Older C-Cell MagLite Switch R&R

Samuel Culper

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Trying to remove the switch from a Numeric Only Serial Number 2-C Cell MagLite bought from a thrift store with no signs of corrosion. Cleaned and lubricated (OxGard) all contact surfaces. Tried SAE, Metric, and Security T Allen wrenches. Correct sizes feel like they are riding on top of the set screw, absolutely no resistance at all. Smaller sizes feel like they are spinning inside the set screw, some 'bumping' of shoulders can be felt.

Would anyone have any idea how to remove the switch? I am willing to drill it out if I could learn how to destroy the switch without damaging any vital parts of the main assembly. If there is someone in general area of San Antonio (Kerrville, Boerne, and such locations) I could take it to them and pay them.
 

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Samuel Culper

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I think theres a Wiha screwdriver for this and even a tool kit with spare parts available.
I have never heard of a Wiha Screwdriver. What shape is the Driver End? On the Internet I could not find any pictures of the driver end of a Wiha driver.

All three tools that I have, SAE, Metric, and Security Torx Allens fit inside the hole and go in deep enough that I can feel them riding on top of something. All three tools in the next size smaller feel like they are inside of a set screw head. When I attempted to turn I felt that the tool was turning inside the set screw head so I immediately stopped to prevent damage to the walls of the set screw (screws normally are a milder steel than tools).

I have a set of "Y" or 3-Side drivers that I recently bought for removing the bottom of a coffee maker. I never thought to try them. But I seriously doubt that Mag Industry would have used them in the time period of numeric only serial numbers.

From what I understand from a post on this forum, which I do not remember who or when, I just remember that the person is a collector of Numeric Only, numeric only Serial Numbers are the older manufacturer time era. Alpha Numeric were later in the production timeframe. Alpha Numeric is where I would suspect that the T-8 was introduced, or some time in that production range.
 

vicv

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On older c cell lights, I believe it's a 1/16" Allen key. If an early 2000s and after, it's a torx. I think T8. Wiha is a brand name, but that's not very helpful
 

xxo

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a 5/64 Allen key should be the right size.
 

Samuel Culper

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You mentioning 1/16" Allen did the trick!
I took my Allen knife set and started from the Bottom - Up (in size order), instead of Top - Down and the 5/64" fit with a lot of slop or slack. I applied firm, but gentle pressure, and the screw started turning. Because of the knife configuration being slow turning, I balanced the tube on the tool and spun the tube. Finally I started hearing the click sound of a screw spinning loose around the screw hole. To be sure I tested again and the screw is definitely outside of the screw hole.

Now my question is, how to remove the loosened switch assembly. I pushed the button to the On position and tried pushing the assembly both forward (toward the head assembly end of the tube) and backward. There was no movement either way.

Again, I really appreciate that you worded your Reply in such a manner that prompted me to try it again!
 

vicv

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You mentioning 1/16" Allen did the trick!
I took my Allen knife set and started from the Bottom - Up (in size order), instead of Top - Down and the 5/64" fit with a lot of slop or slack. I applied firm, but gentle pressure, and the screw started turning. Because of the knife configuration being slow turning, I balanced the tube on the tool and spun the tube. Finally I started hearing the click sound of a screw spinning loose around the screw hole. To be sure I tested again and the screw is definitely outside of the screw hole.

Now my question is, how to remove the loosened switch assembly. I pushed the button to the On position and tried pushing the assembly both forward (toward the head assembly end of the tube) and backward. There was no movement either way.

Again, I really appreciate that you worded your Reply in such a manner that prompted me to try it again!
So was it 5/64" or 1/16"? Just have to know if me or xxo was correct. For ego reasons. Lol. If I remember 5/64 is for D cell lights. But it's been a while since I removed a switch.
As far as the switch coming out, it should slide out the back. Or some models you need to remove a circlip from the front and it slides out that way. Corrosion can also cause issues when sliding out the back.
Another thing while you have it apart, the switch uses a pretty thin spring, which current needs to flow through. Whenever I remove a switch, I bypass that spring with desoldering braid to lower the resistance. Can't hurt even if you're switching to an led
 

Samuel Culper

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Bandera, Texas
So was it 5/64" or 1/16"? Just have to know if me or xxo was correct. For ego reasons. Lol. If I remember 5/64 is for D cell lights. But it's been a while since I removed a switch.
As far as the switch coming out, it should slide out the back. Or some models you need to remove a circlip from the front and it slides out that way. Corrosion can also cause issues when sliding out the back.
Another thing while you have it apart, the switch uses a pretty thin spring, which current needs to flow through. Whenever I remove a switch, I bypass that spring with desoldering braid to lower the resistance. Can't hurt even if you're switching to an led
1/16" spun inside the head. 5/64" had a lot of slop, but fit just enough that by slowly increasing the torque it gave up and started spinning.

Now my question is how to remove the switch assembly. I moved the switch from Off to On and at the same time pushed it to the bottoming out, then tried moving the assembly forward, then backward but held firm. Then I tried the same procedure with the switch, but used a screw driver to "Hammer" it from the head end as well as the tail end, but it still held firm.

Look back at the picture I posted originally. There are two tiny hole bored in the plate on the head assembly end. Is there a Specialty Tool required to unscrew that portion of the head assembly end of the switch. I do not see any sort of clip or C-Ring (I have an Inside Outside C-Ring tool with various bits, both straight and angled).

YouTube video shows that you only need to loosen the screw and the switch assembly will slide forward and backward. Then he should pushing it backward towards the end cap for final removal from the tube.
 

ABTOMAT

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The ring with the two holes unscrews. It's the retainer that actually keeps the switch in the head--the set screw is just a locator and electrical contact. Mag made a specialty tool for this, but they're usually so loose you can use a couple long probes to spin it out. Once the ring is loose the switch pulls out of the head end of the flashlight. Don't break anything--Mag no longer makes parts for this generation as far as I know. I have a stash I keep recycling.

The Youtube description you mention is for modern Mags, not the '80s-90s style.

PXL_20231119_220225217.jpg
 
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Samuel Culper

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The ring with the two holes unscrews. It's the retainer that actually keeps the switch in the head--the set screw is just a locator and electrical contact. Mag made a specialty tool for this, but they're usually so loose you can use a couple long probes to spin it out. Once the ring is loose the switch pulls out of the head end of the flashlight. Don't break anything--Mag no longer makes parts for this generation as far as I know. I have a stash I keep recycling.

The Youtube description you mention is for modern Mags, not the '80s-90s style.

View attachment 52670
Oh! My! Word!
Few things;
Snap-Ring or C-Ring pliers would not fit between the tube wall and bulb assembly. 1/16" / 1.5mm Center Punch had to be forced between the tube wall and bulb assembly, but fit inside either of the holes. Retaining ring was not snugged tight. So I finally got the retaining ring completely unscrewed and removed the switch assembly.

One YouTube video showed using Switch Lubricant on the various MagLite switch assembly parts and pieces. So I will buy some.

I am already acquainted with carefully cleaning various electrical contact points on using OxGard upon reassemby.

Now for the part that nearly knocked me on the floor;
What are the chances that I would be the person (with minimum experience with MagLites) in the thrift store at the exact time to purchase this instead of someone with Zero experience?

What are the chances of someone acquiring a 1979 to 1989 2-C Cell MagLite with "Chevy Trucks" advertising who did Not use DuraCell Copper Top batteries that have destroyed more than half of every battery power devices I have ever owned?

What are the chances that, out of shear frustration in 18 months of ownership, I did not drill out any destroy the switch and replace it with a new one?

What are the chances that I would start back on the trail of searching the Internet trying to find more information on how to remove the switch and for the first time coming across the Candle Power Forum and getting the information from people who have Doctorate degrees in Flashlightology with a minor in MagLiteology.

I would say all of you people who replied to my questions are each one a One-In-A-Million person!

I will take pictures of the the reassembly process with explanations of what I did and how I did it.

One Million Thank You to every one of you!
 

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ABTOMAT

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Cool, you're welcome. By the way, that dating guide is for D-cell lights only. Mag kept using the old switch style in C-cell lights for much longer. Chevy Trucks light were mostly mid-late '90s production and your serial number fits with that.

Oh yeah, when you put it back together use the setscrew to locate the switch first, then very gently screw in the retaining ring. You're not supposed to crank down on it. In some lights you could push the switch too far into the tube that way.
 
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Samuel Culper

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According to one website that I found, mine was possibly manufactured sometime around 1992 to 1995. Now knowing the appropriate age I am still shocked and amazed that there are no signs of corrosion. However, after I thoroughly clean it and get some "switch grease" in, and start putting it back together I will take pictures of the pieces as well as use a Scope Camera to get pictures of inside the tube along with other hard to view areas.

Attached is a picture showing some of the information I found about date of manufacturer ranges and a picture of the bezel of my MagLite showing the Panther TM hinting at the possible date range of 1992 to 1995.
 

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Samuel Culper

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So was it 5/64" or 1/16"? Just have to know if me or xxo was correct. For ego reasons. Lol. If I remember 5/64 is for D cell lights. But it's been a while since I removed a switch.As far as the switch coming out, it should slide out the back. Or some models you need to remove a circlip from the front and it slides out that way. Corrosion can also cause issues when sliding out the back.
Another thing while you have it apart, the switch uses a pretty thin spring, which current needs to flow through. Whenever I remove a switch, I bypass that spring with desoldering braid to lower the resistance. Can't hurt even if you're switching to an led
So was it 5/64" or 1/16"? Just have to know if me or xxo was correct. For ego reasons. Lol. If I remember 5/64 is for D cell lights. But it's been a while since I removed a switch.
As far as the switch coming out, it should slide out the back. Or some models you need to remove a circlip from the front and it slides out that way. Corrosion can also cause issues when sliding out the back.
Another thing while you have it apart, the switch uses a pretty thin spring, which current needs to flow through. Whenever I remove a switch, I bypass that spring with desoldering braid to lower the resistance. Can't hurt even if you're switching to an led
VicV,
Yesterday, do you remember that in one of your Post, you stated;
"On older c cell lights, I believe it's a 1/16" Allen key."

Then XXO posted;
"A 5/64 Allen key should be the right size."

After those two Post I went back to the toolbox, then Posted;
"You mentioning 1/16" Allen did the trick!
I took my Allen knife set and started from the Bottom - Up (in size order), instead of Top - Down and the 5/64" fit with a lot of slop or slack."

You then posted;
"So was it 5/64" or 1/16"? Just have to know if me or xxo was correct."

To which I posted;
"1/16" spun inside the head. 5/64" had a lot of slop, but fit just enough that by slowly increasing the torque it gave up and started spinning."
______
Well, Sir, this evening I started the process of disassembling the Switch Assembly (the primary reason for joining Candle Power and making this post is because the switch does not work) in order to;
1) Clean and remove all dust and debris from the inside
2) Lubricate all contact surfaces with OxGard to improve connectivity and prevent any corrosion to the contact points
3) (now that I learned about it from watching a video yesterday about disassembling, lubricating the switch pieces with Electrical Switch grease, reassemble, and reinstall) Lubricate the switch pieces with switch lubricant.

While cleaning the various switch pieces and polishing the corrosion off of certain contact point with copper polish, by chance I picked up my Allen Knife and started cleaning and polishing the back side. Well guess what I saw for the first time in 45 to 50 years Doctor VicV; I saw ALL of the sizes of the Allen Knife and discovered that the sizes start with 0.050! That means that the 1/16" Allen is the SECOND Allen. That means that YOU were absolutely correct!

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

This Mag was built some time from 1992 to 1995. That means that when you said; "On older C Cell lights, I believe it's a 1/16" Allen key.", you knew exactly what you were talking about.

When I have successfully restored this little jewel I will share pictures of it.
Thanks!
 

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Samuel Culper

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So was it 5/64" or 1/16"? Just have to know if me or xxo was correct. For ego reasons. Lol. If I remember 5/64 is for D cell lights. But it's been a while since I removed a switch.
As far as the switch coming out, it should slide out the back. Or some models you need to remove a circlip from the front and it slides out that way. Corrosion can also cause issues when sliding out the back.
Another thing while you have it apart, the switch uses a pretty thin spring, which current needs to flow through. Whenever I remove a switch, I bypass that spring with desoldering braid to lower the resistance. Can't hurt even if you're switching to an led
Dr. VicV,
Yesterday when you posted;
"Another thing while you have it apart, the switch uses a pretty thin spring, which current needs to flow through. Whenever I remove a switch, I bypass that spring with desoldering braid to lower the resistance. Can't hurt even if you're switching to an led.";

What is Desoldering Braid?
Thanks!
 

Samuel Culper

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This is desoldering braid/wick
It's used to suck up solder. But it's also a very flexible copper conductor
VicV,
Of the three springs inside of the switch assembly the Bulb Base Spring is the only one that I can imagine bypassing and allowing constant voltage to.

Is your recommendation to solder in a section of braided copper wire to the "L" bracket and also to the tip of the spring that the bulb base contacts?

Or solder the braided copper wire to the "L" and trap the other end of the copper braid at the tip of the spring in such a way as to contact the bulb base?
Thanks!
 

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vicv

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I always solder a piece of that braid on the smaller spring with the little cup. So wrap around the top of the spring, and solder on one side, and on the other side, solder the spring and the braid to the cup. If I remember correctly, it's the only part you can do that too, without disassembling the switch itself. I also bypassed the tail cap spring. How much this really does I'm not sure. But I am mostly running in candescent bulbs, and I want every millivolt I can get.
 
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ABTOMAT

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None of the springs in the switch conduct electricity other than the bulb tip spring with the L contact. The two smaller springs are just for the clickie function.
 

Samuel Culper

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It has been a while since I've done it. But I know I did not disassemble the switch. It was the spring that goes to the bulb holder.
I am probably going need to forgo that step. A "Man's got to know his limitations." and that kind of limitations is mine.


I will be applying a thin coat of OxGard to the entire surface of all contacts because most of them appear to be aluminum, which should improve connectivity and prevent corrosion in the future.

I appreciate both of you (ABTOMAT and vicv) replying! I have learned so much about MagLite along, not to mention other brands and types, from joining the forum on Sunday.
Thanks!
 
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