MAG LED 3-Cell First Impressions

Brighteyez

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 5, 2005
Messages
3,963
Location
San Jose, CA
Found some at one of the local Wal*Marts. They were on a locked shelf hook with the flashlights above the Nite Ize Mini Mag modules. Like one of the other posters described, all 3 sizes were combined on a single hook (read the packaging if you encounter this to make sure you get the right ones.)

I installed one into a 3D cell Mag and did a relatively quick comparison against a 3D Mag with a Sears 1W Endurance module in it, a 3D Mag with a Xenon Magnum Star incandescent, and a LEDBeam 3C. Batteries in the Mags were all Duracell alkalines, and the LEDBeam 3C has 4500mAh NiMH cells in it. The alkalines are all relatively fresh with less than 15 minutes use on each, and the LEDBeam 3C was last charged about 3 weeks ago and has about 30 minutes of use on the charge.

Each of the Mags was focused to it's tightest spot. Output from the Mag LED module is noticably whiter than the Sears 1W module and will outthrow it. The Mag with the Xenon bulb will outthrow the Mag LED, but the Mag LED appears to have much more usable spill, most likey due to the whiter cast. The surprise came with the LEDBeam 3C. With the Mag focused out to as close as it would come to the size of the LEDBeam 3C, the spot from the LEDBeam 3C (actually compared two of them) was larger and whiter than the output from the Mag LED. The slightly smaller spot from the Mag appears that it will outthrow the LEDBeam 3C by a little bit (done on a lit residential street.) Overall, in practical use (not in a comparison with the LEDBeam,) the spot from the Mag LED will appear pretty white and distinctive, and should not be detracting nor would it be perceived as being off color (yellowish or greenish.) For someone seeking the durability and functionality of a Mag with the benefits of a Luxeon III, this should prove to be a viable and affordable upgrade. In terms of overall cost, if one does not already have the Mag body to upgrade, it may be more cost effective to purchase the assembled lights from one of the web resources (like action-lights.com) as the overall cost of both a 3D body (even in one of the warehouse store combo packs) and the Mag LED module would exceed the cost of the Mag LED light itself. As the light is intended to be used with the components of an existing Mag product, keeping the retaining ring, a spare incandescent bulb, or even another PR bulb module (like the Sears or another Mag LED Module) can be kept in the tailcap as a spare for use in the event that the installed module fails.

And for those that might have wondered about the recent Fry's $9.90 clearance on the Mag lights, it may have just been to clear out remaining inventory of some older packaging. The current packaging for Mags all have Krypton in red on the packaging where you would see "3 Watt LED" on the LED light packaging. Many manufacturers do dump stuff like that at Fry's just to get rid of it.

Item to note While the packaging does indicate that the module is manufactured in the U.S., it also clearly states that there are components that are imported from China. Additionally, no where on the packaging does Mag claim that the LED itself is a Luxeon, nor is the name LumiLED mentioned anywhere.

UPDATE 5/26: After sampling 4 modules, 2 3-Cells and 2 2-Cells, there does not appear to be much consistency in the tint between modules. One(3c) was very white, one(3c) was white with a very slight yellowish tint, one(2c) was white with very slight greenish tint, and the last(2c) had quite a bit of bluish tint to it (this one is going back.) Other than that, I think Mag has come out with a contender that will, without doubt, bring LED lighting into the realm of the mainstream consumer as a viable alternative to incandescent bulbs. All one really has to do is to pit one of their 3W LEDs against any of their Krypton brethern and the choice should be pretty clear.
 
Last edited:

Empath

Flashaholic
Supporter
Joined
Nov 11, 2001
Messages
8,509
Location
Oregon
In case it goes unnoticed, the sleeve inside the packages do fold open, with the inside warning against using rechargeable batteries. It says heat damage could occur.
 

eebowler

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 18, 2003
Messages
1,735
Location
Trinidad and Tobago.
Empath said:
In case it goes unnoticed, the sleeve inside the packages do fold open, with the inside warning against using rechargeable batteries. It says heat damage could occur.
probably because rechargeables maintain a relatively high input voltage to the module throughout the battery's life.


Brighteyez, is there any way for you to test how hot the module/metal collar gets as time goes by? Thanks for the review. :thumbsup:
 

Brighteyez

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 5, 2005
Messages
3,963
Location
San Jose, CA
eebowler - Sorry, I don't have either the instruments or probes for that. However, as mentioned in another post, the barrel of the module is a rather tight fit into the bulb sleeve of the light, so heat is probably conducted away from the module in that manner.

Empath - Good point, and as a matter of fact the sleeve from the package did go unnoticed.

The portion that Empath refers to reads:
"Do not use iwth rechargeable batteries nor with more than 3 batteries, since doing so could cause premature burnout, shorting, overheating, or other hazard."

Additionally, the warranty statement reads
"There are no warranties (expressed or implied) which extend beyond the information here. MAG INSTRUMENT limits its liability to replacement at Mag's discretion of any module determined defective in workmanship or material at the time of purchase."

eebowler said:
Brighteyez, is there any way for you to test how hot the module/metal collar gets as time goes by? Thanks for the review. :thumbsup:
 

Lee1959

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 18, 2005
Messages
2,020
Location
Michigan
Good to read, thank you. Have been waiting for these to come out for a bit. My wife has a 3 C cell in her van, and I have a 5 C Cell in my truck (wish they made a 5 cell model will have to find a dummy cell somewhere). Are you planning on doing runtime tests? Will be very interested in how they stack up.
 

Brighteyez

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 5, 2005
Messages
3,963
Location
San Jose, CA
I had not planned on running any run-time tests though I'm sure someone will. I tend to only use primary batteries until they show some visably detectable diminished output (probably around 50%). For a car light, given the track record of other C cell lights running Lux IIIs, you could probably expect at least 4 hours of fairly high level output. But do note that this module may not have an actual Luxeon component in it, but rather one of the imported copies.

Lee1959 said:
Good to read, thank you. Have been waiting for these to come out for a bit. My wife has a 3 C cell in her van, and I have a 5 C Cell in my truck (wish they made a 5 cell model will have to find a dummy cell somewhere). Are you planning on doing runtime tests? Will be very interested in how they stack up.
 

pert

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 11, 2006
Messages
21
It would be interesting to know if there is a noticable difference between the Mag LED and a Diamond 3W upgrade.
 

Brighteyez

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 5, 2005
Messages
3,963
Location
San Jose, CA
I suppose you could try, but I don't know if it will last very long. It would probably be more prudent to just get a 3 cell version; the modules might be slightly underdriven, but they don't look like they're underdriven by much. With tax, it comes out to about a $20 gamble.
nightwalker said:
Can I, run a Mag led 2 cell d in a Mag 3 cell d?
 

evan9162

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 18, 2002
Messages
2,639
Location
Boise, ID
if these modules are specific to a number of cells, that just screams that they are a resistored setup, and not any kind of regulation. Disappointing.

Lets see...$3.45 for a luxeon III emitter, $1 for aluminium slug, $0.20 for a power resistor...sold for $19. Nice margins on that product.
 

Brighteyez

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 5, 2005
Messages
3,963
Location
San Jose, CA
Don't forget the free labor for R&D, manufacturing, package design, and shipping from the manufacturer's end, the manufacturing equipment, more free labor for packaging, and the free packaging materials. Then there's the free labor for administration and shipping/receiving at the distribution channel, and the free shipping/receiving and staffing at the retail end, along with the free rent at the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer. And of course, at Wal*Mart you get to park for free on the free land that was covered with all the free asphalt with all the lines that were painted with the free paint. And to think that people said that manufacturing in the U.S. costs too much ... how silly.

BTW, I don't think that emitter is a Luxeon®

and if COGs is as much as you say they are, I don't think it could be easily sold at $19, it would probably cost a bit more.

evan9162 said:
if these modules are specific to a number of cells, that just screams that they are a resistored setup, and not any kind of regulation. Disappointing.

Lets see...$3.45 for a luxeon III emitter, $1 for aluminium slug, $0.20 for a power resistor...sold for $19. Nice margins on that product.
 
Last edited:

Canuke

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 31, 2002
Messages
823
Location
Stuck in California again
evan9162 said:
if these modules are specific to a number of cells, that just screams that they are a resistored setup, and not any kind of regulation. Disappointing.

But exactly like the existing incandescent bulbs, which non-flashaholics are already used to.
 

Empath

Flashaholic
Supporter
Joined
Nov 11, 2001
Messages
8,509
Location
Oregon
evan9162 said:
if these modules are specific to a number of cells, that just screams that they are a resistored setup, and not any kind of regulation. Disappointing.

Does it scream the resistor values in the 2 cell version?
 

ABTOMAT

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 9, 2004
Messages
2,437
Location
MA, USA
Someone's gotta cut one open and show some pics. It's supposed to be regulated, at least.
 

peacefuljeffrey

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Feb 16, 2006
Messages
175
Location
Florida
Canuke said:
But exactly like the existing incandescent bulbs, which non-flashaholics are already used to.

Exactly. Even if it's not a magic current-regulating whizzbang thingie, it's still a shock-resistant, nice-light-outputting LED which won't start putting out orange light as it depletes a battery.

Across the board, I see benefits outweighing costs.

-Jeffrey
 

wwglen

Enlightened
Joined
May 24, 2003
Messages
534
Location
NC
I have a three cell and I *** DO NOT *** believe it is regulated.

I don't even really think it has a boost circuit.

A alkline is considered down around .8-.9 volts. So three sells at .9 volts would be 2.7 volts and I would expect a boost or regulated circuit to still have fairly good output.

Running 3 "D" cells (alkline) at 1.43 volts each (no load) I get a current draw of 0.51 amps. Running three at 1.34 volts each I get a current draw of .40 amps. If it was regulated it would draw MORE current at a lower but still high voltage.

Running TWO "D" cells at 1.43 volts each I get a dim light with the current draw of .04 amps (13 ma on the 300ma scale). Running the two at 1.34 volts gives .02 amps (11 ma on the 300ma scale).

If I assume that there is a resistor in the circuit with the LED and the LED is a constant voltage across the 400 - 500 ma range you get:

R = 2.45 ohms
Vf = 3.06 volts

This is my best guess as to the make up of my light which will give with NEW batteries (which I don't have handy):

1.57 * 3 = 4.71 = Vin
Vf = 3.06 V
Vr = 1.65 V
I = 673mA

This compairs whit what I saw for new batteries and converts to 2 watts across the LED and 1.1 watts across the resistor (total of 3.1 watts).

I will wait for runtime results to make a definitive statement and there MIGHT be a thermistor to limit the heat output but for now I say the 3 cell version is just RESISTORED.



wwglen
 

bjn70

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 25, 2004
Messages
1,097
Location
DFW, TX
How do they get the 2-cell version to work? Seems that the voltage would be too low from just 2 cells.
 

evan9162

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 18, 2002
Messages
2,639
Location
Boise, ID
Very low Vf emitter and direct-drive is my guess. That, or the 2-cell does have a boost circuit in it, and costs substantially more to make than the others.

How about some pictures of the module? Are you able to measure the voltage across the LED?
 

Latest posts

Top