(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 "Cigalikes
Most novices start out with the cigalikes (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. They start advancing up the vaping ladder with bigger and better gear.
Ego Battery Devices
Ego Spinner battery with Kanger Protank clearomizer
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 size of 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.
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 Advanced Personal Vaporizors (APV)
iStick with Aspire Nautilus and iTaste MVP with iClear 30 clearomizer
The next step up are APVs (advanced personal vaporizers), or mods. These offer even more options by using either:
- replaceable (external) rechargeable batteries, or
- large-capacity built-in (internal) rechargeable batteries like the above Innokin iTaste MVP and iSmoka iStick, which us non-removeable batteries.
The above iStick and MVP are regulated box mods which can go up to 3 days on a charge. These are an affordable regulated mod for entry level or advanced vapors alike. They can be used while using the charging cord to save even more battery life. Also have a built-in battery voltage/atomizer readers. These use USB charging cords like the eGo batteries do. The smaller iTaste VV3 has the same features as the MVP but with less battery time and being even more pocket-friendly.
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 utilizing 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.
Above is a tube-form mod that uses replaceable rechargeable (external) batteries, called a Provari from Provape. It's a high end regulated mod which has variable voltage, built-in battery voltage and ohm meters, LED display to provide information feedback, and is known for its reliability and ability to precisely sustain the set voltage from the beginning of a new battery until it needs to be replaced.
Other regulated tube mods are the Vamo, VMax, ZMax, Tesla, SVD, & Evic among others. These also all have variable wattage in addition to variable voltage.
Reo bottom feeding box mods
Another class are bottom feeder mods. These have both the battery and the juice container inside the mod. There is a window in the mod's body where you press the juice container to feed the liquid up to the atomizer attachment. 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.
Regulated or Mechanical Mod?
Silver Bullet from AltSmoke mechanical mods
Regulated mods (variable voltage) use micro computers to regulate the vapor to stay consistant to what is dialed in by the user. They allow for "fine tuning" the vapor to the user's personal preferences, 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.
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.
At wattages requiring less than the battery voltage, the mod will either regulate the voltage down or more often pulse the DC voltage on and off to get the desired wattage.
At wattages requiring a higher voltage than the battery voltage, the buck/boost circuitry will boost the battery voltage up to get the desired wattage. This buck boost circuitry has some loss so it will use more watts from the battery than at a lower voltage output from the mod.
These processors 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.
Mechanical mods are bare-bones tube or box battery holders with no power regulation/variable power control, and no built-in safety features. These have recently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity because of RBAs (rebuildable atomizers). Because there is no computer to regulate voltage, mechanical mod depend solely on the battery's output and the resistance of the heating coil. Vape quality will gradually and progressively decline as the battery is drained during use.
The Pro's & Cons of Regulated vs Mechanical Mods:
- 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 short circuits, atomizer shorts, accidentally putting battery in backwards, 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.
- No built-in voltage or resistance meters.
- No way to regulate the battery output. As the battery drains during use, the vapor will continually decline gradually. No way to adjust the vape experience except by changing the atomizer resistance.If the mod that you choose uses external (replaceable rechargeable) batteries, you must choose the correct chemistry battery (IMR) and a box battery charger:
There's a wide variety of toppers, or juice attachments that can be used on the above battery devices which contain the e-liquid and vaporize it:
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