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Thread: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

  1. #91
    Flashaholic* xevious's Avatar
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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by jon_slider View Post
    outstanding photos!
    Im also a fan of the 10507... here on an Eye10 Rotary
    Thanks, Jon. Originally I had lined up stock photos and they just didn't capture the nuances well, so I was happy to do a group shot once I got them. I've been running the 10507 by default too. Mainly I find that while it does give a decent spot, there's still a good bit of usable spill. When going to the 10509, it's way floody... which is fine for some applications. It's a bit much when taking a walk, as it lights up passersby quite a lot, while the 10507 is more forgiving. Are you going to go with a trit slot drilled optic eventually?
    LIGHT BRANDS IN ROTATION: FW3A, Zebralight, Jetbeam, Lumintop, RovyVon, Olight, Astrolux, Nitecore, NovaTac

  2. #92

    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by xevious View Post
    Are you going to go with a trit slot drilled optic eventually?
    that sounds like a great option!
    what holds me back is I dont have an FW3a, or a light that uses a stock Carclo
    the triples I have use slightly modded posts to fit the smaller head of my RRT-01

    I have no trit experience yet, just glow rings.
    I definitely like the way they work to help me locate a light on the nightstand

    And I totally agree that there is a time and place for floody beams, and outdoors is not one of them :-)
    The beauty of the Carclo system is that it is so easy to change beams. But Im more likely to change lights. So I have some lights with floody beams for close use, and others with spotty beams, for outdoors..

    In fact, I choose to EDC a light with a single LED, for the tight hotspot.. The Carclo 10507 is MUCH floodyer than a single LED in a reflector. And triples use about double the power of a single LED, to produce similar lumen levels on target, because of the larger hotspot.

    Choices are good :-)

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    Last edited by jon_slider; 05-27-2019 at 09:42 AM.

  3. #93
    Flashaholic* xevious's Avatar
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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by jon_slider View Post
    In fact, I choose to EDC a light with a single LED, for the tight hotspot.. The Carclo 10507 is MUCH floodyer than a single LED in a reflector. And triples use about double the power of a single LED, to produce similar lumen levels on target, because of the larger hotspot.
    You're talking exclusively about throw, right? Because my understanding is that overall, given the same driver type, more LED's means generally more efficient output (less power from each LED to produce same output, which saves on thermal buildup), but greater cost to implement. That's why many manufacturers are coming out with triples and quads. But you don't see them for long range throwers, presumably because the single LED having larger reflector will produce a tighter but longer throwing hot spot.
    Last edited by xevious; 05-28-2019 at 03:14 PM.
    LIGHT BRANDS IN ROTATION: FW3A, Zebralight, Jetbeam, Lumintop, RovyVon, Olight, Astrolux, Nitecore, NovaTac

  4. #94

    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    1200 lumens from a single LED
    or 400 lumens from each of 3 LEDs

    suggests each LED in the triple, is running cooler, individually, but the total heat is the same if the total lumens is the same

    so multi LED lights can produce more total lumens
    if each of the 3 leds is running at 1200 lumens
    they will also produce 3 times more heat in total

    and will use 3x more power on a maximum of 3600 lumens, than a single LED on maximum of 1200 lumens


    what I was also pointing out is that a larger hotspot uses more power

    1200 lumens from a single LED focused into a smaller hotspot will use less power, to reach a certain lumen level in the center of the small hotspot

    1200 total lumens from a triple, whose hotspot is larger, will not be as bright in the center of the hotspot, because lumens is usually a total out the front, but not all the light coming out the front is focused on a small central target

    so, a beam with a larger illuminated area, requires more total lumens, than a beam with a smaller illuminated area, on the target in the center of the hotspot

    it then becomes a question whether the hotspot of a single beam, is sufficient for the task at hand

    there are times when I want a wider field of illumination, and that costs more power
    Last edited by jon_slider; 05-27-2019 at 01:40 PM.

  5. #95

    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by jon_slider View Post
    1200 lumens from a single LED
    or 400 lumens from each of 3 LEDs

    suggests each LED in the triple, is running cooler, individually, but the total heat is the same if the total lumens is the same

    so multi LED lights can produce more total lumens
    if each of the 3 leds is running at 1200 lumens
    they will also produce 3 times more heat in total

    and will use 3x more power on a maximum of 3600 lumens, than a single LED on maximum of 1200 lumens


    what I was also pointing out is that a larger hotspot uses more power

    1200 lumens from a single LED focused into a smaller hotspot will use less power, to reach a certain lumen level in the center of the small hotspot

    1200 total lumens from a triple, whose hotspot is larger, will not be as bright in the center of the hotspot, because lumens is usually a total out the front, but not all the light coming out the front is focused on a small central target

    so, a beam with a larger illuminated area, requires more total lumens, than a beam with a smaller illuminated area, on the target in the center of the hotspot

    it then becomes a question whether the hotspot of a single beam, is sufficient for the task at hand

    there are times when I want a wider field of illumination, and that costs more power
    However, also note that LEDs are more efficient when run at lower power. This means the battery in a triple running at 1200 lumens should last longer than in the same light running a single emitter at 1200 lumens (assuming both lights use the same type of emitter).

  6. #96
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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Yes, I was thinking exactly the same thing.
    If you look at emitter output against current curves, the efficientcy does start to drop off at the higher levels.
    I don't think the increase in efficiency is much to write home about, but it's certainly there.
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  7. #97
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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    I've often wondered about the stated efficiency drop-off of LEDs at very high output. I know there is plenty of data showing this, but does it apply to lights that use PWM?

    For example, a FET driver will always drive the LED at maximum power, given a battery with high-enough voltage. I know that means it's not efficient if you're driving it constant current. Perhaps some of that to do with heat?

    Anyway, what if you're using a PWM cycle of 50% (same FET driver), with cycles in the hundreds or thousands per second. We perceive that as a light at 50% output, identical to if it was running constant-current at half-power.

    But is it less efficient than a constant-current at the same average power? If so, is it really as bad as the efficiency you get when running at 100% duty cycle?

  8. #98

    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireclaw18 View Post
    However, also note that LEDs are more efficient when run at lower power. This means the battery in a triple running at 1200 lumens should last longer than in the same light running a single emitter at 1200 lumens (assuming both lights use the same type of emitter).
    I agree with you comments, thanks for the brainstorming.

    I think you will also agree that a triple at 1200 lumens will not look as bright on a target in the center of the hotspot, as a single LED at 1200 lumens, in the center of a hotspot that is half as large.

    My experience is it takes twice as many lumens of total output from a triple TiR, as it does from a hotspot that is half as large, from a single LED focused by a reflector.

    Example, say I use a flashlight to see a 12" diameter painting on a wall 12 feet away. The focused single LED in a reflector will mostly illuminate the painting, and less light will be on the surrounding wall. OTOH, the triple TiR will illuminate the painting PLUS a twice as large portion of the surrounding wall, thereby "wasting" half the output on an area outside the target painting.

    Of course there are advantages to larger illuminated areas from a triple, but they Do cost extra lumens, and extra power, ime.

  9. #99

    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    That also depends on the specific optic and reflector though. Some reflector lights can be as floody or more than a narrow clear triple optic.
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  10. #100

    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight View Post
    I've often wondered about the stated efficiency drop-off of LEDs at very high output. I know there is plenty of data showing this, but does it apply to lights that use PWM?

    For example, a FET driver will always drive the LED at maximum power, given a battery with high-enough voltage. I know that means it's not efficient if you're driving it constant current. Perhaps some of that to do with heat?

    Anyway, what if you're using a PWM cycle of 50% (same FET driver), with cycles in the hundreds or thousands per second. We perceive that as a light at 50% output, identical to if it was running constant-current at half-power.

    But is it less efficient than a constant-current at the same average power? If so, is it really as bad as the efficiency you get when running at 100% duty cycle?
    Since lights that are fully controlled by PWM always runs the LED at full power, they are the least efficient.

    If you compare a current-control light v. a PWM control light, at full power both lights should have the same efficiency. However, at lower power settings the efficiency difference is visible with the current-control having significantly more battery life. Sometimes twice as much.

    Note, however, that some drivers, use a combination. The FW3A is primarily PWM controlled, but has 3-current controlled channels. At the lowest power settings, the first channel with just 1x 7135 chip (max 350 mAh) is active giving high efficiency. At intermediate settings the remaining 7x7135 also activate for up to 2.8 amps current. At the highest settings the FET also activates for the lowest efficiency, but highest output.
    Last edited by Fireclaw18; 05-28-2019 at 04:06 PM.

  11. #101

    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by Random Dan View Post
    That also depends on the specific optic and reflector though. Some reflector lights can be as floody or more than a narrow clear triple optic.
    yes, to do a relevant comparison we would need to use two identical lights with identical LEDs, and drivers.

    I have a pair of essentially the same size lights w same driver, one triple and one single, but, they dont have the same LEDs, so, we need someone to do a more accurate test, with identical LEDs..

    even so
    ime the narrow clear optic produces a larger hotspot than the single LED in the same size light

    my main point is that a larger hotspot will not be as bright on target, at the same total out the front lumens, as a smaller hotspot. The small hotspot, is why HDS lights can be brighter on target with less total lumens out the front, than a light with more output. Case in point, the HDS 325 w XP-L is not as bright on target (and does not throw as far), as the HDS 250 with single XP-G2. HDS does not publish the throw specs, if they did, we would be able to know if the HDS 200 High CRI w sw45 throws further than the HDS 325 w XP-L (which has a larger hotspot)

    Last edited by jon_slider; 05-28-2019 at 12:57 PM.

  12. #102
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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireclaw18 View Post
    Since lights that are fully controlled by PWM always runs the LED at full power, they are the least efficient.

    If you compare a current-control light v. a PWM control light, at full power both lights should have the same efficiency. However, at lower power settings the efficiency difference is visible with the current-control having significantly more battery life. Sometimes twice as much.
    I certainly notice that my current-controlled lights, like Zebralights, are more efficient than my FET lights. However, I'm not sure if that's just the more expensive Zebralight has a better design overall.

    I suppose I'll continue to accept the belief that PWM with FET is less efficient than current-regulated. And, it makes sense. But I'd still like to see some specific testing showing this. I've seen lots of tests, but they all use direct drive (i.e., FET at 100% duty cycle).

    For example, are there any tests that measure watt-hours consumed after X minutes, when a LED is driven at 100% vs PWM at 50%. If the watt-hours are exactly double at 100%, then that would erase any doubt I have.

    Note, however, that some drivers, use a combination. The FW3A is primarily PWM controlled, but has 3-current controlled channels. At the lowest power settings, the first channel with just 1x 7135 chip (max 280 mAh) is active giving high efficiency. At intermediate settings the remaining 7x7135 also activate for up to 2.8 amps current. At the highest settings the FET also activates for the lowest efficiency, but highest ouptut.
    Okay, but 7135 chips are horrible at efficiency, unless the battery voltage is very close to the forward voltage of the LED at the output you want to run. Any higher voltage, and the 7135 chip just burns away that excess voltage as heat. So, a fully-charged cell at 4.2v is wasting about 25% of its power just heating up the 7135 chip.

    And if the battery voltage is lower than what is required, I think the 7135 just does PWM, doesn't it?

    The best efficiency comes from a boost/buck driver.

  13. #103
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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireclaw18 View Post
    Note, however, that some drivers, use a combination. The FW3A is primarily PWM controlled, but has 3-current controlled channels. At the lowest power settings, the first channel with just 1x 7135 chip (max 280 mAh) is active giving high efficiency. At intermediate settings the remaining 7x7135 also activate for up to 2.8 amps current. At the highest settings the FET also activates for the lowest efficiency, but highest ouptut.
    I like what you did there, you almost got us back on topic.
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  14. #104
    Flashaholic* id30209's Avatar
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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Just got mine, impressed with the size for a 18650. Heatsinking is awefull but luckily i have set the output (from min to max) to be regulated by 7135, constant current all the way. Like TK described, 1 is moonlight level and 150 is Turbo(FET).
    CC is regulating this little one up to 130 level (2.something Amps) and i set mine to 100.

    Now looks even better, especially when temp sensor is recalibrated. Almost no heat as the first light up...


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  15. #105
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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by id30209 View Post
    i have set the output (from min to max) to be regulated by 7135, constant current all the way.
    IFAIK, it's not "constant" current unless you have it using exactly 350mA or 7x350mA of current. If you use less current than 350mA, then it just uses PWM with the 7135 chip. At least, that's how I understand it. Could be wrong. Probably makes no difference to the eye, though, since the PWM is too fast to see.

  16. #106

    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight View Post
    IFAIK, it's not "constant" current unless you have it using exactly 350mA or 7x350mA of current. If you use less current than 350mA, then it just uses PWM with the 7135 chip. At least, that's how I understand it. Could be wrong. Probably makes no difference to the eye, though, since the PWM is too fast to see.
    I think "Constant Current" refers to a flat amount of current sent to the LEDs. IE.: regulated modes. The output should be relatively flat as the battery depletes and voltage goes down. This is in contrast to the unregulated modes controlled by the FET where output declines sharply as voltage decreases. Regulated modes work just fine with PWM drivers.

    "Constant Current" is the not same thing as "Current Control", which refers to a different method of controlling brightness by reducing the current to the LED.

  17. #107
    Flashaholic* id30209's Avatar
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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    That’s correct but the thing i didn’t mention is flashing of driver’s UI.
    Then you can choose output to be regulated with each step with one additional 7135.
    And as always, double tap for turbo. If you like


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  18. #108
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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    A few things. Efficiency LED or driver efficiency. There's two part to this and each's efficiency is different. Easiest example of the separation is when you consider what an efficient driver is. A driver is efficient when the flow of power into it matches most closely to what exits, we want our drivers to have as little power loss-heat-as possible.

    We know 7135 drivers are most efficient when the voltage matches what the LED wants, as little voltage burned off as heat. This is a pretty simple solution. Then take something like a Zebralight with its buck boost design where instead of burning off the voltage it transforms it into what the LED needs. This is better but it costs more to design and build. Well what is our most efficient driver then? Well! It is the FET in direct drive. There is near no losses in the driver as its sole role is to just get out of the way of the current and voltage.

    But we just said previous that our lights get super hot when using the FET drivers right? Well yes, operating direct drive with our high current 18650s will run the LEDs where they are least efficient.

    OK next topic. PWM. The FW3A is PWM controlled in all modes in all levels. That is to say each regulating chip is controlled with PWM. So what is this talk of constant current? Well a 7135 can be constant current with a duty cycle of 100% or PWM value of 255. This just means it is always held on instead of rapidly turning on or off.

    I am looking at the ramp tables for the FW3A and there is preciously one level where all channels are in complete constant current. This is where 1x7135 and 7x7135 are both 100% and the FET has not turned on. This is ramp level 130/150.

  19. #109

    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    When you get your first 18650 light, a watched battery never charges...


  20. #110

    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by staticx57 View Post
    A few things. Efficiency LED or driver efficiency. There's two part to this and each's efficiency is different. Easiest example of the separation is when you consider what an efficient driver is. A driver is efficient when the flow of power into it matches most closely to what exits, we want our drivers to have as little power loss-heat-as possible.

    We know 7135 drivers are most efficient when the voltage matches what the LED wants, as little voltage burned off as heat. This is a pretty simple solution. Then take something like a Zebralight with its buck boost design where instead of burning off the voltage it transforms it into what the LED needs. This is better but it costs more to design and build. Well what is our most efficient driver then? Well! It is the FET in direct drive. There is near no losses in the driver as its sole role is to just get out of the way of the current and voltage.

    But we just said previous that our lights get super hot when using the FET drivers right? Well yes, operating direct drive with our high current 18650s will run the LEDs where they are least efficient.

    OK next topic. PWM. The FW3A is PWM controlled in all modes in all levels. That is to say each regulating chip is controlled with PWM. So what is this talk of constant current? Well a 7135 can be constant current with a duty cycle of 100% or PWM value of 255. This just means it is always held on instead of rapidly turning on or off.

    I am looking at the ramp tables for the FW3A and there is preciously one level where all channels are in complete constant current. This is where 1x7135 and 7x7135 are both 100% and the FET has not turned on. This is ramp level 130/150.
    1x7135 level should also be constant current I think. First channel at max, other 2 channels off.

  21. #111
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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireclaw18 View Post
    1x7135 level should also be constant current I think. First channel at max, other 2 channels off.
    You are probably correct, I did take a fairly quick glance

  22. #112

    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by staticx57 View Post
    I am looking at the ramp tables for the FW3A and there is preciously one level where all channels are in complete constant current. This is where 1x7135 and 7x7135 are both 100% and the FET has not turned on. This is ramp level 130/150.
    thank you for the very clear and helpful explanations!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireclaw18 View Post
    1x7135 level should also be constant current I think. First channel at max, other 2 channels off.
    and thank you also for the added level of detail

  23. #113
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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by Bucknkd313 View Post
    When you get your first 18650 light, a watched battery never charges...
    I can remember that. Don't worry, it gets better.
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  24. #114
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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by staticx57 View Post
    I am looking at the ramp tables for the FW3A and there is preciously one level where all channels are in complete constant current. This is where 1x7135 and 7x7135 are both 100% and the FET has not turned on. This is ramp level 130/150.
    The thing about flashing custom UI is that there’s possibility to use each of 7135’s installed individually, not only by PWM. In this case you loose smooth ramping and steped is the option in that case.
    I still need to confitm after testing or agree that i was bla blaing.
    H17F is CC except on turbo...


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  25. #115

    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by id30209 View Post
    The thing about flashing custom UI is that there’s possibility to use each of 7135’s installed individually, not only by PWM. In this case you loose smooth ramping and steped is the option in that case.
    I still need to confitm after testing or agree that i was bla blaing.
    H17F is CC except on turbo...


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    I don't think that is correct.

    You could only control each 7135 individually if there was a separate control channel for each one from the Atiny MCU. There isn't. The MCU doesn't have enough pins. There are just 3 channels: One for the 1x7135. One for 7x7135 (which are wired in parallel so what happens to one happens to all), and one for the FET.
    Last edited by Fireclaw18; 05-29-2019 at 06:36 PM.

  26. #116
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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Oh bummer


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    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Regarding voltage issues. Yesterday I have received my FW3A — perfect, with a battery — perfect. But when I removed an isolating film and tried to switch the light on nothing has happened. Yes, the light blinks when I assemble it. But the button is “dead”.

    Ok, I take another battery — the light functions properly. Hmm… I take a DMM — the battery that has arrived with the light turns out to be 3.462V. Well, nothing extraordinary. I charge it — now the light is functioning properly.

    Now the question: was that just a first power on issue or will the light die this early (voltage sense) always by design?

    BTW, my light is clean from inside, threads are lubed, retaining ring is tight.
    Last edited by vadimax; 05-30-2019 at 02:06 AM.

  28. #118

    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    You might have a defective light. Someone else on BLF reported something like this... the light not working on a battery that arrived with a rested voltage around 3.4v.

    Toykeeper (who wrote the Anduril firmware) confirmed in that thread that the FW3A should continue running until the battery is almost depleted at around 2.8v or so. If yours won't work at 3.4v then something is off.

  29. #119

    Default Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Such a incredible product, especially at it's price point. It's a modding dream too! It's a keeper😂!!
    Now,it won't replace my EDC. I still prefer a simple, rheostat style interface and I don't need the runtime. I have several outstanding work and drop lights that I prefer to flashlights.

  30. #120
    Flashaholic* xevious's Avatar
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    Question Re: BLF/TLF FW3A - now available

    Quote Originally Posted by Archibald Tuttle View Post
    Such a incredible product, especially at it's price point. It's a modding dream too! It's a keeper!!
    Now,it won't replace my EDC. I still prefer a simple, rheostat style interface and I don't need the runtime. I have several outstanding work and drop lights that I prefer to flashlights.
    I like that protective bezel surround on the FW3A. Who makes it and where'd you find it?
    LIGHT BRANDS IN ROTATION: FW3A, Zebralight, Jetbeam, Lumintop, RovyVon, Olight, Astrolux, Nitecore, NovaTac

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