FW3A Troubleshooting / FAQ

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wle
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it is truly a puzzle with all those parts and clearances/tolerances
i am thinking about some light glue for it
not loctite
maybe a tiny spot of ‘universal glue’ – the sort of clear gel with an acetone smell – not crazy glue, not white glue, not silicone [though that may work]

just to resist ‘light turning’ – not really to resist a big force.

wle

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DBSAR
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HOLY CRAP.. Another favorite light got hot after shorting and smells of burned plastic right out of the blue.. I had a scary incident last month with the Imalent DX80 nearly exploding in my hands, and now this FW3A emitted burning smell and stopped working after just falling off a 20 inch high night table..

I picked it up and noticed it had turned on on its own and began ramping through its stepped modes to turbo, and could not turn it off with thew switch! i quickly unscrewed the head to revel a smell of burning similar to what i experienced in the DX80 failure and an extremely hot head section. so i got up and threaddded it back together as normal, but it did not turn on at first, but when i took the head off again and put it back on it turned on instantly and began to ram up to its turbo mode and could not turn it off with the switch.. Facepalm

so i got out of bed, went to my desk to inspect it, and found what appeared to be a burn spot on the switch MCPCB, along with the smell of burned plastic all to reminiscent to the scary moment my DX80 went into melt down.

below is the photo of the spot on the board that don’t look normal:

i know the 30Q was in correctly as i used it earlier a hour ago to take the dog out to pee before bed, then suddenly when it fell off the night table it did this..

Here is the video after i got out of bed to show what happened to this FW3A. I only had this light for a couple weeks and it did this.. Its becoming hard to feel safe anymore around flashlights after experiencing to major failures of this kind with burned components and over heating due to a short… Tired

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

SIGShooter
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Wow….that’s awful and downright scary! I keep a fully charged battery in mine even though I never use it but I’m going to take it out tonight before bed. Hopefully you can do some more analysis and figure out exactly what happened.

I used to keep batteries in most of my 18650 flashlights but removed them from all but the my Q8’s, the FW3A and a couple of Convoy S2’s that are manually locked out. Think I’m going to also remove the ones in my Q8’s since I only use their switches as a night light.

Thanks for posting this and glad that you caught the problem before anything worse happened.

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DBSAR
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SIGShooter wrote:
Wow….that’s awful and downright scary! I keep a fully charged battery in mine even though I never use it but I’m going to take it out tonight before bed. Hopefully you can do some more analysis and figure out exactly what happened.

I used to keep batteries in most of my 18650 flashlights but removed them from all but the my Q8’s, the FW3A and a couple of Convoy S2’s that are manually locked out. Think I’m going to also remove the ones in my Q8’s since I only use their switches as a night light.

Thanks for posting this and glad that you caught the problem before anything worse happened.

I have no idea what happened. Am i just bad-luck with high-powered lights shorting out on me? I love this FW3A light, and began using it as my EDC because of its great design and the awesome Toykeeper’s perfect Andruil firmware, but when it fell from my ed-side night table and began to turn on & ramp to turbo mode on its own was an eye-opener.. then i unscrewed the head in a hurry to turn it off, (as the switch did not shut it off) it kind of woke me up in a hurry, because it reminded me of my recent Imalent DX80 incident. seriously, i must have bad luck with high-powered flashlights… Facepalm is there a hidden design mechanical fault in the light? or the switch design that can short after an impact?

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

SIGShooter
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Just a couple of unfortunate ocurances I think for you. The good thing was that you were around and able to remove the batteries before things got worse. I wonder if anyone had done drop tests on the light, but even if done it may not cause the issue you had.

Time for me to go and remove some batteries before bed.

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teacher
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Thanks for sharing Den, sorry about your luck with lights lately; but glad you caught it before it got worse. Thumbs Up

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DBSAR
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teacher wrote:
Thanks for sharing Den, sorry about your luck with lights lately; but glad you caught it before it got worse. Thumbs Up
I feel like a guinea pig lately, with great lights randomly going into nuclear-mode & failing when i go to bed.. i fear one night, a flashlight will go bad and burn me to death in my sleep…

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

SIGShooter
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DBSAR wrote:
teacher wrote:
Thanks for sharing Den, sorry about your luck with lights lately; but glad you caught it before it got worse. Thumbs Up
I feel like a guinea pig lately, with great lights randomly going into nuclear-mode & failing when i go to bed.. i fear one night, a flashlight will go bad and burn me to death in my sleep…
I was thinking the same so I decided to use my old shiningbeam 2AA flashlight as my night emergency flashlight.

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teacher
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SIGShooter wrote:
DBSAR wrote:
teacher wrote:
Thanks for sharing Den, sorry about your luck with lights lately; but glad you caught it before it got worse. Thumbs Up
I feel like a guinea pig lately, with great lights randomly going into nuclear-mode & failing when i go to bed.. i fear one night, a flashlight will go bad and burn me to death in my sleep…
I was thinking the same so I decided to use my old shiningbeam 2AA flashlight as my night emergency flashlight.
I can imagine you do feel that way Den… Shocked … But we will just trust & hope that scenario WILL NOT happen. Smile
.
.

Hmmmmm, might not be a bad idea SIGShooter….. Wink . Thumbs Up

You never know how a horse will pull until you hook him up to a heavy load./"Bear" Bryant 

 .................................. "Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast" ...................................

       Texas Lumens Flashlights / M4D M4X Deals : sign up - save $$$$  

         Rudeness Level _ mΩ _ {width:70%} _ LightWiki _ LED Tint Chart  

      Xlamp size chart _ BatteryU _ Flashaholic? Need Professional Help???            TheOriginal _ TAB _ LightSearch _ BatterySearch _ 14500's _ DiCal 

 

                                             

Rdubya18
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That’s acting like the loose driver retaining ring .

Nite Shadow
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Does the use of glow discs, glow powders or tapes in the emitter/lens cavity affect the beam tint of the actual light? Also, do tritium tubes in the optics affect the beam tint?
Aux lights even placed close to the main emitters cut off when the main emitters are engaged, I have 6 lights with these and they do not seem to affect the beam tint. I don’t have any of the initially questioned color enhancement options, that is why I am asking. Thanks!

thisnameisvalid
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DBSAR wrote:
HOLY CRAP.. Another favorite light got hot after shorting and smells of burned plastic right out of the blue.. I had a scary incident last month with the Imalent DX80 nearly exploding in my hands, and now this FW3A emitted burning smell and stopped working after just falling off a 20 inch high night table..

Looks like the thinnest area of the switch trace burnt. I’d guess the switch connection shorted with b+ (?) Such that you had the full short current going through that tiny trace. That might explain the fact it was ramping on its own. I could well be wrong though, I haven’t really looked into the details of how it all works.

DBSAR
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thisnameisvalid wrote:
DBSAR wrote:
HOLY CRAP.. Another favorite light got hot after shorting and smells of burned plastic right out of the blue.. I had a scary incident last month with the Imalent DX80 nearly exploding in my hands, and now this FW3A emitted burning smell and stopped working after just falling off a 20 inch high night table..

Looks like the thinnest area of the switch trace burnt. I’d guess the switch connection shorted with b+ (?) Such that you had the full short current going through that tiny trace. That might explain the fact it was ramping on its own. I could well be wrong though, I haven’t really looked into the details of how it all works.

Its possible. i had a closer look this morning with a magnifying glass and it looks like that trace is now melted & stuck to the spring.

EDIT-UPDATE: ok after closer inspection, there is no doubt the small trace had melted to the tail spring, why it happened after a small fall off the night table is a mystery.

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

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Probably hit the floor tail first with the impact causing the spring to pierce the mask, switch on, ramp up then the trace acted like a fuse with the current overload. Interesting.

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CRX wrote:
Probably hit the floor tail first with the impact causing the spring to pierce the mask, switch on, ramp up then the trace acted like a fuse with the current overload. Interesting.

That was my first thought as well. Surely the energy would not travel both directions along that trace. It seems only half the trace should be burnt, probably the outer half from the spring. I suspect there was a short in the inner tube to the outer tube which caused a lot of amperage to flow all the way across that little trace. The fact that the urnt trace got stuck to the spring seems almost like and after effect than it is a cause. IDK, what do you guys think?

To me it looks like high current flowed through the inner tube when it normally would only see very low current.

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RobertB
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Extra length of the button top probably didn’t help either

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JasonWW wrote:
CRX wrote:
Probably hit the floor tail first with the impact causing the spring to pierce the mask, switch on, ramp up then the trace acted like a fuse with the current overload. Interesting.

That was my first thought as well. Surely the energy would not travel both directions along that trace. It seems only half the trace should be burnt, probably the outer half from the spring. I suspect there was a short in the inner tube to the outer tube which caused a lot of amperage to flow all the way across that little trace. The fact that the urnt trace got stuck to the spring seems almost like and after effect than it is a cause. IDK, what do you guys think?

To me it looks like high current flowed through the inner tube when it normally would only see very low current.

Neal responded quickly and sending a replacement fortunately. What i will do however on the replacement is remove the spring, and resolder it rotated a little, so that the end of the bottom spring creates a open gap over that trace to prevent the spring from breaking the coating and shorting to that trace if that is what happened then it hit the floor, (which is what probably happened as CRX mentioned, the impact of landing tail cap down probably caused the short. its an easy fix to prevent it from happening in the future, and will show a photo of the mod/fix when i receive it.

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

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CRX wrote:
Probably hit the floor tail first with the impact causing the spring to pierce the mask, switch on, ramp up then the trace acted like a fuse with the current overload. Interesting.

So, is this a general design flaw of the light? Is it likely to happen with a drop that hits tail-first? Or is this a case where that light had a manufacturing flaw, and it’s not likely to happen in other lights?

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WalkIntoTheLight wrote:
CRX wrote:
Probably hit the floor tail first with the impact causing the spring to pierce the mask, switch on, ramp up then the trace acted like a fuse with the current overload. Interesting.

So, is this a general design flaw of the light? Is it likely to happen with a drop that hits tail-first? Or is this a case where that light had a manufacturing flaw, and it’s not likely to happen in other lights?

I think its a matter of everyone checking the tail cap board spring, to see if theirs is soldered in the position where the spring is touching that trace or of its positioned with the spring gap over the trace. (the one i had the spring was soldered with its bottom edge directly against that small trace that crosses under it, and the spring end-gap was to the right of the trace.

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Looking at the image of my version the gap in the tail spring coil is direclty over that switch trace.

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RobertB wrote:
Extra length of the button top probably didn’t help either

Actually, it should help. The extra battery length means there’s less room for the battery to gain momentum which reduces the impact forces.

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DBSAR wrote:
JasonWW wrote:
CRX wrote:
Probably hit the floor tail first with the impact causing the spring to pierce the mask, switch on, ramp up then the trace acted like a fuse with the current overload. Interesting.

That was my first thought as well. Surely the energy would not travel both directions along that trace. It seems only half the trace should be burnt, probably the outer half from the spring. I suspect there was a short in the inner tube to the outer tube which caused a lot of amperage to flow all the way across that little trace. The fact that the urnt trace got stuck to the spring seems almost like and after effect than it is a cause. IDK, what do you guys think?

To me it looks like high current flowed through the inner tube when it normally would only see very low current.

Neal responded quickly and sending a replacement fortunately. What i will do however on the replacement is remove the spring, and resolder it rotated a little, so that the end of the bottom spring creates a open gap over that trace to prevent the spring from breaking the coating and shorting to that trace if that is what happened then it hit the floor, (which is what probably happened as CRX mentioned, the impact of landing tail cap down probably caused the short. its an easy fix to prevent it from happening in the future, and will show a photo of the mod/fix when i receive it.


Are you saying the sharp end of the spring was directly over that trace? I assume it was a flat coil.

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CRX wrote:
Looking at the image of my version the gap in the tail spring coil is direclty over that switch trace.



I’m not sure you understand. All versions have the trace go under the spring. That is not an issue. If the sharp (cut end) of the spring is directly over the trace and it’s soldered in such a way that it’s pressing directly against the trace, then a heavy blow might push it through the solder mask and make contact.

Your light in the picture looks fine. I see no chance of the spring ever touching the trace.

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DBSAR wrote:
I think its a matter of everyone checking the tail cap board spring, to see if theirs is soldered in the position where the spring is touching that trace or of its positioned with the spring gap over the trace.
Den, I’m sorry to hear about your light’s failure. I’m glad you’re okay and that Neal is taking care of a replacement.

My spring is resting on the board in the area of the trace. A piece of paper won’t fit between the spring and PCB.

With the trace and FW3A label positioned at 6 o’clock, the end of my spring is soldered to the pad directly to the right, between the 4 and 5 o’clock position.

This places the ‘gap’ between the 1 and 2 o’clock position.

I plan to rotate the spring when I get back to my soldering iron.

JasonWW wrote:
If the sharp (cut end) of the spring is directly over the trace and it’s soldered in such a way that it’s pressing directly against the trace, then a heavy blow might push it through the solder mask and make contact.
I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that springs tend to be installed so that the ‘end’ is on a pad and connected with solder.
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JasonWW wrote:

I’m not sure you understand. All versions have the trace go under the spring. That is not an issue. If the sharp (cut end) of the spring is directly over the trace and it’s soldered in such a way that it’s pressing directly against the trace, then a heavy blow might push it through the solder mask and make contact.

Your light in the picture looks fine. I see no chance of the spring ever touching the trace.


Yes that was my point, the gap…
How it should be.
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DBSAR wrote:

EDIT-UPDATE: ok after closer inspection, there is no doubt the small trace had melted to the tail spring, why it happened after a small fall off the night table is a mystery.



The bigger question is if the trace burned first due to some other reason and the spring was nearby so they got melted together. Or was there current from the spring to the trace?

Negative current from the battery is already flowing up to the driver at all times (same for positive current) so I’m having trouble unstanding why the trace burned.

This trace basically connects a very weak positive signal from the MCU down the inner tube and across this trace. When you push the button this weak positive signal gets grounded through the vias and to the spring.

So if the spring shorted the trace it should be no different than holding down the button. I’m pretty sure the MCU limits the signal current to like milliamps.

I can’t think of any reason that trace would carry high current, high enough to burn it. The spring touching it should not cause a high current flow.

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In these 2 pic’s it looks like the spring is only secured/soldered on one of the 3 pads? The other 2 pads look untouched?

Looking at the 5 I have, all of them have an air gap over the signal tube trace with the spring sitting on the 3 solder pads. Just an observation…

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JasonWW wrote:

I’m not sure you understand. All versions have the trace go under the spring. That is not an issue. If the sharp (cut end) of the spring is directly over the trace and it’s soldered in such a way that it’s pressing directly against the trace, then a heavy blow might push it through the solder mask and make contact.

Your light in the picture looks fine. I see no chance of the spring ever touching the trace.

That appears to be the fault in the one i had short, while the edge of the spring was not directly on the trace, as seen in the photo the spring edge was roughly 110 degrees at roughly 2 o’clock on the board, so the spring was directly resting on the trace. Also i did notice as seen in that photo the spring is only soldered to one of the three solder points, and i could lift the spring up off the board a little as it only had one weak solder point. As seen in the second photo, you can see where the two other solder points were not soldered to the spring at all.

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

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KawiBoy1428 wrote:
In these 2 pic’s it looks like the spring is only secured/soldered on one of the 3 pads? The other 2 pads look untouched? Looking at the 5 I have, all of them have an air gap over the signal tube trace with the spring sitting on the 3 solder pads. Just an observation…

lol i had posted that exact thing just as you did. indeed, it was only soldered in one small spot on one of the pads, the other two were not.

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JasonWW wrote:
DBSAR wrote:

EDIT-UPDATE: ok after closer inspection, there is no doubt the small trace had melted to the tail spring, why it happened after a small fall off the night table is a mystery.



The bigger question is if the trace burned first due to some other reason and the spring was nearby so they got melted together. Or was there current from the spring to the trace?

Negative current from the battery is already flowing up to the driver at all times (same for positive current) so I’m having trouble unstanding why the trace burned.

This trace basically connects a very weak positive signal from the MCU down the inner tube and across this trace. When you push the button this weak positive signal gets grounded through the vias and to the spring.

So if the spring shorted the trace it should be no different than holding down the button. I’m pretty sure the MCU limits the signal current to like milliamps.

I can’t think of any reason that trace would carry high current, high enough to burn it. The spring touching it should not cause a high current flow.


Resistance, the spring only held or making contact on one solder pad. Maybe the srping got hot enough to burn thru the damaged masking after the fall, and the heat from resistance burn the trace? Kind of strange really, unless the driver shifted and made some kind of short? It is strange indeed..

KB1428 “Live Life WOT

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