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Thread: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

  1. #1

    Default MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    This post was returned to the thread on 2/8/06.

    Hi,
    With the recent interest in the MagCharger and associated mods, I thought it might be useful to document some of the possible configurations. Comparisons are made to some common lithium mods involving Welch Allyn bulbs as well as Aurora, my prototype 12V 3D platform. So, since there are a bunch of pictures, let's let them do the talking. All pictures taken with the Sony DCR-PC120BT in digipic mode with locked focus and exposure. All rechargeable packs freshly charged and rested 15 minutes. Bulbs stabilized for 15 seconds before capture. All torches focused to tightest beam. I'd like to acknowledge Darkgear.com for providing the MC used in these tests.

    Set 1: Popular Lithium Mods Using Welch Allyn Bulbs
    The WA01318 is a very nice 9.6V bulb that is quite bright when running on 4.5 lithiums. This is my shorthand for 4xSF123+1AA lith. Unfortunately, the batteries are not quite fresh but I was out of SF123s. The WA01274 is a bright 7.2V bulb which handles a decent push. Its 2.77A draw pulls down 4x123 to a tolerable voltage. The WA01318 is marginally brighter.


    Set 2: Stock MagCharger versus the Popular MC60 Mod
    Here we see the stock MC setup on the right. It is actually not a bad rig. The bulb is almost certainly a Welch Allyn unit. The specs resemble the WA01116 but it is much brighter than that. I suspect that this is a custom unit that is designed to give decent runtime (only a 1.4A draw) by sacrificing bulb life (only 50-ish hours). The filament is small and delicate and is most likely intolerant of even slight overdrive. On the plus side, it casts a reasonably tight spot with moderate lobing or batwing on the periphery of the central hotspot. The MC60 (here, WA01160 driven by nimh 1/2Ds but without a Flashlightlens UCL) is significantly brighter with more useful spill. The downside is that the larger filament results in more prominent lobing of the secondary hotspot. It's not hard to see why this is the best inexpensive and easy mod for your MC.


    Set 3: Specialty MagCharger Mods
    Here we have two mods which are most likely going to have less appeal to the general populace than the MC60 or MC11(WA01111 on 5x1/2D). For one, they both require special battery packs that sacrifice some runtime for voltage and one will probably will not charge on the stock cradle.

    The MC11+ is on the left. It uses the same WA01111 bulb that can be used with the standard 5-cell packs but in this case I'm driving it with 6 x 4/5 sub-C cells. It is clearly brighter than even the potent MC60. However, the 1.7Ah cells provide only about 30 minutes of runtime. Still, very bright and will charge on the stock charger as long as special precautions are taken.

    The MC85 is on the right. This consists of the 9.6V WA01185 driven by 9xAA nimh. This bulb is bright and surpassed only by the MoMag which uses 10xAA nimh. However, the large filament results in significant lobing. This bulb just throws light though. Lot's of it. You'll see this and the MC11+ packs at the end of this post.


    Set 4: Emergent MagCharger Mod versus Aurora
    Here we see two mods that are not currently available. On left is the Aurora torch in its long runtime setup. It uses a 12V50W bulb that outputs over 1,300 lumens for a little over 20 minutes. Very bright, good spot with massive amounts of spill. On the right is the MagCharger X-Bulb setup. It compares favorably with the Aurora LOLA. How about that? And it'll run on a 5-cell stick. Not the stock battery stick, but the UMP stick. Also, some internal modifications need to be done to make this work. I'll stop there and see if any sharp-eyes can tell what's special about the X-bulb besides its brightness.


    In closing, Here are two pics that you might find interesting. The picture on the left is evidence of what happens when you try to remove a hot bulb using a paper towel. Looks sorta like a cigarette burn. The picture on the right shows my two ghetto battery sticks. The top is a 9-pack of AA soldered together using parts of two 3-D V1 holders hacked for the positive and negative contact pads. A copper disc is soldered on the bottom to make the negative pad. The stick on the bottom shows what needs to be done to pad the narrower sub-C cells so they'll fit in the D-body. Other than that, straightforward.


    So there you have it. Enjoy!

    Wilkey
    Last edited by Ginseng; 02-08-2006 at 06:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* yclo's Avatar
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    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    Very cool!

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Phaserburn's Avatar
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    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    Terrific post, Ginseng. Can you tell us more about the X bulb and what modifications you did to the MC? You say it compares favorably to the Aurora, but the pic doesn't look that way to me. Maybe my eyes aren't too sharp!

    You realize, of course, that after this thread another group buy will be necessary. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  4. #4

    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    Since the X-bulb is not quite ready for prime time yet, I'm hesitant to disclose more right at this time. Also, in modding the MC to handle it, I somehow disabled the cradle charging capability. The mod is not elementary and requires disassembly and some metalwork. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/jpshakehead.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon23.gif[/img] The cradle puts out the volts but the light doesn't take them. Good thing I have a standalone charger. No worries though, I've got a spanner coming and in a few days I should have it back up and running normally again.

    I say it compares to the Aurora in terms of general light quality and...well, no one has picked out the other key point. As for sheer brightness of hotspot, the WA01111 and WA01185 reign, however. For an idea of what I'm talking about, look at the reflection on the floor of the 3-tiered plate holder.

    Wilkey

  5. #5
    *Moderator* K-T's Avatar
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    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    [wild guess] Does the X-bulb have a smaller filament creating a smaller hotspot with less spill? It does look slightly weaker than the Aurora "stock" bulb. More light-sabre characteristics compared to the Aurora ? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon3.gif[/img] [/wild guess]

    Ginseng, as always an excellent post&summary of what can be done with a noticealbe positive result&success. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Phaserburn's Avatar
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    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    Ginseng, does the 9AA pack charge internally in the MC? Would I be able to recreate your work using 3 V2 3toD holders and a 1185?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    I'm guessing the mystery bulb's got an axial filament... That beamshot looks pretty round to me. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    Chris

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    Flashaholic* Phaserburn's Avatar
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    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    That would be pretty sweet!! These potential MC mods are great; can't wait for more data.

  9. #9
    *Moderator* K-T's Avatar
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    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    Tweek, I guess that your axial filament guess could be a good guess. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thinking.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon15.gif[/img]

  10. #10

    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    Tweek hit the bullseye. It is an Osram 6V 35W 800 lumen axial bulb. When projected on a bare wall, the hotspot is perfectly circular as would be expected. The truly weird thing is that as you defocus forward and backward of the focal point, you see these trippy spirals move in and out. These would be a projection of the filament loops.

    Unfortunately, the X-Bulb seems to be a non-starter even though its properties are so unique. The bulb is quite large and necessitates reaming out of the MC metal reflector (easy) and cutting relief notches in the sleeve around the pin receiver (hard). The relief notches are necessary to drop the bulb further into the pedestal as the LCL (filament to base distance) is a good 3mm longer than for the stock MC bulb putting it out of the limited focusing range. Unlike the regular Mags, you cannot shim the pedestal down as the head does not travel up and down on threads.

    Also, even in fairly limited testing, the plastic pin receiver is starting to show signs of melting. I've almost completely disassembled the MC head/switch and while everything looks significantly more robust than a regular Mag, the pin receiver is the most critical weak point. Quite unfortunate that it is the first link in the chain. I suspect that extended use with the WA01185 or WA01111+ will result in damage to this component. While the key components are accessible, I don't think you can buy replacement parts. The MC internals are much more complex than those of regular Mags.

    As for charging alternate packs, the cradle puts out around 19V without load and 230mA. I suspect there is the latitude to charge 4 and 6 cell packs but one important consideration is the trickle rate. For the 1.7Ah 4/5SC cells in the MC11+, 230mA equates to a slow charge (0.135C) but not trickle. Thus, you can only charge this in the cradle for 10 hours before you need to worry about overcharge. The MC85 uses 2Ah cells in a 10.8V nominal configuration so the rate is a more reasonable 0.115C but still, if the pack can be charged at all, it cannot be left on perpetual trickle. The cradle is easy to disassemble. I'd invite those more electrically adept members to take a look inside and clue us in on the modding possibilities.

    Wilkey

  11. #11
    Moderator js's Avatar
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    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    Ginseng,

    Very nice! Quite exciting! From a purely selfish point of view, it's good to know how the 1111 run on 6 cells stacks up against the 1160 run on 5. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] This makes me anxious to get my potting compound so I can see how the 6 Kan 1800 NiMH 4/5A's drive the 1111 for my TL mod.

    As for the plastic pin receiver, I have the materials to make a custom replacement for it. Can it be removed, by hook or by crook, reversibly or irreversibly? The Mil-Max connectors and the 2800 F high temp potting compound (don't have it yet but it's on the way to me) should make it easy for me to make up a heat resistant socket for the MC. Just a thought.

    Anyway, as usual, you have proven again that you are the INCAN MASTER. Wilkey! Wilkey! Wilkey! Wilkey! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif[/img]

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* darkgear.com's Avatar
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    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    Wow Wow Wow. Nice Ginseng. The Magcharger certainly lends itself to many mods. Like js said, Hot wire master! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif[/img]

    Randy

  13. #13
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    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    I noticed from the pictures that the MC-X bulb doesn't have a really hot, hotspot. If you look carefully and compare it to the 01111 or the 01185, of which the 01185 is also a 30 watt bulb, it has a hotter hotspot. since the osram is 6 volts 35 watts, I would presume that there's more sidespill. But given the brightness of the lights here, the camera is unable to capture any sidespill.

    Other's than a perfectly round hotspot, I don't see any other advantages to the Osram 35 watt bulb. Maybe I'm missing out something? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thinking.gif[/img]

  14. #14

    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    Jim,
    Hehe, the MC11+ is just for you [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] The TL should be quite potent with the '11 on KAN1800's. Those are far better cells than the Sanyo CP1700s in my proto-stick. Could it be? A new Big Dog when that mod kit comes out? The pin receiver is a two-piece plastic slug that rides in the all metal pedestal where the PR base of standard bulbs ride in the regular Mag's plastic pedestal. It can be removed in one piece and has simple side and rear contacts. Think a ceramic cylinder with two pin sockets in it. I'll send you a snapshot. Come to think of it, there's room to insert a mica disk between the pin receiver and the bulb. With two holes for the pins to pass, it might provide some measure of thermal protection.

    Beware about your offer to help make a replacement. Once that weak point is addressed, there's very little holding back the installation of the Vector 6V55W spotlight bulb. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] Heck, at the very least, folks could drop in your super slug, hook up 9xAA and blast away with the WA01185. The arms race was never this much fun. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Randy,
    Thanks! And thanks for the MagCharger. It really is a great platform. After I've had a chance to take it apart and analyze it, I have to admit it's a rather sophisticated piece of engineering. The switch and pedestal are very robust and can take lots of abuse. I wonder if the guts could be transferred over to a D-body Mag...kind of a FrankenMag. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thinking.gif[/img]

    Nerd,
    Your analysis is right on. I'm amazed you could gather that from the tiny pictures I posted. The axial bulb does not really have a super hotspot. I believe the reason is this: In a side view, H-bulbs have two points on the filament that pass through the central axis of the reflector and thus can contribute an actual point source. Since A-bulbs have filaments which are a spiral coaxial to the central axis, there is never a piece of filament at the exact focal point. This is either a good or bad thing depending on your needs. The light is focused but not peaky at the center. Also, there is no Mag "black hole." It just get's more diffused at the center.

    The Osram bulb is run hot. Life is just 50 hours so it's completely intolerant of overdrive. Ask me how I know [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] Remember, the stock MC is an 8.4W torch. The MC60 and MC11+ push it to 2.5 x spec while the MC85 pushes it to an amazing 4 x spec!

    Wilkey

  15. #15
    *Flashaholic* PlayboyJoeShmoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    Hmmmm.... I still have two Carley Bi Pin Adapters...

    Using an SL35 or SL20 LA, what sort of battery would I need in a D M*g???

  16. #16

    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    They are 5-cell nominal, Bill. Fragile on 6-cells.

    Wilkey

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* pcmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    Quick question Wilkey, how far away is the MagCharger from that bookshelf the beam is ending up on? Thanks!

  18. #18

    Default Re: MagCharger Mods: Batteries, Bulbs and Pictures

    It was about 12-15' IIRC. That picture was taken in my old house.

    Wilkey

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