Lumintop FW3C Brass Flashlight Review

Yet another FW series light, yes!  This one’s probably the peak FW body for me, because the brass is spectacular.  Read on for some photos and thoughts!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the product page.  Affiliate link to NealsGadgets!

Versions

It’s the FW light, there are … I think this makes a million? versions?

Price

Brass is going for $67.95.  Buy yours here at Neals!


Short Review

I love brass and I love the brass FW3C!  I will probably swap out the emitters eventually to something that’s a more ideal temperature but as for hosts, I love it!

Long Review

The Big Table

Lumintop FW3C Brass
Emitter: Cree XP-L HI (1A (6500K))
Price in USD at publication time: $67.95
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) 729 (26% of claim)*^
Candela per Lumen 4.5
Claimed Throw (m) 223
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 207lux @ 4.224m = 3693cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 121.5 (54.5% 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 well into the stepdown.  Reporting values at startup is not unusual, but I report values at 30s.

What’s Included

  • Lumintop FW3C Brass flashlight
  • Spare o-rings (2)
  • Manual and papers

Package and Manual

I don’t think I’ve ever scanned the manual for these lights before, so here it is!  It’s a gigantic file (>17mb) but now you have it!

Build Quality and Disassembly

Almost none of the FW lights have had bad built quality (exception: FW3E).  So the question is really:  “is the brass better than the other/aluminum?”  I definitely like it better.  It’s on par with the copper, so if you prefer copper, then go for copper.  But the brass has a wonderful weight, a great slickness.

Also if it’s like the copper, which I’ve had now for around 6 month (and handled not all that much) then the brass will take on a wonderful patina/aged look.

The patina is actually one thing worth mentioning here.  The copper I had came absolutely “shiny-penny” clean.  This brass already had some patina in the knurling as seen below (this is immediately after opening).  I don’t really mind this, but just note the light wasn’t shipped “shiny-penny.”

Head knurling was very clean though!

Those threads are very smooth!

Tyipical inner-sleeve and driver.

There’s a spring on both ends.

Size and Comps

Weight:  Approximately 116 g without cells
Size:      25.5 mm Ø head x 92.5 mm length.

There’s the copper after 6 months of use and minimal handling.  I hope the brass will look similar!

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.

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.  I tested the light with a couple of cells (seen below).

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.  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

The emitters I received in this review copy are Cree XP-L HI in cool white temperature.  This isn’t at all what I’d pick, so I can see this getting swapped down the road, but for now we’ll just go with it!  At least the output should be a little better with the CW option.

The optic is clear.

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

Tint vs BLF-348 (Killzone 219b version)

Test light is on the left!

I compare everything to the Killzone 219b BLF-348, because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!

Conclusion

What I like

  • The brass.
  • Super smooth threads
  • Output is good
  • It’s brass!!

What I don’t like

  • How picky the light is about the cells being used
  • Factory stepdowns are too dramatic (probably due to thermal calibration)

Notes

  • This light was provided by Neal’s Gadgets for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • For flashlight related patches, stickers, and gear, head over to PhotonPhreaks, another site where I write!
  • Use my amazon.com referral link if you’re willing to help support making more reviews like this one!

Author: zeroair

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