Terralux tle-20 or smjled for AAA mini-maglite

exchange240sx

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Sep 11, 2009
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Hi All,
This is my first post on the forum, but I've been doing a lot of reading, and I think this site is going to drive me bankrupt. I originally came on here to research a Cree p60 drop in for my Brinkmann Maxfire after the bulb blew, and well let's just say I've made some more purchase since then. Gotta keep the obsession in check or else the wife is gonna be pissed... :)

Anyway, I have a bunch of AAA mini-mags and solitaires that have been sitting around collecting dust for many years, and I wanted to give them some new life. I am torn between the smjled's and the tle-20 drop in. I tried searching, but couldn't find any direct comparisons. I would favor the smjled's b/c i can a 5 pack and take care of all of my AAA mini-mags (3) and solitaires (2) for the price of 2 tle-20's, but I don't want to purchase them if I am just going to be disappointed in their output. I plan on running Eneloops in them.

So what I am trying to find out is: how is the light output for the smjled vs tle-20. I'm not expecting them to be super bright, but good enough to navigate around the house at night and maybe as a map light for the car, etc. Also, just so that I can make a comparison, how would either compare to the Night-Ize 3 led AA mini-mag drop in? Thanks.
 

exchange240sx

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Sep 11, 2009
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Thanks for the reply. I guess I wasn't that clear in my original post. I wanted a comparison for using the smjled's from the Sandwich Shoppe (4 die cutdown) in a direct drive fashion on the AAA mini-mags and solitaires. I thought that members had done both of those mods in the past with some success.

I am specifically asking for members' impressions of a AAA mini-mag with smjled direct drive vs. the TLE-20. I also wanted to to know what members' thoughts or impressions of either the smjled direct drive AAA mini-mag and TLE-20 vs the Night Ize 3 LED drop for the AA mini-mag. I have the Night Ize in a AA mini-mag and if members say either is brighter/dimmer in comparison, I will have somewhat of a benchmark and can act accordingly. Thanks.
 

auroreboreale

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Apr 24, 2005
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Yukon Territory, Canada
Hi: I have used a TLE-20 in a AAA mini-maglite as a house light, and for reading an outdoor thermometer with, and a 2AAA minmag with TLE-20 is about as bright as an incan. 2AA maglite in my humble opinion. Others will disagree, I am sure.

I got the Terraluxe version with the 2 reflectors such that I can also transfer the TLE-20 into a 2AA mag for traffic direction work for film shoots. But most of the time I use it for reading the porch thermometer with through a window in the 2xAAA mag.

I have had a 3 LED TL-3 Terraluxe 2xAA mag bulb, which I gave to a buddy of mine, and although it has massive run time for our 18hour subarctic winter nights, eventually, he pooled up an order with me for a TLE-5 Mini Star, as he wanted something with the ability to 'throw' light a good distance for discerning between night-time porcupines and...bears!

I have no SMJLED experience, but their kit has a very good reputation, and their documentation is excellent!

enlightenment!
 

exchange240sx

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Joined
Sep 11, 2009
Messages
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I have had a 3 LED TL-3 Terraluxe 2xAA mag bulb, which I gave to a buddy of mine, and although it has massive run time for our 18hour subarctic winter nights, eventually, he pooled up an order with me for a TLE-5 Mini Star, as he wanted something with the ability to 'throw' light a good distance for discerning between night-time porcupines and...bears!


Auroreboreale:

I know your 3 LED drop isn't the same as the Night Ize, but how would you compare the TLE-20 you have in your AAA mini-mag to the 3 LED AA mini-mag?
 

ElectronGuru

Flashaholic
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Aug 18, 2007
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6,053
Location
Oregon
I seem to recall a new solitaire upgrade appearing on eBay earlier this year. No reviews as yet but still worth checking out.
 

LEDninja

Flashlight Enthusiast
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Jun 15, 2005
Messages
4,896
Location
Hamilton Canada
I do not have a Nite-ize 3LED module. The closest I've got is a SuperbrightLEDs 3LED PR bulb.

The lights/drop ins:
From left Solitaire 3mm SMJLED, AAA minimag TLE20, AA minimag ArcMania SMJLED, Dorcy lantern SuperbrightLED 3LED PR bulb.
The-lights.jpg


Beamshot Solitaire SMJLED vs SuperbrightLEDs 3 LED PR.
Soli-vs-3LED.jpg


Beamshot AAA minimag TLE20 vs SuperbrightLEDs 3 LED PR.
AAATLE20-vs-3LED.jpg


Beamshot AA minimag ArcMania SMJLED vs SuperbrightLEDs 3 LED PR.
AASMJLED-vs-3LED.jpg
 

exchange240sx

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Sep 11, 2009
Messages
9
Thanks for everybody's input. I am going to get a 5 pack of smjled's and start my first flashlight "mod". However, I am a bit confused on what exactly to buy. At the sandwich shoppe, the have 2 kinds of smjled's, cut and uncut. The website isn't clear (at least not to me) what exactly the differences are - mostly mentions viewing angles. The links are below. Please let me know what the correct purchase would be. Again these are going to go into AAA mini-maglites and maybe a solitaire. Thanks.


http://theledguy.chainreactionweb.co...roducts_id=757

http://theledguy.chainreactionweb.co...roducts_id=758
 

LEDninja

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Jun 15, 2005
Messages
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Location
Hamilton Canada
instructions for modding a minimag with a bare SMJLED is here:
http://home.mchsi.com/~lambda_lights/smjled.htm

-----

The uncut SMJLED is like regular LEDs. It produces a blob of light that is similar to the Nite-ize 3LED drop in. (right side in my beamshots)

The cut SMJLED is a much more wide angle beam from the LED. More light hits the reflector giving a much stronger hotspot. (left side in my beamshots)

-----

Batteries and direct driving an SMJLED:

The SMJLED requires 2.7V+ and 3.4V-.

NiMH would not work with the SMJLED because 2*1.2V=2.4V.

Alkalines start off at 3.2V (2*1.6V) and the SMJLED will go dark at ~2.7V (2*1.35V). You can use the batteries elsewhere as there is still lots of charge left in them.

Energizer L91 (AA)/L92 (AAA) lithiums start off at 3.6V (2*1.8V) dropping to 3-3.2V (2*1.5-1.6V) fairly quickly. The initial voltage is a bit too high for the SMJLED. The batteries have to be conditioned - run for 5 minutes in some other device to lower the voltage a bit before being used to direct drive the SMJLED flashlight. This is probably the best battery option as the lithiums will maintain the voltage until they are almost exhausted.
 

exchange240sx

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Joined
Sep 11, 2009
Messages
9
Thanks LED Ninja! I think I've got all of my answers now and I'm ready to make my purchase!
 
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