Resurrecting a dead 3D Mag

28 posts / 0 new
Last post
comfychair
comfychair's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 05:39
Posts: 6198
Resurrecting a dead 3D Mag

This is an old beater that's been rather abused... outside looks halfway decent, but it's been attacked by leaky batteries, and had a broken bulb holder/tower for years. Good thing I never throw anything away, huh?

I had a chunk of aluminum left over from... well, who knows. And since 5/8" copper pipe is the same size as a 16mm MCPCB, figured why not hack something together. I have purposely tried to avoid other D-cell Mag build threads just to see if what I come up with is better/worse than what's been done before.

This required ZERO mods to the host, other than cutting off the original plastic bulb tower, and removing anodizing in the tube from the circlip out to the end, so the new pill has good contact for ground and heat transfer. The pill didn't come out exactly the size I wanted, so it's not a pure press-fit retention, but instead is captured by a big c-clip inserted from the front, so the bottom flange on the pill is trapped between the original Mag circlip and the new one. There is NO groove cut in the battery tube for the new c-clip, it's a tight enough fit that it ain't going anywhere on its own but can still be removed later by pressing from the tailcap end with a piece of pipe. The switch comes out like stock, the switch mods are just to remove the original BAT+ spring and fill the spring holder with solder, and for the topside of the switch I used the original chromed-brass lower spring cup with the O.D. flared so as to be a press fit in the top of the switch body. Nothing goes flying across the room when you take the switch out, and there's no fighting with extra wires soldered into the switch or any other messy junk like that.

Pictures!

This was in the early stages... the setscrews were meant to allow adjusting the pillar height for different reflectors without removing the pill from the tube, but the first attempt at making the holes in the body line up with the holes in the pill failed miserably... as did the second attempt. So I gave up on that, and slathered the copper pillar with solder, and filed it down just enough so it's a press fit into the pill. It's still adjustable, but it'd require a bench vise or hydraulic press:

OK, here's a tip: It is impossible to solder the driver into this thing, I had to remove the copper ring (.080" solid wire, flattened to be the same thickness as the driver board, and it fits into an undercut groove in the base of the pill like a snap ring) and tin it, then try again. STILL wouldn't solder; the iron would melt it just enough to weld itself into place and then dump all the heat out and just sit there. I finally had to blast the tip of the iron with a torch, and then bridge a little of the gap, then re-blast, solder, re-blast, solder some more...

Emitter is XM-L U2 (looks to be 6500k, compared to a known-5000k XM-L), the original one from the Solarforce S1100, on a 16mm board with the copper rivets thru the center pad, StinkPAD style.

Keepin' it simple, power from 3 plain alkaline D cells.

Used this reflector from Fasttech...

Fitting the reflector into the unmodified Mag head was pretty straightforward... chop off the threads at the base, open the ID to fit around the copper pillar, trim down the thickness of the outside threads so the Mag bezel would screw on. Used a glass lens leftover from... something. I think an old dead Magcharger.

A centered LED, in a Maglite?! Tongue Out

Bad pics, but trying to show the range of focus adjustment, from as far out as it can go and still cover the o-ring, to fully seated:

I didn't check current at the LED before buttoning it up, but tailcap current is 1.80A with relatively fresh but not-quite-new Duracells. Driver is a 3.04A 105c. Kinda weird having modes on a big D-cell Maglite. I haven't played with it outside yet but it looks to have wider spill (duh, 52mm reflector) than a typical P60/XML but a much smaller hotspot, so even with the textured reflector it'll likely throw better even though it's probably making less overall light.

 

 

Slim Pickens
Slim Pickens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Joined: 04/28/2012 - 19:50
Posts: 1191
Location: Maine

Very unique solution! I like it a lot. Smile
If you want more juice you can use 4C or even AA NiMH in a snap. Less of a snap for AAs, though. Flip the tailspring around, bend the very end of the spring so it bisects the spring, add a 1” (I.D.) PVC tube and you’re in business for using 4C.

comfychair
comfychair's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 05:39
Posts: 6198

Yeah, I thought about other batteries but this one is going to live permanently in my car, so I want to K.I.S.S. It's plenty bright enough for that, and I left the driver set to enable the much-hated blinky modes. It's about 3 times more light (and about a thousand times nicer beam!) than a stock 3D LED Mag but yet not so much of a hot rod that it's likely to break down after 5 minutes of use. After 20 minutes on high you can touch the copper tower with your finger, it's barely above ambient temp. Can't do that with any of my LiIon lights!

I have a less beat-up 2D Mag I'm considering for something like 2x 32600/32650, though that would be beyond what the stock switch can handle.

comfychair
comfychair's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 05:39
Posts: 6198

Oh, I knew I forgot something - this driver I know has a low battery warning, I don't know if it has a low bat shutoff. So not ideal for alkalines. I've looked all over and the alkaline-specific drivers I have found are for 1-2 batteries only, haven't seen any that are speced to work with 3x at ~4.5v. If anybody has recommendation for a better suited driver than this one I'm all ears!

Slim Pickens
Slim Pickens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Joined: 04/28/2012 - 19:50
Posts: 1191
Location: Maine

comfychair wrote:

Oh, I knew I forgot something – this driver I know has a low battery warning, I don’t know if it has a low bat shutoff. So not ideal for alkalines. I’ve looked all over and the alkaline-specific drivers I have found are for 1-2 batteries only, haven’t seen any that are speced to work with 3x at ~4.5v. If anybody has recommendation for a better suited driver than this one I’m all ears!


I think on Low and Medium modes the 105C won’t force ‘Off’ on you. I could be dead wrong but I swear I tried a 2D Mag build that had the same driver with 2D alkaline and it light up fine.
Edit: confirmed that 2xD alkaline (not even close to new) light up with 8xAMC Nanjg 105c in an XM-L Mag. Only 2 modes: presumably Med. and Low, as the first click did not fire up High. The second click and all clicks afterward let me switch between Dim and Dimmer.
jacktheclipper
jacktheclipper's picture
Offline
Last seen: 18 hours 8 min ago
Joined: 10/31/2010 - 21:18
Posts: 4858
Location: Florida , U.S.A.

Cool mod .

Cool

comfychair
comfychair's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 05:39
Posts: 6198

During the planning/building phase of this I checked tailcap current in direct drive and it was the same, around 1.8A. So some of these 7135s are going to waste, if I keep this driver in there I might as well steal a few of em to use on something else.

vestureofblood
vestureofblood's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 hours 35 min ago
Joined: 08/17/2012 - 15:21
Posts: 1821
Location: Missouri

Wow comfy, that is very creative.  I love that tower you made.  It looks really professional.

In Him (Jesus Christ) was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
http://asflashlights.com/ Everyday Carry Flashlights, plus Upgrades for Maglite.

comfychair
comfychair's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 05:39
Posts: 6198

Heh, not hardly... maybe in a post-industrial Mad Max kind of way. I didn't realize until after I'd got the top snap ring pressed in that I'd forgotten to clean up the machining/file marks. This chunk of aluminum's been through hell, it was the guinea pig for figuring out my new drill press & end mills, so it's been grabbed by tooling and flung across the room, covered in vise-grip toothmarks, and so on... Tongue Out

Helios-
Helios-'s picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: 01/18/2012 - 21:12
Posts: 2099

Nice. Unique build.
Beamshots?!


Counterfeit 18650s, 2,<a href=“http://

moderator007
moderator007's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 6 min ago
Joined: 12/23/2012 - 04:47
Posts: 3121
Location: North Carolina

Hi comfychair,
The stock mag switch can handle 5 amps reliable or mine has anyways. I built a sst-50 2D mag running off of 2 18650’s with 2 DX 20330 drivers wired parallel. These newer high current drivers didn’t exist when I built it. I have seen some mods that pushed it to 10amps with a sst-90 but I don’t have a clue on how long they it lived.
I built my father a 3D mag for Christmas with a similar setup to yours. I used a amc7135 1.4a no modes for reduced output for a longer run time. Alkaline’s can’t push high currents anyways which I guess you found out. It’s hard to beat a mag host.

comfychair
comfychair's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 05:39
Posts: 6198

Eh, no need for beam shots really, it's a lot like a P60, but the hotspot is about half the size and slightly more well defined, but nothing like a dedicated long-range thrower. It's very smooth. I thought this reflector was too short & stumpy to do anything useful, as it's shorter than even a stock incan Mag reflector, but it's a nice middle ground.

I have an assortment of 50-52mm reflectors on the way, if I find anything interesting among them I'll post a comparison.

I did a quick & dirty test with a single 18650 and it's not noticeably brighter. I'm sure it would show up on a meter, but not much different just judging by eye.

Helios-
Helios-'s picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: 01/18/2012 - 21:12
Posts: 2099

comfychair wrote:
I have an assortment of 50-52mm reflectors on the way, if I find anything interesting among them I’ll post a comparison.

That would be great. :bigsmile: I’ve been kicking around ideas for a couple old incan D mags. I really like reflectors that can fit a whole led star in there but I’m looking for an Intense hotspot so its as disorienting as possible if its ever needed as a deterrent on strobe.

Is it hard not to damage the chrome plating when opening up the led hole?


Counterfeit 18650s, 2,<a href=“http://

comfychair
comfychair's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 05:39
Posts: 6198

Helios- wrote:
Is it hard not to damage the chrome plating when opening up the led hole?

No, not really. I mount a small cutoff disk in the drill press, set the depth and lock it down, then just move the reflector around by hand to make the cut. Rough edges clean up easy with a half-round diamond file (pull only). Cleans up nice.

relic38
relic38's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 10 months ago
Joined: 12/28/2012 - 00:39
Posts: 3390
Location: Toronto, Canada

Great build! I took a simple approach and used a 3×18650 dropin with a super wide OP reflector. It is one of my favorite flooders and it still has 40kcd throw.
If I see a Mag on sale, I’ll get it just to do a more interesting mod like this one. Thanks for sharing!

Welcome the night.

My Reviews   My Mods    http://budgetlightforum.com/search?

Old-Lumens
Old-Lumens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: 11/04/2011 - 11:39
Posts: 7478
Location: Tyler, TX, USA

Great Build! The nice thing about Maglites is that there are so many different ways to Mod them. I think the "D" Mag is probably responsible for more mods than all other lights combined.

My PayPal address: oldlumens (insert the @ sign here) gmail.com

My YouTube Flashlight Video Channel

The BLF Modding Links Thread 

http://imageshack.com/a/img922/1374/jQ2wdL.jpg

 

MRsDNF
MRsDNF's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 hours 43 min ago
Joined: 12/22/2011 - 21:18
Posts: 12997
Location: A light beam away from the missus in the land of Aus.

Very well executed comfychair. Its good to see your star getting a work out and an old light getting a new lease on life. I'll get you to work on me next. Cheers.

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

comfychair
comfychair's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 05:39
Posts: 6198

Recognize this shape?

 

 

 

No? How about now...

Works in the little ones too... thinking it might be better in the 2xAA, with two 14500s in a parallel adapter...

Helios-
Helios-'s picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: 01/18/2012 - 21:12
Posts: 2099

comfychair wrote:
Recognize this shape?

Thats crazy…. and awesome. :bigsmile:


Counterfeit 18650s, 2,<a href=“http://

comfychair
comfychair's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 05:39
Posts: 6198

It looks fancier than it really is, it's just pieces of 1/2" and 5/8" pipe soldered together. It's hollow so there's room for the original Mag driver board inside which would be neat if they weren't so stupidly underpowered. This'll just be direct drive.

comfychair
comfychair's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 05:39
Posts: 6198

Well that's interesting. I managed to build something that wasn't better than the stock light! The sexy D-cell LED reflector really does not like the big die emitters - it loses all its throw, and still has not much usable spill. XM-L works better in the shorter incan D-cell reflector, and the little XP-G2 in the incan reflector beats the pants off the XM-L in throw. I don't have a setup yet to check the XP-G2 in the stock LED reflector. Maybe I should build one of those.

But... the copper pill XM-L works awesome in a LED MiniMag with 3xAA NiMh.

Slim Pickens
Slim Pickens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Joined: 04/28/2012 - 19:50
Posts: 1191
Location: Maine

comfychair wrote:

Recognize this shape?

 

 

 

I’m so jealous Silly

That’s hawt.

 

comfychair wrote:

Well that’s interesting. I managed to build something that wasn’t better than the stock light! The sexy D-cell LED reflector really does not like the big die emitters – it loses all its throw, and still has not much usable spill. XM-L works better in the shorter incan D-cell reflector, and the little XP-G2 in the incan reflector beats the pants off the XM-L in throw. I don’t have a setup yet to check the XP-G2 in the stock LED reflector. Maybe I should build one of those.

But… the copper pill XM-L works awesome in a LED MiniMag with 3xAA NiMh.

 

For similar drive levels, the XP-G2 will create higher lux than the XM-L and XM-L2 in a given optic.  MRsDNF’s Mini C8 builds represent this relationship well.
Mouseover for XP-G2, mouseout is XM-L:

 

 

While its sweetspot is slightly trickier to find, I’ve found the MagLED reflector rocks with XM-L and the incandescent one frankly sux in comparison when used with LEDs. Since it was designed to accommodate the radiation pattern of a filament, which emit light in essentially 360, the incandescent reflector’s focal point is ~1/4” into the parabola. This creates wasted reflecting area when LEDs are used—when viewed head-on, there will be a visible deadzone around the emitter. In addition to improved corona size the deeper reflector yields significantly improved tint homogeneity between hotspot, corona, and spill compared to the shallower incandescent reflector. If you go with neutral XM-Ls (~5000k and below): MagLED reflector redirects more of the cooler light emitted at angles close to the normal (with respect to the die surface) into the hotspot and corona. The shallow incand reflector allows the cooler light to become spill light, while reflecting a greater percentage of the warmer yellow light emitted at greater angles (WRT the normal), creating an unnaturally yellow hotspot and cold spill.

Mouseover is MagLED reflector, mouseout is incand reflector. Otherwise the same light (Mag 2C XM-L T4 5A3)

RaceR86
RaceR86's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 9 months ago
Joined: 02/22/2012 - 08:32
Posts: 3777
Location: Norway

Nice thread and work! Smile

comfychair wrote:
thinking it might be better in the 2xAA, with two 14500s in a parallel adapter


?? Two 14500s in parallel inside a 2xAA Minimag? or did I misunderstand something. Do you know of tricks or products I don’t know about? Silly If that is the case, please tell me more! Wink

BLF LED database – collaboration spreadsheet and latest news about where to buy LEDs
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/19342

comfychair
comfychair's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 05:39
Posts: 6198

RaceR86 wrote:
?? Two 14500s in parallel inside a 2xAA Minimag? or did I misunderstand something. Do you know of tricks or products I don't know about? Silly If that is the case, please tell me more! ;)

Like this: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/17987#comment-327097

Make a double-L shaped thing, so that the rear cell's positive is routed to connect to the front cell's positive, and the front cell's negative is routed to the rear to connect with the rear cell's negative. PCB inbetween the two pieces is an old switch PCB with all the vias drilled out so that none of the contacts on either side are connected anymore, it's just a mechanical connector to hold the pieces together. Made from ~.015" copper sheet insulated with kapton tape.

timebndit
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: 03/24/2013 - 12:13
Posts: 27
Location: Georgia, USA

great idea for a mag-lite, now I now what to do with that old broken one I have……thanks for sharing

al

comfychair
comfychair's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 05:39
Posts: 6198

Slim,

I'm not getting anything that looks like those results with the D Mag LED reflector. It's even more ringy and artifact-y than it is with the stock XP-E pill, which is quite a feat.

Though, this reflector has been cut on, the base has been trimmed down to enlarge the opening to fit over the 16mm tower built for the black 3D light at the top of the page. And from what you've said the lowest part of the base is the most critical to making it work with the characteristics of an LED. I'll pick up a few new spares and try again.

So out of the three 3D Mags I have here - this one with a 5000k XP-G2 DD/incan reflector, the black XM-L beater with the shallow OP reflector, and the new one with the XM-L in the LED reflector - XP-G2 wins the throw contest hands down, XM-L/OP wins the smooth good-walking-around-light contest hands down, and the XM-L/LED reflector is worse at everything than the other two.

But it's just about spectacular in the MiniMag LED reflector... in fact I'm blown away with a lot of the tiny 20-22mm reflectors when paired with an XM-L (see also: TR-801), they seem to work better as all-around lights than even the p60 sized reflectors, which on paper should dominate. But somehow they don't. Or maybe it's just all in my head... Tongue Out

The big ones I have on the way from Fasttech are:

51 x 42 http://www.fasttech.com/product/1208513 deep sucker! It's gonna take a new tower design to fit this one, I think

50 x 34 http://www.fasttech.com/product/1051800

53 x 31 http://www.fasttech.com/product/1220102 - another of the same one used here at the top of the page

comfychair
comfychair's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 05:39
Posts: 6198

timebndit wrote:
great idea for a mag-lite, now I now what to do with that old broken one I have......thanks for sharing

Yes! As Old-Lumens said above, so much you can do with them... while that's true, I don't think that's the best thing about them. The best thing about them is that literally everybody - everybody - has at least one laying around unused somewhere, stuffed away in the back of the closet and forgotten. Dig them out and make them usable again!

Slim Pickens
Slim Pickens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Joined: 04/28/2012 - 19:50
Posts: 1191
Location: Maine

comfychair wrote:

Slim,

I’m not getting anything that looks like those results with the D Mag LED reflector. It’s even more ringy and artifact-y than it is with the stock XP-E pill, which is quite a feat.

Though, this reflector has been cut on, the base has been trimmed down to enlarge the opening to fit over the 16mm tower built for the black 3D light at the top of the page. And from what you’ve said the lowest part of the base is the most critical to making it work with the characteristics of an LED. I’ll pick up a few new spares and try again.

So out of the three 3D Mags I have here – this one with a 5000k XP-G2 DD/incan reflector, the black XM-L beater with the shallow OP reflector, and the new one with the XM-L in the LED reflector – XP-G2 wins the throw contest hands down, XM-L/OP wins the smooth good-walking-around-light contest hands down, and the XM-L/LED reflector is worse at everything than the other two.

But it’s just about spectacular in the MiniMag LED reflector… in fact I’m blown away with a lot of the tiny 20-22mm reflectors when paired with an XM-L (see also: TR-801), they seem to work better as all-around lights than even the p60 sized reflectors, which on paper should dominate. But somehow they don’t. Or maybe it’s just all in my head… Tongue Out

The big ones I have on the way from Fasttech are:

51 × 42 http://www.fasttech.com/product/1208513 deep sucker! It’s gonna take a new tower design to fit this one, I think

50 × 34 http://www.fasttech.com/product/1051800

53 × 31 http://www.fasttech.com/product/1220102 – another of the same one used here at the top of the page


I agree! I made a 1×18650 light out of copper tubing/pipe fittings, an XM-L P60, and the MiniMag LED reflector, which was practically a perfect press fit. In short the results were fantastic: a big fat hotspot with surprisingly decent throw.

That first big reflector from FastTech that you linked to is quite close in dimension to the MagLED reflector. It should be a great match, but I await your appraisal Wink