Maglite Switch Replacement

Picture of Maglite Switch Replacement
A Maglite seems to be a most durable flashlight, but mine suddenly flickered "off" while I was using it.  After a couple of attempts to turn it back "on," it went "off" and would not come back "on."  The batteries and the bulb checked out as good.  I decided the switch had to be the problem. 

This Instructable will offer two solutions to fixing a bad switch on a Maglite using 2 "D" cells, other than ordering and installing a new switch from Maglite.  These solutions should also work on models using 2 "C" cells, or more than 2 "C" or "D" cells.

Update: Had I registered this flashlight when it was new, and had I remembered Maglite offers a lifetime warranty, and had my search engine turned up the guide to replacing the switch on Maglite's web page, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble.  But, I am also the kind of person who is not really happy until he has dismantled things he owns to see how they work and to make an improvement here or there.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Determine the series

Picture of Determine the series
The serial number is located on the flashlight's barrel near the front.  Mine is a "D" series.  There is also a "DL" series.  This web site gives detailed instructions for taking your Maglite apart, according to which series it is.  (Scroll down or click on hotlinks for exploded drawings.)  But, instructions for my Maglite said I could unscrew a retaining ring in the Switch Sub Assembly (#13) with a special tool marked in the exploded diagram as #25.  I fashioned a similar tool by grinding four indentations on the end of a metal tube.  All that happened was I broke some fins off of the Switch Sub Assembly.  Nothing I can find indicates any such retaining ring exists and can be unscrewed on my flashlight.  I decided I was on my own.
thanks for posting, i plan on cracking mine open. i need to fix the mechanism. it makes bad contact at certain points so when i adjust the beam the bulb dims and turns off and i can only keep it at certain levels
Phil B (author)  unaffiliatedperson3 years ago
Thank you for your comment. I am guessing you do not think the problem is in the switch, but rather something about how the base of the bulb makes contact with the barrel of the flashlight. One thing with which you might want experiment (if my guess about your problem is close to right) would be to remove the reflector head, lightly scrape the dielectric finish coating from the edge of the barrel on the bulb end, and touch the side of the bulb with a knife blade while letting it rest on the area where you scraped. That may or may not by-pass a poor connection between the bulb base and the barrel. If that is the problem, you could try what I did in step 7. The Switch Sub Assembly will fall out the rear end of the light if you loosen the set screw deep inside the switch. See the switch installation instructions at I hope some of this helps.
mikeasaurus3 years ago
I'm sure there's a way you could sandwich some inner tube between the button and the housing, or include this project afterwords.

Nice job on saving the old Mag.
Phil B (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
Thank you for the link to the inner tube Instructable for keeping water out and thank you for your comment.
wirechief3 years ago
Why didn't you just call Mag Lite, their stuff has a lifetime warranty. They'll mail you a new switch. I got loosened my set screw with and Allen wrench/ got mine out (switch) with an Allen wrench.
Phil B (author)  wirechief3 years ago
I completely forgot about warranty information and have no idea where it is now.

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?


PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!