FW3A, a TLF/BLF EDC flashlight - SST-20 available, coupon codes public

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EnlightenMe
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It appears to depend on what you ordered and whether you paid for expedited shipping. The wait list arrangement is not an indicator of shipping order.

Cobra502
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So I have a tracking number as of a few days ago but I don’t see any updates. Neal’s site says fulfilled so guess I’ll wait hoping it make it to my impatient hands.

Firelight2
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Another observation:

Due to the lack of heatsinking I noticed the light gets hot very fast when using Turbo mode on VTC6 or VTC5A. Much faster an Emisar D4.

Samsung 30Q seems to be a better choice for this light since it didn’t heat up quite as fast.

pinkpanda3310
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I thought max current was set to 3 amps (it’s in the name). So why is there a difference? Is it because the 30Q has more voltage droop than the other 2 ?

 

ToyKeeper
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pinkpanda3310 wrote:
I thought max current was set to 3 amps (it’s in the name). So why is there a difference? Is it because the 30Q has more voltage droop than the other 2 ?

The maximum current is direct drive. It has regulated output up to 2.8A, and can go above that in direct drive.

The default ceiling is 2.8A, but it can still access turbo with a double click while the light is already on. Double click from off goes to the ceiling though.

JasonWW
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pinkpanda3310 wrote:
I thought max current was set to 3 amps (it’s in the name). So why is there a difference? Is it because the 30Q has more voltage droop than the other 2 ?

The 3 in the name refers to 3 emitters. This is a direct drive, FET powered light so it’s sensitive to resistance at max output. The 30Q is a nice comprise between capacity and current. Some cells can deliver more current and some cells deliver more capacity.

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djozz
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JasonWW wrote:
pinkpanda3310 wrote:
I thought max current was set to 3 amps (it’s in the name). So why is there a difference? Is it because the 30Q has more voltage droop than the other 2 ?

The 3 in the name refers to 3 emitters. This is a direct drive, FET powered light so it’s sensitive to resistance at max output. The 30Q is a nice comprise between capacity and current. Some cells can deliver more current and some cells deliver more capacity.

I do not agree, the 30Q is a very high current cell, fine for that short full blast but when aimed for a “nice compromise”, it is not needed for the FW3A. A nice compromise is a cell that can handle the regulated 3A ceiling for most of the drainage of the cell with the full FET blast still impressive, a GA cell for example will achieve that and have the extra capacity on top. The full blast will not even be noticibly less compared to the top performers.

The SST-20 version, with lower voltage, will even run perfectly fine regulated and full FET on the low-drain NCR18650B.

JasonWW
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djozz wrote:

I do not agree, the 30Q is a very high current cell, fine for that short full blast but when aimed for a “nice compromise”, it is not needed for the FW3A.

It’s just a matter of opinion. If you want to think of the 30Q as a very high current cell, then that’s fine. It’s a 3000mah cell with a 15A CDR.
I tend to think of a cell like the Sony VTC4 2100mah with a 30A CDR as a very high drain.
No biggie.

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pinkpanda3310
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JasonWW wrote:
The 3 in the name refers to 3 emitters.

Doh! I had it wrong all this time LOL Facepalm Thanks for the clarifictaion everyone.

 

Henk4U2
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JasonWW wrote:
Firelight2 wrote:
JasonWW wrote:
Firelight2 wrote:

  • The clip touches the body tube just before the head. The head does grind against the clip when changing the battery.

What? The clip length is too long? This is the kind of stuff that irritates me.

WHOOPS!!!

I meant to say “does NOT grind against the head”… but somehow the “not” was accidentally left out of my post. I have corrected my previous post. It is quite obvious a lot of care was taken with the design of this light and it shows.


That happens to me sometimes. The “not” will dissappear and totally change what I’m saying. Lol

I’ve always looked at the development photos carefully and noticed that the clip should not grind against the head. I was shocked to hear about yours. Kinda like them changing the color, I thought they extended the length slightly.

It’s all good. False alarm. Party

NOT is a peculiar word. It can disappear from a place where it should be, like in this case. Or it pops out of nowhere to a place where it never should have been. William Jefferson Clinton can testify to that when he said: I did NOT have ……. Steve

You are a flashaholic if you are forced to come out of the closet, to make room for more flashlights.

Firelight2
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Just modded one of my FW3As.

  • Replaced the emitters with 4000K XPL HI taken from an older triple light. 5A2 tint I think.
  • Replaced optic with 10507 narrow spot optic. Think I’ll try polishing the stock 10511, but couldn’t find my jeweler’s rouge.
  • I need to order some more 5D XPL HI from Mountain Electronics. Thinking maybe replacing the emitters with 2×5D and 1×3D.
  • Or maybe I should try LH351D. Checking my parts bin I actually have a 20mm triple star with LH351D 4000K 90 CRI already on it.

As expected, the FW3A is very easy to mod. Unscrew and lift off the bezel (it’s not glued and comes off easily with just hands), use a tweezers to lift out the optic and the star on the shelf is exposed. You can remove the star and reflow, or you can swap in a fresh 20mm Noctigon triple star with your choice of emitter.

The light does have a glass lens, so if you wish to insert a Lee Minus Green filter you can.

The head of the light feels very lightly built. This is a light going for compact size, light weight and clean design over thermal properties. At first glance from the top of the light the the shelf appeared extremely thin. However, from looking at pictures of the driver side of the head, I can see that the shelf is actually quite a bit thicker, but tapers inward towards the front of the light. However, even with a decently thick shelf, this is definitely not an Emisar or Fireflies with a thicker shelf, more mass to the head and body and heat sink fins.

ToyKeeper
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FWIW, the recommended cells for this light are the highest-mAh cells, like a GA cell or 35E — Panasonic/Sanyo NCR18650GA and Samsung INR18650-35E. The LG MJ1 should be good too. Basically, anything from a reputable brand with 3400+ mAh.

The downside is that turbo won’t be quite as bright, but it’s not really noticeable without a lux meter. The upsides are longer runtime, less heat, and less risk of heat issues.

djozz
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TK wrote:
The downside is that turbo won’t be quite as bright, but it’s not really noticeable without a lux meter.

Even use a luxmeter and you may be disappointed, the top high drain cells compared to a GA or lower drain may get you higher output for 5 seconds, then nose-diving under the output with moderate drain cells because of the extra hot leds.

The FW3A performance makes for the perfect usable EDC, what stands out is its small size yet still impressive output and good efficiency up to 3A, but as an extra has the BLF-touch of a short FET-blast when people need to be wowed.

Firelight2
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Swapped in a Noctigon triple with 3x SST-20, 4000K 95 CRI. The results are about what you would expect:

  • better color rendition than the stock 3D XPL HI
  • noticeably dimmer than XPL HI
  • slightly greenish at lower modes
  • I tried installing some Lee 279 filter as a test. The filter reduced the green and produced a beautifully rosy tint. However, the filter reduces output 14% and makes the tint warmer so may not be worth it.
  • gets hot insanely faster than XPL HI due to the lower vF emitter. That’s not a good thing as it means less runtime in turbo. And because of the lower output I’d probably want turbo more often.

I’m not sure the benefits of tint and CRI outweigh the large loss of lumens and turbo runtime compared to XPL HI. When I sit this light side-by-side with my resistor-modded Jetbeam TCR-01 triple XPL HI, the stock FW3A appears brighter at 2.8 amp mode. When I do the same with the SST-20 modded version with Lee Filter, the hotspot appears dimmer. I have to go to FET mode if I want it brighter.

I suspect I’ll end up swapping this light back to XPL HI of some kind. It just seems to be a more practical emitter for small triples with minimal heatsinking.

cabfrank
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Thanks!

teacher
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Firelight2 wrote:
Swapped in a Noctigon triple with 3x SST-20, 4000K 95 CRI. The results are about what you would expect:
  • better color rendition than the stock 3D XPL HI
  • noticeably dimmer than XPL HI
  • slightly greenish at lower modes
  • I tried installing some Lee 279 filter as a test. The filter reduced the green and produced a beautifully rosy tint. However, the filter reduces output 14% and makes the tint warmer so may not be worth it.
  • gets hot insanely faster than XPL HI due to the lower vF emitter. That's not a good thing as it means less runtime in turbo. And because of the lower output I'd probably want turbo more often.

I’m not sure the benefits of tint and CRI outweigh the large loss of lumens and turbo runtime compared to XPL HI. When I sit this light side-by-side with my resistor-modded Jetbeam TCR-01 triple XPL HI, the stock FW3A appears brighter at 2.8 amp mode. When I do the same with the SST-20 modded version with Lee Filter, the hotspot appears dimmer. I have to go to FET mode if I want it brighter.

I suspect I’ll end up swapping this light back to XPL HI of some kind. It just seems to be a more practical emitter for small triples with minimal heatsinking.

Thank you for the detailed report Firelight2. It seems to verify to me what ToyKeeper has said all along (iirc that is)
……. the XP-L HI is the superior LED for ‘this light’.

I’ll get a STT20 if it get’s made, but only to use a host. The SST20 has far to many downsides to be of any value to me in this light. Thanks for your report verifying that to me.

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BurningPlayd0h
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JasonWW wrote:
djozz wrote:
I do not agree, the 30Q is a very high current cell, fine for that short full blast but when aimed for a “nice compromise”, it is not needed for the FW3A.
It’s just a matter of opinion. If you want to think of the 30Q as a very high current cell, then that’s fine. It’s a 3000mah cell with a 15A CDR. I tend to think of a cell like the Sony VTC4 2100mah with a 30A CDR as a very high drain. No biggie.

Although that’s what the 30Q is rated at, many drain tests show that they can achieve nearly 20A CDR in reality without any temp issues.

M3CSL
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Found this site via a search, I am apparently too late for this groupbuy – will there be another groupbuy for this light or will there be another/newer/different variant of it?

Thank you!

Convoy S2+ 219b triple, Astrolux FT02, Maglite 3D, Solarforce L2t

Klayking
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Firelight2 wrote:
* Or maybe I should try LH351D. Checking my parts bin I actually have a 20mm triple star with LH351D 4000K 90 CRI already on it.

Not asking you to spend time on anything you’re not planning on doing already, but after hearing about your SST-20 swap, I am quite curious to know if the LH351D could be an acceptable middle ground between XP-L HI and SST-20. With the floodiest optic available, it could make for one heck of a portable photography light.

Thanks for posting your SST-20 findings by the way. Really useful info.

delusional
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M3CSL, this is not technically a groupbuy at BLF. You might want to try the other forum, if you know what that is.
I started there, but like this one a lot better.

Woke up to this one day…

Good morning OCF&BD,
I’ve created a new disorder for you. OCF&BD
Obsessive Compulsive Flashlight & Battery Disorder – and of course, there is no known cure, because you keep recharging yourself.

M3CSL
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Thank you. I am not in an urgent need of a new light, but google gave me the link to this thread. I am happy to wait for the next version of this light, if there is one. Otherwise I will look to the other 2 forums I found.
Thanks.

Convoy S2+ 219b triple, Astrolux FT02, Maglite 3D, Solarforce L2t

djozz
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M3CSL wrote:
Thank you. I am not in an urgent need of a new light, but google gave me the link to this thread. I am happy to wait for the next version of this light, if there is one. Otherwise I will look to the other 2 forums I found.
Thanks.

Apart from the FW3A, you may like to stick around here, there’s much more flashlight stuff to enjoy. We’re full of people who are “not in an urgent need of a new light”, that attitude fits right in. Welcome to BLF Big Smile
JasonWW
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M3CSL wrote:
Thank you. I am not in an urgent need of a new light, but google gave me the link to this thread. I am happy to wait for the next version of this light, if there is one. Otherwise I will look to the other 2 forums I found.
Thanks.

I would check on Nealsgadgets.com Ask about the $36 price. It might have gone up a few dollars. I’m sure there will be coupon codes. It’s just all sold out at the moment.

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M3CSL
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You guys will help me develop another addiction Big Smile Recently I got rid off my knife, car parts/tuning and R/C hobbies! My credit cards are starting to get anxious again…

(full disclosure: I have several Maglites and also recently purchased another light on banggood)

Thanks for all the links, will look into them.

Convoy S2+ 219b triple, Astrolux FT02, Maglite 3D, Solarforce L2t

KevinZA1988
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M3CSL wrote:
You guys will help me develop another addiction Big Smile Recently I got rid off my knife, car parts/tuning and R/C hobbies! My credit cards are starting to get anxious again…

(full disclosure: I have several Maglites and also recently purchased another light on banggood)

Thanks for all the links, will look into them.

Welcome to the bottomless pit!

Astrolux MF01 Mini, BLF Q8, BLF A6, BLF FW1A, BLF FW3A, BLF FW3C, Convoy L6, Convoy C8+ , Convoy S3, Convoy M21A, Convoy S11, Emisar D4, Fireflies E07, Jaxman E2L, Lumintop EDC18, Manta Ray C8.2 long version, Olight S1R Baton II special edition series, S2R Baton II, Nitecore HC65, Olight H1R Nova.

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idleprocess
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EnlightenMe wrote:
It appears to depend on what you ordered and whether you paid for expedited shipping. The wait list arrangement is not an indicator of shipping order.

And surely independent of my mutterings I have a shipment notification this morning.
EnlightenMe
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Same here. I tried tracking it at 17track.net … no dice Sad

abhinit90
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I’m still holding out for the SST-20 version, the coupon code will be valid by then, right?

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Got my shipping email, locked and loaded into Postal Ninja.

Thanks to Firelight2 for the analysis, I’m sure most everyone here is very appreciative for your efforts Smile

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I too was notified of my flashlight shipping this morning. My number on the “new” list was up around 990, so I fully expected that it wouldn’t go out until after May 8th. The notice was a very nice surprise to start my day. Big Smile

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