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.

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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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