Introduction and planning
A ROP (Roar of the Pelican) is a popular mod project for 2D maglite flashlights that requires very little skills and is not very expensive it is very popular among flashlight enthusiasts.The plan is very simple, take a common 2D Maglite and without soldering or any special skills transform it in a monster flashlight capable of getting a big "wow" factor from any of your friends, if you have a friend with a 2D maglite this is specially appealing.
We will take the 2D Maglite flashlight and replace the bulb with a Xenon High Pressure bulb from Pelican which is why this is known as "Roar of the Pelican", we will also change the batteries from 2D cells to six AA rechargeable cells, and we will need to modify the reflector and the lens of the flashlight (mostly because the plastic ones will melt otherwise!)
Let's start with the ingredients we are going to need, this is the list:
* Maglite 2D flashlight
* Pelican 3854 bulb
* Borofloat 52.1mm lens
* Metal reflector
* 2D to 6AA battery adapter
* 6AA batteries
Estimated cost of the project: $103.50 aproximately (including $25 for the Maglite)
Time needed: Just 10 to 15 minutes when you have all the parts (not counting time to charge batteries)
And now let's take a look at each part, explain why we needed and what it does and point you to links where you can get them:
Maglite 2D Flashlight
The Maglite is going to be the "host" of our project providing us with a body, bezel and switch that we will not modify and use for our project. The 2D Maglites are usually cheap and can be obtained in supermarkets, outdoor shops, hardware stores and many other places so if you excuse us we are not going to point you to a "place" to get it since this is probably the easiest part of the project.
They can be obtained in several different colors like blue, red, gold, silver, black, orange and the aproximate cost for the 2D Maglite is $25.
The Pelican 3854 bulb
The bulb is a high pressure Xenon bulb, it comes in a blister with 2 bulbs, a high output bulb and a low output bulb, both can be used in this project, the high intensity bulb can output up to 1100 lumen without optical reductions while the other bulb is more or less half the output but with a longer runtime.
You can use both depending on your needs for brightness and runtime, you can always keep the second bulb in the flashlight tail in case the original bulb blows.
The bulb can be ordered for $8 from Lighthound.
The output of the bulb is so intense that the regular plastic lens that comes with the Maglite flashlight would melt producing a problem, so we will need to replace the lens with a glass lens. Borofloat is a material that offers low optical resistance and will survive perfectly the intense heat generated from the bulb.
The lens needs to be 52.1mm in diameter and can be ordered for about $5 from Lighthound or Flashlightlens.com. An UCL lens is in our opinion suitable but is not as strong as the borofloat version can be used without a problem nevertheless.
The Maglite comes with a focusable (cammed) plastic reflector that, you guessed, would melt under the extreme heat of the Pelican bulb so we need to replace it for a metal reflector.
The part you need is a Carley RF1940 METAL reflector, or equivalent.
There are several options for the reflector. In the first place you can have a cammed or camless reflector, the cammed ones will be focusable as the original reflector in the maglite, the camless reflectors will not be focusable and will usually be pre arranged to offer a good beam. Which one is better is a matter of preference we have tried both with good results.
Perhaps a more important decision is how the surface of the reflector will be, the more polished the surface the more "throw" the light will have (ability to light distant objects) but the beam will also have more imperfections (artifacts) on the other hand orange-peel or textured reflectors will make the beam be more floody capable of lighting up large areas but without a lot of throw, the beam will also be smoother. So you can go from the mirror-finish reflector to the heavy-stipple reflector depending on your needs with several options in the middle.
The reflector will cost about $25 and can be obtained from Modamag in CPF or from the Sandwich Shoppe.
The battery adapter
A 2D Maglite using 2D cells will use 3v of power (1.5v from each cell), the Pelican bulb uses 6 to 7.2 volts so we will use 6 rechargeable AA cells when fully charged the cells can output more than 7.2 but the bulb will not have a problem and it will be quickly down to the accepted voltage.
Some of the adapters come with a positive and negative ends that can be used to recharge the batteries as a pack without getting them out of the adapter ask what kind of charger you need and this will definitively be a better option than charging the cells as individuals AA cells.
Cheaper carriers might be used but if they are not well built internal resistance and bad contacts can be a problem, in this project the pelican bulb will want to drain a lot of current from the battery pack and a very cheap carrier might just fail badly.
You can order the charger for about $30 from Fivemega on CPF or from the Sandwich Shoppe.
For the adapter we will need 6 rechargeable AA batteries, any model will work fine so if you have some rechargeable AAs you can certainly use them, Sanyo 2700ma or similar with high capacity will give you longer runtimes.
If you want the maximum brightness possible from the ROP you will want to get batteries that are special for high output applications, the 1650 model from cheapbatterypacks.com is usually the preferred choice, they have less capacity than the Sanyo's or Energizer rechargeables but they can deliver more current so they will produce a brighter result for the demanding pelican bulb.
These batteries retail for $2.50 each one so the total would be $13.50 for six.
Please never never ever try the flashlight without the bezel completely assembled, the bulb is a high pressure Xenon bulb and high pressure bulbs might ocassionally blow throwing zillions of little pieces of glass in all directions. You don't want that flying your way.
The steps can be done in different orders so let's start removing the batteries if the flashlight has batteries.
Then disassemble the Maglite bezel, this is very easy, you have to unscrew the bezel from the body and there are also threads to sepparate the bezel tip and access the lens. Once this is done just replace the plastic reflector with the metal reflector, replace the bulb with the Pelican 3854 bulb and replace the lens with the borofloat lens.
Re-Assemble the bezel observing that everything is tight in place. Then charge the batteries either in a battery charger for AA cells or in place in the adapter with a special charger for battery packs. Put the batteries in the charger and insert the charger inside the Maglite with the positive end pointing towards the bezel. Screw the tailcap and you are ready to go.
With everything assembled make sure the lens is in place, point the light to the floor or anything that is not a person and turn it on, you should see a very strong beam, use it outdoor at night for maximum results. If the reflector you got is a cammed one turn the bezel left and right to focus the beam in the way that works better for you.
Please note that the bulb will produce a lot of heat, if you point the light to your hand for some time you will be able to start feeling the heat, take this into consideration because things can really get burnt or melted by the flashlight beam!
Results and observations
The final result will be a light of the same size of a 2D maglite that has the output of a HID searchlight, the total amount of light either in a flood beam or a tight focused beam is really amazing, with a smooth reflector you will be able to illuminate objects that are hundreads of feet from your location out-throwing every other flashlight that you have. With a stippled reflector you will be able to point the light to the ceiling and light up a room as if it was daylight.
With the high intensity bulb you should get aproximately 50 minutes of runtime, with 20 or 30 minutes of maximum brightness, the light is not regulated so as the batteries are exausted the light will get dimmer until it can't power the bulb any longer. With the low intensity bulb you may get 2 hours of runtime and yet a lot of brightness. The low intensity bulb is enough to completely blow away the original 2D maglite and the high intensity bulb will get a lot of admiration.
So we got from a simple 2D maglite that you can get at any store to an impressive 1000 lumen light in just a few minutes without soldering and without any special skills needed, if you can get the parts and you can change a lightbulb then you can make your own ROP.
If you liked this mod project there are others involving different Maglite hosts and different battery configurations using the same Pelican bulb check CPF for more information, if you are interested in bright lights you can also learn about other Maglite mods in the same site.