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Thread: Princeton Tec Vortec upgrade?

  1. #1

    Default Princeton Tec Vortec upgrade?

    Are there any simple functional worthwhile modifications that can be made to upgrade this headlamp, or should I just relegate it to emergency kit or car trunk kit status?

    I am a total newb when it comes to this type of thing and didn't know the best place to start; thus the new thread. I did some searches and didn't really find what I was looking for, and when I read the information on this site I just get even more confused and it starts to make my head spin. I am relatively intelligent so I am starting to catch on quickly, but thought I would throw this one out to the experts and get some advice. Please us very simple layman's terms for my un-candlepower-educated mind. Thank you.
    Last edited by corjamwel; 07-02-2008 at 11:16 AM. Reason: Fix spelling

  2. #2

    Default Re: Princeton Tec Vortec upgrade?

    Option 1: You could replace the stock bulb with the bulb from a 3-cell Maglite. This'll make you're Vortec a lot brighter (at the expense of bulb life, of course). This works best if you're using rechargeable batteries - I'm running a 3-cell bulb off of NiMH's in my Tec-40, and have been very happy.

    Option 2: Find yourself an EverLed Classic module. I haven't done this myself, but I've been told that th old side-emitting 1-watt Luxeon works a lot better with the PT reflectors than Lambertian emitters do... anyone care to comment?


    edit: Also try searching old posts for PT Tec-40 upgrades. Anything that works for the Tec-40 should work for the Vortec.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Princeton Tec Vortec upgrade?

    Thank you for the info vtunderground. It looks like the LED you referenced will work.

    Well, I did some more searching and came across this: http://www.krabach.info/headlamp/headlamp.html. So, it looks like I can use the Nite-Ize led bulb meant as a upgrade/replacement for Mag-Lite flashlights. I did take a bulb out of my 2D Mag-Lite and tried it in my Princeton Tec headlamp and it fit just fine other than being maybe a millimeter or two longer, but when I screwed down the cover on the headlamp I got one quick flash of light and then the bulb was shot, so I don't know if it will really work. Can anyone verify whether or not this is the case. If so, then couldn't I use any led bulb meant as a replacement for a Mag-Lite, or do I need to look for a specific voltage and other things to make that determination? Please help. I also found this and thought it might work: http://www.defensedevices.com/terral...d-maglite.html as well as this: http://www.led-replacement.com/2_maglite.html What do any of you think is the best option, or am I way off track because I don't know what the heck I am doing? Please give suggestions. Thank you.
    Last edited by corjamwel; 07-03-2008 at 03:42 PM. Reason: add more information

  4. #4

    Default Re: Princeton Tec Vortec upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by corjamwel View Post
    I did take a bulb out of my 2D Mag-Lite and tried it in my Princeton Tec headlamp and it fit just fine other than being maybe a millimeter or two longer, but when I screwed down the cover on the headlamp I got one quick flash of light and then the bulb was shot, so I don't know if it will really work. Can anyone verify whether or not this is the case. If so, then couldn't I use any led bulb meant as a replacement for a Mag-Lite, or do I need to look for a specific voltage and other things to make that determination?
    Your 2-cell Maglite provides 3 volts to the bulb, while the Vortec feeds 6 volts to the bulb. That's why your bulb insta-flashed... it was too heavily overdriven. I BELIEVE that any LED "bulb" that'll work in a 4-cell Maglite will work in your Vortec... however, the reflectors that Princeton Tec uses in the Vortec (and the Solo, and the Tec 40, etc...) are pretty wide and shallow, so a Lambertian ("high dome") LED (like is used in the Mag-LED "bulbs") might give off a really ugly beam, compared to an old-style side-emitting Luxeon I. As I mentioned in my last post, though, I've never actually tried a high dome LED in a PT reflector, so I might just be making things up.

    The Terralux Ministar 1 will work in your headlamp (as in, it should light up and not insta-flash). However, it uses a high-dome LED, so my reflector disclaimer from the previous paragraph applies. I wouldn't try any LED module in your headlamp that isn't advertised as working in a 4-cell flashlight, of course.

    I shopped around, and couldn't find the EverLed Classic for less that $40-ish, which sucks. For that kind of money, you could just buy a PT EOS and forget about your Vortec!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Princeton Tec Vortec upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by vtunderground View Post
    I've never actually tried a high dome LED in a PT reflector, so I might just be making things up.
    Well, curiosity got the best of me, so I went out and bought a couple of different LED drop-ins for my PT Solo headlamp (the 2-cell brother of the OP's Vortec). The Solo uses the same reflector as the Vortec & most of the other old-style Princeton Tec lights.

    The PT reflector is wide and shallow, and clearly designed for an incandescent bulb. The bulb sticks out pretty far into the reflector, which is OK because the incandescent filament radiates light in all directions... so the whole reflector is used to reflect light forward. With an LED drop-in (lambertian-style Luxeon or Seoul emitter), the emitter die SHOULD be at the same distance relative to the front & back of the reflector as the incandescent filament was. However, since an LED emits light forward & off to the sides, but not behind itself, only a small portion of the PT reflector actually reflects light given off by the LED.

    Because of this, using a lambertian-style LED drop-in in a PT reflector gives you a fairly dim spot with an ugly donut hole, BUT also just about the widest spill beam I have ever seen from a reflectored LED light! The good news is that if you use the textured reflector instead of the smooth reflector, the spot is very much smoothed out, and becomes quite tolerable.

    So.... I was wrong... as it turns out, lambertian LED drop-ins do work well in the old-style PT lights (as long as the textured reflector is used). My next step is to replace the 1-watt Luxeon in a Dorcy drop-in module with an SSC P4... if it works out well, I'll start a new thread with pictures.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Princeton Tec Vortec upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by corjamwel View Post
    ...I can use the Nite-Ize led bulb meant as a upgrade/replacement for Mag-Lite flashlights. I did take a bulb out of my 2D Mag-Lite and tried it in my Princeton Tec headlamp and it fit just fine other than being maybe a millimeter or two longer, but when I screwed down the cover on the headlamp I got one quick flash of light and then the bulb was shot, so I don't know if it will really work...
    Nite-Ize bulbs are very dim. Go w/vtunderground's suggestion for an LED upgrade "bulb". i used the TerraLux in several old incand lights. i've used the older, harder to find, side-emitters and like them very much. they work better in some reflectors than the high dome Lambertian version, but occasionally worse. haven't tried it in my Tec-40 or Vortec yet.

    vtunderground's advice was for a bulb out of a *3-cell* MagLite, NOT a 2-cell Maglite. did you mean to type 2-cell in your Post? are 2-cell and 3-cell bulbs the same in MagLites? i don't know. if so, the 2-cell must be pretty dim or the bulb life must be very short in a 3-cell, i would guess. also, if the brighter, typically only $1 more expensive MagLite MagnumStar are the way to go vs. the standard MagLite Krypton Star bulbs. i've used these in some semi-hot wires (e.g. bored out Dorcy 2xAA, now using 3xC123A w/ a 6 D-cell MagLite Magnum Star bulb). when i get home fr/work later today, let me see if i have a 3-cell MagLite bulb & try it in my Vortec or Tec-40 w/alk. AND NiMH cells (two diff. tests, of course) and see if it insta-flashes. i'll post back if i have a 3-cell bulb and can perform the test.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Princeton Tec Vortec upgrade?

    Most any option you pick to convert to LED is going to cost more an be less effective than a brand new light. I think its time to retire the vortec. Which was way to front heavy anyhow. Got rid of mine a long time ago.

    PS The mag LED bulbs will not fit. Tried it myself.
    Light is the activity of what is transparent - Aristotle

  8. #8

    Default Re: Princeton Tec Vortec upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by cave dave View Post
    I think its time to retire the vortec. Which was way to front heavy anyhow. Got rid of mine a long time ago
    Yeah, I never understood why PT opted to go for a 4AA up front design, instead of having a rear-mounted battery pack.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Princeton Tec Vortec upgrade?

    I know this thread is ancient, but I was in Wal-Mart this past weekend and bought a Nite Ize LED replacement bulb. I first threw it in my 3D (with 4C's in it) Maglite and it wasn't too bad for a $9 LED. Then I threw it in my Princeton Tec Vortec with the stippled reflector and it's not that bad of an upgrade. Not a lot of throw, but a very usable flood light. It would be a great 'round the house power outage headlamp or a good around the campfire light. Virtually no throw, but a good flood.

    For $9 bucks, try it out. Cheaper than a beer and hotdog at a baseball game.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Princeton Tec Vortec upgrade?

    Vampire bump! Picked up an ebay special PT Vortec a while back (because I always liked my Solo a lot) and figured I'd drop some Chinese wonder-LED replacement in there. Well, tried a few including some of decent quality and found that they all sit way too high and just create a pure flood headlamp... Maybe not the worst possible problem but still not ideal. Is anybody aware of a decent PR LED replacement for this headlamp? Basically it would need to have a very low stack height or it would need to be side firing like that old EverLED mentioned earlier.

    I really don't need a ton of output and in fact just coming close to the factory lumens would be fine (beam shape dependent). Would be using this light as a emergency kit or the like. Especially since heat dissipation won't exist through the polymer body.

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