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

  1. #121

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

    It would be much nicer if the light output was smoother, less rings and artifacts, shadowing... I can deal with 2lm output, this is a potty in the middle of the night, light. The one that wakes no one and doesn't ruin your night vision.. but the beam pattern is atrocious!

    Other than that, I rather like them. If the LED Solitaire had two modes, a 1 or 2 lumen low, and 10-30lm high, in a neutral-warm tint, that'd be one heck of a handy light!

  2. #122
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Nice patina, WhiteBat, a very scratched light, I like.

    Agree with JasonJ about the rings, artifact, etc.

    And so I hope that Maglite will release some day a Solitaire-led in warm tint.

  3. #123

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

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonJ View Post
    It would be much nicer if the light output was smoother, less rings and artifacts, shadowing... I can deal with 2lm output, this is a potty in the middle of the night, light. The one that wakes no one and doesn't ruin your night vision.. but the beam pattern is atrocious!
    Agreed.

    Not that long ago, there were replacement custom parts available for the incan Solitaire, such as a ceramic socket for the lamp, aluminum reflector, and glass lens. These parts would allow for really fun modding, for high power output using single (10440) or double (10180+spacer) cell Li-ions, along with a replacement lamp that matched the voltage.

    But whomever acquired these parts while they were available never came back to share their experience nor showed off their blinding incan Solitaire. What did these CPF members do with those parts? No one really knows what happened to the lost colony of incan Solitaire modders. :/

    Beside my point, really, which is the incan Solitaire would benefit massively from a reflector replacement that didn't have that annoying outer bright ring, but instead a typical reflector to give it a nice even spill, even if only with the original 2lm lamp output.

  4. #124

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

    I just did some measurements on the Solitaire bulb. It is 1.25 Volts 0.2 Amps rated so 0.25 Watts by extrapolation. I am pleased to see these still for sale in the big stores and picked up a blue one to have one for when I want quality light but not much of it.

    Edit to say that looking at the recipt the Solitaire was only £1 so amazing value for a nifty little light.
    Last edited by Minimoog; 12-24-2016 at 06:48 PM.

  5. #125

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

    Is this a difficult mod fitting the xenon mini mag bulb minimoog??
    Quote Originally Posted by Minimoog View Post
    The Solitaire is my favourite small incan - after fitting the Xenon MiniMag bulb, spacer and LiFe battery. It now shines brighter than the MiniMag and has a nicer beam. https://www.dropbox.com/s/msj1gs1ien...15648.jpg?dl=0

  6. #126

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

    Quote Originally Posted by gurdygurds View Post
    Is this a difficult mod fitting the xenon mini mag bulb minimoog??
    Allow me to... yes... it can be very tricky if your eyesight is poor and your fingers are stubby.

    Has anyone thought to take, say, the driver from a Fenix EO5, and use it to build into a Solitaire tailcap to give it modes and regulated output? This would be a nice additional mod to the Mini Mag lamp/LiFePO4 upgrade. This would require a glass lens, aluminum reflector, ceramic socket, and a lamp that could handle it. Is there an easy way to add modes/regulation to a Solitaire?
    Last edited by chillinn; 01-05-2017 at 05:50 AM.

  7. #127
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Problem is the driver is for LEDs so it controls current. An Incan needs control of voltage. Plus you need positive as well to work which is why electronics are always in the head. Aw had a difficult time making the soft start tail cap because of that. And it didn't provide regulation

  8. #128

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

    In darkness at 4:30am I reached over to the bedside table and found a Solitaire, which provided plenty of light to see by walking down the hallway to the coffee pot, then eventually a light switch. Sliding light switch to on was a shock that caused me to think I shoulda kept using the Solitaire but 10 seconds later the Solitaire woulda seemed not bright enough to lit room adapted eyeballs.

    Mmmmmm coffee...
    John 3:16

  9. #129

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

    Wow, that was odd. The double post floated in cyber-ville for 2 hours...

    Oh, well.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 01-05-2017 at 05:08 PM.
    John 3:16

  10. #130

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

    Last night, all out of minimag lamps, happened across a couple Brinkmann bipins from their Solitaire competitor, and ran one with an alkaline in my Solitaire. My eyes were dark adapted, so I really enjoyed playing with the light. I turned it on, and never turned it off until the cell was depleted. I think this took close to 4 hours before the filiment went completely dark. I realize Solitaire fans keep saying this, but it is true... incan Solitaire is an incredible value, even with its single mode, which is effectively a moonlight/firefly. Everyone raves about moonlight mode, yet the incan Solitaire is mocked and ignored.


    Quote Originally Posted by vicv View Post
    Problem is the driver is for LEDs so it controls current. An Incan needs control of voltage. Plus you need positive as well to work which is why electronics are always in the head. Aw had a difficult time making the soft start tail cap because of that. And it didn't provide regulation
    Well, I hope there is enough interest in one who could design and build incan drivers for us Solitaire users. The Noctiluco LiFePO4/minimag mod is sweet, but it's only 20 minutes or so of runtime. With a 25/50/100 or 10/30/90 driver, that could stretch runtime and usefulness, and strech lamp life. Also, it would be super neat... ideally constant current, moded, brightness regulated incan Solitaire with minimag brightness, and stock Solitaire brightness modes, and one in between. C'mon folks... you know you'd buy it if it was available... would just be a replacement spring with lil driver attached, stuffed in the tail.
    Last edited by chillinn; 01-05-2017 at 07:01 PM.

  11. #131

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

    Unfortunately, the Solitaire only has a moonlight mode, while many other lights have moonlight + a range of other modes, but I do agree that it's underappreciated for close range use at home or in the car.

    By the way, has anybody ever tried to keep track of bulb life when using Eneloops? I've heard that Maglite advises against using NiMH in their incandescents, because although the initial voltage is lower, the average voltage over the life of the cell is higher, which they claim kills bulbs faster.

    For my part, I'm less hesitant to use and appreciate the light if it has rechargeables in it, and assume NiMH will offer more consistent brightness than alkalines.

  12. #132

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

    Quote Originally Posted by iamlucky13 View Post
    Unfortunately, the Solitaire only has a moonlight mode, while many other lights have moonlight + a range of other modes,
    Yes, but it is a fair point that once you decide to use moonlight mode, you keep on using it. What I mean is that when your eyes are dark adapted, and you are resigned to using moonlight, unless you have another low mode, like 1lm, you generally only use the moonlight mode for that period, because once you jump up to even 20lm for even 30 seconds, your dark adaptation is gone and will take some time to return. Thus, having only a single mode that is moonlight is not the disadvantage that it appears to be at first.

    Quote Originally Posted by iamlucky13 View Post
    For my part, I'm less hesitant to use and appreciate the light if it has rechargeables in it, and assume NiMH will offer more consistent brightness than alkalines.
    The Solitaire definitely dims over the depletion of an alkaline, but I only notice it once the charge is below 1.2V. I think with 1.2V NiMH, you're in firefly lumen territory, and the lamp gets yellower the less juice you give it. That could be fine for you, depending. I edited to reply to this because I remembered Kentli. Though it would be nutty expensive, Kentli makes Li-ion secondary cells that are actually AA/AAA cells with 1.5V charge. That 1.5V charge is dang-near regulated for the life of the charge... you can search for the reviews here on CPF, it is an interesting cell. Again, Kentli cells are crazy expensive, so upgrading your Solitaire with one would cost a lot, and it would be easy to destroy the cells with over-depletion, killing the investment. Nevertheless, Kenti will give you a regulated output on a Solitaire that is just as close as regulation in a driver, and give you the MagLite claimed brightness of 2lm at constant brightness, though it will likely reduce lamp life for running exactly 1.5V for the duration of its capacity.
    Last edited by chillinn; 01-05-2017 at 10:05 PM.

  13. #133
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    A single NIMH is fine. I can't notice any output difference to an alkaline

  14. #134
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    Default Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    After reading this thread, I dug up the Incan Solitaire that my wife used to carry on her keyring years ago... Replaced the about-to-leak alkaline with a NiMH AAA, and compared it with my usual LED bedside light in Moonlight mode while walking around the dark house. Honestly, the beam is horrible... More hole than donut, and it's still full of artifacts when adjusted to "throw". What it needs I think is some diffuser film on the lens. If the beam can be cleaned up, it might make a decent bedside light.
    Last edited by ronniepudding; 01-06-2017 at 07:11 AM.

  15. #135
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Something I've always been curious of. What is everyone's obsession with perfect round beams? The solitaires beam may be ringy but it still lights up what you want to see. The artifacts do not in any way hinder the lights purpose.
    And an equal lumen led light will not have the throw either

  16. #136
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    All the lights I had in the 80s and 90s had beams full of artifacts, and I had no inclination that there might (someday) be something better. And, yes, they worked fine for their intended purpose. These days I'm spoiled by the clean beams that LEDs in textured reflectors can produce. Turning on the Solitaire last night brought me back to the previous century

    I have other (bigger) Maglites, so I was *expecting* its beam to be imperfect, but the Solitaire dramatically exceeded my expectations.

    I'm not trying to rain on the Solitaire parade... It should be easily fixable. Especially since my only expectation is that it reliably produce a sublumen amount of light.

  17. #137

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

    I have a gray one arriving today. Looking forward to that warm low output beam.

  18. #138

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

    Has anyone tried sanding the plastic lens to diffuse the beam?

  19. #139

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

    WELL I HAVE!! Just got the light, even more rings and artifacts than I was anticipating, so without delay grabbed my trusty 100 grit and went to work on the lens. Roughed it up real good and it smoothed out the beam quite nicely. Since this guy will just see around the house late night\dark adapted eyes duty I think we are going to get along just fine!

    image by Six Pound Cat, on Flickr
    Quote Originally Posted by gurdygurds View Post
    Has anyone tried sanding the plastic lens to diffuse the beam?
    Last edited by gurdygurds; 01-07-2017 at 06:00 PM.

  20. #140

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

    deleted
    (sorry, Lamptronix lamps deserve their own new thread... no mention of them on CPF)
    Last edited by chillinn; 01-07-2017 at 10:27 PM.

  21. #141

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

    I did a quick test with Scotch tape over the bezel. The artifacts disappeared, but the beam also became too diffuse and seemed much dimmer as a result - at tightest zoom, the beam was about how I'd want it at widest zoom.

    With the tape over the bezel like this, however, the diffusion happens past all the optics. I think gurdygurds got a slightly tighter beam than I did.

    Quote Originally Posted by vicv View Post
    Something I've always been curious of. What is everyone's obsession with perfect round beams? The solitaires beam may be ringy but it still lights up what you want to see. The artifacts do not in any way hinder the lights purpose.
    And an equal lumen led light will not have the throw either
    The first issue is I find uneven illumination distracting. More subtly, because the uneven illumination means you can't easily tell how bright or dark some surfaces are compared to each other, the ability to tell what exactly you're seeing is reduced. In other words, I contend it can hinder the purpose of seeing to some degree.

    If the Solitaire can be improved in this regards, I'm likely to use it more.

  22. #142

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

    Yes the sanding I did reduced output a bit I'm sure. But for me with this little incan light I know I'm not going to get a great quality beam. I've just been enjoying the low output and the warm tint around the house at night. I've also enjoyed spinning the head off and letting it burn like a candle. Cool little light.
    Quote Originally Posted by iamlucky13 View Post
    I did a quick test with Scotch tape over the bezel. The artifacts disappeared, but the beam also became too diffuse and seemed much dimmer as a result - at tightest zoom, the beam was about how I'd want it at widest zoom.

    With the tape over the bezel like this, however, the diffusion happens past all the optics. I think gurdygurds got a slightly tighter beam than I did.



    The first issue is I find uneven illumination distracting. More subtly, because the uneven illumination means you can't easily tell how bright or dark some surfaces are compared to each other, the ability to tell what exactly you're seeing is reduced. In other words, I contend it can hinder the purpose of seeing to some degree.

    If the Solitaire can be improved in this regards, I'm likely to use it more.

  23. #143

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

    Quote Originally Posted by gurdygurds View Post
    Yes the sanding I did reduced output a bit I'm sure. But for me with this little incan light I know I'm not going to get a great quality beam. I've just been enjoying the low output and the warm tint around the house at night. I've also enjoyed spinning the head off and letting it burn like a candle. Cool little light.
    Yup.
    The incan Solitaire is what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. No getting around that part.
    Some like it. Some don't.

    I see it as a battery powered birthday candle. One that doesn't drip wax all over my cake, get shorter in a few minutes or blow out when walking down a dark hallway.
    John 3:16

  24. #144
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Ahhh, the Maglite Solitaire - I have one right here, it's green. I don't think I've ever used this one. I just tried putting a battery in it, negligible improvement in output. How do you put these in to high mode?

    Just my opinion:
    Incandescent lights are not efficient enough to put out good light from small batteries.
    The only incandescent lights I use nowadays are my Maglite D sized lights - they can pack enough battery power to let me output decent light levels and still get acceptable run times.
    Except my 8 x 18650 (Elephant II body) incan - that doesn't get very good run times at all, maybe 10 to 15 minutes at most (but it DOES output a LOT of light).

    If we are talking about 1 x AAA then I'm afraid LED kicks butt every time!
    I have some nice lights in that size that put out good high CRI light and still get good run time, Nichia beats incan in terms of usefulness at this size.
    So many lights, so little money (cause I spent it on lights). I'm not afraid of the dark, the dark is afraid of ME!

  25. #145

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

    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiMark View Post
    How do you put these in to high mode?
    See instruction HERE and HERE

    tl;dr High mode is achieved by adding small washer beneath reflector and replacing lamp with Mini Mag lamp or Lamptronix lamp, and using 3.2V LiFePO4 10440 cell or 4.2V LiMn 10440 cell, respectively, which achieves output and runtime of ~12-15lm for 20 minutes or ~7-10lm for 50 minutes, respectively.

    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiMark View Post
    If we are talking about 1 x AAA then I'm afraid LED kicks butt every time!
    Not every time! For at least two challenges, incan beats the pants out of LED:
    accurate color rendition, and throw.
    LED still can't touch these exceptional qualities of incan lamps.
    Last edited by chillinn; 01-09-2017 at 08:32 PM.

  26. #146
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Quote Originally Posted by chillinn View Post
    See instruction HERE and HERE

    tl;dr High mode is achieved by adding small washer beneath reflector and replacing lamp with Mini Mag lamp or Lamptronix lamp, and using 3.2V LiFePO4 10440 cell or 4.2V LiMn 10440 cell, respectively, which achieves output and runtime of ~12-15lm for 20 minutes or ~7-10lm for 50 minutes, respectively.



    Not every time! For at least two challenges, incan beats the pants out of LED:
    accurate color rendition, and throw.
    LED still can't touch these exceptional qualities of incan lamps.
    Yeah, I don't call 12-15lm high mode, that's barely medium.

    I'm not sure I can agree about throw either, I've got LED lights that can throw more than 600m and I know you can get LEDs with more than 1,000m of throw. Just how far does a Maglite Solitaire throw?

    Colour rendition - yeah, that would be right. Do you know what flashlight puts out decent lumens, runs for 2 hours and has a really nice output with very high CRI? My Maglite 2D with ROP low bulb powered by 2 x 32650 Li-Ion cells. I regularly use that light in the garage and take it camping. When camping with all the green and brown you really do get better light from an incan!
    I've just gotten in some 26650 cells that I might have to swap to if I can't find some good 32650 cells though, the 32650 cells are getting hard to find from a source that will ship to me - but the 26650 cells have more capacity than my current 32650 cells anyway.
    On a very small light I'm willing to compromise and run a Nichia LED with high CRI, it doesn't match an incan for CRI but I think it is good enough for most purposes and the other benefits of going to LED are worth it in that size light.

    The problem with a 10440 cell is that it just does not pack much energy and you can't get the run time to match either an LED light or my bigger Maglites with the 32650 cells.
    Even 26650 cells can come with 5,200mAh which is a lot better than the ~350mAh you get with 10440 cells. With a LED light that can run from a 10440 cell you don't get a huge run time either, but you can run the light on a lower mode mostly while a lot of brightness is available when you need it.
    So many lights, so little money (cause I spent it on lights). I'm not afraid of the dark, the dark is afraid of ME!

  27. #147

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

    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiMark View Post
    I'm not sure I can agree about throw either, I've got LED lights that can throw more than 600m and I know you can get LEDs with more than 1,000m of throw. Just how far does a Maglite Solitaire throw?
    So you'd like to compare your LED's known for throwing against the Solitaire? Let's see that LED throw anything at 2lm! Before introducing your strawman, what I and others know is that in general, you take any random commercial LED flashlight, and any incan can out throw it, Solitaire included. So perhaps there are a few superstar LED's now that can throw a bit when pushed to ridiculous lumens (strawman). This is cherry picking. In general, incan outthrows LED, and this is well known.

    Incan has its limitations, but so does LED. LED does not beat incan at what incan is best at, and neither does incan beat LED for its virtues. Thus far, and again in general, and perhaps until the end of the Earth, LED has not matched incan lamps in their ability to effortlessly throw even at low lumens, and neither has it been able to match the accurate color rendition from even the dimmest, yellowest, dirtiest incan lamp.

    Regarding runtime, quantity is not quality. You get better runtime on powerLED, they are very efficient, but the bad news is you are stuck with the spike in the blue and funny colors. The good news is there's plenty of it.

    FWIW, Mag specifies incan Solitaire "beam distance" at 20m. Any LED that can throw 20m at 2lm is impressive. But I know from personal experience on a moonless night in the boonies with dark adapted eyes and binoculars that Solitaire can throw 100m. No LED will do that at 2lm.

    Also, incan Solitaire is still like $7 when expensive. $7 LED flashlights are usually garbage. Anyone that appreciates incan will tell you incan light is easier on the eyes due to it's color temperature curve, which unlike most LED prior to the advent of some High CRI LEDs, spike in the blue, which irritates human eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiMark View Post
    Yeah, I don't call 12-15lm high mode, that's barely medium.
    I think we can get much higher lumens out of a Solitaire... but any brighter than 15lm, and there are problems with the stock components. Replace the plastic lens with glass, the plastic reflector with aluminum, the plastic switch with ceramics, find a lamp that can take higher voltages, and match cell voltages. 2x10180 cells gives 8.4V, which should be enough with a boost driver to push 1000lm, briefly. Sans incan driver, stock direct drive, I bet 10 mins of 30 lumens is very possible, but would need to upgrade the components to something more heat resistant than plastic. Make a stack of coin cells for higher voltages. Runtime will suffer to the point of uselessness. But there are 10180 flashlights people carry, so 10 minutes of runtime is a valid specification.
    Last edited by chillinn; 01-10-2017 at 01:39 AM.

  28. #148

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

    I'll keep mine Bic lighter bright thank you.
    John 3:16

  29. #149
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    Default Re: Maglite Solitaire - Incandescent - Do you still use them?

    Quote Originally Posted by chillinn View Post
    FWIW, Mag specifies incan Solitaire "beam distance" at 20m. Any LED that can throw 20m at 2lm is impressive. But I know from personal experience on a moonless night in the boonies with dark adapted eyes and binoculars that Solitaire can throw 100m. No LED will do that at 2lm.

    Also, incan Solitaire is still like $7 when expensive. $7 LED flashlights are usually garbage. Anyone that appreciates incan will tell you incan light is easier on the eyes due to it's color temperature curve, which unlike most LED prior to the advent of some High CRI LEDs, spike in the blue, which irritates human eyes.
    I bought 3 of the Astrolux A01 lights with Nichia 219B for about $7 each on special, normally almost $10. They have good tint and CRI and since they can output 102 lumens they can throw OK.
    I use one at 3am every morning on firefly mode to move through the house to the garage to go to work , the battery lasts me well over a month!
    The Astrolux lights at $7 come with glass lenses too.

    I understand that there are benefits to incan, but with the AAA lights my personal opinion is that the drawbacks stand out more, with bigger lights the drawbacks are much less of an issue. For some tasks I can weigh up the pros and cons of an 18650 LED vs Maglite 2D with ROP low - each has good points.
    I remember working with an Maglite Solitaire on my keyring, it was useful but dim and the battery didn't last long. I think for that size the advent of LED lights has been a huge boon.
    So many lights, so little money (cause I spent it on lights). I'm not afraid of the dark, the dark is afraid of ME!

  30. #150

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

    I've just discovered that the incan solitaire is pretty much perfect for flashlight showers. I like this thing more each day.

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