Greatlite 2AAA Penlight Mod - Now it really is a Great Light and an under $10 mod.

I stopped by Pep Boys the other day, to pick up some sandpaper. When I went to cash out, I saw these penlights. A quick inspection told me the head was probably about 12mm and that I might be able to mod it, so I brought one home.


Here's the mod:


The original "pill" consisted of a 5mm led, a plastic spacer and a little driver with just a resistor on it. The total stack up was 20mm. That's the stack height I will be going for.


I am replacing the reflector and plastic lens with a TIR optic from CNQG.


The new pill consists of a 1/4" copper pipe end cap, with a Nichia 219 on a 10mm star. I reused the driver, but it's just a contact board now. The resistor is removed. The driver is held on with AA. I also used a strip of .010" copper sheet to wrap the copper end cap, since the OD was only about 11mm and the head is 12mm ID. I soldered the copper wrap to the end cap, but I didn't have to. I could have just kept it as a simple wrap.

This was a very simple and fast mod. I did not fill the copper end cap with anything. I left it hollow. It's still 10 times the heat sink of the original and after all, it's a 2AAA light. It's not going to push high amps anyhow.


All I had to do was to remove the original guts, slip in the TIR optic, make the pill and slip it in and screw the head back on. I did remove the ano off the top edge of the body, so it made good ground with the outer edge of the contact board, but that took a few seconds.

A very simple mod and it works!


Here's some indoors beam shots. After all, it's a penlight. It's going to get used indoors a lot. let's see what it can do.

All shots are at ISO 200, Daylight WB, F:2.7 aperture and 1 Second shutter speed.


A closet with the normal closet ceiling light turned on.


Here's the closet with the greatlite turned on.


Here's a shot of the beam, on the ceiling of the closet.


This is the a dresser in the bedroom. No lights are turned on, just sunlight through the window.


This is with the greatlite turned on.


Living room, no lights on, just sunlight.


Living room with the great lite turned on.


Front door with no lights turned on.


Now with the greatlite turned on.

This little 2AAA light is really bright! I am using Alkalines. It will not be as bright with NiMHs. This is a great light to give as a gift, for a non-flashaholic. It takes Alkalines, it's on/off. It's not expensive and it's got a pocket clip.

Thanks for looking.

Once again great little light you have created! Keep up the good work!

Great job on that, O-L! I like it!

Very nice fire place Old-Lumens. OH the torch looks like a little ripper as well. I may have to try one of these TIR lens's. Do you find they have less spill than a normal reflector? Thanks.

I am a penlight kind of guy. I love the thin 2AAA format with a clip. It makes for a handy EDC with twice the power of a 1AAA. The longer 2 AAA makes it easier to hold and is not a problem if you clip it to your front pocket like a pocket knife. I carry one at work and never notice it is there until it is needed.

That looks like a nice mod. It seems crazy bright even in sunlight! The beam looks even and floody with a decent tint. Do you have a lumin estimate? From the pics, it looks brighter than my Pelican 1920 which is rated at 67 lumins. From your beam shots, it looks 2-3 times brighter but it is hard to tell from camera pics sometimes.

In any event, it looks like a winner. If you decide to do another and want to share the love, I would buy one.

The thing about this 2AAA is, it’s short enough to put inside my pocket. That’s why I bought it. I don’t like pen lights that stick up and press against or lift the pocket flap. This one is just right.

I should have put the price in the title (think I will). I got this light for $3.95 and added the Nichia, so really this is a <$10 light and it's brighter than any pen light I have seen (except for mods). I can't put a lumen estimate on it. It's well over 100 lumens for sure. Anything less wouldn't show up so well in the daylight inside the house. Somewhere between 100-200 is my guesstimate. With the 2 Alkalines, you get 3v to start. Of course that sags and it sags fairly quickly, but it's still bright. I haven't done any tail cap measurements and I need to, tonight when I get home. NiMHs would be less bright to start with, but they might hold a little longer before sagging. I may sell this one, but one of the reasons I posted it is because it's such an easy mod. If anyone can solder two wires to the led and to the board, the mod is done and I encourage anyone wanting to play with a mod. This is an inexpensive way to make a little wow light.

Yes, I find less spill. This particular TIR with the Nichia seems to have no real spill. It is just a smooth spot of light so that you can’t really see spot or spil, just a smooth beam. I am impressed with the TIR optics I have gotten from CNQG. I like them better than Carlco. They are smoother and don’t seem to have hot spots, as the Carlco do. There are three optics I have tried from CNQG. Two of the 20mm and this 12mm.

can you put up a pic to see how the optics look in the light if you have one that is.


Other than the pics here? What are you wanting to see?

Thanks again OL for sharing this.
Hopefully my hobby room will be ready soon, so I can start trying out some mods.

Nichia is a sweet emitter ....color is unbelievable .

I love em !