Maglite upgrade

A long time ago I was in Pittsburg PA. wandering around a mall where I found a hardware store. I picked up a mini Maglite torch powered by 2x AA cells as it was 1/3rd the price as in the UK. It worked fine but it did seem to get through batteries quickly and never worked too well with NiCds. So it just got put in a drawer and forgotten.

Nowadays there are a bazillion cheap LED torches that cost next to nothing and the batteries last for ever. It struck me that they must make LED Maglites now and maybe someone does a LED upgrade for an old incandescent unit. A search on eBay showed many and a few pounds later my 21 year old Maglite now sports a light so bright that if you put your hand in front you can almost feel the photons pushing back! :wink:

For £7 my NiteIze upgrade kit consists of a 30 Lumen LED, a new mount and reflector. It takes, oh maybe, 2mins to install and you can always go back to the Maglite bulb if you want. £7 buys a lot of cheap torch from China or you can have something nice that now works and is very usable. If you have a Maglite, then upgrading to a LED is well worth it IMHO.

I’ve tried the NiteIze LEDs upgrades for Maglites and decided they are not worth the money. For the same price I can get a brand new torch with 2-3X the light and half the weight.

The Streamlight Stylus Pro costs under $20, takes two AAA batteries, and is rugged and waterproof. My first still works after a trip through the washing machine. I got a second because I like it so much. No fancy modes, just an on/off switch on the tail.

For the same price, the Fenix E05 gets 85 lumens from on AAA battery. Also waterproof. This cycles through low, medium, and high each time you turn it on. The on/off is turning the front, like the mini Maglite. I ordered a purple one and put an orange cord on it to make it easier to find in the dim.


I have a MINI MAGLITE since the year 2001 or so and haven’t been able to use it over the last many years because I can’t manage to open the batteries compartment.
The torch weighs a bit and I fear some batteries may have remained forgotten inside thus having the classic acid leakage which may have caused the tail screwable cover being glued to the main corp, because I have several times tried to unscrew the tail cover by applying some really high torques and I’ve been unable to produce any movement.
Have you ever heard of such problem?
73 de Guru

P.D. After Googleing about it for the first time in my life, I’ve just found that some others have had the same problem and it looks like the reason I was guessing is indeed the problem root cause. See this:

I ditched flashlights quite a few years ago. I have several LED headlamps - some bright enough to light up something 100yds away. The real advantage is keeping both hands free, the light goes where you turn your head, and you won’t drop it. Princeton Tec Remix (100 or 150 lumen model) is very good and reasonably priced. Black Diamond Icon is 3x the price but has a great hi power LED (320 Lumens).

Hi Andy

Well over a year ago now I changed the bulbs in my Maglites (2 cell D types) with single Cree LED bulbs…transformed the torches giving an amazing beam of light and the batteries last longer. Just look on E-bay…search with ‘Cree bulbs for Maglite’ and the prices are a lot less than I paid back then (around £10 and less now)…oops you’d already mentioned the e-bay bit…anyway agreed…great investment.

73 Allan GW4VPX

I have an early Cree LED (double maglite sized) torch. Had it probably 7 years - not using it every day but quite often. Just had to change the (rechargable) battery last week (it came with a spare) and put the old battery on charge to switch out in another 7 years or so! Cost 18 Australian dollars if I remember correctly. It’s amazing that the 2nd rechargable battery (still in it’s sealed plastic) was fully charged after 7 years!

This lamp is BRIGHT - how about lighting up the top of a 12 metre tower from ground level?

It’s also in a solid metal case so hard to break.

Amazing technology.


Gosh, I didn’t expect so many comments !

Wunder: if I didn’t have a mint torch body I’d have bought something new and those items look worth investigating.

Guru: I think it maybe time to cut your loses and throw the old body out and buy one of the items Wunder showed.

Chris: I have a few Chinese head-torches, I should invest in a better one TBH.

Allan: not only do Cree make some interesting LED items they also churn out all sorts of RF stuff too. The price keeps dropping yet everyone in the chain still makes a profit.

Ed: Surprising because rechargeable cells like NiCd/NiMHs do have a I high self discharge. I bought some low discharge cells for the GPS about 2 years back and the difference between them and old NiMH self discharge is massive.

1 Like

I have several headlamps including an amazingly powerful one like yours.

My first headlamp was bought about 1970, called the wonder or marvel or something like that, anybody remember them? A metal battery unit with fixed torch that clipped on your belt, and a plug-in lead to the headtorch that switched out the fixed torch. It all ran off a 4.5 volt flat battery which lasted long enough to get you half-way off a mountain, and as the plug and socket was pretty shoddy it had a habit of going out at the most inconvenient moments! For all that it was my companion on hundreds of mountain days out and several belated descents after minor epics. The modern LED torches are in a different league with a serious increase in battery life and light power but I suspect that you would only really appreciate them if you had experience with their predecessors!


1 Like

Agreed - which is partially why I was surprised. I expected the battery to be flat but no, it was still fully charged! This was a cheap no-name NiCD as well. I guess sometimes were lucky!


I had two Maglites, a Mini (2x AA) and a Solitaire (1x AAA). Both of them came with Energizer batteries in the box. In both the supplied batteries leaked. I was still able to open the battery cap but could not remove the batteries anymore: They swelled and with the corroded aluminium inside they were really stuck. I tried to drill them out but gave up.
So I am not sure you will be happy once you have removed the battery cap. Propably replacement by a LED lamp is the way to go.
I have used lots of other batteries in other devices. Not a single case of leakage. I really wonder why only the Energizer batteries in the Maglites leaked. Especially as in this special case leakage is fatal. Perhaps a very special case of planned obsolescence?
After these incidents I never purchased a single Energizer battery anymore. With the availability of LED torchlights I regard the filament bulbs for torch- or headlights really outdated: Very poor intensity for the power consumption.
The only disadvantage: Some LED torchlights and headlamps emit some harmonics up to HF of their switching power regulators. But their intensity is stunning compared to filament bulbs.

Btw: The electrolyte in Alkaline-Manganese batteries is not acid but brine. Especially aluminium is known to be corroded by brine.

73 de Michael, DB7MM

I once entered a competition run by Orange in partnership with the Arrows Formula 1 team. The competition involved texting an answer to a simple F1 related question. As is often the case, I soon forgot about sending in my text. Some time later - weeks, months?, I received a telephone call and I was asked for my address to receive some merchandise as I’d won a prize.

The prize consisted of Orange Arrows branded goodies, a coat, a hat, a pen, a bag, and a Maglite Mini amongst some other trinkets. I was a bit disappointed not to have won a weekend away in Monaco but the goodie bag was better than a poke in the eye with an antenna whip. Strange thing was that the team went bankrupt a little while later, I wonder if they were dumping stock? :smile: I still have my Maglite and it still works fine, although it doesn’t get much use.

My favourite illumination device is a Petzl E+LITE, I love the fact that it’s so lightweight, batteries seem to last a long time and the spare replacement batteries (CR2032) are easy to carry and weigh next to nothing. The light output is sufficient to navigate in complete darkness (I know due to summiting High Street G/LD-011 in darkness early one October morning).

Yesterday I bought an LED torch for 79p including 3 AAA batteries, at that price, they’re almost disposable!

So yeah, Maglites are nice to own, well made and are tough, but there’s lots of cheaper and more practical options out there. But then again, I guess a headlamp isn’t as effective as a 4D Maglite for banging in pegs to hold up the mast :smiley:

73, Colin M1BUU

I have a 3xD MagLite. The cells leaked. I had to enlist the help of the guys in the workshop to get it open, using a lathe chuck! I might consider getting an LED for it. Far too heavy for SOTA though! I’ve got a Mini too, so I’ll think about that.

I’ve had two “Cree”-branded (the LEDs at least) head torches for 2E0EYT. One fell apart, the other draws 1mA when it’s “off”. My own is a 2xAAA Petzl and I’m very happy with it.

In fact this is what I did about a year ago. I have got a LED headlamp now which provides very good light. However, I use it very rarely, as I prefer activating in the morning and I don’t take it with me when I go out for a walk at night with our dog Lucho because the moon and the distant lights of the village provide light enough to see the Way of St. James track section where we use to walk.

I still keep my MAGLITE torch in the shack together with other pens, rubber duck antennas, pencils, a dentist mirror, etc in an old Coke can (much thicker metal sheet than today’s) with the top cover cut that I prepared many years ago for this purpose, but it’s just doing nothing other than reminding me of who gave it to me, when and where.

I’m now absolutely sure I will not be happy with what I’ll find inside :slight_smile:

There must be a reason for so many MAGLITE torches having this leaking batteries issue.
Perhaps the fact of having the batteries inside an Aluminum compartment creates some type of electrochemical reaction…
Who knows…
The fact is that these type of torches have become very obsolete with so many low consumtion LED torches and longer duration batteries.

Best 73 de Guru

I can vouch for that in my Series III Land Rover. Did’ny like road salt. So much for being indestructable :smile:

73 es meri xmas


Being a bit of a Land Rover addict, I can second that, and the younger they are the worse they are ! :angry: :rage:

Someone always has to go that bit further…

n.b. some of the comments are a bit rude, so don’t read them if you get offended easily!

Just include a keyer, and who needs radio :smiley:


I, too, have had to pitch several mag-lite AA and AAA flashlights due to battery leakage. I had Duracell batteries in all of them, so the leakage problem is not limited to Energizer batteries. I suspect that there is some very minimal discharge even when not in use in these flashlights that over an extended period causes the batteries to lose their charge, swell, and then start leaking. With the very tight tolerance in the battery case (normally a good thing…), it doesn’t take much swelling to permanently keep the batteries from being removed.

Having said that, I must be a sucker for punishment as I still own a few mag-lites… :smile: I just make sure to store them and their batteries separately…

Dave, AE9Q