Best Low $ LED Upgrade For a '96-2002, 3-D Mag-Lite?

turbodog

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I'm not a "real' flashlight enthusiast but do enjoy a decent , but simple light, I have an old 3-D cell midnight Blue Mag-Lite form somewhere in the 1996-2002 era... I don't remember when or why I got this, but I like it's heft and ruggedness.. I wold like to get more light out of it, but I don't want to completely rebuild it... I'm thinking maybe a bout a rechargeable battery system too... All I need is a simple on and off and the adjustability of the existing light... Can you pros recommend a reasonably low cost, not too invasive or intricate set up?... I've used the search feature, but most of the results were pretty old, and maybe there is newer and better ideas... Thanks in advance..
Butch

You can't go too high on output otherwise heat will build up and either 1) cook the led 2) cause throttling if it's equipped w/ a temp sensor. The incandescent mag design is not good at getting rid of heat from an led.... no good thermal path.

There are drop ins that provide a thermal path from emitter all the way to the barrel of the light... but be prepared to spend considerably more... and have a much brighter light.
 

Chicken Drumstick

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You can't go too high on output otherwise heat will build up and either 1) cook the led 2) cause throttling if it's equipped w/ a temp sensor. The incandescent mag design is not good at getting rid of heat from an led.... no good thermal path.

There are drop ins that provide a thermal path from emitter all the way to the barrel of the light... but be prepared to spend considerably more... and have a much brighter light.
Not sure I really agree.

Plenty of AA or AAA lights with similar thermal paths.... or worse. But still able to produce good lumen amounts.

I also suspect people forget just how little light you get from a stock 2D or 3D bulb running on normal D cells. They really are very low output.

Any LED drop in I've tried massively improves output with the only real sacrifice being tint. Nobody seems to sell nice tint drop ins.

Of course you can mod and retain an incan bulb which can easily rival or surpass the cheap LED drop ins. But that isn't really the same thing as a 100% stock 3D krypton bulb on 3 x D cell.

The only other thing to remember is. The Mag has a relatively large reflector. So will give a fairly small hot spot with most LEDs. The reflector is moderately shallow for its width, so you also get a massively wide spill beam. These two functions mean the spill is duller than a smaller spill beam and while the hotspot is small, it isn't the most tightly focused. Which sort of leaves a Maglite with a semi throwy beam profile, but not really making the throw numbers you'd maybe expect. You also can't defocus the beam all that easily either, as you just end up with a donut hole in it. None of this is bad, but it can alter how much light you perceive is being emitted with the LED drop ins.
 

ButchW

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@ButchW. I have the 800 lumen conversion on the way right now. In about a week I could give you an opinion on it.
The multi emitter upgraded really need a Li ion battery. That requires an adapter and a charger. The expense can add up. It would be pretty cool (neat) though.
I will be running the 800 lumen version on eneloops with adapters. I will let you and Sween know what I think of it. I like Maglites and hate to leave an old one idle.
What is the voltage range of the 800 lumen conversion? Will three enloops give you enough voltage to get the 800 lumens?... Could I go with bigger batteries for longer run time?.. Or is that to much $ for this cheap upgrade?... I want my cake and to eat it too... Cheap, lottsa light, and long run time.
Butch
 

alpg88

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There is a famous rule of the tumb for construction projects. You only get 2 out of 3, cheap and fast wont be good, good cheap wont be fast. We should apply the same for lights, bright with long runtime, wont be cheap, cheap with long runtime wont be bright.
 

ButchW

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Yep... Pretty much figured that out..... Would settle with decent run time, decent bright, and cheap... Do 2 decents + 1 cheap = 1 good + 1-bad + 1 cheap. :sneaky: ...
Butch
 

hsa

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Voltage range for the 800 lumen is 4.5 to 9 volt. Lumencraft staff told me full output starts 4 cells. Said I could use 4 eneloops for full output but three wouldn't quite do it. I'm going to have a 4 cell light, I guess. I ordered the extension.
 

Chicken Drumstick

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What is the voltage range of the 800 lumen conversion? Will three enloops give you enough voltage to get the 800 lumens?... Could I go with bigger batteries for longer run time?.. Or is that to much $ for this cheap upgrade?... I want my cake and to eat it too... Cheap, lottsa light, and long run time.
Butch
TheTorchSite (TTS) in the UK sell very similar looking drop-ins. I'd guess maybe made at the same place. I have the XM-L2 one. You loose the focus function, but it works well. Tint is not 100% great IMO. I suspect output wise they may sometimes be referring to LED output rather than true OFT lumens.

I suspect slightly higher voltage probably gives the best performance. I'm guessing it must use some for of buck driver. 3 x 1.2v eneloop will sag moderately quickly. Running 2xAA holders in parallel will give more capacity, or I suspect upping the voltage with serial adapters would offer similar benefits too.
 

ButchW

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hsa... Does the 800 drop in lose the focus ability? I was hoping not... Why does everyone use the eneloops batterys?... Price? Safety?... I'm pretty new to all of this flash light stuff, and trying to learn as I go.... As I said I just want a good, simple, inexpensive, safe light... Could you use 2 sets of the 3xAA in series with a dummy?... That should get you up to 8.2V and 2000 mAh with the eneloops... Maybe that's what Chicken Drumstick was proposing...
 

hsa

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The 800 lumen drop in loses focusability. The other one does not.
Folks use eneloops because they are a direct replacement for all alkaline batteries, and they are rechargeable and last a long time.
They also have the ability to output more amperage than alkaline but generally don't have the capacity of big alkalines. This is helpful in high draw devices.
Adapters are available to run up to 3 AA batteries in series or in parallel. If running in series add the voltage, if in parallel add the capacity, configure it to whatever you want.
I use 3 eleloop pro batteries in an ML 50L and output is a little more than advertised and it is a 600 lumen light.
Eneloops in the Panasonic charger that you can order them with is simple. BQ cc17. PLug them in, when the lights go out, take them out, no analyzing, no head scratching, no baby sitting.
This is probably clear as mud.!
 

hsa

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See this post for battery acrobatics.
 

Chicken Drumstick

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hsa... Does the 800 drop in lose the focus ability? I was hoping not... Why does everyone use the eneloops batterys?... Price? Safety?... I'm pretty new to all of this flash light stuff, and trying to learn as I go.... As I said I just want a good, simple, inexpensive, safe light... Could you use 2 sets of the 3xAA in series with a dummy?... That should get you up to 8.2V and 2000 mAh with the eneloops... Maybe that's what Chicken Drumstick was proposing...
The 800 lumen drop in has its own reflector, which is fixed in place. Essentially it is a large custom pill (the pill houses the driver board and LED star) and reflector in one, with a PR bulb style fitment. So it gets power through the normal bulb socket, but has better mass and heat management. Hence the higher outputs.

It works well, I have the XM-L2 one in my 6D running on 6 x Eneloop.

The reason for using Eneloops is they are low self discharge (lsd), i.e. you can charge them up and they will stay charged for ages (70% charged after 2 years). Most normal NiMh will self discharge in a couple of weeks. The Eneloops are also good quality and handle current well with a good displacement.

That said, I've just bought some Amazon basics which are also lsd AA's. I suspect they will work fine, even if not quite as good.

There are lots of options when it comes to batteries.

And it all really depends what your goals are or how much you want to spend.

3 x Eneloop should work fine. But I suspect it may fall out of regulation earlier due to the lower voltage. So you won't get the longest runtime and it might not quite reach Peak output. All you can do is try it. I'd have thought the easiest thing would be to get some 3AA serial adapters and run 6 x Eneloop and 3 AA blanks. It should be able to sustain output well and give pretty reasonable runtimes.

I'm doing something similar with my 3D, although mine is running an incan bulb at present.

Li-ion or LifePo4 could give longer runtimes.
 

ButchW

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I kinda wanted the focus-abilty... So I guess I'm back to the PR bulb... I'm worried that using 3-D sized Eneloops (3.6v) won't give me much light... The bulb is supposed to work wit 2-D cell alkalines (3v).. Should I be looking at series AAs in adapters or a couple of 18650 or such?.. I see the batteries aren't too expensive ... Are the chargers?... Again I don't want an over-charged demon, ready to explode...
Butch
 

ButchW

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Butch, here is a little info on the drop ins. Matt gets to a battery discussion at the 9 minute mark.

Thanks... I've reviewed it quite a few times... Man, this cheap up grade can get a little expensive.. The proverbial "Rabbit Hole".. I could go cheap with the PR drop in and alkalines... Do the PR and Eneloops, or PR and 2-26650 kit... Or, balls-to-the-wall, and use the 800 kit and 2-26650...
Butch
 

hsa

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If you do the PR upgrade you could try the alkalines. They should do fine and have good run time. You could go from there.
If your light is incandescent this will be a big improvement. It could be "enough". Did I really just say that?
 

hsa

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I'm getting the 800 because it has a 300 medium. That is what I will use most. All ML series Mags are great but the medium is too low.
 

ButchW

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If you do the PR upgrade you could try the alkalines. They should do fine and have good run time. You could go from there.
If your light is incandescent this will be a big improvement. It could be "enough". Did I really just say that?
This is probably what I should do... If I want more power, or rechargeable, I could always add it later... I still want to see your report on the 800 and eneloops.. Thanks for the help...
Butch
 

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