Monday, March 31, 2014

Replacing the Brinkmann Dual Xenon Spotlight

Mike Berenson demos the Dual Xenon
The Brinkmann MaxFire Dual Xenon Spotlight is no longer being made by Brinkmann and supplies are not available on Amazon. I had been using this Dual Xenon light for over a year, ever since my colleges recommend it. After its Ni-Cd battery would no longer is take a charge, I tried to order a replacement, but found that it was no longer being made. Although the Dual Xenon is labeled as a "spotlight", it's more of a narrow beam floodlight. This actually makes it much easier for light painting, as the beams of true spotlights are so narrow it makes it difficult to blend and overlap each pass of the light. The color balance of the warm Xenon light is about 3500º Kelvin, making it a preferred light source over the much cooler 8000º K output of most of the newer LED spotlights. A switch also allows one to use the intensity of both Xenon lights, or limit the power to just one light.

Harbor Freight's "One Million Candlepower Rechargeable Cordless Spotlight" is a great replacement for the Dual Xenon. I have two. The first one I bought is now about a year old, and has been recharged many times more the Dual Xenon, and it still takes a full charge. It's lithium-ion battery does not have the memory problem's of Ni-Cd battery used in the Dual Xenon. Because it uses a quartz halogen bulb, its light color balance is also close to 3500º Kelvin. And, at less than $11.00, this Harbor Freight spotlight is one-third the price I paid for the Dual Xenon!

At less than $11.00, Harbor Freight's "One Million Candlepower Rechargeable Cordless Spotlight"
is a great replacement for the Brinkmann MaxFire Dual Xenon Spotlight.
Other comparisons: The Harbor Freight spotlight is about the same size and weight as the Brinkmann Dual Xenon, albeit it is not quite as flat in its design. It also has about the same light intensity as the Dual Xenon has at full power (but the Harbor Freight spot does not have a dual intensity switch). The other difference is that like most true spotlights, the Harbor Freight's beam is more crisp and narrow than was the Dual Xenon.
1-gallon empty
milk jug

Softening the Beam: To produce a slight floodlight effect, I've taken an empty one-gallon plastic milk jug and cut out a circular piece to fit over the front of the spotlight. I've taped this into position with some gaffer tape (I like the 1-inch wide fluorescent rolls that B&H carries, and use them for a variety of photographic and labeling purposes). The "milky" plastic from the milk jug adds just the right amount of diffusion to soften the beam and make it similar in quality to the old Dual Xenon spotlight. You may wish to add two layers of "milky" plastic if you want even more softening. Because the Harbor Freight spotlights are so inexpensive, I have two —one with and without diffusion:

Harbor Freight spotlights: regular beam (L) and with milk jug plastic taped over spot.
(My fluorescent gaffer's tape adds no noticeable tint to the white balance :)
This photo of the Three Sisters in Goblin Valley State Park, Utah was light painted (from a distance
of about 250 feet to the left) with the Harbor Freight spotlight, using the homemade plastic diffuser
taped to the front. Without the diffuser, I would not have been able to blend my "painting" this
evenly. There is little light spill onto the side and foreground because I also employed the use of
a homemade snoot attached to the front of the spotlight (more on this technique in a future blog).
Royce's 2014 Workshop, Lecture & Video Conference Schedule:


  1. i like it, you have such a nice blog :) keep it up

  2. the effects are great..Nice article

  3. Might need another update because that Harbor Freight light link is broken.

  4. That light is no longer available at HF. Not sure how the other works they have. It has good reviews for camping....

  5. FWIW, replacement batteries for the Brinkmann are available.

    1. Where are they available? Model of the battery? Can you provide us with some info please

  6. The battery is SLAA6-2ST and I read somewhere that the bulb can be replaced with Snap-On EFCDUX1
    You can find good info here;