FW3A Troubleshooting / FAQ

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JaredM
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I’m sure someone can readily post a picture, but its a thin silver ring that threads into the head and keeps the driver tight. If it comes loose and backs out enough it cab prevent the head from tightening enough to make contact with the signal tube.

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JasonWW
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There’s also been a few times where the ring got loose and the driver got pushed off center and caused it to not make good contact with the inner tube. So just make sure the driver is centered and then tighten down the ring. Sometimes loosening the ring and retightening can fix a contact issue.

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juhha
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Thank you both for the help and the patience to assist me. Thumbs Up
It was the loose ring. It’s all right now.

JaredM
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Awesome. Glad to help!

I’ve found that with attention to detail and a dab of maintenance, these lights are just as reliable as any other.

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juhha wrote:
Thank you both for the help and the patience to assist me. Thumbs Up
It was the loose ring. It’s all right now.

I’m glad you got it working.

I’ve got to point out that tightening the retaining rings was suggested right away and you said you did that. Luckily JaredM suggested it again. If you didn’t know what the retaining rings were, just ask.

pennzy wrote:
Sounds like the common issue experienced with these lights. Have you read through this thread? Most of the time it is a matter of loosening the head and tightening the tail. Then retighten the head. Also clean and tighten the retaining ring (s) with alcohol. Clean all contact points where the tubes meet tail and head. Make sure you haven’t gotten into muggle mode . If yours is one of the later ones, try a reset.

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Screwdriver
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Read through the FAQ, maybe I am missing it, so I’ll ask.

Pick up a new FW3A and set the temp as I have done on other Anduril lights I own. Everything seems to work well with one tiny issue. When ramping, I get one final flash/blip before it stops. If I run it for 30 secs, it appears to drop below that blip, and if I understand, it means it drops out of FET?

Basically, it drops out of FET really fast even though the light is not getting hot. When it drops, it means I have to ramp up, release the button and press again to ramp down.

Should I set the temp limit higher? And what is a safe limit?

Thanks!

pennzy
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I have found that these little lights sometimes need to be calibrated and max temp set more than once to get them right. Also they need to cool down completely before calibration.

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pennzy wrote:
I have found that these little lights sometimes need to be calibrated and max temp set more than once to get them right. Also they need to cool down completely before calibration.

Here is a post on Reddit that explains what I am seeing better than I explained. I’ve recalibrated, but it still acts the same, and I was curious if this is just the way it is.

https://www.reddit.com/r/flashlight/comments/eg1krv/fw3a_seems_to_be_ste...

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It shouldn’t step down immediately but probably within 30 seconds. Try raising the max temp setting. Max is 55 if I remember correctly. Set it to whatever you can hold comfortably. The first step down and subsequent step downs will differ since the aluminum is heat saturated. As TK has stated, little lights are tough to regulate.

Screwdriver
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pennzy wrote:
It shouldn’t step down immediately but probably within 30 seconds. Try raising the max temp setting. Max is 55 if I remember correctly. Set it to whatever you can hold comfortably. The first step down and subsequent step downs will differ since the aluminum is heat saturated. As TK has stated, little lights are tough to regulate.

Thanks!

I guess I need to learn how the different drivers react. But it seems that it is working correctly.

Spiderlight
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Hey guys,

I am using the SST-20 version as a spotlight for photography.

What is the highest sane temperature limit you recommend for prolonged non hand held usage?

JaredM
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80-85C. Mostly for safety of the battery.

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Spiderlight
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JaredM wrote:
80-85C. Mostly for safety of the battery.

Thank you. I had it set to 65°C but now I will raise it a bit more.

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So I just got an Fw3a from a reputable seller. And it was working fine but now it is "glitching" bad. It worked fine for first couple minutes, but then i set up my thermal calibration, Temperatire, and stepped ramping guidelines. After that it has been acting glitchy. Click the button on, then click and hold and no ramp, just shuts off. Hold for noon just jumps on then back off. Sporadic output levels both hi and low. I cleaned the ends of the inner tube, tightened the tail cap retaining ring (it was actually loose) and check the head retaining ring, it's right. I loosened both the tail and head and tightened tail all the way down very tight and then the head, did that process multiple times. Using a fully charged P26a brand new molicel. Switched to a Panasonic ga and it was worse. 

any suggestions? I don't want to return it. I'll change the driver if I have to. I like the color. Lol

 

thanks!

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OK, so i just read thru the las page. Im going to remove the head and tail retaining ring, clean with alcohol, center the driver if needed, and reassemble. Ill try it tomorrow and see if it works better. I have owned 6 of these with no issues whatsoever. So Ii feel confident it will be resolved. and, if not, Lume driver from Neal it is! 

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Firelight2
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Try slightly loosening the tailcap retaining ring. If the switchboard is slightly loose it can float. This may give a better connection than if screwed all the way down

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Firelight2 wrote:
Try slightly loosening the tailcap retaining ring. If the switchboard is slight,y loose it can float. This may give a better connection than if screwed all the way down

 

OK cool, i will try that

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ArtieT59
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Firelight2 wrote:
Try slightly loosening the tailcap retaining ring. If the switchboard is slightly loose it can float. This may give a better connection than if screwed all the way down

You were 100% right. I loosed the tail cap retaining ring a little and its working.

 

Other things i did - I 'popped' out the inner tube (it doesn't free float like the KR4 does) and reinserted it. I also did NOT tighten everything down Extremely tight. I checked out a couple of my other fw3a's that work perfectly and noticed none of them are wrenched down ungodly tight, so i just tightened everything with medium/tight pressure, now the new fw3a that had the problem is working Perfectly.

 

Thanks for the suggestion!

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Check out some of my new lights (picture heavy) and quick first impressions of them here: https://budgetlightforum.com/node/77180

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Hi Artie T59, I just read about your experience fixing your FW3A.

I bought one FW3A from Neals Gadgets during the recent Father’s Day Sale, together with a SS bezel, a sapphire lens, clip, and (my big mistake…. an 18350 tube).

I did note that there is a “warning” not to open the tail cap. I was OK with that for several weeks, enjoying the FW3A as my EDC. But finally I decided to try changing the long tube into the 18350. And that was when I messed up the tail-cap switch. It fell apart, some parts are loose. It doesn’t click, and doesn’t turn on the flashlight.

I tried to put back the 18650 tube. But the switch doesn’t work any more.

I sent an e-mail to Neals to his Hotmail a few days ago; but he has not responded.

I want to find out whether Neals’ shop sells a replacement tail-cap switch for FW3A (?)

I have seen some Youtube videos about people inserting some colourful glow rubber part into the tail-cap switch. They look simple, but I just don’t have any tools to tighten the parts. Hence my question whether I can buy any replacement tail-cap switch anywhere.

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TermsakC wrote:
Hi Artie T59, I just read about your experience fixing your FW3A.

I bought one FW3A from Neals Gadgets during the recent Father’s Day Sale, together with a SS bezel, a sapphire lens, clip, and (my big mistake…. an 18350 tube).

I did note that there is a “warning” not to open the tail cap. I was OK with that for several weeks, enjoying the FW3A as my EDC. But finally I decided to try changing the long tube into the 18350. And that was when I messed up the tail-cap switch. It fell apart, some parts are loose. It doesn’t click, and doesn’t turn on the flashlight.

I tried to put back the 18650 tube. But the switch doesn’t work any more.

I sent an e-mail to Neals to his Hotmail a few days ago; but he has not responded.

I want to find out whether Neals’ shop sells a replacement tail-cap switch for FW3A (?)

I have seen some Youtube videos about people inserting some colourful glow rubber part into the tail-cap switch. They look simple, but I just don’t have any tools to tighten the parts. Hence my question whether I can buy any replacement tail-cap switch anywhere.


Did you loose the little black nub that presses the switch? If not, you should be able to put it back together. If so, you can make a new nub with some plastic.

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ArtieT59
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TermsakC wrote:
Hi Artie T59, I just read about your experience fixing your FW3A. I bought one FW3A from Neals Gadgets during the recent Father's Day Sale, together with a SS bezel, a sapphire lens, clip, and (my big mistake.... an 18350 tube). I did note that there is a "warning" not to open the tail cap. I was OK with that for several weeks, enjoying the FW3A as my EDC. But finally I decided to try changing the long tube into the 18350. And that was when I messed up the tail-cap switch. It fell apart, some parts are loose. It doesn't click, and doesn't turn on the flashlight. I tried to put back the 18650 tube. But the switch doesn't work any more. I sent an e-mail to Neals to his Hotmail a few days ago; but he has not responded. I want to find out whether Neals' shop sells a replacement tail-cap switch for FW3A (?) I have seen some Youtube videos about people inserting some colourful glow rubber part into the tail-cap switch. They look simple, but I just don't have any tools to tighten the parts. Hence my question whether I can buy any replacement tail-cap switch anywhere.

 

hey buddy, so I have seen members on Reddit recently with glow switches and all of that for the Fw3a, so I think they are still around (I think neal has a couple colors left actually), but from what it sounds alike that may not be your problem.


So when you started having the issue with the switch, did the switch come apart by any chance? Or was it just loose? I only ask because there is a very small piece of plastic in the switch that allows it to engage. People refer to To it as a nubbin. Anyway, if it is not in there, or if the switch was so loose that it become dislodged from its seating, then the switch won't work. 

the good news- the only tool you need to work in the switch is a small needle nose plyer or even two small screwdrivers or even two small nails. Just something to put into the small holes in the retaining ring to loosen and tighten it. The switch design once you open it up is very simple and straight forward. And there is good info and pictures and even YouTube videos showing how to dissemble and reassemble the switch. 

let me know where your at with it

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Thanks Jason WW and Artie T59 for your quick kind advice. Will look for that small plastic part. I don’t recall seeing it when I tried to push and press the switch back in shape.

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TermsakC wrote:
Thanks Jason WW and Artie T59 for your quick kind advice. Will look for that small plastic part. I don’t recall seeing it when I tried to push and press the switch back in shape.

See this earlier post.
https://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1498752#comment-1498752

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Or, if you want a stiffer switch that doesn’t come on by accident, try a -008 o-ring

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ArtieT59 wrote:

Firelight2 wrote:
Try slightly loosening the tailcap retaining ring. If the switchboard is slightly loose it can float. This may give a better connection than if screwed all the way down

You were 100% right. I loosed the tail cap retaining ring a little and its working.


Thanks for the suggestion!

Happy to help.

I think what is happening is that if the tailcap retaining ring is screwed down too tightly it is at a very slight angle to the top of the inner tube. This creates a very poor switch connection. If the retaining ring is left loose, the tailcap board floats slightly and can then press flat against the edge of the inner tube creating a good connection.

I first noticed this when I had problems with switch connection on a later model FW3A with the switch retaining ring tightly screwed down while the problem did not occur at all on an early model with no switch retaining ring. Slightly loosening the switch retaining ring solved the problem.

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TermsakC wrote:
Thanks Jason WW and Artie T59 for your quick kind advice. Will look for that small plastic part. I don’t recall seeing it when I tried to push and press the switch back in shape.

The “nubbin” is a tiny black plastic cylinder that sockets into the center of the rubber switch boot. It can get lost easily and the switch will not work without it (without modification).

Unfortunately, it’s likely that part is lost for good. The part is miniscule and due to its shape prone to rolling a long distance if dropped.

Fortunately, the nubbin isn’t required. Some options:

  • Make a new nubbin – A bit of cured epoxy putty cut into the general shape of the nubbin with an x-acto knife works. Even a piece of a toothpick would probably work; or
  • Skip the nubbin, do the o-ring mod instead – The FW3A’s switch is very soft and easy to accidentally depress in the pocket. A popular mod with the FW3A is to remove the nubbin and add an o-ring inside the switch boot. The o-ring should be wide enough to fit in the depression in the rubber boot outside the nubbin-socket. I am big fan of the o-ring mod. I’ve done it to all my FW3 series lights.
  • No o-ring? … no problem – a bent piece of wire bent into a ring should work. As long as it is approximately the right thickness. Some experimentation might be required.
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Thanks JasonWW, Jared M, and Firelight2 for kind suggestions.

Will try them all and learn.

If the worst comes to the worst, I may buy another FW3A (I like the brass) and enjoy having two heads of FW3A to play around.

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I’m not sure if my question belong to this thread, but I found no other place.

In my FWAA (TiCu version) the SOS is broken.
Instead of . . . – - – . . ., it only blink with following pattern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Anyone experience the same?

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lumenzilla wrote:
I’m not sure if my question belong to this thread, but I found no other place.

In my FWAA (TiCu version) the SOS is broken.
Instead of . . . – - – . . ., it only blink with following pattern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Anyone experience the same?


The FWAA has no SOS mode, only beacon.
lumenzilla
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SammysHP wrote:
lumenzilla wrote:
I’m not sure if my question belong to this thread, but I found no other place.

In my FWAA (TiCu version) the SOS is broken.
Instead of . . . – - – . . ., it only blink with following pattern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Anyone experience the same?


The FWAA has no SOS mode, only beacon.

Well noted, Sir.

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