FW3A Troubleshooting / FAQ

I wish they would have printed the full Anduril manual

who is ‘they’?

the whole thing is online



The kapton tape seems to have helped but it’s not a 100% reliable fix. I still periodically have problems with my FW3A on 18350 tube after battery changes. I do manage to work them out, but it’s an annoyance. OTOH, my FW3A with 18650 tube is rock solid. NO PROBLEM whatsoever.

I modeled a replacement button membrane last night. When printed in TPE it has nice tactile feel and good fit.

That is so cool.

Follow-up on my FW3A 18350 woes.

It dawned on me that I have a spare aluminum 18350 body… which has its own tube. I took it and swapped it in place with the copper 18350 tube. The trouble did not go away. I’m surmising that it’s a problem with this format, or there’s some slight deviation with my switch that is causing it. Anyway, long story short, I decided that the fat stubby 18350 format is not my thing. I ditched it for 18500. A nice bump in mAh too. And well, the problem seems to have gone away with this tube change.

The 18500 is not a huge difference in height from the 18650 but something about it is “just enough” to feel more pocketable. And now there are really good 18500 cells with ample mAh. I have a 2500mAh cell in my FW3A. Plus the combo of aluminum with copper tube and stainless bezel has a terrific aesthetic to it.

The design is absolutely dependent on the inner and outer tubes achieving what amounts to a line fit so that the inner tube contacts the driver and tail switch PCBs at the point of maximum tension on the head and tailcap. This could be achieved reliably with higher-precision machining or hand-fitting, but at this price point suspect there’s no margin for either.

The usual solution to this problem would be to make the inner tube a few mm short and use a spring of some sort to take up the slack - such as a wave washer as I gather some other designs have used.

I can see now why NovaTac used a giant tube spring for their flashlights, instead of a hard metal inner tube.

Klarus XT1C using inner tube as well but the tail cap is glued.
I think it’s to avoid miss-alignment of the inner tube or so.

I gutted my SS version.
Gonna be a huge overhaul.
Reverse clicky tailswitch, copper inner tube to give it an actual thermal path.
But it will be hours of work with the die grinder to prepare the shell.
But the SS shell looks so damn good.
I think i can fit a quad in the head too.

Will that transfer more heat to the cell than what may be good/ideal for the cell?

That will be a point of attention. :wink:

I haven’t been on this forum for a long time. Stopped building lights but still occasionally buy some new ones.

So when it comes to the FW3A, I had bought one when they were first released. It was the standard light gray color. Later I ordered a bare aluminum variant. Since I was only using the bare aluminum one, I decided to give the original one to a friend that uses it as a bike light most of the time. Couple years later, I went camping and let my son-in-law use the bare aluminum FW3A while I used my Emisar D4V2. After the camping trip, I asked for my FW3A back and he said he already returned it to me. He didn’t. I asked him to look for it to no avail. So I purchased a purple FW3A from illumn and it wasn’t until it arrived that I noticed the different driver being used. Then I reviewed the full item description and noticed it had a disclaimer about them now using a FET + 1 driver…. Needless to say, I was now even more annoyed that my bare aluminum one (with the original driver) was lost. I also didn’t like all the branding that Lumintop had applied to the purple one. I was expecting no brand, model etc and the rear button that was in the pic, which I believe is what Toykeeper designed. Couple months go by and I happen to check Illumn’s site again. They had the FW3C on sale, so I ordered one of those as well as the Frog. Two days after placing this order, I decided to check my son-in-law’s tent and sure enough, the bare aluminum light was inside the tent when he rolled it up. I was hoping the FW3C wouldn’t have the branding, but it does. However, to my surprise, while the site description also mentions the FET + 1 driver being used in the FW3C, I received the light and noticed the instruction manual was thicker and referenced Anduril, not Anduril 2. I ripped the light out of the plastic bag and sure enough, it’s got the original driver. The light was ordered on January 13th, 2023. I certainly cannot confirm if any of the other ones in stock will be the same or if I was just lucky to receive an item that’s been sitting on the shelf for a long time. Just wanted to share this info with others that may appreciate it. I couldn’t believe it when I opened the light up and saw that awesome purple driver with 6 chips on the spring side. :smiley:

So at this point, I’ve got a bare aluminum FW3A, a gray FW1A and a FW3C all with the original driver. The purple FW3A with the updated driver will most likely be gifted to a friend.

^ Fascinating. Thanks for that. Just goes to show that Lumintop inventory got shuffled around a bit. I wish there was some package indication to let you know what’s inside, as far as release is concerned.

I too had lost an FW3A with the original board in it. It was short, because I put an 18350 aluminum body on it. I was so upset with myself. It was the purple one, but the first of the previous owners (it changed hands 3 times) had sanded off all of the purple. The tail switch still had the Toykeeper logo on it… something you can’t find any more. Well, as it turned out, the light found its way into a cargo pocket of a pair of shorts that I’d put away for the winter. Sometime in late summer, I unearthed those shorts and thought it might be a good idea to check all of the pockets before washing. Sure enough, there it was.

Post discovery, I put the FW3A w/18350 body back into rotation. But, I was having problems with it. Flaky tube connection. No matter how many times I cleaned everything and re-lubed threads, it would invariably come up. I then switched to an 18350 tube in copper. So, completely new contact tube as well. Same problem kept happening. I cleaned the head and tail cap thoroughly with alcohol. Everything would be fine at first, but after the next battery change, problems again.

SO! I’d had enough. Along the way I bought an 18500 copper tube with the intention of trying it out. I didn’t have an 18500 cell as yet, so I made sure to get one in my next battery purchase. Well, I set the FW3A up with the 18500 and it works great. NO problems. And in fact, I like this form factor. It has an ample increase in mAh while that full inch shorter than the FW3A in 18650 seems to be “just right.”

1 Thank

I recently aquired a new to me (used) FW3A & have found this old thread very helpful & chocked full of great information.
Thank you!

3 Thanks

Great to hear it! So many excellent contributions over the years since the FW3A came out. It can be a finicky flashlight, but remedied. I kind of like it for the nostalgia too, as it was the first really successful Anduril UI released triple LED flashlight.

2 Thanks

In my eyes the FW3* is nearly perfect.
I just started collecting them in the past few months.
I current have 5(Gray, Sand, Black, Purple and Brass) and I just ordered a Copper one today.

I’m currently in a race against time to collect as many colors/materials as I can before they become unobtainable for me.

2 Thanks

Have you seen the LM10? It’s a beast, super heavy in brass and copper (the last remaining metals), but a cool design. I just wish the machined metal clips were still available but they were discontinued. I’ve seen them drop down to as low as $50 USD, which is surprisingly cheap considering the amount of metal.

2 Thanks

The brass FW3A is quite hefty already.
I’m pretty sure a brass or copper LM10 would be a shelf queen and I already have enough of those.