It's alive ! (lucky Maglite DLxxxx fix)

bridgman

Enlightened
CPF Supporter
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
342
Location
Toronto, Canada
Some years back I purchased a new Maglite - a 2D LED model. Mag had switched from the drop-in LEDs to a designed-in LED with higher output, and I wanted to give it a try. Seemed pretty good... probably the first bright-enough-out-of-the-box Maglite I had bought since the MagCharger.

I was running it on new D alkalines purchased at the same time as the flashlight. A couple of weeks later I went to use it and found that the front D cell had barfed out its contents in the way that only a brand new cell in a brand new flashlight can do, ie it was a spectacular mess.

After I stopped cursing I cleaned out the back of the light and used paper towels soaked with both baking soda + water and with vinegar (not at the same time) in the hope of neutralizing whatever was left. I also scraped the + battery contact to make sure nothing was blocking current flow there. All was to no avail though - the flashlight never worked. I put it back in the cupboard and forgot about it.

Fast-forward some years later - I'm looking at my flashlight collection and realizing that a number of components that I used to take for granted (like drop-in bi-pin adapters) are no longer available, that I'm probably going to have to bite the bullet and learn how to remove a Maglite switch, and that I had an already not-working flashlight to practice on.

Here's where the first part of "lucky" comes in. I was reading some pages at Jason's great site...


... and realized that while my Maglite serial number started with DL there was still a chance that it used a regular allen key to remove the switch rather than a hard-to-find Torx bit. I can't find the page I was using as reference but IIRC the key was that the text on the side of the barrel said "Patented in USA".

EDIT - found the page: http://maglitehistory.blogspot.com/2017/08/d-cell-quick-dating-guide.html

I was able to find a 2mm allen key and tried unscrewing the bolt inside the switch. It moved about a quarter turn then stopped dead.. but it moved enough to be encouraging. I put some pliers on the bent part of the allen wrench and was able to unscrew it fully. Some instructions said 4.5 turns while others said 3 turns... I tried both but the switch was still solidly corroded into the barrel.

OK what the heck - I filled the back part of the barrel with pickling vinegar, put my hand over the back and shook it (vinegar went everywhere) then got smart and held it over the sink until vinegar stopped dribbling out the front. Let it sit for an hour or so then rinsed front and back sections out with water and dried them as best I could. The switch still wasn't moving, so I left the barrel out in the sun to dry for a couple of days.

Figured that before I put it back together and put it back in the cupboard I would tighten up the switch screw that I had loosened. After doing that I remembered that apparently one common corrosion point was where the tip of the screw contacted the barrel, so I figured "what the heck" and put the batteries back in. It worked !!

I imagine it may not keep working for long because of all the vinegar and other chemicals that had been inside the switch, but I'm going to leave it out in the sun for a few more days before putting the rubber cover back over the switch button just to give it every chance to dry out. I am tempted to pick up a can of contact cleaner and put a snort of it into the switch in the hope of displacing any remaining water but not sure if that would help or hurt.

Anyways...
 

Attachments

  • ItsAlive.jpeg
    ItsAlive.jpeg
    318.3 KB · Views: 21
Last edited:

aznsx

Enlightened
CPF Supporter
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
549
Location
Phoenix, AZ USA
Some years back I purchased a new Maglite - a 2D LED model. Mag had switched from the drop-in LEDs to a designed-in LED with higher output, and I wanted to give it a try. Seemed pretty good... probably the first bright-enough-out-of-the-box Maglite I had bought since the MagCharger.

I was running it on new D alkalines purchased at the same time as the flashlight. A couple of weeks later I went to use it and found that the front D cell had barfed out its contents in the way that only a brand new cell in a brand new flashlight can do, ie it was a spectacular mess.

After I stopped cursing I cleaned out the back of the light and used paper towels soaked with both baking soda + water and with vinegar (not at the same time) in the hope of neutralizing whatever was left. I also scraped the + battery contact to make sure nothing was blocking current flow there. All was to no avail though - the flashlight never worked. I put it back in the cupboard and forgot about it.

Fast-forward some years later - I'm looking at my flashlight collection and realizing that a number of components that I used to take for granted (like drop-in bi-pin adapters) are no longer available, that I'm probably going to have to bite the bullet and learn how to remove a Maglite switch, and that I had an already not-working flashlight to practice on.

Here's where the first part of "lucky" comes in. I was reading some pages at Jason's great site...


... and realized that while my Maglite serial number started with DL there was still a chance that it used a regular allen key to remove the switch rather than a hard-to-find Torx bit. I can't find the page I was using as reference but IIRC the key was that the text on the side of the barrel said "Patented in USA".

EDIT - found the page: http://maglitehistory.blogspot.com/2017/08/d-cell-quick-dating-guide.html

I was able to find a 2mm allen key and tried unscrewing the bolt inside the switch. It moved about a quarter turn then stopped dead.. but it moved enough to be encouraging. I put some pliers on the bent part of the allen wrench and was able to unscrew it fully. Some instructions said 4.5 turns while others said 3 turns... I tried both but the switch was still solidly corroded into the barrel.

OK what the heck - I filled the back part of the barrel with pickling vinegar, put my hand over the back and shook it (vinegar went everywhere) then got smart and held it over the sink until vinegar stopped dribbling out the front. Let it sit for an hour or so then rinsed front and back sections out with water and dried them as best I could. The switch still wasn't moving, so I left the barrel out in the sun to dry for a couple of days.

Figured that before I put it back together and put it back in the cupboard I would tighten up the switch screw that I had loosened. After doing that I remembered that apparently one common corrosion point was where the tip of the screw contacted the barrel, so I figured "what the heck" and put the batteries back in. It worked !!

I imagine it may not keep working for long because of all the vinegar and other chemicals that had been inside the switch, but I'm going to leave it out in the sun for a few more days before putting the rubber cover back over the switch button just to give it every chance to dry out. I am tempted to pick up a can of contact cleaner and put a snort of it into the switch in the hope of displacing any remaining water but not sure if that would help or hurt.

Anyways...

Good on ya for the rescue attempt!!

If you're in the mood to try it, some Deoxit (D100?) sprayed into the switch (and on other electrical contact points) could likely only help, and wouldn't likely hurt.

Way to go!
 

bridgman

Enlightened
CPF Supporter
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
342
Location
Toronto, Canada
OK thanks - I'll give it a try. I have been looking for an excuse to pick up a can of Deoxit for a while - I have some loud scratchy volume controls that clearly need more love than I have been giving them.
 

aznsx

Enlightened
CPF Supporter
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
549
Location
Phoenix, AZ USA
OK thanks - I'll give it a try. I have been looking for an excuse to pick up a can of Deoxit for a while - I have some loud scratchy volume controls that clearly need more love than I have been giving them.

I use the 'liquid' form with various applicators / nozzle because I figure I'll waste less, but the aerosol spray can get to some places more effectively, and I have some of those applications too. I've been looking for an excuse to pick up an aerosol can of that too!
 

knucklegary

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 11, 2017
Messages
2,364
Location
NorCal
Silicone aerosol is inexpensive (Depot) and good for electrical douche prior to using D100. I blow out all the silicone with compressed air and let dry before applying the Deoxit
 

sween1911

Flashlight Enthusiast
CPF Supporter
Joined
Dec 10, 2003
Messages
1,827
Location
Pennsylvania
LOVE IT! Great work. I did some Mag switch surgery a few months ago on an older one. Great feeling when it's running again, right?

And Jason's ( @LiftdT4R ) site is AWESOME. So much great info.

 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top