FW3A Troubleshooting / FAQ

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nobody
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Igor wrote:
Yes, reconfigure the bottom to “moonlight”.

 

Thanks for confirming this.  I wish it still had the shortcut to "moonlight" and then the additional 7 steps but it is what it is.

Geuzzz
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nobody wrote:

Igor wrote:
Yes, reconfigure the bottom to “moonlight”.

 


Thanks for confirming this.  I wish it still had the shortcut to “moonlight” and then the additional 7 steps but it is what it is.

You can configure this. Just set the number of steps to 8.

mattlward
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wle wrote:
i don;t see how a side switch is supposed to prevent accidental activations. wle

I have carried a Zebralight for years along with various S2 builds. The Zebra just never comes on when clipped in my jeans. The recess on the side switch and the pressure required is just a perfect harmony. I do use the electronic lockout on the FW3A, after a couple of days it becomes second nature to use. I really like the FW3A, only complaint? I end up in weird modes from time to time and just unscrew the head and reset the light and all is back to normal.

This is not a light that I would give to my wife, she is a TBI survivor and it would just confuse and frustrate her to no end.

EDC rotation:
FW1A, LH351D 4000k (second favorite)
FW3A, LH351D 3500k
FW3A, SST20 FD2 4000k
FW3A, Nichia 4000k sw40 r9080 (favorite light!)
FW3A, Cree XP-L Hi 5A3
Emisar D4V2, SST20 4000k
S2+, XM-L2 T6 4C

JasonWW
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JasonWW wrote:
Igor wrote:
Yes, reconfigure the bottom to “moonlight”.

Really? The stock setting is already at the very bottom of the ramp, does this setting change when in stepped ramping mode?

Also, how do you change it? Do you just start off in stepped ramping mode and do the 1, 21 and 7 clicks?


Hmmm, I tried it. I first put it in stepped ramping mode. Then went to the menu, clicked once on the first flutter and didn’t click at all on the other two flutters. It worked.

I decided to raise it a little higher so I gave the stepped ramp lower level 5 clicks.

Now I can be in smooth ramp lowest level which is very dim, click 3 times to switch to stepped ramping and you can see the brightness increase slightly. It doesn’t automatically dim back down when switching back to smooth ramping, but you can manually lower it.

Very neat. I didn’t realize you could program seperate level limits for each ramping type.

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nobody
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JasonWW wrote:
JasonWW wrote:
Igor wrote:
Yes, reconfigure the bottom to “moonlight”.
Really? The stock setting is already at the very bottom of the ramp, does this setting change when in stepped ramping mode? Also, how do you change it? Do you just start off in stepped ramping mode and do the 1, 21 and 7 clicks?
Hmmm, I tried it. I first put it in stepped ramping mode. Then went to the menu, clicked once on the first flutter and didn't click at all on the other two flutters. It worked. I decided to raise it a little higher so I gave the stepped ramp lower level 5 clicks. Now I can be in smooth ramp lowest level which is very dim, click 3 times to switch to stepped ramping and you can see the brightness increase slightly. It doesn't automatically dim back down when switching back to smooth ramping, but you can manually lower it. Very neat. I didn't realize you could program seperate level limits for each ramping type.

 

Thats exactly what I did (especially lowering the bottom of the step to 5 clicks). Will play around with the number of steps to see what I might like better. I really like the customizations you can do on the stepped - for my needs anyways. It’s quick to go back and forth regardless. 

Yoav.Klein
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Hi,

I finally received my two FW3A lights from the GB a few days ago. One light works perfectly, but the other one is displaying a few strange behaviors:

  1. The light has a strong flicker. It’s not a regular pattern (like you would expect from PWM). It almost looks like the light is randomly jumping between different power levels. This flicker is most noticeable in the lower power levels, but is visible throughout the medium levels as well. At the highest levels, I don’t see it.
  2. Moonlight level isn’t working. In smooth ramping mode, when I ramp down all the way, the LEDs are all off. If I single-click the button, the LEDs keep off (i.e. it probably keeps the moon level as the memorized level, and each click toggles between “real off” and “on, but the LEDs aren’t putting out any light”). After clicking 4 times to go to electronic lockout mode, holding the button doesn’t turn on the LEDs either (I do get the short flash on entering and exiting electronic lockout mode). In stepped-ramping mode, ramping all the way down keeps the LEDs on, and the electronic lockout mode also works correctly. (On my working light, in stepped-ramping mode the moonlight level is a bit brighter than on smooth-ramping mode).
  3. One of the three LEDs appears to be more dim than the other two. This is most noticeable in the low levels, since I can look at the LEDs directly. It’s hard to tell from looking at the beam pattern, so I can’t confirm whether or not it affects the higher level too, but the beam does seem slightly less even than on the good light.
  4. The light appears noticeably dimmer than the good light. This is easiest to see in the stepped ramp mode – I can easily set both lights to the same level, and with fully changed batteries (Samsung 30Q) in both lights, the good flashlight is noticeably brighter, in most levels. At the highest level, they appear to have roughly equal brightness.

I noticed an easier post (#419) about the flickering, but didn’t see any updates from that user: http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1511337#comment-1511337

I tried the following workarounds:

  1. Calibrating the thermal sensor.
  2. Tightening both the head and the tailcap.
  3. Unscrewing the driver retaining ring (which was quite tight originally), re-centering the driver (even though it seemed centered originally), and tightening back down the driver retaining ring.
  4. Cleaning the edge of the driver and the threads

None of these changes made any difference.
I also confirmed (using a multi-meter) that I have no connection between the body/retaining ring and the wide brass ring on the driver’s perimeter (I assume that the inner tube contacts this ring), and I have a good connection between the body/retaining ring and the center pin of each of the 7135 chips on the board.

Finally, I tried switching parts between the two flashlights. Connecting the head from the good light to the body and tail sections of the bad light produces good results. Connecting the head of the bad light to the body and tail sections of the good light produces the same bad behaviors detailed above.

Based on the behavior I’m seeing, my guess is that there’s a problem with some of the 7135 chips on the driver.
Does anyone have any ideas for more workarounds/tests/fixes? Should I request a new light/head-section from Neal?

Thanks,
Yoav

thisnameisvalid
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Yoav.Klein wrote:
Hi,
  1. The light has a strong flicker. It’s not a regular pattern (like you would expect from PWM). It almost looks like the light is randomly jumping between different power levels. This flicker is most noticeable in the lower power levels, but is visible throughout the medium levels as well. At the highest levels, I don’t see it.
  2. Moonlight level isn’t working. In smooth ramping mode, when I ramp down all the way, the LEDs are all off. If I single-click the button, the LEDs keep off (i.e. it probably keeps the moon level as the memorized level, and each click toggles between “real off” and “on, but the LEDs aren’t putting out any light”). After clicking 4 times to go to electronic lockout mode, holding the button doesn’t turn on the LEDs either (I do get the short flash on entering and exiting electronic lockout mode). In stepped-ramping mode, ramping all the way down keeps the LEDs on, and the electronic lockout mode also works correctly. (On my working light, in stepped-ramping mode the moonlight level is a bit brighter than on smooth-ramping mode).
  3. One of the three LEDs appears to be more dim than the other two. This is most noticeable in the low levels, since I can look at the LEDs directly. It’s hard to tell from looking at the beam pattern, so I can’t confirm whether or not it affects the higher level too, but the beam does seem slightly less even than on the good light.
  4. The light appears noticeably dimmer than the good light. This is easiest to see in the stepped ramp mode – I can easily set both lights to the same level, and with fully changed batteries (Samsung 30Q) in both lights, the good flashlight is noticeably brighter, in most levels. At the highest level, they appear to have roughly equal brightness.

Dimmer LEDs are pretty normal for multi emitter lights, but the other things you describe are not. What do your 7135 chips look like? I’ve heard cheaper ones can have issues with consistency, particularly in moonlight modes. Maybe they’ve switched out the chips for crappy ones? They should have a “raptor claw” type symbol on them. Of thats good it sounds like the low mode chip might be faulty, although low brightness in turbo may indicate a high resistance somewhere in the current path.

My light seemed to have the flickering you describe, but only in turbo (I had no issue with it at all before, even after fiddling about). Cleaning the main threads of some of the lube seems to have fixed it. I was worried the FET was on its way out as that’s the only time it happened.

contactcr
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The chip that controls the bottom end (the “+1” in FET+N+1) is on the inside of the driver so unless he de-solders the MCPCB he cant get a picture of the important one.

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Yoav.Klein wrote:
Hi,

I finally received my two FW3A lights from the GB a few days ago. One light works perfectly, but the other one is displaying a few strange behaviors:…


Hmmm, this behavior does not sound like anything I can think of. There may be a problem with the software or maybe the driver. It’s quite odd.

Are you able to make a video to show what it’s doing? That might help.

I think the confirmation blinks going into and out of lockout mode and the moonlight level (20) of the stepped ramping are all done on the single 7135 channel. So that 7135 seems to be working. (it controls output up to about 125 lumen)

I don’t know if a bad 7135 chip can cause a flicker. Maybe someone here knows for sure.

Texas Ace Lumen Tube calibrated with Maukka lights

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Yoav.Klein
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Here's a photo of the bottom of my driver. I'll try to create a video showing the flicker later.

 

 

 

cabfrank
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Here is an image of the soldering on my just arrived SST-20 version. Any thoughts?

https://ibb.co/hfdnrpT

teacher
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cabfrank wrote:
Here is an image of the soldering on my just arrived SST-20 version. Any thoughts?

https://ibb.co/hfdnrpT

Not super pretty on the negative side. Is it stuck solidly??

If it is, just clean it all up with alcohol & go with it. . Thumbs Up

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

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From what I’ve read, the parasitic drain in the FW3A is nearly negligible. Yet if you’re going to not use the FW3A for a very long time (many weeks or months), it makes sense to take out the battery. True, a slight turn of the head doesn’t provide a full lockout of the light, but it does lockout the switch… which is the intention anyway — to prevent accidental activation. While 4 rapid clicks will do an electronic lockout, that’s 8 clicks every time (4 to disengage, 4 to engage)—not only a PITA but induces faster wear to the switch. That’s why I favor a slight turn of the head.

I’m hoping some of the DIY electronic switch replacements that have been done by veteran members here is inspirational enough for Lumintop to introduce an improved switch with a later release that is backwards compatible with the FW3A v1.

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Yoav.Klein wrote:
Based on the behavior I’m seeing, my guess is that there’s a problem with some of the 7135 chips on the driver.
Does anyone have any ideas for more workarounds/tests/fixes? Should I request a new light/head-section from Neal?
Thanks, Yoav

From what you describe it definitely sounds like there’s some kind of electronic issue with your light. If you did all the needful steps like tightening down the head retainer ring and tail cap and it still happens, this mandates a return. It’s a bummer for the distributors, but this is the unfortunate side effect of sloppy workmanship from Lumintop. My light functions fine, but I noticed the battery spring is askew. And I’ve seen some people with seriously worse situations, like this:

Don’t muck around with the light — just send it back and get a replacement.

cabfrank
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Teacher, I will take it apart later and make sure it’s tight. If so, I will clean it up and leave it alone. Thanks.

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cabfrank wrote:
Teacher, I will take it apart later and make sure it’s tight. If so, I will clean it up and leave it alone. Thanks.
My pleasure…. I think you’ll be good to go. Smile

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" ...................................

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joechina
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The default floor in SMOOTH RAMPING is lower than in STEPPED RAMPING.
Level 1 vs. level 20

Yes, Jason, thats the config to start the floor for stepped with moon.

And if someone wants the defaults for stepped back, it’s: 20, 21, 7

@Igor
try
1,21,8

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xevious wrote:

If you did all the needful steps like tightening down the head retainer ring and tail cap and it still happens, this mandates a return.

Don’t muck around with the light — just send it back and get a replacement.


You don’t actually send it back. Shipping would probably cost you more than the price of the light. It’s much cheaper to just keep the defective light and have Neal send a replacement head. Shipping is way way cheaper from China to US. (I don’t know where Yoav.Klein is at, but I use the US as an example)

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xevious
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JasonWW wrote:
You don’t actually send it back. Shipping would probably cost you more than the price of the light. It’s much cheaper to just keep the defective light and have Neal send a replacement head. Shipping is way way cheaper from China to US. (I don’t know where Yoav.Klein is at, but I use the US as an example)
Thanks for clarifying — I didn’t know the policy was to ship a replacement part. I guess it makes sense. China must be subsidizing shipping from China to US. I still don’t know how I can buy a $1 item with free shipping and the seller make any money. It must cost them like $0.10 to mail small items.
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xevious wrote:
JasonWW wrote:
You don’t actually send it back. Shipping would probably cost you more than the price of the light. It’s much cheaper to just keep the defective light and have Neal send a replacement head. Shipping is way way cheaper from China to US. (I don’t know where Yoav.Klein is at, but I use the US as an example)
Thanks for clarifying — I didn’t know the policy was to ship a replacement part. I guess it makes sense. China must be subsidizing shipping from China to US. I still don’t know how I can buy a $1 item with free shipping and the seller make any money. It must cost them like $0.10 to mail small items.

It’s the other way around. The first world countries are subsidizing shipping from third world countries. A long ago UN thing to help up and coming countries. China probably doesn’t need any help anymore.
https://fortune.com/2015/03/11/united-nations-subsidy-chinese-shipping/
Yoav.Klein
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Quote:
Hmmm, this behavior does not sound like anything I can think of. There may be a problem with the software or maybe the driver. It’s quite odd. Are you able to make a video to show what it’s doing? That might help.

I (finally) managed to make a (very amateurish) video showing the problems with my flashlight.

I “reset” the ramp configuration on both flashlights before this video (Smooth Ramp: 1 click, 21 clicks; Stepped Ramp: 20 clicks, 21 clicks, 7 clicks).
Also, I set the camera to manual exposure, so that it wouldn’t compensate automatically for the flickering. That means you’ll see me changing the exposure manually on each mode change.

Video link

It turns out that the bad light does turn on the LEDs in moonlight mode, but they’re so low I can’t tell if they’re on, even by looking directly at them, unless I’m in a completely dark room…

Any ideas on what the problem could be?

trailhunter
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Yoav.Klein wrote:
Quote:
Hmmm, this behavior does not sound like anything I can think of. There may be a problem with the software or maybe the driver. It’s quite odd. Are you able to make a video to show what it’s doing? That might help.

I (finally) managed to make a (very amateurish) video showing the problems with my flashlight.

I “reset” the ramp configuration on both flashlights before this video (Smooth Ramp: 1 click, 21 clicks; Stepped Ramp: 20 clicks, 21 clicks, 7 clicks).
Also, I set the camera to manual exposure, so that it wouldn’t compensate automatically for the flickering. That means you’ll see me changing the exposure manually on each mode change.

Video link

It turns out that the bad light does turn on the LEDs in moonlight mode, but they’re so low I can’t tell if they’re on, even by looking directly at them, unless I’m in a completely dark room…

Any ideas on what the problem could be?

Maybe a fet issue?

carmantl
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Hello all,
I just wanted to give props to Neal for his handling of my problem with my FW3A. It never worked right out of the box; didn’t get the blink when new batt inserted and clicks all had random outcomes. I tried every trick in this thread and fussed with it for a month. I suspected it just had a bad driver flash. Finally I sent a PM to him here and offered to pay shipping for a new head. He offered a driver, but I explained my soldering skills and eyesight wouldn’t be able to make that work. He replied with a short, somewhat cryptic response that warranty would cover it. Guess what showed up in the mail yesterday? Complete new light in full blown factory packaging! To anyone experiencing problems, just contact him and he WILL make it right! Thank you so much, Neal!

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/\ Glad to hear you got a satisfactory resolution. Smile

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 

 

                                             

JasonWW
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Yoav.Klein wrote:
Quote:
Hmmm, this behavior does not sound like anything I can think of. There may be a problem with the software or maybe the driver. It’s quite odd. Are you able to make a video to show what it’s doing? That might help.

I (finally) managed to make a (very amateurish) video showing the problems with my flashlight.

I “reset” the ramp configuration on both flashlights before this video (Smooth Ramp: 1 click, 21 clicks; Stepped Ramp: 20 clicks, 21 clicks, 7 clicks).
Also, I set the camera to manual exposure, so that it wouldn’t compensate automatically for the flickering. That means you’ll see me changing the exposure manually on each mode change.

Video link

It turns out that the bad light does turn on the LEDs in moonlight mode, but they’re so low I can’t tell if they’re on, even by looking directly at them, unless I’m in a completely dark room…

Any ideas on what the problem could be?


It looks like everything is pointing to a bad 7135 chip, specifically the single chip on the lowest channel.

So the stuff under 120 lumen is all going through that single chip. Above that level, that channel goes 100% and the next channel, 7×7135 chips are PWM so it’s still using that first 7135 chip but it’s effects become less noticable. Then on Turbo it’s the FET only.

A new driver should fix it, but if your not able to solder the 2 led wires, a new head would be the fix.

If you have hot air you could try swapping in a new 7135 chip, but it’s a bit more advanced.

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Yoav.Klein
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OK, I guess it’s time for me to take this up with Neal.
Thanks everyone!

pennzy
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JasonWW wrote:
pennzy wrote:
So if the threads were anodized , lockout would be normal with the FW3A. I wonder why they are not.

The threads can not be anodized on the FW3A because the head and tail cap don’t necessarily screw down all the way. It’s more important that the inner tube makes contact on both ends. The outer tube is secondary. Leaving it’s threads bare improves the likely hood of the light working properly. Even then, it’s still tricky to get all the parts touching properly.

On a light like the Emisar D4, the e-switch is in the head so there is no inner tube. This means the head and tail cap can be fully tightened against the battery tube. This light design can have anodized threads if it wants.


A work around would be to anodize the threads part way . Leave 1/8 inch or so bare . One turn probably would physically lock it out then. With all the D4V2 talk about lock out got me thinking.
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I received my FW3A with XPL HI 3D yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised that the torch seemed more robust than I expected. The switch doesn’t appear to have any of the metal-scraping that others have complained about in other posts. This was my first venture into the Anduril UI but it is much more intuitive when you are actually doing it than reading about it.

One question – when using the smooth ramping to go up or down in the brightness scale there seems to be a “hitch” halfway in the run. In other words, as I go from dim to bright or bright to dim, about halfway through it blinks out then back in. Is this normal?

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A couple weeks back Neal had sent me a message saying he was going to replace the shorted one i had failed, i never heard back since, and he ignored my direct message i sent to him last week. Facepalm

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

Nev
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Yes it’s normal , the blip tells you you are at the fully regulated brightness.

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