FW3A Troubleshooting / FAQ

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Phaze13
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Well, I think I can chalk my lights problems up to something other than the battery. The fact that it ever worked is still a mystery.
Today after appearing to work fine for a day it has started to not work again. Exhibiting the same behavior as before. I just check the battery with a Multi Meter and it reads 4.02V.

Went from working to not working without taking it apart, only messing with lockout, clicking on/off while showing a friend turbo.

Which then the light started not to respond to input as it’s suppose to, but jumping to full turbo then turning off and other odd behavior.
Now won’t even turn on.

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One of my six cats throw my FWA3 off a table (1m) and it doesn’t work any more Facepalm
Does anyone know the driver size and whether is’t replaceable with the Emisar D4 driver?

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Ryzbor wrote:
One of my six cats throw my FWA3 off a table (1m) and it doesn’t work any more Facepalm
Does anyone know the driver size and whether is’t replaceable with the Emisar D4 driver?
Sorry to hear that. Did you try tightening everything up again??

Go HERE . Read it, do what is says, and hopefully that will fix you up. Thumbs Up

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JasonWW
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Ryzbor wrote:

Does anyone know the driver size and whether is’t replaceable with the Emisar D4 driver?

It is custom driver. Nothing else works.

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xevious
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teacher wrote:
Ryzbor wrote:
One of my six cats throw my FWA3 off a table (1m) and it doesn’t work any more Facepalm
Does anyone know the driver size and whether is’t replaceable with the Emisar D4 driver?
Sorry to hear that. Did you try tightening everything up again??

Go HERE . Read it, do what is says, and hopefully that will fix you up. Thumbs Up


That has to be it, a tightening issue (retaining ring, head, tail cap). Light isn’t so fragile as to stop working from a simple fall of 1 meter. I’d bet it would survive a 10 meter drop onto pavement. I don’t get how someone can presume immediate driver failure like this… Facepalm
Phaze13
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This light is so finicky, took the lens and optic off, wiggled the PCB board with a tiny screw driver. Reassembled, tight, very tight. Working normal again.

teacher
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It is precision alright. Keeping it tight is very important for it to work properly..

Did you notice any bare places in the wires when you had the optic out??

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hank
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Is it possible to select which blinky mode comes up by default, when I go into blinky group?
(I’d prefer to have it go to the bicycle strobe immediately, rather than any of the other options)

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Seems to have “blinky” memory. Shut off on bike strobe…turns on in bike strobe

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Man Without Shadow wrote:
Seems to have “blinky” memory. Shut off on bike strobe…turns on in bike strobe

Yep, I can confirm that behavior with my FW3A. I have been playing with lightning strobe lately. When off, a double-click w/press+hold goes right to the strobe group and that’s the first one coming up, so the strobe mode memory works.
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My FW3A survived its first hard drop. I was walking across a parking lot carrying several items together with my light and somehow managed to sling it 4 or 5 feet onto concrete.

It hit hard. Pick it up turn on and test. Wow it’s still working great. Took apart to check contact pads because I thought contact pads may have been damaged but all looks good. Well everything except a small ding on the edge of front bezel.

Guess I am a klutz. Probably drop my lights more then most.

Actually have only hurt 1 light from drops. It was a Nitecore SRT3 and 1 drop from 3 or 4 feet and it only lights the red LED.

Must be more careful . . . Not going to happen though.

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FW3A should easily survive 1m drop from any angle.

If it stops working, what probably happened is the head or tailcap loosened slightly. Loosen the head, then loosen and tighten the tailcap, then tighten the head. It should then work normally.

For the driver to fail from a drop it would have to have something improperly soldered. I had this happen to my Sunwayman V10A years ago. Head fell 1m onto wooden floor during a battery change. Something popped off the driver. Could hear it rattling around in the head. Light didn’t work again (until I opened it up, found the component and soldered it back on. Even then it never worked quite right after that).

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After disassembling the 3D twice more and reassembling, somehow it must have broken the short and started to work. This allowed me to troubleshoot some more, and I found what I think might be the problem with the 7A.

Checking resistance in the head, both lights have zero resistance between the spring and + wire on the mcpcb. However, the working 3D shows a resistance of 0.33 Mohm between the square head threads and the – wire and the 7A has absolutely no contact. I’m guessing there’s a broken solder joint at the driver side of the wire.

Fubs261
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I received my 2 FW3As this past Monday, the 20th. My Sanyo NCR18650GAs arrived yesterday, the 24th and I charged them over night. This morning is the first time I can test if they work.

One my FW3As is seeming to work fine. The other seems dead on arrival. It will not turn on. I swapped the head from the working FW3A and it works so the problem is with the head. I read through all these pages and I see that there are instructions to check the retaining ring. The retaining ring is pretty tight, I can’t even move it clockwise or counter clock wise. I can’t really tell if the notches on the board and the head line up. I’ve been trying to take off the retaining ring to see if I can adjust the board positioning, but the ring is on there so tight that my needle nose pliers are scratching/taking small pieces of the ring off.

When I tighten the faulty head, it doesn’t even blink indicating it’s receiving power. My functional FW3A head blinks regardless of which body I screw it on. I haven’t contacted Neal yet, but is there anything I can do? Any specific tool I can use on the retaining ring to stop scratching/taking small pieces of it off?

Edit: just realized I was damaging the nearby thread, not the retaining ring itself.

JasonWW
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Fubs261 wrote:
I received my 2 FW3As this past Monday, the 20th. My Sanyo NCR18650GAs arrived yesterday, the 24th and I charged them over night. This morning is the first time I can test if they work.

One my FW3As is seeming to work fine. The other seems dead on arrival. It will not turn on. I swapped the head from the working FW3A and it works so the problem is with the head. I read through all these pages and I see that there are instructions to check the retaining ring. The retaining ring is pretty tight, I can’t even move it clockwise or counter clock wise. I can’t really tell if the notches on the board and the head line up. I’ve been trying to take off the retaining ring to see if I can adjust the board positioning, but the ring is on there so tight that my needle nose pliers are scratching/taking small pieces of the ring off.

When I tighten the faulty head, it doesn’t even blink indicating it’s receiving power. My functional FW3A head blinks regardless of which body I screw it on. I haven’t contacted Neal yet, but is there anything I can do? Any specific tool I can use on the retaining ring to stop scratching/taking small pieces of it off?

Edit: just realized I was damaging the nearby thread, not the retaining ring itself.


I can’t think of much except get some small cheap needle nose and maybe grind the ends to get a better grip.

Did you check under the optic? Are the led wires soldered? Is the positive wire getting voltage when screwed on to the body? You can try shorting the led negative wire to the head and it should be like Turbo. There might be a driver issue or maybe an led wire came loose on the driver. It’s hard to say.

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JasonWW wrote:
Fubs261 wrote:
I received my 2 FW3As this past Monday, the 20th. My Sanyo NCR18650GAs arrived yesterday, the 24th and I charged them over night. This morning is the first time I can test if they work.

One my FW3As is seeming to work fine. The other seems dead on arrival. It will not turn on. I swapped the head from the working FW3A and it works so the problem is with the head. I read through all these pages and I see that there are instructions to check the retaining ring. The retaining ring is pretty tight, I can’t even move it clockwise or counter clock wise. I can’t really tell if the notches on the board and the head line up. I’ve been trying to take off the retaining ring to see if I can adjust the board positioning, but the ring is on there so tight that my needle nose pliers are scratching/taking small pieces of the ring off.

When I tighten the faulty head, it doesn’t even blink indicating it’s receiving power. My functional FW3A head blinks regardless of which body I screw it on. I haven’t contacted Neal yet, but is there anything I can do? Any specific tool I can use on the retaining ring to stop scratching/taking small pieces of it off?

Edit: just realized I was damaging the nearby thread, not the retaining ring itself.


I can’t think of much except get some small cheap needle nose and maybe grind the ends to get a better grip.

Did you check under the optic? Are the led wires soldered? Is the positive wire getting voltage when screwed on to the body? You can try shorting the led negative wire to the head and it should be like Turbo. There might be a driver issue or maybe an led wire came loose on the driver. It’s hard to say.

I find pounding 2 nails through a piece of wood works better than needle nose pliers and cheap and easy to make. You just have to get the nails in the wood reasonably close to what’s needed and then bend them to fit in the notches.

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SIGShooter wrote:
JasonWW wrote:
Fubs261 wrote:
I received my 2 FW3As this past Monday, the 20th. My Sanyo NCR18650GAs arrived yesterday, the 24th and I charged them over night. This morning is the first time I can test if they work.

One my FW3As is seeming to work fine. The other seems dead on arrival. It will not turn on. I swapped the head from the working FW3A and it works so the problem is with the head. I read through all these pages and I see that there are instructions to check the retaining ring. The retaining ring is pretty tight, I can’t even move it clockwise or counter clock wise. I can’t really tell if the notches on the board and the head line up. I’ve been trying to take off the retaining ring to see if I can adjust the board positioning, but the ring is on there so tight that my needle nose pliers are scratching/taking small pieces of the ring off.

When I tighten the faulty head, it doesn’t even blink indicating it’s receiving power. My functional FW3A head blinks regardless of which body I screw it on. I haven’t contacted Neal yet, but is there anything I can do? Any specific tool I can use on the retaining ring to stop scratching/taking small pieces of it off?

Edit: just realized I was damaging the nearby thread, not the retaining ring itself.


I can’t think of much except get some small cheap needle nose and maybe grind the ends to get a better grip.

Did you check under the optic? Are the led wires soldered? Is the positive wire getting voltage when screwed on to the body? You can try shorting the led negative wire to the head and it should be like Turbo. There might be a driver issue or maybe an led wire came loose on the driver. It’s hard to say.

I find pounding 2 nails through a piece of wood works better than needle nose pliers and cheap and easy to make. You just have to get the nails in the wood reasonably close to what’s needed and then bend them to fit in the notches.

Please take a look at THIS suggestion. The variant I use myself is a combination of a 2 inch SS nail and a small round pry bar (the handle of which can rest in the palm of my hand). The way you cross them depends on what you want to do (loosen or fasten retaining ring). The rubber band is not meant to apply force but to prevent things from flying around.

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Got mine about a week ago. It worked pretty good for a few hours then became erratic, then wouldn’t turn on. Threads cleaned and metal particles blown out (just a few shards). Came here to BLF and performed recommended tweaks: caps and temp sensor calibrate. The flashlight is working fine now save for muggle mode, which is somewhat unpredictable. Most of the time mm works, but sometimes it ramps down from hi. Temp was reset a couple times with no change to mm function. I placed the flashlight into the refrigerator, curious to know if the thermometer in the FW3A was working. It works fine. All other functions besides mm work as designed. Since I don’t loan out nice flashlights, muggle isn’t that important to me.

I have to say, this I the nicest looking flashlight I have ever seen. The gray matte anodizing is sharp looking, and the design is what I would call understated class. Reminds me of the old e-type jag before rubber bumpers. The tail switch is quite satisfying, aircraft grade all the way. There is not one thing I would change about the programming. It is a logical and intelligent UI, though it took me awhile to figure out. Turbo, oh christ, it’s a firebreather. Amazing. Moon is nicely dim, just right. If lens is turned skew to strong light it exhibits tones of pink and purple, indicating a good anti-reflection coating.

The transition from spot to spill is almost seamless and the beam shows virtually no color shift or artifacts. Very nice. I have the 3a. I don’t know the cri but it must be pretty good. The pocket clip looks to me like dark gunmetal, not black, and is plenty strong. I left it attached so it won’t roll. I would like to see what a matte finish natural titanium clip would look like.

My compliments to the FW3A team for putting together a solid contender in a really crowded field. My compliments to Lumintop for bringing it to life with a quality build. The FW3A is a real thoroughbred, and a pleasure to use.
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Ah, the old banded nails technique Big Smile
I still use this from time to time.

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…. maybe along with the warning cards they could include a set of these banded nails?

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Big Smile

They’re actually not very good for the FW3A if the driver retaining ring is super tight like on my one, tried them, failed.
Might work to get some tightening done but better to use a set of old small flat tipped tweezers with the tips bent outwards.

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Atom00 wrote:
Help needed here. I can’t go into strobe mode now.

It’s probably in muggle mode, which has almost all the features turned off. Try clicking 6 times to exit muggle mode.

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Atom00 wrote:
Atom00 wrote:
Anyone play around with the Group 2 – Strobe mode.

I can only go into the strobe mode for 1 time only after i received this light. I cycle from candle > bike flasher > party strobe > tactical strobe > lightning storm > off.

Problem : after that i click, click, hold it just respond by dim flash once and turn off by itself.

reinsert the battery still the same problem. dim flash once and turn off by itself.


Help needed here. I can’t go into strobe mode now. PM Neal already, while waiting his reply maybe someone in here have the solution.

It seems like we all missed your posts for some reason. Facepalm

Make sure your not in muggle mode and then report back what it’s doing. Maybe copy and paste if it’s doing what it did before. I’m still not sure what your describing. Are you trying to change the rate of the strobe?

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Fubs261 wrote:
I received my 2 FW3As this past Monday, the 20th. My Sanyo NCR18650GAs arrived yesterday, the 24th and I charged them over night. This morning is the first time I can test if they work.

One my FW3As is seeming to work fine. The other seems dead on arrival. It will not turn on. I swapped the head from the working FW3A and it works so the problem is with the head. I read through all these pages and I see that there are instructions to check the retaining ring. The retaining ring is pretty tight, I can’t even move it clockwise or counter clock wise. I can’t really tell if the notches on the board and the head line up. I’ve been trying to take off the retaining ring to see if I can adjust the board positioning, but the ring is on there so tight that my needle nose pliers are scratching/taking small pieces of the ring off.

When I tighten the faulty head, it doesn’t even blink indicating it’s receiving power. My functional FW3A head blinks regardless of which body I screw it on. I haven’t contacted Neal yet, but is there anything I can do? Any specific tool I can use on the retaining ring to stop scratching/taking small pieces of it off?

Edit: just realized I was damaging the nearby thread, not the retaining ring itself.

I’m running into the exact same problem, one head not receiving power. Is yours a 7A tint by any chance?

Curious to know if a multimeter between your (-) wire on the MCPCB and head threads shows any resistance. Mine looks like an open circuit, and makes me think the driver solder joint has failed.

Fubs261
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JasonWW wrote:
I can’t think of much except get some small cheap needle nose and maybe grind the ends to get a better grip. Did you check under the optic? Are the led wires soldered? Is the positive wire getting voltage when screwed on to the body? You can try shorting the led negative wire to the head and it should be like Turbo. There might be a driver issue or maybe an led wire came loose on the driver. It’s hard to say.

I’m not quite sure how to take apart the FW3A. I am able to take off the lens of the head. If that’s what you mean. It does look like the negative wire isn’t attached anymore.

clip. wrote:
I’m running into the exact same problem, one head not receiving power. Is yours a 7A tint by any chance? Curious to know if a multimeter between your (-) wire on the MCPCB and head threads shows any resistance. Mine looks like an open circuit, and makes me think the driver solder joint has failed.

I have the 3D version. I don’t have access to a multimeter, I’d have to go buy one at the moment. I don’t have any experience with electronics and soldering. I took off the lens and optic, it does look like my negative wire isn’t attached to the board.

I’m not quite sure how I can post pictures on here, but here’s pictures of a comparison of the two heads.

https://imgur.com/a/VGJHcgc

I think I may have found the reason why one isn’t working. I just need to find someone who knows how to solder now!

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Fubs261 wrote:
It does look like the negative wire isn’t attached anymore.

https://imgur.com/a/VGJHcgc

I think I may have found the reason why one isn’t working.

Yes, that would definitely make it not work. I’ve now seen two like that.

I can’t quite tell from the picture if the solder came off the pad, or if the pad came off the PCB. In the former case, it should be easy to fix with a soldering iron. In the latter case, you probably need a new PCB. But in any case, this would probably be a good time to ask Neal for a replacement.

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Fubs261 wrote:
I’m not quite sure how I can post pictures on here, but here’s pictures of a comparison of the two heads.

https://imgur.com/a/VGJHcgc

I think I may have found the reason why one isn’t working.


OMG!! Who made them?

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Looks like the old twist & break.
There is no real play in the wires with the FW3A so when screwing the head on you need to make sure the optic/ MCPCB stays put and doesn’t rotate with the part you’re screwing on.

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The one on the left looks like mine when it was on turbo for a few seconds & started to smoke then stoped working , then I looked at it I noticed the wire was off.

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The old desolder dance.

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