FW3A Troubleshooting / FAQ

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strayz
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Ok I am having a problem, I ordered my light then when it arrived that I do not have any flat top batteries. So 3 weeks later I finally received some. getting Batteries to Alaska is getting to be an issue I do not even want to talk about as I found a sender that will ship them to me. I ordered 4 Sanyo/Panasonic NCR18650GA 3500mAh – Flat tops unprotected, (from MTN, thanks for the fast shipping 4 days was amazing Cool ).

On to the problem. I do not have a DMM.

When screwing in the head to the body I do not get any flashes (was the first indicator there was a problem). If I hold down the button for 4-6 seconds it goes to 50% and ramps from there it blinks when it gets to 100%. Ramping down when it gets to 50% it turns off. If I leave the light at over 50% and push the button to power it off it turns off right there. Powering it back on brings it back to the over 50%. Double clicking puts it in to turbo mode. Side note this thing gets HOT very fast. I can not unscrew the tail from the body as it is glued on very well.

So the under 50% is what I use the most and I am not sure at this point how to go about getting this light to work. Anyone have any ideas? I have tried all 4 of the batteries and made sure they are all charged.

The idea of returning it or ordering a second one at this point kinda puts a sour mood on things as it took almost a month and half to get here.

scosgt
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First of all, if it turns on it has power! This is, as usual, a switch problem.
The most common cure is to take off the tail cap and clean the inner tube connections with alcohol or other electronics cleaner.
To take the tail cap off:
Put it in the freezer for around 10 minutes.
use a rubber glove for grip
Apply steady pressure rather than fighting with it.
It is NOT glued on.

Also clean the connections on the head end.

If you have any vape shops there, they carry 18650 batteries.

Report back.

JasonWW
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strayz wrote:
Ok I am having a problem, I ordered my light then when it arrived that I do not have any flat top batteries. So 3 weeks later I finally received some. getting Batteries to Alaska is getting to be an issue I do not even want to talk about as I found a sender that will ship them to me. I ordered 4 Sanyo/Panasonic NCR18650GA 3500mAh – Flat tops unprotected, (from MTN, thanks for the fast shipping 4 days was amazing Cool ).

On to the problem. I do not have a DMM.

When screwing in the head to the body I do not get any flashes (was the first indicator there was a problem). If I hold down the button for 4-6 seconds it goes to 50% and ramps from there it blinks when it gets to 100%. Ramping down when it gets to 50% it turns off. If I leave the light at over 50% and push the button to power it off it turns off right there. Powering it back on brings it back to the over 50%. Double clicking puts it in to turbo mode. Side note this thing gets HOT very fast. I can not unscrew the tail from the body as it is glued on very well.

So the under 50% is what I use the most and I am not sure at this point how to go about getting this light to work. Anyone have any ideas? I have tried all 4 of the batteries and made sure they are all charged.

The idea of returning it or ordering a second one at this point kinda puts a sour mood on things as it took almost a month and half to get here.


It sounds like your switch is fine. It either works or it doesn’t.

Is there any way you could make a video showing it’s behavior?

It sounds like channel 1 is not working. This is all light from moonlight up to about 120 lumen. This is the range it will blink when first powered up.

If you turn it on with a long press, does it start at moonlight. It sounds like it starts off at above 120 lumen and ramps up from there.

So your probably not getting the battery voltage blinks (I think they are under 120 lumen).

Just as a precaution I would do all the regular stuff such as make sure the driver is centered and the retaining ring is tight. Clean the threads, etc… I don’t think it will help in your case, but it’s worth trying.

If channel 1 is bad, you won’t send it back, they should send you a replacement head.

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strayz
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I agree that it is not the switch, but something in the head, I am not going to pretend to know more than I do about electronics.

Yeah I don’t get the battery voltage blinks or the flashes when you first put the head on. I tightened everything back down tighter that I like making things.

When I do power it on it starts more like around 400+ Lumen and ramps from there.

Here is the link to the YT vid showing it.

https://youtu.be/hbv_22KdBlk

Sound quality is crap due to recovering from a sinus infection.

SammysHP
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Looks like the one 7135 from the first channel doesn’t work. Get a replacement head.

JasonWW
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strayz wrote:
I agree that it is not the switch, but something in the head, I am not going to pretend to know more than I do about electronics.

Yeah I don’t get the battery voltage blinks or the flashes when you first put the head on. I tightened everything back down tighter that I like making things.

When I do power it on it starts more like around 400+ Lumen and ramps from there.

Here is the link to the YT vid showing it.

https://youtu.be/hbv_22KdBlk

Sound quality is crap due to recovering from a sinus infection.


Yep, it looks like a driver problem. Talk to the store you bought it from and show them what it’s doing. They should send you either a replacement head or a whole light. Sorry about the bad luck.

Extra…

It does seem to come on brighter than 120 lumen. That’s a bit strange. Channel 1 does moonlight to about 120 lumen. Channel 2 does from there to about 900 lumen and then channel 3 is the FET and does from there to the max lumens. To have it start about the middle of channel 2 is something I’ve not seen. One possible explanation is the single 7135 current regulator on channel 1 is bad, plus a few of the 7 current regulators in channel 2 are also bad. The odds of that seem small. There might be an issue with the MCU and it’s programming. There is also a chance that a metal shaving is shorting out a circuit. That can lead to unpredictable results.

There was a person with a similar issue, but it was just channel 1 that was bad. From 120 lm and up it worked normally. IDK, you’d need a driver guru with an oscilloscope to test it to really find the problem. Or just replace all the 7135 chips with known good units from a reputable store. If that doesnt fix it, the problem is the MCU or a short.

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strayz
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Right now waiting for Neil to get back to me on this.

KJKeyserSoze
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Having an issue the whole day with my fw3A.

All it can do is turn on and off single clicks. It can ramp. When I double click at on, it won’t turbo but just switches off. I can’t lock, can’t momentary can’t muggle. It basically can’t go any modes: strobes or blinkers. I cannot 13 clicks to factory reset either.

It gets erratic.

Help?

Louisq
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My new light would flash once and nothing. Simply loosening and retightening the tail solved it. Odd. But the directions were correct. Thanks for the great FAQ.!!!

JasonWW
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KJKeyserSoze wrote:
Having an issue the whole day with my fw3A.

All it can do is turn on and off single clicks. It can ramp. When I double click at on, it won’t turbo but just switches off. I can’t lock, can’t momentary can’t muggle. It basically can’t go any modes: strobes or blinkers. I cannot 13 clicks to factory reset either.

It gets erratic.

Help?


Sounds like you are in muggle mode.

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JasonWW
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Louisq wrote:
My new light would flash once and nothing. Simply loosening and retightening the tail solved it. Odd. But the directions were correct. Thanks for the great FAQ.!!!

This is very common. The inner tube wasn’t making good contact. Make sure to loosen the head, tighten the tail (fairly tightly) then tighten the head.

Texas Ace Lumen Tube calibrated with Maukka lights

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KJKeyserSoze
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JasonWW wrote:
KJKeyserSoze wrote:
Having an issue the whole day with my fw3A.

All it can do is turn on and off single clicks. It can ramp. When I double click at on, it won’t turbo but just switches off. I can’t lock, can’t momentary can’t muggle. It basically can’t go any modes: strobes or blinkers. I cannot 13 clicks to factory reset either.

It gets erratic.

Help?


Sounds like you are in muggle mode.

OMG. I thought I did try to exit muggle mode and nothing happened. I just tried again and it works ! Feel like a noob.

Thanks JasonWW.

wraithpc
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I received a Ti from Neal about three weeks ago (my third) it worked fine initially, I’ve not dropped it or even really carried it.

After about a week of using it to let the pooch out, I started to notice a slight pulsing/flicker at low light levels. This did not happen at all at higher levels, considered it may be a continuity issue at low current. removed retaining ring cleaned it up, replaced retaining ring (driver). This seemed to clear the slight flicker at lower levels, then a couple days later it started again.

I parked the light on my desk until a day ago, now when I activate the switch it will not power up in low levels at all. I just got done taking it completely apart/desoldered mcpcb, cleaned everything reapplied thermal compound.

Everything looks good, but same activity. It will power up fine if I double click and start at a higher level, it ramps up/down perfectly, turbo is fine the light will drop down to the lowest level fine.

I can power off, and power it back on and it might turn on just fine in moonlight for a press or two, then nothing again at low level unless I start with a double click, or click hold and after a couple seconds it will come on about mid level.

Then again it works as normal, but if I leave it sit for a while or off/on a couple times it again will not turn on in lowest/moonlight without the previously mentioned process.

It is something with the head. it does the same thing on my copper or aluminum versions, and either of those heads work properly on the Ti button/body.

Again, complete disassembly down to components, inspection cleaned up. I just cannot understand why a double click/hold click will power on then work normally for a cycle or two then not power up in moon light.

I hope I’ve explained it clearly enough to understand the oddity of it?

Any thought on this would be appreciated.

JasonWW
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wraithpc wrote:
I received a Ti from Neal about three weeks ago (my third) it worked fine initially, I’ve not dropped it or even really carried it.

After about a week of using it to let the pooch out, I started to notice a slight pulsing/flicker at low light levels. This did not happen at all at higher levels, considered it may be a continuity issue at low current. removed retaining ring cleaned it up, replaced retaining ring (driver). This seemed to clear the slight flicker at lower levels, then a couple days later it started again.

I parked the light on my desk until a day ago, now when I activate the switch it will not power up in low levels at all. I just got done taking it completely apart/desoldered mcpcb, cleaned everything reapplied thermal compound.

Everything looks good, but same activity. It will power up fine if I double click and start at a higher level, it ramps up/down perfectly, turbo is fine the light will drop down to the lowest level fine.

I can power off, and power it back on and it might turn on just fine in moonlight for a press or two, then nothing again at low level unless I start with a double click, or click hold and after a couple seconds it will come on about mid level.

Then again it works as normal, but if I leave it sit for a while or off/on a couple times it again will not turn on in lowest/moonlight without the previously mentioned process.

It is something with the head. it does the same thing on my copper or aluminum versions, and either of those heads work properly on the Ti button/body.

Again, complete disassembly down to components, inspection cleaned up. I just cannot understand why a double click/hold click will power on then work normally for a cycle or two then not power up in moon light.

I hope I’ve explained it clearly enough to understand the oddity of it?

Any thought on this would be appreciated.


If cleaning the head and tail threads doesnt fix it, then it might be something in the driver. Is the low light level under 120 lumen (single 7135 channel) or also at levels brighter than that?

Maybe one or more of the 7135 chips is flaky, not turning on and off like it should. I kinda think Lumintops driver manufacturer got ahold of some low grade, imitation 7135 chips due to other people having similar issues on the very latest versions. Just a theory.

You may need to contact the place you bought it and see if they can send you either a new driver or new head. (I’m sure they’d prefer just the driver, as it saves them a lot of money)

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wraithpc
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I appreciate your response, Judging by the other two I have, one being identical emitters the output at its lowest level is still a fair bit higher then the working ones. The flickering/strobe effect I’m seeing could also be caused by the same (erratic switching). Thinking about it, your probably correct in your theory.

The light has some changes from my other ones (older). A tiny screw in the thermal surface to stop the mcpcb from spinning, and no machined notch for the driver. I have a current order I just placed with Neal, I will ask him if he could send me a replacement with that order.

I’ll also add one of the emitters has a noticeable blue tint and is slightly lower output. Not sure if it is a new development or I just failed to notice it previously.

atobe
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Are you saying you have 3 of them? If so swap the tailcap/head from another that is working issues free and see if it is your tailcap/head that is indeed broken.

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JasonWW
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atobe wrote:
Are you saying you have 3 of them? If so swap the tailcap/head from another that is working issues free and see if it is your tailcap/head that is indeed broken.

He already did. It’s head related.

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JasonWW
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wraithpc wrote:

I’ll also add one of the emitters has a noticeable blue tint and is slightly lower output. Not sure if it is a new development or I just failed to notice it previously.

A lot of people say this is normal at very low output levels. They should all get back to normal as the power level goes back up.

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wraithpc
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Yes, correct, it is definitely the head, as it does the same thing on all three tubes/switches. I pretty much figured after checking everything out it was more then likely a driver issue, I did not think of the of the 7135/s as the culprit until you mentioned it. It does make sense

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wraithpc wrote:
Yes, correct, it is definitely the head, as it does the same thing on all three tubes/switches. I pretty much figured after checking everything out it was more then likely a driver issue, I did not think of the of the 7135/s as the culprit until you mentioned it. It does make sense

Here is my troubleshooting thought process, if anyone is interested.

We know Dels driver design is good because we have hundreds (thousands?) of working lights, but 0.5% seem to have strange driver issues (not inner contact tube stuff). This leads me to believe it might be a component issue. Genuine components can be hard to get in China, but they usually work just fine. There may be cloned Attiny85 (according to Lexel), FETs and 7135 chips. The other components are resistors, capacitors and diodes and those don’t usually have issues. Sometimes an SMD capacitor can short internally, but that will manifest itself very clearly. Some of the FETs don’t start having issues until you get into the 150+ watt range, plus that is not an issue in the FW3A. So we have the 7135 chips and Atiny85 chips to look at. 7135 current regulators get cloned hugely. There are clones of clones of clones, etc… and we have definitely seen some go bad on many different models of lights. Usually just a tiny percentage of those lights as well. It’s like the electrical tolerances are not as good as the genuine ones from ADDtek, etc… If you get one of those outlier chips it might cause this type of issue.

I can’t really remember what kind of trouble the cloned Atiny85 chips caused (Lexel thinks there may be clones because they sometimes won’t reflash properly, but it might just be that the company that originally flashed it used the wrong fuses or that they encrypted it somehow). I don’t think there were any functionality problems. Since we are only getting a flicker and all the other more complicated functions work, I’m leaning towards a bad 7135 chip.

The only other factor might be the soldering itself. I remember seeing one leg of the MCU not fully soldered on some other model light and that caused weird problems. If you are good with an iron, you could go over all the joints to make sure they are 100%. It’s not something the average person can do, but it doesnt hurt to try.

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atobe
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JasonWW wrote:
atobe wrote:
Are you saying you have 3 of them? If so swap the tailcap/head from another that is working issues free and see if it is your tailcap/head that is indeed broken.

He already did. It’s head related.

Sorry I must of missed it.

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RaVeN
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Unfortunately I missed the warnings about the tail and opened it a few times. I’ve lost my nubbin now. Considering most flashlights open at the tail, having a tiny loose part like this is poor design imo.

JasonWW
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RaVeN wrote:
Unfortunately I missed the warnings about the tail and opened it a few times. I’ve lost my nubbin now. Considering most flashlights open at the tail, having a tiny loose part like this is poor design imo.

The design has been changed. Now the tail caps have retaining rings. They originally wanted to glue the tails, but we forced them not to.

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BOO5TED
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RaVeN wrote:
Unfortunately I missed the warnings about the tail and opened it a few times. I’ve lost my nubbin now. Considering most flashlights open at the tail, having a tiny loose part like this is poor design imo.

How? It’s all people talk about in any FWXX thread and also there is a note in every box. It’s not a poor design, it’s a modders/enthusiast/flashaholic dream imo.

"America has three cities, New York, San Francisco and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland."- Tennessee Williams

 

wraithpc
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JasonWW wrote:

The only other factor might be the soldering itself. I remember seeing one leg of the MCU not fully soldered on some other model light and that caused weird problems. If you are good with an iron, you could go over all the joints to make sure they are 100%. It’s not something the average person can do, but it doesnt hurt to try.

Gave that a try with a bit of hot air no change unfortunately. I appreciate your taking the time to respond!

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wraithpc wrote:
JasonWW wrote:

The only other factor might be the soldering itself. I remember seeing one leg of the MCU not fully soldered on some other model light and that caused weird problems. If you are good with an iron, you could go over all the joints to make sure they are 100%. It’s not something the average person can do, but it doesnt hurt to try.

Gave that a try with a bit of hot air no change unfortunately. I appreciate your taking the time to respond!


I was just talking to Texas_Ace and he agrees that the defect rate on those 7135 chips seems to be getting higher and higher. He has run across so many bad ones that he’s changing his driver designs to either FET plus single 7135 chip or else dual FET with resistor bank. Reliability is way better.

If the defect rate starts to get too bad, BLF may need to start designing similar drivers with 1 or no 7135 chips at all.

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treoneo
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My problem is with Neal’s. I had a defective unit a month ago and he said he’d send a new one. I been messaging him for weeks and he finally gets back to me and just says “hello” in the message and ignores my questions on where is the replacement. He finally says today oh sorry I’m too busy, I’ll send tomorrow. checked his FB page and others have the same complaint. Does anyone know is this normal for Neals? Can I get anyone else to warranty this?

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treoneo wrote:
My problem is with Neal’s. I had a defective unit a month ago and he said he’d send a new one. I been messaging him for weeks and he finally gets back to me and just says “hello” in the message and ignores my questions on where is the replacement. He finally says today oh sorry I’m too busy, I’ll send tomorrow. checked his FB page and others have the same complaint. Does anyone know is this normal for Neals? Can I get anyone else to warranty this?

Same here, eventually got refunded after PayPal intervened.

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OK, so:

I have had 2 of these for a while now. No mentionable issues.

Today I chance to one of them the 2-way clip.

In the process I noticed a clear O-ring under original clip, it cut in pieces while taking it off.

Now, with 2-way clip if I tighten the tailcap gently: flashlight will give me only 1% power momentary strobish-thing. Nothing else.

If I tighten the tailcap FIRMLY, the switch “click” -sound disappears and switch feel goes from “clicky” to smushy or something. No feel at all BUT thats not the worst – it also likes to Fire up on full beam on the table all by itself.

Threads and surfaces are cleaned, no help, but I think this has something to do with the click itself.

From the rubber plate between SS-tailbutton and clickswitch the plastic “nub” was loose. I took it away -> bad feedback from clicky, put it back -> no help to original issue.

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Yep.
Assembled/disassembled a few times more.

I don´t get it…. when I place all the parts inside and press them in tailcap for example with a battery, the “clicky-feel” is correct.
When I assemble the light, it just doesn´t work.

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