Rayovac 4AA Plastic Spotlight/Lantern Mod (Many said it wasn't worth it)

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garrybunk's picture
Last seen: 1 week 20 hours ago
Joined: 10/31/2011 - 09:25
Posts: 6098
Location: Johnstown, PA
Rayovac 4AA Plastic Spotlight/Lantern Mod (Many said it wasn't worth it)

Since so many people said these lights are junk and not worth doing anything with, I've decided to give you a little background music as you read (a song well known from a movie during my childhood):


This will have to be described with mostly photos as I just don't have time to write much about it.  The lantern is a very cheap Rayovac 4AA plastic spotlight/lantern from Walmart (think it was around $4).  Here ya go:





Stock ugly beamshot (very very narrow beam with dim spill - looks worse than the photo shows):



Hmm . . . what to make a heatsink from . . . how about 4 pieces of 4ga solid copper ground wire soldered together by use of a torch?:





Using one of those emitter stars with 2 AMC7135's premounted and an old XM-L T5 NW (going for decent output with good runtime for a childs use):


(Note: many of the following steps fell apart and had to be redone.  I fought with this mod over and over.)
Gluing the emitter to the copper "heatsink":



Wiring up (Mistake here - I connected the black negative lead to the wrong place.  Instead of coming off the switch I came directly off the battery contact by mistake which gave me "constant on" when I first put it together.  I later moved the lead.)


Oxygen sensor safe Permatex Blue RTV silicone to mount it (this later came off and now is just held in place by contact pressure):


JB Weld holding some shims in place (dummy me had the heatsink too short) and ready for the heatsink.  Those plastic clips hold this unit to the back of the reflector and everything has to be the perfect height for it to stay together and not slop around.



Clamped heatsink in place into the JB weld using two nuts over the emitter dome (those are radio shaft nuts from the old style two knob car radios):



This photo weeks later.  LED fell off the heatsink, so I am wiring it up and reattaching it.  (Some photo props; sorry no red rags Smile ). 



Looks like a mess, but it will get pressed out better:



Tried using this insulator, but it kept falling out of place so I finally gave up on it (was a nice idea I guess):



All together (notice I butchered the reflector trying to widen the opening - those are plastic particles from filing):


The insulator is in place now and this was it's intent, but it kept falling out of place through the reflector as I would loosen the reflector to pull the unit apart.



Decided I better just run this on 3AA alkalines (or NiMh) instead of 4, so I made a dummy cell with a AAA->AA converter:


This is how it looks now:


First beamshot (WTH??  Still ringy!  Ugh!):


Hmm . . . was this mod a total waste of time???  Same ringy spotty beam!  Ugh!  Hey, why don't I try spraying that plastic lens with glass frosting spray!




Wow!  What a difference!  Gorgeous even flood (pic shows a hotspot which you don't even notice in reality)! 

Outdoor beamshots:


Those outdoor pics were just with my iPhone and don't do the light justice.  It emits probably about a 150 degree flood of even NW light.  It barely reaches a treeline at 130 feet away.  Hey, what do you expect from an old XM-L T5 driven at only 700mA?!

Was the mod worth it?  I don't know.  It was a huge hassle and required a lot of custom (albeit sloppy) work.  The result was a very very useful beam for close up work (I love wide even flood lights).  Great light to light up a room!  Will it overheat and burn up?  I doubt it, but I don't know for sure.  We'll see. 


My Bike Lights Thread, Optics (TIR) Comparison Beamshots, Diffusion Techniques

, MTBR’s Lights & Night Riding Forum
NOTE: Now hosting my photos from my Google account. Post up if you can’t see them. Older photos hosted on Photobucket or Flickr may disappear (PM me if you want access to them).
djozz's picture
Last seen: 18 min 49 sec ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 17962
Location: Amsterdam

Thanks Garry, nicely done, I have been missing these lots-of-glue-type of mods lately. I'm not sure if I would like to own the light, but I love reading about the modding process Cool

Ejected Filament
Ejected Filament's picture
Last seen: 7 months 2 days ago
Joined: 12/03/2013 - 04:29
Posts: 2343
Location: Qld, Australia

If the light you refer to as a waste of time is the one I think it is, thats not it. The one I recall was 6v square batt, and multi (12/15 or so) LED’s and insane run times. The local single emitter version (Eveready Dolphin) claims about 47hrs, with two levels, on and off.

But yes, plenty of work, and the frosty lens repaired that reflector nicely… I assume run time will suffer slightly?

MRsDNF's picture
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 12/22/2011 - 21:18
Posts: 13473
Location: A light beam away from the missus in the land of Aus.

Well done on the completion of what sounded like a marathon effort and thanks for sharing. Was it worth it? Tongue Out


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.


RAW74's picture
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Joined: 07/23/2012 - 16:01
Posts: 816
Location: east coast USA

Hey Garry, looks like you made it a bit more usefull.I have one of those that I placed a 3c mag bulb in and four cheap NiMh cells for my son to play with.(The light not the cells!) It is actually brighter as an incandecent than with the stock LED!I really miss the red rags by the way! Silly

Last seen: 1 week 6 days ago
Joined: 02/03/2013 - 14:51
Posts: 7935
Location: SC

Nice mod. This is the type of light that would be good for camping and such. It shouldn’t annoy other campers with an intense hot spot, it’s hard to loose , you don’t mind scuffing it, and it runs on AA’s.

M4D M4X's picture
Last seen: 1 month 3 days ago
Joined: 03/19/2014 - 05:17
Posts: 8821
Location: Austria (GMT + 1)

thanks for sharing!

i like that kink of “cheap mods”

i do not work in "reviews, deals and codes" for the time being
maybe M4D M4X will return one day, but until then:


Kodachrome40's picture
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 12/04/2013 - 14:34
Posts: 853

Nice mod! seems like the beam pattern is vastly improved. Using that frosting spray was a great idea.

Rufusbduck's picture
Last seen: 5 months 5 days ago
Joined: 04/04/2012 - 15:34
Posts: 10389
Location: Golden state

Hot mess! Thumbs Up

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


Lightbringer's picture
Last seen: 4 hours 56 min ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 15556
Location: nyc

If anything was a learning experience, then it was worth it. Big Smile

My first “mod” ages ago was converting an incandescent Taskforce 2×AA to use a M*g LED replacement. Ditch the retaining cap, gently bore out the reflector to press-fit the M*g bulb in, and let the tip of the AA press against the nipple on the bulb.

Over 4× the runtime, more consistent light over the battery’s life, etc.

Kinda ringy beam with a “necklace” of bright spots around the periphery, but quite usable. I might just frost the front plastic “lens” to even it out some.

Funny thing is, if I were to Dremel out the reflector, it’d fit a regular P90 reflector+pill perfectly!

My only issue would be getting the heat out, but if the M*g bulb doesn’t cook…

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2013 - 19:01
Posts: 5337
Location: US

Very nice, making a less-then-useful light into something useful!