Sunday, June 2, 2013

Jetbeam BA10 Mod for Bezel Down Carry

BA10 left, stock clip orientation.
I was pretty disappointed one, that the BA10 was bezel up carry only, and two, that I didn't pick up on this before buying it. I typically spend more than enough time researching my purchases to have a pretty strong feeling for how well I'm going to like the item before ever having it in my hand. All the same, bezel up it appears to be. Which is just a little bizarre when you consider how close it came to being ready for either orientation. At first glance it would appear that a track for the pocket clip was machined in the body for either option but when I tried to flip the clip to the bezel down position it became clear that it wasn't intended to be used this way. I think the burning question here is; WHY? Especially when the track was practically already built in to the design. Could it be a quality control issue? Possibly. I did find instances in forums there people say it works. Now, I have the thing in my hand. The clip will go on, but it can't be described as "works". First and foremost the track that exists is about 1/64th of an inch narrower than the clip, so while it will go on, it's not secure and doesn't drop into the track.
ba10 bezel down pocket clip mod
Pocket clip track - bezel up.
Furthermore, closer inspection reveals that the track wasn't machined as deep as the actual pocket clip track suggesting that it was never intended for this purpose. Getting back to the burning question, I can't figure for the life of me why they would offer only the orientation that probably the majority of users don't want even when the more popular choice was 2 seconds of machining away from existing on the product. In fact, their website has a picture of the BA10 in bezel up orientation with the phrase "clip how you like" right there. Don't worry, I've e-mailed them and this light is cool enough to have some kind of warranty.

Shallower track - bezel down.
In the mean time I have a mod that works. First, the bezel and tail cap both unscrew from the body and the tail cap end - the end you would typically load batteries from - is anodized suggesting that flipping head and tail was not part of the pocket clip plan. I tried it anyway. It doesn't work. So I took a piece of "electric fence" wire, wrapped it around the light to get it more or less round and tweaked it until it was the correct size. Sorry, I don't know what size this wire is (edit: it's 17 gauge) and it's a little too thick. You may be able to see that I actually ran it over some sand paper to thin it down and increase contact surface. All this does is space the tail cap out enough for the clip to fit. Shiny. This light sucks a lot less now.
Update: Jetbeam seems to think that the distributor should handle warranty issues and I got this light from Battery Junction. They issued me an RMA number and I read the "fine print" more or less. Sounds like I get to pay for more than I should but I figured, what the hell, I'll go for it. We'll see what ends up happening. 
Here is the ring I made. It's more or less round and drops into the tail cap to create space for the pocket clip.

Another picture practically the same as the last one, just because I can. But seriously, you can see the bare metal on the body on the left of the image. This is where the ring will sit. The tail cap still has sufficient threads and the light is 100% reliable.
Update 6/8/13: So I ended up sending it back and Battery Junction told me that all (how many they checked, I can't say) the lights had this problem. Yes, this mod works, but in the end, I just don't like the light and I opted for a refund. Let me turn this into a short review. Obviously this pocket clip thing bothered me so maybe I don't like the BA10 for that reason alone, but it seems like a WTF moment when the website says you can clip it how ever you like but the actual light is jacked and not even machined properly for it. But there are other things. The knurling is weak. Yeah but, you are the same guy who promotes the buttery smooth bodied Inova X1. No argument, but why knurl the whole light with a totally useless texture? Overall, the light just doesn't have any cool factor. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but I just don't like the way it looks. One part of that is the anodizing - it's too shiny. I don't know if that should bother me ... but it does. The switch is mushy and feels cheap. Is it cheap? Will it last just fine, albeit mushy? *shrug* Don't know. And what is with the head twisting for mode switching? Luckily the BA10 only has 2 modes and so it's actually pretty easy to use, but tapping the switch is just easier, why do anything different? If there are actual reasons why, feel free to explain them in the comments, but the other lights I have which utilize the tail switch tap to cycle modes, work just fine. My good ole Solarforce L2r and Crelant V11A are good examples AND they have memory. It's almost a good light, just not quite.