Author Topic: Buyer beware  (Read 3299 times)

Offline Bill

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Buyer beware
« on: Dec 28, 2010, 11:39 AM »
I have an old mini-maglite AA size that just resurfaced out of storage.  And I've been thinking about converting it to LED and started pricing kits.  Best I could find that doesn't void the lifetime warranty was $26.00.  Just for giggles (to borrow a phrase) I just priced a new min-mag LED.  Best price I found was $13.00 from Amazon, Sears and Walmart were substantially higher.  So for the cost of conversion, I could buy 2 new ones and avoid the warranty issue completely.
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Offline scuzzy

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Re: Buyer beware
« Reply #1 on: Dec 28, 2010, 01:59 PM »
I have an old mini-maglite AA size that just resurfaced out of storage.  And I've been thinking about converting it to LED and started pricing kits.  Best I could find that doesn't void the lifetime warranty was $26.00.  Just for giggles (to borrow a phrase) I just priced a new min-mag LED.  Best price I found was $13.00 from Amazon, Sears and Walmart were substantially higher.  So for the cost of conversion, I could buy 2 new ones and avoid the warranty issue completely.

It varies, but many of the aftermarket Maglite LED conversions are far superior to what Maglite offers. One of my partners converted his D cell Maglite to a very powerful LED using aftermarket parts. Maglite has nothing in its offering that's anywhere close to what he did.

This is in large part to Maglite's commitment to "made in the USA". Unfortunately, the best LEDs are made in the Asian markets. They have an enormous lead over anything available in the USA. Maglite's commitment is certainly admirable, but due to the current market it cannot produce a flashlight to match what is available overseas.

California laws, where Maglite is based, does not help matters. In order for Maglite to advertise "Made in the USA", 100% of the parts must be manufactured within the USA. This severely limits what Maglite can do, if they are to remain true to their commitment.

Maglite is also stuck on producing flashlights that use standard batteries, such as AA, D, etc. The best LED flashlights, as those used by law enforcement, use commonly available CR123A and 18650 lithium batteries. Of course, for everyday consumers this is probably a good idea. But the option does not exist for the rest of us, unless we modify the lights as did my partner.

JA's sample link to the Maglite XL50 comes no where close to the powerful Olight T10 that I just bought my son. The Olight is so far superior to the Maglite that it's almost laughable. Once the first choice for Law Enforcement and military, Maglite is no longer considered by professionals. My Fenix TK11 is built like a tank. It is thick, solid, has a powerful beam, can be weapon mounted, and doubles as a strike weapon. Maglite has nothing to compete.  :(

I'm am by no means knocking Maglite. I wish them great success, but they're gonna have to pull a rabbit out of their hat.

Offline scuzzy

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Re: Buyer beware
« Reply #2 on: Dec 28, 2010, 02:01 PM »
Called the company.
No LED kit for my big halogen rechargable... and none planned.

The good news is that in late January, a lithium-ion rechargable LED is coming out!  C cell size.

That is one puppy I might be interested to see, especially if it has the variable beam like the little one (see link previous Poast) has.

If it's a Maglite, there are kits out there to modify it. Again, they will be better than anything Maglite has available to begin with.

Offline scuzzy

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Re: Buyer beware
« Reply #3 on: Dec 28, 2010, 02:24 PM »
The little mag(s) mentioned might be cheaper and we civilians can support a USA company for a welcome change.

My MagLite rechargable has been a reliable workhorse for decades.

I might just buy the one in the previous link and that soon-to-arrive lithium-ion rechargable, just to support the country and the company...and my love of flashlights, of course!

And I have zero need for another flashlight!

This overseas crap is taking us to the cleaners.

Might Google the aftermarket LED conversion kit, since they are not available from MagLite.



Don't misunderstand, I think Maglite's commitment is admirable. If more manufacturers took their stand, we would be much better off as a country and as consumers. I just might go buy a Maglite XL50 for the glovebox, for no other reason than to throw my support their way.

But for professional use, I have no option other than to buy foreign made for reasons stated above.

Offline scuzzy

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Re: Buyer beware
« Reply #4 on: Dec 28, 2010, 02:56 PM »
Just an FYI: Lumen is generally measured one of two ways. Either at the emitter, or "out the front" (OTF). So far there is no consistency across manufacturers as to which is measured, or how. For example, Surefire LED flashlights measured at 200 lumen are equivalent to 300+ lumen flashlights from most other manufacturers.

The lumen count is always higher when measured at the emitter. Most likely, any aftermarket kit measurement will be from the emitter. The OTF reading will vary depending on the flashlight's reflector, batteries, and other fudge factors.

The OTF lumen count is the measurement of light coming out of the lens. But even that gets measured in different ways. Some manufacturers measure it at the lens, others from 1 meter, etc. But that can be somewhat irrelevant, as some lights are designed to be flood lights, while others are designed as throwers. So a flashlight with a very high lumen count might not reach out as far as a thrower with a lower lumen count, but it will light up a room like nobody's business.

It all boils down to your primary needs. If you're gonna camp, go hiking or walk the dog at night, you'd be more comfortable with a low lumen light. If you need to search a field or you need to blind suspects, then a high lumen thrower with a smooth reflector is best. For electrical work, automotive, home inspections, etc., a flood light with an "orange peel" reflector is probably best.

Scuzzy; I need one that will scratch my back when wearing body armor.

Offline scuzzy

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Re: Buyer beware
« Reply #5 on: Dec 28, 2010, 03:39 PM »
Generally, focusing an LED does not work all that great. Pre-focused reflectors provide best results for LED lights.

Offline Bill

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Re: Buyer beware
« Reply #6 on: Jan 17, 2011, 04:44 PM »
I just converted my mini-mag (2AAs), with a Nite Ize kit.  Kit included a new end cap with a switch and a 3 led light source.  Took all of 5 minutes.  Light is nice and bright but not really focusable, anymore.  The 3 leds are arranged in a triangle and the light spot is unevenly round.  However the kit was about $9.00 and is an improvement over the classic blub.

In comparison, the AAA led pen light throws a very round circle of light but I suspect it is a single LED.
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Offline scuzzy

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Re: Buyer beware
« Reply #7 on: Jan 17, 2011, 10:21 PM »
However the kit was about $9.00 and is an improvement over the classic blub.

I'm thinking anything is an improvement over a blub.  ;D