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

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ToyKeeper
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The post-launch changes have often been pretty disappointing. Even at launch though, the quality consistency wasn’t very high.

… and the derivatives have generally been even more disappointing. Like, the FW21 for example… appears to have been scaled up without modifying the proportions to be appropriate for the new battery type. So several parts of it are designed badly and make no sense. Mine can’t even turn on while using the battery it was designed for.

Would have been nice to go with a company which could maintain higher and more consistent quality, and put proper consideration into related products, even if it meant a higher price. By the time I joined the project though, it was already too late for that.

So I’m glad I have a few good FW3A lights and a FW1A, but it’s unlikely that I’ll ever get any more… and it’s not something I can recommend in 2020.

ToyKeeper
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oweban wrote:
Roughly 18.5mA on moonlight, ramping mode, XPL HI 3A.

I get 24.4µA on standby.

Wow, 18.5 mA at moon level? It should be more like 1.8 mA. Is that using a higher floor level?

raccoon city
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ToyKeeper wrote:

The post-launch changes have often been pretty disappointing. Even at launch though, the quality consistency wasn’t very high.

… and the derivatives have generally been even more disappointing. Like, the FW21 for example… appears to have been scaled up without modifying the proportions to be appropriate for the new battery type. So several parts of it are designed badly and make no sense. Mine can’t even turn on while using the battery it was designed for.

Would have been nice to go with a company which could maintain higher and more consistent quality, and put proper consideration into related products, even if it meant a higher price. By the time I joined the project though, it was already too late for that.

So I’m glad I have a few good FW3A lights and a FW1A, but it’s unlikely that I’ll ever get any more… and it’s not something I can recommend in 2020.

What do you think of the FW21 Pro?

Is it a hot mess?

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contactcr wrote:
Anyone have a newer Ti model or newer model with switch board marked FW3A-K3.2?

This polished Ti has serialized tail cap but none of the other marks and the switch is absolute trash.

My original stonewashed model has an acceptable, if not good, switch so it’s not just a Ti thing. Basically there is no positive “click” feel at all, just mushy. On top of that it rubs against the sidewall of what feels like rough Ti and lastly the switch can even get stuck down/sideways depending on which side you press.

I do not own a Ti version, but I had this happen on an xpl Gray aluminum version that I ordered back in March, and I returned and never replaced that one. My sst20 Sand version i ordered at the same time and the button was perfect, but that gray one the button as completely sloppy. Also, i have the “stuck sideways” and button sidewall rubbing happen often with my FW21 Pro as well as my other fw3a’s i own. I feel that has been a thing since ive owned these lights where they happen occasionally.

yanya
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If there someone have FW3A purple for sell, let me know please – Mail
I would be very grateful

Cemoi
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ToyKeeper wrote:
I'm glad I have a few good FW3A lights and a FW1A, but it's unlikely that I'll ever get any more... and it's not something I can recommend in 2020.

Thanks for the advice ToyKeeper. I was about to buy one as my very first 18650 and Anduril flashlight, so I'll have to choose another model.

According to this Master List the Astrolux S1 should be available with the Anduril UI, but when I follow the link I see a 4/7 modes one on BG – like on other Chinese seller websites – not Anduril.

Is an Anduril Astrolux S1 / BLF A6 available somewhere? I'm specially interested in the latest Anduril version, which adds the manual memory: a fantastic addition as it allows instant access from OFF to #1 Floor, #2 your favorite brightness of choice, #3 Ceiling and #4 Strobe. Which lights have this manual memory?

 

Ultrafire C3 2AA / Nitecore LR10 / Manker E03H / Fenix HL10 / Zebralight H501R + H51W / DQG Hobi / Astrolux M01 / CooYoo Quantum Ti (lost) / BlackWater Kite Al

contactcr
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You misread that table all of those are older mechanical clicky lights with A6 firmware not Anduril. You need to scroll down to find Anduril.

Cemoi
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contactcr wrote:
You misread that table (...) You need to scroll down to find Anduril.
Sorry, and thanks contactcr for correcting my error. I'll browse the correct table.

Am I correct assuming that none of these lights have the latest firmware version, and need to be upgraded/flashed?

Ultrafire C3 2AA / Nitecore LR10 / Manker E03H / Fenix HL10 / Zebralight H501R + H51W / DQG Hobi / Astrolux M01 / CooYoo Quantum Ti (lost) / BlackWater Kite Al

contactcr
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Cemoi wrote:

contactcr wrote:
You misread that table (…) You need to scroll down to find Anduril.
Sorry, and thanks contactcr for correcting my error. I’ll browse the correct table.

Am I correct assuming that none of these lights have the latest firmware version, and need to be upgraded/flashed?

You can never guarantee what firmware you will get and it could easily be months/years old. If you care about this you should also add “can be easily flashed” to your requirements and learn/purchase the tools to do so. Almost all of the Emisar’s can do that and they sell the “key” which allows you to do it without disassembling the light.

The FW3’s and others can too but you have to de-solder the LED board, remove driver, use special clip attached to the chip and re-assemble. Not for the casual user or even advanced user IMO.

Cemoi
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contactcr wrote:
If you care about this you should also add "can be easily flashed" to your requirements and learn/purchase the tools to do so. Almost all of the Emisar's can do that and they sell the "key" which allows you to do it without disassembling the light.

This sounds like a nice way to go for me. I've checked the Emisar lights, sure very beautiful hight quality lights, but shapewise I prefer "long and thin" lights with tail switch, over "fat and short" lights with side switch, which rules out all their lights. The Noctigon KR4 might do, but its descriptions on Hank's website doesn't say if it "can be easily flashed" (pins), nor does it say it for the Emisars BTW.

A list of such "can be easily flashed" lights would be an useful addition to the first post of this thread wink

Ultrafire C3 2AA / Nitecore LR10 / Manker E03H / Fenix HL10 / Zebralight H501R + H51W / DQG Hobi / Astrolux M01 / CooYoo Quantum Ti (lost) / BlackWater Kite Al

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Cemoi wrote:

A list of such “can be easily flashed” lights would be an useful addition to the first post of this thread wink


Why are you so concerned about this? 99.99% of users do not reflash the UI. Are you under some misconception that it is necessary? Like all lights will need to be updated at some point? This is not the case. It is also easy to brick the driver if you make a mistake. Then you’ll need to replace the driver which requires soldering. So make sure you can solder and disassemble the light before you get in too deep with flashing.

Texas Ace Lumen Tube and JoshK Sphere calibrated with Maukka lights

Click this to go to signature links. I'm still around, just not reading many new threads.

Cemoi
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JasonWW wrote:
Are you under some misconception that it is necessary? Like all lights will need to be updated at some point? This is not the case.

My flashaholic history is about 15 years old, with only lights with a fixed UI, i.e. I have to make do with the UI decided by the manufacturer, like it or not. Some I did like (the Zebralight, my favourite UI with instant access to all modes), some I did not like.

Then I recently discovered this forum, and the existence of much more versatile and customizable UIs kindly created by voluntary genius, wow how interesting this does sound! And now I realize that these genius go on improving their UIs over time, to make them even better, with new options.

Therefore I thought "why not take advantage of these continuous improvements", hence my questions about upgrading, not as a search to always have the most up-to-date version, but if/when I find the new features are of real interest to me.

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It is also easy to brick the driver if you make a mistake. Then you'll need to replace the driver which requires soldering. So make sure you can solder and disassemble the light before you get in too deep with flashing.

Thanks for the warning, which I do take into account. Therefore for the time being I'll content myself with finding a light with the "manual memory" version of Anduril, and a tail switch.

Following contactcr's remark above ("You can never guarantee what firmware you will get and it could easily be months/years old.") it turns out I have no guarantee I can get a FW3A with this software version when ordering from one of the usual Chinese discount websites.

On the other hand, the Noctigon KR4 from Hank does have this "manual memory" feature, so I'll go for this one even if it is significantly heavier and more expensive.

Thanks for your patience and help.

Ultrafire C3 2AA / Nitecore LR10 / Manker E03H / Fenix HL10 / Zebralight H501R + H51W / DQG Hobi / Astrolux M01 / CooYoo Quantum Ti (lost) / BlackWater Kite Al

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raccoon city wrote:

ToyKeeper wrote:

The post-launch changes have often been pretty disappointing. Even at launch though, the quality consistency wasn’t very high.


… and the derivatives have generally been even more disappointing. Like, the FW21 for example… appears to have been scaled up without modifying the proportions to be appropriate for the new battery type. So several parts of it are designed badly and make no sense. Mine can’t even turn on while using the battery it was designed for.


Would have been nice to go with a company which could maintain higher and more consistent quality, and put proper consideration into related products, even if it meant a higher price. By the time I joined the project though, it was already too late for that.


So I’m glad I have a few good FW3A lights and a FW1A, but it’s unlikely that I’ll ever get any more… and it’s not something I can recommend in 2020.



What do you think of the FW21 Pro?


Is it a hot mess?

what do u mean, ? the 21 pro works quite nice, nothing bad too say except it heats up like crazy on turbo haha..

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What’s the FW3A V2.0 offer? Anything you would recommend if I was going for my first one?

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noveske wrote:
What’s the FW3A V2.0 offer? Anything you would recommend if I was going for my first one?

Depends on what you mean by V2.0. There have been revisions to the standard FW3A that some have referred to as V2, but I’m assuming you’re referencing the FW3 E which is sometimes listed as “ FW3E (FW3A V2.0-2020 New Version)” in Lumintop sales listings.

The FW3E uses a proprietary (usb rechargeable) 18650 and rids the design of the inner sleeve which was used to carry the switch signal in the original design. The intent, I believe, is to increase reliability (many have had issues with the inner sleeve) and simplify the design. The trade-off here is the light cannot use a standard 18650 and is (pretty much insignificantly) slightly longer.

Weather or not it could be recommended to you really comes down to if a proprietary battery is an issue for you, or if you’re ok with the possibility of a finicky inner sleeve. It is worth noting though that the inner sleeve issue is not a problem on every FW3A, I’ve had 3 with no issues at all.

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The inner sleeve issues on the FW3A are both overblown and not unique to it. The KR series was supposed to “solve” the contact issues but my KR4s are just as finicky as my FWs. The only way to make a foolproof tail e-switch is the way Acebeam and Olight do it, with a totally captive inner tube. I don’t know why Emisar, Lumintop, etc. don’t do it this way but also an Acebeam TK18 is double the price of an FW3A.

Most issues can be corrected by gently lapping both ends of the inner tubes on fine grit sandpaper, keeping all contact points clean, and occasional loosening and re-tightening. Some require more lapping, others little or none. My bare aluminum FW3A and my first run KR4 required a good bit of lapping and the KR4 had a perceptible burr on one end of the tube that should not have passed QC. No big deal, easily fixed.

The hate for Lumintop is unjustified IMO. First, recall that they asked permission to put the bunny logo on the FW3A button from the very beginning, were asked not to do so, and agreed with the caveat that they would like to do it eventually, after the first run, as I recall. Aesthetically I’m not a fan of all the billboarding but I don’t fault them for it.

As for Lumintop using lower quality components, is there evidence of a larger scheme to increase their margins? Lumintop was baselessly accused of this early on with the first run of FW3As, swapping the Carclo optics for their own proprietary optics. It turns out the issue was with Carclo’s supply, not with a cost cutting measure from Lumintop. The same was true of an issue with the FETs, where some version had a lower quality FET than the original Infineon. That was also a supply issue. (According to Lumintop of course, who you may choose not to believe if you wish.)

The gradual improvements Lumintop has made to the FW3A also contradict this theory of the case. If they really just wanted to water down the product and increase their margins, why go back to using the Carclo optics + glass as soon as it was available? Why did they add tailcap retaining rings and eventually both a retaining ring and an extra contact ring (as my latest version FW3A has)? Why develop the FW3E at all? (Which I personally think is an unnecessary product that will likely not be successful, but it’s an honest attempt to solve the FW problems.)

Now Lumintop is clearly not blameless, I am quite miffed at the FW1A reflector issue, I have 1 early version FW1A with the good reflector and wish I could get another. But even that I don’t see as outside the bounds of what any other manufacturer would do. The performance difference is minimal especially for the general user, in fact the average user probably prefers the newer reflector as the hotspot is larger and less of a pencil beam. I doubt Lumintop saves much, if any, money from having the FW1A and Pro share the same reflector.

Who knows what the FW3A project would have looked like with another manufacturer, perhaps it could have been better. Nothing is perfect in this world and Lumintop could have, probably still could, QC them more tightly. But the light was 30 or 35 dollars when it came out—there’s no way Lumintop was making a big margin with that low of a price. Even now, I certainly cannot say the FW series is no longer recommended. The price for performance is still quite fine. Of my several dozen EDC flashlights I still carry my 6 FW series lights quite a bit. I do prefer my KRs for pure performance but they are also like twice the weight and bulk, and the clip is much worse for carry.

Just one man’s opinion, for what it’s worth. TLDR, I would not allow concerns about the inner tube fiddliness to dissuade you from buying an FW3A, unless even such a minor mod as a little sandpaper lapping is not within your comfort zone. If nothing else, Lumintop is still using the nicest bins of SST-20 I have seen of a major manufacturer, unless that has changed. If I could only have one EDC flashlight (and it had to be stock, no mods) I think it would have to be an FW3A, for my use case at least.

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Does anyone happen to have an FW3A 18650 (yes 18650) body laying around? I have a mod-fodder FW3A that I got with 18350 and 18500 tubes, but no 18650 tube, and I’d gladly purchase yours. Send me a PM if so!

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