Most contemporary Maglite flashlights feature energy-efficient, long-lasting LED bulbs, but in the past, these flashlights came with more conventional incandescent bulbs. Whether you want to retrofit one of these incandescent bulbs with an LED, or you need to replace your existing LED with a new one, the procedure is simple. You can even, if you choose, install a socket that allows you to insert the Mag-Num Star II bi-pin bulb, which will make changing bulbs even easier in the future.
Removing the Old Bulb
Maglite flashlights, whether compact or full-sized, all feature the same basic design. The sleek, black flashlight body is just large enough to hold its batteries, and the bulb is protected by a glass cover. You have to remove the cover to access the bulb, but before you do this, it's a good idea to remove the batteries.
Step 1: Remove the Batteries
Unscrew the cap from the end of the tubular body opposite the end that illuminates. If this is the first time you're opening the flashlight, you may find the cap difficult to turn. If so, wear a rubber glove on the hand that grasps the cap. Once the cap is off, the batteries should slide out. Tap the open end on a hard surface if they are stuck.
Step 2: Remove the Glass Cover
Grasp the collar holding the glass and turn it counter-clockwise to unscrew it. The entire head assembly should come off when you do this, to expose the bulb.
Step 3: Remove the Bulb
Note the metal collar around the base of the bulb. Grasp this collar -- not the bulb itself -- and turn it counterclockwise. When you remove it, the bulb will come out with it.
Installing a New Bulb
If you're replacing an incandescent bulb with an LED, or you're installing a holder for a double-pin LED, you'll have to replace the collar. Be sure you have the right part in hand. If you can't find one at your local hardware store, you can get one directly from Mag-Lite.
Step 1: Fit the Bulb into the Collar
Insert the bulb or two-pin socket into the collar. If you have the right collar, the bulb or socket will fit snugly.
Step 2: Screw on the Collar
Hold the collar with your fingers and turn it clockwise to tighten it. Remember, you're tightening the collar, not the bulb or socket itself. If you're installing a collar, insert the pins of the new bulb into the sockets after the collar is tight.
Step 3: Replace the Head
Screw the head back onto the flashlight body and tighten it finger-tight.
Step 4: Replace the Batteries
Insert the batteries in the proper orientation, with their positive poles (the end with the bump) facing the bulb. Touch the spring inside the cap onto the end of the last battery, and push until the cap reaches the threads on the flashlight body. Screw the cap clockwise and tighten it finger-tight.
Step 5: Test the Flashlight
Turn on the flashlight to be sure the bulb illuminates. If it doesn't, check the orientation of the batteries. If the flashlight still doesn't work, you may need new batteries.
If you installed a two-pin holder, the next time you need to replace the bulb, simply unscrew the head, pull out the old bulb, insert a new one, and screw the head back on.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.