(10) Advancing Up the Vaping Ladder with Egos and Mods
Agreed, the kiosk vendors in the mall are notorious for misrepresenting how their products compare to an analog (cigarette). Accept it as part of the learning process...at least you got your foot in the door by learning about e-cigarettes. There's a whole other world to discover once you start vaping.
E-Cigarettes or "Cig-alikes"
"cigalike" and tobacco cigarette
Many novices start out with the cig-alikes (cigarette-size batteries) and those may well get them off of the smokes. But people soon learn that the cigalike experience can be frustrating with poor battery time (only 2 - 3 hours), limited juice attachment options, and lacking performance in general. Disatisfied, they either go back to smoking or start advancing up the vaping ladder with bigger and better gear to gain more control and more satisfaction from their vape.
Ego Battery Devices
The intermediate step up are the eGo battery setups like above. These batteries are slim and lightweight, about the size of a cigar or magic marker pen, yet still are pocket/purse friendly. These allow 6 - 12 hours use per battery charge (depending upon the length of the battery), a wider variety of juice delivery devices, a larger e-liquid capacity, and a much more satisfying vaping experience. Expect 6 - 12 months battery life expectancy depending upon how heavy you use a eGo battery.
Note that Ego is a class of vaping battery (LiPo chemistry) and will require a tank (clearomizer) to vape e-liquid.
Some eGo models, like the Spinner or Twist, have variable voltage (adjustable power). Variable voltage models have definite advantages over fixed voltage models.
__________________________________"Mods", or APV's, are battery devices for more advanced vapers. They are available in two form factors: Tube or box shaped. Both tube and box mods can be regulated (electronics) or unregulated ("mechanical" with no electronics). The term "mod" originally came from modifying the common flashlight to become a battery holder to create a larger e-cigarette. This allowed vapers to use larger batteries and larger juice attachments.
"Mods" or Advanced Personal Vaporizors (APV)
The above iStick and MVP are mods use larger internal (rechargeable but not removeable) batteries which can go 2 to 3 days on a charge. These are affordable regulated battery devices for entry or intermediate vapors alike. They use USB charging cords like the eGo batteries do, and can be vaped while using the charging cord to save battery life (called "pass thru" ability). They also have built-in battery voltage/atomizer readers. The smaller Innokin iTaste VV4 is eGo size and form factor. It has the same features as the MVP but with less battery time and being even more pocket-friendly. It has flat sides to prevent rolling off a table.
(In order left to right) Kangertech KBox, Innokin Cool Fire IV, Kangertech Nano, iPV Mini II, Joyetech eVic-VTC Mini, and eLeaf Pico regulated mods. These are other popular regulated box mods currently available on the market. Some of these use external replaceable batteries which are charged in a separate box battery charger.
APVs (advanced personal vaporizers), or mods. These offer even more options from eGo setups by using either:
- External removeable rechargeable batteries like the below Provari.
- built-in internal rechargeable batteries like the above Innokin iTaste MVP and iSmoka iStick, which use non-removeable batteries.
An advantage to using an mod that uses removeable external batteries is the fact that when the original batteries eventually die, instead of having to replace the entire device like you would with an eGo or a regulated mod that uses a non-replaceable internal battery (iStick/MVP), you just replace the old battery with a new one. External replaceable batteries are only $6 - $12 and can have a life expectancy of 1 - 2 years. This can end up being a big money saver over the long term. A possible downside might be a one-time additional expense ($20 - $40) of buying a box battery charger to charge these external batteries. An upside is external batteries (IMR chemistry) are a safer chemistry than internal batteries (LiPo chemistry).
Above is a tube-form mod that uses replaceable rechargeable (external) batteries, called a Provari from Provape (discontinued). It was a high end regulated mod which had variable voltage, built-in battery voltage and coil resistance ohm meters, LED display to provide information feedback, and was known for its reliability and ability to precisely sustain the set voltage from the beginning of a new battery until it needed to be replaced.
Today's modern regulated mods also all have variable wattage in addition to variable voltage or only use variable wattage. Wattage and voltage regulation are essentially the same as far as vapers are concerned.
Bottom feeding box mods
Another class are bottom feeder mods. These have both the battery and the juice container inside the mod body. There is a window in the mod's body where you press the juice container to feed the liquid up to a specialized atomizer attachment, which has a feed hole to accept the e-liquid. This is a self-contained and often pocket-friendly unit preferred by many vapors. The Reo is the most popular name brand. These are usually mechanical mods that have no variable power options.
Tube mechanical mod
Box mechanical mod
Regulated mods use micro computers to regulate the electrical current from the battery to the atomizer so the vapor stays consistant to what is dialed in by the user. They allow for "fine tuning" the vapor to the user's personal preferences with variable voltage/variable wattage, as some vapers prefer a warmer vape while others prefer a cooler vape. In addition, some flavors are better at a lower power setting while others are better at a higher power setting. This gives you additional options to improve your vaping experience.
The voltage output from a regulated mod is not the battery voltage (like in a mechanical mod). It is converted using a combination of buck/boost and/or PWM (pulse width modulation), or pulsed DC circuitry to achieve the desired wattage to fire the atomize on top.
At wattages requiring less than the battery voltage, the mod will either buck the voltage down or more often pulse the DC voltage on and off to get the desired wattage.These processors also have built-in safety circuitry which make them a better choice for novice or intermediate vapors because of their safety features. Regulated mods can be tube or box mods. There are newer models called "high wattage" regulated mods which have all the benefits of a regular regulated mod in addition to higher power capability to fire super low-resistance sub-ohm coils.
At wattages requiring a higher voltage than the battery voltage, the boost circuitry will boost the battery voltage up to get the desired wattage. This boost circuitry has some energy loss so it will use more watts from the battery than at a lower voltage output from the mod.
Mechanical mods are bare-bones tube or box battery holders with no power regulation or variable power adjustments, and no built-in safety features. Current available to the atomizer is strictly what voltage the battery has available. These have recently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity because of RBAs (rebuildable atomizers). Because there is no computer to regulate voltage, mechanical mods depend solely on the battery's charge status and the resistance of the heating coil. Vape quality will gradually and progressively decline as the battery is drained during use.
Mechanical Mod Beginner's Guide
The Pro's & Cons of Regulated vs Mechanical Mods:Regulated Pro's:
The battery power to the atomizer is controlled (regulated) to stay the same throughout the battery charge, from a fully charged battery until fully discharged.
The power can be adjusted to increase or decrease the voltage by the user, allowing the user to change their vaping experience.
Has built-in protective circuitry against atomizer short circuits, shorts in the 510 connection or fire button; accidentally putting battery in backwards; over-discharging the battery; and over-heating.
Has built-in battery voltage and atomizer resistance meters to check battery status and the ohm of the coil.
Generally speaking, may not be as well made or as durable over time; electrical components may fail over time or from physical abuse.
Unless it is a "high wattage" regulated mod, will not be able to fire sub-ohm coils.
Generally speaking, made to be more durable and withstand some physical abuse. No electronics to fail.
Able to fire sub-ohm coils because there is no protection circuitry or processor amp limits to prohibit it.
Many are machined to be quite beautiful, nearly art pieces.
No protection circuitry. This is a big one for beginners. The user must always be aware of the signs of a short circuit which could cause the battery to vent into thermal runaway. Must have ventilation holes and a hot spring in case you experience a venting battery and which may prevent your mod from becoming an exploding pipe bomb.
No voltage regulation of the battery. As the battery drains from use, the vape quality will diminish.
Some mechanical mods allow the use of a drop-in processor module often known as a "Kick". A Kick converts a mechanical mod into a regulated mod allowing for power regulation and some protection features.
If the mod that you choose uses external (replaceable rechargeable) batteries, you must choose the correct chemistry battery (IMR 18650) and a Li-Ion box battery charger.
Efest LUC and Xtar VP4 Li-ion battery chargers
Battery Basics for Mods
Guide to Choosing a Li-ion Battery Charger
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