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Thread: What is a Mag85?

  1. #1

    Default What is a Mag85?

    I've read several references to a Mag85 here on this board and wonder what it is. I did a search and found a few things but nothing that really defines it. Is it a modification to a standard Maglight? It sounds expensive so what is the deal with it is it a very bright light or does it have some other application. Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Quote Originally Posted by Allnew2me
    I've read several references to a Mag85 here on this board and wonder what it is. I did a search and found a few things but nothing that really defines it. Is it a modification to a standard Maglight? It sounds expensive so what is the deal with it is it a very bright light or does it have some other application. Thanks.
    The "Mag85" is a modification to a 3D maglite (I think). It uses a high power bulb and a battery adapter using AA rechargable cells. It is VERY VERY bright, and makes a standard maglite look like nothing. They are kinda tricky to build, but very rewarding I would imagine.
    I built a Roar of the Pelican, which is another maglite modification. It is much easier to build and also had amazing output! You might want to look into that.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* powernoodle's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Mag85 recipe:

    Take one 3D Mag light. Remove the stock plastic reflector and replace with a metal reflector from from www.light-edge.com or elsewhere. I prefer a "LOP"(low orange peel), but they come in other flavors like SMO (smooth). Orange peel describes the bumpiness of the reflective coating. The higher you go on orange peel, the smoother the beam is but it slightly diminishes throw. Also note that some of these metal reflectors are "cammed" and some are not. I prefer cammed, which is like the stock reflector and allows you to turn the head of the light to focus the light. All of light-edge's reflectors are cammed, I think. CPF members who make and sell them will sell both flavors, so make sure you get a cammed reflector if ordering from one of them. You replace the stock reflector because it will melt if you dont.

    Next replace the stock bulb with a Welch-Allyn WA1185 bulb from www.light-edge.com, CPF member Litho123 or elsewhere ; a "potted" bulb means that it fits the existing socket just like the stock bulb does. The other flavor that some use is "bi-pin" bulb, which doesnt if the stock Mag socket. In order to use the bi-pin bulb you have to replace the stock switch with one from a Magcharger light. Order a spare bulb or two and store them in the tail of the light.

    Next replace the plastic stock lens with a 52.1mm borofloat glass lens from www.flashlightlens.com . This size fits the 2D, 3D, 4D, etc mag lights. The stock lens will melt if you dont replace it.

    Almost done. Buy from CPF member Fivemega a "9AA to 3D" adapter, which is also written 9aa>3D. If he is not currently selling them, look for one on b/s/t or wait for him to sell some more. He offers them regularly. This adapter fits in the battery compartment and lets you use 9 rechargeable AA batteries in place of the 3 D-sized batteries you use in a regular Mag 3D light. These adapters are well made. There are cheaper plastic adapters, each of which are the size of a 3D battery and each which hold 3 AA batteries (so you have to use 3 of them), but dont use these unless you have to (IMO).

    Lastly, get 9 rechargeable NiMH AA batteries and a charger. I use Titanium brand batteries from www.amondotech.com, but any brand will do. You can use the 2100mAh or 2500mAh flavor or whatever floats your boat. Charge them, place them in Fivemega's adapter, and dont stick them in the light for 12-24 hours. You have to wait in order for the voltage to drop. If you dont wait and use freshly charged batteries, you can fry the bulb. Dont over discharge these as its bad for them. Pop them in the charger as soon as the light starts to dim.

    One last thing. These things can make smoke at first, which can cloud the lens. So with a brand new potted bulb and/or new light, take the head off of it and turn it on for several minutes. This will cook it nicely and you may see a wisp of smoke for several minutes. It will stop smoking eventually, and then you can put the head back on and use the light.

    Alternatively, you can buy these pre-made. I like the flavor CPF member Juancho makes. I think he goes the extra mile by coating the contacts with Pro-Gold and stuff like that to give you a nice light. They are costy, but it saves you the hassle of making one without having seen it first in person. Other folks sell them too.

    When done, the Mag85 is extremely bright and is a must have for any real flashlight nutbag. And because it looks like a regular Mag 3D, it will scare bystanders when you turn it on.

    cheers

  4. #4

    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Wow, thanks for the detailed description noodleman! So any stock Mag 3D will work with this? I'll look at the sites you so kindly provided and see what the costs are for this power beam. It sounds like it is a fairly easy project to convert, the most difficult part being spending whatever it costs to get the parts. In terms of lumens, what can I expect from this thing, and does it have a nice smooth clean light pattern or dies it look like a stock Mag with the rings and dark spots? I imagine it has one heck of a throw. Once again the vast knowledge is freely shared, I appreciate your taking the time to enlighten me.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* powernoodle's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Allnew: Any stock Mag 3D will do as a starting point. As for lumens, the bulb allegedly makes in the 1200 range and supposedly 900+ makes it out the front end of the light. The smooth reflector will provide the most throw, but it will still be a much smoother beam than the ringy standard reflector provides. The low orange peel reflector barely diminishes the throw (if any) and smooths out the beam just a little. On the other end of the spectrum are stippled reflectors. A heavy stipple is a pure flood with no throw.

    cheers

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* PlayboyJoeShmoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Once a bulb is making enough light, rings and artifacts are diminished a lot.

    I VERY much recommend a LOP when you order a reflector. My M*g85 has a LOP and has a very VERY bright blob with ghostly bi-lobes (figure eight). I sincerly wish I had a few more LOP reflectors, that's how much I think of them!
    http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/2640/usflaghalfmastmdwht.gif

    PBJS



  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Delvance's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Wow, well Powernoodle pretty much covered it all !

    Just my 2 cents on this. Powernoodle's recipe/writeup is pretty much spot on.

    As with most things, there are usually several ways to go about it. With the M@g85, you can get a KIU bipin socket kit instead of a bipin holder. KIU sells them over in Groupbuys and Passarounds on CPF. The advantage of the KIU socket is very high heat resistance, much lower resistance than the stock M@g switch. This will also allow you to buy bipin wa1185 lamps (which are a little cheaper i think and maybe even easier to obtain). The downside is if you want to use the KIU socket, you'll need to butcher the original M@gswitch module a little and solder two wires to it.

    You can also use a UCL (www.flashlightlens.com) instead of the borofloat mentioned. A UCL gives 98% or so light transmission, a borofloat gives much lower. Actually...uhm, i think they now offer a new version where it is 99% light transmission...absolutely amazing!

    Using a KIU and a bipin lamp (instead of potted lamp), you might be able to use a really small opening (hole) reflector, this means less light loss (more light reflected forwards).

    If you do all of these, you will pretty much have a top shelf M@g85. Only thing i can think of that's better would be the same combo but with a regulator.

    Oh yeah, batteries wise. Using normal consumer grade rechargeables will give good runtime, or you can use high current capable rechargeables (www.cheapbatterypacks.com look for CBP 1650). Using the CBP1650s gives less runtime but more light due to less voltage sag, meaning more volts gets to the bulb, more lumens. Be careful though...a top shelf M@g85 without a regulator and those CBP1650s...have an instaflash risk (batteries when freshly charged hold a higher volt than when they are rested, instaflash is when you turn the light on and the bulb goes really bright then says byebye )

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by Delvance; 04-02-2006 at 03:36 AM.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* Erasmus's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Thanks to all who gave the needed explanations. Now I finally know what at Mag85 is
    Last edited by Erasmus; 04-01-2006 at 07:43 PM. Reason: typo

  9. #9

    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    So as far as bang for the buck I see that this light is pretty high up on the scale. A lot of light for not too much, around a hundred bucks depending on the batteries you choose. Sounds like fun. Are there any other issues, like does the switch go out from too much current, or does the light get too hot, things like that? Also what would be the comparable bought light in the same range as this one? I'm guessing you would have to spend several hundred bucks to get this kind of output. I think I have a project

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Hi,

    I have just created a Mag85, from what I gathered on CPF this is the recipe I used:

    Mag 3D host

    kiu Bi-pin socket - easy to setup and well worth it, used some cheap CPU thermal gel between socket and maglite just incase! can use bipin bulbs - cheaper and adjustable.

    Sanyo 2500 - Good runtime, not as bright as CBP 1650 but a good comprimise, cheap.

    Modamag or Fivemega 9AA-> 3D holder.

    "Universal Pack charger" 7.2-12V Good and cheap charger.

    WA 1185 bulbs.

    I used a Boroflat lens for thermal reasons (gets quite cold around here in winter!) although UCL may be better if thermal shock is not an issue.

    Got a light stippled reflector from Litho123, still some artifacts in the beam but not bad, would recommend you go for medium stippled or above though.

    Progold on all connections to reduce interface resistance.

    Just bought another stock 3D mag to compare with my Mag85 and all I can say is that it's well worth the money!!!

    So far I've had no problems with the flashlight.

    Faster.
    Surefire 6P : Nuwai TM-301X-3 : Mag85 : Fenix L1P (On the way from 4sevens) : Mag 2D (Modding required!?)

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Delvance's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Oh, an important thing i forgot. If you do take the head off to let the newly built monster to smoke a little first. Be VERY careful... these lamps are high pressure halogen etc. And critical failures (instaflash along with the bulb exploding) will cause flying glass shrapnel. So you might want to do it behind a shield etc or just put the plastic M@g lense on the head with no reflector and let it "smoke"...so if it does explode, it'll just damage the now useless plastic M@g lense.I've had a critical failure before, the power of the flying glass was powerful enough to put little dents in my metal reflector.

    Would hate to see anyone get hurt

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* dizzy's Avatar
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    Smile Re: What is a Mag85?

    Quote Originally Posted by Allnew2me
    I've read several references to a Mag85 here on this board and wonder what it is. I did a search and found a few things but nothing that really defines it. Is it a modification to a standard Maglight? It sounds expensive so what is the deal with it is it a very bright light or does it have some other application. Thanks.
    Thanks for asking the question about the mag85. I was also wondering how these lights came to be and now I know. I may even try too build one someday, unless I see one come up on b/s/t . Great description on how to make one though. Thanks!!

  13. #13

    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Which brings up another question.

    What run times are you seeing with you Mag85's?

  14. #14

    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    and another: bulb life?

    the specs say 50 hours. approximately what kind of lifetime are you guys seeing with these bulbs?

    this does seem like a very interesting project for the future. don't quite have the money for it yet...

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* Delvance's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    I think the re-rated bulb life is 8 hours or so (barring any instaflash) Runtime is around 35 minutes on 2500mAhs i believe. CBP1650s are a little bit shorter.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    The name "mag85" partly comes from the use of the 1185 bulb. Other combinations can be made using the 1274 bulb and a few others, maybe a 1311(?).

    Other people have made these and used their own names based on the lumen output that they think they are getting.

    You'll also see references to the "roar of the Pelican" using a Pelican bulb.

    All of these are pretty darned bright, great for showing off to your friends. You have to do some searching to find all of the parts, and probably buy them from as many as 5 different people as I did.

    Once you get the battery adapter, you can play with the light by putting in 7 or 8 Alkaline AA's and a Radio Shack KPR118 bulb. This is pretty bright on its own, and doesn't require a new socket, reflector, or lens.
    Pel. M6 LED, SL TL-2 LED, TL-3 Xenon, Scorpion, Inova X5, SharperImage Luxeon, Gerber Infinity, Petzl Tikka, 2C Mag 3x123 KPR112, 2D Mag 7xAA KPR118, Nuwai QIII, TM115, TM311, 3rd_shift Luxeon 3C Magmod, Solitaire Luxeon, MiniMag MJLED,Mag85, MagLed 2D.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* sizzlechest's Avatar
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    Smile Re: What is a Mag85?

    I too have very much appreciated reading this thread and learned alot! Thanks for helpful questions/answers........

    I will probably go the route of b/s/t for one- it seems like a person would be better off making multiple lights rather than gathering all the supplies to make one......
    Last edited by sizzlechest; 04-06-2006 at 03:49 PM.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic Ivanhoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Quote Originally Posted by powernoodle
    Mag85 recipe:


    When done, the Mag85 is extremely bright and is a must have for any real flashlight nutbag. And because it looks like a regular Mag 3D, it will scare bystanders when you turn it on.

    cheers
    I gotta have more cow bell!

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    While powernoodle answered allnew2me's questions, IMHO, he neglected the single best example and resource for a new forum user to get a ready made setup, in addition to the quality package that Juancho offers....namely, FiveMega's mods.

    The main reason to consider a Mag85 (or other bright WA bi-pin bulb) is their 1200-1350 bulb lumen output are way brighter than even SureFire's M6 light which puts out about 650 bulb lumens. SF has durability and craftmanship benefits, but if you want bright lights, the Mag85 or Mag-1331 setups I describe below kick ass.

    You will always need a new bi-pin bulb holder, new aluminum reflector, and glass lens because the increased heat from these bulbs will melt/short out those stock parts.

    If you watch the group buy section you will see quality offerings from him, most of which are worth buying. I have some personal recommendations/preferences as a relatively new user over what others have mentioned for you to consider.

    I STRONGLY prefer FiveMega's WA-1185 ceramic b-pin holder shown here (which he is about to offer again this month) in his stock flashlights, because they are very easy to pop into a stock Maglite, after sticking the bi-pin bulb into its 2 holes. This fits right into the stock base after taking out the Maglite bulb, and you don't need to add a current/voltage regulator to prevent destroying bulbs.

    FM keeps all the other Maglite stock parts in his custom mods (spring, inside contact parts, switch, and bulb socket holder base), which gives just enough resistance to prevent "insta-flashing" (destroying) the 1185 (or other types) bulb which is very common with the KIU and other lower resistance setups that can also hold the bipin bulbs...especially if you turn it on fresh off the charger. They will say they get a little higher light output, but FM claims 1300 Lumens with his 3D setup...as good as I have seen from others -- and without the downside of flashing your bulbs.

    I have bought eight of FM's Mag flashlights over the last 6 months, six of which are 2D size using either WA-1185 or WA-1331 bulbs, and have always turned them on immediately off the charger, and never insta-flashed a bulb.

    Here was his 3D version of his 1300 bulb Lumen output 1185 setup using Li-Ion batteries, which works great, and which he will be offering again.

    I now prefer the 1185 setup in a 2D size which uses 9 smaller size, high current output NiMH batteries of the "2/3A" type which I had never heard of. Also, this 2D size using the very bright WA-1331 bulb with 3 Li-Ion batteries seems nearly as bright, even though it is only supposed to be 700 Lumens.

    I would also highly recommend the Smooth "SMO" mirror type reflector if you want a farther throw, but you will see bulb filament coil artifacts...but amazingly, FM just came out with a new product that totally eliminates the bulb coil artifacts in your beam, while dramatically increasing the throw hot spot, and increasing the surrounding spill output...namely his deep reflector SMO shown here....but you better get it now.

    Just search for topics that he started and you can go back over the last year to see what I consider the finest quality, ready to go products I have seen offered on this forum. Remember that NiMH batteries can give higher current, and are cheaper...but Lithium Ion batteries have higher voltage output, longer storage of charge, and longer runtimes.

    You have to learn about how different batteries in series and/or parallel setups give different current (mAh) and voltage output needed to drive various WA bulb types. Here is a current offering of various NiMH and Li-Ion battery holders that give different voltage and current (think runtime) setups.
    Last edited by LuxLuthor; 04-04-2006 at 10:55 AM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Can I vote to make this thread a sticky. Ive seen many a thread asking about the m@g85, the hows and whys. This is one of the most informative Ive seen yet.

  21. #21

    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Are there any other one-stop shops besides Light-Edge? Most of their inventory seems to be backordered 2-3 weeks.
    Peace!
    Sygyzy
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  22. #22
    Enlightened
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    Sigh Re: What is a Mag85?

    The supermag configuration from Light-edge is pretty tempting to me too.
    I'm a total newbie, no electrician and for what I have read here the components in the supermag are okay. It even holds one of fivemega's batterypacks.

    A ceramic bi-pin holder from fivemega would pretty much complete the set.
    It does not require soldering or modification of any kind, am I correct?
    Just unscrew the old socket and insert the new one?

    On the other hand I have some concerns about charging those 1650 Nimh batteries. I will have to buy a charger in my own country as I'm from europe.
    I don't understand much about volts and the difference between 1650 or 2500 Nimh batteries. For what I know the 2500 Nimh batteries are the most common ones and a charger for these is not hard to find. Do I need another kind of charger for 1650 Nimh batteries than for these 2500's?

    I'm in doubt if I should buy components or the complete supermag configuration. For one reason, I own a 4D-maglite. But I don't see configurations with that. Is it not possible to get more burntime from a configuration with more batteries in it?

  23. #23
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Can I use alkaline AA batteries?
    Could be handy when on a hike.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* Delvance's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Graphicator, welcome to CPF .


    Both the 1650 and 2500 batteries you refer to are just rechargeable NiMH. The 1650 has less runtime but will make the light brighter (these batts. perform better under load than the 2500s) whilst the 2500s will give more runtime but less light output (the voltage of each cell sag more than the 1650 when the batt. is put under load ie. the lamp).

    If you buy the light-edge turn key M@g85...i would recommend getting a universal smart charger. These chargers allow you to charge ALL the batteries in the holder (so you don't have to remove them each time) and they also do it quite fast and auto cutoff when they sense the battery is fuly charged. Most of these chargers are capable of taking 110/240V in so all you have to worry about is a power adapter to fit the wall socket that your country uses.

    A ceramic bipin holder from FM would make that light very nice , yup no soldering etc with this method. I read that FM will be receiving stock of these little gems soon.

    You can use alkaline batteries...it won't be bright and it won't run very long though... reason being alkaline batteries don't tolerate high amp draw very well. The WA1185 lamp will draw about 3.15amps i believe...way too much for alkalines to handle.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Thank you,

    Your info is very helpful. I understand the differences between the batteries. I think I can make a better choice now. And thank you for the advice about the universal smart charger.

    I'll be on the lookout for these components or for the complete configuration.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* powernoodle's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Just received a Magcharger and am very impressed with its output. [Newbies see it at www.brightguy.com under the Mag-lite section, and its review at www.flashlightreviews.com ]. Haven't done a side by side with a Mag85, and I'm sure the latter will win, but the Magcharger is a worthy contender and puts out a bunch of light right out of the box. Have some WA1160 bulbs to try in it as well for increased output. May start a new thread on the subject after I play around with 'em a little so as not to hijack this one. Maybe the Mag85 makes more light relative to the Magcharger or Magcharger/1160 than I think it does.

    The punch line is that while Mag85 remains the standard bearer, the Magcharger (even with standard bulb) is a worthy second best, with the bonus of factory parts and warranty, and for fewer coins. Just FYI.

    cheers

  27. #27

  28. #28

    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Bump!

    Good info in this thead.

  29. #29

    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Quote Originally Posted by Delvance
    Graphicator, welcome to CPF .


    Both the 1650 and 2500 batteries you refer to are just rechargeable NiMH. The 1650 has less runtime but will make the light brighter (these batts. perform better under load than the 2500s) whilst the 2500s will give more runtime but less light output (the voltage of each cell sag more than the 1650 when the batt. is put under load ie. the lamp).

    If you buy the light-edge turn key M@g85...i would recommend getting a universal smart charger. These chargers allow you to charge ALL the batteries in the holder (so you don't have to remove them each time) and they also do it quite fast and auto cutoff when they sense the battery is fuly charged. Most of these chargers are capable of taking 110/240V in so all you have to worry about is a power adapter to fit the wall socket that your country uses.

    A ceramic bipin holder from FM would make that light very nice , yup no soldering etc with this method. I read that FM will be receiving stock of these little gems soon.

    You can use alkaline batteries...it won't be bright and it won't run very long though... reason being alkaline batteries don't tolerate high amp draw very well. The WA1185 lamp will draw about 3.15amps i believe...way too much for alkalines to handle.

    Are there any recommendations on alternatives to CBP1650's? I have a mishmash of 2xxx mAh NiMH's and they don't seem that bright. So far I am not awed by my Mag85 over a LuxIII modded Mag 3D (Direct Drive). CBP has been sold out for at least two weeks now. I was thinking about placing an order at Thomas Distributing for a charger as well as some cells. What AA's would you recommend?

    Thanks.
    Peace!
    Sygyzy
    www.sygyzy.com | Hall of Fame: js, MrBulk, Litho123, Dark Zero, Lips, Milkyspit, StarHalo

  30. #30
    Flashaholic DreamScape's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a Mag85?

    Sanyo 2500's

    GoodLuck

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