Upgrading flashlight from 3watt LED


I am a Paramedic interested in upgrading a flashlight that is currently using the following:

3 Watt LED
Modes: high / low
Lumens output: up to 140 lm / 50lm
Run time: up to 5hrs / 24hrs
Beam distance: up to 150m / 50m
3 x AAA Alkaline

I want to upgrade this to maybe 5 watt or whatever would be appropriate.

What do I need to do regarding upgrading LED, mounting platform, electronic circuitry etc?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!!

I recommend you to upgrade to a medical flashlight like nitecore mt06md or any medical penlight that uses hi cri led.

The Wattage is not currently very commonly used as a way to specify performance. It was for a few years when 1W to 3W “high power” LED’s started to become common, but progress continued and even higher power LED’s were introduced. Some no-name flashlight brands continue to advertise Wattage simply because it used to be common.

What you are likely to be interested in is output (aka luminous flux) in lumens, which is most useful for gauging up close illumination, or the luminous intensity in candela, meters, or feet, which is useful for gauging how far the light can be seen.

The kind of light you have can be upgraded with a higher power LED, but the batteries won’t be able to drive much more power through it. A higher power LED mounted on an appropriate metal core printed circuit board (MCPCB, aka “star”) can be soldered in place of the existing LED.

If you want a significant output upgrade, I think buying a new light is better approach.

If you care to provide more details about your expectations and needs, we could probably provide a more clear recommendation. In general, Thrunite, Olight, Lumintop, Sofirn, Wurkkos, and Fenix are some of the numerous brands that are popular here. For general users not very familiar with lithium ion batteries, I generally recommend either lights that accept AA or AAA batteries (which will tend to be larger for a given output level), or those that have built-in USB charging so you don’t have to remove a lithium-ion battery from the light.

Thank you very much for your knowledgeable reply! Much appreciated!

I am interested in improving on a currently used method of body-worn lighting that entails improving the currently used flashlight housing with an upgraded cree LED. It’s a shame that I cant add pictures on here as they would paint a clearer picture of what I am trying to achieve.

Basically, yes, it is a cheap brand of flashlight but their style of flashlight is appealing and I would like to make it a bit more robust and professional with an aim to commercialising it if I can get it to perform to expected standards.

I understand the effort involved in this but I’d like to give it a go anyway!

Having an upgraded CREE LED mounted on a star-type MCPCB sounds fine. I guess it’s now just a question of working out what led, what power requirements, heating issues and electronic circuitry requirements? As part of the upgrade I would like to utilise a LiOn battery system with a type c usb re-chargeable port.

Is this something that you are familiar with? I would be interested in contacting you directly to discuss this further.


In general, any light that uses 3×AAA is garbage.

Brightness is PWMed (pulsed on/off fast) but there’s no regulation, only the series resistance of the AAA cells limits current. So it starts pretty bright with fresh cells but gradually peters out over time as the cells wear.

Best advice would be to invest in a good light (which compared to most 3×AAA lights isn’t that hard to beat).

It would be like hot-rodding a car with a frame that can barely withstand driving above 100kph - it just doesn’t have the physical attributes to perform much better.

Wurkkos FC11 or Skilhunt M200 are great options that will have excellent color rendering (important for checking eye/skin color), quick access to any mode (including fairly low modes for up-close use or shining into eyes) and a HUGE increase in both total light output and battery runtime. They’re also easily recharged so no constant AAA swaps or having the light die at an inopportune time.

To put it another way: There is much more to getting more light out of a flashlight than simply swapping the LED.

You can upload photos to 3rd party hosting sites like Imgur or Flickr to show what you’re working with.

Or if you know a make and model, we can try to look it up to better understand.

L shaped Skilhunt H04RC with Samsung LH351D 90CRI LED

Awesome! That sounds interesting. We would be more help if we could see pictures though. Here how you do it, follow the link How to post pictures on BLF