FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Monday, 24 October 2016

Maglite LED Bulb Upgrade

I absolutely love Maglites, they have an amazing build quality and are pretty much Captain Scarlet,  indestructible. The only problem I find is that the light they shed is an awful yellow light and eat through batteries quite quickly so I decided to retrofit and LED bulb upgrade. Also LED's are far more resilient to impact damage and have a 50,000 hour working life, so in theory if you used your torch for an hour continuously every day it wouldn't need a new bulb for almost 140 years!

I chose NiteIze because they are a well respected brand on the EDC gear circuit and thought it would be better to go with them than one of the generic no-name Chinese bulbs off ebay. Their bulb isn't the brightest admittedly but since it draws less power it should extaned the battery life more than a brighter LED would.This packaging claims it fits most D cell torches so I bought it without thinking too much about it since it was listed specifically for Maglites so I assumed it would be no problem.

And what happens when we assume? When I opened up my Maglite I have the new style 2 pin bulb. Not to worry, unscrew the retaining collar and pull out the whole unit and swap it for the bulb I thought...

Except the new bulb was designed to fit the old style of maglites, so it was ever so slightly too thick to fit through the retaining collar

For something that was supposed to be a very easy fit and forget upgrade this was starting to get on my nerves! Never mind, out came my trusty friend Mr Dremel for a bit of custom tailoring..

And bobs your uncle, the bulb fits and can be installed back in to the torch

A quick test to make sure it works before re-assembling the Maglite and we're pretty much done.

Now I am loathe to throw away anything useful, and didn't want to lose the original bulb fittings. As you probably know inside the spring in the tail end of most torches is a little bit of foam with a spare bulb hidden inside it. Just pull out the spring...

...Stuff the old fittings in to the foam...

Snap the spring back in to place and we're good as new, or hopefully better

Here's the wide beam with the old bulb:

And wide beam with the LED:

Spotlight with the old fitting:

and lastly Spotlight with the new LED installed:

Obviously these shots are taken at close range and the difference is not quite as pronounced on camera as it is to the eye, but the light is now MUCH whiter and seems to throw a much better amount of light to the peripherals. It may be personal preference but I think its easier to see more detail in white light than it is in yellow too which is why we have replaced almost all of the light fittings in the house now with LED.

Overall I'm very happy with the upgrade, even if it was a bit of a pain in the ass to fiddle about with to make it fit the new style bulb/collar


  1. Good on you for persevering. It's done the trick. I'd have probably given up at the first hurdle. X

    1. haha I'm far too stubborn to give up on something

  2. just told Martin he is a maglite fan :-)

    1. will save him a fortune in batteries alone if he does the upgrade, decent D cells are not cheap these days

  3. I chucked my old maglight last week as I thought about doing the same thing but it had been years since I used it and it was covered in leaked battery acid. Need a few more torches for here really and I quite like the lenser ones now.

    1. I've just had to send my LED Lenser Aviator back to Ledco as it broke down after less than a year, until then it was a cracking little torch, I also have their new Headtorch and it is a wicked bit of kit

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  5. Did the same with our Maglites a couple of years ago although I don't remember Spousal Unit having to fiddle around so much. You are right though, the colour and quality of light is much better.


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