Lumintop FW1A Flashlight Review
Now Lumintop has a longer single emitter version, in the FW series: The Lumintop FW1A Flashlight. Read on for thoughts and testing.
Official Specs and Features
As far as I can tell the FW1A is just available in one body color (gray, seen here) but three emitters (at least): Cree XP-L HI (5000K – the version seen in this review, or 6500K), Nichia 219C, and Luminus SST-20.
Price and Coupon
This light retails for $49.95, but if you want 20% off buy it at Lumintop’s own store and use my coupon:
Code: LMT207 (expires: 2019/12/30). Looks like they aren’t stocking the 219c version, but you should want the 5000K XP-L HI anyway.
This one’s as good as you think it should be, and I think you should buy it.
The Big Table
|Emitter:||Cree XP-L HI (5000K)|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$39.96 (with coupon, above)|
|Turbo Runtime||High Runtime|
|Quiescent Current (A):||?|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||1200|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||661 (55.1% of claim)^|
|Claimed Throw (m)||370|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||821lux @ 6.239m = 31958cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||357.5 (96.6% of claim)^|
|All my Lumintop reviews!|
^ Measurement disclaimer: I am an amateur flashlight reviewer. I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment. I test output and such in PVC tubes!! Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even). These measurements are at 30 seconds. It’s likely the ratings are at startup.
- Lumintop FW1A Flashlight
- Spare o-rings (2)
- Manual and paperwork
Package and Manual
Standard Lumintop package. A cardboard box in a cardboard sleeve. The light et al is secured in foam.
Build Quality and Disassembly
The build quality from the previous lights in this series was good. I’d give this one a slightly better mark, because of one massive difference: the little nub in the tailcap is 1) different 2) captured.
Otherwise this is just another iteration of the FW series. It’s nicely built. The anodizing is fine. The threads are great.
I still don’t love this inner sleeve (and it seems to be a little longer in this light than my gen 1 FW3A), but I do get it – that sleeve is what makes the e-switch work. Despite the nub being more secure in this version, it’s still a much better idea to remove the head for cell changes. If you go this route, you don’t have to worry about the pocket clip which is held down by a tiny thin o-ring. The less fiddling with that the better.
Both head and tail have a spring. Neither spring is very huge. Regardless, you’ll need to use an unprotected flat top because of the inner sleeve.
The bezel unscrews easily, and the lens and reflector come right out.
The cell tube is directional. Also, the inner sleeve is directional, too. Again, just don’t take off the tailcap, and you won’t have to worry about it (the inner sleeve will not fall out through the head end on its own.)
Here’s the tailcap. What I originally thought was an o-ring holding the button in is not an o-ring at all. It’s a very thin screw in the retaining ring.
Here’s the tailcap disassembled. The threaded ring is directional but you’ll find that obvious if you disassemble.
Below you can see the changed nub. It’s more like a … stopper now … it fits only one direction, but it fits fairly snugly.
Size and Comps
Weight: Approximately 57 g without cells
Size: 25.5 mm Ø head x 100.7 mm length
Here’s the test light with the venerable Convoy S2+. Mine’s a custom “baked” edition Nichia 219b triple. A very nice 18650 light.
And here’s the light beside my custom engraved TorchLAB BOSS 35, an 18350 light. I reviewed the aluminum version of that light in both 35 and 70 formats.
As a reminder, the aluminum FW3A is as follows:
Weight: Approximately 53 g without cells
Size: 25.5 mm Ø head x 92.5 mm length
So the single emitter version is 4g heavier, and 8.2mm longer. All of that difference is in the head.
Retention and Carry
The only way included for carrying the FW1A is the pocket clip.
It’s a collar-type clip, and unfortunately, the collar has a slightly larger diameter than the body, but it’s only slight, and I haven’t been bothered by it. The clip is steel, and not incredibly thick; thick enough to be useful, but thin enough to be springy.
It’s a bezel down and non-reversible. So no hatlight use here. In fact, the collar won’t even fit over the bigger threads on the head end, and you’ll probably break the very thin o-ring that lives atop the clip when reinstalling it. I did anyway. And this is not one of the o-rings there are spares of.
Power and Runtime
The FW1A, like the others, wants only an unprotected flat top 18650. In my testing, I used a Vapcell H25, a high current lower capacity cell.
I didn’t test this light til the cell was empty. We know Anduril has LVP, and the modes will step down on the way to 2.7-2.8V. The light steps down very hard – it hits the claimed 1200 lumens but only within the first few seconds. At 30 seconds, it’s already stepped down very hard. The runtime below is Turbo – the one achieved when the light is on and you double click.
The runtime below is the highest of the stepped modes (I think this output is also the highest of the ramped modes). There’s still a massive stepdown. Likely temperature based as Turbo above. After the stepdown, the output is nicely flat, but a little low at ~250 lumens. Sorry, I forgot to check the cell voltage at the end of this test!
After some discussion with ToyKeeper – maker of this firmware – I understood the usefulness of calibration on the stock firmware. The way Lumintop has the calibration set is a bit confusing and to be frank, not entirely useful. The Turbo runtime above is an uncalibrated runtime. I then calibrated my light for a twenty-degree range and obtained the runtime below. A few things are very noteworthy. First, the max output seems higher, and also the output at 30 seconds is grossly higher. This isn’t just because the light is performing better, but because I’ve calibrated the light to allow a higher increase from starting temp. The second very interesting thing you’ll see here is that once the light steps down, the output is much higher than it was on the uncalibrated Turbo test. Around 650 lumens calibrated, from under 100 uncalibrated.
The point is, calibrate your light.
But what does calibration mean? There’s a lot that needs understanding but I’ll try to sum it up. The firmware knows two things: room temperature, and max operating temperature. On my copy, room temperature was set at 37 degrees. For the max, the firmware uses a 5°C window, and by default that range is 40°C to 45°C. So if my room temperature is set to 37°C, then I have a 3-degree window before my light starts to throttle. (!!!). That’s in effect what we see in the uncalibrated Turbo test.
What to do? The first thing is to tell the light a reasonable room temperature. I entered 21°C through the programming method. To do that, after you let the light settle to a normal room temperature:
The light is off.
Click 3x. This enters battery check.
Click 2x. This enters Sunset.
Click 2x. This enters Beacon.
Click 2x. This enters Temperature Check. (Note: “Temp Check” doesn’t blink the set temp, but the current temp.)
Click 4x. This enters Temperature Calibration.
In Temp Cal mode, the light will blink once brightly and then flash low very quickly for a few (4) seconds. Then the light will flash twice brightly, and flash low very quickly again for a few (4) seconds. After the first flash is calibration for room temperature. After the second two flashes are calibration for the max temperature.
During the first low blinks, for room temperature calibration, you should click exactly how many times you wish room temperature to be, in degrees C. If you want room temp to be 21°C, then you must click 21x. (You don’t have to rush – once you start during the low flash window, you have time to complete your 21 clicks.) If you wish for room temp to be set at 30°C, then you must click 30x.
Setting max temp isn’t the same. Max temp is always 30+[your clicks]. So if during the second window, you click 8x, you’ve set the max temp to 38°C. You’ll probably want something like 45°C, so you should click 15x in the second window.
And just like that your light is calibrated, and you’ll have much more …. expected… performance out of the Andúril lights!
Modes and Currents
I tried everything I could think of to test the currents for each mode – we know of course that the Turbo will take whatever current the cell can supply. But I was interested in the lower modes. But the e-switch/sleeve setup just thwarted testing no matter what I did.
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Measured Lumens||Tailcap Amps|
|Turbo (Double Click)||–||–||661^||?|
|High (top of ramp/highest stepped)||–||–||548^||?|
^ These numbers are only after the stepdown, so don’t read too much into those.
Pulse Width Modulation
Again, we know Anduril utilizes PWM. Note the timescale, though – the PWM is very fast, so not noticeable at all (for me anyway, and likely for you too).
For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor. Also, here’s the light with the worst PWM I could find. I’m adding multiple timescales, so it’ll be easier to compare to the test light. Unfortunately, the PWM on this light is so bad that it doesn’t even work with my normal scale, with is 50 microseconds (50us). 10ms. 5ms. 2ms. 1ms. 0.5ms. 0.2ms. In a display faster than 0.2ms or so, the on/off cycle is more than one screen, so it’d just (very incorrectly) look like a flat line. I wrote more about this Ultrafire WF-602C flashlight and explained a little about PWM too.
User Interface and Operation
The UI on this light is just like the other FW I’ve reviewed, so there’s no point rewording it.
The interface for this light is a tail clicky, but unusually, it’s an e-switch. That’s a bit of a coup, and something not many manufacturers are doing (in tail-switch form). Lumintop actually has the Tool AAA, which has a tail e-switch option. And at least one more option I can’t think of right now.
The button itself is metal (with that rubber cover under it), and has a very minimal amount of travel (1mm or less). Despite being a very big switch, it’s possible to actuate from anywhere on the surface – even the tiniest fingernail on the very edge will still work.
It should absolutely be noted that there are replacement switch covers. For example, Neal sells turboglow options (which I’ll be ordering obviously [r/GITD!!]). There are a bunch of color options. Here’s that option.
This chart will probably be more useful for you right brain users….
But here’s a UI table anyway!
|Off||Click||On (Mode Memory)|
|Off||Click 2x||Highest Hybrid Mode|
|Off||Click 3x||Blinkie Mode Group|
|Off||Click, Click, Hold||Strobe Group (Mode Memory Strobe)|
|Strobe Group||Click 2x||Strobe Cycle (Candle > Bike Flasher > Party Strobe > Tactical Strobe > Lightning Storm)|
|Blinkie Mode Group||Click 2x||Blinke Cycle (Sunset > Beacon > TempCheck > BattCheck)|
|On||Click 3x||Switch between Stepped and Smooth Ramp|
|On||Click 4x||Ramp Configuration|
|TempCheck||Click 4x||Thermal Configuration|
|Beacon||Click 4x||Beacon Configuration|
|Candle||Click 3x||30 minute timer to off|
|Strobe Group||Hold||Heighten selected mode (Make faster or brighter)|
|Strobe Group||Click, Hold||Lessen selected mode (Make slower or dimmer)|
|On||Click 2x||FET Turbo|
|Ramp Configuration||[Wait for Single flash] Click N time for level N.||Selection of the “Low” you like best by clicking 1, 2, 3, etc. where 1, 2, 3, etc are different levels of low.|
|Ramp Configuration||[Wait for Second flash] Click N time for 1+Turbo-N.||Selection of the “Ceiling” you like best by clicking 1, 2, 3, etc. where 1, 2, 3, etc are different Ceiling levels.|
|Ramp Configuration||[Wait for Third flash] Click for how many steps you want in Stepped mode.||Sets Number of Steps.|
|Thermal Configuration||[Wait for First flash] Click for N times for N degrees C.||Displays Current Temperature.|
|Thermal Configuration||[Wait for Second flash] Click for N times for 30C + N.||Sets Temperature Limit.|
|Beacon Configuration||[Wait for First flash] Click for N times N seconds per flash||Sets Beacon Speed.|
LED and Beam
Just like the triple, I reviewed (and the one I ordered and paid for myself), this light has a Cree XP-L HI, 5000K emitter. This is a single emitter light and has a deep orange peel reflector. Remember the light being 8.7mm longer? Here’s that length. Want a throwy light, use a deeper reflector. So the tradeoff is a bit of length. If the light was shorter, you’d have a less throwy, more spilly beam. Nice thought, that one gets to pick between these two options! Also, it’s kind of nice they’re differentiable at a glance, with the throwy one being longer.
These beamshots are always with the following settings: f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.
Tint vs BLF-348 (KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b version) (affiliate link)
I compare everything to the Killzone 219b BLF-348 because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!
Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….
Here’s a link to a relevantly filtered page on parametrek.com. I use that site a lot!
That site tells me that there isn’t much in this class. Nothing else with a single 18650 that has a small bezel and throws over 300m. That’s pretty great! And all for just $37…. see why it’s a must-buy?
What I like
- Throw in a single 18650 [basically] tube light
- Tail e-switch
- Love the expanding family of FW series lights
- Emitter options
- A bunch of fun options like glow in the dark button covers, etc.
What I don’t like
- Getting things as tight as needed can be needlessly difficult
- This light was provided by Lumintop for review. I was not paid to write this review.
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