FW3A Troubleshooting / FAQ

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xevious
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I had installed an 18350 tube on my FW3A. I was having unwanted activation problems. The emitter would immediately turn on and start ramping up or start on high and ramp down. No control.

While trying to troubleshoot this, I had figured the tail cap and head weren’t tightened down enough onto the body. As I cranked it with the head off, my forefinger had pressed down on the screw threads. They are seriously sharp. Cut right into my skin, drawing blood. This is really unforgivable. These threads should be squared off. Nasty… just nasty.

JasonWW
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xevious wrote:
I had installed an 18350 tube on my FW3A. I was having unwanted activation problems. The emitter would immediately turn on and start ramping up or start on high and ramp down. No control.

While trying to troubleshoot this, I had figured the tail cap and head weren’t tightened down enough onto the body. As I cranked it with the head off, my forefinger had pressed down on the screw threads. They are seriously sharp. Cut right into my skin, drawing blood. This is really unforgivable. These threads should be squared off. Nasty… just nasty.


The behavior your getting is that of a shorted switch circuit. Unscrew the head and do a continuity check between the inner tube end and the body. It should not be connected unless the button is pressed.

If it checks out, then the new body might be screwing down onto the ring trace on the driver that the inner tube touches. Make sure the driver is centered.

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chops728
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Any body ever figure out how to solve —- No matter where you set the ceiling of the ramp and no matter how you set the temperature —- I always get a ramp down to around 300 lumens ( the Light is Cold ) — then it will gradually work its way back up to 600 lumens—- After it does this little dance you can go to the top of the ramp and the thermal calibration works fine —— I have several of these lights that do this crap — the only one that doesn’t do it — The Original XPL version from the First Batch

Firelight2
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chops728 wrote:
Any body ever figure out how to solve —- No matter where you set the ceiling of the ramp and no matter how you set the temperature —- I always get a ramp down to around 300 lumens ( the Light is Cold ) — then it will gradually work its way back up to 600 lumens—- After it does this little dance you can go to the top of the ramp and the thermal calibration works fine —— I have several of these lights that do this crap — the only one that doesn’t do it — The Original XPL version from the First Batch

I think this is just how the temperature regulation is programmed in the version of Anduril used in the FW3A. If you want to avoid this behavior, you’ll need different firmware with better programming of the temperature regulation.

If you are interested in flashing to better firmware, Check with Toykeeper. Later versions of Anduril or Anduril 2 may have better regulation. I quite like my Emisar D4V2 variable tint which lacks the fast rampdown behavior of my earlier Anduril lights.

xevious
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JasonWW wrote:
The behavior your getting is that of a shorted switch circuit. Unscrew the head and do a continuity check between the inner tube end and the body. It should not be connected unless the button is pressed.

If it checks out, then the new body might be screwing down onto the ring trace on the driver that the inner tube touches. Make sure the driver is centered.

Rings seemed to be in place. This FW3A was the immediate successor to the first batch, where Lumintop actually (and smartly) installed a retaining ring in the tail cap. All seems screwed down. I played with it, shifted the tube around and the problem was corrected. Funny thing… I dropped the FW3A on a hard wood floor and it turned on and ramped up to max… Had to do that unscrewing & reseating again. Weird.
James C
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Quote:
chops728 wrote: Any body ever figure out how to solve —- No matter where you set the ceiling of the ramp and no matter how you set the temperature —- I always get a ramp down to around 300 lumens ( the Light is Cold ) — then it will gradually work its way back up to 600 lumens—- After it does this little dance you can go to the top of the ramp and the thermal calibration works fine —— I have several of these lights that do this crap — the only one that doesn’t do it — The Original XPL version from the First Batch

I think this is just how the temperature regulation is programmed in the version of Anduril used in the FW3A. If you want to avoid this behavior, you’ll need different firmware with better programming of the temperature regulation.
If you are interested in flashing to better firmware, Check with Toykeeper. Later versions of Anduril or Anduril 2 may have better regulation. I quite like my Emisar D4V2 variable tint which lacks the fast rampdown behavior of my earlier Anduril lights.

That sounds like the issue that’s been driving me crazy with my FW1A. Any mode above level 130, no matter what I do with thermal calibration and thermal limit, ramps down after about 6 seconds. The exception is turbo which works as I expect.

I just tried doing the “dance” chops728 described and it did work for me. Is that how it works for everyone out of the box? This is the first I’ve heard anyone else mention it. Would a different firmware version fix the issue? I’m trying to like this light. I just did the reflector mod and the switch mod will be next, but I’m not happy with the output at level 130 and turbo isn’t always practical.

RapidLux
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I can no longer check the battery voltage with 3 clicks, put it into turbo with a double click or lock it with 4 clicks. Is there a solution to these problems?

chops728
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Are you doing 3 clicks from off

RapidLux
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Yes, and after 3 clicks it is still of. That’s, at 1st click it turns on, 2nd click it turns off, 3rd click nothing happens and it’s still off.

MtnDon
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Have you removed and reinstalled the head? That combined with making sure the tail is tight before reinstalling the head has always reset any odd behavior that has occured with mine.

RapidLux
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Tightening the tail before installing the head, didn’t help.

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Damn. No more ideas here. Sad

raccoon city
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RapidLux wrote:

I can no longer check the battery voltage with 3 clicks, put it into turbo with a double click or lock it with 4 clicks. Is there a solution to these problems?

Have you tried with a fresh battery?

Rayoui
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Your light is probably in muggle mode. Do 6C from off to exit muggle mode, then try the batt check again.

RapidLux
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That was it, muggle mode. 6 clicks solved the problem. I accidentally dropped the flashlight from 1 meter and wondered if something had cracked. Luckily it was not. Thank you!

wle
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sometimes you can get to pressing the button too quickly, or you think it is a certain mode, but it isn’t

so it goes into some odd mode like muggle, or lockout

wle

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xevious
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RapidLux wrote:
That was it, muggle mode. 6 clicks solved the problem. I accidentally dropped the flashlight from 1 meter and wondered if something had cracked. Luckily it was not. Thank you!

Cool — Rayoui beat me to it; was going to suggest the same. The internal battery tube enabling the circuit is a bit finicky. I have an FW3A in 18350 format. Was working just fine. I dropped it on a hardwood floor while off and the light turns on, then rapidly kicks into ramping mode up to turbo. Button control was unresponsive. I had to unscrew both the head & tail to get the tube reseated properly for normal function. Never saw one “fall into muggle mode” like that, but who knows how sensitive is the hardware to jostling. This is why I consider the FW3A an enthusiast flashlight and for an emergency situation, I’d avoid any flashlight with an inner battery tube for connectivity… with the exception of a NovaTac that uses a reliable compression spring.
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On my FW3A, the inner tube connection ring on the driver board is very close to the retention ring holding it in place. Almost touching it. Maybe something happened there when it hit the floor.

xevious
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OK, I’m back to frustration mode on the FW3A. The original with 18650 is no problem. I swap batteries with no issues. I always take off the head for access.

On my FW3A that has an 18350 body, I’m running into problems again. Screw on both ends tight. There’s one quick flash in the final screw-down. And then the switch is unusable. Repeat the screw down and occasionally the light ramps up automatically and then either turns off (and stays off) or stays on—switch unusable.

This one has the tailcap parts secured by a retaining ring. All seems tight. Driver is tight. Wiped down the battery tube ends. Attach tail cap first, slide in battery, attach head. Same as described above.

I kept loosening and then tightening. Sometimes it would auto-ramp and stay on high, or it wouldn’t do a thing. And then… finally, I have control. Switch works. I set it down, head first. A moderate tap on the head. It auto ramped again.

Next, I took some snap-ring pliers and loosened the driver retainer, then re-tightened it. THAT seemed to do the trick. Rapped the light on a desk to test of instability. All seems solid now. But what really bothers me is how the driver was already tightly in place. What is actually the variable here? It leaves me wondering if it’ll happen again.

RapidLux wrote:
On my FW3A, the inner tube connection ring on the driver board is very close to the retention ring holding it in place. Almost touching it. Maybe something happened there when it hit the floor.
Yeah, I have a feeling this might be the same thing. The tolerance has very little room for error. Maybe there’s microscopic variations in the thickness of the retaining ring. And just the right rotation of the battery tube might bring it close enough to short.
SammysHP
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There are several causes. First of all make sure that the driver and switch PCB are both centered. If the ring has an offset it might not work correctly. Also check for defects in the anodization of the inner tube. Pull it out, look if there are any scratches, especially at the little step. If there are any, look for a cause, remove it and tape something over the scratch. Then screw on the tailcap. Check that there is no short between the outer and inner tube. Same for the spring and inner tube. If that is OK fully assemble the light.

Never had a problem with mine, but as you said, tolerances are pretty small.

wle
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one thing i did with mine was, put a ring of very thin tape around both ends of the inner tube

the theory was, it just seemed like it might short out so the tape holds it away from the outer tube

if it did short, it would prob do what yours is doing – thinking you are constantly holding the switch down

depending on tolerances you might have to just use 3 pieces of tape instead of a whole ring of it

also maybe your inner tube has become not round – elliptical so that the long ends touch the outer tube

"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
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xevious
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Eyeballing it, looks like everything is centered. Don’t see any tube bending. No scratches through the anodizing. But I have some kapton tape that’s very thin. I’ll try putting one wrapping of it on each end of the battery tube.

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Hi, I need some help with my FW3A. It is not working properly after I did an emitter swap. When I insert the battery and loosely screw the head on the light turns on at a normal brightness, the tail switch doesn’t do anything at this point. When I fully screw the head on the light stays on and cannot be turned off unless I unscrew it. The modes appear to work as normal but a single click to turn off the light just puts it on a low brightness and not off.

My light is the 219C version, and I flowed the SST-20 FD2 emitters on it with a candle. Also I should mention I had forgotten that the battery was still inside the host when I was desoldering the red and black wires from the board and when lifting it off I saw a spark.

I am thinking I have probably messed it up when I forgot to remove the battery, and the thing in the driver that tells the light to turn off is scrambled. So would reflashing the driver help? (I don’t have the necessary equipment for a reflash so I would need to buy it) or should I just try to source a new driver?

I have tested the LED board with a mulitmeter and it works.
The wires of the driver don’t appear to be damaged, the wire housing is intact.
I have cleaned all surfaces of the head, board, driver, and threads, with isopropyl.
I have tried using a multimeter to check for continuity, and there are no issues with the tail / body tube.

I appreciate any help thank you.

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Andometto wrote:
Also I should mention I had forgotten that the battery was still inside the host when I was desoldering the red and black wires from the board and when lifting it off I saw a spark.

I am thinking I have probably messed it up when I forgot to remove the battery, and the thing in the driver that tells the light to turn off is scrambled. So would reflashing the driver help? (I don’t have the necessary equipment for a reflash so I would need to buy it) or should I just try to source a new driver?


That cannot be fixed with a new firmware, you’ve damaged the hardware and need a new driver. Sadly Lumintop doesn’t have drivers anymore and the latest version comes with a different, much inferior driver.

Probably you’ve damaged one of the AMC7135. Depending on the fault it might be possible to check in circuit which one is damaged, otherwise you have to remove one by one until the problem is solved. Then you can either live with a reduced output or find a source for AMC7135 (hard to find at the moment, that’s why Lumintop removed them from their drivers). Either way you need a hot air station to remove the affected 7135.

xevious
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OK, so I’d been using my stubby (18350) FW3A with only a few hiccups… had to loosen & re-tighten the head to clear that peculiar auto shut-off when ramping up, just a couple times over the past 2 weeks.

Last night I’d used it a bit. No problems. Set it on my nightstand pointing towards me so I could see the GITD insert… and at about quarter to 6 am, I open my eyes to a blinding bright light. My FW3A had turned itself on & auto ramped to maximum!

I was lucky that I wasn’t in a deep sleep at that point and woke up in time. The head was almost too hot to touch and the table had a hotspot where the head had rested. Switch was inoperable. I unscrewed the head and cut power. Fully tightened the head & proper function was restored.

I wonder, if I did a software lockout would this have still happened?

I’ve never had this trouble with my full size FW3A (18650), just the use of the 18350 tube.

Anyway I’d forgotten to apply the kapton tape I mentioned back in April. Definitely going to give it a try now… Hopefully I can find the stuff! (My junk drawer situation is a bit fubar)

wle
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the signal tube must have made contact erroneously

which could happen with one tube and not the other

could be a pocket burner!

software lockout would stop that.. if that is what it is

wle

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cyclops
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xevious wrote:
OK, so I’d been using my stubby (18350) FW3A with only a few hiccups… had to loosen & re-tighten the head to clear that peculiar auto shut-off when ramping up, just a couple times over the past 2 weeks.

Last night I’d used it a bit. No problems. Set it on my nightstand pointing towards me so I could see the GITD insert… and at about quarter to 6 am, I open my eyes to a blinding bright light. My FW3A had turned itself on & auto ramped to maximum!

I was lucky that I wasn’t in a deep sleep at that point and woke up in time. The head was almost too hot to touch and the table had a hotspot where the head had rested. Switch was inoperable. I unscrewed the head and cut power. Fully tightened the head & proper function was restored.

I wonder, if I did a software lockout would this have still happened?

I’ve never had this trouble with my full size FW3A (18650), just the use of the 18350 tube.

Anyway I’d forgotten to apply the kapton tape I mentioned back in April. Definitely going to give it a try now… Hopefully I can find the stuff! (My junk drawer situation is a bit fubar)

Is it the first batch version or later ones? I hear that the later versions were having unreliable quality.

Firelight2
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Definitely sounds like the signal tube accidentally shorted. With that short, the driver thought you were holding the button down so it ramped up to turbo and stayed there.

Some tips:

  • Remove, clean everything, reassemble. Check alignments when reassembling.
  • Make sure the tailcap retaining ring is slightly loose. That ring is just there to prevent the tailcap guts from falling out. If you leave it a tiny bit loose the tailcap pcb is able to free-float and may actually connect better to the signal tube.
  • You can prevent the issue of accidental ramp-up burning a hole in your desk by reflashing the firmware to upgrade from Anduril to Anduril2. Anduril2 has a safety feature to prevent this kind of thing happening. With Anduril2, if your signal tube malfunctions and the light ramps up to max it will pause there a couple seconds then ramp back down to min, turn off, and put the light in lockout mode.
SammysHP
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IIRC that safety feature was added already to Anduril 1 shortly after the release of the FW3A.

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xevious wrote:
OK, so I’d been using my stubby (18350) FW3A with only a few hiccups… had to loosen & re-tighten the head to clear that peculiar auto shut-off when ramping up, just a couple times over the past 2 weeks.

Last night I’d used it a bit. No problems. Set it on my nightstand pointing towards me so I could see the GITD insert… and at about quarter to 6 am, I open my eyes to a blinding bright light. My FW3A had turned itself on & auto ramped to maximum!

I was lucky that I wasn’t in a deep sleep at that point and woke up in time. The head was almost too hot to touch and the table had a hotspot where the head had rested. Switch was inoperable. I unscrewed the head and cut power. Fully tightened the head & proper function was restored.

I wonder, if I did a software lockout would this have still happened?

I’ve never had this trouble with my full size FW3A (18650), just the use of the 18350 tube.

Anyway I’d forgotten to apply the kapton tape I mentioned back in April. Definitely going to give it a try now… Hopefully I can find the stuff! (My junk drawer situation is a bit fubar)


That sounds quite unacceptable to me and a bit dangerous. My old man response would be to either retire that light (remove battery) or else return it to the original 18650 tube. I guess I no longer have the patience to do a bunch of investigating and repairing to make it reliable.

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