Converting Incandescent MagLite to LED


January 13, 2013, 08:44 AM
I have an older 6 C cell non-focusing MagLite and I would like to know if this will replace the existing bulb as a drop in and is it worth doing to get more battery life and bulb life? Are they reliable?

TerraLUX TLE-6EX MiniStar5 140 Lumens Extreme LED Replacement Bulb for 4-6 C&D Cell MagLites

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January 13, 2013, 09:02 AM
Just replace the batteries annually. I didn't - never flattened a set of D cells in the 2 & 3 D cell Maglites with the LED conversion. I did get to toss out two pretty ones, a 2 & a 3 cell one, when the cells leaked all inside. Their cells were two years old, or less - one set of Ray-o-vacs and one of Duracell. The low current demand lulls you into a false security - they still digest their cases with age. I still have a few - their cells are in ZipLoc bags with them... under my bed. I keep CR123 Lithium battery users, mostly Surefire but also an Olight or two and a Fenix, 'loaded' and at the ready. They are smaller and brighter - and those cells last for 10-11 years shelf life. I've never had one explode, either. If you use them up quickly, C-Zn/alkaline celled flashlights are okay - at least the cells are still widely available. BTW, always buy Surefire CR123's - they are US-made and $2/each or less in 12 piece boxes.


January 13, 2013, 02:43 PM
I can't really answer your question, but...a few years ago I did the LED conversion on the 2 cell maglite I keep in my wife's car. I used the maglite version and it was a vast improvement over the original set up. If you're just wanting a flashlight, one of the smaller, modern LED lights would be a better choice. I originally got the maglite and have it in the door pocket so my wife would whack something if need be, so it was the sturdy aluminum tube that I was after and not light output or battery life. I keep meaning to do the same to the one in my car, but just can't remember.


January 13, 2013, 02:51 PM
I did one for a work flashlight a few years ago. It worked well enough for what I had in it, but a new modern L.E.D. flashlight is only 10 to 15 bucks and will beat it in run time and light output. The only thing I use the mag lite for now is a small club/emergency backup light. My main carry is a sure fire light that I bought 10 years ago, or one of those cheap 10 dollar models I bought at Lowes.

January 13, 2013, 03:54 PM
Exactly Mole & DoubleJ. My 6 C-cell MagLite will get anyone's attention if used on the collar bone, elbow, knee, or just about anywhere else I can think of. I was just thinking of upgrading the light output/run time.

January 13, 2013, 04:08 PM
I did get to toss out two pretty ones, a 2 & a 3 cell one, when the cells leaked all inside.The most common causes of cell leakage are either high temperature or allowing the cells to go dead and leaving them too long in that state.

It has been my experience that dead batteries are far more likely to leak than live ones. Now I check my battery operated devices frequently, and if the batteries are dead and I can't replace them immediately, I go ahead remove them anyway to prevent them from leaking.

January 13, 2013, 04:25 PM
I am looking fwd the the comments also.

At one time Mag Lite was the only game in town. I have had several and they were a welcome companion and served a needful purpose.

The problems with mine had to do with faulty, short term switches, fragle bulbs, and an indifference to customer support. The tempermental switches were n't accessable, much less relpacable by the user. Mfgr and distributors didn't care, so the alternative was a new purchase.

Planned obselence has now petered out.

MagLight had a great idea, sold it, sat on their haunches, and fell back in it.

Competition happened. Sounds like the Auto Industry from the 80s. Occasionally we learn but lessons can get expensive.


January 13, 2013, 09:11 PM
I have a 6 D someone was going to throw out because the batteries leaked. It works now an I have less than $5 in it. Take the switch module out. Then you have a straight through open ended tube. Use whatever you have handy to pound or drill the old batts out and a Brake cylinder hone to clean up the inside of the tube. I had to buy the snap ring that keeps the switch module in because I was in a hurry.

January 13, 2013, 09:17 PM
Club that doubles as a flashlight.

January 13, 2013, 09:57 PM
I have a 3D and a 4C, and I think I installed that exact model LED in my 4C. However, it was a very new 4C that has a slightly different bulb assembly: It's designed to use a minimalist bulb with two prongs, which stick into a removable base that fits where a full, older style bulb would go. This assembly is more or less interchangeable with the older style incandescent bulb and with the TerraLux replacements in all but one issue: The screw-on locking ring has too small of an opening. However, you're model is older and so it might fit just as it is. The bulbs for these remained almost unchanged for several decades.

I personally love these LED replacements. Both powerful and more efficient. While I didn't measure formally, the batteries seem to last many times longer. The light also tends to be a bit smoother looking, but having a cooler more bluish tint. I am told that LEDs also are more resistant to impact damage than the incandescent.

Good luck with yours! I am a bit jealous because 6C are officially discontinued for some time now.

January 13, 2013, 10:30 PM
I dropped LED bulbs in my 3 cell Maglites and never looked back.

They're plenty bright and much easier on battery life. So much easier that, if you don't use the light enough to replace the batteries periodically (like once a year or so), you ought to get in the habit of replacing them annually or bienially (every 2 years) so battery leakage on old batteries doesn't become an issue.

I can't imagine that it wouldn't be worthwhile to do the same with a 6 cell Maglite.

There are, however, LED flashlights out there which put out more light and are smaller. Obviously you won't have the nice heft of a 6 cell Maglite club, though.

January 14, 2013, 08:08 AM
There are, however, LED flashlights out there which put out more light and are smaller. Obviously you won't have the nice heft of a 6 cell Maglite club, though.
That's probably the point. I've been told the C-cell models (especially the now discontinued 6C) are the best ones for this use and that police/security back in the day preferred them to the overly heavy D-Cells which now seem to be the default model.

January 14, 2013, 09:38 AM
glistam - That is why I have mine. I bought one for my brother 20 years or so ago for Christmas and got one for myself. He wanted the C cell because it was easier to carry. Of course, this was before the super flashlights everyone takes for granted now.

January 14, 2013, 01:17 PM
4 'C' cell barrels are a handy size, accessable, do (or did) work, although short term. The 'C' cell tube is skinner, agile, and batteries come in packs of 4.

Mag Lites are the 'WeedEater' of flashlights. Both were a good idea, but just didn't seem to follow through.


January 14, 2013, 01:46 PM
I put Maglite brand LED bulbs in both my 2 & 3 D-cell lights not long after they became available. Also put one in a Mini-Maglite.
All told, around $50 bucks worth.

After it was all said & done?
I wish I had saved my money.

Other then exceptional battery life?
I lost most of the beam focusing ability from flood to spot.
And they are not a whole lot brighter.


January 14, 2013, 03:55 PM
I converted a double AA a few years back. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Didn't turn out to be.
My triple D I keep as a club.

January 14, 2013, 04:07 PM
If you are going to do it, spend 50-100 and go for broke. The commercial kits available probably aren't that great but CPF ( users have posted mods that allowed them to get 1000+ lumens out of it with some work (that's approximately 1000 times more bright than an incandescent maglite :p).

Otherwise just get an updated premium or semi premium LED that will fit in a pocket for what it would cost you to do a decent upgrade.

January 14, 2013, 04:41 PM


January 14, 2013, 04:47 PM
I have talked myself out of this. I will keep the MagLite as is. I have other new flashlights that light up the night, etc. Conveting the MagLite seems like a wast of money.

January 14, 2013, 08:08 PM
The $39 buck Malkoff bulb will not be!


January 14, 2013, 08:11 PM
The $39 buck Malkoff bulb will not be!


Looks like a darned high quality product. If I had a 6 cell Maglite, I wouldn't hesitate on this, if LED conversion was my goal.

And at the current prices for batteries, $39 for the bulb isn't a bad deal.

January 14, 2013, 08:27 PM
It works in all 3 to 6 cell Maglights.

I put one of the Malkoff bulbs in my Surefire 6P three years ago and it is incredible.


January 15, 2013, 08:11 AM
I don't see anything on the site that will fit a 6 cell C battery light.

January 15, 2013, 11:42 AM

You did say C-cell didn't you! :o

Here is the C-cell one.


January 15, 2013, 01:14 PM
I have a Malkoff Devices "bulb" in a Surefire and I have been very happy with it. Tremendously brighter and dramatically extended battery life. The price wasn't super-great but in this case you get what you pay for.

January 15, 2013, 02:31 PM
RC - How did you find that and I didn't! When they say "cut off cam or tube portion etc." what exactly is entailed here? Do you take a hacksaw and cut the stock part of the reflector/bulb holder within an 1/8 inch of the reflector cone?

January 15, 2013, 02:38 PM


January 15, 2013, 03:18 PM

It's an easy mod. Or you can buy a precut reflector from them for a few bucks.

I have two 3 cell "C" Maglites...the many, many years old one has started going quirky on me, so I'll probably just cut the reflector down on that one and use it in my new one.

January 16, 2013, 01:03 PM
I have used the Terralux drop in on an SL20 and a stinger. They work great and help the batteries last longer. I see no reason they would not do a good job at improving the 6 cell maglite.

I just haven't gotten around to the six cell maglite that I have. Good luck and let us know if you get it.

January 16, 2013, 03:29 PM
geddinight - Do they drop in or is surgery required?

January 16, 2013, 05:21 PM
No, they just drop in. The SL20 required me to take something out, but the instructions were clear. The maglite type lights should just be a replacement head that just drops in.

Very clear and easy directions. I've dropped the stinger several times on a hard surface and it still performs fine. It is always accidentally.

January 16, 2013, 05:35 PM
geddinight - does it use the same reflector, lens, etc. Mine is probably 30 years old or more and it doesn't have a focusing head and uses the old fashioned bulbs. To be honest, I have about convinced myself to take the money and spend it something else; I have a four7s that works just fine and a $30 surefire knockoff that also works just fine.

January 16, 2013, 05:39 PM
I didn't know they ever mag a Mag-Light without a focusing head??

Mine are older then dirt and they both have them.


January 16, 2013, 07:27 PM
Mine doesn't unless I haven't figured it our after all these years which is entirely possible. I bought mine in the real early 80's so it is probably 30+ years old.

January 16, 2013, 07:32 PM
Take hold of the big part the lens is in and turn the whole thing on the battery barrel.

The o-ring seal is stuck.

You screw it in & out to focus the beam from a flood to a spot.


January 16, 2013, 07:42 PM
Well guess what - it isn't a MagLite it is a Pro Light, made is USA. patented, and serially numbered. So I guess I won't be buying MagLite parts for it.

January 17, 2013, 01:09 PM
I put one of the bulb replacement LEDs in my 3 cell mag light and was pleased with the brightness and battery life until it got knocked from a table top onto a concrete floor.

Popped the LED off of the base and killed it. The spare bulb stowed in the rear of the battery compartment behind the spring survived the same fall and got swapped back in. I think I'll stay with the Old school tech on this one. At least when those bulbs die they are cheap to replace.

January 17, 2013, 03:49 PM
Sorry you don't have the maglite. I would take that money and get a new LED light. Terralux makes a few of their own lights that are relatively inexpensive. I have the two AA high and low model and a single AA high and low model. They work and are bright enough for what I want. Just google them and see what you come up with.

I also have had good luck with Fenix lights.

Good luck with your lights.

January 17, 2013, 07:29 PM
geddinight - I have a 4Sevens Quark X123 I think it is and a Surefire Nitrolon knockoff plus a couple of others and the ProLight so I really don't need another flashlight - on the other hand 'need' has never interferred with my spending my hard earned money in the past.

January 18, 2013, 09:42 PM
I bought two before they incorporated a scotchy diode for polarity protection over ten years ago and still have one that is doing great. The other, well, there was a good reason for that diode, yeah I loaded the batteries in wrong and reversed polarity, just the one left now.

January 25, 2013, 10:07 AM
The TerraLUX is a worthwhile upgrade:

January 25, 2013, 10:26 AM
Yup. The variable LED most folks haven't been too happy with, but that's natural when it's made to fit a variety of lights.

January 26, 2013, 01:07 PM
I did get to toss out two pretty ones, a 2 & a 3 cell one, when the cells leaked all inside. Their cells were two years old, or less - one set of Ray-o-vacs and one of Duracell.

FYI - A little known secret....

I canít remove the tailcap from my Magģ flashlight. I have even put pliers on it and tried to twist it off, but it's absolutely frozen or stuck. Is this problem covered by my warranty?

When you cannot remove the tailcap to change the batteries, it almost certainly indicates that the batteries have leaked and sealed everything inside the flashlight. Unfortunately, Mag does not warrant against battery leakage, however, we do have agreements with Duracell, Eveready and Ray-O-Vac. If one of these brands of batteries has leaked in your flashlight, send the flashlight to us and we will repair or replace it at no charge to you.

I had the same thing happen to an old 4D cell. It was kind of sentimental but figured I was going to just buy a replacement.

But they dont make the 4D anymore.

After a lot of effort, I got the 4Ds out and cleaned up the inside. The spring was badly corroded and the o-ring was shot.

I got on the Maglite site to see about ordering replacement parts and found the above.

I called them... told them what happened and that I already got the batteries out.

They offered to replace it.

I told them it was kind of sentimental and they didnt offer the 4D anymore and then asked for a free new spring and o-ring. They shipped it for free.

I had also asked they if I did decide to replace it, would they upgrade to an LED type and she said 'Yes' for a small fee.


January 27, 2013, 01:25 AM
I have two rechargable mags and have converted both. More light, much longer battery life and they no longer get hot enough to met the seatcovers in my truck. I used to get about 90min of run time with the krypton bulb. Now it will give me more than 4hours. By the the way, the recharable mag will put any other mag to shame for brightness...30,000cp and the LED is brighter.

If you enjoyed reading about "Converting Incandescent MagLite to LED" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!