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Aqua Clone by Tobeco - Quality Issues

Discussion in 'Rebuildable Atomizer Systems' started by VapoJoe86, Jan 8, 2014.

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  1. VapoJoe86

    VapoJoe86 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    A few days ago, I received my Aqua clone by Tobeco (ordered from I know that the aqua clones fall into the "hype beast" category, as in everybody who touches it seems to be raving about how great it is, but I have some issues with the apparently low quality standards that Tobeco put into producing this particular clone. I don't know if these types of issues are present in all of the aqua clones by Tobeco (or all Tobeco products for that matter) or if I just happened to get a sour grape. Here are some pictures of the quality issues I encountered.

    First, a picture of the box for those who aren't sure what I'm referring to:
    aqua box.jpg

    The first problem involves the "o-rings". I'm not exactly sure what particular material they are made out of, but mine degraded rapidly. I was not using any kind of acidic juice or doing anything else to cause this. See below for two examples, the drip tip o-ring and the lower deck o-ring (these images speak for themselves).
    aqua drip tip.jpg aqua threading.jpg

    Luckily some replacement o-rings came in the box, so that's not a huge deal right now since I've replaced them but who knows how long these replacements will last. Moving on, did you notice anything else that was off about the image of the deck? Take a close look at the upper threading in the image below.
    aqua threading close.jpg

    See how there appears to be debris all through the threading? This is just a direct result of poor machining. These are the threads you screw the "chimney" onto, and they are extremely crunchy and all-around horrible. They snag cotton like it's going out of style and cause all kinds of trouble. The last thing I want to mention is the air flow holes. Take a look at the image below:
    aqua air flow.jpg

    Yes, those holes are so poorly punched that there are actually chunks of metal still attached to them. I was able to remedy this using a small ice pick. Nonetheless, pretty poor quality. There is no picture to represent the last issue I had but I need to mention it- the tank portion is incredibly difficult to thread onto the lower deck. It loves to go on lopsided or just not thread at all. It takes me about 10 attempts to get it threaded on there correctly.

    I'll be doing a full review of this clone in the near future (the actual performance- as in the vapor production/flavor/etc is really quite good), but in the mean time I wanted to bring these issues to the attention of anybody looking to pick up a Tobeco aqua clone. I won't be purchasing any more Tobeco items and I look forward to trying an aqua clone by a different manufacturer.
  2. st0nedpenguin

    st0nedpenguin Moved On Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 24, 2010
    Tobeco is kinda synonymous with poor quality control
  3. VapoJoe86

    VapoJoe86 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Yea, I just happened to learn this lesson the hard way. Like I said, I won't be purchasing any more Tobeco products.
  4. st0nedpenguin

    st0nedpenguin Moved On Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 24, 2010
    It's a pain too since you see so many people who got lucky with theirs, then your order arrives and it looks like it was machined using sweat shop workers teeth. :(
  5. Portertown

    Portertown Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 20, 2013
    Greenville, NC, USA
    It sure does have a few quality issues. I don't have one of these, but I do have two of the Tobeco Kayfun lite clones. I have had a few issues with the Tobeco clones I have, but nothing like what you are seeing. My threads were really pretty good from the start and got better with use. I also had some metal chips in the air channel I had to clean out and one of them even had a gob of machining oil (closer to grease) in the air channel. I have not had any problems with the o-rings. I wonder what material was used to make your O-rings?

    Glad it is at least working good for you and await your review. I had though about getting this clone, but I think I will pass on this one.
    Seems to me the clones "most" of the time take a little tinkering, but can be made to work ok. I guess we have to weigh this against the cost of the real ones.
  6. VapoJoe86

    VapoJoe86 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    That's a good point about weighing the cost- I would not have been able to afford an authentic Aqua so I'm grateful for having the opportunity to try a device that mimics the performance. If only the it matched the build quality. I'll have the review up by the end of the week though!
  7. ceejay

    ceejay Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 26, 2010
    It's hit or miss with clones :(
  8. LDS714

    LDS714 Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 27, 2013
    Nashville, TN, USA
    Sorry it wasn't up to spec. I've been slightly appalled at some of the lack of machining quality on lesser priced mods and attys. I guess a well made 510 connector is a beautiful thing, the variation in post heights and insulating materials on some of them just kind of make me scratch my head and wonder what they were thinking.

    Snap-On sells a pretty good thread file that you could use to clean up those threads. It's much cheaper than a tap and die set, but does take a little practice to become efficient with. I picked one up years ago and it's been incredibly handy, especially doing quick and dirty repairs on race bikes in the paddock between races.
  9. suspectK

    suspectK Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    I don't see how people like thumb screws, and does every one of them have the crazy wobble in tank section? Produced great vapor, but I haven't had a build that was up to simple expectations in flavor.. doesn't make sense.
  10. VapoJoe86

    VapoJoe86 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Thanks for the tip, I'll definitely look into that.
  11. EDO

    EDO Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 15, 2009
    I was very lucky with the Aqua and Kraken clones from Tobeco....both performed perfectly out of the box. I got a a Russian Tobeco clone also and that one had burs (like the ones in your picture) in the air hole....making it unvapable. It took less than a minute to fix it by drilling it out with 1/16 drill bit. The Russian clone now works perfectly. There is no way you are going to get the same quality control on these clones that you would get by getting the real deal. However, with very little tinkering you can get excellent performance out of them. Quite frankly, I am astounded at the quality that is coming out of China right now for the price. I got a CHi-you clone that I swear is better than the real one (has a better switch). My nemessis clone is an exact 1 to 1. The Aios clone is an exact 1 to 1.
  12. Cjax

    Cjax Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Sep 12, 2012
    RVa USA
    Honestly it sounds like you got a decent one. Sure it's dirty and it has some burrs from machining, but all the parts fit, right? Be glad, because others have reported there chimney won't screw on/just slides right off, or the tank threads are way too loose and it wobbles, making it leaky. A few new O-rings and some fine sand paper and elbow grease and you'll be good to go.

    It can be frustrating, but just gotta remember when dealing with the QC of cloned mods and atties, it's TO Be Expected China Overlooked! (see what I did there!)
  13. donnah

    donnah Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    I have mixed feelings about the clones of high end rebuildables. I have several real kayfun lites and just bought an EH Pro kfl clone. It was pretty much unvapeable out of the box. The air hole was very tiny and the draw was super tight. After drilling it out, it works fine and in a way now preforms better than my real ones.. in that there is NO whistle and not ONE hint of dryness. But supposed I wasn't comfortable drilling it? suppose I didn't have real ones to compare? What if this was my first rebuildable?

    I was able to make mine work but many who are new to this type of atty or new to vaping might not have the happy outcome that I've had. From what I've read (and I've read a lot) quality control seems to be all over the place and it's hit or miss as to someone getting a good one. I've mainly stayed away from mass produced clones (pv's and attys)
  14. Jargon

    Jargon Full Member

    Jul 8, 2012
    My Tobecco Russian clone does not whistle (lucky huh?), the chimney threads fine but needed some cleaning in between the threads and all parts flush mount. I am surprised I have no issues at all with it (from Fasttech). I also got a Fogger V2 which was perfect out of the box and finally an Ithaka that I have not bothered to test yet but have cleaned it thoroughly in case I decide to set it up anytime.

    I am also waiting for an Hcigar Kayfun 3.1 ES that I paid more for just to see if quality is higher. All in all though compared to my other original atomizers (e.g. my DID) the quality is nowhere near them.
  15. JD1

    JD1 Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Nov 20, 2010
    But the quality is only on certain things, and I think it just proves they can do it if they want to. The truth is so many people are buying this stuff up, then tossing it in a drawer, giving it away, or fixing it themselves instead of sending it back.

    Edit: I should add that I'm guilty as well lol. I'm really not trying to throw stones here, just pointing out what I think contributes to the situation.
  16. ibhanky

    ibhanky Full Member Verified Member

    Jun 19, 2013
    tobeco is hit or miss. hcigar on the other hand...
  17. suspectK

    suspectK Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    Come up with a fix on tank wobble yet? I was about to try dental floss, before I bought different orings, but I haven't been wanting to deal with the hassle/bs. Of course, right after I order one, 101vape puts up a kfl+ clone. I don't know why they thought unscrewing the tank was a good idea for airflow.
  18. sandt38

    sandt38 Moved On Verified Member

    Nov 29, 2013
    Summerfield, NC, USA
  19. tronicsman

    tronicsman Full Member Verified Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    Alexandria, MN
    Thank you for posting this I now know to go with the Genuine Item

  20. the4thpower3

    the4thpower3 Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 30, 2010
    Northern Virginia
    Tobeco CAN put out nice quality items - I received mine from 101Vape as well and mine is great.
    Quality control is Tobeco's issue. Yours looks like machine tooling beyond its usable life.
    They've been cranking those Aquas out like crazy.

    Will 101Vape take it back? Or do they consider that normal?

    There is another model being sold at FastTech that comes with silver plated pins, hybrid connector pin, second drip tip and those coveted red o-rings (ooo). Not sure of the manufacturer yet - but it looks promising (cost a bit less than the Tobeco model).

    Hcigar models listed on Ebay too.
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