Awesome vape related wallpaper from Von Hogler

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

A fellow Redditor was kind enough to make a wallpaper sized version of this for me (full HD, click the image for the full size version). Check out his store and help a fellow vaper if you can.

end

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Hardware Review: IGO-L

IGO-L - click to enlarge

This was my first RDA, and I will always have a soft spot for it.

Specs

Material: Stainless Steel
Length: 25mm (~0.98″)
Diameter: 20mm (~0.79″)
Battery Connection: 510
Number of posts: 2
Post holes: NO
Number of air holes: 1
Diameter of air hole(s): ~1mm
MSRP: $19.99USD
What’s in the box:

IGO-L box contents

IGO-L box contents

  • 1 IGO-L RDA deck
  • 1 IGO-L RDA top cap
  • 1 bag of spare parts (2 o-rings, 1 extra post screw, small piece of wick, small piece of wire)

Some retailers include the spare parts baggie, some do not. The actual price for these guys ranges from about $12 to $25 depending on vendor (available here, among others).

Pros

  • Price.
  • Simple, easy to get working.
  • Spacious drip well makes dripping super easy.
  • Large deck (this is relative with RDA’s).
  • Philips head post screws, no allen wrench to fool with.

The IGO-L is simple to set up, and is a fantastic RDA for someone just getting into rebuildables. There is lots of room to work with on the deck and in the cap, making this one of the easier RDAs to build on.

Cons

  • No post holes.
  • Only 2 posts.
  • ~1mm air hole creates a very tight draw.

The only thing that I really want to see in the IGO-L is post holes. They just make attaching coils so much easier.

Errata

Air flow

That single ~1mm air hole is going to limit your cloud chasing. While I’ve seen people bore these out huge, it seems that the sweet spot for most people is somewhere between 1.4 and 1.6mm. That’s not a huge change from the stock air hole, but it makes worlds of difference when it comes to the vapor produced.

I’ve also seen people drill out a second 1mm air hole either right above or right next to the stock hole. This is kinda personal preference as to which mod you would enjoy more.

Colorization

Slumberland Industries Custom

Slumberland Industries Custom – click to enlarge

One of the neat things about the IGO-L is that the cap is made entirely of stainless steel, which will colorize at high temperatures. The picture above is a colorized and bored out IGO-L produced by Slumberland Indistries (available here).

This is just an example, but other colors are easily done.

All in all I think the IGO-L is possibly the perfect starter RDA, and I find myself reaching for it more often than some other far more expensive RDAs.

end

Getting Started: Mechanical APVs – Mechs 101

In a previous Getting Started post I covered Mechanical APVs in a 40,000 foot overview sort of way. Mechs are a fairly complex topic, and deserve a more thorough explanation.

Advantages of Mechanical APVs

With the advances in VV/VW regulated APVs, why would someone choose a mechanical APV? At first glance it would seem that it makes more sense to choose a wide variety of features than something as simple as most mechanicals.

Simplicity

While at first blush the very simplicity of a mech seems a disadvantage, it is one of its strongest draws for many.diagram

The diagram at the right is essentially the entirety of a mechanical APV. There are no electronic components. This means that it is far less likely to break or fail than a regulated APV which contains a control circuit and safety features. This also makes it far easier to repair if it does break or fail.

Control

Since mechs essentially create a direct connection between the battery and the atomizer, they require that you control every aspect of the vaping experience by varying the resistance of the atomizer. Want an 8w vape? You’re going to need to put a 2.2 ohm atomizer on a fresh battery. How did I know that? Ohm’s Law. You’re going to need to get very familiar with it if you want to use a mechanical APV to its full potential (and be safe while doing it). There are dozens of Ohm’s Law calculators online, I like this one.

The pay off for this work is that you can run sub ohm coils (this is not to say that you necessarily should, but you can), because there is no protection circuitry.

Which can lead to things like this:

smokeSignals

Chasing clouds like that is dangerous. I don’t advocate anyone do it (you can get plenty of righteous clouds without going crazy). But is sure looks cool every now and again. You’re definitely not getting that cloud out of a regulated APV, stuff like that requires the right mech in the right configuration.

Craftsmanship

Now I like my Sigelei ZMAX v3 telescope, but when it comes to craftsmanship, it can’t hold a candle to a Sentinel, Zenesis, or any of dozens of other mechs. I’m not talking clones here, I’m talking about high end mechs here. They are expensive, but they are well made. There are no machining marks, no uneven grinds, no gouges. A well made mech is a thing of beauty (maybe I’m a bit biased, I used to be a machinist).

A ProVari is nice, but it’s not anything like a Caravella or an Nzonic. Some people just appreciate a well made piece of hardware and are willing to pay for it.

Mech Safety

The picture of the guy practicing for the man made eclipse event in the coming Olympics above reminds me that I need to talk about safety here. Mechs don’t have any built in fuses or safety circuits, so there are a few things you’ll need to know before using a mech that can keep you from blowing your face off.

Buy a multi-meter and test everything regularly

You need to test the output of your batteries so that you know when they are charged (or if a charger is over charging them), when they are depleted, and when they are beginning to fail (draining much faster than normal).

Aside from that, you need to be able to test your atomizer for resistance and shorts.

Unlike with regulated APV’s, a mech will still fire even if there is a short present in the atomizer. It is imperative that you test for shorts before you attach the atomizer to the mech, and that you test the mech itself for shorts.

Battery Safety

If you haven’t read the Battery Basics post, now is a good time to do that.

I’ll reiterate here that it is super important that you understand current draw and how it is calculated for your battery.

I personally won’t use anything but AW IMR batteries in APVs. I strongly recommend that you not either (at least some variety of IMR cell, the chemistry really is that much safer).

Fuses

There are a couple of different companies making fuses for use in mechs. I highly recommend using them. The VapeSafe is one that is really popular, and some mechs are now coming with a fuse (like the K100/K101 series of clones).

This will prevent doing things like this:

Just... don't

Just… don’t

But, it will also prevent catastrophic battery failure, which is just a bit more important.

Venting

Venting is nothing more complicated than holes or slots that provide a direct path between the battery and the outside world. Bottom venting alone is really not sufficient, as most batteries will vent from the top, and a failing battery may swell and effectively seal off bottom vents.

All APVs should have venting, but this is especially important in mechs because (despite all of my warnings to this point) people are going to play with sub ohm coils and some will overdraw their batteries. Vents allow the gas (and possibly flames) from a battery failure to leave the mech in a safe(ish) way, rather than turning the mech into a mortar or grenade.

Ideally, all APVs would follow this standard for venting, but not many will.

Battery Safety Revisited

Yes it really is that important.

Do not use batteries that are fully discharged

The batteries that we use in APVs are not like the batteries in your television remote. The chemistry of these batteries dictates that certain precautions be taken.

The batteries that we use typically output 4.2v on a full charge, and this will reduce with use. These batteries can typically be used down to somewhere between 3.6v and 3.2v safely (some well made batteries such as AW IMR’s, can go lower than this even).

Generally the vapor output will change notably when it is getting close to empty. A good rule of thumb is to change the battery when you feel it might need it.

Do not invert batteries

Due to the simplicity of mechs, they will function with the battery inserted either direction (generally proper orientation is that the positive side of the battery goes toward the atomizer). This is not a good idea. With the battery inserted the correct way, the spring and body of the mech will be “negative”, with the positive terminal separated from the negative terminal by the switch.

This is important because every part of the actual battery (with the exception of the positive terminal) is also negative. So if your battery wrapper were to become torn or be pierced, the negative part of the battery would be in contact with the negative part of the mech, preventing a short. Also, many mechs utilize a “hot” spring, that will collapse if a short occurs, physically separating the positive terminal from any potential short if overheating occurs. This is a fairly effective way to prevent many cases of thermal runaway.

If on the other hand, the battery is inserted reversed, the spring and body of the mech become “positive”, and any tear or nick in the battery wrapper will expose a negative portion of the battery to a direct connection to the positive terminal of the battery, creating a dead short. This is the fastest way to achieve thermal runaway and experience a critical failure of your battery.

Do not stack batteries

There are several issues that arise in stacking batteries, not least among them being the doubling of output voltage.

Perhaps the most serious issue with stacking batteries is that it becomes much more likely that you will overdraw one. Batteries will wear at different rates (this is even a problem when using two identical batteries from the same manufacturer – even the same run of batteries). Eventually this leads to a situation where one battery is completely discharged, and the other can still fire the mech. The problem with this situation is that both batteries are still experiencing current draw.

Use a good charger, do not overcharge batteries

If you are going to use unprotected cells it is imperative that you not leave them on the charger once they are done charging, and that you test them with a multi-meter directly off of the charger. The batteries will continue to take current until they reach the point of failure. With these batteries more than any other, a quality charger is paramount.

Prevent accidental firing

If your mech has a locking mechanism for the switch, use it. If it does not, don’t leave a battery in your mod if there is any conceivable way the mech could fire.

One of the leading ways that APVs are damaged is through accidental, continual firing. This is most common when transporting them by dropping them in a pocket or a purse. Many mechs have locking rings or other locking mechanisms to prevent this. If your mech has this feature, use it.

Mech features

Generally speaking, all mechs are composed of the same basic components:

  • A battery tube
  • A switch
  • An end cap (may also contain the switch)
  • An atomizer connection

While all mechanical APVs have these features, they are not always in the same place, nor do they always function the same.

Switches

Generally come in two varieties; magnetic and spring operated. They function exactly like you would think: a spring or an opposing pair of magnets is used to keep the switch in the open position until the user physically closes them.

The switch can be located in several places:

  • In the end cap
  • In the top cap
  • On the side of the mod at the bottom (pinky fired)
  • On the side of the mod at the top
  • On the side of the mod anywhere in between

Generally speaking magnetic switches are more expensive, and are also smoother, but still fairly rare in the vaping world.

Threading

Most mechs are made with a proprietary threading that precludes their parts from being interchangeable, though House Of Hybrids has recently made their Z2 thread spec public (the threading pattern used in the Zenesis 2 line).

The hope is that mech makers will use the Z2 spec as a standard, making many mechs capable of using parts from other vendors, leading to some truly one of a kind mechs.

Lance at SteamMonkey is the first to take advantage of this and has released a switch using the Z2 thread spec, and has a mech planned that will utilize the Z2 spec throughout.

Hybrids

hybrids

Hybrids are nothing more than an APV with a built in atomizer (the Zenesis is a great example of this, it can be had as a hybrid or with an optional 510 connector end cap). These provide a very sleek form factor device as the topper is made specifically to work with the mech body.

The Best of Both Worlds?

The_Kick_by_Evolv

Recently there have been some devices like the Evolv Kick and it’s clones that bring variable wattage functionality to mechanical APVs. Some people love them, some hate them. Some mechs support them, some don’t. I have not used these devices, but I like the principle. The beauty of a mech with the ability to change wattage without changing the atomizer.

Hopefully that is enough to get you interested in mechs, and maybe consider trying one.

end

Hardware Review: Kanger Protank 2

TWO

With the release of the original Protank, Kanger changed the standard for well made clearomizers. The Protank was first, but it was far from perfect. The most common points of failure with the original Protank were the separation of the seal between the base and pyrex tank, and the (unfortunately common) shearing off of the threads on the 510 connection.

With the release of the Protank 2, Kanger has proven that they can not only listen to customer feedback, but they can act on it.

Specs

Length: 68mm (~2 11/16″)
Diameter: 18.3mm (~23/32″)
Capacity: Nominally 2.5ml (it actually holds more like 3ml or so)
Battery Connection: 510 threads
What’s in the box:

Protank 2 package contents

Protank 2 package contents

  • 1x pyrex glass tank with removable chrome drip tip
  • 1x steel base
  • 2x replaceable atomizer heads (both 2.5ohm)

Pros

  • Use any 510 drip tip (see the errata section below for details).
  • Don’t have to worry about “tank cracker” juices.
  • Replaceable atomizer heads (they run between $0.99 and $2 each depending on vendor and how many you purchase).
  • Easy to clean (even easier now that you can take the tank apart).
  • Easy to fill.
  • Don’t leak (this sometimes requires minor adjustment from the user).
  • Capacity.
  • Cooler draw (bottom coil clearomizers tend to be this way).
  • Airy draw (some people don’t like that, it can be adjusted, see the errata section for details).
  • Atomizer heads can be recoiled and rewicked for even greater savings.
  • All parts of the tank are user replaceable (when they become available).

The Protank 2 corrects the two major flaws that the original Portank had; it can be disassembled and it has a “standard” 510 drip tip:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This makes cleaning super simple.

Cons

  • Occasional leaking or gurgling when less than 50% full (this can be fixed).
  • Glass tank is prone to breakage if dropped (but can now be replaced).
  • Airy draw (which can be adjusted, see the errata section for details).
  • Not all 510 drip tips fit (this can be fixed, see the errata section below).
  • No beauty ring included in the package.

Maintenance

You’re really only going to have three common maintenance tasks with a Protank:

  • Assembling or disassembling the tank.
  • Filling or topping off the tank.
  • Cleaning it.

Assembly/Disassembly

Unlike the original Protank, the Protank 2 uses no silicon or epoxy in its construction.

Here is a diagram showing assembly instructions (this is included in the printed manual that comes in the box):

Click to enlarge

Filling

This is probably the thing you will do most often.

Filling the Protank - click to enlarge

Filling the Protank – click to enlarge

Simply invert the tank, remove the base (including the atomizer head) and fill to just below the center tube as shown in the image above. Careful not to get the juice in the center tube. That tube leads directly to the drip tip, and if you get juice in it the juice will run right out and onto whatever is under the drip tip at the time (plus if you don’t clean it out afterwards, you risk leaking or gurgling as the juice runs back into the atomizer head). You should also ensure that the atomizer head is fully seated (just give it a good clockwise twist), as it has a tendency to unscrew after the Protank has been removed from the battery a few times. This can lead to rather bad leaking directly into the battery connection if it becomes too loose.

Cleaning

The Protank 2 is fully disassembleable, and so even easier to clean than the original. I just rinse if off with hot water from the sink, drop it into a glass of Pure Grain Alcohol (PGA – unflavored Vodka works just fine), let it sit for a few minutes (I usually just kind of swirl it around in the vodka for maybe 30 seconds, but if the head is particularly gunked up I’ll leave it in there for a while), flush it out with some bottled water, and let it dry. I do this every time, or every other time I fill the tank, and get pretty good life from my atomizer heads.

Changes worth noting:

  • The center tube is smaller than the original, so you are going to have to work a little bit to get a cotton swab in there (they do go in).
  • When completely disassembled there are two silicone o-rings (they are flat on one side so they are more like gaskets), one on either side of the tank. These tend to pop out at the most inconvenient times. Like in the sink with the water running.

Those gaskets are just small enough that they can go down the drain in most sinks. Be careful. I watched one go down my drain. Luckily I was able to fish it out with a piece of coat hanger (they will catch at the bottom of the sink stopper in most modern sinks. Take a look if you lose one (but be careful, you don’t want to force it down) , you might get really lucky and be able to fish it back out without having to remove the P trap on the sink.

Errata

“Standard” 510 Drip tips

Some will fit, some won’t. Unfortunately the Captivape BDS90 (which is virtually the entire reason I bought a Protank 2) does not:

This is what Frustration looks like

This is what frustration looks like

I also had issues with a Captivape DS60. The aluminum DS60 was an easy fix (aluminum is a relatively soft metal, so I was able to reduce the diameter of the 510 drip tip connector using some jeweler’s files and emery paper. I’m not about to try that with stainless steel (it would take way longer). I will note that a couple of other drip tips I had did fit, though there was a generic delrin tip that also did not fit.

This frustration was compounded by the fact that I could feel that the problem was just at the very tip of the drip tip slot, there was a slight lip of material which made it just too small to accept all tips.

For me, this was not acceptable.

So I started thinking. The original Protank is made of brass, then chromed. The Protank 2 is the same. Brass is a very soft metal. I can fix this!

I accept no responsibility for your actions!

I accept no responsibility for your actions!

What you see there is a standard HSS 3/8″ drill bit. This picture was very difficult to take, so please excuse the focus.

I took said 3/8″ drill bit (NO drill, just the bit), laid the cutting edge against just the lip of the drip tip slot (applying just very slight but consistent pressure), and then spun the tank.

I did not remove much material. The material I removed looked like pepper flakes, it was so little (I’m pretty sure I just needed to remove the chrome). Let me reiterate, brass is VERY soft, you could easily remove too much material if you try this with too much pressure.

Click to enlarge

Once that was done, I was able to use all of my drip tips with the Protank 2.

With a drip tip attached you can’t even tell that the Protank 2 has been modified at all:

Success! Click to enlarge

Success! Click to enlarge

Gurgling/Leaking fix

The same fix for leaking/gurgling in EVOD tanks works for the Protank 2. Sometimes though you get gurgling for other reasons. Like if you spilled some juice in the center tube while cleaning, or a severe change in altitude or ambient temperature. Generally this only requires you to get the juice out of the atomizer head/center tube, and mop up any juice sitting on the battery connection. You can do this with a cotton swab. Just pop the drip tip off, and twist a cotton swab up into the center tube until it is pressed up against the atomizer chimney, and invert the atomizer. Hold it there for a few seconds, and then pull out the cotton swab and do the same with the other end.

Usually there won’t be much juice in there, and the second end of the swab will come out pretty dry. If so, you can use that end to wipe off your battery connector too. If not, use another cotton swab.

The center shaft of the Protank 2 is slightly smaller than the original, though you can still get a cotton swab in there with a little work.

Adjusting the airy draw of the Protank

I’ve already mentioned that the atomizer heads can be rebuilt, but this isn’t necessary for adjusting the draw. The Protank, Mini Protank, and Protank 2 all use the same atomizer heads, but the atomizer heads from the EVOD are also interchangable with the Protank 2 (works both ways). This is great because the EVOD atomizer heads have a tighter draw, and will tighten up the draw on the Protank (it won’t be the same as an EVOD, but somewhere in between the two).

Click to enlarge

Also if you are using the Protank 2 on an eGo type battery and have a beauty ring (one was included with the original Protank, but is not with the Protank 2), make sure you spin that up flush with the base of the Protank as shown in the image above.

Like the original the Protank 2 has air channels cut into the base (it draws air from the top of the 510 connector up through the atomizer), and if all of those are exposed the draw will be much airier than if the beauty ring is sitting flush with the base. Also sealing off one or more of these air holes or air channels will tighten the draw on the Protank. Just don’t seal off all of them, or the Protank won’t function. I would suggest sealing one at a time until you get the draw you want. I would use Teflon tape for the air holes in the 510 connection, and hot glue for one of the air channels (I wouldn’t seal off both air channels).

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Easy way to keep juice out of the center tube while filling

The center tube in the Protank 2 is slightly smaller than on the original (but you can still get a cotton swab in there). To prevent leaking (because you are going to have some liquid drain off of the atomizer into that tube if you remove the base after the tank has had liquid in it), I run a cotton swab up into the center tube before unscrewing the base.

Once the swab is butted up to the atomizer chimney, I hold it there while unscrewing the base and withdrawing the atomizer. Once the atomizer is out, just push the cotton swab all the way up to the end of the center tube, but keep the head inside. That will effectively seal off the center tube, preventing accidental spills through the center tube. When done filling, simply withdraw the cotton swab and replace the atomizer and base.

Everything that I did not like about the Protank appears to have been fixed with the release of the Protank 2. Unless a couple of dollars is just too much (or you just really like the look of the original Protank), I would recommend opting for the Protank 2 rather than the original.

end

Juice Review: Mt. Baker Vapor – Extreme Ice

umamiwheel

Here is my review criteria, let’s get to it!

Product Page

Cost for 15ml: $4.99

Vendor Description: Nothing that even remotely describes the flavor. Seriously, their descriptions suck. You have to read the reviews to figure out what half of their flavors are supposed to be. This one is generally agreed to be a Mint + Menthol flavor.

As reviewed:

  • 80%PG/20%VG
  • 24mg/ml Nicotine
  • 30ml bottle
  • Dripped through an IGO-L on a Sigelei ZMAX v3 at 6.5-8w
  • Vaped in a Kanger Protank on an eGo Twist.

Mixing Options: 15 points possible

15/15

MVB is one juice vendor that offers a serious array of options. They have a slection of mix ratios, and you can even add extra flavoring to the juice. They even have a mix your own flavor option.

Cost: 5 points possible

5/5

MBV is about the cheapest you are going to find. Coupled with their flavor variety and mixing options it’s a great deal all around.

Packaging (shipping): 5 points possible

5/5

Everything arrived correct and secure.

Packaging (bottle): 10 points possible

9/10

About the only thing I can gig MBV on with their bottles is that they only offer plastic bottles.

Throat Hit: 5 points possible

5/5

As I would expect for a 80/20 mix this juice has a serious throat hit.

Taste (Before Curing): 5 points possible

5/5

Tastes very minty and has a strong menthol component, exactly what I was looking for.

Requires Curing: 10 points possible

10/10

I could vape this right out of the mail.

Cure Time: 10 points possible

10/10

One day in a hot car toned down the menthol a little bit (which is ok), but didn’t have much of an impact on taste.

Taste (After Curing): 25 points possible

17/25

Minty, very strong menthol. This is what I used to trick my brain into thinking I was smoking when I first started vaping. It worked for me. I like this, but have since discovered that I prefer mint to menthol, and like some additional flavoring in my juice. I would buy this again, and I could vape it all day, but probably wouldn’t.

Vapor Production: 5 points possible

5/5

Vapor production is consistent and good.

Tank Cracker: 5 points possible

5/5

Not a tank cracker.

Preliminary Score:  91/100

This is a solid juice, I would recommend this to anyone who likes mint of menthol. The only way it could improve is if MBV offered glass bottles.

Bonus Points: 7 points possible

3/7

Free sample with every order I’ve made, same nicotine level as the order, and nicotine up to 36mg/ml.

Final Score:  94/100

end

Juice Review: Gremlin Juice – Blue Gremlin

umamiwheel

Here is my review criteria, let’s get to it!

Product Page

Cost for 15ml: $7.99

Vendor description: Fresh Blueberry Waffles.

As reviewed:

  • 50%PG/50%VG
  • 12mg/ml Nicotine
  • 10ml bottle
  • Dripped through an IGO-L on a Sigelei ZMAX v3 at 6.5-8w

Mixing Options: 15 points possible

13/15

Customization requires either an email or use of the “Notes” section of the order form. Rich (the owner) is very enthusiastic about custom orders.

Cost: 5 points possible

5/5

The value for the quality is amazing.

Packaging (shipping): 5 points possible

5/5

Packaging was secure and appropriate for the contents.

Packaging (bottle): 10 points possible

3/10

All bottles are black plastic (from what I understand this is changing, but slowly). Not childproof. The built in spout on the plastic bottles is terrible. Several users have reported that they have sprayed juice all over because the pour is so tight. The label is paper. The print on the labels wore to the point that they became difficult to read very quickly. No note of PG/VG mix on the bottle. No mix date on the bottle.

I would pay another $2 for a glass bottle with a tyvek label, that had all the relevant information on it.

Throat Hit: 5 points possible

5/5

As I would expect for a 50/50 mix this juice has a solid throat hit.

Taste (Before Curing): 5 points possible

5/5

Faint taste right out of the bottle, generically sweet, just a hint of chemically taste, not overpowering.

Requires Curing: 10 points possible

8/10

Pre cure taste is not outright bad, but there is something about it that I just wouldn’t want to vape.

Cure Time: 10 points possible

10/10

One day in my car in the hot sun (bottles not in direct sunlight) and the flavor profile on this juice changed radically.

Taste (After Curing): 25 points possible

25/25

Blueberry? Check. Waffles? Check. What caught me by surprise was the touch of maple syrup and just a hint of cinnamon.

This makes an amazing breakfast vape. Add a cup of coffee to the equation? Fugettaboutit.

Vapor Production: 5 points possible

5/5

Vapor production is consistent and good.

Tank Cracker: 5 points possible

5/5

Not a tank cracker.

Preliminary Score:  89/100

The bottle packaging really hit this one hard, which I feel really bad about, because I absolutely love this juice.

Bonus Points: 7 points possible

4/7

Free sample has come with every order I have made. Rich likes to keep his customers happy, if you request something specific as a sample, he will do his level best to get it to you. He has even been known to custom mix samples for people. If you want a specific nicotine content for your sample, just make sure to put it in the Notes section of the order.

Final Score:  93/100

Rich has said that he is looking at replacing the plastic bottles with glass (which I fervently hope he does), but the labels need to go too. I bought 7 bottles from Gremlin Juice in this order, all 10-15ml, and by the time I was done sampling them (maybe a mil out of each bottle was put through the dripper), I could barely read two of them. With the 4 bonus points garnered, this should easily be a 95+ point juice. Hell just getting the relevant information on the bottle would get it to 95.

end

Juice Review: The Vapor Chef – Frosty Blue Jazzberry

umamiwheel

Here is my review criteria, let’s get to it!

Product Page

Cost for 15ml: $9.99

As reviewed:

  • 50%PG/50%VG
  • 24mg/ml Nicotine
  • 6ml sample bottle
  • Dripped through an IGO-L on a Sigelei ZMAX v3 at 6.5-8w

Mixing Options: 15 points possible

11/15

The Vapor Chef has limited PG/VG customization options, though the options given should cover most people’s tastes, the “Max PG and Max VG” do not exactly tell you if you are getting 100% of either as is implied.

Cost: 5 points possible

5/5

While cost is higher than some other vendors, the quality is in line with what I would expect for it.

Packaging (shipping): 5 points possible

5/5

Packaging was secure and appropriate for the contents.

Packaging (bottle): 10 points possible

9/10

The only deduction is for lack of childproof bottles.

Throat Hit: 5 points possible

5/5

As I would expect for a 50/50 mix this juice has a solid throat hit.

Taste (Before Curing): 5 points possible

4/5

Very faint taste right out of the bottle, just a hint of chemically taste, not overpowering.

Requires Curing: 10 points possible

9/10

I’d have no problem vaping this right out of the mail, though the taste is very faint.

Cure Time: 10 points possible

10/10

One day in my car in the hot sun (bottles not in direct sunlight) and the flavor profile on this juice really filled out.

Taste (After Curing): 25 points possible

25/25

I Will order this again. I have no issues vaping this all day long.

This, amazingly enough, tastes exactly like vaping a blue Otterpop. Like if I blindfolded you, you would swear I poured a melted blue Otterpop in there.

I love it.

Vapor Production: 5 points possible

5/5

Vapor production is consistent and good.

Tank Cracker: 5 points possible

5/5

Not a tank cracker.

Preliminary Score:  93/100

Bonus Points: 7 points possible

2/7

Free sample with orders over $15, the nicotine level on every sample I have received from the Chef has been the same as what I ordered.

Final Score:  95/100

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PSA: What tanks use Kanger Protank atomizers?

1In 2013, Kanger apparently invented the replaceable atomizer head to which all other BCC heads pale in comparison. It’s not perfect, buy the lowly Protank Atomizer Head has apparently become something of an industry standard. These come in single units, or packages of five, and retail for anywhere between $1.10 – $3 each, depending on vendor and quantity.

When I was choosing my first rebuildable clearo, I discovered that both the EVOD and Protank could use the same atomizer heads. I like the idea of commonality of spare parts (incidentally this is also why I shoot Glock pistols; I can use the same magazine in four different pistols). Since then, Kanger has decided to stop making EVOD specific heads, and now produces 4 different BCC tanks that use the Protank atomizer (soon to be five when the Mini Protank 2 is released).

But Kanger is not the only one making tanks that use this atomizer. So which tanks on the market can use the Protank atomizer head?

Kanger Protank

Protank

This is the one that started it all. See my review here.

Kanger Protank 2

protank2

This is the latest evolution in the Protank line, a Protank that not only uses no glue, but that is user serviceable with replaceable parts. Review coming soon.

Kanger Mini Protank

PTMini

The recently released Mini Protank comes in an eGo threaded version only at this point, though the box has a check box for a 510 version, which Kanger has said is in the works. Review coming soon.

Kanger Mini Protank 2

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This is the forthcoming Mini version of the Protank 2. I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these.

Kanger EVOD

EVOD

The EVOD is essentially a plastic and metal version of the Mini Protank. Review coming soon.

AnyVape Davide

davide

This is clearly a clone of the Protank design, with some of the features of the Protank 2.

AnyVape Mini Davide

MiniDavideThis is like the AnyVape version of the Mini Protank 2.

DBox Puritank

dbox-puritankI think we can all draw our own conclusions about where this design came from. I have to wonder if this is a clone, or the night shift at the Kanger factory moonlighting.

Kamry X9

x9This is just a blatant rip off of the original Protank.

Kamry X10

x10This is some weird clone of the DCT carto tank that uses Protank atomizer heads rather than a carto. I feel like there is just something wrong about this at a fundamental level, but it does look kinda cool.

Vision V-Tox

v-tox

Despite so obviously being an EVOD clone, I really like that it has four windows into the tank rather than the two that are on the actual EVOD.

Tatroe Tank

tatroe

The Tatroe tank is one of the most awesome tanks I’ve seen. It’s really clean looking, and comes in several variants. This started out as a replacement top for the original Protank, but they now offer complete tanks with bases too. The Tatroe tank is a bit pricy at ~$35 for just the top, and you can’t see your juice level, but I like it. If you’re interested in the Tatroe Tank you can pick one up here.

That’s all of the tanks that I am aware of that currently use the Kanger Protank Atomizer.

I’m sure five more are just around the corner.

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PSA: New study confirms that chemicals in electronic cigarettes pose minimal health risk

Ok, this is too awesome not to share. Press release from casaa.org:

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 8, 2013/PRNewwire-USNewswire — E-cigarette users can breathe a little easier today.  A study just released by Professor Igor Burstyn, Drexel University School of Public Health, confirms that chemicals in electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) pose no health concern for users or bystanders.  This is the first definitive study of e-cigarette chemistry and finds that there are no health concerns based on generally accepted exposure limits.

E-cigarettes are devices that heat a nicotine solution to create an aerosol (called “vapor”) that the user inhales, similar to smoking a cigarette.  They are used as a low-risk substitute for smoking by millions of former smokers, and their increasing popularity seems to account for the current downward trend in smoking in the U.S. and some other countries.  While experts agree that the risks posed by e-cigarettes are significantly less than those posed by smoking, there had been some debate about how much lower the risk was.

By reviewing over 9,000 observations about the chemistry of the vapor and the liquid in e-cigarettes, Dr. Burstyn was able to determine that the levels of contaminants e-cigarette users are exposed to are insignificant, far below levels that would pose any health risk.  Additionally, there is no health risk to bystanders.  Proposals to ban e-cigarettes in places where smoking is banned have been based on concern there is a potential risk to bystanders, but the study shows there is no concern.

This was the first study funded by the by The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives (CASAA) Research Fund.  CASAA, the leading consumer advocacy group promoting the availability and use of low-risk alternatives to smoking, is an all-volunteer, donation-funded organization.  CASAA President Elaine Keller said of the study, “Over the years, there have been a lot of small studies of e-cigarette liquid and vapor, but those studies were either ignored or misinterpreted.  Those that showed even the slightest contamination were used for propaganda by those who object to e-cigarettes because they look like smoking. We realized that an expert review was needed to give an unbiased explanation of the available scientific evidence for our membership and policy makers.  We reached out to our membership and they enthusiastically donated to make it possible.”

CASAA Scientific Director, Carl V. Phillips, summarized the importance of the study, saying “It has always been clear that e-cigarettes were much lower risk than smoking, but there was uncertainty about whether continuing to inhale a mix of chemicals posed a measurable risk. Even those of us who have long encouraged smokers to switch are a bit surprised that even the worst-case-scenario risks are so low. This study assures us that e-cigarettes are as low risk as other smoke-free tobacco and nicotine products, like smokeless tobacco and NRT.  All of these products are about 99% less harmful than smoking, and so smokers who switch to them gain basically the same health benefits as if they quit tobacco and nicotine entirely.”

Dr. Phillips added that “there has been a call for ‘regulatory science’ by the FDA.  This is exactly the type of science that is needed to make good regulation and informed individual decisions: it summarizes all of the available knowledge and puts the numbers in a useful perspective.”

The study did caution that e-cigarette users are inhaling substantial quantities of the main chemicals in e-cigarette liquid (propylene glycol and glycerin).  While these chemicals are not considered dangerous and the levels are far below occupational exposure limits, Dr. Burstyn did suggest ongoing monitoring to confirm that there is no risk.  The chemical contaminants are of even less concern.  While there have been many claims that formaldehyde, acrolein, nitrosamines, metals, and ethylene glycol found in e-cigarette vapor poses a health hazard, the study concluded that all of these have been found only at trivial levels that pose no health concern.

The study did not address the effects of nicotine because e-cigarette users are consuming it intentionally.  Nicotine, when it does not involve smoking, is very low risk and has not been clearly shown to cause any disease. However, like caffeine and other common indulgences, it may cause some tiny risk of heart attack and stroke, and so e-cigarettes, along with other tobacco and nicotine products, are probably not risk-free.  If there is any risk from nicotine, however, it is so low that it is similar to everyday hazards like drinking coffee or eating dessert, and is far less than the risk from smoking.

The study is available at http://publichealth.drexel.edu/SiteData/docs/ms08/f90349264250e603/ms08.pdf

For summary and discussion go to:

http://antithrlies.com/2013/08/08/breaking-news-new-study-shows-no-risk-from-e-cigarette-contaminants/

Contact: Prof. Igor Burstyn Igor.burstyn@drexel.edu

So, can we stop with all the attempts to ban vaping in public or to ban flavored juice now?

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PSA: Don’t blow your face off

Just... don't

Just… don’t

I keep seeing posts on internet forums where people are asking things like “Hey guys! Is this battery safe to use with a 0.00000012ohm coil????”

No. Let me save some time here; NOTHING is safe to use with a dead short.

Look, I get the cloud chasing urge. It’s pretty cool to see someone single handedly blot out the sun for a second with juice. But you have to understand that once you cross into subohm territory, you have pretty much thrown safety right out the window.

And it’s really not even necessary. Go talk to Lance over at Steam Monkey and ask him about cloud generation with 2ohm coils. There are safe ways to do it.

But some of you are going to do it anyway.

The single biggest thing that you need to know is whether or not you are over drawing your battery. You need to calculate the drain rate for your battery, and you need to do it before firing a coil.

Wanna blow a battery up? Fire it with an atomizer attached to it with a resistance that causes greater amp draw than the battery is rated for.

Max drain rate in amps is: Capacity (in mAh) x C rating / 1000 = Amps

You are going to see that again.

Let’s look at one of the more popular mod batteries, the AW IMR 18650.

Now these are generally what I recommend for use in 18650 mods, but they come in two variants; 2000mAh and 1600mAh, and the difference between them is important.

First we’ll take a look at the 1600mAh:

Specifications (this is from a vendor website):
Nominal Voltage : 3.7V
Capacity : 1600mAh
Lowest Discharge Voltage : 2.50V
Standard Charge : CC/CV ( max. charging rate 4.5A )
Cycle Life : > 500 cycles
Max. continuous discharge rate : 15C

So what is the maximum discharge rate for this battery? 15C doesn’t really tell you anything unless you know what it means. C rating is nothing more than the capacity of the battery. This particular battery is a 1600mAh capacity, so it can ostensibly safely sustain a draw that is 15 times its capacity, or 24 amps.

So what does that mean if you’re playing with sub ohm coils? It means that with a fully charged battery you can probably vape anything down to about 0.3ohms (at about 88w) and not over draw the battery (at least for a couple of seconds, the charge isn’t going to last long at all with that kind of draw on it).

Now let’s look at the 2000mAh:

Specifications (again from a vendor website):
Nominal Voltage : 3.7V
Capacity : 2000mAh
Lowest Discharge Voltage : 2.50V
Standard Charge : CC/CV ( max. charging rate 2A )
Cycle Life : > 500 cycles
Max. continuous discharge rate : 10A*

*As a side note, I believe that is incorrect. I’m pretty sure this battery actually has a 10C rating, and someone read that wrong and typed it as 10A, but I’d have to do some research to confirm that, so we’ll take the vendor at their word for now.

Hmm, this one is listed in amps rather than a C rating. In case you are wondering, for a 2000mAh battery a 10A CDR (Continuous Discharge Rate) is a 5C rating. Despite this battery having a higher capacity, if you vape anything less than 0.5ohm on it, you’re going to be overdrawing the battery, and you’re gonna have a bad time (this particular battery is LiMN, so it probably won’t blow your face off, but you’ll lose the mod at minimum).

How do I know that?

An AW IMR Li-Mn 18650 battery has a capacity of 1600mAh (let’s use that variant for this example).

The C rating is 15C (it can supply 15 times the capacity).

Therefore the max discharge current in amps is: 1600 x 15 / 1000 (1600 multiplied by 15, divided by 1000) = 24 amps (told you that you’d see that again).

So you can see that with this particular battery, you have to get pretty dang close to a dead short to have a problem, but what if you didn’t know any different, and threw the 2000mAh version in the same mod that had a 0.3ohm atomizer on it? You’re now drawing 14A through a battery that is only rated to give you 10A. That can lead to catastrophic battery failure.

Now LiMN batteries generally fail by venting hot gas, so you might burn your hand (and you’ll probably lose your mod), but what if that were an ICR battery? Those tend to vent flames and explode.

It may not happen the first time you do it, or the 10th, or even the 100th, but it might happen the second time. Or the ninth. If you don’t do the math, you are taking an unknown risk. It’s like playing Russian Roulette with a gun that someone else loaded out of your sight.

This is even more true if you don’t have the C rating for the battery you are using, like the crappy blue ICRs that come with most “kits”. This is a big part of why I recommend that you toss the generic batteries that come in those kits, and buy some good batteries, something that you actually have all the relevant information for.

You need to pay particular attention here if you’re running a sub ohm coil on a mech and didn’t know any of that, or don’t know what the max discharge rate for your battery is (again; toss the generic blue ICRs that come in most kits, know what your equipment is rated for).

Vaping is awesome, but let’s not give the people who don’t know anything about it a reason to push for banning it eh?

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