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Thread: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

  1. #61
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    I own one, never use it; waste of batteries.

    If, for some reason, all of my other AAA lights vanish or die, and I am desperate for a AAA light, I may use it. Unless, of course, there is a store open which may have something else for sale....
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  2. #62

    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Had one back in the 80's---came free when you bought a 2-pack of Camel smokes and had the Camel logo on the side----carried it on the keychain for awhile till I got on a lightening the EDC load kick and it was one of the first useless items to go.

    I think its out in the garage somewhere but don't recall actually seeing it for 5 or 6 years

  3. #63
    Flashaholic* Timothybil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Back in the day I had a Solitaire. As far as I am concerned the best feature was the fact that you could unscrew the head, turn it around and slide the body into it, and use the light as a small candle. My ex-wife's church always does the candle thing at the end of the Christmas Eve service. When my nephew was at that small, grabby stage he wanted a light candle to hold. I whipped out my Solitaire and unscrewed the head and let him hold that. He was so happy and proud that he had a candle and that no one else had one like his. I had a hard time getting it back from his!. Later, one of my sister-in-law's mother was admiring it on my keychain, so I took it off and gave it to her. She was tickled pink that I would do that. I had discovered Photon IIs by that time so it was no big thing on my part. Still, it was a nice little light, and a good EDC for its time.
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  4. #64
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Ok, as it was me who opened that topic, it's time for an update

    Contrary to popular belief, yes, there's good use for this old crappy thing and I've been using it almost all the time since I bought it It's indeed very helpful at night as a one-mode, low-mode light. It's plenty for at night, when I'm in the bed in total darkness and want to find my water bottle or the TV remote.

    - one mode (no confusion)
    - low mode comes first always and is LOW (no blinding)
    - inexpensive - for the use that I have for it, I don't need a high-tech waterproof, damage proof, everything proof light
    - lightweight - I often attach it to a lanyard on my neck at night, so that I always know where to find it when I toss & turn on the bed
    - surprisingly reliable (vs. its modern crappy, flickering, cheap and awful LED Solitaire)
    ~ ~ ~ Why did God create the night? So that we can use our flashlights. ~ ~ ~

  5. #65
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    It really is a crappy light. But before I got some decent LED lights that have a moonlight mode, I did use it for the purpose of getting up in the night and not ruining my night vision. It seemed like a much better/brighter light 20 years ago. I still have it, but will probably never use it again. Even the worst LED lights today are much better than it.

  6. #66
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    My main complaint now about the Solitaire is that it's too bright for a keychain light! I gather we're still talking about the incan one in this thread since a price of ~$6 was mentioned, so I imagine stores maybe still have both versions in stock and are clearancing the incans? I was gifted the LED one, and it's been very handy to have when I am running or something and don't want a heavy flashlight pulling my pants down

  7. #67
    Flashaholic N_N_R's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Yeah, the topic is the incan one I also bought the LED later, but it's been so unreliable that I thought the incan was 100 times better. A meager amount of light coming out in the dark is better than no light at all...
    ~ ~ ~ Why did God create the night? So that we can use our flashlights. ~ ~ ~

  8. #68
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    I've noticed too, apparently the switching contact point is collecting buildup, but you can't really get to that part to clean it without maybe breaking something. It's too bad, because if it were more reliable, it would be a great light. Still, not bad for a first version.

    I've also noticed it may have a low battery cutoff, wish I'd actually metered the cell, but it was a cheapo heavy duty AAA (lol), and consistently, the solitaire would shut off ~1s after turning on.

    For a while, a common mod was to simply insert 3mm white LED. Wonder if any of the big names makes a higher output 3mm white LED now, what with efficiency advances and such...

  9. #69
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Quote Originally Posted by bshanahan14rulz View Post
    I've also noticed it may have a low battery cutoff, wish I'd actually metered the cell, but it was a cheapo heavy duty AAA (lol), and consistently, the solitaire would shut off ~1s after turning on.
    Do incandescents have a cutoff voltage? I always thought they'd continue to glow as the voltage and current dropped, until they were so dim you couldn't see them, or perhaps were glowing only in faint infrared light. Aren't incandescent bulbs just simple resistors?

    Maybe this was the case of a depleted battery that would be able to supply a modest current for a second, before it dropped to a very small trickle under load.

  10. #70
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight View Post
    Do incandescents have a cutoff voltage? I always thought they'd continue to glow as the voltage and current dropped, until they were so dim you couldn't see them, or perhaps were glowing only in faint infrared light. Aren't incandescent bulbs just simple resistors?

    Maybe this was the case of a depleted battery that would be able to supply a modest current for a second, before it dropped to a very small trickle under load.
    Well, in theory the output of a filament is related the the fourth power of voltage, so in theory an ideal cell would gracefully droop in output. Let's calculate!
    The bulb is rated at 1.2v. Once you go from 1.2v to 1.0v, for example, the light output drops from (Say) 5 lumens to 2.5 lumens. 0.8v (A dead cell) would give 1 lumens. 0.6v, about a third of a lumen. If a voltage source delivered X voltage, we could predict Y output, roughly speaking.
    V Lumens
    1.2 5.0
    1.0 2.4
    0.8 1.0
    0.6 0.3

    In practice, AAAs at such high current draw, especially alkaleaks, tend to drop their output voltage quickly. So we are seeing not just a low voltage (See table above), but a fast-dropping voltage. Once the AAAs output voltage falls (from exhausted chemistry, etc) the output drops much faster.
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  11. #71
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Quote Originally Posted by AnAppleSnail View Post
    Well, in theory the output of a filament is related the the fourth power of voltage, so in theory an ideal cell would gracefully droop in output. Let's calculate!
    The bulb is rated at 1.2v. Once you go from 1.2v to 1.0v, for example, the light output drops from (Say) 5 lumens to 2.5 lumens. 0.8v (A dead cell) would give 1 lumens. 0.6v, about a third of a lumen. If a voltage source delivered X voltage, we could predict Y output, roughly speaking.
    V Lumens
    1.2 5.0
    1.0 2.4
    0.8 1.0
    0.6 0.3

    In practice, AAAs at such high current draw, especially alkaleaks, tend to drop their output voltage quickly. So we are seeing not just a low voltage (See table above), but a fast-dropping voltage. Once the AAAs output voltage falls (from exhausted chemistry, etc) the output drops much faster.
    I think one main reason is that while brightness of LEDs is pretty linear to voltage the brightness of incandescents is not. I compared the brightness of my MagCharger between the 6V(5x1,2V 1/2D-cell) and 3xD 1,2V NiMH. With 3D cells (3,6V) the brightness was 1/6 as it was with 6V battery.

  12. #72
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    No, I lost mine

    Never bothered to buy a new one. Some time later, when I was sick of the long 2AA maglite on my belt I bought a Fenix L1T.

  13. #73
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Got two of them on my Swiss Army knife Swiss Champ kits.
    A friend carried one on us keychain for years till one day he broke the small ring off the body.
    I purchased a Led Lenser P3AFS for him and never looked back.
    Guess I'm going to have to look at the Klaris light to fill the Swiss Champ sheath hole.
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  14. #74
    *Flashaholic* js's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    The Solitaire, like Maglites in general, definitely has a problem with contact resistance buildup in the light. Years ago I noticed that when a mini-mag or other mag was new, I was reasonably pleased with it, but then, after a while, even with new batteries and a new bulb, it just didn't seem as good. When I got my first "real" light--Arc AAA--and joined this forum, I actually took to doing the "maglite" test everytime I was at someone else's house and saw a maglite. I would grab it and turn it on. And almost without exception, the lights were dim and yellowy. Of course sometimes it was old batteries. Other times it was blackened bulbs, since the stock mag bulbs aren't halogens. But no matter what, eventually, without a lot of maintenance to the contact points (and there are a lot of them), they just . . . fade. There are a lot of bare aluminum to aluminum or steel or other metal joints.

    The solitaire I owned ages and ages ago was no exception. Just faded. I even changed the bulb. No dice. And, as we all know, the light is pretty low output to begin with!

    For preserving nightvision, a red LED light is much better than a dim incan any day in my opinion. And I used to teach astronomy lab and am still a sometime amateur astronomer. My light back when I taught astronomy lab was a mini-mag with the red plastic lens installed. And, as usual, I was reasonably happy with it at first. But a year later, not so much.

    For a keychain light, single mode, low brightness for use with night adapted eyes, I always use my Arc AAA--or now, my McGizmo Sapphire GS. Granted, the Sapphire is a $150 light, though! LOL!

    Personally, I wouldn't buy a Solitaire even for $5. But, I think this thread is cool and I definitely have no issues with or judgement to pass towards those who--for whatever reasons--recently bought one or more incan Solitaires! LOL! To each his or her own! Enjoy!
    -Jim Sexton, creator of the M6-R, the TigerLight Upgrades, Fixture-ring lamp potting, the SL60, co-designer of the B90 Upgrade, and proponent of the SF A2, the SF M6 X-LOLA, Titanium, the Haiku, and the LunaSol 20

  15. #75
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Stumbling across this thread I remembered I had a Solitaire stashed in a box in my garage. Its been there unused and exposed to cold, damp and hi humidity conditions for at least 8 years. Anyway, I dug it out and switched it on just to see and was surprised to see it still worked with the original Duracell AAA that expired in 2009! The battery is still showing around 90% power on the powercheck surprisingly too....

    I shall now have to find a use for it!


  16. #76
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Quote Originally Posted by AnAppleSnail View Post
    Well, in theory the output of a filament is related the the fourth power of voltage, so in theory an ideal cell would gracefully droop in output. Let's calculate!
    The bulb is rated at 1.2v. Once you go from 1.2v to 1.0v, for example, the light output drops from (Say) 5 lumens to 2.5 lumens. 0.8v (A dead cell) would give 1 lumens. 0.6v, about a third of a lumen. If a voltage source delivered X voltage, we could predict Y output, roughly speaking.
    V Lumens
    1.2 5.0
    1.0 2.4
    0.8 1.0
    0.6 0.3

    In practice, AAAs at such high current draw, especially alkaleaks, tend to drop their output voltage quickly. So we are seeing not just a low voltage (See table above), but a fast-dropping voltage. Once the AAAs output voltage falls (from exhausted chemistry, etc) the output drops much faster.
    Total emission IS proportional to the fourth power of temperature. However, as the temperature decreases, the wavelength of maximum emission increases in direct proportion (according to Wien's Displacement Law). So as voltage decreases, output of visible light decreases due to both the fourth power relationship with temperature AND the fact that the emission peak is pushed into the infrared wavelengths. This shifting in the frequency of maximum output is also why incandescent lights get more orange as voltage is decreased.

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight View Post
    Aren't incandescent bulbs just simple resistors?
    Not exactly. A simple resistor is a linear resistor. That is, one that follows Ohm's Law (V = RI) with a constant resistance (R). In an incandescent bulb, the resistance of the tungsten filament increases as it gets hotter, which happens when more current flows through it. So although an incandescent bulb provides resistance, the value of the resistance increases wih the voltage applied to it. Incidently, this property of providing increasing resistance with increasing current makes incandescent bulbs useful in some instances as a current limiter. Unlike a linear resistor, they have low resistance when current flow is low, thus wasting less power when it is not necessary to do so.
    Last edited by StorminMatt; 08-17-2014 at 02:11 PM.

  17. #77
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    on the maglite website it states that the incan solitaire has a 20m beam with 2 lumens....is that some kind of joke?

  18. #78

    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Quote Originally Posted by masterP View Post
    on the maglite website it states that the incan solitaire has a 20m beam with 2 lumens....is that some kind of joke?
    sounds about right to me but in use I doubt most folks would see much of anything with it 60 feet away even in pitch dark conditions.
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  19. #79
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    sorry, I'm new to the forum and joined because I'm switching all my old incan flashlights to LED but find all the ratings a bit confusing.

    I just don't see how a 2 lumen solitaire has a 20m beam? I can only see anything with it at 2 feet max. if I didn't know better I'd read the package and think I could see 20m away with this flashlight. luckily I've had many different maglites and consider the solitaire kind of a novelty key chain.

    at best it's good for finding the key hole to open your door

    another thing I find a bit misleading is the packaging on the new maglites......some packages have the lumens number in a yellow box on the front.....but the really weak maglites have the beam distance in the same color yellow box with "beam distance" in small print.

    I'm sure a lot of people have mistaken the big number on the front package as the lumen output without reading the small print. I think it's a bit sneaky on maglite's part

  20. #80
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    Default Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    I use mine at least weekly... I love that It's single mode, so no mess ups/bright flashes when waking up early and trying to get dressed in the dark without waking my wife! I threw some diffusion film on it to help flood the beam and clean it up a bit. Yes I know there are better lights, but I love that ole Incan light color, love that it's made of metal, love that it's made in the USA, and love that it was $5... So I'm a fan! It works for my needs and was cheap!

    Btw....Try using a single match for more than 10 mins... Tell me how it goes... I personally find them tough to hold as the flame reaches my finger tips and it gets a bit dark when it burns out



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    Last edited by BloodCleanSoul; 05-05-2015 at 10:57 PM.

  21. #81

    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    For Maglites smaller than 2AA, i generally get LEDs. But all my larger Maglites (2D,3D,3D,4D,5D,6D) are incandescent. I like the simplicity and classic appeal of an incandescent Maglite. Their the only flashlights I own. My main worklight (6D) is way more power than I would ever need. So, i don't really see the need for an LED. Happy lighting!

  22. #82

    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Quote Originally Posted by jabe1 View Post
    I own one, never use it; waste of batteries.

    If, for some reason, all of my other AAA lights vanish or die, and I am desperate for a AAA light, I may use it. Unless, of course, there is a store open which may have something else for sale....
    yeah i lost my 2AAA led mini mag. it was my pocket carry light. wish i could find it

  23. #83
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    The solitaire is everything wrong with incan lights with none of the benefits
    When I bought one as my first EDC light, I was so dissapointed- a fauxton was cheaper, brighter, and lasted longer
    Low power with no "reflected" light? A zippo lighter puts out a better quality light

  24. #84
    Flashaholic* sween1911's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    You guys are killin me! I had a Solitaire back in the day (mid-1990's) always on my keys. Back then, I don't recall a lot of other lights that were bright enough to get the job done, small enough to carry everywhere, and tough enough to survive. Of course there are a million better choices today, but IMHO, the Solitaire paved the way. Right now, my keychain light is a Fenix E01.

    I was just thinking that I actually did like the UI of the Mag a little better - crank it down tight to turn off. It's sealed and good to go on your keychain or in your pocket. When you need it, you loosen it. The head of the Fenix E01 is loosened in your pocket, and tightened to turn on. I've had at least one light (Streamlight Nano) with that UI lose the head entirely and dump it and the batteries into my pocket. Now to be fair, the design of the Fenix is such that it's unlikely that the head will rotate entirely to come off during daily carry, but it's still one of the things that makes me appreciate the Mag design.
    Last edited by sween1911; 05-26-2015 at 06:56 AM.
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  25. #85

    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Yeah, back in the late 80's the solitaire was pretty much the only quality key chain light available. Yes it's 2 lumens sucked back then too, but that was all there was for incandescent light running off of a single AAA.


    I switched to a photon for my keys as soon as the white LEDs came out. More recently, I wanted to switch to an AAA LED. I wanted something that had the head tight when off so it wouldn't turn on or disassemble itself in my pocket like the loose when off lights that I have tried have done. After searching, about the only tight when off LED I could find was the LED solitaire!

  26. #86

    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    I think the original Solitaire is an incredible bargain for the amount of engineering you get. If the stock output is insufficient, it is now nearly effortless to boost its output (at the cost of runtime) to MiniMag lumens. There are (or were) others, but near as I can tell incan Solitaire is the only single cell AAA incandescent light still manufactured and commercially available. IOW, its the best there is at what it is. Any light its fierce and confident critics now compare to it most likely will not be... at least none of the favorites I've ever seen mentioned in comparison to it. It can no longer be fairly compared to anything, unless there is a sub-$10 AAA flood2throw keychain light with very warm emitter.

  27. #87
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Uh, yeah, I carried the incan version for a short time (a couple of months) but I was in all honestly usually underwhelmed when I needed it. So I stopped carrying it and went without anything for many years.

    Then I was attending an Avalanche game in Denver's McNichols Arena, before the Pepsi Center was built, I was in the men's room at intermission when the power went. That's a lesson there. So I started carrying a Gerber Tempo AAA LED as EDC from then until a few months ago. Then I saw the LED version of the Solitaire and liked it a lot and it became my EDC. Then I stumbled upon y'all and picked up a Fenix e05 2014 and a Zebralight H52w but the LED Solitaire still gets some use.

    OK, back to the incan. I was showing my wife the new LED version and lamenting the old one. She thought of a use and adopted the old 2 lum for use at night to figure out what the dogs might be up to. So yes, it is still being used.

    And that's my story...

  28. #88

    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    I used one for a while for my trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night light. Very easy on the eyes.

  29. #89

    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    I actually just picked up two of these for cheap this weekend, the incan versions. I've heard of them but never seen them in stores that I frequent. What appealed to me was the low lumen output, only 2. That's actually what I was looking for.

    It's not an absolutely USELESS, or HORRIBLE piece of trash, but it certainly could be better. I can see how, when it was released, it was the cat's meow considering what else was available and how UNavailable anything in LED was.

    I'll likely be posting some questions about them after I've exhausted the search function and read everything else on the forum(s).

  30. #90
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    I've got about 10 of them I'm giving away to a friend of mine. he LOVES them

    I think they're total garbage

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