Lumintop FW3C Andúril Flashlight Review

A Fun Fund Friday review of a light you all probably already own and have moved past…  The Lumintop FW3C – yes another FW review!  My copy of this light has been in my possession for a while now, so shipped with an early version of Andúril, and the review might not be the most relevant any more.


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page.  That’s an affiliate link.  Click, enjoy!

Versions

It’s a FW series light.  There are a million versions.  Aluminum, copper, titanium, all sorts of emitter options.  (Cree XP-L HI 1A or 3D, Nichia 219c, Luminus SST-20 (seen here)).

Price

These were $69.95 when available at NealsGadgets.


Short Review

This is one of the few copper lights I’ve actually been happy with in the build of it.  Normally the copper smell is just too much.  And the light worked great for me at first, but now all of a sudden, the UI is… not working right.  It was bound to happen – these tail e-switch lights in this series are known for issues, but I can’t seem to get mine sorted.  So buy this one for the body, and probably be willing to reflash it to the most current Andúril.  (Would anyone be interested in a visual guide for that?)

Long Review

The Big Table

Lumintop FW3C
Emitter: Luminus SST-20, 4000K
Price in USD at publication time: $69.95
Cell: 1×18650
Turbo Runtime High Runtime
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (A): ?
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 2800
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 621^ (22.2% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m)
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 261lux @ 4.428m = 5117cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 143.1
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).
^ After the huge stepdown!

What’s Included

  • Lumintop FW3C Flashlight
  • Tactical grip ring
  • Spare o-rings (2)
  • Manual

I my case, I also ordered a glow switch cover, and glow gasket for under the optic.  Those are seen above.

Package and Manual

Standard FW3A box – the “C” on the sticker indicates copper, and the SST20 indicates the emitter.

The uncoated copper light is shipped in a vacuum sealed plastic pouch.

Build Quality and Disassembly

There are a couple sets of photos here.  First is the light immediately after I received it.  Straight out of the package, and untarnished.  The second set is notable for having 5 months of age on it.

The build quality is very good.  The threads are smooth, and also match non-copper FW3 lights perfectly, too.

Straight out of the package the light is super shiny – just exactly like a shiny new penny.  I mean it’s exactly like that in a way that most copper lights just are not.

This does make it a bit of a fingerprint magnet, though.

The knurling is fantastic.  I don’t love that there’s knurling on the tailcap, because that sends the wrong idea.  So don’t remove the tailcap on this light! unless you’re prepared to lose the nib, and search for ages for it.

After 5 months of fairly intermittent use, the patina looks like this (below).  The threads (which have generally been protected by the light staying closed and the o-ring), are still very shiny.

The head has a spring, as does the tailcap.  Normally this would mean you could use any type cell, but not in this case.  That’s because of the e-switch in the tail.  More on that later.

The threads are very smooth – square cut and bare.  I’m not even sure they’re lubed, but they’re super smooth.

The cell tube is not reversible.  Also note the threads on the tail end (right, below) – they’re much finer and clearly not as intended for being used a bunch.

Here’s the tailcap.  This is the old tailcap – there’s no retaining ring AND the nib is a separate piece in there.  Newer versions, at least on the FW1A, have a retaining ring and the nib is built in better.  This is still the old style, which is easy to lose and mess up.

The bezel also unscrews easily, and you’ll need this feature if you wish to add the glow gasket.  And you should add the glow gasket, because glow gaskets are awesome.

Size and Comps

Weight:  Approximately 53 g without cells
Size:      25.5 mm Ø head x 92.5 mm length.

Really this is a perfect sized EDC light.  In copper form it might be a bit heavy, but it’s still a joy to carry.  Not a ton of copper smell too, which I consider a great feature.

Two pics with the Convoy S2+ below – first without any patina.

And next, with some patina.  It really ages well.

The EDC18 below is really the same as the FW3A/C, but it’s not a tailswitch light.  Here’s my review of that one.

Retention and Carry

The only included means for carrying this light is the attached pocket clip.  It’s the most secure type, since it’s a collar that connects under the tailcap.

The clip boasts a couple of features, too – the holes allow lanyard attachment.  There are three holes for this.  The clip is steel of course, and not copper.

The clip is not reversible, and so the light can not be used on a hat.  Too heavy anyway!

Power and Runtime

The FW lights work on a single 18650 cell.  In the case of the tail e-switch variety (as this one is), you’ll need to use an unprotected flat top cell.  Even then, I found my light to be a little bit picky….  (or my light was just already trippin’ after working properly for a while.  I am not really sure which.)

The reason you need to use this type cell is that little black sleeve that runs inside the cell tube.  That makes the contact for the e-switch, which always needs access to power in order to work.  So the rim of that sleeve must be in contact with the tailcap.  This means the parts must be appropriately tightened, or that rim won’t make proper contact.  And it’s just the tiniest fraction of a mm difference in working, not working, or working stupidly here.

So flat top unprotected cell, and tighten things down fully.

These runtimes are deceiving, because the light steps down so hard almost immediately.  Even the measured 30 second output – if the light was recalibrated this would be much better.  The light does get hot – very hot – but it could live like that for at least a bit longer!  But it is what it is….

The light does step down to an extremely low output when the voltage is low.  Seems to protect cells properly.

PWM

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).  These PWM shots are reused from the FW3A review.

For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.  And here’s the worst PWM light I have ever owned.  Also one of the very first lights I ordered directly from China!

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), 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.

I’m dropping in ToyKeeper’s newest UI diagram, which includes some features my light does not have.  The firmware reset, for example, and also the secondary emitter options – but the graphic itself as a whole is much better.

Here’s a UI table anyway!

State Action Result
Off Hold On (Low)
Off Click On (Mode Memory)
Off Click 2x Highest Hybrid Mode
Off Click 3x Blinkie Mode Group
Off Click 4x Lockout
Off Click 5x Momentary
Off Click 6x Muggle
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
Lockout Click 4x Off
Strobe Group Click Off
(Basically) On Click Off
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.

I performed two runtimes on factory calibration and it became clear that the light needs to be recalibrated for thermal considerations.  This is where I hit a wall.  I either clicked into a way that the light just no longer has any love for me, or the firmware got bricked in a way that only works about half the way it should.  As such, I wasn’t able to recalibrate it, and so that’s why I didn’t perform any calibrated runs.

LED and Beam

I had some other emitters in this format, so I opted to get the Luminus SST-20 in this one.  I’m super pleased with that.  They’re 4000K and just have the best tint.  I fully recommend these!

I added a turbo glow gasket, which I installed myself and again I’d truly recommend those.

I also picked up a glow tailcap but I’m only “whatever” about that – it doesn’t glow usefully so next time I’d definitely skip it.  (It’s visible at left below, while at right is the glow gasket glowing around the emitters.)

These beamshots are always with the following settings:  f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.

Tint vs BLF-348 (Killzone 219b version)

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!

Conclusion

What I like

  • The copper.  And copper isn’t usually my jam.  (The scent is very low!)
  • Super smooth threads
  • Output is good
  • Luminus SST-20 is a solid choice for this light – warmer might even be better!

What I don’t like

  • How picky the light is about the cells being used
  • The tailcap lacks the newer retaining ring
  • The UI went crazy on me and I can’t get the light back.
  • Factory stepdowns are too dramatic (probably due to thermal calibration)

Notes

  • This light was provided by me for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Shop my amazon.com store for the best lights!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for BangGood and GearBest coupons. Please subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

10 thoughts on “Lumintop FW3C Andúril Flashlight Review

    1. Unfortunately the firmware on this light is from before a factory reset was an option (I think/it seems).

  1. “-How picky the light is about the cells being used
    -The UI went crazy on me and I can’t get the light back.”

    I assume the problem is the intersection of the signal line and the power line. There’s an electrical short circuit. In the drawing, I’ve identified the problem area.
    https://i.imgur.com/MTm7LKB.jpg
    Sorry about my poor English.

    1. Thanks, I will have to check that out. What’s the fix? Some kapton tape between those two areas?

      1. Yeah, I think it’ s need a dielectric between them. Perhaps by loosening the driver pinch ring, the driver board can be shifted to create a gap. But even if there is a small gap between the signal line and the power line, there is a risk that copper chips/dust from rubbing threaded connections will get in and accumulate and may cause electrical short circuits again.

        1. I tried it, and it is the same. I can see a gap between the pieces you’re mentioning. So I don’t think that’s the problem.

          Also handling the light again makes me realize I really do want it to work right.

          1. Is the driver board held securely by the pressure ring, or does it move slightly? It is possible that thermal expansion of metals may have an effect on the problem.
            I can also assume that the problem may be in the mechanism of the button, after disassembling the lantern for review, probably something may have shifted.
            If you can solve the problem, please let your readers know. Similar problems have occurred with other users of both aluminum and copper versions of the flashlight.

          2. You can also try this way:
            Take head,barrel, tail and inner sleeve apart.
            Re insert sleeve into barrel (make sure the thin translucent band is in the correct place just below the shoulder on the sleeve), put on the tail cap only partially tight.
            Using your finger inserted inside the sleeve, turn the sleeve and incrementally tighten the tail cap until you can feel the resistance of the sleeve pushing on the tailcap’s PCB as you turn it.
            Feeling that there is good direct contact, give it one more turn for luck(!), then tighten the tailcap as hard as you can. When the tailcap is fully tightened, you should not be able to turn the inner sleeve.
            Reassemble light with battery, switch on.
            This is the technique that I found to work when the connection between sleeve and tailcap PCB was bad. It’s also a good idea to ensure there is no grease etc on two thin end surfaces of the inner sleeve.

          3. I have done these instructions to the best of my ability (ie I think I did it just like you stated here) and the light still exhibits the same issues.

            When everything is connected initially, the first click never does anything. In fact any clicks after I’ve just assembled the light – doesn’t do anything. If I hold the switch, then the light will come on. To some middle-low output. After that, clicking again works moderately. I still never get any low modes (only middle-low), and most of the features don’t work. Ramping from off will work but it starts at the middle-low, and when ramping down, stops at middle-low. Double click does get to turbo. None of the accessory modes work. Batt check, strobes, um…. basically none of that stuff.

            I’ve checked the retaining ring on the driver too. There isn’t contact between the ring and the little brass band on the mcpcb. I have the retaining ring as tight as I can get it with the tools I have (maybe not the best). I think going tighter would be bad for the parts.

            Still willing to try, though. I really like carrying this light.

  2. Hi Zeroair,

    Do you think it’ll be worth it to sell the EDC18 nichia that I have for a FW3A SST20 for just more throw and less heat? Or should I go for Cree NW instead? I know they are of different CCTs but both are in the CCT range that I like (I prefer something between 4200k-5000k). The nichia version is very floody which I quite like, but it really lacks of throw.

    Thanks alot,

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