Rebuild incan Maglite

bykfixer

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I thought by now there was one of these how to rebuild an incan Maglite. I was unable to find it if there is one. There are mentions within threads of similar subjects though.

The Maglite switch assemblies came out of marvelous engineering and manufacturing. Prior to Maglites the switch was the weak link in the alluminum cop light. In my view it was the super reliable switch assembly that allowed Maglite products to stand head and shoulders above the rest. Norm Nelson's Kel Lite gen 2's had a good clicky though. But Tony Maglica with Don Keller devised something much better. Much more durable. The cam'd reflector was also pretty remarkable.

Ok, here goes. You start with a non working or hardly working Maglite from the light bulb days. Can be a C or D cell. Can be a AA or AAA minimag. I'll start with a C cell kind. I say that because the switch assembly differs between C and D so it involves a different process.

This thread will be broken into several posts and anyone else who wants to jump in is certainly welcome as I'm sure others have ideas too. Some better than mine.

I recently discovered my favorite 4C was flatlined due to a leaked battery. From the tailcap (battery 1) to the bulb (battery 4) battery 3 had leaked at the top and the ooze ran mostly up and beside battery 4. Enough had run down to batteries 1 and 2 to require a few whacks to jar them loose. Battery 3 slid out with a few more. Battery 4 was cemented to the barrel. The barrel was clean next to batteries 1, 2 and 3.

Time to try some de-cement the stuck battery tricks. I started out with WD40 as it had worked before. A week later no go. Then 3 n 1 oil was tried since the WD40 had made a few conduits beside the battery. The 3 n 1 was no go. I don't using vinegar because it tends to delaminate the coating but that was next. No over night soak, just poured into the barrel and let run through the conduits over and over for a few hours. Nope. Mrs Fixer said "tried coca cola?" I replied "why no I haven't but let's see".

I poured a couple of ounces down the barrel, nearly filling it up. It ran quickly through the conduits. But then chucks of gray stuff started floating to the top. Then "woosh" like a toilet flush. I turned the light over and the battery came out like it had never been stuck. It was completely clean and so was the light. Some anodize had come off on one side but no alkaline residue was stuck.

I had been trying to remove the ring up front to force the switch assembly and battery out the top to no avail. A set ring holds it from moving forward and it can be removed but it's pretty hard to do.

I gave the light a good bath knowing the switch assembly was loaded with WD 40, oil, vinegar and soda pop. After that the ole Torx T8 dilema kicked in. That's right, another better idea by Maglite. Build it where a special tool nobody sells including Maglite is required to remove the switch assembly.

Wait, I have that Maglite service kit somewhere. Found it. Nice. It was a kit with parts for 6 C and 6 D lights. And yes it had the Torx tool. A straight shaft with a T8 on one end and whatever size it takes to remove the brass screw on the switch assembly on the other end. Minutes later the switch was out and all dripping on my coffee table smelling like WD 40.

The kit had 3 C cell switch assmblies left. I had apparently used 3 already. To remove the switch assembly you remove the button cover. I needed a dental pick for that. Then insert the tool into the switch button and lefty loosey the set screw and the assembly slides right out of the bottom (tail cap end).

Insert new switch assembly and tighten set screw. Now the new one was too big. My C light is a "heavy duty" so the barrel walls are a bit thicker inside. No issue with fastening the tailcap from another C light or head yet the switch assembly needed some dremel work to remove about a millimeter of plastic from the outside.

Insert new batteries. Nothing. What? Tried an nip bulb. Nothing. So using a digital volt meter set to ohms (in sound mode) showed conductivity stem to stern. I tried a 3rd bulb and she fired right up.

I'll add some pictures later.

I tried conductivity of the old switch and it's dead as a door knob. Even touching two spots on the same place showed nothing mostly. Touching with the probes stem to stern on the complete light yielded less than 1 ohm. Amazing efficiency. Where I could get a reading on the old switch showed between 25 and 75! ohm resistance. Pretty dirty I'd say.

I'll take it apart and clean it up real good at another time and show that in this thread too.
IMG_1952.jpeg

I was so stoked when it fired up again.
 
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bykfixer

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Some pix:

IMG_1960.jpeg

The metal ring up front.
Arrow points to the gap in the ring.
It's a C ring that holds the light switch assembly from moving forward. It's essentially a steel ring that sits on a small ridge inside the barrel and is sprung outward. To remove it you have to use a small, sturdy metal object sharp enough to pry under and inward while fitting in a small space while being strong enough to not bend while prying. A good precision screwdriver will work. Mucho patience is required.

If you can get that ring out the switch assembly will come out of that end and allow use of a dowel to pound out stuck batteries.

The C cell switch assembly removal tool;
IMG_1963.jpeg

A straight piece of hard metal

IMG_1961.jpeg

Torx T8 on one end for....

IMG_1964.jpeg

For loosening the set screw

IMG_1962.jpeg

Allen tool on the other end for removing....

IMG_1965.jpeg

This screw

IMG_1966.jpeg

The set screw pushes toward the barrel and holds the assembly in place.

IMG_1965.jpeg

This screw holds the bulb holder in place.
 

bykfixer

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The switch assembly parts:
Each part was given a bath in soapy water, rinsed thoroughly, wiped dry and sets aside to dry over night.
IMG_1968.jpeg

The metal strip on the inside of the object on the left touches the bulb holder that moves up and down when a bulb is fastened or unfastened.

IMG_1969.jpeg

Here it is removed.
At the bottom is also the set screw.

IMG_1971.jpeg

The bulb fastener disassembled.
Note the little screw in the front keeps it from coming out or going in too far. It also allows it to be disassembled.

The rest is a 2 piece hunk of plastic that holds the actual clicky. I've yet taken that apart. Frankly I've forgotten how and last time I did it parts went flying. Parts that have to be reassembled in the correct order or the switch won't conduct electricity. It too was given a good bath and is drying over night. The hope is it will conduct electricity without being disassembled and cleaned.
 

bykfixer

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Ok, so the switch assembly now works again.

I never did get the 2 piece black section apart. It's glued and would have required drilling and prying, maybe some soaking with acetone to break the bond. Instead I chose to give it an overnight soaking in mildly soapy water, then a good rinse and placed in a rice filled sack on top of the refrigerator to dry.

Today it was checked with the digital volt meter/ ohms and shows a nice, low 1.1 ohms of resistance.
IMG_2011.jpeg

Not bad

I checked the upper half (the silver colored parts) and got 0.5 ohms.
IMG_2010.jpeg

Amazing, like new readings.

Reassembled and checked the assembly stem to stern and got 1.1 ohms of resistance. GOOD ENOUGH.

IMG_2013.jpeg

The assembly reassembled

IMG_2014.jpeg

The other side showing the set screw.

Here's how I checked resistance:
IMG_2009.jpeg

Digital volt meter set to ohms with sound.
Touch various metal parts and hear a tone if it conducts electricity.

IMG_2012.jpeg

I used an alligator clip to hold it to the battery connection point to take the photo. Probe goes inside. I used the black probe to check readings but clamp so I could take the photo.

IMG_2016.jpeg

Shows the assembly and the baggy with uncooked rice.

There ya have it.
I was hoping to show the disassembled black portion, remembering the one I took apart a few years back had "fallen apart", and I used Scotch tape to hold it back together as the E6000 glue cured overnight. The idea with this one was to get it working again as a spare.

For those hot wire builds folks insert a strip of brass or copper "cloth" to aid with all of those extra amps surging through the factory part designed to withstand an amp or so.

The D cell switch assembly allows the clicky to push out of the black plastic section. When I rebuild one of those I'll post it in this thread. Same with a minimag, which is very simple genious how that one works.
 

ABTOMAT

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Do you know what year they started gluing them? I've probably taken 50 of those apart and they've all been loosely assembled, but we're talking late 90s models and earlier. The old switches were delivered from the factory wrapped in tape so they wouldn't spring apart on their own.
 

alpg88

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Apr 19, 2005
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I took apart dozens of C maglites, none was glued, i wish they were cuz they fall apart too easy. Every light was made after mid 90s when they changed tube diameter and added C to serial. I. still have bunch of loose C mag switch parts in a box
 
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