Easy Mini MAGLITE 2-Cell AA Mod *now includes pictures and build details*

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dthoang
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Easy Mini MAGLITE 2-Cell AA Mod *now includes pictures and build details*

I have been itching to do a simple mod of the venerable Mini Maglite 2-Cell AA flashlight and think I have come up with one of the simplest and cheapest true mod, not just an off-the shelf LED module replacement.

Here are some features:

  1. aluminum pill that can fit 16mm round MCPCB
  2. boost driver to use 2 AA cells with current limiting to boost battery life
  3. frosted TIR with nice flood
  4. same twist operation

Estimated cost is $6.

Details of build with pictures will appear soon. I’m posting this as a teaser for now.

11/3/2015

This is my first build post on BLF. I’ve learned a lot from reading many other fantastic builds so this is a way to give back.

First the final product:

Beam shots:

Here are the build steps illustrated using a new mini maglite.

The pill and driver were taken from a cheap AA zoomie that can be had for $1.99.

So much for DO NOT REMOVE.

The mini maglite looks like this disassembled.

The top of the battery tube original and after 1 minute of sanding.

Here is the bezel with a gasket I cut from an old 35mm film canister holder.

The pill was a perfect fit! I added a spring to the driver.

The lens is also a close fit. This second mini maglite might end up as an non-zoom aspheric.

Here is a 21mm frosted TIR I got from led-dna on ebay. It is shown next to original reflector and XP-G2 7A LED replacement. This particular TIR is perfect for this build because it is shorter than the other TIRs I have. This is critical because of the little clearance in the mini maglite head.

Here is a closeup of the driver, which originally had three modes. I removed the mode controller chip and replaced it with a 7135 linear constant current regulator. This light is intended as a gift so I want it to last longer on 2 AAs. Even with 350mA to the LED, it will be brighter than the stock light.

This pill is hollow so I added some Artic Silver Ceramique 2 to help a little. But it should not have heat problems with 350mA. I had to widen the plastic spacer with a 5/16” drill bit to better fit the TIR. I made a poor attempt to make room for the soldered connections.

That’s it for the pictures. Here are some final notes.

I bought two cheap zoomies: one black and one golden. One of them, I forgot which, came with three modes and what looks like a genuine Cree XP-E. The other came with a one-mode driver with a genuine LB POS.

I used the XP-G2 7A because I have several and thought this is a good project for it to maintain the incandescent look of the original Maglite.

For the cheapest build, just use the pill as-is and the cost is $1.99. Add $0.40 for the frosted TIR.

The pill qualifies as a drop-in so you can build several pills with modes, different tints, different LEDs, etc.

one year rookie

Edited by: dthoang on 11/03/2015 - 14:54
hank
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got me

dealgrabber2002
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Oh, I want to see. Subscribed

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LowLumen
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Subscribed. Thanks, always interested in a budget 2AA mod.

DBSAR
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same here, need to see. Smile i have several 2-AA mini mags that i need to mod.

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I have a 2 AA mini mag light. And I want it brighter. Subscribed.

ReManG
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Subbed… Looking forward to this…

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Well count me in too. There’s like half a dozen of those things around here and they could use some attention.

Gunga
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Wow. $6? Cool.

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dthoang
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The full build post is now up.

one year rookie

DBSAR
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Very cool mod! Smile

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DavidEF
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Hey, I have a few of those cheap zoomies around. I wonder if this will work with the Harbor Freight cheapie Mag clone. I may have to find out. I don’t know if I’d want to buy a real 2AA Mag just to do this with. Maglite is real proud of their flashlights. Cash

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You should post a link in the Modding links thread so it doesn’t get lost in the annals of BLF.

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I just looked around, and it’s basically $15 just for a new 2xAA Mag Mini. Anybody know where it can be bought for (significantly) less than that?

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Rufusbduck
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When I first started modding them they were $8 but still only $10 at Freidmans. A small flat rate box will hold several(more if out of the blister pack) so it should be possible to get 6 or more for $11 each. A while ago I sent a package to EU with blue and red 2D and 2AA lights. 6D’s are about $30.

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

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LowLumen
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Nice work, but a 7135 is a linear regulator and won’t work with 2AA: voltage is too low (unless using 2AA single use lithium). When battery voltage drops below LED vF (about 2.6-2.8 volts here) LED will get very dim/moonlight.
Use a boost driver or just direct drive.

dthoang
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LowLumen wrote:
Nice work, but a 7135 is a linear regulator and won’t work with 2AA: voltage is too low (unless using 2AA single use lithium). When battery voltage drops below LED vF (about 2.6-2.8 volts here) LED will get very dim/moonlight. Use a boost driver or just direct drive.

The driver is a boost driver. I took out the 3-mode chip and put the 7135 right before the LED.

one year rookie

dthoang
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DavidEF wrote:
I just looked around, and it’s basically $15 just for a new 2xAA Mag Mini. Anybody know where it can be bought for (significantly) less than that?

I get mine from Sears. I wait for Sears to send me offers like “10,000 surprise points for purchase of $10 or more.” I combine those points with the 3,000 points I get every month for being a Shop Your Way Max member.

I’ve gotten several lights and other goodies for free or almost free that way.

one year rookie

dthoang
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I uploaded the wrong picture for the driver close-up. Here it is.

I’ll fix the OP now.

one year rookie

hank
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Quote:
The driver is a boost driver. I took out the 3-mode chip and put the 7135 right before the LED.

Wow.
Can you give us a macro photo showing that location on the board for that 3-mode chip?

OH, you just did! thank you, I can see the 7135, so ought to be able to figure this out.

Is there something similar you (er, I) can do with a single-mode driver? (those GearBest $2 zoomies say they’re one-mode in the description, which is not always reliable)

And I recall there are some variations in the 7135 chip — anything in particular to watch for?

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Nice work.  Congrats on the build.  So the zoomie pill threads into the head? 

I take it you sand the battery tube both for electrical contact and so that it can still screw all the way down?  Or did you add a spring to bridge contact from the battery tube to the pill?

LowLumen
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dthoang wrote:
LowLumen wrote:
Nice work, but a 7135 is a linear regulator and won’t work with 2AA: voltage is too low (unless using 2AA single use lithium). When battery voltage drops below LED vF (about 2.6-2.8 volts here) LED will get very dim/moonlight. Use a boost driver or just direct drive.

The driver is a boost driver. I took out the 3-mode chip and put the 7135 right before the LED.

Got it, I misread; didn’t realize the linear was placed after the existing boost.

dthoang
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hank wrote:
Quote:
The driver is a boost driver. I took out the 3-mode chip and put the 7135 right before the LED.

Wow.
Can you give us a macro photo showing that location on the board for that 3-mode chip?

OH, you just did! thank you, I can see the 7135, so ought to be able to figure this out.

Is there something similar you (er, I) can do with a single-mode driver?

And I recall there are some variations in the 7135 chip — anything in particular to watch for?

I bought two AA zoomies and got different drivers and LEDs, so unfortunately this is a one-off. I just placed an order for two more of the same lights from GB. Who know what I’ll get.

I did some research before putting in the 7135 chip. The boost chip looks like an ME2180.

ME2180 datasheet

This is a DC-DC boost converter that has regulated output voltage. Because of this, I can put the 7135 after it.

Some drivers use constant-current boost chip, such as the PAM2803, where the output voltage is not regulated but the current is. With those chips, the 7135 is not needed and the sense resistor can be changed to get the desired current.

one year rookie

Rufusbduck
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Would it be possible to power an Attiny from the boost and use it to control the 7135? An mmu might be able to fit on a layout that small.

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

dthoang
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ImA4Wheelr wrote:

Nice work.  Congrats on the build.  So the zoomie pill threads into the head? 

I take it you sand the battery tube both for electrical contact and so that it can still screw all the way down?  Or did you add a spring to bridge contact from the battery tube to the pill?

The pill just drops in but with very little clearance. I only sanded the battery tube for electrical contact. I was lucky that the TIR and pill combined fit perfectly. It took exactly one turn of the tube to turn on the light. Yes, I added a spring to the driver to allow it to make contact with the battery.

one year rookie

dthoang
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Rufusbduck wrote:
Would it be possible to power an Attiny from the boost and use it to control the 7135? An mmu might be able to fit on a layout that small.

I don’t see why not. The ME2180 is designed to power microcontroller-based devices such as a wireless mouse. The tricky part is to make everything fit. What makes it possible is that the ME2180 only requires an inductor and two caps. Other boost converters chips require a schottky diode, sense resistor, and sometimes an FET.

one year rookie

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