Mag Mod: 2D with DEEP SMO XM-L drop-in and 2*IMR26650

The new "V8" deep SMO XM-L 8.4V drop-in looked interesting. I'd hoped that with it's 51mm OD lip, it'd be a straightforward Mag C or D drop-in. No such luck... this was a real chore!

There's probably no getting that drop-in into a Mag C. Maybe you can hone the ID of the C neck and grind off all the threads and most of the metal at the base of the reflector and get the base and neck to pair up, but it's doubtful. You'd still have to do most of the mods I did for the Mag D head on top of all that.

As it was, modding the Mag D head to fit this drop-in was a real pain in the butt. I had to...

open up the ID in the main cavity to fit the width of the top half of the reflector
open the ID of the threaded part of the head at the top for the angled part of the drop-in to enter far enough for the lip to sit on the top thread
trim the top thread off so the bezel would completely screw down atop the metal lip and thicker glass lens

You'll notice in the pic above that I also modded the tailcap for 2x26650 cells to work, and modded the switch and pill to use high amperage connectors. This will allow me to disassemble the light quickly and borrow the leads from the host for testing other builds-in-progress. (I don't have a bench supply, so I test/measure using the cells I intend for the build)

I also modded the switch positive contact for use with flat-top cells:

Here's all the modded parts assembled and ready for plug-n-play

Here she is all fully assembled. Looks kinda stock, doesn't it?

Now for some comparisons. That V8 SMO drop-in has surface dimensions that are remarkably similar to the Maglite LED reflector.

Here's a cut-down 1C XM-L mod using the Maglite LED reflector side-by-side with the V8 drop-in modded 2D:

The beam profile similarity between this drop-in and the Mag LED reflector paired with an XM-L is uncanny. If not for the fact that my builds are driven harder, even I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.

Time for some white-wall hunting. Beamshot comparisons between the two lights below.

On the Left, the Mag LED reflector with the XM-L driven at 4+ Amps on high. On the right, the V8 drop-in on high. Tail-cap measured at 1.16A on high using 2x eOne Moli IMR 26650 cells in series. Current delivered to the LED unknown.

4A+ Mag LED on left, V8 drop-in on right

Mag LED 4A+ on left V8 drop-in on high on right

Nice idea there! Did you buy the V8 drop-in from DX?

Thanks for putting this build up here on BLF. It's Much Appreciated. Those reflectors do look like twin sisters.

It's too bad that nothing fits a Mag any more. I remember KD used to carry those two piece Aluminum reflectors for the Incan Mags. Every one of the newer 50, 51 & 52mm reflectors I have tried so far are a PITA to use.

I'm seriously thinking of just buying a few replacement Mag LED reflectors from ZBattery, after seeing those beam shots. A little Krylon would make it to my liking. I'm now convinced that there's nothing wrong with Plastic reflectors for LEDs any more. I had the Incan Hot wire stigma for a long time, but now I see the heat goes into the heatsink with the LEDs and plastic can be used for most LEDs, except maybe extreme instances.

If anything, the hotspot on the V8 seems a little more concentrated than the Rebel reflectored Mag. I will say that as deep as that V8 reflector is, the stock LED reflector is even deeper. Your pic of the two side-by-side shows the difference as you can completely see the LED on the V8 module but can only make out a hint of the LED's corner on the stock reflector. I would guess it to be at least 3/8" of an inch deeper.

It also appears that that's not a 1D Mag on the left but a 1C Mag. I will second Bob's question of how you managed to stuff a rebel reflector in that puppy as I am preparing to do the same.

I see what you are saying looks like a flat area at the bottom of the reflector but Iā€™m thinking that the stock Rebel reflector was further shortened by enlarging the hole for it to into the head better, simulating a flat bottom and likely provide a better beam profile as well since the XM-L appears to like reflectors with a flat area at the base and the only way to accomplish that with the stock Rebel is to make the hole larger like it is on the black Mag.

Extremely nice build. I have a smorgasbord of parts waiting on time to build my own Mag D XML build. Yours is long bar ahead of the pack. Thanks for sharing!


I will give you my reply as well as what TJ gives you. There is only enough room for a total of 24mm depth inside the body of an Incan "D" Mag, if you put in the Rebel LED reflector. I have some photos and some more info here.


The LED reflector is in the Incan head and the bezel is tightened down. I trimmed off the upright, flush with the bottom of the reflector and I trimmed off the outer lip on the bottom of the reflector. The diameter of the reflector will keep the body from screwing down all the way. I did not shorten the reflector. It has way too big a hole to start with and shortening only makes it bigger.


This photo shows a pencil line where the head normally screws down to, with a stock Incan reflector and there it is with an LED reflector. It's plenty far enough to cover the "O" ring.


Measuring from the Snap Ring, to the tail end of the barrel is 170mm + 3mm because of a dead space at the end of my ruler, before the markings start, so it's 173mm from the snap ring to the end.


From the bottom of the LED reflector (with the head screwed all the way in till it stops), the measurement is 195mm (+3 again for my ruler), so it's 198mm total. 198 minus 173 leaves a total of 25mm, but you need to take the 1mm off the thickness of the snap ring, so it's now 24mm total available space.

That does not leave much of a heatsink, but compared to something like a P60, it's still a huge heatsink and plenty of mass. Add the fact that you have a LED on star + a driver and it gets thinner.

I usually make a 15mm thick heatsink and bore the bottom out, so the driver sits in the bottom. That leaves enough room for wires and an XM-L on a star. It also lets me have room to get the whole "pill" in place at the right height (adjustable before final placement).

TJ - if this trashes your thread, please let me know and I will remove this post.

I dropped a stock Mag LED (Rebel) reflector right into my 3C Maglite no problem. My 3C Mag was definitely a newer model and not some old stock if that makes a difference. (I went looking through photos I have of my build and now realize I didn't take any of the completed re-assembled light! Doh!)

Actually a 13.15mm hole as seen here:



But I certainly can see that you have altered the "drop-in" a lot. What a bummer.

Is it just me or is 1,16A*2 not a bit sheepish? I'd hope for a gung-ho 4A :-)

Do you have any means of measuring lux of this light. It sure does look like it will throw nicely if driven to the max :-)

Garry, what size torx is needed to yank the switch from the C Mag?

I used the T8 torx in mine after learning my lesson on my newer 2D Maglite!


If it is older you need a 5/64 hex bit to remove the switch.

Guys, here's how you do it. Remove the cam. Sink a flat HS into the neck. Mount a 20mm star on the HS. The opening of the reflector sits flat on the star surface. The Mag LED reflector is ~40mm from lip to opening, so to get the head to screw on past the gasket, you need the surface of the star to be ~15-20mm below the top of the neck if memory serves. Here's a pic from when that 1C hosted an SST-50:

Build threads here, here and here. (Sorry, those links are to CPF, this is my first build thread on BLF.)

OldLumens, I think your measurements assume the head screwed down all the way. You can buy back at least 10mm by not screwing it down all the way and a few more by trimming the top of the switch assembly (+1 more by leaving out the snap ring). I've done many Mag Ds with the LED reflector this way and there's definitely more room for HS than what you've suggested above.

You might recall this Mag 1D cut-down that I purchased from you, and this 7/8" (23mm) tall heatsink you made for me to go with it:

Between that HS and the Mag switch assembly, I fit 2 AMC7135 regulators side by side. The XML is regulated to 4.4A from the IMR26650 on high and doesn't overheat (or melt the bottom of the Mag LED reflector sitting on top of it).

I'd have used this light for the comparison above, but the XML behind the Mag LED reflector in it is a 5000K neutral white and I didn't want the tint difference throwing anyone off.

Bob, that was a standard LED reflector I bought from and trimmed off the cam. On my XP-G Mag 3C I started to trim down the star, but ended up with the reflector barely resting on the star. I realized afterwards that I should have just left the star alone and left more of the star there for it to sit on.


Yes, sku 126104

Ordinarily, I'd pop the driver out and measure current to the emitter with a clamp meter. In the case of this light, this was supposed to be a "simple" slap-it-together mod and instead ended up being a hell of a lot of work. I know myself too well, if I start messing with it, I'll be changing the star/tint/grease/driver, etc. More time and money and not different enough from my XML+Mag LED creations to be worth it. Here's a really rough estimate... Those cells really don't sag much at all under the measly 1.16A load. If you assume 8.3V under that load * 1.16A, that's 9.628W of Pin. A 90% efficient driver would deliver 8.665W to the LED. An XM-L pulls that much power at ~2.7A. That's close enough for me for what it is. As you can see from the pics, at this drive current it's already nearly as bright as the one driven much harder in the plastic reflector and the batteries will last 3x as long. Lux measurements I have not, only beamshots.

Yes, I was quoting the bare minimum amount of room. Screwing the head up does give more. Maybe I should have added the range from min to max, just before the head goes above the ā€œOā€ ring.

This thread, which was meant to discuss the V8 drop-in has instead gone off track and turned into a discussion about using the Mag LED reflector to which I compared it to. Without intentionally taking the conversation further off course, I will add that it is a challenge to get perfect focus in the D Maglite LED reflector, even using my method, because the LED must be perfectly centered and perfectly level. A hair in any direction, even a little too much solder paste between one side of the emitter and the star is noticeable in the beam profile. That said, when it is perfectly focused, it's the best I've seen in a 2" head.

TJ, I can turn the tide on a thread faster than you can say Mississippi.

Now that you have done the V8 reflector, would you recommend it for modding? Or are there any other aftermarket deep reflectors you would prefer?

OL, that's a great question. Thanks for asking. Here's a rundown of TJ's top 10 SMO reflectors for XML in order of decreasing preference, and more or less, decreasing throw.

  1. The 77mm SST-90 reflector from DX shimmed in the Gordon 3" head with a flashlightlens 78mm borofloat lens. (Detailed in my "super thrower" CPF link above). You've never seen anything else like it. Simply amazing the way it puts everything else I've got to shame. None of the others are in its class, really.
  2. Unconfirmed: the 65mm SST90 SMO reflector from KD. I've yet to use it, but I can imagine it displacing all the others below. I've got one on the way that I intend to install in a Gordon 95 LED head with a slice of 2" PVC coupler as a shim. Still searching for a ~2mmx73mm glass lens to go with. I think you've used this one in your lens-filter build, no?
  3. The single-emitter HD2010 reflector. It's debatable if this one actually out-throws the V6 & V8 drop-in reflectors at the same drive current, because the HD2010 puts so much more current to the emitter than those drop-ins. It's hotspot is sooo pretty though and at ~$40 for the whole light with no modding necessary, it's an instant favorite. Not really for "modding", I suppose. What would the point be in taking it out of that host?
  4. This spot is a toss-up between the Maglite LED reflector and the V8 drop-in. The plastic reflector is free with host or $3 on its own and throws as well as the V8, but it's a bitch to focus and building the proper heatsink, driver, etc. is high on the difficulty/skill scale. The V8 on the other hand is a bitch to fit into a Mag D head, but once you have, everything else is preassembled and prefocused for you, for comparable cost.
  5. The V6 drop-in. In truth, this reflector probably out-throws the #4 spot at the same drive current, but there's no fitting it into a conventional 2" head host and whitewall hunting reveals a bullseye pattern inside the hotspot on mine. This one's biggest drawback is lack of a well balanced / ergonomic host to put it in.
  6. The KD/DX 51mm SST50 smooth reflector, and the nearly identical XML reflector included in the CNQualityGoods 2x26650 host kit (the one with the larger head).
  7. The UltraFire C9-T60 (UniqueFire HS-802). A bit tall/long for a single 18650 light, but completely unique & out-thows everything below it + brighter (although narrower) spill.
  8. C8 SMO reflectors and nearly identical ones such as the KD XPG 41mmx31mm SMO reflector (reamed opening) and the MCU-C88 reflector
  9. Unconfirmed: the Romisen RC-U8 reflector. This is basically a deeper SMO version of C2 reflectors that does amazing things for the XP-E. I haven't dropped a bigger LED in either of mine yet, but can imagine it out-throwing #10, but the hotspot would be larger, like that of the C8 reflectors.
  10. The UltraFire C308 reflector. These are the narrowest in the top 10, but are super deep and a cinch to focus. They cast a perfect tight hotspot and a really "full"/bright spill. Hotspot intensity is traded off for a closer spot to spill ratio. The host is top quality and easily modded to accept a 22650 IMR cell from B.I.O. or BatterySpace.