Neal sent me a sample of the upcoming Lumintop FW1AA flashlight. Below you’ll find some information about this product, as well as some of my thoughts on it based on the current sample.
After the FWAA flashlight (reviewed here), that is the 3 LED version, the FW1AA arrives a single LED.
The flashlights are pretty much similar in functioning (as far as I can tell), the body structure is also very similar, and they only differ in terms of length and head structure.
Also different is the metal button in the tail, doesn’t have the rabbit, and there are no engravings on the bezel. BUT, remember, this is only a sample.
The FW1AA is equipped with:
- white o-ring
- AR coated glass lens (17.7mm x 1mm)
- smooth reflector (5mm hole)
- black gasket (sitting around and above the LED)
- Osram KW CSLNM1.TG LED (also known was W1)
- copper DTP MCPCB (3030 footprint)
- 17.8 mm driver with an Anduril 2 version (similar to the FWAA, as far as I can tell)
The rest of the body and structure is similar to the FWAA, so I will not enter in details.
BEZEL, LENS, REFLECTOR & GASKET
The head is what really differentiates the FW1AA from the FWAA, not only due to the amount of LEDs (which is obvious), but also because the bezel is slightly longer and the DTP MCPCB sits within the shelf and not above it.
The DTP MCPCB is similar to the one used in the Lumintop GT Nano. I would assume that, given the compact size of the flashlight, if Lumintop wanted to use a larger MCPCB, it would need to sit above the shelf, and that would add some more millimetres in length making it less compact and less competitive in comparison to other small 14500 flashlights.
Also, they would probably need to design and order specific LED boards to fit well in the FW1AA head. And…that would probably increase the final value for us, buyers.
So, opting for a design and material they already have might have been a smart move. The MCPCB has a good amount of thermal paste below and it fits tight against the “shelf hole” helping on heat dissipation, which is crucial for all LEDs, but even more for this one.
Given that this MCPCB has a very specific shape and footprint, it will not be a good one to be modded. UNLESS you have other nice 3030 LEDs around, and UNLESS Lumintop comes out with more LED options (preferably 3535 footprint) so that it can be modded more easily.
The wires used are relatively thin, which is probably on purpose to increase resistance and avoid frying the LED. The wires/solder are covered by a red type of glue or insulation, and also some kapton tape, which is to avoid contact with the aluminium reflector and some eventual short circuit.
This is not a perfect design or solution and I’ve express that to Neal, suggesting that Lumintop should try a better option, like a wider gasket that centres the LED and that sits above the wires, too. Blitzwolf did that in the BW-ET1, as example.
The black gasket sits well above the LED and below the reflector, so there is no contact between those two.
However, given that the Osram W1 is an LED difficult to center and to achieve a perfect beam, I am not sure if the current option is the best, too. I’ve expressed that to Neal, but I have no better solution. People almost lose their mind trying to focus this LED and many times without perfect results, so I am not sure if the FW1AA, with that small reflector will be able to do it as well. Of course, this is much more noticeable if we are “white wall hunters”
As for the smooth reflector, it has no machining flaws, seems well made in terms of reflective surface and it only “produces artifacts” since the LED is the one mentioned above, and maybe the centering method needs some refinement. I didn’t try the flashlight outside (yet) to see how good the beam is. I will post some photos when I do it.
Other than this, the driver and remaining structure is similar to the FWAA, on which you can find some information in different reviews and threads.
COMPARISON BETWEEN FW1AA & FWAA (and my other “FW1AA”)
FW1AA > FWAA
About using aspects, as mentioned, the FW1AA seems to be using the same UI of the FWAA, which is a version of Anduril 2, if I am not mistaken.
This flashlight will get HOOOOT as hell if you put it on the max output with a high drain 14500 battery.
Also, on that max level, you can notice a change on the beam colour, which becomes whiter without being “blueish”. I believe that if the wires were thicker, the LED would become blueish on max.
That is why I would advise to:
a) set the thermal control to a manageable temperature
b) not to use it on max for an extended period of time
c) eventually set a lower “ceiling level”, instead of 150
I tried mine with a Shockli IMR14500 (orange) and it got really really hot. So be advised for this. Those who have the FWAA already know what to do.
I’d also mention that the pocket clip is similar to the FWAA. I don’t know if other accessories will be included (or which ones will be included), but I’d expect a more or less similar package to the FWAA.
Here are some “against a white wall in the dark” beamshots!
VS GT NANO (on the right)
VS FWAA (on the right)
Some of those artifacts on the hotspot (with more yellowish parts and sometimes seeing the LED “square”, and also seeing that “hole”, which is normal in this in many other LEDs)
Oh, and… it is even smaller than the GT Nano on the 10440 version
Here’s a kind of summary of what I think about the flashlight in terms of things I like and things that can/must be improved.
WHAT I LIKE
- compactness, since this is still one of the smallest 14500 flashlights with a tailswitch
- lightweight, more than the FWAA by 2 grams (FW1AA = 33gr vs FWAA 35gr)
- user interface, which is configurable and which is already known for most “Anduril users”, in particular those with an FWAA
- no machining flaws and no any visible structural flaws, including the switch, that works perfectly, and the inner tubes that haven’t caused any issue so far
- the narrower and throwy beam, since the FWAA is floodier and can be complemented by this one, for longer distances (I hope)
- no bunny and no engravings, but knowing that this is a sample, maybe the final versions will have it like it’s triple sister
WHAT CAN BE IMPROVED
- the hotspot, by improving the centering method (combination between gasket and reflector), since it generates a not perfect hotspot with some small artifacts (against a white wall and more noticeable in lower levels)
- the wiring method, since using red glue and kapton tape for insulation is not a very good solution for a “sale” version of this flashlight; so, a different type of gasket or any changes on the reflector would be good
OTHER ASPECTS TO BE CONSIDERED
- it gets really hot with high drain cells, so it is better to have thermal configuration activated and in a more conservative way
- the beam on max gets whiter, so with thicker wires would probably turn blue
- there will be difficulty to mod the MCPCB/LED, since the footprint is 3030 and the DTP MCPCB is very specific in size and shape (one can try Osram KW CSLPM1.TG (2mm2) which also has 3030 footprint)
- I was not informed about:
a) other LED options
b) the package and accessories in the sale version.
This is it for now and maybe this light will be available soon, hopefully with some improvements on the beam although it is not a deal breaker!
Big thanks to Neal Zhang for sending this sample for presentation and preview! :+1:
Thanks for reading and leave your comments and questions if you want to, I’ll reply when possible!