Pic heavy !!.Review and experience-Lumintop FW3a- in a layman's view point

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jjp888
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Pic heavy !!.Review and experience-Lumintop FW3a- in a layman's view point
  1. Hi all just wanted to share my experience with the new Lumintop Fw3a.


Actually before getting this light I was very skeptical about its highly complex user interface, unprotected battery,tube in tube design and an unconventional electronic tail switch.
On opening the flashlight box from Lumintop, the first thing I saw was " don't disassemble the tail". 

It's recommending to insert the battery from only the head.So I imagined that there might be many tiny parts in the tailcap that ,if I unscrewed will jump out , making this light impossible to assemble again.So I carefully inserted an un protected cell from the head

( which was really easy, since the threads on the head portion are really smooth to unscrew).

I was very impatient and wanted to turn on my flashlight to see the beam and tint quality,that I didn't even go through the instructions manual.
I was familiar with the ramping interface

( but this was a much more complicated Anduril - which I haven't had the slightest clue!), so I went ahead and turned the light on.Changing modes, access to low,turbo etc were all same as I had with other ramping lights.
So I kind of started playing with it, turning it on and off, and I somehow went into the so called muggle mode!.( which happens if we press the e switch 6 times! from off).I didn't notice it intially, but then I realized I cannot access the moonlight or the turbo anymore.I got worried and took off the head and tightened again hoping to reset the light ,still the same.so I thought some thing might have happened to the e switch, and I took the chance and opened the tail switch.
To my surprise the tail switch was not as complicated as I guessed , it had only three parts, a metal switch , a rubber boot with a tiny tip in the centre and the board with the e switch.I found nothing wrong and easily put everything back.But still no luck the same issue, no moonlight or turbo.
So finally ,I had to resort to the big instructions manual.
At first glance I didn't really understand the Anduril UI flow chart.I was getting really frustrated about all the double clicks and triple clicks.But I went through it again and again and slowly ,all came into picture and I understood that I accidentally went into the muggle mode,which caused the light to behave like this.
After spending around 1 hr!, I fully understood all the different modes and features of this wonderful UI.The more time I spent , everything became lesser and lesser complicated and finally I started to enjoy the flashlight as it was meant to be!.
I must say this ,that after going through all the different options , I am in really in love with this UI and flashlight.It's a very engaging user interface and have never got bored by using this light.
I tried all the different options and finalized on the smooth ramping setup with low set to moon light and high set to around 500 lumens.It really covers all my edc uses, and for the fun part there is always turbo accessible at a double click away!

So ,talking about my light its a normal gray anodized one.

I chose the sst20 NW option. 

I use a samsung 30 Q unprotected cell.Iam very happy about the flashlight performance so far.


Here I will also add all the manufacturer specs

 Review !

The light comes in a good card board box from Lumintop as always.

  • .


Pocket clip was pre assembled .Also included ,extra set of rings  the along with a large instruction manual

I took apart the flashlight ,to know more about it's construction

The driver board!

The (not so complex) tail switch!

  • Square cut thread for the  head portion

The tailcap thread is triangular type.

Size comparison with Lumintop edc05c(14500) flashlight.Notice how compact the Fw3a is!

I wanted to test how hot  the turbo can run, I pushed the flashlight to turbo whenever the flashlight was trying to lower the output, the temperature at head reached over 80°c!.I stopped pushing the light right there,as I didn't want to take any chances with the unprotected battery.I strongly suggest everyone to use the turbo for only 10 sec at a time, since this gets hot extremely fast at turbo.And the thermal regulation ,takes some time to come into play.

The flashlight was very hot to touch .I somehow opened the light, as I needed to check how hot the battery might be.And as I expected it too was very hot at around 60°c.

So my overall experience ,comes to these pointers.

Pros

1.Simplistic but beautiful design.
2.Light weighted and very compact edc with a perfectly placed on/off switch.
3.Extremely flexible and versatile user interface, if not the best I have used so far.
4.Good anodization and built quality.
5.Properly lubricated joints.
6.Good beam profile for edc use.
7.Can properly tail stand.
8.Sturdy pocket clip design.
9.Different thread pattern for head and tail sections.
10. Easily accessible battery voltage indicator feature.

Cons- actually suggestions to make it the best
1.No onboard rechargeability, I know literally there is no more space inside the flaslight as its very compact, but if there can be an onboard recharching setup, I think adding a few millimeters won't hurt IMO.
2.Tailcap switch is definitely the weak spot on this light, its not a robust one though functions flawlessly, if left as it is and not opened.
3.The E - switch is not recessed enough to avoid accidental turning on .
4.The temperature regulation ,is not very sensitive,even after calibration and limit set, it can easily go above the limit at higher modes.May be its designed this way to prolong turbo and high .

U I -
I'll better post the manufactures instructions to avoid more complication.


Though I would like to point out , how to set your lowest and highest brightness setting in the smooth ramping mode.It took some time for me to completely understand.Ill try to explain it in my own way.

The light output is separated into 150 different levels .(150 levels from moon light to turbo)
0 (starting point),1(moon light)---------------------- ..... ---150(turbo) 151(end point)

To configure this -
1.First turn on your light
2. Click ,Click,Click,Click
Click the tail switch 4 times to enter the ramp settings .The flashlight blinks 1 time to confirm this.(ie 1 blink = 1st option in the menu)
3.After the 1 blink ,you can see the light flashes at a very fast pace , this is the place to set what your lowest output should be.
3.Click once to make moonlight 1 lumen your lowest setting,each click increases the lowest output from 0th level(starting point) , if you want to increase your lowest output, let say to the 10 th level (~20 lumen), click the tail cap switch 10 times without break.
after the 10 click , wait 4 sec to fix this, Then flashlight flashes twice to denote the 2nd option in the menu(for setting your high output level).
Again the flashlight flashes at rapid pace this is where you select your highest output in ramping mode.Here each clicks takes your 1 level down from the top ie 151( end point).So inorder to make turbo 150 as your highest level click once. To reduce your high setting to a even lesser value level 120, click 31 (151-120=31) times without pause.
after clicking wait for 4 sec for this setting to be fixed.The flashlight goes to steady on to confirm this

Example-1st scenario in smooth ramping mode.
If you want your flashlight to ramp smoothly between moonlight 1 lumen(1st level) and high around 500 lumen(100th level) .Do the following steps(ensure that light  is in smooth ramping mode -To toggle between smooth and stepped ramping click three times when the light is on. one fast blink confirms this.)
1 .turn onthe light , and click 4 times( we reached configuration setting)
2.Then the flashlight blinks once to denote the 1st option in the menu, ie to set low mode.As the flashlight starts flashing fast, press the tail switch 1 time,.1 click denotes moon light, ie 1 step up from starting point 0th level.
3 Wait 4 sec to fix this.Then the flashlight flashes twice to denote the second option in the menu(ie to select high mode)
As the flashlight starts flashing fast the second time,press the switch 51 times , ie 51 th level down from endpoint 151 to reach 100th level, which is approx 500 lumen.
4 then wait for 4 sec to fix this ,the FLASHLIGHT then goes to steady mode to confirm exit from menu.

2nd scenario - [current setting low at 1 lumen (1st level),high at 500]
we have to change only high, from 500lumen (100th) to 760 lumen (130th) level
1.turn on the light , and click 4 times( we reached configuration setting)
2.Light blinks once(ie first option in menu)
As the flashlight start flashing fast,DONOT press anything as we don't want to change low setting, just wait for 4 sec without pressing anything, the flashlight skips to the high mode selection menu +flashlight flashes twice to confirm this).
3.As the flashlight starts flashing fast the second time( now we are in high mode selection menu),press the switch 21 times , ie 21 th level down from endpoint 151 to reach 130th level, approx 760 lumen.
4.wait for 4 sec to fix this . Flashlight goes to steady on (meaning the menu is exited).

3rd scenario -[current setting low at 1 lumen (1st level),high at 500(100th level)]
We have to change low from 1 lumen(1st level) to ~20 lumen(10th level)

1.Turn on the light , and click 4 times( we reached ramp configuration setting)
2.Flashlight blinks once to denote ,we entered the first otion(ie lo mode setting)As the flashlight start flashing fast, press the tail switch 10 times,.10 click denotes 10 steps up from starting point level zero,ie 10 th level.

3 Wait 4 sec to fix this.Then the flashlight flashes twice to denote second option in meu(ie high mode).
As the flashlight start flashing fast the second time ,DONOT press anything as we don't want to change the high setting, just wait for 4 sec without pressing anything, the flashlight skips the high mode selection menu
4.Flashligh goes into steady mode(confirming exit from the ramp configuration).


In the case of stepped ramping,( which I don't personally like), there is an additional option to select the number of steps between your set lowest and highest output.

Ensure that the light is in stepped ramping mode(click thrice when light on to toggle between smmoth/stepped ramping)
Setting low and high is similar to the smooth ramping, but we have an additional option to set the number of steps between low and high.
After setting low and high the flashlight goes to the third menu( flashlight flashes 3 time to denote this menu).Here the no of clicks sets the number of steps you need between low and high, for example if you need 5 equally spaced
mode from 1 lumen to 500 lumen press 5 times, wait for 4 sec to confirm this.

example-[current setting low at 1 lumen (1st level),high at 500(100th level)]

scenario -you need 10 steps between low and high
1.Turn on the light , and click 4 times( we reached ramp configuration setting)
2.Flashlight blink once to denote first option in menu.As the flashlight starts flashing fast( now we are in low mode selection menu),Donot press anything as we don't want to change low setting, just wait for 4 sec without pressing anything, the flashlight skips to the high mode selection menu .flashlight flashes twice to confirm this).
3.
As the flashlight starts flashing fast the second time ( now we are in high mode selection menu),Donot press anything as we don't want to change the high setting, just wait for 4 sec without pressing anything, the flashlight skips to the step number selection menu (flashlight flashes thrice to confirm this).
4As the flashlight starts flashing fast the third time ( now we are in the step number selection menu),click the switch 10 times, wait for 4 sec to fix this.
5 Flashlight goes to steady on(ie we have exited from the menu),now you have 10 steps(10 different lumen settings between high and low)

 

I hope I didn't confuse more, as I know its really time consuming affair to learn.But I recommend you to patiently spent some time and gradually you will also get the hang of it.Other options and setting, can be easily understood from from the manual ,so I have skipped those.

Sop kindly share what you guys have experienced while learning to use this light and also any tips ,you want to share.

 

 

One funny thing that I noticed while playing with the light- Actually in Electronic lock out mode (4 clicks from off to access), the light should work in only low mode(1 lumen in my case ).But if I quickly double click and hold in lockout mode I can get a higher output somewhere around.50 lumens!.

Has anyone else have the same hidden feature???

 

Some beamshots!

The beam is a floody one with a a huge hot spot.  It's wall of bright light

View from a 3 story building, ~45 feet tall

 

 

Half knowledge is a Dangerous thing!.

Edited by: jjp888 on 09/22/2019 - 21:06
wle
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weird thing : the edc18 looks shorter than the fw3a – yet the initial specs said the opposite..
can you measure it for us?
length, mainly

what battery have you got in each one?
is the fw3a a protected battery, and the edc18 not?

wle

========
"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
--Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
========
It never gets easy, you just go faster.

--Greg Lemond.
========
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jjp888
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Hi, kindly  note the flashlight in the picture is the new edc05c (14500) flashlight.The edc18 is an 18650, side switch model yet to be launched .

Half knowledge is a Dangerous thing!.

BOO5TED
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jjp888 wrote:
One funny thing that I noticed while playing with the light- Actually in Electronic lock out mode (4 clicks from off to access), the light should work in only low mode(1 lumen in my case ).But if I quickly double click and hold in lockout mode I can get a higher output somewhere around.50 lumens!.

Has anyone else have the same hidden feature???

Yep, normal.

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

 

toddcshoe
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I quite liked the FW3A. Only had three problems with it.

1. It comes on accidentally, too damn easy.

2. It comes on accidentally, too damn often.

3. It comes on accidentally just thinking about it coming on accidentally.

Electronic lock out is useless to me. I don’t want another step to accomplish when I just need light, quickly sometimes.

I just gave away or traded the ones I had. Thought about ordering a copper one. After I quickly slapped myself in the back of the head for even thinking of getting a copper light with the same problem I can’t tolerate. I moved on. Might try that EDC18 I think it’s called. It cannot be any worse than the FW3A.

Anyone that says it doesn’t come on to easy is just plain wrong or, they don’t mind the 4 clicks to turn off lock out, few clicks to actually make the light useful and yet another 4 clicks to tun on lock out. It’s easily 10 clicks minimum to remove it from your pocket, bag, whatever, use it and get it back into your pocket, bag, whatever.

It’s not a flashlight anymore. It’s a toy. Nowhere on this forum would we stand in staunch support of any other flashlight with this same problem.

"Everywhere I go, there I am"

G0OSE
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toddcshoe wrote:
I quite liked the FW3A. Only had three problems with it.

1. It comes on accidentally, too damn easy.

2. It comes on accidentally, too damn often.

3. It comes on accidentally just thinking about it coming on accidentally.

Electronic lock out is useless to me. I don’t want another step to accomplish when I just need light, quickly sometimes.

I just gave away or traded the ones I had. Thought about ordering a copper one. After I quickly slapped myself in the back of the head for even thinking of getting a copper light with the same problem I can’t tolerate. I moved on. Might try that EDC18 I think it’s called. It cannot be any worse than the FW3A.

Anyone that says it doesn’t come on to easy is just plain wrong or, they don’t mind the 4 clicks to turn off lock out, few clicks to actually make the light useful and yet another 4 clicks to tun on lock out. It’s easily 10 clicks minimum to remove it from your pocket, bag, whatever, use it and get it back into your pocket, bag, whatever.

It’s not a flashlight anymore. It’s a toy. Nowhere on this forum would we stand in staunch support of any other flashlight with this same problem.

It’s not the first light to come on accidentally (though mine I must admit never has – but I don’t pocket it really) the worst light I own is the copper Lumintop tool – that comes on accidentally for a pass time with that silly raised clicky. I used to have mine in a little holster and every time I bent over it would switch on (without me knowing) , now obviously no fires wouldn’t come from it but it’s damned annoying that when you WANT to use it and it’s dead! This happened so often I now no longer use it – literally it spent more time on in the holster!. Been replaced with the free Olight I3E EOS which is not only better, but never switches on accidentally! that little light is easily the most used of my lights, proper little powerhouse for what it is, and lasts ages (copper one of those please Olight!).

I will agree somewhat on the ‘toy’ comment though (but hey, it certainly IS a flashlight, and a very cool one at that!) – now I haven’t even used any of the features (apart from the ramping), they are of no use to me at all, none – and even if they were it’s all far too complicated for me to remember and I’d end up getting stuck in some mode that I don’t want or understand – that chart just confuses the hell out of me!.
All that aside the FW3A is a little beast, that never fails to make smile when using it – I wouldn’t part with mine unless it was being upgraded to the Ti/cu one which sadly I will never own ( I just couldn’t justify the spend). Maybe next time they’ll make a mode (not muggle with lesser output) but one with toys/settings etc, the other without (but still full output ramping) so once in that mode no mis-clicking and entering settings/modes by accident would be possible without say 10 clicks to enter the ‘toy’ mode. Maybe there already is one….. that I just don’t know about!

BOO5TED
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I’ve had mine for a while now and love it so much I bought the Ti version. I carry it daily and always use the lockout feature. It’s not a tactical light so I don’t need immediate light. The four quick clicks is not a big deal at all to me. The chart is easy to understand once you get the flow of it.

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

 

wle
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jjp888 wrote:

Hi, kindly  note the flashlight in the picture is the new edc05c (14500) flashlight.The edc18 is an 18650, side switch model yet to be launched .

ok – right, sorry!

========
"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
--Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
========
It never gets easy, you just go faster.

--Greg Lemond.
========
,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸
              __o
    __o     _`\<,_      __o
  _`\<,_   (*)/ (*)   _`\<,_
 (*)/ (*)            (*)/ (*)
,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸
========

toddcshoe
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G0OSE wrote:
It’s not the first light to come on accidentally (though mine I must admit never has – but I don’t pocket it really) the worst light I own is the copper Lumintop tool – that comes on accidentally for a pass time with that silly raised clicky. I used to have mine in a little holster and every time I bent over it would switch on (without me knowing) , now obviously no fires wouldn’t come from it but it’s damned annoying that when you WANT to use it and it’s dead! This happened so often I now no longer use it – literally it spent more time on in the holster!. Been replaced with the free Olight I3E EOS which is not only better, but never switches on accidentally! that little light is easily the most used of my lights, proper little powerhouse for what it is, and lasts ages (copper one of those please Olight!).

Oh yes, I had one of those copper tools. Well I had it for exactly 3 days. It was one of those, “I only bought it because it was copper” flashlights I ultimately regret wasting money on.

I have one of those I3E floating around here. Got it free as well, fathers day free gift or something like that. Can’t remember. It’s still in the box here somewhere. I finally get a day off tomorrow, I’ll dig it out and give it a shot. I carry the copper Maratac AAA light around quite often. I probably wouldn’t have it if I had to pay for it. A good friend gifted it to me. He doesn’t care for AAA lights. I use to have a BLF348 that I adored. My youngest boy traded me his C8 for it. Of course I didn’t accept his trade so he still has both lights.

"Everywhere I go, there I am"

toddcshoe
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BOO5TED wrote:
The four quick clicks is not a big deal at all to me.

But it’s not just 4 clicks. It’s a minimum of 10 clicks. 4 to unlock, at least 2 to get the level you want and turn it back off, then 4 more clicks to re-lock it again. Just way too much for me. Great UI can’t make up for poor design.

If it doesn’t bother you, enjoy. I am sure they will serve you well for quite sometime. I love the rest of the light, it’s just the tail e-switch isn’t deep enough. I would much rather make it a hair bigger to mitigate the need for electronic lock out.

"Everywhere I go, there I am"

almax1800
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I’ve had one for a while and am no technical expert – I do like it but I find it to be fairly limited in my applications. Awesome UI, beautiful form factor for cigar type hold, great clip, really great rear button. I got a glowing gasket that was simple to install makes it look pretty cool too. Beam pattern with the frosted optic is beautiful. Excellent for reading or detail work and decent neutral color. And of course it gets crazy bright and is ultimately configurable. Sucker gets hot, quick. I live in a hot area and even walking around the neighborhood at night with poor or intermittent lighting, it can start getting too hot (I did change the thermal thresholds because the constant dimming was aggravating). It is my go-to light for being indoors, although that is kind of a left handed compliment for a flashlight…

Almax