A couple of weeks ago some bad storms blew through and my power was off for two nights. I had rechargeable batteries charged up, so I had two mini Maglites in candle mode (where you screw the lens part off) and also my Versapak Snakelight. The Snakelight is nice and bright (essentially it’s just a regular flashlight) but I thought it would be nice if they made a Snakelight with LED bulbs. Of course it would be nice if it was Versapak too, but they’re not making Versapak stuff anymore (not really true; I saw a Versapak screwdriver and batteries, including gold ones at Walmart later on). I looked and found nothing.
Tonight I was at Fry’s and saw some LED flashlights and I wondered if there would be a way to hack a Snakelight by taking a LED bulb and fitting it in to where the regular bulb goes. As I kept looking I found there were kits where you could upgrade a Maglite to LED. And then I found a generic LED upgrade that is just a bulb in the conventional flashlight bulb shape, but LED. It didn’t occur to me that it would be that simple (plus I’ve seen some Maglites with 3 LED’s which means the whole head is different). While the Maglite upgrades claimed to be brighter (and one added a strobe function), the generic upgrade only offered 5 times the battery life. Plus I don’t think LED’s ever burn out though I’ve had the Snakelight for 10 years and it hasn’t burned out yet. It was $8.99 but I wanted to try it anyway. A similar product is at Amazon for more money in a package that claims the light is brighter (it is a different bulb and really is brighter; see comment below). They also have the Maglite and other upgrades.
I brought it home, popped it in and turned on the switch. It is a much whiter (kind of blue) light, but I don’t think it is any brighter. I can’t say how much longer it stays bright on a charge, but if the old bulb would burn for two hours, this should burn for 10 which is pretty close to all night.