There’s no denying that flashlights are incredibly useful for many purposes. From everyday use to emergency purposes to outdoor use, flashlights are one of the most useful items that you have have around your house or in an emergency kit. However, incandescent bulbs are the downfall of many flashlights. LED light bulbs are a much better alternative, but what if you have already purchased an incandescent Maglite flashlight? Instead of returning the light and buying an LED flashlight, you can easily and quickly make your own LED flashlight by performing a Maglite LED conversion.
Negatives of Incandescent Bulbs
Incandescent bulbs have served us well over the years, but the fact of the matter is that they’re obsolete when compared to LED bulbs. If you still need convincing before deciding to start your Maglite LED conversion, consider these factors.
Incandescent bulbs have a much shorter life span. They can usually only last for about 1000 hours of use before burning out.
They also heat up very quickly and become very hot when active for long periods of time. Not only does this mean that the flashlight becomes a burning hazard or could possibly damage nearby items, but it also means that these bulbs are very inefficient. Light bulbs are energy efficient by putting their focus on creating light instead of heat. Since incandescent bulbs create so much heat, they eat up battery life much faster. In fact, 80 to 90 percent of a regular incandescent bulb’s energy is spent on creating heat instead of light, making them terribly inefficient.
The light produced by incandescent bulbs is also not as clear or bright as LEDs, and many incandescent bulbs have an unappealing yellow tinge to them.
Benefits of LED Bulbs
After you’ve completed your Maglite LED conversion, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the benefits of LED light bulbs for your flashlight.
LED bulbs have much longer life spans than incandescent bulbs with an average life span of 35,000 to over 50,000 hours of continuous use.
These bulbs also remain cool with little to no energy being wasted on creating heat.
LEDs are also known for creating extremely bright and clear rays of beautiful pure white light that carries for long distances.
Steps for Doing a MagLite LED Conversion
Now that you’re ready to reap the benefits of LED bulbs in your flashlight, it’s time to start the Maglite LED conversion. The process is very simple, and it requires no tools outside of your own two hands.
There are two ways of achieving a Maglite LED conversion. The first is to use a conversion kit, which replaces the light bulb and the base. The second is to simply replace the incandescent bulb with an LED bulb. Which one is the best option really depends on what kind of flashlight you’re working with and how difficult it is to remove and replace the light bulb. If the bulb is particularly difficult to remove from the casing, it’s best to get a conversion kit. If the bulb is easy to remove, you can save a little money and simply get the proper LED light to replace the incandescent bulb.
While there are many different styles and models of flashlight to use conversion kits on, the instructions usually remain the same.
- To start your Maglite LED conversion, unscrew the head of the flashlight.
- Next, disassemble the flashlight head by unscrewing the outer ring that secures the glass or plastic lens to the flashlight. The reflector may also need to be unscrewed and put aside if it does not slip off on its own.
- Next, you should be able to see the light bulb and its base either in the removed flashlight head or in the opening of the body of the flashlight. Grab the base and gently unscrew it from the housing. Once the base and bulb are removed, check the housing for any corrosion or damage before continuing. Installing an LED conversion kit into a corroded or damaged flashlight could irreparably damage the conversion kit and bulb.
- If the incandescent bulb is still usable, it’s a good idea to put it aside and save it in case the LED bulbs ever fail or break.
- Take the outer ring off of the incandescent bulb and fit it over the conversion kit.
- Next, place the new LED bulb into the socket and screw it into the housing.
- Finally, reattach the flashlight head, reflector and lens. The conversion kit may also come with a new lens if you wish to replace the existing lens on your flashlight. It’s also a good idea to clean the lens and the reflector before reattaching them to the flashlight to ensure that you get the brightest and clearest beam of light that you can.
Light Bulb Replacement
Conversion kits are nice to use, but sometimes it’s also nice to save a little money and simply buy a new LED bulb for your flashlight. Light bulb replacement is typically used for small flashlights, but they can work on larger ones as well. Before you start your Maglite LED conversion, look at the specifications of your flashlight to ensure that you get the correct bulb. Purchasing the wrong bulb can mean quickly burning out your light bulb or even ruining your flashlight. Ensure that it matches the wattage and size for the specific flashlight.
- To start the Maglite LED conversion with a traditional light bulb, remove the head of the flashlight. The base for the bulb is usually within the casing and not the head, but if it is in the head it can be simply unscrewed from the bottom.
- Next, remove the batteries to avoid the possibility of being shocked or accidentally damaging the light bulb during conversion.
- Once the batteries have been removed, the incandescent bulb should be easily pulled out. Don’t yank on or wiggle the bulb to avoid breaking the prongs off in the base.
- In the base, there should be a couple of small holes where the prongs for the previous bulb were. There should also be small positive and negative symbols to mark the charges of each port. If there are no symbols present and you have no way of telling the two sides apart, you can buy an LED tester to find out. LED testers are incredibly cheap, but there are also several ways to make your own.
- The positive and negative sides of an LED bulb are easier to determine. The prong on the positive side is almost always smaller than the negative side’s prong, and the positive prong sometimes flattens out at the end.
- It’s not a good idea to determine the positive and negative sides of the ports through plugging the bulb in and working off of trial and error since placing the bulb in the socket incorrectly can seriously damage the bulb and the flashlight.
- Once you have determined the positive and negative sides of the ports and LED bulb, insert the bulb into the socket and gently push on it to secure it.
- Finally, replace the batteries and the head and test out the flashlight to ensure that the bulb is working properly. While you may have the correct sides of the bulb inserted, it sometimes takes a few tries to get the bulb seated correctly.
A Maglite LED conversion is a great way to cheaply and easily turn your incandescent flashlight into a bright and powerful LED flashlight. No matter if you’re using a conversion kit or replacing the bulb, any Maglite incandescent flashlight can be converted to LED with the proper parts in hand.