Hardware Review: EHPRO Kayfun Lite Clone

Specs

Material:  Stainless Steel (unspecified)
Length: 51.8mm
Diameter:  22mm (23mm with “makrolon” tank section)
Capacity:  4.5ml
Battery Connection:  510
MSRP:  $49.99
What’s in the box:  

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

  • (1) KFL Atomizer Clone (with stainless center tank section)
  • (1) “Makrolon” clear tank section (polycarbonate)
  • (1) Kayfun style drip tip
  • (1) Short style drip tip
  • (1) Padded travel/storage box
  • (1) Mini keychain screwdriver
  • (1) Small piece of silica wick
  • (1) small piece of kanthal wire (unspecified gauge)
  • (4) Large o-rings (for the tank sections)
  • (2) Small o-rings (for the 510 drip tip socket)
  • (2) Spare post screws

Pros

  • Relatively low cost.
  • Decent example of a KFL style atomizer.
  • Comes with everything a real KFL comes with.
  • “Standard” 510 drip tip socket.

Cons

  • Extremely difficult to disassemble (very tight tolerances, and o-rings, no texture to grip.
  • Fit and finish is off from the actual KFL by a wide margin.
  • Non adjustable tight draw (relatively speaking).

Errata

I ordered this from eciggity on a lark, having never owned a Kayfun style atomizer. My intent was to decide if I might want to spend the money on a real KFL+, so I ordered the EHPRO KFL+ clone, and they sent the KFL clone. I don’t know what I expected.

This is more of an imitation than a clone, it does not have any of the actual Kayfun markings, but is clearly intended to copy the design.

The flavor on this atomizer is stellar. Unbelievable. I will absolutely be ordering a legit KFL+ (as soon as I can find it in stock somewhere).

The sheer quantity of stuff included in the package is surprising. I did not expect all of that with a clone.

Fit and Finish

You can see in this picture that EHPRO missed the chamfer on the top tank section:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Everything on this clone is very smooth, which coupled with the very tight fit makes this thing an absolute bear to disassemble. I suppose this is good, as the tank seal is absolutely airtight.

The draw

My only real complaint is that the non adjustable draw on this tank is very much tighter than I like (I prefer an airy draw), but if that is the price for the absolutely wonderful flavor, I am willing to pay it gladly. As I mentioned, I will be buying a legit KFL+ as soon as I can find one in stock, and am hoping that the adjustable airflow will get me closer to where I want to be.

I will note here that I build this with a vertical micro coil centered over the air hole, wrapped with sterile cotton around the outside of the coil.

Minor leaking, occasionally

I’m not gonna mince words here, I experienced leaking from the fill screw on the bottom of the unit. Not every time, not with any reason I could figure out. Sometimes it just leaked. This could be from taking it outside in ~30F temperatures, and then indoors into ~70F temperatures (though it was not consistent), or it could be a design flaw. Not sure. This leak wasn’t terribly bad, it was just annoying.

I did on two occasions experience leaking from the air hole in the side of the unit. I don’t know what that is about. Again, could be from environmental changes, hell it might even be from the way I was drawing on the thing (it is a bottom coil unit, and I was drawing on it pretty hard).

I am hoping that the leaking is just an artifact of it being a clone.

Maintenance

For completeness I am going to talk a wee bit about assembling the Kayfun style atomizers. All things considered, there are quite a number of parts to these things. If you’re not familiar (or not mechanically inclined) you might get into trouble figuring out how to get the thing back together. Here are all of the parts, lined up in assembly order (sorry about the poor lighting):

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This is basically what you want to do after getting the coil built and wicked as you prefer (the first pic shows the atomizer deck with the chimney base attached):

Click to enlarge

Chimney base mounted – Click to enlarge

You could fully assemble the chimney, and then mount it on the atomizer deck, but I prefer being able to see the coil and verify that nothing is touching before closing it up.

Click to enlarge

Chimney mounted – Click to enlarge

At this point it doesn’t matter which tank section you use, as long as you use either the top or the bottom (no male threads, only the center section has male threads) because those two pieces are threaded the same.

Bottom tank section added - Click to enlarge

Bottom tank section added – Click to enlarge

Middle tank section added (I used the stainless section here) - Click to enlarge

Middle tank section added (I used the stainless section here) – Click to enlarge

Top tank section and top cap added - Click to enlarge

Top tank section and top cap added – Click to enlarge

Conclusion

This clone is debatably worth the $49.99 that I paid for it. It is far from the best Kayfun clone I’ve seen, but it is not bad either. The flavor production is excellent. It did in fact accomplish what I wanted. I have decided to buy a real Kayfun without having to buy a Kayfun and then discovering that I don’t like it, but I can’t say I would recommend this to someone who was planning on using it as a daily driver.

end

Advertisements

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

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?

end

Hardware Review: SMOK Pipe Mod

likeasir

I sat on the fence about getting one of these for a long time. I like the idea of an ePipe, I just want a larger battery.

When these were released, the general consensus was that you had to use only flattop 18350 batteries in them, and that was kind of a hangup for me. Apparently that isn’t exactly true.

After spending a couple of hours drooling over ePipes, I decided that for ~$35 I couldn’t go wrong with this guy (I got mine here).

Specs

Length: 54mm (2.125″)
Diameter: 23mm (0.905″)
Battery type: 18350 only
Battery Connection: 510 (some units are apparently 510/eGo, mine is not)
MSRP: $49.99USD
What’s in the box:

SMOK Pipe Mod box contents - click to enlarge

SMOK Pipe Mod box contents – click to enlarge

  • (1) Pipe Mod body with tail cap

The body is chrome plated brass, so it’s nice and hefty.

Pros

  • Price.
  • ePipe.
  • Small overall size.

Cons

  • Only takes 18350 batteries.
  • No fuse.
  • No room for a fuse.
  • Small (I want an 18650 version!).

I actually really like this ePipe, which is a bad thing, because now I know I want a high end ePipe. My wallet hates this pipe. I still want an ePipe with a bigger battery. The shape of this pipe is surprisingly good.

Errata

Configuration

With an iClear 16 attached, the pipe will stand on its own, but with a Protank, it’s just gonna fall over without a stand. With something like a mini Vivi Nova or an iClear 16 the pipe is really pretty small, and not bad for low key vaping. That’s not what I had in mind though.

Pipe Mod with Protank - Click to enlarge

Pipe Mod with Protank – Click to enlarge

This is an original Protank on the Pipe Mod. If you click that picture, you can see that the Protank base is slightly larger than the battery connection on the pipe. I have no idea why SMOK didn’t make that larger, or just make it a standard 510/eGo connector so that I could have put a beauty ring on it. It doesn’t really bother me, it’s just one of those things that I notice and it screws with my OCD (I’m not really OCD, but if I were I wouldn’t be able to do this combo because of that connection). I’ve thought about filing down a Protank base so that it looks right, and I may yet do that.

This is my current configuration for the Pipe Mod:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

That’s a Kanger Protank 2 with a Captivape DS60 drip tip. I had to modify the DS60 to get it working with the Protank 2.

Eventually I was able to obtain the Captivape BDS90 that I had initially wanted:

Final configuration - click to enlarge

Final configuration – click to enlarge

I only run AW IMR batteries in my APVs (this one is no exception), so I have no trouble running the Protank with a 1.8ohm head.

It vapes really good in this configuration. I haven’t tried it, but I’ve seen people run these with everything from an RSST (I’m not sure how that would even work), to carto tanks, to 306 dripping atomizers, so your wallet is your limit.

 

Button top 18350s take one

In almost every single review I’ve seen, the reviewer claims this takes flat top 18350 batteries only. Not in my experience. The first thing I found was a forum post saying that you could use 18350 button top batteries if you reversed the battery in the pipe. Ostensibly the positive battery connection goes up towards the button, and the negative goes down towards the battery cap, as shown in this image:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Flipping the battery works, but in theory it is a bad idea because the body of the battery is a negative connection, and if the battery is reversed in the tube, and if the protective wrapper on the battery is damaged, you could in theory have a dead short and a small fire/explosion in your pocket/hand/face. In practice, this isn’t an issue with this device, as the battery sits inside a plastic tube, not directly against the metal body of the pipe.

Interior view - Click to enlarge

Interior view – Click to enlarge

Button top 18350s take two

If you’re just not comfortable with flipping the battery upside down (I get it, we’re not exactly using batteries designed for this to begin with), there is another option (well a couple actually, but I’m only going to discuss the ones that do not involve permanent modifications to the unit). On some of these units button top 18350s may just work, right out of the box.

The fire button is threaded and will move up and down when rotated. Mine was rotated all the way up right out of the box, but some units come with the button sitting flush with the retaining ring. On those units, if you insert a button top 18350, the pipe will just fire continuously until the battery fails.

If you have one that fires as soon as the battery cap is screwed down, remove the ring holding the fire button on the pipe, and adjust the button as shown here:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

That should do it, your button top 18350 batteries should work fine now.

I was actually surprised at how much I liked this APV. I haven’t smoked a real pipe since 1996 or so (I started hacking up black crap and figured I should probably lay off the pipes), and I didn’t realize how much I like the form factor. If you are on the fence, pick one up. They are surprisingly good.

end

Getting Started: Mechanical APVs – Overview

Technically a true “mech” will have no controllers or wires. Just a battery tube, cap with connector (510 is most common), and a switch to complete the circuit.

In practice, many have a wire in the switch, but there there are plenty that are true mechs.

Some people refer to mechs as Personal Vaporizers, I prefer Advanced Personal Vaporizer, because mechs require advanced knowledge on the part of the user to be used safely and to get the most out of the vaping experience.

Mechs essentially connect the topper (be it a carto or an RDA) directly to the battery (the whole idea is to reduce voltage loss as much as possible by having as little as possible between the battery and the atomizer). Because they have a fixed voltage (whatever the battery used can supply), the vaping experience is controlled only by changing the resistance of the atomizer. Since there are no safety circuits in a mech, it is possible to use sub ohm coils in them which create incredibly high current draws on the battery, and can be quite dangerous.

I personally won’t use anything but IMR batteries in any APV, but this is doubly true with mechs. IMR batteries are designed for high current draw, and are less likely to fail in a… spectacular way if they do fail.

Several vendors sell safety fuses that are designed to prevent most catastrophic battery failures.

Now that we know what Mechanical APVs are all about, let’s take a brief look at what is out there.

Customs

Custom mechs are where it all started. The first electronic cigarette was a cigalike produced in China in 2004, but what we think of as vaping didn’t really come about until the first mechanical mods were made.

The next step was enterprising users converting cheap flashlight bodies to accept a connector threaded for the cigalike cartridges, which was often under powered, and could be quite dangerous.

Eventually small shops or individual makers in Greece and the Philipines (and now the US and Russia among others) began making APV devices specifically designed to use a standard rechargeable battery that could be swapped out when the need arose. Due to the current requirements, the 18xxx series of batteries seems to have become the standard for which these PVs are produced.

Initially these devices used the cartridges from cigalikes, but soon enough someone figured out that there were easier ways to vape, and the first rebuildable atomizers began to appear.

Due to the way these devices came about, there are literally hundreds of different mechs in the market. Prices range from about $100 to upwards of $300 depending on maker and options.

Here are some of the more common mechs that you may encounter that are considered “customs”:

Atmomixani

Nemesis - click to enlarge

Nemesis – click to enlarge

Caravela Mods

Caravela - click to enlarge

Caravela – click to enlarge

Empire Mods

Empite Mods PV - click to enlarge

Empire Mods PV – click to enlarge

Golden Greek

GG mods - click to enlarge

GG mods – click to enlarge

Grand Vapors

Colored Sentinel - click to enlarge

Colored Sentinel – click to enlarge

M16 - Click to enlarge

Sentinel M16 – Click to enlarge

Private v2 - click to enlarge

Private v2 – click to enlarge

Metal Madness Vapors

Poldiac - click to enlarge

Poldiac – click to enlarge

Madz Modz

Nzonic v3 - click to enlarge

Nzonic v3 – click to enlarge

Team Rampage

Bagua - click to enlarge

Bagua – click to enlarge

The Clone Wars

With the success of mechs comes the flood of clones from China. Some are good, some are meh. All are cheaper than the original they are cloning. Many of these are not true mechs, in that there may be a wire in the switch or a ground wire more often than not. I’ve seen these colnes range from $150 to as little as $18.

I’m not telling you that you should not buy these, but you should be aware that the more obvious clones are stealing from the people who made the original. They are cashing in on the original design without paying any licensing or royalties to the designer. For instance, while the Kamry K100 is flat out copying the Empire Mods PV, the K101 is different enough (I think) that it is not a blatant rip off of the design, had they not included the drip shield.

Kamry K100/K101

This is one of the better made clones (the K100 is a direct copy of the Empire Mods PV), and is what I see most frequently recommended as a good first mech for people wanting to try mechanical APVs.

Kamry K100 - click to enlarge

Kamry K100 – click to enlarge

Kamry K101 - click to enlarge

Kamry K101 – click to enlarge

Sigelei… well just pick one.

Sigelei Mechs - click to enlarge

Sigelei Mechs – click to enlarge

SMOKTech Telescopic

This is widely considered one of the better clones made, and some consider it one of the best mechs made period.

SMOK Telescope - click to enlarge

SMOK Telescope – click to enlarge

SMOKTech Natural

This one comes in both a telescoping and a non telescoping version:

SMOK Natural Telescope - click to enlarge

SMOK Natural Telescope – click to enlarge

SMOK Natural - click to enlarge

SMOK Natural – click to enlarge

SMOKTech Magneto

This looks like a semi original mech, but it is too close to the Nzonic for me to dismiss it as a clone. Edward at Sun Vapers reviewed this recently and says that it is very well made, and the bottom firing switch is a true magnetic switch (rare in clones).

SMOK Magneto - click to enlarge

SMOK Magneto – click to enlarge

M28

Though selling for $150, this is a blatant clone of the Sentinel M16.

J Creations M28 - click to enlarge

JCreations M28 – click to enlarge

ePipes

Relatively new, and not yet widely used or available are ePipes, (mostly) mechanical APVs that use the form factor of a traditional tobacco pipe. These are not true mechs in the sense that most of these will have some wiring and a few of the better ones incorporate a fuse (such as the vapesafe), and even fewer have VV/VW capabilities.

Almost exclusively these use 18350 size batteries, though a few 18500 and 18650 versions are starting to appear.

One of the first Chinese made mechs I’ve seen that isn’t really a copy of something else is the SMOKTech E-pipe.

SMOKTech E-pipe - click to enlarge

As of this post that is the only mass production ePipe worth discussing, everything else requires proprietary cartridges or is not really mass produced. The SMOKTech E-Pipe retails right around $50, though you can find them for about $35 with a little shopping.

One of the hazards of maintaining this blog is that it can be quite detrimental to my wallet. In the course of doing research for this review, I somehow managed to order one of these SMOKTech ePipes (sorry hunny!). I’ll be doing a thorough review once I receive it, as there are several bits of information about this unit that were not readily available on the vendors’ sites.

Custom ePipes though, are another matter entirely. First you have to find someone selling them, maybe they have stock, or you may have to go on a waiting list. Or you can have one custom made. Did I mention that these things are kinda pricey? I have not found any for less than $100, ranging north of $300 depending again on maker and options.

Here are a couple of examples of custom ePipes:

Custom ePipe - Click to enlarge

Custom ePipe - Click to enlarge

ePipemods.com custom - click to enlarge

Smackley custom - click to enlarge

ePipeMods table at vapebash - click to enlarge

ePipes are available in pretty much every style that you can get a traditional tobacco pipe in (and many are made from traditional pipes), and some come in quite original and unique designs.

I really like the concept of the ePipe, I just wish I could find one (the ones I find that I really like seem to be sold out or are custom jobs). Ah well, one day.

If this really sparks your interest, check out ePipeMods or Smackley Craft. Good luck!

end

Getting Started: Cleaning And Maintaining Your Gear

Keeping your gear clean and performing some basic maintenance can go a long way to helping prolong the life of your gear, and making your vaping experience better all around. Nothing is more frustrating than gear that doesn’t work (or stops working when you are not somewhere with the parts for fix it).

Basic Juice Clean up

cat litter

This is for user strength juice (0-36mg/ml nicotine content). If you are working with anything higher than that, there are an entirely different set of considerations and other equipment that you will need to handle spills. I will probably cover than in another post since it is a very advanced topic. If you are making your own juice and you spill it (and are unsure how to handle that), clear the area, and call 911. Depending on what you are working with it may be treated as hazardous waste.

There are a few things you should have on hand that will make cleaning up any spill much easier:

  • Paper towels or napkins (I prefer paper towels).
  • Rubber or nitrile gloves.
  • Sponge.
  • Cotton Swabs.
  • Kitty litter (this is just really handy to have in general), or similar absorbant material.
  • Plastic trash bags.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol).

Drips

If you spill a couple of drops, grab a napkin or paper towel and wipe it up. Dispose of the napkin somewhere that pets and kids are not going to find it and put it in their mouth.

If the drip has dried, a little bit of isopropyl alcohol or a cotton swab dipped in vodka will dissolve it.

Tank dump (<5ml)

It happens. You’re fiddling with your APV, and accidentally unscrew the top cap of a bottom coil clearo, instant juice spill. I’ve done it. Try to minimize the juice to skin contact. If it spilled on you, set it down, go wash your hands, and change your clothes if necessary.

Again, we’re talking a couple of ml at most, so paper towels or napkins should be fine. If you spilled it in the carpet, you’re gonna want to get that out of there. Juice is flammable. It will evaporate over time, but you don’t really want to leave it there because it is poisonous to kids and pets, and it will stain (plus it’s sticky and will attract ants). A damp rag or paper towels will suffice at these quantities.

Again, minimize skin to juice contact (keep in mind that it will soak through the napkin or paper towels).

Bottle drop (5ml-30ml)

Oops glass bottle off the counter onto tile. Or maybe you just dropped an open bottle. I knocked a completely full 15ml bottle off of my patio table onto my concrete deck. That was fun.

If it’s outside, no big deal; just grab a dust pan and pick up the glass, then hose the rest down really well. It’ll dilute past poisonous levels (everything in juice is water soluble), and probably kill any insects that it comes in contact with in the bargain (nicotine is a common pesticide).

Just make sure that there is none left in quantities that could harm kids or pets.

You could also pour some kittly litter over it and let it sit for 5 minutes, then just sweep the litter up and throw it in the trash.

If it was inside, well you’ve got a bit more work.

If it was in carpet, you are gonna need a lot of paper towels. If it was a full 30ml bottle you’re gonna want to go rent a carpet cleaner. It’s cheap, and the easiest way to get it out.

If it was on hard flooring or a table or something, mop it up with a towel or paper towels (again mind the juice to skin contact), and make sure you get all the glass bits (if it was a broken bottle).

You’re going to want to rinse off the surface, a mop will do fine. If it was carpet and not quite enough to justify a carpet cleaner, some resolve and a rag will probably suffice after you sop up the bulk of the juice.

Open a window and let the room air out.

OMG!!!

Someone dropped a 500ml bottle again!

My last attempt at juice making gone awry

You just dropped that 236ml bottle from MBV and it broke all over the place.

First, get the kids and pets away from the spill and open a window. Again juice is flammable, make sure there are no open flames in the area.

Pour kitty litter on the spilled juice. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Sweep or vacuum up the kitty litter with a shop vac. Dispose of the litter.

If it was in carpet, you need to go get a carpet cleaner and really make sure you get it all out (it’ll soak into the pad beneath the carpet, so go slow and maybe make a couple passes where the spill was).

If you spilled that much juice on yourself or someone else, go immediately strip and rinse off in the shower, scrub with soap and cold water. Call poison control. Better safe than sorry.

Clearomizers

Battery Connection

I wipe down the battery connection with a paper towel every time I remove the clearo. If you have some dried out juice on there a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol or vodka will take care of it.

Body

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

I rinse with hot water, soak in vodka for 10 minutes, flush with bottled water (my water is hard, and I get spotting on everything, so I just use bottled water), and pat dry.

Head

If it’s really gunked up, I’ll soak the head in vodka for 20 minutes or so, but usually I give it a quick rinse with hot water, drop it in some vodka, swish it around, then flush it with bottled water and pat it dry.

Tip

If the tip is particularly dirty I’ll make sure I scrub it a little with a cotton swab or my fingers when I’m rinsing it in hot water.

Cartomizers (and Carto Tanks)

Battery Connection

I wipe down the battery connection with a paper towel every time I remove the carto. If you have some dried out juice on there a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol or vodka will take care of it.

Body

A quick wipe with the paper towel is good for cartos (for tanks I do pretty much the same thing as with clearos). These are disposable, so I don’t really do much else with them. When they get funky or burn out I toss them.

Drip Tips

Drip tips need to be flushed out, regularly. Hot water works fine. One a week or so I let them soak in vodka for 10 minutes, flush with hot water, and then rinse with bottled water.

Dripping Atomizers and Drip Shields

Battery Connection

I wipe down the battery connection with a paper towel every time I remove the atomizer or drip shield. If you have some dried out juice on there a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol or vodka will take care of it.

Body

I rinse with hot water and then drop the whole thing in some vodka for about 10 minutes, flush with bottled water, and pat dry.

RDAs/RBAs

Body

Juice tends to splatter on the top cap so I drop that in vodka when I start work. By the time I’m done with the rest of it, I just flush with bottled water and pat dry.

Deck

I drop the entire deck in vodka with the top cap off (wick/coil and all). I’ll let it sit for maybe 10 minutes, rinse with hot water, dry burn the coil, flush with bottled water, and pat dry.

Battery Connection

I wipe down the battery connection with a paper towel every time I remove the unit. If you have some dried out juice on there a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol or vodka will take care of it.

APVs

Battery Connection

I take a cotton swab and wipe out the battery connector every time I take the topper off my APV. If there is any juice in there I’ll dip the other end of the cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and swab it out too.

Body

I generally just wipe it down if I spill any juice on it, but once in a while if I notice it is getting dirty I’ll wipe it off with a paper towel dipped in isopropyl alcohol.

Threads

I wipe my threads out with a dry paper towel once a month, and apply noalox to them (just a tiny amount goes a really long way!) before reassembling if the threads are metal on metal.

Screen

I wipe the screen on my APV’s that have them with a microfiber cloth as needed, though a clean paper towel will work fine too.

eGo Type Batteries

eGo battery

Cleaning 510/eGo connections – click to enlarge

Battery connection

Again, I take a cotton swab to the inside of the battery connector every time I remove a topper, and if there is any juice in there I dip the other end in isopropyl alcohol and swab it out.

Body

Wipe it down with a clean paper towel. If you notice any dents, holes, or tears stop using the battery immediately and recycle it.

Rechargable Batteries (Lithium or IMR)

I wipe them down with a clean paper towel (usually there is nothing on them) once a week and inspect for damage.

If you notice juice in the battery connection of your APV, pop the battery out and make sure that there is none on the battery.

If you notice any dents, tears, or holes on your batteries or the plastic wrapper around the battery, stop using them immediately and recycle them.

end

Getting Started: Regulated APVs

Regulated Advanced Personal Vaporizers (APVs) come in many shapes and sizes, and in price ranges from $25 to hundreds of dollars.

When you are first getting started in vaping the sheer number of options, it can get kind of confusing.

Regulated APVs consist of a battery tube containing a circuit that allows the user to specify the voltage (Variable Voltage or VV APVs) and/or the wattage (Variable Wattage or VW APVs) that is delivered to the device. They may also offer a host of other features.

In this post, I touched on my hardware recommendations, this post will cover some of the APVs that are widely liked and suggested by the vaping community as something that a beginner would like. This will cover both Variable Voltage and Variable Wattage, and are in no particular order.

This is not an exhaustive list, simply the APVs that I see the best reviews on, or have personal experience with.

Vamo

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This is one of the most often recommended units for new vapers. I have not used one, so I couldn’t say what they are like.

These units are VV/VW so you can choose the mode of operation that you prefer.

The Vamo is currently sold in both v2 and v3 models, and in a number of different finishes (actual material selection is brass or stainless at this time).

The v3 has a redesigned (and removable) top collar, allowing larger toppers to be used, and the 510 connection now also has eGo cone threading. The screen on the v3 has been upgraded to an OLED display, and the menu system is slightly different.

The user manual that comes with both units leaves a bit to be desired.

Features:

  • Variable voltage: Adjust the voltage output from 3.0 to 6.0 volts in 0.1 volt increments.
  • Variable wattage: Set the preferred wattage (from 3 to 15 watts).
  • RMS & AVG (Mean) mode: The VAMO V2 allows the user to switch between methods the device uses internally to calculate the voltage output. The default and recommended setting is RMS. RMS provides a more accurate voltage output. The APV may also run in Average (or Mean) mode. Average mode may result in output voltages higher than the user selected voltage on the device.
  • 510 Threaded.
  • Can be used with single 18650, single 18350 or two 18350 (flat top).
  • Atomizer resistance check.
  • Battery power check.
  • Cutoff Timer: When you press the power button to use the device for 10-15 seconds or more, the device will turn off automatically.
  • When a single batteries voltage is less than 3.2v or dual 18350 batteries voltage is less than 6.4v, the screen will display LO v, which indicates that the batteries need to be recharged.
  • Atomizers at 1.2ohm or less, the screen will display LO Ω, which indicates that you need to use a new atomizer at higher resistance.
  • Atomizer short circuit detection; the screen will display LO v.
  • Incorrect battery installation protection. The device will not work.
  • Max current 5A.
  • Minimum resistance 1.2 Ω.
  • Thermal Monitoring.
  • Correct Polarity Signaling.
  • Heavy Duty Micro-switches.
  • Vent Hole in Battery End Cap.
  • Battery End Cap ‘fail safe’ designed to ‘give way’.

Dimensions:

  • 18650 mode: 5-1/2″L x 7/8″D (without atomizer)
  • 18350 mode: 4-1/4″L x 7/8″D (without atomizer)

Price:

Varies from about $28 to about $75 depending on the vendor and kit options. Find it here among other places.

Gotchas:

The number one complaint I hear about the Vamo is that they will occasionally just stop working. I’m not sure what causes that, but it is not all of them. Considering that it is electronic, this is not wholly unexpected.

eVic

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The eVic is probably the most feature packed APV on the market. It is VV/VW capable.

People seem to love them, or they hate them (I’ll cover why in the Gotchas section). I do not own one, and have never handled one, but thought I’d include it here for completeness.

Several vendors make aftermarket battery tubes for the eVic which (in my opinion) really better the look of this APV.

The manufacturer offers a simplified top cap without the OLED for users who do not want all that information.

Features:

  • First APV with upgradeable firmware.
  • Adjustable voltage from 3 volts to 5 volts & adjustable wattage from 5-11watts.
  • 510 threading.
  • eGo threading.
  • Monitors battery charge level and will estimate available remaining usage.
  • Intelligent OLED display with easy to use jog dial for user selectable function selection.
  • Removable drip well cap for easy cleaning of excess liquids.
  • Built in USB charging port, which also doubles as connection to your computer for the upgradeable system software and configuring the unit with the MyVaporRecord Software.
  • Accepts most 18650 batteries.
  • The eVics advanced user software tracks your usage which can be reviewed later using JoyeTech MyVaporRecord software (Windows XP/7 supported, may work with Windows 8).
  • Unique serial number used for warranty and registration with JoyeTech.
  • Device temperature monitoring.
  • Output short circuit protection.
  • Output open circuit protection.
  • Overtime working protection.
  • Low voltage protection.
  • Puff counter (the Chinese seem to be obsessed with this for some reason).
  • Power Saving features for the screen.
  • Standby modes.
  • Change settings through the computer for convenience with the included software.
  • Calendar.

Dimensions:

  • 4.88″ (without atomizer)

Price:

These range from about $76 t0 $120 depending on vendor and kit options. Find it here, among other places.

Gotchas:

The top cap is susceptible to breakage and separation. In people who are unhappy with the device the number one complaint is the top cap separating. It is a press fit, so rough handling will likely lead to this.

iTaste MVP

MVP

Click to enlarge

The Innokin iTaste MVP is a bit different in form, but it makes up for it with function. The current version of the MVP is offered in Black, Silver, or Titanium Blue.

The MVP is VV only, if it had VW as well this would be my number one recommendation for all vapers.

This device would be my suggestion for anyone looking for long battery life. Many users report that the MVP battery lasts 1-2 days between charges.

Features:

  • Variable Voltage (3.3-5.0 Volts in .1 volt increments)
  • Pass through functionality.
  • 510 threading.
  • eGo threading.
  • Puff counter.
  • 2600 mAh Polymer li-ion rechargeable battery.
  • Portable power source for other electronic products.
  • Battery capacity display.
  • ON/OFF safety switch.
  • Passthrough capability.
  • Standard Micro & 2.0 USB Socket.
  • Short circuit /atomizer protection.
  • 3 Amp current limit.
  • Over-discharge protection.

Dimensions:

  • 41 x 22 x 107mm (without atomizer)

Price:

Available from $45 to about $75 depending on vendor. Find it here (coupon code fightback1 brings it down to $55), among other places.

Gotchas:

The 3 amp limit. That is the only negative thing I can find about the MVP. This somewhat limits the functionality of the device, but is by no means a deal breaker.

Innokin SVD

click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

A long time ago, in a galaxy far- wait, that’s not right… What is…

Ok, so it looks like something that Darth Vader would have hanging from his belt, but you know what? I like it.

The Innokin SVD is a telescoping VV/VW APV that has a reputation for solid performance.

Features:

  • Variable Voltage: voltage can be adjusted from 3.3 – 6.0 volts in .1 volt increments.
  • Variable Wattage: Wattage can be adjusted from 3.0 – 15.0 W in .5 watts increments.
  • Short Circuit Protection.
  • Reverse Battery Protection Circuit.
  • Battery Voltage Detection.
  • Resistive Load Detection (Ohm meter).
  • ON/OFF battery switch.
  • LED Battery Power Display.
  • Low Voltage Warning.
  • Overtime Vaping Warning.
  • Telescopic Tube supports 18350, 18500 or 18650 batteries.
  • Battery safety protection.
  • 510 threading.
  • eGo threading.
  • Removable top cap allows for easy cleaning and use of large diameter toppers.
  • Change battery and switch VV or VW, settings memory function (it remembers what you had it set at).
  • Built-in 3 digit display (Ohms meter , Volts /Watts , Atomizer voltage output).

Dimensions:

  • (109.7-139.7) x 23.5mm (without atomizer)

Price:

Available from $38 to $110 depending on vendor and kit options. Find it here, among other places.

Gotchas:

The menu system is a bit awkward, and the instruction manual is not great. Once you have used it for a bit it isn’t an issue, but if this is your first APV it might get confusing for a bit.

Sigelei ZMAX v3 (telescope)

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The Sigelei ZMAX (not to be confused with the SMOK ZMAX) comes in a couple of variants, I have chosen to use the telescope here, as that gives the most battery options (and I like it the best).

The ZMAX v3 is a VV/VW device. The device has only one button that is used to both fire the atomizer, and to access the menu system.

This is the first APV that I bought. It edged out the ProVari only because it has VW capability.

Features:

  • Variable Voltage: can be adjusted from 3.0V-6.0V volts at the rate of 0.1 volt increments.
  • Variable Wattage: the power can be adjusted from the range 3.0W to 15.0W at the rate of 0.5 watts increments.
  • 510 and eGo threaded.
  • Short Circuit Protection.
  • Reverse Battery Protection Circuit.
  • Battery Voltage Detection.
  • Resistive Load Detection ( Ohms meter ).
  • ON/OFF battery switch.
  • OLED Battery Power Display.
  • Telescopic Tube supports 18350, 18650, 18490 or 18500 batteries.
  • Remembers last set voltage or wattage when switching batteries.
  • Battery protection.

Dimensions:

  • (131-106) x 23mm (without atomizer)

Price:

Available from $65 to $100 depending on vendor and kit options. Available here, among other places.

Gotchas:

The manual is not very good (seems to be a theme with these Chinese APVs), which wouldn’t be terrible if it had more than one button. It’s not too bad, but again, if this is your first APV, you may be confused for a minute.

ProVari

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Of all the APVs I’ve covered, this is the only American made product.

This is probably the most well made APV you are going to find (outside of Mechanical APVs, and even then it’d be a close call).

The ProVari is a VV only device, but does come in a couple of different models, including a mini version.

People make accessories (including entire toppers) specifically for this APV.

Features:

  • The ProVari can be adjusted from 2.9 – 6.0 volts in 0.1 volt increments.
  • Accepts a single 18490 or 18500 battery (optional end cap allows for use of 18650 batteries).
  • On/Off Mode
  • If the button is held down for 16 seconds or longer, the ProVari will shut itself off until the button is released.
  • Short Circuit/Atomizer Protection.
  • Reverse Battery Protection.
  • Battery Monitoring/Over-Discharge Protection.
  • Amperage Limiting to 3.5 amps.
  • Thermal Monitoring Shuts the device off if it detects a high temperature condition.
  • One year warranty (optional additional length can be purchased).
  • Useful and clearly written user manual available in multiple languages.

Dimensions:

  • 4.1″ L x 0.90″ D (stock 18500 battery version) (without atomizer)
  • 4.6″L x 0.90″ D (with 18650 extension) (without atomizer)

Price:

Available from $160 to $220 depending on options and sales. Only available here.

Gotchas:

Cost. Lack of VW. The inexplicable lack of a 18650 extension for the ProVari Mini. Those are really kind of nitpicking, but for the cost of this device, it should be able to accept any battery from 18350 to 18650.

Final thoughts

There are a wide variety of Regulated APVs available. The choice of which to buy is going to be one of the most difficult that you will make, and many end up buying several (guilty). I just hope that this helps someone figure out if the APV they are considering is the best fit for them.

end

PSA: EVOD Battery Recall

recallToday KangerTech posted the following on their website in relation to the EVOD battery recall:

To all KangerTech customers:

KangerTech is voluntarily recalling all EVOD batteries purchased through Heaven Gifts, that were supplied between the end of March and beginning of April.  While only a few batteries may be affected, we are recalling the entire batch of 6000 EVOD batteries.

We were recently made aware of an issue with an EVOD battery sold through Haven Gifts, an official KangerTech distributor.  After extensive research, we found a potential issue with the internal cell used in the manufacturing of the EVOD, which could fail during the charging of the battery.  These EVOD batteries were manufactured between the end of March to early April, and were only distributed to Heaven Gifts.

KangerTech takes its customers safety very seriously, and is working with Heaven Gifts to recall and replace all of the EVOD batteries that may have this issue.   While we recognize the inconvenience recalls cause our customers, we are taking these actions on their behalf to help ensure their safety.

EVOD batteries sold directly through KangerTech, and other authorized resellers, are not affected in this recall, and are safe to use.  If there are any questions regarding the safety of your EVOD battery, please feel free to contact your place of purchase, or KangerTech directly.

This is from a distributor (Heaven Gifts). Many vendors may have bought from them. If you have any EVOD batteries, contact the vendor who sold them to you, explain the situation, and ask the vendor if they purchased EVOD batteries from Heaven Gifts.

In light of the nature of mass production manufacturing, and the note they posted to their site yesterday, I would not assume that this shipment of EVOD batteries are the only ones in danger of catastrophic failure.

I laud KangerTech’s decision to address the issue (which I find to be unusual for a Chinese manufacturer), but I don’t think they are handling this right. The right answer is that any EVOD batteries sold to distributors prior to the protection circuit implementation should be recalled. I know it’s expensive, but if this turns out that the problem was not just confined to the single batch of 6000 batteries that Kanger is claiming right now, their battery business is toast.

Personally I would just toss any EVOD batteries I had (well recycle them properly anyway), or at minimum demand that the vendor I bought them from get on KangerTech about this. There is enough doubt in my mind that I would not be using any EVOD batteries purchased from a distributor until I was certain that the protected circuit model has saturated the market.

Just my take, you’re free to do as you like.

end

Getting Started: Variable Voltage, Variable Wattage, what’s the difference?

In the post Getting Started: Electronic Cigarette Basics I touched on the benefits of moving beyond cigalikes (essentially better control of the vaping experience). There are basically two ways to go forward:

  • Regulated Advanced Personal Vaporizers (APVs)
  • Mechanical Advanced Personal Vaporizers

We’re going to ignore mechanical APVs for right now (I will be addressing it at a later date) and look at regulated APVs.

A regulated APV simply means that the device has an electronic circuit that controls (regulates) either the voltage (these are referred to as Variable Voltage or VV devices), or the wattage (these are referred to as Variable Wattage or VW devices), or both (these are commonly referred to as VV/VW devices) in the device you are using.

This allows us to use Ohm’s Law to determine what the proper setting for the desired voltage (in VV devices) or wattage (in VW devices), across the atomizer (resistance) is. Why? Some juices will taste better at specific wattages/voltages on some devices, and better at other settings on different devices. Some people like a given juice at a higher wattage than others.

Ohm’s Law is a very technical subject, and if you want to delve into it you can do so here. There are plenty of Ohm’s Law calculators available online, I like this one.

Vaping Power Chart - click to enlarge

Vaping Power Chart – click to enlarge

The point is control.

So, what’s the difference?

It’s hard to quantify, the best I can do is to offer some examples.

If I set my VW device to 8w (that’s 8 watts) on a protank with a 2.5 ohm head it will get 8w (at ~4.47v). If I then remove it and put say, an IGO-L with a 1.5 ohm coil on there, the device is still going to deliver 8w (at ~3.46v) to the atomizer (we’ll call this example 1).

If on the other hand I set my VV device to say 4.2v with the same two toppers, the protank will get 4.2v (at ~7.05w), and the IGO-L will get 4.2v (at ~11.76w).

How do I know this? Ohm’s Law.

Why is this important? Battery life and safety.

In example 1, the device is drawing ~1.78A (that’s amps) with the 2.5 ohm protank head, and ~2.31A with the 1.5 ohm IGO-L coil. If this example is using an APV that runs on an IMR 18650 battery that can sustain a 10A draw it’s fine, but if this is on an APV that is powered by an IMR 14500 battery that can only sustain a 2A draw, the only way it can function is what is referred to as voltage sag (a situation where the current draw is more than can be delivered by the battery, so the voltage delivered is actually less than what you have specified). This also means that my battery will not last as long with the IGO-L if I want the same vapor experience as I get from the protank atomizer (it’s kinda apples to oranges comparing a clearomizer and an RDA like that, but you see my point).

The safety part comes in when you are pulling much higher wattage than the atomizer should have (11.76w across a 1.5 ohm atomizer is too hot, and will result in premature coil burn out. It’ll also probably taste terrible).

Now that we know how VV and VW differ, why not just use one for all of vaping?

There are several reasons.

As it relates to vaping, we can equate wattage to heat (the more watts you draw, the hotter your atomizer gets). 8w is 8w regardless of device, but you can see from example 2 that 4.2 volts doesn’t produce the same power (wattage is a measurement of power) at 2.5 ohms as it does at 1.5 ohms.

Basically VW devices do some of the math for you and raise the voltage according to the resistance of the atomizer on them.

Another is cost. VW circuits are more complex than VV circuits, and will either raise the cost of the device, or lower the quality of the regulation circuit.

I like to think of the vaping experience I get with a given juice in terms of wattage. I find that using wattage to determine the sweet spot for a given prefer VW, but some of the best devices on the market only offer VV (the iTaste MVP and ProVari are two).

In the end it comes down to personal preference.

end