There are not that many options for upgrading a Maglite. Mag Instrument sells a 3 Watt LED upgrade for the lights, which is available for the 2, 3, or 4 cell Maglite. It allows for beam focusing still, and is a decent upgrade to the standardÂ incandescentÂ bulb. The Maglite is even offered with this LED bulb already equipped. There are, however, some much better options!
Colorado-based TerraLUX, Inc. offers a few options for upgrading the Maglites. Having just purchased a 6 cell Maglite, the largest they offer, I wanted to upgrade the light to something equally as obnoxious! Available for the 6 cell Maglite are two options: the MiniStar5 or the MiniStar30M. The MiniStar5 (link) is a 3 Watt LED upgrade which retains the focus ability, and provides 140 lumens of light output. The MiniStar30M (link) is a set of 3 LEDs with a total power consumption of 12 Watts, providing over 500 lumens of light output! Of course, my choice was easy 🙂
I decided to pick up a brand new 6 cell Maglite, a case of Duracell Procell batteries, and the TerraLUX MiniStar30M upgrade. I purchased all of the items from zbattery.com and they came within a few days. I was very happy with my purchase and it was time to go to work. I believe the TerraLUX MiniStar30M upgrade was around $75, and the Maglite was around $25.
As you can see in these first pictures, I compared the 6 cell Maglite to my 3 cell Maglite and it is substantially bigger and heavier when loaded.
Next up, I wanted to get some baseline comparisons between the 3 cell Maglite, which probably had fairly dead batteries to begin with, but that’s beside the point. Below, from left to right, is 3 Cell Maglite Spot, 3 Cell Maglite Flood, 6 cell Maglite Spot, and 6 Cell Maglite Flood.
On to the install… For the most part, the instructions (link) are very simple to follow but I have provided some good reference pictures for anyone who might be having trouble with this upgrade. Included in the MiniStar30M package is the LED assembly, an o-ring, and a new plastic lens.
First, you need to remove the lens holder from the Maglite. Next remove the reflector and set it aside as you will not be needing it. With the reflector out, now twist the adjustment head counterclockwise until it is removed. With this off, you can more easily access the bulb as well. Remove the bulb and its retaining ring and set aside.
With the bulb and retaining ring removed, you can replace the adjustment head, and turn it clockwise until it stops. Next add the MiniStar30M LED by screwing it into the Maglite until it is snug. The instructions recommend that you do not overtighten this, and I agree that is probably wise! As instructed by the directions, I turned the Maglite head counterclockwise until it rested against the MiniStar30M. I then replaced the Maglite lens with the one that came with the kit, and added the extra o-ring on the inner side of the lens. NOTE: I had not done this at first and the lens was not snug. It moved around, and I didn’t like this, so I chose to add the o-ring. YMMV. Anyways, I then completed the upgrade by replacing the lens retaining ring onto the Maglite. Now to test it out!
As you can see below, the upgrade is very much worth it. I haven’t even had a chance to test over some long distances, so I may add an update in the near future after I get to try it outside more. Although, you cannot adjust the focus of the light now, I believe the flood pattern coupled with the extra light output is more than adequate.
Overall, I think the upgrade is well worth the $75 price tag, and is a great flashlight for just slightly over $100. With an output of over 500 Lumens and a claimed 0.19 lux at 100 yards, this is a very capable flashlight. With decent High Intensity Discharge (HID) flashlights starting around $300, and producing around 1400 lumens of light output, the TerraLUX MiniStar30M upgrade for a 6 cell maglite is a great and economical way to have a rockin’ flashlight. It is definitely a welcomed addition to my growing collection of Maglites (Red 6-cell w/ MiniStar30M, Red 3-cell Standard, Blue 3-cell Standard, Black 3-cell LED Not Shown)