Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 Flashlight Review

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 Flashlight Review

The FWAA has been a popular 14500 flashlight, and Lumintop released the FWAA TiCU version. Same great light, but with a few nice upgrades!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight page.

Versions

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight versions

There are aluminum versions, which I’ve covered twice.  Then there are the four options seen above (plus one!).  In the titanium/copper body, you can have quite a few emitter options:  Cree XP-G3 (6500K), Nichia 219c (3000K, 4000K, 5000K), and Luminus SST-20 (6500K, 4000K).

This sample is a Luminus SST-20 in 4000K.  And of course what I have here is a mix of the above titanium and copper parts, which is from NealsGadgets.com.

Price

This specific version sells for $83, but others are more or less costly depending on the details.  For example, full titanium is $88-$90, and full copper is around $73.  NealsGadgets.com sent the Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight to me for review.


Short Review

This is definitely the Lumintop FWAA to purchase.  The aluminum is great, but titanium and copper mixed is just such a great-looking light.  I also recommend these emitters, despite throw not really increasing as much as I thought it would with the SST-20 emitters.

Long Review

The Big Table

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight
Emitter: Luminus SST-20 (4000K)
Price in USD at publication time: $83.00
Cell: 1×14500
Turbo Runtime Graph Turbo Runtime Graph
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (mA): ?
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm)
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 722
Candela per Lumen 3.1
Claimed Throw (m)
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 155lux @ 3.216m = 1603cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 80.1
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).

What’s Included

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight what's included

  • Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight
  • Pocket clip (two way)
  • Lanyard
  • Manual and paper

Package and Manual

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight package

manual

Build Quality and Disassembly

new Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight

Above is a photo of the Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight straight out of the sealed package.

Below is a photo much later, after a bit of use and handling.  The change in copper has been minimal but is noticeable.

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight feature photo

The build quality here on this Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight is not unlike the other FWAA flashlights.  It’s very good; it’s a refined product.  In this case, we see titanium and copper being used, which is a great choice for style and performance.

Inside it’s a pretty typical FW light.  There’s an inner sleeve, which provides signal to the tail-e-switch.  The threads are square-cut and unanodized.

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight head off

Both head and tail have springs.  Neither are particularly robust.

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight springs

Other users more knowledgeable than I am about drivers say that what Lumintop has about this is inaccurate.  Lumintop says it’s a “FET+7+1 driver.”  But users who have disassembled (and in fact emitter swapped) this light say it’s a FET+1.

By taking off the head is likely the way you’ll want to swap the cells. This is just a historical way; in early FW lights the tailcap parts could fall out when the tailcap was removed.  But on this model (and really, most other FW’s), that’s fixed.  So you could swap the cell through the tail end, but you run into other issues, possibly.

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight bezel off

One minor complaint about this light is just how easy the bezel unscrews.  It’s not loose, but if you aren’t careful, when removing the head you’ll also loosen the bezel.  You’ll be able to avoid that with some practice, and I’d much rather have the bezel removable than threadlocked, so it’s still ok.

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight emitters Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight copper section Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight tube Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight tailcap knurling

Size and Comps

Weight:  Approximately 50 g without cells
Size:      20.5 mm Ø head x 70.9 mm length.

If a light will headstand, I’ll show it here (usually the third photo).  If a light will tailstand, I’ll show that here, too (usually the fourth photo).

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight in hand

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.

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight beside torchlab boss 35

Retention and Carry

Unlike my first FWAA, on the Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight version, the pocket clip shipped installed.  It’s a two-way pocket clip.  This replaces the tactical ring, and the two can’t be used concurrently.

Also unlike either of the other two I have, this version does not ship with a tactical ring.

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight pocket clip

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight pocket clip lanyard hole

Power and Runtime

The Lumintop FWAA flashlight is powered by a single lithium-ion cell.  The size is 14500.  I found that both my button top and flat tops worked fine but I really only had the gold Vapcell you see below in flat/button formats.  So really the same cell.  This light does not support 1.5V cells!

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight with 14500

The cell is installed in the usual way – positive terminal toward the head.  You can see below that I have the head removed, as I recommend that you do for cell swaps, too.

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight with 14500 installed

Flat or button, Lumintop does specify a max cell length:  50.5mm.

Here are a couple of runtimes.  I tested only on the stepped modes since I’d already tested the ramping setup in my previous review.  The thermal sensor popped off the light in this first test at around 15 minutes.  So past that the thermal is meaningless… But at that point it’s the same as the second test, so temperature should be about equivalent.

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight runtime graph

I don’t really notice a meaningful difference in thermally calibrated vs not thermally calibrated here.

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight runtime graph

Pulse Width Modulation

I’ve done mostly the same thing here that I do with other Andúril lights – the lowest mode (far left) is the lowest of ramping.  Because that’s much lower than the lowest stepped mode (annoying!).  Then from the second photo to the far right is each of the stepped modes (with the far right being the “double click to turbo” mode).  All modes except the highest have PWM (again, not a surprise for Andúril, and doesn’t look to have been sped up for Andúril2.

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).  10ms5ms2ms1ms0.5ms0.2ms.  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

There’s a single switch for interacting with the Lumintop FWAA 14500 flashlight.  It’s an e-switch, with a big metal button.

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight e-switch

The light ships with Andúril2, and that makes it my first light with Anduril2!  I love it, I think it’s an improvement over the first iteration(s).  There are some things some users might not love about it, but I think overall it’s much more approachable.  I will note though that the nomenclature might be a bit confusing – the light (all lights with Andúril2) ships in Simple UI.  This is not Muggle Mode.  You may think “well duh” and by now you’ve already seen the blistering runtime on turbo of Simple, so you get it.  But just be aware, don’t hand this light to the uninitiated thinking they won’t set their hand on fire while using Simple UI.  Here is where I’d tell you how to switch to muggle mode.  There is no muggle mode.

First let me remind you of the manual provided by Lumintop:

manual

This may really be your jam.  I find it almost useful.  But….

Here’s a UI table!  This table is directly from ToyKeeper’s Andúril2 manual, which you can view here:

http://toykeeper.net/torches/fsm/anduril2/anduril-manual.txt

I am putting this in a table here with ToyKeeper’s permission.  Thanks, TK!  This is so much better than me writing it because it’s more reliable, and I completely trust its accuracy (at least, if I can paste accurately).  I’m breaking it up a little differently than ToyKeeper did, though I certainly understand why it was done her way originally.

First, the table for Either User Interface.  These actions work whether you’re in Simple or Advanced UI.

State Action Result
Off 1C On (ramp mode, memorized level)
Off 1H On (ramp mode, floor level)
Off 2C On (ramp mode, ceiling level)
Off 3C Battcheck mode
Off 4C Lockout mode
Off 13H Factory reset (on some lights)
Off 15+C Version check
Ramp 1C Off
Ramp 1H Ramp (up, with reversing)
Ramp 2H Ramp (down)
Ramp 3H Tint ramping (on some lights)
Ramp 3H Momentary turbo (on lights without tint ramping)
Ramp 4C Lockout mode
Lockout 1C/1H Momentary moon (lowest floor)
Lockout 2C/2H Momentary moon (highest floor, or manual mem level)
Lockout 4C On (ramp mode, memorized level)
Lockout 4H On (ramp mode, floor level)
Lockout 5C On (ramp mode, ceiling level)
Batt check 1C Off

A table for only Simple User Interface:

State Action Result
Off 2H On (momentary ceiling level)
Off 10H Disable Simple UI
Ramp 2C Go to/from ceiling

A table for only Advanced (aka “Full”) User Interface:

State Action Result
Off 2H On (momentary turbo)
Off 3H Strobe mode (whichever was used last)
Off 5C Momentary mode
Off 7C Aux LEDs: Next pattern
Off 7H Aux LEDs: Next color
Off 10C Enable Simple UI
Off 10H Simple UI ramp config menu (1: floor, 2: ceiling, [3: steps])
Ramp 2C Go to/from ceiling (or turbo if at ceil already)
Ramp 3C Change ramp style (smooth / stepped)
Ramp 5C Momentary mode
Ramp 5H Sunset timer on, and add 5 minutes
Ramp 7H Ramp config menu (1: floor, 2: ceiling, [3: steps])
Ramp 10C Turn on manual memory and save current brightness
Ramp 10H Manual memory config menu (1: off, 2: set timeout)
Lockout 7C Aux LEDs: Next pattern
Lockout 7H Aux LEDs: Next color
Lockout 10H Auto-lock config menu (1: set timeout)
Strobe (any) 1C Off
Strobe (any) 2C Next strobe mode
Strobe (any) 3H Tint ramping (on some lights)
Strobe (any) 5C Momentary mode (using current strobe)
Candle 1H/2H Brighter / dimmer
Candle 5H Sunset timer on, add 5 minutes
Party strobe 1H/2H Faster / slower
Tactical strobe 1H/2H Faster / slower
Biking 1H/2H Brighter / dimmer
Lightning 1H Interrupt current flash or start new one
Batt check 2C Next blinky mode (Temp check, Beacon, SOS)
Batt check 7H Voltage config menu
Temp check 1C Off
Temp check 2C Next blinky mode (Beacon, SOS, Batt check)
Temp check 7H Thermal config menu
Beacon 1C Off
Beacon 1H Configure beacon timing
Beacon 2C Next blinky mode (SOS, Batt check, Temp check)
SOS 1C Off
SOS 2C Next blinky mode (Batt check, Temp check, Beacon)
Momentary Any On (until button is released)
Momentary Disconnect power Exit Momentary mode
Config menus Hold Skip current item with no changes
Config menus Release Configure current item
Number entry Click Add 1 to value for current item

To be completely honest, I’m not entirely sure yet what’s the best way to tell if you’re in Simple UI or Advanced UI.  Based on what I see here and with the light in hand, I think the fewest-clicks way will be 3 clicks from on (technically “Ramp” in the table, but I think “On” is accurate.)  This action – 3C from Ramp – in Advanced UI will iterate smooth or stepped.  In Simple UI, this action will do nothing.  There are other ways, though.  For example, double-clicking from the top of the ramp will either do nothing or go to Turbo.  If it does nothing, then you’re in Simple.  If it goes to 11, then you’re in Advanced.

Another great way to tell, thanks to a reader is to see what the lowest level of ramping is.  Advanced UI has a quite low low.  Simple UI has a much higher “lowest level.”

LED and Beam

This is a triple emitter light – there are three emitters.  Mine is a Luminus SST-20 version in 4000K.  It’s what I recommended you purchase after my previous two FWAA reviews, which were both Nichia.

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight emitters

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight emitters on Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight emitters on

The optic is around 17mm, and I couldn’t find a single replacement anywhere for it.  It’s a very floody optic (see the table up top for cd/lm).  Very floody.

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight emitters

That thing looking like a glow gasket there in the copper bit is not actually a glow gasket.

Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 flashlight emitters on fence

LED Color Report (CRI and CCT)

Beamshots

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 keep the test flashlight on the left, and the BLF-348 reference flashlight on the right.

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

Conclusion on the Lumintop FWAA TiCU 14500 Flashlight

What I like

  • It’s a small FW series light!
  • Works with Button and Flat top 14500 cells
  • Output is really massive
  • Pocket clip can go on the head as well as the tail
  • Collar clips are great!
  • Many emitter options
  • Warm emitter options
  • Andúril2!!

What I don’t like

  • Steps down before the official specs can be met (though I don’t really think that’s necessarily a bad thing – there’d be a lot of heat to manage…. (so lower the specs)).
  • Two-way pocket clip
  • Very floody, and no narrow 17mm optic replacements available
  • PWM
  • Doesn’t support AA (1.5V) cells.  I can kind of allow this, but it’s worth mentioning.

Notes

  • This light was provided by NealsGadgets.com for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
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