BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

eh4

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Awesome...
This looks like a really sweet light, and if you prefer the Emisar variant UI over the Andruil, it should be easy enough to swap boards or reflash, or send it to off to reflash.
- one nice thing about the Emisar UI variation is that the 4 clicks to momentary only HIGH - it persists when the battery cap is loosened... unlike the "lockout mode", which is lost if the battery contact is loosened for even a second... not much of a lockout if you ask me.
But according to a youtube review I just watched, it appears that with the Andruil UI, that the tactical mode suffers the same mode amnesia with loss of battery contact as the "lockout" does with the Emisar UI (which is an Andruil variant).
I'd love to be mistaken about that.

I'd still have an HDS if I could have gotten an 18650 tube for less than 100$.
 
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eh4

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When people comment that "heat sinking is awful"... does that mean that the light heats up super fast?
- or that the body of the light Doesn't heat up fast enough, and the thermal regulation is kicking in before the body heats up?

I understand that this is a light with very little mass to it... if the heat sink contact with the body is good, then the aluminum body of the light Should get Hot Fast on high or turbo.
If the heat sinking is bad, the light should ramp down before the body gets impressively hot.
 

Fireclaw18

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Heat sinking to the outside of the light is excellent. The shelf is solid and very thick. And this light does not use a pill... the knurled section at the front of the light is one piece containing the shelf.

However, the head itself overall is quite lightweight. Not much mass there other than in the shelf and there are no heatsink fins to increase surface area to get the heat out of the light. Also the FW3A does use a separate head... it's not a one-piece unibody construction like a Zebralight.

As a result, if you put in a fresh high drain cell and blast 3500 lumen turbo out of your FW3A the head, bezel and upper half of the battery tube is going to heat up FAST ... which will cause the temp sensor in the driver to ramp output down fast. I think the max sustained output is around 300 lumens. That's less than the 500 lumens you can get from an Emisar D4 with its beefier head and battery tube and heatsink fins.
 
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eh4

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Thanks for clarifying that.
Yeah 300 lumens sustained is pretty reasonable for a light that weighs so little.
Good reminder of how good ZL unibody heat sinking really is, looks like this little light weighs about the same as an H600.
Setting the thermal sensor to the max that I can continuously hold will have to do, and use hand and blood flow for additional cooling.
 
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WalkIntoTheLight

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BTW, I find the Anduril thermal controls on the FW3A to be much improved over the Narsil controls on other lights (like the Astrolux S43). It seems to have a much more measured ramp-down, and doesn't overreact. So, while 300 lumens may not sound like a lot, it's pretty decent compared to an over-active thermal ramp-down. And, for a light this small and light, you can't really expect much more.

Oh, and on a completely unrelated topic....

 

eh4

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Nice video review!
One thing to notice is that while we're talking about 300 lumens max for constant use as a significant limitation, -you won't see much more than that listed on ZL site for any of its lights without a PID in parentheses next to the output.

This light looks great to me, if I wanted a sustained high power battery burner I'd get a heavier light, but I'm almost always more interested in flexible configuration and light weight, with momentary turbo.
Should be a great successor to my 3000 Kelvin Emisar D4, which is a great light, but a tad bulky, and I never quite got comfortable with finding the side switch reliability without distraction.
 
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Archibald Tuttle

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I like that protective bezel surround on the FW3A. Who makes it and where'd you find it?

It's my very first attempt at a 3D printed bezel protector, for this light. It's similar to the design from a Olight FM10 filter adapter. I like it, but have to reduce the front end a bit. It every so slightly reduces the side spill. And need to add slot for filters as well. Once I'm happy with it I'll probably upload it to Thingiverse so it's there for everyone.
The thermal management of this light is up to the discretion and common sense of it's owner. You have the ability to make this a insanely short lived pocket rocket or a nicely managed illumination device. Kudos to the 'script' writer on this one.:thumbsup:
 

xevious

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BTW, I find the Anduril thermal controls on the FW3A to be much improved over the Narsil controls on other lights (like the Astrolux S43). It seems to have a much more measured ramp-down, and doesn't overreact. So, while 300 lumens may not sound like a lot, it's pretty decent compared to an over-active thermal ramp-down. And, for a light this small and light, you can't really expect much more.

Oh, and on a completely unrelated topic....


Wow, long review! Thanks for taking the time to be thorough. I was really glad you pulled out white paper as shining beams on the wooden desk was doing the tint observations no justice. My suggestion is to use white wall next time so you have ample space. I also think it would've helped to mention the XP-L emitter tint identifier options: 7A (WW) vs. 3D (NW). As for the Lumintop production model, I expect they'll glue down the switch assembly to the cap so that both ends can be unscrewed. It would be a real PITA if they cemented the tail cap in place, because if you need to service the switch it'll be a real struggle.

I am also a Zebralight fan. I have the SC64c LE and so that's why I oped for the 3D instead of 7A. Overall, I like the fact that the FW3A has a rear electronic tail cap, as you can press it regardless of rotated light orientation. With the ZL having the switch on the side, it does encourage holding the light in one orientation so you've always got the switch with a finger (or thumb) on it. But the deep recessed position on the ZL means it's easy to pocket without having to lock out. The FW3A switch activates too easily so I frequently do a minor turn of the head to manually lock it out.
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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Wow, long review! Thanks for taking the time to be thorough. I was really glad you pulled out white paper as shining beams on the wooden desk was doing the tint observations no justice. My suggestion is to use white wall next time so you have ample space. I also think it would've helped to mention the XP-L emitter tint identifier options: 7A (WW) vs. 3D (NW).

Yes, normally I do night shots, but I got lazy. Just so many mosquitoes to eat me alive at this time of year. White wall would have been better than paper.

I think they also have a cool white option now (1A).

As for the Lumintop production model, I expect they'll glue down the switch assembly to the cap so that both ends can be unscrewed. It would be a real PITA if they cemented the tail cap in place, because if you need to service the switch it'll be a real struggle.

They could use something like blue Loctite. I think that should be able to come off, with some force. But you wouldn't do it by accident. Or, some kind of retaining ring for the tail contents.

The spring in mine is way off center. It doesn't seem to affect the light, though. QC seems a little lax with this design, and should be improved even if it makes the light cost a couple of dollars more.
 

nightshade

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Just...Wow:twothumbs.... this light is a modding cornucopia. So many rabbit holes you could pursue. Its a homage to modders. i can really dig the simple and clean lines, no hipster flutes and no skulls. You can tell that folks with a history of lights, and with a love of lights, made this thing. Gave one away to a old bud who always wanted a NC D10 with a 18650 and the longer runtimes. Liked it enough to order another for myself. Just cracked mine, and ToyKeeper is a pragmatic genius, IMO.
Is it perfect? No.
Is it fun? YES!!
 

Fireclaw18

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Looks like Neal is hard at work on a ton of variants for the FW3A.

On BLF there are already prototype photos of the FW3A in a number of different materials:
- All copper (these are already available for sale on his site)
- Titanium copper - (titanium bezel, body tube and tail with copper head). Looks to be with both bare and colored anodize titanium like the Emisar D4 Ti-Cu.
- All brass
- Blue colored anodized aluminum
- White colored anodized aluminum
- Bright purple colored anodized aluminum

Plus a number of other options are available or soon to be available from his shop including
:
- SST-20 4000K 95CRI FA3 bin. Supposedly less green than other available high-CRI SST20.
- Glow in the dark colored optic cavity inserts.
- Optics with trits pre-installed in the legs.

Looks like the FW3A will very shortly have even more options available than the Emisar D4.
 

RobertMM

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Copper, nice!!!
I want a black Al version though.

My 10507 narrow clear spot optics arrived today and I instantly installed one of them.

I hate floody beams so this is a lot better for my taste.
 

ven

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Copper, nice!!!
I want a black Al version though.

My 10507 narrow clear spot optics arrived today and I instantly installed one of them.

I hate floody beams so this is a lot better for my taste.


Exactly what i did Robert, narrow clear optics in. Much better(and i like a floody beam). I think the idea was with the floody optic, was to reduce the little fugly in the beam pattern. I find the narrow fine though, also find the extra punch it gives more useful generally(still a wide beam anyway).

Must resist the cu, must resist the.......:crazy:
 
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