Introduction: Mag-Lite LED Conversion (any 2 or 3 XCell Flashlight)

Picture of Mag-Lite LED Conversion (any 2 or 3 XCell Flashlight)

One Step conversion from any Incandescent or Xenon bulb, screw-in, flanged or pin base.

Additional commercial models are avail for $20-$99 and up. Some of these put out 5-10 watts of light from LED's!

Custom models have over 10,000 Lux of output with 3v-6v batteries in series with fully regulated power supplies! But these are expensive...

MY Instructable uses FREE sample LED's and original base & components, fully reversible and backwards compatible!

see those other expensive mods at


Step 1: LED Convert Without Use of Bulb Base & Solder...

Picture of LED Convert Without Use of Bulb Base & Solder...

No need to solder!

Bend the LED (10mm) as shown and set it in lamp base holder...

Use longer lead for (+) positive center tip contact.

Use shorter (-) leads for negative side or flange contacts...

Spacing or contacts vary by light and model. Keep LED contacts springy and coiled to absorb shocks and bumps.


Step 2: Mag-Lite LED Conversion (any 2xCell Flashlight)

Picture of Mag-Lite LED Conversion (any 2xCell Flashlight)

LED upgrade for any 2 cell (AA or C/D) flashlight. Replaces incandescent, Xenon or other lamps with long life bright white or any color LED.

Many types and even flashing models avail. Easy to swap, 3mm LED's can be stored in butt caps of C/D Maglights.

Retains original lamp capability. Just slide led leads trimmed to 1" into pins for lamp....easy

Cheaper than off the shelf conversions or upgrades!

Higher quality Nichia, SuperLux or Powerful Cree 1W LEDs available.

Sub $1 LEDs do not have same power.

Voltage regulated IC controllers can be used for longer battery life. Easier is to swipe a Everyready Emergency cell 2xAA charger. This is a easy 3v-9v regulated LDO or Buck Puck. ideal for C/D cell Mag-lights.

Step 3: Bulb & Filament Types

Picture of Bulb & Filament Types

Convert incandescent lights for emergency/portable/camping/fishing applications...

Long shelf life, low power & unbreakable.

Any AA/C/D flashlight can be converted to LED with any bulb and intact retrofitting back to original.

Step 4: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

Slot LED leads into pin holes for lamp....viola!

LED Power varies, use high quality 3-4v Ultra Bright LED's and observe voltage recommendations. RED LED's are often 1.5-1.7 volts and 2x AA batteries will burn or shorten LED driven past limits.

0.5 watt Nicha and Luxon LED's are avail in small packages.

I added a Cree Xlamp 7090 XR-E series See below...

Step 5: Test & Compare

Picture of Test & Compare

Test and view results...

Step 6: Other Applications & LDO's Buck's and Boost

Picture of Other Applications & LDO's Buck's and Boost

Mini lights and plug in commercial modules

High Power UV/ IR and white LED single chip LED -

High Power LED's Get 'em off ebay or here...

I prefer free samples direct from manufactures...

Small portable lights in different containers,



SIRJAMES09 (author)2012-02-08

and all this time I thought all you had to do was just plug it in.... :(

Talking about the LED light bulb or conversion kit thingy.

I not a stupid or dumb person, but this sure seems like a lot of confusing work to me...keep in mind that I'm not an educated man, and I do not mean anything against you or this Ible, it's just that as interesting as this is, and I would love to try it, I think this might be beyond my abilities. :(

TY for sharing Sir.

paperman5 (author)2009-03-29

so, i have a mini maglite. i just have to plug in the LED like i would the original bulb?

-max- (author)paperman52012-01-09

it works, i tried it with my snap-on 2AA its not near as bright (10X less bright with 5mm led) and too strong a blue light

imjasonc (author)2010-10-12

not sure if you still check this ible, where did you buy the cree led? was the board already that small? thanks

erckgillis (author)imjasonc2010-10-13

yup comes as is on small SMD board...

Check or other suppliers for small bright SMD LED's.
Many come even smaller or on samle "star" boards. has ALL the details!


H3xx (author)2009-10-19

I recently went to Lowe's and found a conversion kit for the mini-mag. it was around $7.80 and has a button switch on the back. the switch feels a little cheap imo but it works well. It uses three LEDs and is significantly brighter than the original bulb. I'm all for the DIY thing and had i seen this i'ble before, i might not have bought the kit, but I do recommend it for those who are not technically inclined.

808create (author)2009-10-08

 Also, LED flashlights are REALLY cheap nowadays, if you know where to look. Check Harbor Freight Tools.  And they all have multiple extra-bright LEDs in them, if you wanted to unsolder them and re-purpose them, on the cheap. I think that LEDs are going to get phased out in favor of CREEs, so all LED lights will get VERY cheap.

808create (author)2009-10-08

 If you'all havent seen CREEs in action, do. They are REALLY bright. Check DealExtreme. I would like more info on putting a CREE in a Maglite.

M1ashooter (author)2008-04-26

free samples?, where? how? Don't tease us. come clean. GE

Colonel88 (author)M1ashooter2008-05-26

Where are they?????the free samples

paperman5 (author)Colonel882009-03-29


lilpepsikraker (author)paperman52009-07-08

I got 2 bright white EZWITE leds for free from marktech, i'm working on a conversion now, it's a 2aa Rayovac Mini, it'll be cool

Tool Using Animal (author)2006-12-06

I'm sorry, but where exactly is the part where you INSTRUCT us? This seems spammish. Add some clear instructions on how to actually do the conversion, build the power supply, limit current, anything, right now this smells like spam.

I agree this one is a little sketchy on details, but it's a fine start. Anyone can pick up the ball and run with it now. Want to go into more detail on just the AA conversion? Do it, post good pictures and leave a pointer here to your instructable.

erckgillis (author)spinach_dip2006-12-06

yes, thanks. How much instruction do you need to snip 1" off a led and STICK IT in the holes...guys with short leads should know how to STICK in the right holes... If it don't glow warmly turn it over and STICK in in the other holes... lmao

kadris3 (author)erckgillis2007-07-25

this is the exact way i did it. cut a 3mm white led to the length of the origional bulb, enlarged the hole in the reflector to pass the 3mm bulb. plug it in. if it doesn't light, turn it around. a 3.4 vdc bulb on 3vdc. not speck brightness, but when it's dark as a boot it works very well. one hidden bonus- the batts approach shelf life. try it u'll like it. makes a 6 foot circle of light w a sopt center. not quite as focusable as before but not bad. the batts it saves is well worth the reduced light. good luck. lite the world. X

I'm game, I just ordered a bunch of 13000 mcd leds (from Canada), when they get here, consider it done.

These were ALL FREE SAMPLES! Never order when you can beg...

OK OK uncle, I JUST posted this 20 min ago...jeez I will show solder joins, circuits and the buck puck and LDO's are commercialy made. You need to have some SMD solder skills to fit inside a 10mm AA diameter case. I will provide links and show where this is well covered already on the web. See my page for how to get free components like LED's from Luxon, Cree and Nichia.

uberchoob (author)erckgillis2007-05-05

What page are you talking about? I can't find how to get free LEDs etc. The Dutch blood in me is bubbling out!!

erckgillis (author)uberchoob2007-05-07

Does TI offer free samples?
Yes, TI offers free samples for over 13,000 active devices to design engineers to support their new product designs and to qualify TI products in existing designs. These are the majority of standard devices that TI recommends for new designs. You can request these samples on the TI web site. The list of available devices changes frequently with the addition of new released and removal of selected devices.

Most TI devices are available for sale in multiple packages and temperature options. The TI Sample Program offers many of these options but not all. Usually, samples of only one temperature option are offered.

TI reserves the right to refuse requests from users who abuse this good-will offer of free samples.

Don't waste their time...are you EE? Do you have a business or project requirement?

zachninme (author)erckgillis2006-12-07

You don't have to publish immediately! You can save and come back later :-)

erckgillis (author)zachninme2006-12-08

Yeah, but I didn't expect immediate spam flame... ;-) A little harsh for somthing so easy to do. No need to build a power supply, limit current with LED's rated for 3v-5v and dry cell batteries. The NiMh are 1.2v ea Alka 1.5v and some LiPo upto 3.7v LDO and other regs only useful for drawing steady current upto cells end of useful life. SO no dimming just a cutoff. Commercial buck pucks and those I instruct on obtaining here are easier for noobs without EE degrees and mad solder skills.

AgentDanny (author)erckgillis2006-12-12


!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-03-18

ayy, i bought 1 online ... 5.99$ worth it lol

wischi (author)2006-12-17

Where do you get the free samples ?? wischi

erckgillis (author)wischi2006-12-17

You get them from Manufacturers websites like TI, Cree, Dallas Semi, Luxon, just use their web samples or email. See my instructables on how to social engineer you way to $$$ of free IC and LED kits.

erckgillis (author)2006-12-06

NEW UPDATE - Got the samples from Cree for the Xlamp 7090 XR-E high power LED. Simple and fitted to the existing Mag-Light... sweet 500-1000mA high power very White light.

erckgillis (author)2006-12-06

5mm LED's work best here, you can fit three but require a PCB or custom perfboard...

About This Instructable




Bio: So what ideas would you like to try?
More by erckgillis:NES GBA and PSX games on your iPhone or iTouchApple iTouch/iPhone Hacks and firmware rollback SAFE Recharging of Exotic Batteries, NiMH, LiPO and  complex battery packs or multiple cells.
Add instructable to: