New BALDER HD-1 [ AA - 14500 - 2 mode EDC ]

Yes , its here at last , the Balder HD-1 .

And a nice little light it is to.

Some pictures.

Just a quick note , the Oring belongs in the front grove , and Im not sure how it ended up here , but the front grove folks , OK!

Now this is a pre-production sample , and I haven’t measured anything as yet .

So lets talk about what I can for now .

This light is very well made , its small , has two modes , has a XP-G R5 emitter , looks to be bright on a single AA [ high ] , supports the 14500 [ not tested ] . Anodizing and knurl-ling are very well done , and 0 battery slop to speak off , in fact some larger AA batteries [ diameter ] may not fit as the plunger tube is some what a snug fit on a AA. Now the way the light works , it appears to maintain contact [ circuit ] and when you break the contact , the light turns on , changes modes and turns off . If you leave it off for a while you need to push the button for at least a full second to get the light back on [ feature to stop accidental activation ? ] otherwise just a quick push changes modes and turns the light on or off . Now you don’t need to push the button forwards like a nutter , you only need to push forwards far enough to break contact with the back of the body, so a 1mm push should do.

So far Im very impressed , haven’t taken the Multimeter to the light , or done any tests , other than simply use the light and take some pictures. So nothing negative to report so far , except to thank Balder for sending me this light , cos I really like it . Just the size , the feel , the usability , quality , what can I say , even the clip looks to have been beefed up . Its early days , and while I am impressed all to heck so far , and I really am , lets see what the Light box and Multimeter have to say .

updated !

Ok some performance figures :

High pulls some 1.8A from a Nimh , and when the light settles with a fully charged nimh you get some 126Lumen

Low produces some 1 Lumen [ Moon mode ] and at 0.056A current draw , your looking at some 40 hours .

A fresh Alkaline returned some 113Lumen

Now with this sort of activation the first thing to cross my mind was parasitic drain , when the light is turned of , I measured some 0.007A , but within some 10 seconds the current had gone from 0.007A to 0.001A and then nothing , yep ! The light turns off . I held the MM in place till my hands got sore and detected nothing , so WOW !

The only thing I would like to see is a medium mode ( 20Lumen ) , but this is just me , I really like 20Lumen .

14500 ………….

2A Current draw in High ( thats a lot ) , output was 260+Lumen but the sag was rather serious ( heat ) .

Starting around 265L the light hit 200L within 3 seconds and continued to sag as the head began to warm , I stopped @ 170L as the head was heating up and output was dropping and there was no real slowing down in the process.

Low gave some 2L and current draw was 0.020A

I would love to see this light simply optimized for the AA as with such a small host I really cant see the point in supporting the 14500. Having a better regulated light that only runs AA would be much better. To get decent performance out of the AA you end up with a hotrod 14500 and all the associated issues such as heat and output sag . The 14500 is too much for this light , its seriously over driven and suffers for it .

Some 14500 protected batteries may be to long to function in this light . You may need to loosen the head to get the tail clicky to work .

Last Word ? …………………

Make it AA only , better regulation , and 3 mode .
Now aside from personal wants [ on my part ] , this light works , it feels great in the hand , its a fantastic format .
There is no mode memory , you turn it on [ High ] , then cycle to Low and then turn the light off [ no short cuts ] , You have to cycle through the modes . This is fine , I had no issue with this [ cycling through the modes – there are only two ]

The light is both basic and high tech at the same time , [ basic in the sense you have to cycle through the modes , high tech as it actually turns off ] .
Congratulations to whom ever at Balder for this one , as is , this is a very nice light with some serious potential .
And who say’s you cant build variations on this body . HD-1A , HD-1B etc with maybe different driver options [ one to please everyone ]

XP-G R5 [ XP-E ? that explains the lack of tolerance for the 14500 ]

2 modes [ No memory – no short cuts ]

Extremely well made

Updated clip


Comes with defuser

Compact size

Threads are well cut and smooth

OP reflector

Glass lens

Well anodized

Knurling well cut

No parasitic drain

PWM – Low mode , on the faster side .

This was a pre-production sample , the concept is simply outstanding , It works and works well , and I am impressed by this sample , and would love to see some refinement [ drop support for the 14500 and optimize it for the AA ] , the potential is there for this light to be superb , and maybe a serious contender for the must have AA flashlight for flashaholics . If it sounds like I cant say enough nice things , well its true , I just dont know how to praise this light and not sound like a suck-up , and in no way am I trying to suck-up , but how do I express the impression this little light has left on me? Its been a very long time since Ive been this excited about a flashlight , [ Solarforce L2 ] , and this is a pre-production sample which makes me wonder what direction Balder may go with this light . As it is ATM , I would recommend it , and tell you its Good. There is room for improvement how ever [ Driver ], and I can see in my minds eye the potential this light has and I would just like to say to whom ever is listening , Make it great ! Make it legendary ! The potential is there .

Will post some beam shots tonight

I like Balder very much, I love my SE-1 XM-L.

The only think I don’t like about this brand is the threads, they are not anodized and look very thin.

——>I will wait for lumens-luxes-amperes measurements, and 14500 testing


Hi old4570,
Thanks for the nice reviews + pics. How is the brightness compare to the SE-1 xml? Thanks!

Been a very busy day . Charging up some batteries now …

Seems to be a great light. I’ll wait for price and beamshot comparison…

old that looks like an XPE.

Balder continues to put out unique designs and this one is very attractive. Two things: Can you post a picture side by side with a few other (non-Balder) AA lights? And has Balder indicated what the price will be?

@oldbobk: Just curious, but why would you not want OP in a pocketable EDC light? Even with a SMO reflector, this isn't going to be a thrower with that sized reflector. I just did a quick check and every one of my AA/AAA lights is OP, with the exception of the Mini-Mag Pro+. Again, just curious.

Still trying to figure out the workings of this light (looks really nice, BTW) and from what you say, as I understand it, the light is basically a mechanical version of an electronic switch. It sounds like it’s always in the “always on” position or in “standby” and by breaking the circuit you tell it if it’s on, off, or changing modes. I would assume this means that there has to be parasitic drain on the cell with this design. Is that correct?

Yes , constant contact , to activate or change modes you break said contact :

Now with this sort of activation the first thing to cross my mind was parasitic drain , when the light is turned of , I measured some 0.007A , but within some 10 seconds the current had gone from 0.007A to 0.001A and then nothing , yep ! The light turns off . I held the MM in place till my hands got sore and detected nothing , so WOW !

Posting = Like to see more options , as before … [ to Admin ]

Side by side with other AA , sure , but its 1am ATM , time for bed [ still have the flue ]

Im seriously impressed by this sample , maybe too impressed ! It just works , and works well , been a long time since a flashlight has stirred such anticipation !
This light has potential , and I hope Balder takes it to greatness .
As is , its a damned nice light , but it could be more than that , so much more !

I hope to have a review sample to do a review myself here very shortly. Good to see your initial impressions. Balder has told me that their goal is to have output around the same as an SE-1 and with a target price of $30.

where can I purchase this flashlight?

Received mine today.
All pre-production samples have a XP-E instead the XP-G R5 or the XM-L (U2 for CW or T6 for NW).
I’ll try to review it this next weekend.
Great looking light.

Nice looking light.

XP-E , that explains the intolerance to the 14500 , though this would still be better as AA .

There are some good AA drivers out there , capable of over 170Lumen and then some .

Still , wish it was 3 mode .

My Jetbeam BA10 with 14500 puts out over 250 lumin and doesn’t seem to have issues. I don’t think I woukd consider a 1AA that didn’t do well on 14500 now.

My jetbeam with a fresh cell does about 170 with a AA , and I know everyone wants a hotrod or pocket rocket .
I see no reason why a decent AA should not do at least 200 these days or more if fitted with the XM-L , Im considering a XM-L mod to my jetbeam , got to take the dial callipers to it and see if there is enough room inside for a XM-L …

PWM on the Balder , low has it , but its on the faster side … [ This flue ! keep forgetting stuff ]

Some other AA lights for comparison

Hey, looks very nice :open_mouth: And small :stuck_out_tongue: Thanks for the pics, Matt. Waiting the final version.

Mine is coming from the second batch so it should have an XP-G 8)

Might be 3 mode next ! [ Maybe ]