Another Friday! Another Fun Fund Friday! Today I have in my hands a light I bought for myself…. Nostalgia, new emitters,… plenty of reasons. But ultimately it came down to someone (u/tebeve, on reddit) lending me his copy of this light, and me realizing I really wanted to have one of my own. This is a MagLite Micromag, which has been modified by kyfishguy on BLF. The mods are extensive! Read on to see about them, and this light.
Official Specs and Features
Here’s a link to the official product page where I bought my light. Future iterations will be on the same forum, but on new posts.
Every iteration of this light will likely be a little different. The copy I borrowed was a Nichia 219b light, and mine isn’t. So there are many versions, but generally any Micromag color is available (“generally”), and the internals all use the same driver, and accept only 14500 cells.
I paid $73 (in 2019) shipped for this item, but price is subject to change.
This is quite a fun little light! There are two things I could like more, and that is if it had a pocket clip, and if it wasn’t a twisty. But twistys are not my thing; that’s completely personal preference.
The Big Table
|Emitter:||Samsung LH351d triple (4000k 90+CRI, Narrow Clear Optic)|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$73.00|
|Turbo Runtime||High Runtime|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||2400|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||755 (31.5% of claim)* **|
|Claimed Throw (m)||–|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||114lux @ 4.542m = 2352cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||97.0|
|All my Maglite reviews!|
* Standard measurement disclaimer: I am an amateur flashlight reviewer. I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment. I test output and such in PVC tubes!! Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).
** Remember that output will be extremely dependent on the cell being used! If you have a good 14500 cell, you’ll likely get over 2000 lumens as claimed.
- kyfishguy Maglite Modded MiniMag
That’s it, nothing else. Any other information you have will be had from the page on BLF.
Package and Manual
The package was so generic that I didn’t even keep it. Basically it’s just safe transport, which is fine! Also there is no manual, aside from what’s written on the BLF page. The BLF page is thorough, though.
Build Quality and Disassembly
The external build is exactly like a Maglite Micromag. The finish is very good in hand, and the anodizing has held up rather well. I have only soft carried it though – in pockets, and alone.
Aside from being shortened, there are no external indicators (aside from the head-on view, which shows the triple optic) that this light has been changed.
The color I chose is a stunning, deep red. I didn’t confirm this with kyfishguy, but I believe I’ve seen elsewhere that he’ll build out a light of your choosing, if you send it. There’s a blaze orange Micromag out there…….
Once you dig into the light, you’ll begin to see differences. The tailcap has a thick stainless spring, which has been bypassed. There’s a nice big solder blob on the tip of the spring, too.
These threads are unanodized, and very little if any lube is used. They’re a little rough.
I recommend changing the cell by removing the tailcap, and not the head. The head end has an o-ring, and you’ll unnecessarily wear this o-ring by removing the head a bunch. (Removing the head is much easier, though.)
These threads on the body are the stock threads. In fact kyfishguy’s mod doesn’t replace any threading – all that is completely stock. He has a full mod guide which you may hunt down if you wish, describing exactly how this mod is done!
Here you can see where the work is done. The threads at left are the normal “twisty UI” threads, and are as-stock. The body at right is also as-stock. The difference is just to the right of the o-ring. The cell tube has been cut at that point, bored a bit, and the thread end (to the left) have been fitted into the body. That’s how the end pieces are kept, while still shortening the tube. IE, the length is removed from the middle of the tube!!
The work is flawless, too.
Of course the driver has been replaced, but the positive terminal has a bit of copper added, too. The driver is the MTN-17DDm.
I find these twisty (for the UI) threads quite interesting. I don’t have a stock maglite for testing the UI, but I suppose the UI is different on it. In any case, these are quite unusual, having a much sharper slope than most flashlight threads (even the threads on the tailcap). They make for very easy twisting.
Size and Comps
I measure this light at 97.39mm long (when off). 96.67mm when on. The tail diameter is 18.1mm, and at it’s thickest, the head is 25.39mm.
Retention and Carry
This is one of the big flys-in-the-ointment for this light, but it’s certainly no fault of the modder. There is no pocket clip included, or even as an option for the Micromag. That’s unfortunate.
What is included is a hole for a lanyard. It’s a good attachment point, yes. But who really uses lanyards?
Power and Runtime
The only power option for this light is li-ion, sized at 14500. I tested (and use) a Vapcell flat top 14500, though a button top is probably an ever so slightly better choice (see: positive contact point on head). But I had zero issues with the flat top.
There’s plenty of room in the cell tube, too, though the spring on the tailcap has little travel.
I performed two runtimes. Since Turbo is a FET mode, the output will be completely dependent on the cell you’re using. If you have a cell that can churn out 10A, then this light will take it. So my output of 755 measured lumens is not necessarily indicative of what you’ll see. Also the stepdown really kills that measurement…. before the stepdown is over 1400 lumens. The UI/product page indicates a 60 second Turbo timer, but I didn’t experience that. Again, probably due to the cell I’m using.
(Reading up on this light and seeing my results, I think I’ll try to find my best 14500 and test the light again with that cell. I’m not at all satisfied with this cell for this light.)
High is much more stable, and 466 lumens more reasonable a measurement.
In neither case did the light shut off. But once the stepdown happened, the output was so low I didn’t want to wait to drain the cell down on moonlight…
The product literature (the BLF post) states that there is LVP, but I didn’t observe that with the bench power. As stated, I did see such a drop in output that it’d be impossible to miss.
This is a four mode light, and all but Turbo use PWM for controlling output. There are 5 pictures here, though. Why? Picture 3 and 4 are all of mode 3 (second highest mode). The part displaying PWM is when the light isn’t shined directly at the sensor. When shined directly at the sensor, the PWM appears to disappear. It’s not noticeable of course, but it’s there.
To be honest, PWM isn’t even visible on the lowest mode, but these graphs are still interesting to demonstrate PWM.
For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.
User Interface and Operation
The UI is of course, twisty. There’s ample grip on the body, and a very tiny amount of reeding on the head. But really the action is so smooth that extra grip isn’t really necessary. If the light was wet or whatever, then it would probably be a slippery little booger.
The MTN driver mentioned above has many UI options, but I believe the one used is a custom version of the choices (that is an option at MTN).
This is a simple 4 mode light. Moon, Medium, High, and Turbo. I can’t find any hidden modes, and there’s nothing unexpected about the UI. There is mode memory, for when the light has been on in a mode for more than a few seconds. Advancing through the modes requires twisting and loosening the head in under a second, repeatedly.
Modes and Currents
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Measured Lumens||Tailcap Amps|
* Testing current on the High mode showed some weird results. Every time I put the light in mode 3, it’d stay there for a few seconds, then flip over to the full FET output. That was just a result of using bench power, and doesn’t happen with cells. But because of this, I wasn’t able to test current on that mode. It’s fairly high, though. (Between 1 and 3 amps.)
LED and Beam
This particular copy of the Micromag Mod has Samsung LH35 4000k 90+CRI emitters. The optic on mine is a narrow clear, which is perfect since that’s my favorite beam profile!
These beamshots are always with the following settings: f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.
Tint vs BLF-348 (Killzone 219b version)
I compare everything to the Killzone 219b BLF-348, because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!
What I like
- Update of an icon is fantastic
- Available in flashlight-unusual colors
- Mod work is well done, and smart
What I don’t like
- Twisty… I just don’t love a twisty
- Lack of pocket clip
- I want the 219b version in stead of the LH351d version. 😛
- This light was provided by me for review. I was not paid to write this review.
- This content originally appeared at zeroair.org. Please visit there for the best experience!
- Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!! Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!