D Size Battery Maglight

D Size Battery Specs and Maglight LED Conversion

Does anyone use the D size battery anymore? I do… It was my original Maglite battery size.

First released in 1979, the Maglight flashlight originally worked with 4 D size batteries. Although nowadays they make models that operate on AAA, AA, C or D-cell batteries. (And the MAG-TAC (amzn) flashlight that runs on lithium CR123 batteries).

I was going through my battery storage container inventory the other day to see if I needed to buy any new batteries, particularly the D size battery. I do have a handful of rechargeable D size batteries (see which one’s below). But how do they compare with the alkaline?

First, the energy storage capacity of a D size battery is enormous compared with the most common consumer battery (AA size). Sure, the D size is bigger, but it sure packs a punch.

BIG DIFFERENCE in energy storage!

D size battery capacity is typically 12,000 mAh (Alkaline)
AA size battery capacity is typically 2,700 mAh (Alkaline)

Why do they make a D size battery?
Answer: For devices that require a lot of power. It was a popular Maglight battery size.

Do you know what was one of the most common uses for the D size battery? (“was”)
Answer: Flashlights! (and ‘boom boxes’).

Times have changed though regarding flashlights. Back in the “old days” there was no such thing as LED flashlights. Flashlights back then mostly had incandescent light bulbs, and they sucked up a lot of power. You needed D size batteries to keep that flashlight going – especially if it had a bright bulb.

Today however the LED bulbs require MUCH LESS POWER (drastically less) to achieve equivalent light (lumens) output as the old incandescent bulbs. So the requirement for big D batteries is nearly gone for flashlights…

BUT! I thought of an interesting advantage:
Knowing that LED flashlights require much less power than old style flashlights, imagine how long a LED flashlight might operate with larger D size batteries??

How many of you have one of those full size Maglights from yesteryear?
I have a few, and they all take the D size battery (one of them takes 6 of those!). Did you know that you can get LED replacement bulbs for those Maglight Flashlights??

Do you know how long a converted Maglight will function with all those D batteries?
Even with the brightest LED replacement bulb the batteries will last about twice as long.

Maglite LED Conversion

I found what is apparently the brightest available replacement LED bulb for 3 – 6 D or C cell Maglight flashlights (360 Lumen).

This is what I bought:

Maglite LED Conversion Upgrade Cree 300 Lumen Bulb
(view on amzn)

>> All Maglight Conversion Kits

After thinking about it, I have just two types of electronic devices that take the D size battery. My old Maglights and several battery powered LED motion lights that I use inside my shed.

Rechargeable D Size Battery

I’m a big fan of rechargeable batteries.

I had bought a handful of EBL 10,000 mAh D size batteries.
They’ve been working out great!

EBL D Cell Battery – Rechargeable
(amzn)

– 1,000 Rechargeable Cycles
– 10,000 mAh Capacity
– Low Self Discharge

Versatile Battery Charger (A,AA,C,D,9v) NiMH, & amp; Lithium Ion
(amzn)

Anyway, I thought I would throw it out there – the possibility to convert your old Maglight to LED, giving it new life…

I took out my old 6-cell Maglight for the picture above, and dang I forgot how heavy it was! Makes for a heck of a improvised weapon too ;)

[ Read: New Improved Eneloop Rechargeable Battery AA & AAA ]

[ Read: Batteries That Will Not Leak Or Corrode ]

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42 Comments

  1. Thanks for the info. I had no idea they made LED replacement bulbs for the big mag lights. I also have several lights with C batteries. I assume the bulbs will fit them also? Got to love those mag lights.

    1. You can’t use a AA battery flash light like a club – D cell Maglights do just fine in that department.

      All my old Zenith, Nordmende, and Telefunken transistor multi band radios run on them as well.

      So do the LED lanterns I bought at a close out sale. Still lots of uses for the big guy of batteries.

    2. If memory serves, the big 6 D-Cell maglite is also known as the “Rodney King autograph model” as that many big cells are pretty heavy, too, and suitable for multiple uses.

  2. Thanks for the info on the LED bulb for the Mag light. I still have one mag light that works. It’s the only flashlight left in this house that takes “D” batteries. I’m not crazy about the light as Ken states, they use lots of battery power. I was letting my “D” battery supply dwindle as I was going to retire the flashlight after I ran out of batteries, now I guess I will have to restock my supply.

  3. – Still have a couple of the old big Mag-lights, already converted to the LEDs, Also use D-Cells in my LED lanterns. They will run almost a month on the lowest setting. still have several of the Conversion units for the flashlights, which will also work on other size incandescent flashlights.. Have one in my wife’s little AA Mallory flashlight just because she liked it. also in her 3 AA Mag-light by the bed. Still use lots of D cells, probably 40 on my shelf right now.

    Also still keep lots of 9-volt, too. They get used for smoke detectors and such. Don’t have a lot of radios and such anymore for those, but have fresh ones available, maybe a dozen.

    – Papa S.

  4. Eneloop has a new set up from AAA to D rechargeable with charger, enclosed in a carrying case. Found them in Costco last trip through the store while picking up the solar lights for the place.

    Discover one of our older solar lights uses size C recharge batteries which we can pick up in town.

  5. I still used the D cells. I had problems with keeping incandescent flashlight lights using D-cells working in my Van, since I leave them in there all the time. I got an LED flash light which uses 3 d-cells a year or 2 ago and every time I go to used it it works just fine. I don’t think I’ve changed the batteries since I got it.

  6. Got three of the “old” Maglite’s (3-D-cell) and still use them around the house and camper.
    Was thinking a year or so ago on converting them to LEDS with Rechargeable.
    Thinking Ken just LOVES!!!!! to spend my money… HAHAHA
    Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Same here on all of that, hardly use em anymore, got a few c cell duracell LED flashlights from Costco a couple years ago for extras over hurricaine season and now rarely reach for the big maglights,,, was thinking about using them to make a few solvent traps for um you know trapping solvent

  7. We use quit a bit of the D cell batteries. We use them in our C crane radio and an LED lantern we bought at Costco that throws lots of light. We make sure to take it camping for lighting up the inside of our motor home. We also use them in a few other old lanterns and some little flicker candles. But then we are old, like the D cells.

    1. – I’m told they probably are. I have some new ones wrapped in foil just in case. Batteries, on the other hand I’m told are not. No little wires, Etc, to burn out.
      – Papa S.

  8. We have that Maglite!
    We keep it specifically by the bedside in case of an intruder, it can be used as a striking weapon.

  9. I was feeling a little flushed during the discussion of the last subject concerning what toys people kept in or on their bedroom nightstand. What a person practices reaching out and grabbing in the dark, should probably be kept in the bedroom and not detailed in public.

    I was relieved to see the subject turn to flashlights, but whoops….here we go back into the bedroom again, only this time, talking about the battery-operated things people like. When do these public confessions become TMI (Too Much Information)?

    Could I suggest an article about driving tent stakes into asphalt or something like that to get us out of the bedroom for a while? Oh yeah, never mind, people sleep in tents with their toys and battery-operated things…. :)

    CD in Oklahoma

    1. CD in Oklahoma
      Now here’s a man with a sense of humor, even I can understand and laugh at.
      You the Man.!!

      1. Ya, i was wondering about that rolling over grabbing for my DD
        Flashlight
        Then gripping my weapon,,, seemed a bit raunchy even for this place,,,,

  10. LOL. We found some of thosw just two weeks ago ourselves….brand new in the package and nothing to use them in!

  11. We have GI issue angle head flashlights that take “D” cells and use rechargeable batteries

  12. We still have some of our D size Maglights! We are old school! Ahh……I remember the old boomboxes well…….hahahaha. Had one till a few years ago in the attic, finally got rid it of it. We should have kept it for the nieces and nephews to see. hahahaha……..Old relics.

    1. I guess I’m officially old now. They have replacement bulbs for the mini mags too. I’ve used them for years now.
      I still keep the big mag lite in my work truck . It doubles as a ‘be good stick’ for when I am working in bad areas. I’m in New Jersey.
      Keep up the good work.

  13. Just ordered two replacement LED drop in lights for the C and D Maglights, as N R P said, Ken loves to spend my money.

  14. My multi-band radio uses 4 of the “D” size batteries. Use it most nights for SW listening with a 110v power pack. However, every time the power goes out that’s the one radio I know I can count on. I change out the batteries once a year regardless.
    Most nights you can pick up die hard AM hammers on 3.875Mz . . . most of those guys build their rigs from scratch!
    Also have 3 of the Mag Flash Lights, Not sure why I keep’em going though. . .

  15. Have two of these dinosaur flashlights. A little three battery tactical lite (3 AAA) is not as good in a hand to hand as one of these beasts. Also there Is a kit that can help you recycle old Mag lights into solvent traps for your high powered rifle cleaning. Must be careful as it looks just like a silencer but without the last exit hole drilled. Always remember it’s just a flashlight or solvent trap and nothing more. Have fun storming the castle kids!

  16. I have a couple of the “D” cell mag lights and about half a dozen of the 90 degree flashlights the military issues (or uesd too).

  17. I routinely used a Mag-Lite Dcell in the sap pockets of my uniform pants for years, back in the day. Faster to deploy than my baton, and a whole lot easier to carry. When I heard that the original Mags could be converted to LED, I retrofitted the D and C cell one’s I had left to LEDs. All of the family vehicles including adult chidlren’s Have been retro’d To LEDs. Interesting little tidbit!that the old schoolers might appreciate. Back in the day, Maglite had their name engraved on the bottom of the battery tube cover. It was not uncommon, to see thugs with a faint etilgaM “tattooed” someplace visible …at times. It was a tell-tale sign, that somehow, somewhere, they had failed the “attitude test”. Mag lites wielded properly are indeed effective impact devices against, elbows, knees and shins, as well as collar-bones. Any place else is verboten unless of course, you screwed up and got into a full scale knock-down, drag out.

    1. TPSnodgrass
      ==how old are your mag’lites? I am betting the “older” ones are much heavier than one purchased now/recently. Heavier is better for security.

        1. Forgot to add:
          C cell size Maglite DO fit into any baton belt holder/ring, quite nicely!since most pants no longer have sap pockets, and since most cops cannot legally carry a sap. Saps, are great Personal Defense Weapons, IF, legal in your state. Many states have outlawed them making you an nstant felon for even having one in your possession (home/vehicle/purse/briefcase, etc.

  18. Good Morning folks. It was -22 C @ 4:00 am today. Sunny now but a 30% chance of flurries later today. Still 1-2 ‘ of snow in yard. DH finished taking down the 5 dead trees in the shelter belt & they are mostly split & in the wood shed. I boiled the Easter turkey carcass, stored 4 containers of broth & meat in freezer along with 3 pk. of meat that will give us 6 – 8 more meals. Yes those mag lights are good & heavy. DH used them a lot when he managed a store that kept getting broken into at night. Good light & protection.

    DH & I had blood tests this week & arranged for a follow-up appt. with nurse practitioner for next week. Started work on our income taxes this week. Due April 30.

    Our museum was destroyed by an arson a couple of years ago & we hope to open the new museum in May in an old police barracks & attached home. Therefore the big push is on to finish the renos & set up displays so a lot of my extra time is spent doing the cataloguing & helping with displays. This is a prep. Learn about lots of early skills.

  19. In Detroit the big 6-D cell Mag-lite is known as a Malice Green. The low life crack head that died after having the snot beat out of him for trying to go for the arresting officer’s pistol. Cops went to prison, but I still believe them to be innocent. Malice Green died of a heart attack because of all the crack he smoked!

  20. I have an LED Maglite flashlight (2 D-cell) and two LED lanterns (Ray-O-Vac and Streamlite) that use D cell batteries. A box of D cells off Amazon keeps them stoked.

  21. Hey all,

    I have battery operated motion sensor lights around my house and they operate on D-Cells. Since I live in FZl, I also have several battery operated fans for hurricane season. Don’t have to run the generator 24/7 and it’s used more for fridge and other essentials. I keep lots of D’s around. I still have 2 Maglites but most of my lights and lanterns use AA. Got a mix of C123, D’s and AA.

  22. Back when they were popular I tried to get all the sizes in all the colors.
    I had around 30 of them, rainbow selection of mag lights.
    I still keep 2 in the gun safe with the old bulbs in them and also have about 10 others around, some still in the packaging.
    They were the favored thing when I used to work security at night.

      1. I suppose eventually they will be collectables.
        I do have several led replacement bulbs stored and 3 of them are the good ones.

        In my battery stock I keep, currently have about 60+ D cells.
        2 of the 12packs expired in 2016 EverReady gold, I check them occasionally to see if they leak and the ones I check are still above 1.5v each.
        I think I have too many AA, near too many AAA

        I mainly use Li-ion 18650 flashlights most of the time now and I got the majority
        of the 18650 battery’s free from old laptop packs.
        The lights that use the li=ion battery’s are so cheap i bought a dozen.

        My Mag’s, still love them but they are old tech though the solid feel was a
        comfort years ago at night walking security.

  23. I like to keep a D cell Maglight (with LED conversion) in the truck. It also doubles as a flashlight.

  24. Some (maybe most?) D cells are not even D cells anymore. You can cut one open and see – often now they are an AA cell inside of a D-size casing.

    And any older “real” D’s that you do have stashed away, are not going to last forever. They completely discharge on the shelf over time; you can probably do tricks to slow that process down, but you can’t stop it completely.

    Don’t build a long-term plan around a discontinued product. Short-term plans – hmm, you decide.

    1. A true D cell alkaline battery capacity should be at or apprx. 10,000 mAh (milliamp hours).

      I haven’t bought any in a while and not sure if they list this on the packaging these days.

      It wouldn’t surprise me especially for off-brands to change the chemistry such that we’re not getting that capacity… Come to think of it, who’s to say that the major brands aren’t doing this either? I would doubt it – given that someone would probably quickly discover the technicality and maybe get a lawyer and go after them…given the expectation of 10,000 mAh – the way it has been for so many years for these brands..

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