Tag Archives: LED

How to Upgrade Mini Maglites to LED, Replacing the Lens and Adding a Switched Tail Cap

Okay, I have to admit it up front – I’m nostalgic.  When I was a teenager in the 1980s Maglites were a big deal.  I had a four D-Cell unit and a friend encouraged me to get a Mini Maglite probably in the 1985-ish timeframe and I have used it a ton.

I also bought a Mini Maglite with remote switch and shot gun barrel adapter for my dad.  He would slip out the door at night to see what the dog was barking at and would often take a firearm with him – often an old reliable 16 gauge single shot Iver Johnson.  It really creeped me out.  It wasn’t until years later that I understood how my dad viewed that having both grown up on a rural farm in New Hampshire and serving in the 6th Infantry in Pusan at the end of WWII (Yes, we had troops in Korea towards the end of WWII to prevent the Japanese from returning).

At any rate, I bought my dad a Mini MagLite with a remote switch for that old Iver Johnson and installed it.  Years later I would find the shotgun and the light separate – I suspect my dad never really needed it.

At any rate, I wound up with both my old light and my dad’s sitting next to each other and figured it was time to upgrade them and return them to service.

For me, researching is part of the fun so I dug around on replacement tail caps, LED upgrade units and lenses.  So, I wound up with the following pile on my work bench:

I bought two of the LED upgrades but had already installed one before it dawned on me that I better get a picture 🙂

The  LED upgrade is from TerraLux and is their TLE-5EX MiniStar2 Extreme.  They claim 150 maximum lumens for four hours.  I can’t speak to the duration but they are definitely bright – brighter than my 80 and 100 lumen lights for sure with a really nice solid coverage.  I bought both from Amazon and they are very easy to install.

They also sell a two-pack if you are interested:

Basically, you unscrew the head from the camera body and while you are at it, remove the lens cap also because you will replace the old lens with a new one.  If you see any stretched, torn or missing O-rings, then replace them while you are at it.

Here are the old and new reflectors and lenses:

The old bulb just pulls straight out of the body.  You don’t need to do anything else – just pull it out.

Now the LED module’s legs just go in where you removed the old bulb.  Have batteries in the light because you need to find out if the module is plugged in the right way or not.  What I mean by this is that the polarity does matter.  If you plug the module in and it will not light then turn it the other way so the legs switch the power holes they are plugged in to.

Notice how the reflector that comes with the module has a much wider hole to accommodate the LED.  You can save your old bulb and reflector if you want to.

The module will sit on top of the housing.

I got lucky – the light worked the first try.  If it did not, I would have removed the module and exchanged holes the legs were going into.

At this point, it was just a matter of reassembly.  I installed the replacement lens and the LiteXpress swiched tail cap.  Here are the units I bought off Amazon:

The tailcap has a nice switch.  What I like is that I can adjust the lens how I want and just turn the unit off and on at the tail cap.  If you were packing this, you can still turn the light off the old way and reduce the odds of it turning on.  Lastly, the cap has a perk – it has a lanyard ring on the side and it will prevent the light from rolling off a surface.  On one hand you can’t stand the light up and run it like candle but on the easy on/off switch and elimination of rolling are nice bonuses.

So that’s all there is to it.  I’d say it took me 5-10 minute per light and I satisfied my nostalgia by keeping them and have far, far brighter lights.  I’ve been using one of the lights for almost two months as of writing this blog without any problems at all.

Now, before I end this post, let me point out that LiteXpress lights are solid.   They are a German company that does their own engineering and the products are made in China with their oversight.  I own about six of them of varying models and ages.  For the most part, they have held up.  I busted one somewhere along the line and LiteXpress said they would replace it but I just haven’t had time to do so.  If you are looking for a solid new LED light, you might want to take a look at them.  Both of these have performed solidly for me without any trouble:


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Not Happy With EBLCL LED Upgrade for My Ryobi Worklight Either

Okay, I ordered the EBLCL CE ROHS FCC PR P13.5S 18V 247 Lumen CREE XP-G2 S4LED upgrade for my 18 volt Ryobi worklight.  To make a long story short, like the Jomitop, it too throws an irregular crescent shaped light that I don’t like.  This unit is sold by a number of vendors on Amazon so buyer beware.

Here’s a photo of the EBLCL unit and the beam it projects:

I’m going to just leave this unit installed and look for a new worklight … I may even just put a replacement bulb in the unit.  I use these things quite a bit and I would rather have a decent wide area of light vs. these oddly shaped beams.

Bottom line, unless you like the shape of the beam shown above, I can’t recommend it.

 


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Not Happy with Jomitop P13.5S LED Replacement Bulb for Ryobi 18 volt Work Light

Okay, some guys sneer at the Ryobi power tools but I have gotten my money’s worth from their 18 volt drills.  I bought one of their 18 volt sets years ago and have two drills, an impact driver and a hammer drill that I use all the time.  One drill has done 3-4 decks and the other at least two.  I burned out one hammer drill a year ago and replaced it and the others are going strong.

Along with the tools came an 18 volt work light that I have used a ton especially while working on cars.  I’ve replace the incandescent bulb probably at least three times over the years.  As luck would have it, I dropped the light the other day and busted the bulb.  Rather than buy another replacement bulb, I decided to move to an LED unit.

I did some digging and bought a Jomitop P13.5S from Amazon – two of them actually as I have two of the work lights.  Now I wish I could say the upgrade went great but the resulting light is a weird crescent shape – even when it is just the LED by itself with no lens or reflector.  Both LEDs did this.

I plan on returning these two units as defective and have ordered two more models from other sellers on Amazon.  So, for now, pass on the Jomitop P13.5S model.  I’ll post on what works later but wanted to get the honest review out.

I hope this helps you out!


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Converting 1980s-1990s 3, 4 and 5-D Cell Maglites to LED – What a difference!!

Back in about 1982 or 83, I saved my money up in high school and bought a seemingly giant 4-D cell Maglite.  That thing has been all over the US with me – camping, in cars, trucks, by the night stand and so forth.  My dad was so impressed he bought both a three and five cell version and used them on the farm.  Fast forward to 2015, my dad had passed away and I had both of his lights plus my old one – the paint was chipped and the old-style bulbs didn’t crank out anywhere near the light of a modern LED flashlight but they were still operational.  Face it, Maglites were built to last!   My Maglight and my dad’s were just sitting on the shelf and I couldn’t bring myself to toss them.

As so many things go in life, I was researching on LED upgrades for Surefire M951 weapons lights and wondered if some kind of upgrade existed for Maglites.  The answer was a resounding “yes”! There were all kinds of replacement and upgrade parts available.  I wound up getting three TerraLUX TLE-6EX MiniStar5 140 Lumens replacement for the traditional bulbs in May 2015.  Because I am writing this almost two years later, I can tell you the bulbs are a great deal – they’re not very expensive, bright as heck, durable and really easy on the batteries.  I was impressed then and still am now.

At any rate, two years later,  zero problems, way brighter and better battery life – sounds like something worth sharing while I drink my morning coffee.

First, the Maglite design is really cool.  You can readily get to just about everything that can wear out.  You don’t need to pull the batteries unless you want to, but you do need to unscrew the head and remove it.  Years ago I had a battery burst in this light so I always check batteries just to play it safe.  This is my four cell that I’ll take apart:

Now, you unscrew the front bezel and that gives you access to the lens.  I am pretty sure I tossed my original because it was so scratched up.  When I upgraded the LED, I also put in a new Crystal Glass upgrade lens in.  I just did it on mine and have had zero problems with it.  When you take the bezel off, the lens just lifts/falls right out.  There’s no glue to deal with.

Now the lens  sits in the body on a shock absorbing system.  I found an old bulb and inserted it so you could see the steps.  The bulb is held in place by a threaded collar that simply unscrews and you can then remove the bulb unit.  In the third and fourth photo, you can see the collar to the right of the bulb.

The LED emitter is a tad longer than the bulb but this doesn’t matter.  Just put it in place of the bulb and then screw the collar back into place.  Just snug the collar – you don’t need it to be crazy tight.  Also, I inspected all the O-Rings and out a light smear of heavy silicone grease on all the threads and O-rings to make everything turn smoothly – you can still change the beam from flood to spot, same as always.  Note, if an O-ring is torn, cracked or looking bad, take it to your local hardware store and replace it.

Next up, the rubber cover on my light’s switch was cracked and oxidized.  You can find replacements for those as well.  They are simply press fit so you can remove them very easily with your fingers or use a small tool to lift the cover up.  The replacement I bought in 2015 still looks like new.

  

The result:  I spent about $30 and have a very bright durable light.  I keep one in my truck and the other big light floats around between my shop and the house.  In the next photo, you can see the LED emitter working.

One thing that is interesting is that the five cell’s LED is not as white as the other two but it used to be.  I’m not sure why – I think it has the original batteries from two years ago.  It’s something else to add to the need to check out when there is free time list 🙂

Would I do it again?  Absolutely.  I like being able to use these lights once again.  There’s a lot of nostalgia involved with both of them.

 


The exact NeuLux lens I bought is no longer available on Amazon, which is a shame.  I did some digging and Maglight now sells a replacement glass lens that gets very good reviews:

This is the exact switch seal I used:

Now if your end cap or front bezel are really torn up, you do have options.  First, you could get OEM replacements or you could upgrade them.  Here are two neat upgrades that get solid reviews (for the end cap, be sure to get the right size):

The following is a real-time search of eBay for “Maglite Upgrades” – look at what all is available!  Just make sure what you buy matches your model as this list will be for Maglites in general:

TerraLUX TLE-6EXB MiniStar5B, 200 Lumen LED Upgrade Kit for 2-3 cell C

$14.97
End Date: Wednesday Jun-20-2018 8:24:52 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $14.97
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Nite Ize LED Combo Upgrade Kit II for AA Mini Maglite Incandescent Flashlight

$10.18
End Date: Thursday Jun-14-2018 17:15:46 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $10.18
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NEW GENUINE Maglite Mini PRO LED 2 AA Flashlight + Holster Black 272 lumens

$19.99
End Date: Thursday Jun-14-2018 6:23:11 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $19.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

ABN® Maglite Replacement Conversion Kit Upgrade LED Bulb

$15.99
End Date: Monday Jun-18-2018 14:50:55 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $15.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Nite Ize AA LED Single Bulb Upgrade Kit II Fits AA Mini Maglite 30 Lumen LRB2-07

$8.49
End Date: Monday Jun-4-2018 13:45:39 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $8.49
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Nite Lumen Maglite Flashlight LED Upgrade Bulb Conversion 2-6 Cell C

$7.83
End Date: Tuesday Jun-5-2018 15:29:31 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $7.83
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

AA MINI MAGLITE FLASHLIGHT LED UPGRADE BULB & TAIL CAP SWITCH KIT NITE IZE NEW

$9.89
End Date: Monday Jun-18-2018 6:27:56 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $9.89
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Ultra-Bright 350 Lumen Maglite LED Upgrade Bulb 3-6 Cell C & D Model Conversion

$13.84
End Date: Tuesday Jun-19-2018 12:05:08 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $13.84
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Ultra-Bright 350 Lumen Maglite LED Upgrade Bulb 3-6 Cell C & D Model Conversion

$13.90
End Date: Friday Jun-8-2018 6:45:35 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $13.90
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

AA MINI MAG LITE LED UPGRADE BULB & ON OFF SWITCH KIT with REFLECTOR 30 LUMENS

$9.89
End Date: Sunday Jun-17-2018 17:35:29 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $9.89
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

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TerraLUX TLE-6EX MiniStar5 140 Lumens Extreme LED Replacement Bulb for 4-6 C&D Cell MagLites


Features: Bright white LED light, LED never burns out, Extends battery life up to 20 hours on one set of batteries, Ultra focus for long distances, Brighter than original incandescent bulbs

TerraLUX MiniStar5 140 Lumens Extreme LED Replacement Bulb for 4-6 C&D Cell MagLites have a white LED light that never burns out. It has an extended battery life up to 20 hours on one set of batteries and contains ultra focus for long distances which makes it brighter than original incandescent bulbs.
List Price: Price Not Listed
New From: $16.99 USD In Stock