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Thread: Review - Balder BD-1 3 mode AA - 14500

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* old4570's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Melbourne - Australia

    Default Review - Balder BD-1 3 mode AA - 14500

    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 :

    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

    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

    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 .

    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 ] .

    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 .

    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 .

    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 .

    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 .


    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

    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

    10 Minutes - 68L
    20 Minutes - 50Lumen
    30 Minutes 14 Lumen

    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
    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 ..

    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 .

    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
    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 . for larger picture for larger picture

    Light was in medium , and I used two different setting on the camera for the white wall shot .
    Last edited by Unforgiven; 10-13-2011 at 09:34 PM. Reason: Link removed per CPF review policy

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* kj2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    The Netherlands

    Default Re: Review - Balder BD-1 3 mode AA - 14500


  3. #3
    Flashaholic* RI Chevy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Ocean State

    Default Re: Review - Balder BD-1 3 mode AA - 14500

    Thanks for a good honest review.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* j3bnl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Forfar, Scotland

    Default Re: Review - Balder BD-1 3 mode AA - 14500

    Very good review.
    The other person selected to review this model had a poor quality pocket clip.
    What are your views on the pocket clip?

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* old4570's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Melbourne - Australia

    Default Re: Review - Balder BD-1 3 mode AA - 14500

    Yes the broken clip ..

    If you stress something in a way its not designed to withstand , you can break it !

    As the clip is , when attached to the light , it fulfills its function .

    This does not mean that there is not room for improvement ..

    By adding a little more width to the clip 1 or 2mm , will improve strength , and implementation would be easy as the body of the flashlight can accommodate wider lands / groves for the clip .

    As the clip is , it does have a built in weakness just where the retaining clip is bent for the larger belt clip . You can see the cut slots on either side , this helps in bending the steel , but at the same time creates a weak spot if stressed in a direction or manner not designed for .. A little more meat should help strengthen it so as to withstand more force .

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Default Re: Review - Balder BD-1 3 mode AA - 14500

    for head battery contact construction.

    There are preciously few manufacturers that use reinforced contacts instead of bare PCB.


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