a Simple flashlight conversion.

Katherine Alicia

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This isn`t really intended for the established flashlight modder, but I get asked quite a bit about converting old incan lights into something more "Modern" namely Li-Ion and LED usage.
So I`m sharing a simple method that I use with ordinary easy to find bits and require some soldering experience.

The bulbs for most retro lights will either be an E10 MES, or a PR13.5, there`s plenty of different LED dropins for those, you can even use maglite LED dropins for the PR type socket, personally I prefer multi-emitter dropins for these lights, you get more light with less heat (losing heat is big problem with these lights).for the battery you have to do a bit of DIY, it`ll involve cutting a suitable cardboard tube to fit either a protected 18650 or 21700 (you must use protected cells!), and then a way to make a spacer so it`s long enough to connect at both ends. I use brass PCB standoffs with a penny soldered to each end (you can adjust the length then). OR, you can buy some AAA to C cell adaptors and fill them with 10440`s it`s expensive this way and takes a while comes charging time because you`ll have 8 of them to do! plus they`re not protected (I don`t recommend this method but I have done it).
I`ll put up a picture link to show what I mean ;)

this is a 2xC cell light from the 60`s with an assortment of different LED dropin types.

retro-convert.jpg



There Are other ways to do this but propper adaptors for 18650/21700 to 2xC or 2xD are hard to find or often expensive, and not everyone has a 3D printer.

Hopfully this may help someone out in the future! :cool:
 

Tasky

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Interesting read, Katherine.
I don't mod myself (yet?), but I'll certainly bear this in mind, as I'm fairly likely to meet someone who wants to convert a WW2 lamp, or something.
 

DrafterDan

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Cool stuff. I have one of the Desert Storm era plastic 90° military torches. Huge for the amount of light they put out. Been wanting to do an upgrade to modernize it. More for using Lithium than anything. Not a fan of alkaline
 

xxo

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Nice work Katherine Alicia.

Before I started 3D printing them, I used to make adapters out of everything from PVC pipe to cardboard and electrical tape – crude and ugly, but they did the job (for the most part).

One of the problems I often ran into was the tail cap spring coil on C and D cell lights being too big to make contact with the smaller Li-ion cells, usually 26650 cells will work in D cell lights and 21700's in C cells. If I wanted to use 18650's, I would usually design the adapter to load the cell from the front and use a washer on the base to make contact with the spring.

Oh, and + one on using protected cells!
 

xxo

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Cool stuff. I have one of the Desert Storm era plastic 90° military torches. Huge for the amount of light they put out. Been wanting to do an upgrade to modernize it. More for using Lithium than anything. Not a fan of alkaline

Some of my first attempts at 3D printing adapters for my Nite-Ized Fulton moonbeam:


cO9yzel.jpg




I even made one to run on 9 Volts:


2HLFXwR.jpg
 

xxo

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I`m lovin that 9v adaptor! no idea what I`d use it for but it`s seriously cool :thumbsup:

It's really not all that practical, unless maybe you had a bunch of 9 V batteries to use up. It's kind of a rough prototype that I made just to see if I could after watching a cool vid on yt where a guy made a much nicer one of his own design out of machined PVC:







if I ever 3D print another one, it will be more refined, but the fact is I don't have much need for one as I don't use a lot of 9 Volt batteries and I am afraid someone might try to use it in a 2D light that can't handle 9V and blow the bulb or LED.
 

bykfixer

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I use LifePo4 solar lamp 18500's in 2C lights with schedule 80 pvc pipe in 75mm (3/4") inner diameter. The LifoPo charge up to 3.7 but after resting overnight end up around 3.2 volts. The pipe I use is called "gas service" pipe and comes in 3 foot lengths of black pipe for a dollar a foot at Home Depot. Lowes has 4 foot sections for about a buck 25 a foot.

I've not done any vintage lights to LED conversions but like KA said you can get all kinds of "bulbs" these days.

EC4-CD893-C147-4-CE6-A731-A0-E2-B3-BF8007.jpg

A 1940's nickel plated HIPCO with boat switch that puts out about 150 lumens with a 4 cell Maglite krypton bulb.
Everything about the light is metal and I swapped the plastic lens with a 1-9/16" Rayovac flat glass lens from the 1930's (model F 4-10)
 
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Katherine Alicia

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Neat, I never thought of using 18500s like that, I normally stick those in lights that use the 3xAAA caddys, I might have a play around afterwards, I`m pretty sure I have some 8 and 9v bulbs (I don`t have any FePO types).
 

bykfixer

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Over on this side of the big pond it has become popular to decorate the yard with an array of solar powered items like frogs and dragonflies near a garden or a line of lights along a walkway. There are a number of kits that are strung together and use an 18500 battery to power all 6 or so items instead of one L91 size in each item. Duracell got in on the idea and began selling 4 packs of 18500 cells for about $2 (US) each.

I had bought some other brand numbers prior to that from a battery store to fire a 4 cell bi-pin bulb in a Maglite ML25. Duracell may sell them on your side of the big pond too.
 
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