Pre-krypton minimag bulbs

aznsx

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His minimag on/off switch is pretty dawg gone reliable.
Probably true, but I can certainly say that mine have indeed been highly reliable......
because I had to quit using them:-( I don't know if that counts:) Just sayin'

Light output aside, after I got my Scorpions I simply couldn't bear using them any more (even my brighter 3-cell ones).

BTW: Would you happen to know where I can get a good tailswitch for several of mine? (I ran across several minty MMs in a box about a week ago - couple of AAs and a AAA). I know various folks have offered them in the past, but am not sure what's current that's decent. If I had 'em, I'd still use those lights around home - just for nostalgia! I figure I could teflon tape the heads in focus. Right now they live in boxes, and since I'm not a collector, that seems a shame!. All that nice aluminum going unused!

I've only noted these in recent times, but there may be others I should look at (?)
 

aznsx

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Ole Tony has cut off his nose to spite his face so many times..... it must've a real honker at one point.... like Corparal Klinger (Jamie Farr) back in the day.

And from what some around him say he still does. Don Keller once said he and Tony fell out over on/off switch of a minimag because Tony never would consider making a clicky version. Now I side with ole Tony from a reliability standpoint. His minimag on/off switch is pretty dawg gone reliable.

That is who I was thinking of for sure, but in all fairness, it must be said: Stubbornness, persistence, perseverance, and some other qualities are all closely related in some respects. Stubbornness to the extreme is indeed a potentially fatal flaw, but many of the greats share elements of all those things. Ford, Edison, and others like them were all in that category. It was part of what drove them to greatness. So there's that.
 

ampdude

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I don't know how much of a contribution this is to this thread, but I know that the later krypton bulbs seemed much brighter than the earlier ones. It seems Maglite improved them a bit over time.
 

bykfixer

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John 3:16
I don't know how much of a contribution this is to this thread, but I know that the later krypton bulbs seemed much brighter than the earlier ones. It seems Maglite improved them a bit over time.
My first minimag was acquired around '96. Probably pre-krypton bulb. It did ok for the time. Matter of fact for years. It had the original bulb until I installed a Nite Ize around 2015 or so. I elected to put it back stock and used the spare bulb in the tail cap. Again all seemed ok.

Then one day I bought another one at WalMart on clearance. It had a xenon bulb. Oh my, what a difference. Don't know that I've seen the beam of a minimag using krypton versus argon but do know the xenon is much whiter and brighter.
 

aznsx

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Then one day I bought another one at WalMart on clearance. It had a xenon bulb. Oh my, what a difference.
Well dang! Who knew? Thanx. Sounds like I need to go shopping for new bulbs for a few of mine. At these performance levels, any output improvement would likely be a significant advantage! The bulbs in mine are of fairly old vintage. I just found several like-new MMs I'd forgotten I had, will probably be getting real switches for some of them, and better bulbs would be very welcome! Xenon sounds good!
 

ampdude

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My first minimag was acquired around '96. Probably pre-krypton bulb. It did ok for the time. Matter of fact for years. It had the original bulb until I installed a Nite Ize around 2015 or so. I elected to put it back stock and used the spare bulb in the tail cap. Again all seemed ok.

Then one day I bought another one at WalMart on clearance. It had a xenon bulb. Oh my, what a difference. Don't know that I've seen the beam of a minimag using krypton versus argon but do know the xenon is much whiter and brighter.

That makes me sad thinking of when Target closed out krypton 2AA Minimags for $2.22. How much was your xenon on clearance at Walmart? And the time I bought the last MN01 at a sporting goods store knowing I'd never see one available for sale at a retail store again. :(
 

bykfixer

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I recall them being $6 or $7. It was a WalMart in a small town back when the newer aa minimags were like 177 lumens or something.

If I recall correct the original one I bought circa '96 was $19.99. It may have been $9.99 I forget. But I do remember paying extra for an American made flashlight way back then.

For years I did not know LED's had gotten brighter than light bulbs because about the time I bought the 14 lumen minimag I bought a 3 LED/3N cell LED Lenser of that size that was stated to be 12 lumens.
 
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Hooked on Fenix

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There's one other difference on the AA bulb pkg: Under 'Specifications', it does state the life of the lamp is equivalent to 4 or 5 sets of batteries', rather than '3 or 4' in the case of the AAA package.
In my experience, a 2 AA Minimag with a krypton bulb only lasted about 10 hours, and it blackened and dimmed after the first 5. For me, that’s two sets of batteries if you run them all the way down. I guess since it loses half it’s brightness in a little over 40 minutes, most people might consider the batteries dead enough at 2 hours, in which case 5 sets of batteries sounds about right. I doubt the earlier generation bulbs were made to last longer than the newer ones.
 

radellaf

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The krypton ones darkened? I know the vacuum (or if we give chilln's speculation any consideration, maybe argon) ones became very mirror-black halfway through their use.
I have a bunch of the K, and maybe a fair number of unlabeled vacuum, but have just been using the xenon ones I got in a bulk pack or with the lights (mostly 2008-2010 vintage, assume those were xenon). They were mostly the ones from WM that came with two spare carded bulbs.
I haven't burned out a xenon yet, and haven't seen one darken. Same for the latest xenon bi-pin bulbs in the C and D maglites.
I'm really torn between the great light quality of the incandescents and the absolutely horrible tint-across-beam of all their LEDs (save the spectrum warm white, but no C and D there). I'm totally into the matte finish with the grid texture, tho.
 

bykfixer

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For the gas to burn properly in a light bulb the power going to them should be at an optimal point to create an optimal 'burn'. As a non regulated light draws current and the supplied voltage drops so does the power going to the bulb. Kind of like reducing the spark in a combustion engine reduces the efficiency of fuel burn. When the engine does not burn the fuel hot enough it causes soot to develop on the outgoing exhaust system. A light bulb is a sealed system. So the soot develops within the globe of the bulb.

Factor in batteries back when that did not supply the steady voltage as well as currently available ones and you got less efficient burn of the argon or krypton gas. You also get reduced bulb filament lifespan. So say back in oh, I dunno 1998 you used a minimag with batteries that ran down versus swapping out for new every 30 minutes or so those light bulbs would darken faster.

Edit:
Early on in bulb development, once tungston was the norm, it was discovered that certain gases helped sort of lubricate the filament. In other words add to filament life by re-bonding some of the burn tungston back onto the filament. It's why argon was preferred for decades. That and cost to produce.
 
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aznsx

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Here's a couple of my used Streamlight Scorpion Xenon bulbs. I kept them because they did not fail, they just turned black as pitch, and thus could still be useful in a pinch.

I believe this to be a result of a low duty cycle operation involving zillions of power-on cycles, but most for very short duration - often only ~5-15 seconds. I would suppose they were only rarely used long enough to reach a healthy, nominal operating temperature, and have attributed the blackening to that. Although I think I might have read of such in the past, I'll just call this speculation. In any case, clearly Xenon can't save you from blackened bulbs entirely.
 

letschat7

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I've used every kind of MiniMaglite bulb. I'll never forget losing my first bulb in a waterbed only to find it a month later or better yet discovering a hidden spare in the tailcap.

When I had them both burned out I would even use my allowance monies to get more at True Value which was costly in the 90s. Somehow in 2012 or so there were these German made ones being sold for a little over a dollar at Lowes which kept me using MiniMaglites when LED was all the rage.

I'm glad someone here mentioned Scorpion. That and Strion outmag the mag. Even Streamlight JR manages to do that. I use them all more than Minimaglite. When something is similiar in size and stylish and way more powerful and rechargable.... BTW I don't know what happened to ST JR but it could be had with more accessories, rechargable batteries, and a tail switch. Nevermind the overbuilt bulbs....
 

radellaf

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"Burn" of the gas? I think halogen are the most particular about operating temperature, for the re-plating of the tungsten, but then: they work fine in lamp dimmer circuits. Could be that I've never run a halogen at, say, 80% for long. Usually it's 10%, 50%, 100%, approximately, and at that point the temp is so low the filament would last forever, anyway.
My blackened minimag vacuum (or possibly argon) bulbs were on either alkaline or NiCd.
Guess it's possible to blacken a xenon but, wow, never seen it happen.
 
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