TLF/BLF/Lumintop FW3A review (18650, 3x XP-L HI cool white)

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chadvone
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djozz wrote:
Maybe the FW3A will be just fine as a bike light Beer

djozz, I hope it will. Everyone has there own idea of perfect EDC light, even though I don’t ride like I use to , I still think a light should take some bumps.

How did you know I am drinking?

Random Dan
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I bike most days so if anybody wants to send an FW3A I’d be happy to do some testing. All in the name of science, or course. Smile

ToyKeeper
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I was hoping I could do some bike tests on this one, but I had to do some modifications to get the driver to fit correctly… so it’s not a representative sample. I may not be able to test biking properly until production units are being sold. As is though, I’ve noticed it occasionally needs re-seating by loosening/tightening the connection from the body to the head.

My proto2 model hasn’t needed re-seating like this in a long time, but it initially did before I added kapton tape around the inner tube. It had a correct driver fit, but had a too-wide retaining ring and a spring-side ground ring, either of which could short against the inner tube. So it was initially unreliable but that was fixed by adding a small strip of tape.

The most recent, proto4, made the retaining ring narrower and removed the problematic ground pad, so it should be more reliable by default. But the driver on mine didn’t fit right, so it had different issues with similar symptoms.

Anyway, it might end up working fine for biking, or it might not. I don’t have enough info to say for sure yet. Even if it does end up being unreliable for that though, a carefully-placed piece of tape would probably fix it.

Adhara
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chadvone wrote:
ToyKeeper wrote:
I’m not sure the FW3A would be a great choice for biking though, because bikes have a lot of vibration and it could potentially make the inner tube shift sideways enough to register as a click. I haven’t actually tried it, because it has been cold… but it wouldn’t really be my first choice for a bike light.

Disturbing.

Yes. I’d guess candle/lightning/disco takes priority over debouncing. Since I won’t be using it on a cycle, matters not to me, and plenty of other lights are around suitable for cycle mounting and having debounce.

@maukka: Thank you for the excellent overview and detailed testing. Looks like a good bang-for-the buck light.

chadvone
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^^Adhara, It might not even be an ISSUE, If it is, it’s not an ISSUE with the UI. It possibly could be an issue with the way the switch transfers its signal. Host related.

I am using Anduril in the D4R and have not experienced any switching issues while submitting it to G forces Smile

chadvone
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The 2 fish block is very forgiving.

ToyKeeper
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Adhara wrote:
I’d guess candle/lightning/disco takes priority over debouncing.

I guess speculation takes precedence over looking up the answer from published sources.

I think you’re confusing signal debouncing (which Anduril has) with a physical tendency to short out (which the firmware has no control over). This is not a thing which can be solved by changing code on the MCU.

As for signal debouncing though, two of the supported platforms have rather noisy switches… so I had to add pretty strong debouncing code. Especially on my lightsaber, the switch is really low quality and its signal bounces like no other switch I’ve ever seen. The FW3A switch is relatively tame in comparison.

I’m not really worried about bike vibrations causing spurious button presses… I’m more concerned about it causing electrical noise strong enough to overload and reboot the MCU. But it remains to be seen if that will actually be an issue.

On proto2, I can turn the light on and hit it sideways really hard and nothing happens. But on proto4, if I hit it hard at just the correct angle, it shuts off. Like, immediately… not with a delay like it would with a button press. It’s not detecting a spurious button press. And I don’t know what to expect from real production hardware, because this one was modified with a dremel.

CRX
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How much play is there with the inner signal tube?
A layer or two of fine kapton tape for a snug fit to remove any play and further insulate it from the body/ keep it perfectly centered?

cabfrank
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Does the inner tube come out?

CrashOne
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We can just add some kapton tape to the inner tube to solve all possible problems?

chadvone
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chadvone wrote:
ToyKeeper wrote:
I’m not sure the FW3A would be a great choice for biking though, because bikes have a lot of vibration and it could potentially make the inner tube shift sideways enough to register as a click. I haven’t actually tried it, because it has been cold… but it wouldn’t really be my first choice for a bike light.

Disturbing.

We don’t even know there is a problem. I am sorry I got everyone worried about something that might not even be.

^ Yes tape can fix anything Wink

ToyKeeper
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CRX wrote:
How much play is there with the inner signal tube? A layer or two of fine kapton tape for a snug fit to remove any play and further insulate it from the body/ keep it perfectly centered?

One layer of kapton tape was all I could fit. Any more than that and it won’t fit into the outer tube any more.

I don’t know if the tail parts will be glued or not, so I don’t know how easy it’ll be to open. Regardless, that doesn’t seem to be an issue as much as making sure the driver fits into the proper place. Proto1 and proto2 were totally fine in that regard, I never saw a proto3, and proto4 didn’t have quite a large enough space cleared out for the driver.

Detailed info has been sent, but everyone there is on holiday for a while so there is no response yet.

CRX
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Cool. I’m guessing there is a retaining lip at the switch end of the tube?
Yes the driver cavity being correctly machined is quite an important aspect of this build.

joechina
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maukka wrote:

Also, added stepped ramp default (78 lm) runtime https://i.imgur.com/uTsDSDI.png and measured maximum output with 50% drained 30Q (1980 lm @ 0 sec, 850 lm at 30 sec)

What voltage level did you use for the 50%? 3.6V?

maukka
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I discharged 1400mAh out of a 30Q whose capacity I first measured at 2800mAh. The resting voltage was at about 3.75V.

JasonWW
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CRX wrote:
Cool. I’m guessing there is a retaining lip at the switch end of the tube?

Yep, you can see the lip in this drawing, meaning it has to slide out from the tail cap end.


.

bmwsancho
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Great review, thanks! Very detailed post with all the tech stuff we need Smile

Has anybody modded this light into a quad? Would standard quad parts fit into the head?

joechina
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The FW3A isn’t even in production, so no quad mod.
Wink

cabfrank
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Right. It would be a build from scratch at this point, not a mod.

CRX
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Yeah Innocent

cabfrank
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Show off.

Smile

CRX
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I’m allowed bragging rights Big Smile

cabfrank
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I agree.

MILSPEC
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joechina wrote:
The FW3A isn’t even in production, so no quad mod. Wink

Could anyone who has a prototype measure the ID of the head to see whether the 4x up Carclo fit?

I have enough triples but would mod this into a 4x Nichia with Carclo.

Thanks.

maukka
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MILSPEC wrote:
Could anyone who has a prototype measure the ID of the head to see whether the 4x up Carclo fit?

No chance. Carclo’s 4-up optics are 24mm, while the triples are 20mm and the triple is quite a snug fit.

I measured the ID at 20.4mm.

funkychateau
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ToyKeeper wrote:
CRX wrote:
How much play is there with the inner signal tube? A layer or two of fine kapton tape for a snug fit to remove any play and further insulate it from the body/ keep it perfectly centered?

One layer of kapton tape was all I could fit. Any more than that and it won’t fit into the outer tube any more.

I don’t know if the tail parts will be glued or not, so I don’t know how easy it’ll be to open. Regardless, that doesn’t seem to be an issue as much as making sure the driver fits into the proper place. Proto1 and proto2 were totally fine in that regard, I never saw a proto3, and proto4 didn’t have quite a large enough space cleared out for the driver.

Detailed info has been sent, but everyone there is on holiday for a while so there is no response yet.

Did anyone also send summary feedback to the manufacturer regarding the issue of the length being slightly too short?

JasonWW
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funkychateau wrote:
ToyKeeper wrote:
CRX wrote:
How much play is there with the inner signal tube? A layer or two of fine kapton tape for a snug fit to remove any play and further insulate it from the body/ keep it perfectly centered?

One layer of kapton tape was all I could fit. Any more than that and it won’t fit into the outer tube any more.

I don’t know if the tail parts will be glued or not, so I don’t know how easy it’ll be to open. Regardless, that doesn’t seem to be an issue as much as making sure the driver fits into the proper place. Proto1 and proto2 were totally fine in that regard, I never saw a proto3, and proto4 didn’t have quite a large enough space cleared out for the driver.

Detailed info has been sent, but everyone there is on holiday for a while so there is no response yet.

Did anyone also send summary feedback to the manufacturer regarding the issue of the length being slightly too short?


I don’t think there was ever an issue of the battery tube being too short. There were however instances of the driver not sitting down into the driver cavity all the way which thereby made it seem like the battery tube was too short. Maybe that is what you’re referring to. And yes, this issue has been relayed back to the manufacturer.
funkychateau
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JasonWW wrote:
funkychateau wrote:
ToyKeeper wrote:
CRX wrote:
How much play is there with the inner signal tube? A layer or two of fine kapton tape for a snug fit to remove any play and further insulate it from the body/ keep it perfectly centered?

One layer of kapton tape was all I could fit. Any more than that and it won’t fit into the outer tube any more.

I don’t know if the tail parts will be glued or not, so I don’t know how easy it’ll be to open. Regardless, that doesn’t seem to be an issue as much as making sure the driver fits into the proper place. Proto1 and proto2 were totally fine in that regard, I never saw a proto3, and proto4 didn’t have quite a large enough space cleared out for the driver.

Detailed info has been sent, but everyone there is on holiday for a while so there is no response yet.

Did anyone also send summary feedback to the manufacturer regarding the issue of the length being slightly too short?


I don’t think there was ever an issue of the battery tube being too short. There were however instances of the driver not sitting down into the driver cavity all the way which thereby made it seem like the battery tube was too short. Maybe that is what you’re referring to. And yes, this issue has been relayed back to the manufacturer.

I must have missed this reviewer’s statement of why the batteries didn’t fit. He stated that button top batteries wouldn’t work, and that tightening the end cap dented them. I assumed this mean the tube needed to be lengthened, but it sounds like recessing the driver more is the real solution. Anyway, glad that it is being addressed. It would make no sense at all to produce this light in a configuration that would not accept both types of batteries.

JasonWW
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Button top cells are still not recommended. Due to the varying legnths, some will fit and some won’t. The max recommended length is 66mm. Unprotected flat top cells should all fit, though which is why they are recommended.

Unlike a regular flashlight with a single battery tube you can use long springs to compensate for a wide range of battery lengths. This light however uses a unique dual battery tube and has a very narrow range of battery lengths.

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Yes, I studied the dual-tube mechanical diagram. But I don’t see anything about it that inherently requires a short-spring arrangement. As long as both the inner and outer tubes make good contact, we should be good to go, and this has no relationship to the spring length. So increasing both tubes (if necessary) by a small but equal amount, and slightly lengthening the springs, should not hurt the functionality. Am I missing something?

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