*The Alpha Light *
A while back I received a flashlight as a gift for helping a friend of mine work a gun show. He told me that it was one of the brightest lights he had ever seen. Well it sure was different. First off it is French; called Bougie, model SLl-3401(Pictured below). It uses 4 AA batteries. An internet search turned up nothing on the company but I found out the name translates to torch or light.
Well this thing is sure bright. It came with a spare bulb in a carrier attached to the lanyard. After a number of years I had finally burned up all the bulbs. I spent the better part of two years looking for a PR3HK338 BULB. One day in an old hardware store I came across an old cross reference book. Sure enough, it was listed in there and was simply the same bulb as a 3 D cell krypton Mag light bulb. I scooped up a few and was off to test it out. It was just as bright as I remembered it.
ABOVE is a comparison of the ALPHA 4 AA (left) to a standard 2 cell krypton (right) on a white wall.
I thought it was strange that a 3 cell bulb would work with 4 AA batteries. After all, the voltage is the same. Hmmmm. Well, since this was very functional and very bright, I had to use this design to modify one for myself.
I have many military angle-head flashlights that I wore the switches out on, so I cannibalized one and began retrofitting. The first thing I did was remove the switch. Gee this turned out to be quite a task and a mess. Dremel, screwdriver, file, hammer,$#@@#$$#@. I replaced the worn switch with a new slide switch from Radio Shack. This really took allot of creativity and epoxy. Instead of using the brass and copper power bussing in the light, I just cobbled on wire to the contact points of the bulb through the switch. Next I added 2 sets of 2 AA battery holders. These come with the standard 9v connectors so you can carry battery packs and just swap them out. I wired / soldered them together in series and voila, we have a new light. They fit just fine up in the light; tight but not too tight.
I added the 3 cell bulb and wow, what a difference. This is allot brighter than the standard issue light even with a Krypton bulb.
The Alpha Light
Now I have a powerful light in an military angle-head package that is lightweight and uses the same batteries as my other gear.
Now this picture does not do it justice, but I shined the light into the camera and snapped this. It took several minutes until I could see to type.
I used the old light for the test. I will be building a few more from brand new angle heads. The only variation will be I will drill through and solder the power wires through the brass bussing utilizing the factory switch.
Next, I will be building the same configuration into a large 6 volt lantern that accepts a standard bulb. I plan to install a switch that will have a second set of back-up batteries tied in. With this done, it should reduce the weight significantly. I am also going to test this configuration out on a headlamp to mount on my helmet.
Burn time was about 3 hours with alkalines. When it dies out, it dies quick so keep spare batteries on hand.
Let your imagination loose a bit with this; four AA batteries, some wire and one 3 cell Mag light bulb.
Gee.......I can rewire one of those silly touchlights.....Hmmm If I drill a hole in a polished stainless serving bowl and mount the bulb...GIANT spot light. You get my drift. I am not done with this project yet. If I strike upon anything really cool, I will submit it.
All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright © 1996 - 2005 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.