Instructables
I recently found a Mini Maglite flashlight in one of my dad's desk drawers. I replaced the old batteries and attempted to turn it on. As it turned out, the bulb was dead (at that time I didn't realize that I had a replacement bulb). I wanted it working and looking cool, so I went to Radioshack a few blocks away, got a SuperBright blue LED, did some fiddling, and ended up with this...
 
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Step 1: Gathering Materials

First thing you'll want to do is gather the tools and supplies for the project:

Tools
-Electric Drill/Drill Press
-Wire Snips

Parts
-Mini Maglite Flashlight
-SuperBright 5mm LED*

*I went to Radioshack and got a 5mm 2600 mcd SuperBright blue LED (catalog number 276-316. I really don't like going to Radioshack because they mark everything up so much ($4.49 for the LED at Radioshack, compared to $0.33 for a similar one from Jameco), but if I need something quick or want to browse, it's okay.

Step 2: Disassembly

Picture of Disassembly
Now we will disassemble the major components in the flashlight. These include the main handle, the batteries, the little screw-in thing in the back, the head, the reflector the front cap, and of course, the original bulb. No tools are necessary for this, it is all screwed together and easily comes apart.

Step 3: Light Comparison

Let's take a moment to compare the original bulb with our new LED. For one, the bulb is glass and is prone to breaking while out of the flashlight, while the LED is, for the most part, a solid hunk of plastic. In addition, the bulb heats up a lot really fast, while the LED will take a while to start warming up. Also, the LED is much brighter than the bulb and does not diverge as rapidly. It's pretty blue color catches attention and is very visible in the dark, as well as light. One thing I noticed later on was that the blue color of the LED is fairly near ultraviolet, so it lights up bright colors quite well, especially highlighters (Florescent dye, I suppose). Now let's get back to business, shall we?
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aaron529 months ago
digital cameras that have a manual mode should allow you to compare the difference in the lights by noting the change in f stops while using the same shutter speed. 1 f stop up is 100% more light , one f stop down is 50% less.. you should also be able to use the shutter sped preferred option (auto mode) if it displayed the aperture in the lcd; using the spot meter can get you all sorts of info on bulbs abilities ... FYI
sparky34892 years ago
This really isn't a HACK so much as it is a MOD.
Kevanf13 years ago
Good 'ible', well done. May I suggest using a cone drill or reamer to enlarge the hole in your reflector? It will be a lot neater and you have a heck of a lot more control over the final size of the hole.

Take care.

Kevan
I did this exact same thing a few months back. I put a UV LED in mine. One tip though, use a scotch bright pad or some fine sandpaper to "frost" the LED. This will help diffuse the light more and allow the reflector to work better.
Does this make the beam travel farther or make it disipate?
It didn't seem to have any effect on distance. Over a long distance (30+feet) it might be different, but for up close stuff within 10ft., all it did was spread the beam out.
thartaros5 years ago
i dont have drill so i had to use a drill bit and make the whole by hand :/ fits perfect though :D
mysss thartaros4 years ago
...should I even ask why you have a drill bit, but no drill? :P
sjoobbani mysss4 years ago
That's creativity rite there :D
Kaiven6 years ago
I have a maglite, and I fiddled with my falshlight, but how do you get the maglight lightbuld out? I tried pullin it a little, but I don't want to break something...
Radioactive_Legos (author)  Kaiven6 years ago
It comes out. Just try wiggling it side to side as you pull, it should pop out. The bulbs are very small and are made of relatively thick glass, so you should be fine.
Ok, I got it apart :D Only problem is getting a new bulb... I have a blue one, but it takes 5v... And the yellow and green ones I have aren't bright.
Radioactive_Legos (author)  Kaiven6 years ago
I hate to say it, but for ease of getting the LED, you should probably go to radioshack. They have quite a few LEDs in different colors. I actually find that their superbrite white ones (they come in a 2-pack for around $1.69) are the brightest for the money. Or, you could go to Rite Aid into their halloween section - I picked up a 4-pack of little finger flashlights, they have fiberoptic thingies on the ends which pop off easily. Best of all, the flashlights are very bright and the pack only costs $3. The colors are white, blue, red, and green.
what the ultrabrigts are like 5 dollars at my radioshack!!

YEAH i bought a super bright one for 5 bucks and it didnt work....
Radioactive_Legos (author)  Colonel885 years ago
Did you check the polarity? It's hard to get an led to stop working unless out severely over-voltage or amp it. Just try turning it 180 degrees in the flashlight (just to swap the lead positions).
yes it just doesnt go as bright as the other one
cdousley4 years ago
the three led mini magliite upgrade is 5$ at wal mart but this is cool

Great idea and terrific exicution, worked perfectly!

djdehne5 years ago
What is the advantage of using the 5mm led insteadof using a 3mm? After a quick search it looks like a person can geta 3mm led that is just as bright as a 5mm. What is the approximtesize of the original hole?
Radioactive_Legos (author)  djdehne5 years ago
Well, I happened to have 5mm LEDs lying around, and for me they tend tobe more powerful and accept a broader range of inputs.  Theoriginal hole is approximately 3mm in diameter.
i tried this once but it burned the LED out
You needed a resistor to limit the current in the led.
mie is the opposite i think. the LED is 3.3 volts, but the AA batteries r only 1.5 volts each. and the light isnt bright at all, barely enough to light up a room. also today my flashlight got very hot i was worried the batteris were gonna explode and blow half the city away :/
Oh, and I thought putting a Joule Thief into an AA case, so I can reuse "dead batteries". Has anyone ever done that?
Lol, I went out and bought a Maglite 2AA just to do this. Best flashlight I've ever owned. Same color as yours, lol. Still waiting for my shipment of LEDs to come in, so I will post a copy of your instructable when i get mine in. You know, everyone on instructables does that.
A couple of things: 1. Why is the anti-roll device/lens holder being used? 2. If you used one of those tiny 3mm LEDs, you wouldn't need to bore the reflector. I know this because in my own experiments, the LED I used was just big enough to fit through the original hole.
If you sand off the little flange around the LED base, it would fit even better.
Indeed. 3mm LED only need the leads trimmed and shine filed. Resultant mod will be drop in replacement to original bulb. No drilling of reflector are needed. No current limiting resistor needed for blue/green/white LED.
01.PNG
dillee1 dillee15 years ago
Cut away view of base-LED-reflector assembly
03.PNG
wisd0m5 years ago
This worked well for me. I used a 3mm Red LED that ran at 2.5v. Since I used the 3mm LED, I had to drill out less of the reflector.
Noodle god5 years ago
Now you can have a IR or UV min-mag! I just bored out my reflector with a knife. I wanna make a UV one that would be cool!
amakerguy5 years ago
I tried this and it fried my LED. :(
i cant get my led to fit in the little black holes the wires are to far apart(it would appear, i know not much about flashlights, i mean duh, why else would i read your review, no offense) help good review tho
daelans daelans5 years ago
nevermind, i dont know how you guys did this but, my led worked then i drilled the whole and then i put it in, it didnt work. so i tried 2 other leds, they did not work either, well they work just so dim you might as well not really have it. then i put the regular light in it and it was bright as day (exageration) and now im out a mini mag
daelans daelans5 years ago
nvm my new unopened duracell batteries were not strong enough i used some wicked wierd not common AA and its like 1000000000000 times brighter than duracell no duracell
Radioactive_Legos (author)  amakerguy5 years ago
Did you make sure it was a 3-volt LED? You could have been using a 1.7V or something similar.
I do not know I just salvadged it.
markymark15 years ago
can this light detect blood, urine, semen, and saliva on clothing? Please help.
well if you shine torches with LEDs on a bench on an angle (like almost flat) then all the dust on the desk (you would be surprised how much there is) starts glowing white like in those CSI-like shows, but I don't know if it will actually detect bodily fluids. There is a chance though... Maybey someone else can elaborate on this (please reply to my comment cause I'm interested too)
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