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Balder BD-1P vitals

Product
   Balder BD-1P
Manufacturer
   http://www.mybalder.com/
Price
   £35.00
Available at
   http://www.ledfiretorches.co.uk/

Published
   19 May 2013
Author
   Wayne Brooker


Balder BD-1P
Our friends stateside often refer to a phenomenon known as the "EDC". It refers to the things that reside in the pocket on a daily basis, things like car keys, mobile phone, wallet and it stands for "Every Day Carry". Of course a powerful flashlight deserves to be an "EDC" but the prohibitive size and somewhat exotic need for large rechargeable batteries normally hinder their adoption as a comfortable "EDC" and leave them relegated to the desk drawer or glove box.

Today I want to look at a light that's small enough to earn a place in your EDC inventory, that takes standard AA batteries and that allows the flexibility of running from either one battery or, with a slight gain in brightness and bulk, a pair of them.

Balder is a relatively new company founded in 2009 and whose mission is, in their own words, "producing tactical flashlights, which are designed for multi-purpose especially for law enforcement, military missions, outdoor sport, rescue, camping, hunting and personal safety, etc.".

On the bench is the BD-1P which is essentially the company's BD-1 single AA battery flashlight with a supplied extension tube allowing the flexibility to run either single or dual batteries. Two lights for the price of one where you choose pocketability or power and runtime.

The Balder "corporate image" is quite distinctive. All of their admittedly slightly limited range of four lights feature a black and silver colour scheme with an area of un-anodised alloy where the handle and head join.

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Though the silver area is there with looks in mind I got to wondering if Balder had also considered the fact that anodised aluminium is a thermal insulator. Although the thicker the anodised layer the greater the thermal emissivity perhaps the idea is to have an area free from anodising to help the die to dissipate heat through the body. I haven't seen anywhere where Balder claim this is a feature and it's not impossible that my physics is flawed (soneone will no doubt correct me if so) but there's a strong case for the naked aluminium being a thermal aid as well as a fashion statement.

As I mentioned a moment ago, with just a single battery tube fitted what we have is basically a BD-1 flashlight. The BD-1 is as compact, good looking light with pocket-friendly dimensions and, in its T6 LED variant as tested here, offers a more than useful 145 Lumens beam in this configuration.

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The clip on pocket clip can be fitted at either head or tail end (there are machined grooves for both)  and the clip felt very solid and unlikely to detatch accidentaly despite its slightly worrying clip on/clip off design.

The light arrives in packaging that I can best desribe as "minimal but functional". The knee-jerk reaction is to whinge that a little more effeor could have gone into the packaging but the truth is that this box, along with the boxes from every other light I own, will end up in the same place, either in a bin or in a desk drawer. Sure a deeply varnished oak box with brass hinges would be nice but it would be money wasted unles I'd ordered the limited edition carbon fibre and platinum model with diamond encrusted strike bezel.

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As boxes go it protected the light on its journey from China; job done!

Adding the second battery tube means your light can handle a pair of "AA" batteries and doing this changes the BD-1 into a BD-1P which, though slightly less pocket friendly, now has increased brightness and runtime.

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In fact the light earns merits on the basis that it is truly modular.

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Including the fact that the head and reflector assembly screws right off so you can use her in candle mode, great for those camping trips.

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The quality of construction and the quality of the anodising all look and feel first class. The threads feel clean but unlike some costlier lights they're not square cut.

Power requirements are much simpler for the mainstream user than the majority of high power lights. With the single extension tube you can fit either a single "AA" battery or a single 14500 rechargeable. Screwing in the extension tube allows for two "AA"s but alas the voltage limitations of the light mean a pair of 14500's is a no-go. To my eyes the output is about the same on two "AA"s as it is on a single 14500.

In its extended BD-1P guise the light looks a little inconsistent to me. The changes in diameter and machining along the length of the body make for a great grip but leaves the light looking a little like it was made up from several different models rather than being a single, modular unit.

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I don't hate it, I just think it lacks coherence and consistancy. With all Balder's lights having such a strong identity otherwise I'd love to see this given a little attention.

With or without its extension the light doesn't quite feel secure when tailstanding due to the clicky cover bulging slightly and leaving things a little wobbly. The cover may flatten with use, time will tell.

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Setting the power level operates differently to most lights. Instead of powering on the light with a full press then setting the level with further half presses, you set the power level first using half presses then when you arrive at the level you want you push the switch all the way on.

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Appealing to the masses you'll find no trace of an SOS or stroble mode, just three power levels, the lowest of which was commendably low at 6 lumens.
The two lowest settings use PWM, though I could only see the feintest of flicker on the very lowest setting and in very dark environments.

Conclusion

For flexibility and convenience the BD-1P is a terrific "mainstream" performance light that gets the job done in a solid, fuss-free way and deserves to be a big seller for Balder. As many companies know you tend to earn your most loyal customers by impressing them at grass roots level then tempting them to something bigger and better.

>At under £35 from a variety of sources (for example Ledfire) the BD-1P is interesting and unique enough to offer reasonable value for money and is a great entry point for those wanting to explore the joys of performance LED lighting or for those who simply want a good workhorse with minimal fuss.

Features
1. Replacement Stainless steel strike bezel
2. Strong metal clip attached on either end
3. Double AA for stronger beam and longer runtime
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
15. Advanced Cree XML-T6 LED
16. Extension part can be removed and the torch can be changed to BD-1(1*14500/AA)

Specifications
1. Dimension:  Head diameter 24mm, Tail diameter 24mm, length 159mm
2. Cree XML-T6 LED
3. Lumen and runtime:Double AA:
Maximum output of 180 lumens for 2 hours
Minimum output of 6 lumens for 100 hours

4. Material: Aircraft Aluminum Alloy T6061 
5. Weight: 90g (without battery)
6. Water proof to IPX-8 standard 
7. Battery: double AA or single AA /14500
8. Accessories: O-rings, user’s manual, lanyard(optional accessories), holster(optional accessories)
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