What Happened To Maglite?


June 27, 2010, 12:15 AM
My 5 cell finaly died. From a fall off my nightstand. The LED is fine you just have to shake it to get it to "line out".

I have bought 3 maglites ranging from "AA" to 3 "D". All have this issue right out of the package.

I guess I'm not holding my mouth right when I use em. Its just aggravating when you drop $30 on a flashlight with a "reputable" name and they dont work from the get go. These used to be the flashlight to have.

Unless they get their issues solved they have lost a loyal customer.

Just need to rant.

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June 27, 2010, 12:34 AM
I found myself cursing maglights earlier this evening. Around Christmas time Lowes had AA size LED mag lights for $10. They usually run around $21 or so. I bought 6 of them and also a few (2) D cell size. None of these lights work worth a darn. The AA size you have to shake around or tap to get to come on. Then I thought LED lights lasted alot longer. Well not the case if I can get a hour of run time on a set of Duracell batteries I am amazed. I bought some high dollar litium batteries thinking they would last longer. Well they do I can run for a hour and fifteen minutes. Should of taken the same money and bought one surefire light instead of $100 worth of junk.:banghead:

I looked up there warrenty and you have to send them in postage paid. So it would cost me another $30 to get them fixed (maybe) or replaced with more crap. I am self employed as a remodeling contractor. When I am crawling around in someones attic wiring new light fixtures or in someones crawl space sweating in new plumbing lines I need a flashlight that I can depend on. Mag-light is not that light.

June 27, 2010, 12:46 AM
I have a 3 cell AA LED Maglite that I bought a couple of years ago. It works great and the batteries last FOREVER. It's also many times brighter than the old 2 AA Mini Maglites with the regular bulbs that burnt out all the time and didn't have nearly as good of battery life.

Mal H
June 27, 2010, 10:30 AM
Mot45acp - I don't quite understand the problem.
All have this issue right out of the package.Did they all fall from your nightstand, and now they don't work? What does "line out" mean?

My 5 cell finaly [sic] died.Doesn't sound like that one died from the "get go".

I have several Maglites (none are LED though), and none of them have a problem. Some have been dropped over the years, and continue to work.

June 27, 2010, 06:54 PM
Hello all, RON L here

I have to wonder if the Quality control has come down on Maglight, as i have a 6 cell and a 4 D cell, as well as a few different Mini Mag AA lights some LED a few not, I've used them from Afgainstan to Iraq and It's a deal where dropped, Try Blown up, they still worked? I'm not sure the deal wit the Mag light many of ya had? I have send a few mag lights back and they fixed or replaced them free of charge yea it did cost to send them back, but not the return shipping and I've never had an issue, as far as LED Longevity thats subjectinve as I've not stressed mine or know that deal? The regular Bulbs light pleanty bright and were fairly rugged? I know contracting work and construction can be hard ona light but Mine saw combat use and more as far as exposure to sea air for months at a time? I've not had any major issues?


June 28, 2010, 12:14 AM
I finally caved in and bought an led 2 d cell and small AA cell led model for work. What a waste of money. I dropped the Big one like 2 days after having it and it killed the bulb. I put in the trusty standard bulb they supply in the battery cap and it has worked ever since. The small one never wants to work. You have to smack it to get it to work half the time. I really wish I would have just bought standard bulb maglites but they may even be crap now. I understand that if you drop a light when hot the bulb could go out, but its not worth it to have to pay that much money for a new led bulb. I think the best one Ive ever used is an old one we have here at work. Its a rechargable one and its bright and plenty durable. Its also probably 10 years old.

June 28, 2010, 12:19 AM
Mal, only the 5 cell was dropped. It was about 5 years old. That works out to about $6 a year. I cant complain about that.

"Line out" means various things (enter the "in Texas" comment) but for this case it means kinda works if you shake it and it will light up if you hold it still. They flicker, go out etc. Some are LED, some are incandecent (sp?) They havent been dropped.

In a way I'm kinda glad this happened. I had five mini-mags NIW that I bought for hurricanes etc. This caused me to open them up to try em. 4 of them arent even good enough for back up. They are now given to the kids as toys. The LED model (platinum series) I give it a 70% and is a back up in my truck.

I guess its a Q/C problem. I sent an email to them and will post their response.

I am happy with my Solarforce that I got from Jimdo. I guess I'm gonna try the AA model for my purposes.

June 28, 2010, 08:51 AM
Maglite would still have a lock on the flashlight industry if they had ever figured out how to do LED properly. If you want a nice LED light for not so much money, check out Streamlight. I have a penlight that's on the original AA batteries after a year which throws out an amazing amount of light. Never have to shake it or tap it to get it to work either.

Guns and more
June 28, 2010, 02:46 PM
At one time the Maglight was the standard.
I've owned several Mini-Maglites, and I'll never own another.
Grain of wheat bulbs don't last, twist switch unreliable.
With the new LED flashlights, I'll never go back.

June 28, 2010, 03:07 PM
The only reason I still have a 3 cell maglight in each of my trucks is NOT for the poor quality light they throw but rather for their sturdy weight and construction.

I have much better quality cheaper flashlights for when I need light.

June 29, 2010, 02:18 AM
These upgraded LED heads work pretty good and are sold at some Walmarts.



Nite Ize NTELRB-07 AA L.E.D. Upgrade Kit

Features and Benefits
Two-pin, three bulb L.E.D. module extends battery life up to 4 times
Bright white L.E.D. - save money on replacement batteries and bulbs
100,000 hours of continuous use - shock resistant
10 year lamp life
Upgrade your AA Mini MagLite® with L.E.D. Technology! The two-pin, three bulb L.E.D. module replaces the incandescent bulb. Extends battery life up to 4 times - save money on replacement batteries and bulbs!


June 29, 2010, 02:22 AM
I have one of those upgrades, and if you already have a regular mini-maglite, it's probably worth it. However, it doesn't come close to my factory LED mini-maglite.

June 29, 2010, 02:23 AM
I recently bought a Quark 123 to replace the mini mags.

I still hold two of the latter as backups.

They've both lasted for at least a decade,
during which both have been dropped repeatedly.

The Quark is simply brighter and more convenient.

July 1, 2010, 03:50 AM
These upgraded LED heads work pretty good and are sold at some Walmarts.

However, these are much better. The single LED is a closer replacement to the original incandescent and allows a decent reflector. Very bright, white light and long battery life. Throws a beam across a room or lights up a trail.


These are $10, which makes them more expensive than the other upgrade. I couldn't find them locally, but they can be ordered on line. I've tried to destroy one by hammering on a bench with it and it worked fine. You do have to fiddle a little to get the LED pins to go in straight, but once that's done, the "rotate to turn on" switch works as usual.

I don't know what Maglight is doing regarding LED lights, but this third-party upgrade works.

(I went out and bought two more incandescent Mini-Maglights so I now have a "handful" of Nite-Ize conversions.)

July 1, 2010, 06:25 AM
I'm just glad they still make the "old" Maglite, without the LED. I hate a LED flashlight. I haven't bought a Maglite in a few years but the ones I have bought have been tough as nails, maybe something has changed.

July 1, 2010, 08:34 AM
The only saving grace is that the LED lights are 10 times brighter than the standard bulb. Now if they could make this new more powerful light reliable it would be a winner.

July 1, 2010, 09:39 AM
I have a Maglite that has been in constant use since 1992. About half the anodizing is worn off, and it still functions great. I had a battery leak inside it about 10 years ago. I took a 12 gauge bore brush, scrubbed out the corrosion, and it still works great.

Just my .02,

July 1, 2010, 11:07 AM
I keep a regular incandescent bulb 3D cell Mag Light in everyone of our cars/trucks. They are all between 1yr and 5yrs old. I recently had to use the one in my 92 Corvette as a hammer, 3X in one day (to hit the starter, darn crappy Advance Auto re-man starter).... It's still working fine (the Mag Light - that Advance Auto re-man starter is still a POS).

I've never had any problems out of the bigger ones and have been using/abusing them since the early 90's.

I will say in that same time, I haven't ever had a AA Mini Mag that lasted very long. Shame because they are the perfect size/price for leaving under the seat of our motorcycles.

July 1, 2010, 11:34 AM
I tried a Night Ezs LED from Wallyworld in my Mini-Mag light and was very disappointed.

Went to the real Mini-Mag light LED bulb and was still very disappointed!!

I put Mag-Light replacement LED bulbs in a 2-cell and a 3-cell and they are O.K., but still a very long ways from a Surefire / Malkoff, or other LED light.

I would not waste my money again on any Mag-Light LED flashlight when so many far better options are available now.


July 1, 2010, 11:43 AM
What happened to Maglite?

Surefire's what happened.

Your saying your maglite broke after falling off your nightstand, I've dropped my Surefire E2D LED off of the roof of a two story building and other than a couple of scratches on the body it's working more than fine.

Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets
July 1, 2010, 01:20 PM
Being a devout "Flashaholic" on the Candle Power Forums I find some of the comments here interesting. The Maglite is one of the most common lights used for Flashlight projects and upgrades due to their well built construction.

The problem that the OP may be having with his light may be as simple as the switch having come loose within the body. If you remove the rubber boot and insert a allen wench to fit the screw in the bottom of the switch that secures the switch to the body that may be all that is needed to fix the problem. The screw is pointed to pierce the interior anodizing thus ensuring the ground connection of the switch to the body from the batteries. Clean all the contacts and you should be good to go.
These lights are very reliable.
If you ever get the urge to see what has been done to maglights and see a whole new world of lights check out the CPF forum for a real insight into the world of flashlights.

I also remain available for consults on lights just because its my hobby and I do enjoy it. I have some Kick butt Mags as well as some other types of lights. I do a lot of Modded lights as well. Incan and LEDs.

July 1, 2010, 01:27 PM
I've dropped my Surefire E2D LED off of the roof of a two story building and other than a couple of scratches on the body it's working more than fine.
And my Maglites have sustained similar abuse with no ill effects...
Where Surefire wins is in brightness-to-size ratio.

July 1, 2010, 02:33 PM
I bought a Coleman Max LED flashlight from Wal-Mart last week that puts both my Nite Ize'd Mini Mag and LED Maglight to shame. I can see the light from the Coleman across a 20 acre field, the Maglight barely shines past the fence. I'll never buy another Maglight again unless they buck up their performance to exceed even the crappiest of chinese manufacturing. I can pick up two smaller lights from www.dealextreme.com/ for the same price as one maglight and the smaller lights will blow a maglight right outta the water.

July 1, 2010, 03:33 PM
I remember when the Mag-Light took the law enforcement market by storm.
It was a remarkable improvement over the old chrome plated Eveready flashlights with the orange glow & unfocused beam of the day.

Then came the Kel-Light, and a little later the Streamlight Stinger.
Almost overnight, MagLight lost the LEO market.
Then Surefire came along and they lost all the other markets.

Why they chose to stay with their old design and not even try to compete with Streamlight is beyond me. But it most certainly had to be due to lack of management initiative and poor long range planning.

Now, they are just an over-priced flashlight with poor lighting ability you can buy at Wallyworld.

About the best thing you can say about them now is they still use cheap AA, C & D batteries compared to the modern TAC lights that use expensive 3v 123's.

And they made better clubs then those Streamlight Stingers still on the cops belt.


July 1, 2010, 03:54 PM
Not just LE, at the Leflore County Jail that I worked at we had 10 Stinger's. The only maglight we had barely worked and was comprised of a silver body with a blue head. I carried a small 3xAAA LED light personally.

July 1, 2010, 05:30 PM
Dear Mot,
Thank you for your interest in Maglite products. I'm really surprised that you are having problems with these units. We really do not get any bad feedback on any of the Maglite flashlights. (especially if their brand new). Please make sure that the large end of the coil spring is snapped into the tailcap therefore the small end should be touching the negative side of the battery. Also be sure that the positive end of the batteries is facing inward. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.

Esther SotoCustomer Service

My problems were with various Maglites. What started it was replacing one that served me well with one that was a POS. I then checked my stash and found them all to be defective out of the packaging. These were mini-mags and "D" models. Twist and push button. Incandecent and LED. There is a problem in the connection somewhere. You have to whack it with the heel of your palm to get it to come on. Lord forbid you bump something with it while trying to use it. Yes the spring was in, and yes the batteries were in right. I guess Maglite's policy is to blame the user for their shoddy product. Talk about insult to injury.

Maybe thats my frustration is I can usually figure things out without broad sweeping statements. And I cant find a common denominator other than having Maglite stenciled on it.

July 1, 2010, 05:59 PM
I have already taken the 3 cell back to Acadedmy. Exchanged it for a Brinkmann (they didnt have any other full size lights) and a lil wind up light/radio thingy. I have Surefires and I am in love with my Solarforce but, sometimes you want a big flashlight in your hands. Kinda like I like my Glocks but, sometimes it feels good to have an all steel pistol in my hand. Something with some heft to it.

The problem that the OP may be having with his light may be as simple as the switch having come loose within the body. If you remove the rubber boot and insert a allen wench to fit the screw in the bottom of the switch that secures the switch to the body that may be all that is needed to fix the problem. The screw is pointed to pierce the interior anodizing thus ensuring the ground connection of the switch to the body from the batteries. Clean all the contacts and you should be good to go.

Special Thanks to Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets

This has fixed the original one that fell and broke. And given that the symptoms were similar to the one I just bought and returned I'd bet it would have fixed that one too.(by the way its a 4 cell not a 5 as I stated earlier:o ) Now I have my old beat up maglite that is still on the same batteries from Ike. The finish has been stripped from caustic and it is ugly as sin.

I wish the others worked but hey, I will take this small victory and be happy.

July 1, 2010, 10:11 PM
I've got about a dozen and a half maglites between my house, vehicles, and the ones my kids have. Most of them LED. Only one has ever failed, and it failed for no reason at all. I simply haven't gotten around to sending it in for it's LIFETIME WARRANTY. No complaints here.

The only time my LED lights have flickered or needed a good slap to come on, was when the batteries were nearly dead.
My regular AA LED light gets about 8 hours out of your average set of alkaline AA's, and my modified one (contains LED module from a 2D light) is quite bright, and gets just under 2 hours on a pair of eneloop NiMH AA's.

I think the question is better asked, what DIDN'T happen to maglite. Their basic light design is unchanged. Some may say that means it didn't get better, but in a day when everything else is turning to cheaply made crap, I think that means it didn't get any worse.

I, for one, like the fact I can, if I choose to, go to walmart, and buy one that is the same as the one I bought 20 years ago.

July 3, 2010, 12:49 AM
Eh, I think thats the problem. They haven't kept up with other flashlight makers. It's pretty bad when a 9 LED $4.99 chinese piece of crap makes a maglight look like an oil lamp. I'll give them build quality - the body of my maglight is bulletproof (Although the LED bulb in mine had to be replaced when I used it as a hammer), but they really need to do some R&D, they're about 15 years behind even the Chinese.

I don't know why these american companies think they can produce the same crap for centuries and not get railroaded by foreign companies that are constantly innovating. Just look at Ford, Chrysler and GM. Only after they faced certain demise did they start to produce cars that are even close to the quality of their foreign counterparts.

July 3, 2010, 01:35 AM
I always liked the mag lights. For the last several years, I've found headlamps to be more useful, asd I have both hands free, packing horses, butchering elk killed late in the evening, and whatnot. Battery life was horrible. The first generation of LED's had great battery life, but poor light. This last generation seems quite good. Some will throw a spot beam 50 yards, which I seldom use. 2 brands I'm using are the Princeton Tec Apex,
and the Black Diamond Icon. Both will throw spots 50 yds + and are quite acceptable as a coon hunters light. Both have quite good battery life on regular beam, the spot will eat batteries of course, with the edge going to the Icon. We use it with the optionable rechargeable battery most often They are both a bit spendy, but it dropped our AA battery bill from about 160.00 per year down to less than 20.00, so do the math. For a hand held, the maglite is still one of the best. I can't remember the last time I used one though. For the "what it's worth department".

July 3, 2010, 02:23 AM
those surefire lights have a promising add in some old magazines of mine, theres a pic of one that stopped a bullet from hitting the police officer and continued to work even after that.

evan price
July 6, 2010, 05:36 AM
I used to buy a lot of mini maglights (2AA). Then I got a Streamlight Twintask, which is nice, and most recently a Fenix L1T. Runs on ONE AA battery and makes enough light to use as a headlight on my tractor. I've got a few Mini-Mags scattered all over my areas and a 3-D cell with a LED bulb I keep under the nightstand. But I won't be buying any more MagLights. I do get sick of the Maglight "Fiddle with the bulb end" to get it reliably bright.

Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets
July 6, 2010, 10:07 PM
Glad to see that the fix I suggested worked out well.
Action Lights offers new Mag Lites up to 6 cell models for under 20.00 and that for an American made product is a great bargain.

One of the easiest upgrades is the R.O.P.
Roar of the Pelican in which the 3854 bulbs from Pelican products (there is one High and one Low Bulb available thru a company called Lighthound ) that are the same PRN based bulb as used in the standard Maglite.
Putting a 6-7 AA battery pack ( also available thru Lighthound and vendors on CPF) in a 2 or 3 D light (usually Eneloops) will give you a light with about 1100 ROP LOW(longer run time) to 1500 ROP High(more output) lumen flashlight that you have to see to believe this mod.

I have several different ROP conversions and if you do one you will become a believer.
The added advantage of the low slow discharge AA batts means that the batts after charging will retain 85% of their energy after 1 year.

I am going to also be working with the 3853 bulbs as well with 6 Ni- Zin batts at 1.6 volts each that will give 1500 lumens as well. Can't say this will work just yet but will give an update when I do. Should work as the voltage numbers seem to be spot on.

There are detailed threads on ROP mods on CPF and if you need any help just PM me.
I am currently working on a red 6 d cell mag and the thing is a beast.
This one will have 7- 26650 Safe Chem Life-Po batts driving a special bulb to about 3500 lumens. Can you say "Blinded by the Light"?

July 7, 2010, 12:11 PM
What's a maglite?? :evil::neener:

Seriously, while "ROP" mods are a very cool thing, they are not necessary for most typical (pre-mod) maglite uses, while there are tons of $16-50 lights that do the job better than mags ever thought about doing.

However if you want a 700+ lumen beast, with a bit of work, ROP is the way to go, and as the guy with the long user name above me says, maglites do have good build quality. But unless you actually need a light that bright (most people just think they do), why bother? Why not go w/ a manufacturer who isn't stuck in the late 70s?

Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets
July 7, 2010, 12:33 PM
Apparently Mag Lite has updated the screw that holds the switch in place with a Torx T8 screw. You need a wrench whose shaft is no bigger in diameter than the head. This might have been an ongoing issue so the switch to Torx allows them to tighten the screw further than with the allen.
Another area to look at also is the spot where the screw pierces the anodizing. I have sometimes taken a dremel to that area to be sure the anodizing is out of the way to be sure the screw make good contact with the body of the light.

July 11, 2010, 10:54 PM
i have (had) some maglights. all turn into junk.

i have a streamlight stinger that fully rocks. its seen heavy use @ work (mechanic) and in the field. it just doesnt quit. i have a few streamlight things (pro stylus, original stylus, extended reach stylus etc.etc.) and im very happy with them.

July 11, 2010, 11:29 PM
Then came the Kel-Light

I seem to remember Kel-light coming out first in the 60's.. I had one in the mid 70'd when I first got on the job.

Later Mag-lights were cheap and never were that reliable. Maybe it was the nasty and expensive divorce that screwed up the company.
Kel-light was sold to Streamlight when the company ceased production in the 80's..

July 12, 2010, 04:40 AM
"Mag-rite" would be the chinee version I think.

I dunno...I have a couple pretty old four and five Cell size Checkered Black Aluminum "Maglite" ones...been dropped many times, left in the rain, bumped around, loaned out, left in HOT Las Vegas car interiors 24/7/365 they old and worn when I got them...never had anything but 100 percent satisfaction with them.

The idea of upgrading them to 'LED' sounds interesting!

I will go visit the "CPF" Forum...

I had a 1936 Chevrolet in daily use for years. On the front, it had two period aftermarket Fog Lights, mounted to the Bumper-Spring Irons.

I fitted 2 100,000 CP 6 Volt Sealed Beam Spot Lights to those, fit perfect, and wow, if I pulled the Switch for them to come on, I had some LIGHT!!!

I bet I could see a mile...but, never ran 'em if anyone was coming the other way.

July 12, 2010, 03:34 PM
My fav small flashlight used to be my Mini-Mag-Lite, but now it has been replaced by a Streamlight Polytac LED. 120 Lumens and runs on 2-CR123A's. Very bright and very durable. Around $50.

Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets
July 12, 2010, 03:46 PM
My small Wolf Eyes Angel does 120 lumens on a single AA and 180 on the rechargeable. Any light that I have that is on 2 CR123s is putting out better than 220 lumens with the newest xpg emmitters are hitting over 300 lumens. Streamlite is way behind on current led tech.

Guns and more
July 12, 2010, 11:39 PM
What Happened To Maglite?

They counted on their reputation to sell products while everyone else made a better product.

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