How To: Build a NicoStick
Please do not post comments in this thread. My hopes are to have a nice, clean thread containing only the instructions and any future improvements.
Here is a link to the thread where we have been discussing this mod all along. Please put comments there.
My latest mod, inspired by all of you.
Thank you in advance, Nicowolf
You will need:
a 2xAA battery holder with switch. I used this one. Battery holder: 2 x AA Covered Battery Holder with On-Off Switch - RoHS Compliant - BB2AA
a PROTECTED 14500 lithium battery. I strongly advise to use only PROTECTED batteries.
a normally open (NO) momentary pushbutton switch. Here is the one that I used. 3A 125V SPST Pushbutton Momentary Switch - RadioShack.com
a way to connect your atomizer. There are many variants on the forum, you'll need to research connectors for your atomizer. I took this one from a factory 510 battery.
I also experimented with these crimp on connectors, but solder could be used instead. Non-Insulated Crimp-On Butt Connectors (20-Pack) - RadioShack.com
Last edited by nicowolf; 05-24-2009 at 03:12 PM.
Here are some pics of the completed mod.
I find these safety features to be quite important and have given them their own post for a reason.
My mods have always had and will always have a "kill switch". In this case it is the slide switch that the battery holder comes with. This is a very simple on-off switch. When the switch is in the "off" position, no power goes beyond that switch. You can push the pushbutton switch all you want and it will not send power to the atomizer. I switch mine off to carry in my pocket or to sleep (cats walk everywhere while I am asleep).
A protected li-ion battery. The first version of the NicoStick and any mods before that did not have this. I have done some studying and found that it really is worth the extra few cents and hassle to make sure that your li-ion battery is protected. These batteries have tiny circuitry built into them to prevent them from being recharged while a short circuit exists, overcharged, or overdischarged. Some even have protection against operating outside the optimal temperature zone. Most battery chargers now carry protection against charging a battery past a certain point, but they can not prevent overdischarge. When you overdischarge a li-ion battery, two things can happen. You can ruin the battery so it is incapable of accepting a charge, or it can cause crystals to form inside the battery that cause a short inside the battery - that short can have explosive results when you try to charge it. Please, only use protected batteries - unless you have knowledge of lithium batteries, or a self-destruct directive.
The pushbutton switch has also changed from the original NicoStick. The original had a tact switch rated 50mA at 12VDC. I am not satisfied with its performance, so this one has a much sturdier switch.
Here is what the box looks like to start out.
First, I remove the double contact at the opposite end from the switch. I use a pair of tweezers to push it up from underneath. This can be discarded, or saved for something else. It won't be used for this mod.
Next, I remove the single positive terminal at the switch end, leaving the wire attached to it. The first one I did had this terminal superglued in place, so I had to break the glue bond with a boxcutter before it would come out (just a heads up of what you might encounter). This one will be used, so don't throw it out.
Next, I drill holes for my switch and for my atomizer. I have used both a cordless drill and a cordless rotary tool for this. The drill was faster, but I also drilled into the palm of my hand because it was harder to control (my injury was minor and I knew better than to hold it the way I was, so nobody's fault but my own - gotta let you know that I make mistakes too). Even my largest drill bit was not big enough, so after drilling the holes, I used the rotary tool to ream them bigger.
Next, I placed the positive contact with the red wire attached into the tabs where the double contact once was - directly opposite the spring that was left intact and the switch. I used tweezers to tuck the wire into the little slot and position the wire the way I wanted it.
The Atomizer Connector
For this mod, I used the Joye510 atomizer (aka Janty Dura, Yeti, Titan, etc.). So far, we have not found anything to match the size and thread pattern of this atomizer, so I "liberated" my connector from a factory 510 battery. This can be done with any model except the cigar and the pipe so far. The center is always positive and the outside is always negative.
I took the connector apart to do my soldering because that is easier for me, others solder it with the two parts still connected. I also wanted to show the two parts separated so that others can see the two distinct parts and where the connections really are. Here are pics of this process.
It isn't visible in the pics, but there is a hole through the center of the center, positive part. I inserted the wire into the hole and soldered it there, making sure to completely fill the hole so I could drip to my heart's content without dripping into the box (just a personal preference, others might not approve of my overuse of solder - you can use caulk or epoxy if you prefer).
I soldered the negative wire to the outside of my connector. The factory solders it on the inside edge, but I don't have that precision in soldering. I apologize in advance for the sloppy soldering job as this is the second mod with this connector and I did not remove the previous solder prior to doing this one (lazy and hurrying and not really skilled at soldering yet).
Now for the wiring. I like to put my switch in the positive side of the circuit. Others like to put it in the negative side. It does not matter one bit. The idea is just to give the end user ability to interrupt the flow of electric and that can be done in the negative flow or the positive.
First, I connect the red wire from the box (positive battery terminal) to one side of the switch. Then I connect the red wire from the center of my atomizer connector to the other side of the switch.
Next, I connect my black wire directly to the outside of my atomizer connector as shown above.
At this point, I test to make sure it is working properly. I suggest using a multimeter for this, but I usually just use an atomizer and check briefly to make sure it is sizzling only while the slide switch is in the "on" position and the push button is depressed.
Securing the Atomizer Connector
The only thing left to do now is secure the atomizer connector. At first, I put epoxy in the entire area between the atomizer connector and the switch, even around all sides of the switch. It definitely held everything in place. After having to tear apart a few mods, I have learned to only use a little dab of epoxy on the atomizer connector to glue it to the inside of the box. I usually connect an atomizer to it for this so that I know the angle it's sitting at will be ok. You have to be very careful not to get epoxy on your atomizer as it can be a real pain to get back out of there if you do. I let it set for twenty minutes even though the package says it sets in 5 - it is only partially set in 5 and can still be moved. I let the whole thing air out overnight to give the epoxy fumes a chance to vent (no cover on the mod). I find a toothpick works quite nicely for stirring and applying the tiny bit of epoxy needed in the precise little location that it is needed.
Here is a pic of the inside once it is set and ready for vaping.
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