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How mechanical mods work...

Published by State O' Flux in the blog State's Stuff. Views: 728

What is a mechanical mod? The best answer to that question would be that a mech mod is nothing more than a battery holder, with an open ground switch.

The greater the resistive heating (reference "joule heating") current drain requirement is on the battery - as in deep sub-ohm values and high amperage loads - the greater the likelihood of a mech mod's conductive capability being proven as inadequate.
In other words, a mech mod that works just fine at 1.0Ω or higher, may demonstrate it's excessive internal resistance, in the form of localized "hot spots", when subjected to resistances that line up to the right of the decimal point. ;-)

The atomizer is screwed down firmly to the battery positive terminal via a 510 connector - even more so with a hybrid top cap that dispenses with an intermediary 510 positive contact pin - and by pressing the button, you 'close' the open ground circuit... to create a full circle of electrical energy, powering a resistive heating element - your coil(s).

Impediments to performance can be anything from the conductive capabilities of the metal used in that circuit, the fit of threads in the individual components - the top cap (if any) and button assembly (if any) that threads into the battery tube - and the various methods of ground circuit closing (switch type) the maker of the mod has chosen.

Besides the often ignored requirement to disassemble and thoroughly clean a mech every month or so... the one source of poor conductance that stands out in my mind is that which is produced by having loose tolerances in the conductive pathway... the type of loose tolerance often associated with clone, and even sometimes poorly executed authentic mods.
This inconsistent tolerance typically occurs between the button/button shaft and the 'holder' collet than encases it.

Another source of poor conductance is when a mod uses a spring as a component in the current circuit. Be it the metal or plating used, or just a generally poor
design - the knee jerk reaction can be a 'fix'... from a better quality spring to the wholesale tossing of the spring, replaced with magnets.
This latter fix may actually make things worse if the magnets plated surface is a poor conductor, or by lack of actual contact (button travel length vs. a longer magnet 'gap') forces the current to take a new pathway via surfaces never intended to conduct electricity.

If any part of the mech mod doesn't have sufficient conductivity to carry the current load required to energize the coil adequately, the result will be poor performance and perhaps localized hot spots... in some cases hot enough to cause arcing and visible 'burn' marks on the various component parts... including the battery negative terminal. :blink:
These burn marks may not indicate the only source of poor continuity, but indicative of just the 'weakest link' and greatest point of resistive (joule) heating... sufficient to create arcing.

Can we fix most mech mod conductive problems? Yes... some, but not all. As mentioned earlier, a better quality of spring or spring plating may improve a mechs performance. Mechs that utilize the button or button shaft to collet as the conductive path may prove to be more difficult to correct... especially if the previously mentioned loose tolerance is the culprit.

An old machinist saying is "it's easier to remove metal than it is to add metal" - this is true, but... we can add metal in the form of a wrap-around metal 'shim'.
If you have a mech with a button that has excessive radial clearance - as indicated by a button that has a good deal of lateral or tilting 'slop', you can insert a thin (.001" or so) shim between button - effectively increasing the button's diameter at the point of contact - and collet to take up the undesirable, excess play.
I've used everything from metal (stainless, brass, copper and aluminum) sold as shim stock, to bits of soda and beer can as a button secondary diameter 'sleeve'.
Should you take this route, the safety concern is that you test this thoroughly to confirm the button can move without binding.

In closing... regardless of your mech mod 'weapon of choice', make sure that both the design, and the implementation of that design, are of such that they won't be the cause of poor conductivity when you "close the ground circuit".

That's it. As always, take it for what it is - do with it what you will. :D

(Should anyone reading this feel that attempts at correcting a mod's flaws are beyond their capabilities... PM me and I may be able to walk you through a fix, or make the repairs myself, if you're willing to send me your mod.)
Stucarblne likes this.
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