Match's Mods: 15min mini mag mod

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Match
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Match's Mods: 15min mini mag mod

Gentlemen,

  Do you have an old mini-mag laying around unloved?  Have an extra P-60 drop-in unused?  Got 15 minutes to spare and a penchant for DIY?  This is the mod for you.  This idea came about while I was building another mini-match and looking at all the various torch parts stored on my desk.  In essence, it converts a standard mini-mag into a host of sorts, but only for the brass base of a P60 drop-in.  Best of all, it's cheap, easy, and DOES NOT require a lathe or mill.

 

Let's get to it.  First, disassemble the mini mag completely.  The only plastic part that's re-used is the reflector.  Save that.  

Next, use a 25/32 drill bit and carefully drill down into the head about 16.5-17mm. I used a piece of electrical tape around the bit to give me a visual aid on depth. A variable speed drill is handy here:

The only other cut that needs to make is on the body itself.  What needs to be done is the end of the body needs to be opened up a bit.  I used a stepper bit for this, but the same 25/32 bit could be used as well.  This is done to give added clearance from the positive terminal.  Once done, place the head of the battery tube flat on some fine grit sandpaper to remove any anodizing remaining.  This is our negative path to the driver.

 

Next, the stock reflector needs to be modified to work with the new setup.  Cut all the little plastic fins off and sand down on the base.  The reflector itself needs to be lightly coated with clearcoat to give it that orange peel look, and greatly cut down on the ringiness of the beam.  I tried it without doing that first and the beam was terrible...  I'll stop describing this process now because here's where a picture or two will do a much better job.  Modified reflector on the left in both pics, stock on the right:

 

Only thing left to do is reassemble everything, so take one of these....

 

And drop it in the mini-mag head like so:

 

Then finish reassembly:

 

Voila!  Like I said, quick and easy. Final output and beam will be mainly dependant on which emitter/driver combo is used.  But, since it's as easy as swapping out any other P-60 drop-in, I suggest experimenting a bit.  I had a spare empty pill, so I used an XP-G emitter along with this single mode driver from dealextreme since it does great in a 2xAA format.  The torch is still a twisty in operation, but just reverse...i.e. tighten to activate.  I'm very happy with the beam of the XP-G with the modified stock reflector.  Very floody but still has a usable hotspot.  Here's a whitewall shot:

 

And that's it!  It actually took longer to make this post than it does to perform this mod (allowing the clearcoat on the reflector to dry notwithstanding).  Here's a modded light that I can feel comfortable giving away to friends and relatives without having to worry about them using Li-ion.  Most non-flashaholics are quite familiar with the good 'ol minimag, and are comfortable using them...and blown away by the performance of modern LEDs.  Here in the states, mini-mags sell all day long for ~$10 with included holster, so the total parts cost for this would be just $15-20 depending on what pill is used.  Pretty cheap for a damn tough little torch that'll be easy to upgrade later.  One could even have multiple pills for it, like a general use xpg with multimodes, a UV, and an ulra low current pill for emergency lighting.  

 

Some notes:

- 20mm carlco lenses are almost a perfect fit for the minimag head, so if one was dissatisfied with the modded stock reflector, one of these could be used.

- There is sufficient surface contact between the pill/head that there are no thermal concerns as long as output remains at 2xAA power levels.

- The driver must have the spring soldered to the center pad for good battery contact since the stock plastic bulb holder is removed.

- The pill chosen should be of the low voltage variety (.8-4.2vdc) in order to work well on 2xAA.  One method is to just build one from scratch with a bare pill, emitter, and driver. Or, ready to go drop-ins like this  would work.

- You don't need to worry about good ground contact from the pill to the head or head to the body because the front lip of the body makes direct contact on the outer ring of the driver (neat, huh!Wink). 

 

 Thanks for reading.

 

-Match 

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:29 Reason: sb56637 replaced budgetlightforum.cz.cc with budgetlightforum.com via Scanner Search and Replace module.
jacktheclipper
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Wow . WOW . Match , I am going to DO this mod !

Thanks for this easy , budget mod . The truth is , I wish I had your mad modding skills and vision , but most of the mods I see involve machining and/or soldering and having special adhesives or compounds  and such . This one seems like something even a caveman can do .

 

bla2000
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That is awesome.  I haven't modded anything yet but this is something I should try.

mitro
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Out-freakin'-standing. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest.

fishinfool
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Match, YOU ARE DA MAN--DA MOD-MAN!!!

Simply amazing!

Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

Match
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Thanks for the nice comments, folks!  If you try this mod, please let me know how it goes for you.  Also, if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask.  

As an aside, I almost didn't post this mod because I thought it may be too cheezy...  I think I may be slipping out of touch with reality at times  :~ :bigsmile:

Budgeteer
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Excellent mod! Very simple, very effective, very cheap and easy to do. On top of that looks like a commercialy available unit not a random good DIY job.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

sb56637
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Very nice work Match! Thanks for this practical guide. I really should try it myself, I do have an old miniMag lying around here.

Frontpage'd and Sticky'd. Thanks for this fun series Match!

Budget Light Forum ...where Frugal meets with Flashlight!

srfreddy
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Only problem being where to find a bit that big....

sixfink
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srfreddy wrote:

Only problem being where to find a bit that big....

 

... hardware store? ... ebay? ...craigslist?

 

Anyways, GREAT mod, Match! The beauty of simplicity is amazing.

Last night, a local shop was virtually throwing out brand new mini-M@gs at ridiculously-low five bucks each. Couldn't resist and got three, they make great gifts. I'll do this very mod you just described and give it to my mother, she too has always complained about the ludicrous output of her stock, NiMH-powered mini Maglite.

thank you for sharing!

xP.1337
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pretty sure we got it at lowes lol depot should have it too

brted
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Could you sand down the threads on the pill and make it fit without doing the drilling?

Also, how do you power it? 2xAA will only be 2.4V with Eneloops. Most drivers aren't going to work with that, although low voltage Solarforce drop-ins are made for 2xAA. The NiZn batteries would be pretty ideal for this. Maybe a 14500 and a dummy 14500.

how2
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We'll have to call you Mr Modder from now on

sixfink
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brted wrote:

Could you sand down the threads on the pill and make it fit without doing the drilling?

 

Possibly so, but you'd have to sand down the anodizing inside the M@g's head to bare aluminum so current will flow.

I'd also think that boring out the head on a drill press should be easier and faster than grinding down the pill's threads.

 

Good thinking on the low voltage. I'll try the 0.8V-4.2V R2 dropin from Solarforce, that should fill the bill.

the only drawback is 4 weeks of delivery time each time I order from ITC, but I guess you can't have everything. This mod should be a lot cheaper than the terralux "dropin" I am running right now in my EDC mini-m@g.

srfreddy
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http://www.sbflashlights.com/Solarforce-Dropins/Solarforce-XPG-R5-8-4-2V-3-mode-dropin-p103.html

3mode R5, and 20 bucks shipped. 15 if you know the guy. 

 

I want to try and sand the sides of a pill down, cuz I've looked for a big enough bit. 

Match
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brted wrote:

Could you sand down the threads on the pill and make it fit without doing the drilling?

I amended the instructions with the proper depth (I was tired and couldn't remember during the write-upFoot in mouth).  Here's the deal on this idea:

The average diameter of a pill base is 19.66mm.  The stock internal minimag diameter of where the pill needs to be is 16.38mm.  Now consider that the internal diameter of the thickest part of the pill base is 16.26mm that would only leave a 0.06mm wall thickness.  Add to that most drivers are ~17mm and it gets harder yet. 

  One of the big advantages of drilling is that the pill base is left untouched, so you could still take it out and put it back in a P60 host if you wanted to. 

brted wrote:

Also, how do you power it?

  I made an assumption here, but I'll edit the origional post to expound on this.  With the stock 2xAA configuration, one will need to use a low voltage drop-in.  Cheapest thing to do is is get an empty pill and add a driver/emitter.  I'm very happy with the DX driver I linked to in the post.

One could also use a higher voltage drop-in (3-18vdc) and run it on two 14500's, or a single and a spacer. There's a bit of flexability here.  I chose to stick to the alkaline set-up because most of these I make will be given away to family/friends.

 

srfreddy wrote:

Only problem being where to find a bit that big....

Here, let me google that for you... Wink 

 


bla2000
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Match wrote:

As an aside, I almost didn't post this mod because I thought it may be too cheezy...  I think I may be slipping out of touch with reality at times  :~ :bigsmile:

It is not cheezy to me.  A upgraded neutral xpg minimag would be nice.  And the pill could be upgraded in the future too.

srfreddy
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M.... those are 15 bucks shipped at the cheapest. 

Don
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srfreddy wrote:

M.... those are 15 bucks shipped at the cheapest. 

 

Depends where you live. A Minimg will cost $18 if you get a good price round here. Shipping will be more.

A 25/32 drill bit will take some looking for as a 19.84mm drill bit isn't going to be available. I suspect a 20mm drill bit will do just fine.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

Match
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srfreddy wrote:

M.... those are 15 bucks shipped at the cheapest. 

$13.25 shipped from ebay after a few minutes search... Do a dozen of the mods and spread out the cost!

Mate, I can't  spoon feed you any more than I already have...

brted
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I don't know how well the tightening to On works, but you could also get a Terralux tail clicky for Mini Mags. They have a simple On/Off and an "IQ" switch that has 5 modes built in. I already have a simple clicky.

Do you have to have a drill press, or can you do it with a handheld drill?

Any guesstimate on lumens using that DX driver? I like the idea of being able to use NiMH's.

srfreddy
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The terralux tailcaps are known to destroy threads.

Match
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brted wrote:

I don't know how well the tightening to On works, but you could also get a Terralux tail clicky for Mini Mags. They have a simple On/Off and an "IQ" switch that has 5 modes built in. I already have a simple clicky.

  The tighten to "on" actually works quite well.  One could use the various aftermarket clickies available, I've tried em and they seem to do ok.  Call me a purist, but I like the clean look of the stock minimag.

brted wrote:

Do you have to have a drill press, or can you do it with a handheld drill?

I won't lie, a drill press makes it much easier along with a vice and a strap of leather to keep from marring up the head.  But yes, it can be done by hand.

brted wrote:

Any guesstimate on lumens using that DX driver? I like the idea of being able to use NiMH's.

I was actually suprised by the output using that driver/xpg combo on 2 alkalines.  It compared favorably with my H51.  Output was in between high1 and high2.  I'd guess 150-160ish lumens?  Needless to say I'll be ordering some more of those.

jb1
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Match, thanks for taking the time to post all of this information. It'll give rookies like myself a chance to get our feet wet modding......without blowing anything up. Laughing

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Match, that is so cool.  I have 3 Mini Mags that are "loved" but not used.  The truth is; I've always secretly thought the Mini Mag was a handsome little devil, just not enough umph for my needs/wants.  I'm going to try this with an XP-G R5.

Foy

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SecaRob
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Outstanding mod Match!  Thank you very much

Match
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Thanks for the kind comments.  I'm glad you guys can benifit from this.

Essexman
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Match this is a great mod, well done indeed. The only probelm is now I'm going to have to build one, so little time and so many thing s to play with, sorry I mean build.

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Hi Match,

This is just an awesome mod for mini mag...cheap and easy...thanks for showing us. 

uncajesse
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Suddenly... demand for 2xAA drop ins. Wink That SolarForce looks nice, but I wonder for how long it'll go before it's sold out.  I'm looking at a MiniMag right now, the "ED" my boat carries will take a quantum leap.  I have a Brinkmann 2D Mag clone I want to mod too, but the switch got chewed by a dog.  (not even a hint of a scratch in the anodizing)  Is it possible to get replacement switches for those?

arenat
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Unexpectedly my brother gave me one  minimag to play with , therefore I'm able to follow the path which was marked by the mod's guru BLF has, Great Master Match...

 

The idea is put it  a tir optic from DX which look promising ,21 mm...I have a doubt , with this TIR lens the frontal lens go or not ?...if yes a coated lens from KD is in order soon together with the empty p60 set up

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