please point n00b to "old maglite" Xenon-to-LED conversion tips

‘lumen onion

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Hi,

Newbie here (first post)

I have bought a bunch of maglites on ebay and new from maglite to convert to LEDs. It is so fun learning how to take apart and get these good old USA lights back in action. You guys and gals are super helpful, I've learned so much lurking and searching.

One thing I have not been able to solve and I am sure there are threads explaining it but I am not conversational enough with the jargon yet to search it out: Old Xenon maglites that don't have the full metal base for the bulb to contact (like the later ones do -- they look just like the incandescent models), but they have what looks like a spring sticking into the bulb to make contact...is there an adapter that I can get or a trick to making them LED compatible like the rest?

I have two like this, and one is a 4C that I'd really like to get back up and running. Also, if the 5/32 and 1/16 hex keys arent loosening the switch mechanism...does that mean the screw is stripped? Can't loosen with either.

Thanks.
 
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ABTOMAT

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Most incandescent Mag-Lites used PR-base flanged bulbs; newer ones use small bi-pin bulbs. Magchargers specifically used large bi-pin halogen bulbs. There are a lot of LED drop-ins for the PR bulb models, maybe one for the Magchargers. I haven't seen a conversion for the newer bi-pin incan models. Do you have photos of what you're working on?

Regarding the switch, newer ones use a narrow-shaft Torx driver to get out rather than the hex key. Take a look down there and see what the screw head looks like.
 

vicv

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Hi,

Newbie here (first post)

I have bought a bunch of maglites on ebay and new from maglite to covert to LEDs. It is so fun learning how to take apart and get these good old USA lights back in action. You guys and gals are super helpful, I've learned so much lurking and searching.

One thing I have not been able to solve and I am sure there are threads explaining it but I am not conversational enough with the jargon yet to search it out: Old Xenon maglites that don't have the full metal base for the bulb to contact (like the later ones do -- they look just like the incandescent models), but they have what looks like a spring sticking into the bulb to make contact...is there an adapter that I can get or a trick to making them LED compatible like the rest?

I have two like this, and one is a 4C that I'd really like to get back up and running. Also, if the 5/32 and 1/16 hex keys arent loosening the switch mechanism...does that mean the screw is stripped? Can't loosen with either.

Thanks.
For the screw, it might be a torx. I don't remember the size but you might have to try a bunch out. Incandescent and xenon mag lights are identical. Unless you're talking about the newest ones that come with a bin holder already installed. If it's the latter, you can just remove that and you have the PR base socket. As for the whole point of this thread, these are not very good lights to convert to LED. Not unless you're going to build the whole module yourself. The problem is, using a PR based LED has no heat sinking to the body. So they are very dim. The ones that have a large base, I don't know if they're around anymore. I recommend building these up as powerful incandescent lights. It's what they are made for. If you want a powerful LED light, almost every other one in existence is better.
The only high-quality LED upgrade I know it comes from Malkoff. They are expensive, and they are just an adapter for basically a p60 drop in. Which is a waste with such a big light.
 

alpg88

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there are 2 types of switch screws, old type uses 5/64 allen key, another t8 torx, but it has to be a special one, with narrow shaft, 99.9% of torx keys out there will not work, you need to either file/grind it, or get one from maglite that fits. file/grind it so the shaft is not wider than t8 end. the screw is all the way at the bottom, you need to be able to insert the key all the way in thru a hole in the switch
it would be more helpful if you posted pictures of the light parts you have questions about.
 
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‘lumen onion

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thanks folks for your answers so far.

pix:

IMG_0086.jpeg
IMG_0088.jpeg
IMG_0091.jpeg
 

alpg88

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oh, wow, those are really old, they do not even have letters in serial numbers. pre 1990 lights, do not even bother removing switches, (they are 5/64) if they fail, there are no replacements, those tubes are wider than post 90s light. so parts will not fit.
you options are pretty limited with those antiques. either get a pr led retrofit bulb, which is not impressive at all, or best case get a firefly bulb from lumencraft. it will be brighter than cheap led pr bulbs, and definitely brighter than inc. bulb, no need to modify lights in any way, pretty much all "serious" upgrades will not fit/work in those lights. that light with a spring is the same as the other one, but older, works with same bulbs. bulb's positive contact should be pressing against that spring.

I'm not sure it makes sence to upgrade them, the 325lm firefly bulb cost 24 bucks, plus shipping, brand new 2aa maglite makes 332lm. costs 30 bucks on maglite website. it is much smaller and lighter, but makes as much light. that is if you want to stick with maglites, if not, you can order a convoy light, that will cost about as much but make ~1000lm, in much smaller size and weight, but you'll need li ion cells and charger, so that will be extra.
 

sween1911

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Love the old Maglites, great scores! Understanding it's mostly nostalgia as there are a slew of far better lights on the market, but there's ways to make these serviceable.

As far as LED conversions, LumenCraft has a pretty good selection. The Firefly module that screws over where the bulb goes should work. I don't think you need an adaptor.

Since swapping out a stack of C-cells is going to get expensive, I'd recommend getting creative with PVC pipe as a spacer to run rechargeables.

- Don't leave alkaline batteries in a Maglite (or anything for that matter)
 

‘lumen onion

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thanks all for your wisdom & experience. I love the way the 4C fits in my hand but not sure if i love it THAT much lol, I will weigh my options accordingly
 

vicv

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If you really wanted. Get the first bulb under "potted", it'll say 4 eneloop, https://www.candlepowerforums.com/threads/custom-modified-super-bulbs-2.480098/

This for a metal reflector and glass lens. You will lose the quick focus though and need to set permanent focus, https://www.candlepowerforums.com/threads/bi-focal-m-g-c-d-camless-reflector-by-fivemega.479450/

Or for a cheaper route if you're on a budget and want to keep quick focus, http://kaidomain.com/S004304-52mm-D-x-2mm-T-Multi-Layer-AR-Coated-Lens, http://kaidomain.com/S006166-KD-M-g-OP-reflector-V3_1-15mm-Opening.

And get 4x "C" to AA adapters. Can get them on aliexpress pretty cheap.

At 10w, you'll probably be fine with the factory plastic lens and reflector, so can save money there. So really all you need is the bulb and the adapters. Then get a 4 pack of Ladda AA nimh from IKEA. This will turn your 4C maglite into a bit of a beast


If you want lots of power, definitely get the reflector and lens. Then go on that bulb post, and grab the 1185 potted bulb. Then you can stick 3x18650s or 3x21700s in that 4c and a piece of tubing to stop cell rattle and you'll have a 30+W 1000 lumen flamethrower
 

ABTOMAT

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As long as you can get that setscrew out and unscrew the retaining ring there's nothing stopping you from taking those switches out, but unless they need repair there's no point. Nobody makes modules that replace the entire switch. I would suggest not trying to mod the 5C (that is a 5--if you can only get 4 batteries in there then one is stuck) light at all. 5Cs are expensive now and that one's in great shape. You don't want to damage anything. The 2D light isn't particularly valuable. Edit: Both date to around 1992.

If you do need replacement switch parts and can't find them, just buy lights in poor cosmetic condition to cannibalize. An old beat-up 2C is a $10 light but the internal parts will fit your 5C.

They're right about modern replacements being cheap. Mag usually has 30-50% off coupons on their site, so you can get a new 3C light with 700+ lumens for $20 or whatever.
 
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xxo

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Beyond a decent LED like Lumencraft's 325 lumen drop-in and some good NiMH or Li-ion batteries (you will need an adapter for the Li-ions), I don't see much of a practical reason to mod old Mags, unless you are just doing it for fun.

If you want a better light with similar looks and form factor, get a ML50 or ML300.
 

‘lumen onion

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thanks all for your wisdom & experience. I love the way the 4C fits in my hand but not sure if i love it THAT much lol, I will weigh my options accordingly
it's actually a 5C model

I tried to get it running with a known working xenon bulb, and it just doesn't

Feel like I need to give up

I still love it, it's unique among the piles in bought on ebay

Is there a repairperson hanging around here who people send their lost causes to and we generally trust?

[I know if I end up sending it to him or her, I will be in for more than what the llight is worth]
 

knucklegary

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There was a seller on eB, a few years ago, who had the early switches new old stock. Prices reasonable too, believe he was located in TX.
I'll do a search see if I can find him.
 

ABTOMAT

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it's actually a 5C model

I tried to get it running with a known working xenon bulb, and it just doesn't

Feel like I need to give up

I still love it, it's unique among the piles in bought on ebay

Is there a repairperson hanging around here who people send their lost causes to and we generally trust?

[I know if I end up sending it to him or her, I will be in for more than what the llight is worth]

If you've unscrewed the hex screw in the switch button it won't work. Make sure that's gently tightened down if you're able to. The Mag switch assembly is extremely reliable and doesn't often fail unless battery leakage is involved. Even then typically works. Some C-cell models can have the positive battery contact break off and take a vacation, though, so have a peek down the tube to be sure.

I can repair these things if you need it. A clean 5C isn't a cheap flashlight these days so it's worth a little trouble.
 

rwolfenstein

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I have an unhealthy amount of maglites around the house. I have an original mini mag with a nite ize led conversion with clicky tailcap. I have 5 mag chargers, 2 were factory LED and 3 I converted. The 3 I converted, 1 has a single LED Terralux conversion, 1 has a triple LED Terralux conversion and the final one has a Lumencraft LED conversion (I highly recomend this one). I also have a rechargeable magtac and a magtac version 2 thats more like a Z2 combatlight. Then I also have a 3 D cell maglite that I converted to LED with a drop in 3 led Terralux conversion and I added another battery spacer so it would be a 4 LED version. Yep, I have way too many.
 

vicv

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it's actually a 5C model

I tried to get it running with a known working xenon bulb, and it just doesn't

Feel like I need to give up

I still love it, it's unique among the piles in bought on ebay

Is there a repairperson hanging around here who people send their lost causes to and we generally trust?

[I know if I end up sending it to him or her, I will be in for more than what the llight is worth]
Have you checked the bulb with a multi meter? Same with the cells?
 

‘lumen onion

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Have you checked the bulb with a multi meter? Same with the cells?
no but the batteries work in other maglites, as does the bulb

@ABTOMAT you got to the heart of the matter

+ contact gone

I still cant get the screw out and ergo the switch assembly

with the 5/64 (i said 5/32 mistakenly above) and it might be previously stripped or a different size

PM sent

@rwolfenstein I fear the disease has advanced with me too. I got that lumencraft 3000 loaded in a 6D monster light. I am switching colored parts around so i can quickly tell that one from the 525lm from the others, I have them in both cars, and I think I bought enough to hand out a lot of Christmas presents…becuase as a very good thread elsewhere on this forum, pointed out, if you're here 300 lm isn't enough. For normal people it is LOL
 

letschat7

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I thought I was being clever buying NOS maglites off Egay and nearly all the older ones can't be converted so easily say with a Malkoff adapter. I ended up buying 2,3, and 4 Mag 3 watt LED upgrade kits but they were never worth using if you intend to run the light for long periods of time.

Instead I put glass lenses in them and run some really nice xenon or halogen bulbs with premium alkalines. When I exhaust my stockpiles of batteries I'll probably do some 18650 conversions. You can run a 3D bulb on a single 18650. Maglite even makes a 2C to 18650 adapter.
 

sween1911

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I got a replacement switch for a 1980's old style D-cell on here from none other than Don Keller. Not sure if he still checks in here but it's worth a shot. You could post a WTB for an old C- size one.
 
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