady .. 

Due to the design of this light , you can remove the head and use it as a candle ... Oh darn !!!!

Just remembered to check how this light will take to longer batteries such as the Xtar 18700 or the Panasonic 3100 with protection and bad news .. This light is some what battery challenged , and you may most likely end up crush fitting your longer batteries in the Balder SE2 [ glad I checked , been a long day , lots of home work ] , if you dont take great care . This light surely wants shorter batteries ...  

There is a plastic spacer inside , that the spring loaded plunger goes into , plunger towards battery , spring towards driver as the pill screws in ... Removing the plastic spacer and plunger would improve internal space greatly , and if one has the skill , solder on a  spring to the + contact on the driver . 

Anyhow , Im running a Sanyo 2600 in this light [ fits well ] , yes a unprotected one ..  And Im very happy with it .. If you really want to run longer cells , it would be an easy mod .. 


Tactical Forward Clicky 

Glass Lens

Excellent Anodizing 

PWM around 290 - 300 Hz 

Functional Clip 

Tailstands - A little unsteady

OP Reflector 

Cool white beam - with minor tint change towards edges [ Better than the usual ] 

Fit and finish is superb 

Threads are really smooth 

3 Modes [ No junk modes ] 

Will not accept longer batteries [ crush fit ] so be carefull

Over discharge protection @ 3v [ be aware ] you may need to reverse polarity if the light refuses to run after activating protection 

Well regulated 

Seems to transfer heat from the emitter well 

 Emitter is not glued - but the way the head screws on - it pushes the base down + there is thermal compound 

Looks to be a press fit driver [ may be hard to mod to after market ] 

 

Well , if your looking for something other than a P60 , dont mind using unprotected cells [ light has built in protection for overdischarge @ 3v ] and want something thats a quality item , well , there is the Balder SE2 ..

If one had to give it a score out of ten , it would have to be 8 ..  

Wobbly tailstand , battery challenged , and activating the protection leaves you [ left me ] with a dead light , a real bummer  if you didnt know how to resuscitate it back to life ..  Perhaps not a Noob friendly light , but if your a savy flashaholic , you just might want one of these in your collection .  

I have to say , NO BUYERS REMORSE here !    

 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 - 17:20
kreisler
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i like the phys. construction of this torch. thanks for the great review!!

*FMI* i got 4 i/o sh
old4570
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Not done as yet , still in the process ...  

I save from time to time ....  

 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 ….

 

jacktheclipper
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"...activating the protection leaves you [ left me ] with a dead light , a real bummer if you didnt know how to resuscitate it back to life .. "

I wish I had tried this with my SE-1 before I replaced the driver . Cool tip with the momentary reverse polarity .

JohnnyMac
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Nice review!  Thanks for the write up.  It looks like a nice light and a true bigger brother to the SE-1. Thanks also about the reverse polarity trick. Wink

taz
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Did you buy at the listed price, or is there a discount coupon available?

sb56637
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Thanks very much for the review Old!

Frontpage'd and Sticky'd.

Budget Light Forum ...where Frugal meets with Flashlight!

Woody
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Nice review.

I seem to remember Chicago X finding a very light (2g) pill ("sans driver") when his SE-1 died. Does the SE-2 have a similar very light component?

old4570
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1/ No discount ...   

2/ Pill seems to be fine , not heavy or light , but then aluminium does not weigh that much 

/3 Reverse polarity [ Thanks guys ] 

 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 ….

 

fishinfool
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Thanks for the review old!  

 

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

T.H.Cone
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Thanks for taking the time to review this for us, old.  It's much appreciated. 

fidem, prae caeteris omnibus praeter honestatem

 

 

Don't be confused, my Username has been changed from "Cone" to "T.H.Cone".  I'm still the same clown.

my9221
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No mode memory!

jacktheclipper
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my9221 wrote:

No mode memory!

The way I use my SE-1 is to hold the lens flat against my leg and half press until I get to the mode I want before full clicking . This way I don't have to lose my dark adapted vision ...

phantom23
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old4570 wrote:

 OK Conclusion : 

A really well made light , regulation looks to be excellent ... 

What?! You call this excellent regulation?

It's basically direct drive!

taz
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Wow! Such drop in lumens? Where is that chart from?

weiser
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Tail standing has always bugged me with the Balder lights. That's really been my only negative. The rubber switch just barely sticks out past the tail cap and makes the tail standing unstable. Basically, it manages to stay upright by virtue of the switch being flat. I don't know why they couldn't build it just a tad more recessed. 

 

I'm actually more interested in the SE-2 than the BD-2. It's a little more simplistic in design while still looking unique and you save $15. Intl-outdoor has it for slightly less than CNQG and with free shipping. 

old4570
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phantom23 wrote:

old4570 wrote:

 OK Conclusion : 

A really well made light , regulation looks to be excellent ... 

What?! You call this excellent regulation?

It's basically direct drive!

Yes - better than most lights priced around $35 .. 

+ I used a battery with as little capacity as possible my very old now IMR , originally ratted as 1600mAh , possibly closer to 1400mAh , and after 3 years ??  

So what you needed to look at , was the output @ the voltage , and ignore the time ...

The variable not accounted for was heat sag , the light got very warm doing this to about 3.7v .. 

And your graph LIE's , unfortunately , output never reached 0 , last measured output was 346L @ 3.39v , and then the protection circuit kicked in .. 

So a few things that need to be taken into consideration = 

1/  Battery used for test was very low capacity to speed up test .

2/ Variables are voltage and output , not run time ... 

3/ Heat related sag , one would need to set up some sort of water cooling or something to minimize the effects of heat ! Because light output increased nearly 50L if the light was allowed to cool down [ time consuming ] 

4/ So yes , I would say above average or good regulation .. 

5/ if you were to stretch out the graph to 250% - 300% and end at 346L , that might represent a run with a Samsung or LG or Panasonic or the new Sanyo. 

6/ Start [ Nice cool light ] 4.2v @ 630L  then as the light heats up there is heat sag , the longer the light runs , the more sag as the heat builds up . END 3.39v @ 346L last measurement taken . the battery sagged bellow 3v or to 3v and the over discharge kicked in , 

So the run was from 630 to 346  , so it put out good light all the way [ if 346 is not good @ 3.39v I dont know what is ] ...

So at the end its still doing 50% of max output ..

So the test run was not the most ideal possible due to heat sag , and no attempt by me to minimize it , and how many people run a light from start to end ? [ battery ] 

So the results represent real world :  But if you wanted to test less heat sag ..

You would need 20 or 30 batteries at varying voltages and check output with the light at the same temperature every time and environmental conditions [ in a LAB ] .

So , I have limited time , limited test equipment , limited funds , no LAB to speak of , so my apologies !  

 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 ….

 

BetweenRides
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Great review, thanks old! I'm diggin' this light. I agree with weiser's assessment on being cheaper than the BD-2 while still maintaining a unique look. Still love the looks of my BD-2 though. Interesting that the lumens output seems to be more than the specs - is that measured or your estimation? (I think the BD-2 is brighter than 500lm based on comparison with other lights)

old4570
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BetweenRides wrote:

Great review, thanks old! I'm diggin' this light. I agree with weiser's assessment on being cheaper than the BD-2 while still maintaining a unique look. Still love the looks of my BD-2 though. Interesting that the lumens output seems to be more than the specs - is that measured or your estimation? (I think the BD-2 is brighter than 500lm based on comparison with other lights)

Its a case off : My light box say's [ and my light box is rather close to actual , so Im very happy with it ] 

 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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Nice review, Matt, and nice light Smile But I must agreed with Phantom, this model has the same, almost inexistent regulation, IMHO Sad The good thing that is not so expensive.

Lensman
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Thanks old, very helpful review as always.

old4570
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Balder sent me a new SE2 to review , I will test regulation differently .. The other one was a continuous run , so heat sag would have been a factor , I will try and eliminate such with the new light ..  Review will be posted on the week end ...   

 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 ….

 

phantom23
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old4570 wrote:

Yes - better than most lights priced around $35 ..

No, as bad as most $35 lights - unregulated.

old4570 wrote:
So what you needed to look at , was the output @ the voltage , and ignore the time ...

The variable not accounted for was heat sag , the light got very warm doing this to about 3.7v ..

I am ignoring the time. It wasn't heat sag, it doesn't affect brightness so much. At 120C degrees heat sag is just 20%, not 50%.  

old4570 wrote:
So a few things that need to be taken into consideration = 

1/  Battery used for test was very low capacity to speed up test .

2/ Variables are voltage and output , not run time ... 

3/ Heat related sag , one would need to set up some sort of water cooling or something to minimize the effects of heat ! Because light output increased nearly 50L if the light was allowed to cool down [ time consuming ] 

4/ So yes , I would say above average or good regulation .. 

5/ if you were to stretch out the graph to 250% - 300% and end at 346L , that might represent a run with a Samsung or LG or Panasonic or the new Sanyo.

1,2. Yes, that's why I haven't said a word about runtime. I'm talking about discharge curve - very characteristic for unregulated lights.

3,4. Heat sag can't be so big without damaging the emitter. Brightness decreases because there's no regulation.

5. Yes, I agree. Unregulated run with one of those cells.

old4570 wrote:
6/ Start [ Nice cool light ] 4.2v @ 630L  then as the light heats up there is heat sag , the longer the light runs , the more sag as the heat builds up . END 3.39v @ 346L last measurement taken . the battery sagged bellow 3v or to 3v and the over discharge kicked in , 

So the run was from 630 to 346  , so it put out good light all the way [ if 346 is not good @ 3.39v I dont know what is ] ...

So at the end its still doing 50% of max output ..

Yes, 346lm is still plenty of light. But 50% loss means it's unregulated. Not regulated at all.

old4570
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phantom23 wrote:

old4570 wrote:

Yes - better than most lights priced around $35 ..

No, as bad as most $35 lights - unregulated.

old4570 wrote:
So what you needed to look at , was the output @ the voltage , and ignore the time ...

The variable not accounted for was heat sag , the light got very warm doing this to about 3.7v ..

I am ignoring the time. It wasn't heat sag, it doesn't affect brightness so much. At 120C degrees heat sag is just 20%, not 50%.  

old4570 wrote:
So a few things that need to be taken into consideration = 

1/  Battery used for test was very low capacity to speed up test .

2/ Variables are voltage and output , not run time ... 

3/ Heat related sag , one would need to set up some sort of water cooling or something to minimize the effects of heat ! Because light output increased nearly 50L if the light was allowed to cool down [ time consuming ] 

4/ So yes , I would say above average or good regulation .. 

5/ if you were to stretch out the graph to 250% - 300% and end at 346L , that might represent a run with a Samsung or LG or Panasonic or the new Sanyo.

1,2. Yes, that's why I haven't said a word about runtime. I'm talking about discharge curve - very characteristic for unregulated lights.

3,4. Heat sag can't be so big without damaging the emitter. Brightness decreases because there's no regulation.

5. Yes, I agree. Unregulated run with one of those cells.

old4570 wrote:
6/ Start [ Nice cool light ] 4.2v @ 630L  then as the light heats up there is heat sag , the longer the light runs , the more sag as the heat builds up . END 3.39v @ 346L last measurement taken . the battery sagged bellow 3v or to 3v and the over discharge kicked in , 

So the run was from 630 to 346  , so it put out good light all the way [ if 346 is not good @ 3.39v I dont know what is ] ...

So at the end its still doing 50% of max output ..

Yes, 346lm is still plenty of light. But 50% loss means it's unregulated. Not regulated at all.

 

 You cant expect regulation @ 3v   

I just completed testing regulation on the newer SE2 

 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 ….

 

luvbelly
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I have been curious about this light since first reading about it enough so that I just ordered one.  Having no experience with this company I know it's a throw of the dice.  I am as far from an expert as one can get but when the light arrives I'll offer up some opinions on build quality and real world useage.

phantom23
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I was right - even though new SE-1 is brighter (=more heat), there is no heat sag at all. It means didn't sufferfrom it either. Which means it was unregulated at all.

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I just got this light below.  What is the difference between it and this one here?  Is it just comestic differences?  It's a very nice light.  

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My main frustration with the SE-2 is the tail button sequence. Since there is NO mode memory, each time you turn on the SE-2, it starts at a different luminosity mode which is always lower than last time it was used. Then you must click, click, click, click, click.. That just stinks.

Very poor mode design of an otherwise well built light. Back it goes.
Update: I exchanged it for the BD-2 which has mode memory!

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Thanks for the review. It indeed is a nice light, despite some minor issues.

So many to choose from, so little money….

Cheers! Beer

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