Maglite 3D LED Upgrade

Hey guys.

My dad has got an old incandescent Maglite 3D. For his birthday I'd like to upgrade his Mag to a LED. I know that you can get very decent XML T6 lights for much cheaper than proper Mag upgrades, but he has got special memories linked to the light as it was his father's. I would also like to retain the Mag's focusing ability, as that sort of makes a Mag special for me

I've read a lot, and it seems that straight drop-ins are then my best bet. Now I'm sure the Malkoff would be the best, but unfortunately is out of my price range. I also know that I can do a mod similar to this ( but since my dad values this specific Mag, I don't want to go cutting and modifying on it. I've been looking at this thread ( and it seems the TerraLUX TLE-6EXB is the best bet for me.

Is there some other high output drop-ins for a Mag 3D for around $20-25?

Thank you very much!

I remember some posts referencing the Fusion 36-LED drop-in but I can't find that item for sale on eBay any longer. I guess it's no longer made? Did Mag shut them down for making a good product that would result in the sale of more of their flashlights? Sealed

Contact this member on ebay and see if he has any left or if he's getting any in soon:

I bought one for my parents for xmas from him and put it into a 3D Jade Maglite for them. The total cost of the light was around $50, ($25 for the Jade 3D and $25 for the dropin).

They LOVE the light. It is completely floody. It lights up their whole yard when they go outside at night so they can see all around them and it lasts a lot longer than the factory incandescent bulb does. There is no spot to it at all though. I don't care for it but my parents seem to love it!

Fusion 36 here on Ebay, no more focusing, but I don't think you'll really need focusing anymore with most LED's in a Maglite.

Little over your price range, but here's a "drop-in module" at DX which should perform well and is rated for 3 to 8.4v. You'd probably have to run it on NiMh cells though.


That DX drop-in is a bit of a pain to get installed properly in a Maglite. You'll have to spend about 3 hours filing it down to get it to fit in the head (unless you dont care if the bezel screws down all the way). Also you'll have to mess with the springs a bit and possibly have to cut the larger spring off. The DX drop-in will have a much nicer beam though so if you don't mind the extra work, you might be happier with it.

Will the DX drop-in work with 3 x normal alkaline D cells? Or will I have to get rechargeable batteries?

Honestly, I'm not sure. I saw someone saying that the DX module wouldn't run in High or Strobe with 4 Alkaline so I would guess that it will probably not work with 3 either in High mode. I'm not sure if three NiMh will work with it either. It might sag too much to let the light run on high.

I can tell you that three NiMh (or three Alkaline) will work with the ebay drop-in though. I've tested both with that one and they give approximately the same output.

Yeah, I forgot to mention the filing / grinding. See this thread for some build details. He used AA's in battery adaptors and took a different approach on the springs.

I just finished a Mag2D with the similar XM-L DX drop-in. Fitting the drop-in into the body wasn't all that hard. I took my drop-in to a grinder (same as in link above). Then on the head of the Maglite, take a file and file the threaded area down shorter (few mm). Keep test fitting the drop-in with screw on bezel until it screws all the way down. This whole process didn't take me longer than about 30 minutes. On mine, I removed the springs entirely and hardwired the driver to the switch.


Don has some beamshots posted of that Fusion 36 drop-in. Let me see if I can find and provide a link. Here you go. Here is a post from Don comparing beamshots of numerous lights including a Fusion 36.


Garry, the next time I order a drop-in from DX, will you fit it for me? HAHAHAHAHAHA. I hate filing/grinding them down.

OR try the XML dropin from DX . . its only $19

actually now I think of it, that might be a good buy for me as well....

still waiting if "someone" here on the forum is going to produce some heatsinks.. then after that I will decide..
But its a nice option!

Yeah, but that XM-L drop-in requires "5.8v minimum" (ie. 2 Lithium Ions - which is how mine is running). Definitely won't run on 3D's.


Thanks Garry for pointing that out.. I didnt notice that.

if you had a driver lying around, you could probably just swap it with this one..

or you can just buy 4x 2AA to D adapters on ebay for $2.75 which give 6AA batteries in a 3D light.

Well, the issue with the driver is that it's a 26mm driver which is a bit harder to come by I guess. Fitting a 17mm driver would require some DIY modding.


Thanx Gary, I'll have a look at those threads.

ChibiM, yes I'm also still lingering to see how much U_235's heatsinks turn out to be. An XML which can keep the focusing abilities of the Maglite would be super!

Hey Garry I’m new in this FORUM and I’m very interested in the DX drop in. I have a question: There is an alternative IONS for the “D” batteries that will fit the Maglite host without much mod’s?

The 32650 is closest in diameter to a D-cell (1.5mm smaller), and at 65mm long is 4mm longer than a D-cell. So figure that two 32650s can replace two D-cells but after that it’s probably used up all the tolerance in the springs. So you’d need either a spacer or alter/shorten the body tube. The other issue is that li-ion cells are 4.2v, Alkaline batteries are 1.5v. As others have said, Your best bet for this light would be to use NiMH D-cells or fabricate a battery cradle to hold 9 rechargeable AA’s in 3s3p.

Thanks a lot for your reply, I don’t know much about electronics and electricity but I can learn and I’m a DIY and like to do things.

So can I use these batteries with the DX drop-in?