Best option for 2 car lights? Cheap upgrades for old maglights or buy new?

tadakan

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I have 4 old D cell maglights:
2 - 2D incandescent
1 - 3D incandescent
1 - 2D factory led

I also have a few fenix 18650 and 21700 lights for EDC, walking the dog, etc.

I need to figure out at least two lights to keep in our two cars.

I'd like to go with some sort of l-ion cells since they won't leak while they sit there for months at a time and I already have chargers that will handle common sizes.

What's my best budget option to outfit ourselves with at least two more decent flashlights? Are the maglite bodies worth upgrading? Is it even possible to upgrade the factory led one?
Im assuming that the maglites aren't worth anything, so selling them wouldn't get me any closer to having something useful, but let me know if that's not the case.
 

M@elstrom

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Easy choice... 2D LED Maglite (or host + LED drop in) with NIMH/Lithium cells, 200+ Lumens is enough to get you out of trouble and the primary consideration with a breakdown flashlight IMHO would have to be runtime/capacity 👍
 
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Poppy

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personally I wouldn't spend too much to upgrade the old mags.
I'd probably put a Dorsey PR2 led bulb in the two cell lights.
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and power them with 2 D cell alkalines. I have some D cells that are 8 years past their expiration date that still have not leaked. I would just check them twice a year for leakage. Even if they do leak, the light is usually easily cleaned. The problem really occurs, when they have been neglected too long, and the cells get stuck.

Don't get the Dorsy 4.5-6v PR2 bulb. It performs OK at 6v, but miserably at 4.5v.

For an all around general purpose light, I like the Convoy S2+ light. They are also inexpensive enough that it won't hurt too much if they get left in the car and go missing, or if you choose to give one away. The battery costs almost as much as the light. But given away, the new owner would need to get a Li Ion charger.
For giggles, one can get a short body for them and run them on 18350 cells.
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In the same vane, I might suggest the $10 rechargeable Rayovac that Walmart carries.
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In either case, I strongly suggest getting a RED traffic wand diffuser.

I keep one in a vinyl pouch attached to my ash tray, with a rayovac 2AA indestructible loaded with duraloops for immediate access. Fenix makes ones that are a loose fit.

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Dave D

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I'd recommend a Nebo Lil' Larry for every car.

They are a great work light with a magnet on one end so you can attached it to the vehicles body whilst changing a wheel etc.

Two white light output levels, 250 & 95 lumens, and a flashing red warning mode.

It will run for 3 hours to 10 hours depending on mode.

For long term storage just be sure to replace the alkaline batteries with Lithium AA's, so it works when you need it.
 

IMA SOL MAN

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I'd keep the old Maglites as is, and retire them, or use them in the home, where low lumen incans can provide adequate light.

For in the autos, you should have a headlamp, and an angle head work light with magnet. I suggest Underwater Kinetics for both of those. All of their stuff is made in the USA, and their firefighting line is some heavy duty stuff. Put either Eneloops or Energizer Lithium AA cells in them, and relax.

If you want something higher lumen, get a Maglite ML50L or Maglite ML300L, as many cells as you like. The 4D ML300L has a claimed high output of 1002 lumens, and on "eco" mode can run for days, continuously, according to Maglite. I have one, but haven't tested their claims. The 4D may be a bit longer than you want for your vehicle, depending on your storage space, so 2 or 3 cell is the usual that folks get. 3 cell is a popular size, and gives longer runtime than the 2 cell. Maglite sells both red and white cone diffusers to fit their lights. Also, made in USA. :)(y)
 

Stress_Test

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If there's a couple of your 18650 lights that you don't use, and they take lithium CR123a, then I'd use those for car lights. The heat won't bother the lithium cells and they have a loooooong shelf-life.

If you want to use the Mags but not spend a lot of money, Nite-Ize still sells their 1-watt PR bulb at Home-Depot and/or Lowes. I have seen the older 55 lumen version for only ~10 dollars. Not super bright but long runtime on D cells.

As I said though, I'd rather use lithium primary cells in a light that's going to sit in the car in the heat and cold for months on end. The little probe thermometer in my car dash vent got up to 130+ degrees this week by the end of the work day, just for reference.

Probably also want to use something that can be "locked out" by loosening the tailcap so it never gets turned on by accident.
 

louie

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Sadly, not much choice to upgrade incandescent Mags inexpensively, unfortunately, and I keep looking. It's too bad, but probably not much of a market. I've done a custom, but it was a lot of time and money!

Whatever you use, I urge you not to use alkalines - I think they leak way to often these days. Use lithium AA primaries, or NiMH Eneloop, or LiIon - even if you use adapters like AA to D.
 

Guitar Guy

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I keep upgraded Maglites in my vehicles, because of their toughness and dependability. I use NiMH Low Self Drain Tenergy rechargeable cells. No problems with temperature extremes, and if I don't use them much I only have to charge them 2 or 3 times per year. I have a 4D with a Malkoff drop in, and some 2 & 3C units that I've upgraded with 2 to 300 lumen LEDs at about $16 each, aluminum OP reflectors at about $10, and glass lenses for a few bucks. Quite bright, not to mention great self defense capability, if you eliminate the battery rattle / play, when you happen to be travelling through a state where your real self defense tool must be locked in the trunk. I've been in that situation, walking into a rest area restroom along the interstate at 3AM in an unconstitutional state, with a 2 or 3C in my back pocket, or resting on my shoulder with my hand around the big end. I felt pretty confident that it would have been a very bad situation for anyone trying to jump me.
 

tadakan

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I keep upgraded Maglites in my vehicles, because of their toughness and dependability. I use NiMH Low Self Drain Tenergy rechargeable cells. No problems with temperature extremes, and if I don't use them much I only have to charge them 2 or 3 times per year. I have a 4D with a Malkoff drop in, and some 2 & 3C units that I've upgraded with 2 to 300 lumen LEDs at about $16 each, aluminum OP reflectors at about $10, and glass lenses for a few bucks. Quite bright, not to mention great self defense capability, if you eliminate the battery rattle / play, when you happen to be travelling through a state where your real self defense tool must be locked in the trunk. I've been in that situation, walking into a rest area restroom along the interstate at 3AM in an unconstitutional state, with a 2 or 3C in my back pocket, or resting on my shoulder with my hand around the big end. I felt pretty confident that it would have been a very bad situation for anyone trying to jump me.
That sounds pretty much like what I'm getting around to. Smaller 18650 or similar handheld lights are nice when you need something lightweight and bright, but a 2D or 3D light won't get lost in the trunk and if I can make it more useful for $25 and keep it out of the landfill, why not? I'll definitely also be putting bright modern headlamps, and possibly cheap 18650 handhelds in easy reach from the driver's seat for immediate access.

Where did you find the 200-300 lumen LEDs, reflectors and lenses?
 

Guitar Guy

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Where did you find the 200-300 lumen LEDs, reflectors and lenses?

I got my LEDs off of ebay, and the lenses & reflectors from kaidomain. They have mirror polished and orange peel reflectors. I've tried both and like the OP better. They come directly from China, but shipping is reasonable, and they've always arrived fairly quickly. I've converted 8 or 10 Mags this way and keep them in vehicles and around my work bench areas in my different buildings. I also have many Li-Ion lights of different sizes & configurations, but sometimes a Mag is just quick & easy to get to and turn on, or to put under your arm to shine on something, like when taking out the trash at night. Plus, I'm just a Maglite junkie from when they first came out.

I also use them for when the power goes off. I stand them up in a tall narrow jar, like what green olives come in, and use one of the large Fenix diffusers over the top, and it makes a perfect lamp. (They do tail stand, but can get knocked over easily, so I use the jar). They've replaced the oil lamps I used to use.

I converted one of my 2Ds to 26650 Li-Ion with the 5000 lumen kit from Adventure Sport. Comes with everything needed. Not cheap but well worth it if you have the spare $$. It's programmable with different step ups in lumens, and on high it is a 5K wall of flood light. Matt is a member here and is highly regarded, and puts out a good product.

I've never really had a problem with them rolling around in my trucks. Just depends on where you store them. My 2Cs go in the glove box or center arm rest storage area, out of sight.

Good luck, let us know how it goes.
 
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