FW3A Troubleshooting / FAQ

Warning to potential buyers (2021)

The FW3A design has been changed many times since launch, with quite a few downgrades. It is not the same light any more. The 2021 model appears to be downgraded so much that it is no longer compatible with the upstream FW3A firmware. It’s missing an entire power channel, as shown in the pic below.

Additionally, the FW1A has been downgraded in at least two major ways — the reflector no longer focuses correctly, and the driver no longer has the primary regulated power channel.

These are only a few of the many downgrades though. Almost every time a new batch was produced, people reported surprising new changes, and most were not for the better. Several vendors have dropped the entire product line because it had too many problems and they had to issue too many refunds.

So, be warned: If you buy a FW3A, FW1A, or any of its other derivatives, you probably won’t get the light described in this thread.

Left: Original FW3A driver. Right: Downgraded version from 2020-12.

Original top post:

The FW3A has now officially launched, with nearly 3000 items requested on the interest lists of two forums. And with such a big project, there will undoubtedly be some trouble. Come here to shoot it.

This is a place for people to get information about known issues and how to solve them. And a place to report new issues so they can be investigated.

Teacher has collected common questions into a FAQ for everyone’s convenience. Check here for a summary of the information posted so far: FW3A Useful Information.....

Quick Start

  1. Insert the battery from the front, not the back. Don’t remove the tailcap.
  2. If the light acts strange, make sure the driver retaining ring is tight. Also make sure the tailcap is tight — very tight. Loosen the tail a bit, loosen the head, then tighten the tail as much as you can by hand, then tighten the head.
  3. If you haven’t calibrated the temperature sensor yet, you probably should. This fixes things like “steps down in muggle mode”. The process is described here.

How to get support / contact Neal

Neal is the primary retailer and main contact for purchase support. Here’s how to get in touch with him if you have a broken light or need other help:

Good stuff. Hopefully it'll stay empty ;)

I’ll start. So far, there is only one known issue with the FW3A: When using the stepped ramp, there is a 1-second delay between turning on at moon and being able to ramp up.

This was fixed only 20 minutes after it was reported, but it wasn’t reported until after the drivers had been produced. So it’s expected to be an issue in the first batch of production lights.

To reproduce this issue:

  1. Configure the light to use the stepped ramp.
  2. Turn the light off.
  3. Hold the button to turn on at the floor level.
  4. Release the button after the floor hint blink, to stay at the floor.
  5. Hold the button again within 1 second to ramp up.

Expected results: Brightness steps up.

Actual results: Brightness stays the same.

After one second has passed, everything works as expected.

This is considered a minor bug, and it has already been fixed upstream, but it’s here to let everyone know about it… and to provide an example of how to write a bug report. It helps to provide a description, detailed steps to reproduce the issue, and a description of both actual and expected results.

Everybody knows the best description of any issue is “it doesn’t work”.

how hard is it to reflash them?

It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. :slight_smile:

Yikes, how many lights were in the first batch?

Are there pictures of the driver available for those of us that have some mods in mind?

Does it use the same schematic as the TA drivers?

Maybe a little late but an Aux board may fit?


The only known issue is a really minor thing which went unnoticed for months because it’s so small.

I think I recall some renders of the PCB in the main FW3A thread. … Yeah, here it is:

Glad to hear it’s only a minor issue, hopefully it doesn’t get blown out of proportion. When’s the last time that happened?

Thanks for digging up the driver, my searches turned up nothing and its a long thread.

Apparently Fritz didn’t share the Oshpark project, but seeing the traces and vias helps a lot. Mod plan A is dead, long live plan B.

Good to see Del oversaw the driver, its going to be rock solid like everything else he did.

It honestly doesn’t even sound like a minor issue, it sounds like a virtual non-issue. Still, sadly, it could have been easily fixed had it been reported, with better communication.

strange the bottom AMCs are not optimized for cooling effctiveness

and MCU pin 7 going over a resistor and cap to LED-?

Maukka discovered it and told me about it. I had a fix tested and committed to the repository 20 minutes later. So it was fixed quickly and easily… but not until after the first drivers had been produced. It’s not a big deal though, just a minor inconvenience for one specific UI flow.

It can’t connect the 7135’s big thermal pin directly to the outer ground ring like usual because it has a switch contact ring in the way. Driver layout was a little weird with the switch ring there.

As it says in the layout file, that’s the optic nerve. It can see. I did a video about it two years ago, around the time the FW3A project was starting, and it ended up being included in this driver design. But after looking into it more, it turns out to not be very practical so I didn’t make use of it in the FW3A firmware. It’s still there for anyone who wants to try it though. I’d still like to do more development with it sometime, but it hasn’t been a priority.

I completely missed this programming interface, even though it is rudimentary or not enable right now. This is some next-level gadgetry you guys built!

Yeah, sorry. I forgot to have Neal list that on the product page, but there’s a hidden feature: It watches you while you sleep! :stuck_out_tongue:

Watching me while I sleep? So this light can replace my girlfriend? Awesome :smiley:


this reminds me of the Lux-RC setup Lux-RC Labs - NXS - NXS Designer - Create New

hope it stays quite here ;)

Is it too early to ask for a FW3A v2 thread?
FW3A v2 could include charger and optical programming interface. More tints and also more LED choices.

(I will run and hide somewhere so I won’t get stoned)


I think the dev process was rock-solid on this one and the thread will remain largely empty. IMO, nothing went wrong at all.

Don’t worry, Astrolux will make a crappy knockoff with integrated charging in a year like they did with the D4.

If there was a single LED optic that would fit, and allow more Aux LED’S that would be perfect for this light, IMO. I’d really love to see a focus on adding more Aux LED’s and different channels for different colors. Then we’d be able to have all kinds of funky modes that my daughter and I could have fun with.