Creative Hacks (& Alternative Uses) for Your Flashlight
What’s the most important thing you need to be able to do in a crisis? And no, it doesn’t depend on the type of crisis you’re dealing with.
The most crucial thing is to be able to see clearly. That’s the only way you’ll be able to handle the problems caused by the emergency.
Now, if the lights are still on in your home or if it’s light outside, this shouldn’t be an issue.
But if your power is off or it’s dark outside, that’s another story. In that case, you need a powerful, reliable flashlight.
Perfect for emergencies
Today, though, I’m not going to spend your reading time telling you how important flashlights are. You already know that.
But what I do want to share are some flashlight hacks that might help you in a crisis. Including some alternative uses for flashlights.
Learning some of these flashlight hacks and alternative uses will put you in a better position to handle a variety of emergencies.
More power = more light
If you have a Maglite flashlight that takes “D” batteries, you can make it significantly brighter.
Open the flashlight and change the plastic lens to a glass lens. And change the reflector to a metal one. That’s so they won’t melt.
Next, replace the stock bulb with a high-intensity bulb. Then replace the D batteries with six 1.5-volt batteries to produce 9 volts.
More power equals more light. You’ve just gone from approximately 40-50 lumens to about 700-800 lumens.
From flashlight to charger
If you have a hand-crank flashlight, you can create a hand-powered charger to keep your electronic devices charged in a crisis. It’s free emergency power.
With this type of flashlight, cranking the handle generates electricity. Opening up the flashlight, you can determine how many volts it will generate.
Find the hand-crank generator and button cells that generate power. Connect the wires to a voltmeter. Solder the wires of a 12-volt adaptor to the button cell contacts.
Plug the connector into a cellphone. Assuming it generates enough voltage, it will charge the phone.
Now pinch-hitting… lithium battery
If you have a flashlight that takes three AAA batteries, you can hack it by replacing those batteries with one 3.7-volt lithium battery.
An 18500 lithium battery is similar in size to the three-AAA battery holder. You could also use a 14500 lithium battery if you make a plastic sleeve for it. Such as out of the plastic tube in a used glue stick.
Lithium batteries are rechargeable and are better for the environment. They don’t leak or corrode over time. And they can last on a single charge as long as three AAA’s over their lifetime.
Of course, you do need to acquire a lithium battery charger that can charge 18500 and/or 14500 batteries.
An aluminum foil battery?
If you have a flashlight requiring two batteries, but you only have one working battery, you’re out of luck, right? Maybe not.
Tear off a sheet of aluminum foil, 12-18 inches long. Eventually the current from the working battery will flow through that foil to power the flashlight. Fold the aluminum foil several times until it is the length of the battery (no shorter).
Use the battery to measure the width of the foil, then roll up the foil until it resembles the size and shape of the battery. It’s OK if there’s a little too much foil, as long as it fits into the battery chamber.
The working battery should be in contact with the positive end (usually near the bulb). Your foil “battery” should make contact with the negative end.
Screw the flashlight back together and press the power button. The light won’t be as powerful or last as long, but it should help you out in an emergency.
What about those alternate uses for a flashlight I promised? Here are several.
- Grip and cordage storage. Wrap cordage around your flashlight’s handle. It will both improve the grip and give you easy access to cordage when you need it.
- Communicate and signal. A light with high output and strobe capabilities could help you get rescued. You can also establish codes using your flashlights with family and friends that only they will know.
- Glass breaker. There may come a time when you need to get in or out of somewhere when glass is in your way. Being able to break it without injuring yourself will come in handy.
- Self-defense. A flashlight might not be your most effective self-defense tool, but it might do the job in a pinch. It could serve as a solid weapon if you’re attacked.
- Fire starter. Carefully break the incandescent flashlight bulb without destroying the filament within. Reinsert the glassless bulb assembly into the flashlight and switch it on. The filament will get very hot and should be able to light tinder.
Perhaps the ultimate flashlight survival hack is a power-producing flashlight. That’s not just a pipe dream. It’s what you get with the 4Patriots HaloXT.
Not only can this tactical flashlight power anything that charges via USB. Such as cellphones, radios, tablets and GPS devices.
It can also “self-charge” using the power of the sun. Thanks to a mini solar panel built right into the handle.
With the lightweight (less than one pound) and water-resistant Halo XT, you get an ultra-bright LED flashlight, a solar panel and a power bank.
Plus an SOS light, strobe and work light. As well as a seatbelt/rope splitter, glass-breaking hammer, compass and magnet. All in one easy-grip device.