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So what IS high voltage vaping all about? (Everything you've wanted to know plus a bit of electronic theory)

Discussion in 'APV and Mods Discussion' started by BiffRocko, Oct 5, 2010.

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  1. BiffRocko

    BiffRocko Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    You’ve heard about it. You’ve read about it. You wonder why people talk so much about high voltage vaping, low resistance atomizers, and other seemingly nonsensical terms. Until now it’s all been a confusing mishmash of new terminology and you don’t really know what all the fuss is about. In this post, I am going to clear up the confusion about high voltage vaping.

    Before we get started talking about high voltage vaping though, let’s get one thing out of the way. High voltage vaping is a giant misnomer. We should be calling it high powered vaping. A bit of electronics theory, which we’ll get to in a moment, helps explain why this is the case. For now though, the important thing to know about vaping at higher power are the tangible performance differences.

    High powered vaping provides several differences over low powered vaping. Chiefly, higher power produces a hotter vapor and requires less draw to produce an equivalent volume of vapor. It’s similar to the difference between sucking soda through a thin, narrow straw and a fat, wide one. The other major difference is in taste. Some juices have a stronger flavor at a higher power, while others have a stronger flavor at lower power.

    A fundamental of electronics, called Watt’s law, is essential in understanding what high power vaping is all about. The best way to explain Watt’s law is by using an analogy.

    Let’s imagine a boxer with big strong arms that is capable of packing a powerful punch. Now let’s imagine that boxer punching a heavy bag in the gym. The only thing slowing down the potential power the boxer can deliver is the resistance of the air in the gym. Air being relatively thin means he’s going to hit that bag with a lot of power.

    Now let’s imagine the same boxer hitting the same heavy bag, but this time he’s under water. The water offers much more resistance than air does, so even though the boxer’s strength is the same, his punches is going to be much less powerful.

    Electronics work in a similar manner. Voltage is potential, similar to the boxer’s strength, and resistance works the same as it does in the analogy. The more resistance there is, the less electrical power that’s delivered given the same voltage.

    As usual when dealing with scientific topics, there is a mathematical formula which defines this behavior. This formula is Watt’s law.

    Power = (Voltage * Voltage) / Resistance

    Knowing this formula is vital to understanding what high power vaping is all about, and helps us gain a better understanding of how the different combinations of vaping equipment perform relative to each other. This is where the term high power vaping comes from. Let’s look at some concrete examples to see what I mean.

    Most standard 510 atomizers have a resistance of 2.5 ohms. Mass produced PV’s such as the 510 and the eGo run around 3.2v. Using Watt’s law, we can calculate the power output for this configuration.

    (3.2 * 3.2) / 2.5 = 4.096 watts

    If we use a standard 510 atomizer, but instead step up to a 3.7v device our power output increases.

    (3.7 * 3.7) / 2.5 = 5.476 watts

    Let’s see what happens when we step up to a 5v device with the same standard 510 atty.

    (5.0 * 5.0) / 2.5 = 10 watts

    Now that’s a huge difference. 5v is considered by many to be a vaping “sweet spot.” Having seen these examples, you might think that 5v, with all that power, is the bee’s knees. But hold on a second! What happens when we change the resistance of the atomizer?

    Most low resistance 510 atomizers are rated at 1.5 ohms. Let’s see what happens when we use a low resistance 510 atty on a 3.7v PV.

    (3.7 * 3.7) / 1.5 = 9.127 watts

    Holy high power, Batman! Our 3.7v device with an LR atty is now putting out almost the same amount of power as a 5v device. This is why you’ll see people saying that a 3.7v device with an LR atty simulates 5v vaping. It’s not a simulation at all. It’s just putting out slightly less power than a 5v device with a standard atty. It’s still high power vaping.

    You might be asking if high voltage vaping is an incorrect term though. It’s clear that 5v with a standard atty is putting out more power than 3.7v with a LR atty. Let’s look at one more example to see why high voltage vaping is indeed a misnomer.

    Some vendors these days are selling what they term high voltage atomizers. These atomizers typically have a resistance of 3.5 ohms. Let’s see what happens if we put a 3.5 ohm atty on a 5v device.

    (5.0 * 5.0) / 3.5 = 7.14 watts

    Whoops! Now our 5v device is putting out less power than a 3.7v device with an LR atty. The voltage is higher, for sure, but as we’ve learned here, voltage is only part of the equation - resistance being the other. Power output is what’s really determining the performance of the PV.

    And that’s about it. Equipped with this knowledge, you should be much more prepared to make a decision about which configuration of PV and atomizer - or cartomizer, they have resistance too - works best for you.
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  2. Big Hitter

    Big Hitter Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Sep 21, 2010
    Binghamton, NY
    Good info, thanks for doing the math:)
  3. Automaton

    Automaton Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2010
    Thanks, Biff! That's really interesting.

    I hate LR's and 5v because it's just too much, but sometimes I wish I had something a little more stepped up than standard 3.7v. Now I'm wondering if a HR atty on a 5v device might rock my world. And 5v box mods are *cheap.* Oooo, I need more goodies!

    Thanks for doing this. :)
  4. Smocha

    Smocha Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Mar 5, 2009
    Great thread, Biff. Will definately help alot of people out.

  5. HzG8rGrl

    HzG8rGrl Trippy Tip Hoarder Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 11, 2009
    *The Swamp*
    Definately written in a fashion that even those of us with limited knowledge on the subject can understand! Now to get a voltmeter.
  6. BuzzKill

    BuzzKill Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Nov 6, 2009
    Central Coast Ca.
    Good stuff Biff !
    just to confuse you more

    most atomizers are 3.3 - 3.5 ohms , LR attys are typically 1.5 ohms , HV attys are anywhere from 4-5.5 ohms ( this varies from vendor to vendor )

    Power is what we are really after most find that 7-9 watts is the sweet spot !

    this can be achieved several ways 1. LR attys on a 3.7 volt battery , 5v device with normal atty , 7.4 volts with HV atty or a variable device with whatever atty .

    We are after heat at the coil inside the atty, this is measured in POWER or WATTS the higher the power/watts the hotter the coil gets and the hotter and more vapor you tend to get. ( vapor production is also controlled by PG/VG ratio as well ! )

    anyhow hope this helps some , in laymans terms .
  7. Liv2Ski

    Liv2Ski Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Sep 14, 2010
    Burnt Hills NY
    Nicely stated Biff - and I have to say that I am partial to the Cisco LR 306's on the eGo
  8. BiffRocko

    BiffRocko Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    Thanks for the props, everyone. I've seen so much confusion and misleading advice about this topic out there that I thought it was time to set the record straight. I'm glad it's been helpful.

    Buzzkill is right about the different resistance ratings from different manufacturers. The most important thing to take away from this lesson is the formula. With the formula, the voltage of your device, and the resistance of the atomizers, you can do the math yourself to find the perfect vape.

    As for me, I like Eastmall LR attys on my 3.7v devices and EM 510 standards on my variable voltage and 5v devices. I'm thinking about trying out some of the Cisco LR 306 attys though.
  9. Liv2Ski

    Liv2Ski Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Sep 14, 2010
    Burnt Hills NY
    Your next chore will be how to explain how to get Ohm readings on batts and atty's using a Digital MM. I check all of my stuff when it comes in and when I find a 1.43 - 1.45 Cisco 306 I put a gold marking on that bad boy!!!!! Thanks again this will help many
  10. ShannonS

    ShannonS Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 18, 2009
    Las Colinas, TX
    Thanks for the excellent info!
  11. Mr.Self_Destruct

    Mr.Self_Destruct Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    May 14, 2010
    Queens, NY
    very nice! Thank you. I'm looking to use a 6V BB with a 4.5Ω atty to vape at 8 watts. Someone told me that using a 2.5Ω atty @ 3.7V would be the same. Now I know there is almost 3 W difference. Clearly not the same.
  12. Papa Lazarou

    Papa Lazarou Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 15, 2008
    Here's a little calculator to quickly do the maths for you - Online Conversion - Ohm's Law Calculator

    A few atty's I've tested the resistance of recently were:

    DSE801 - 3.2 ohms (but quite a lot of variation on these, some older ones as high as 4)
    Joye 302 - 3 ohms
    DSE901 - 3 ohms
    RN4075 - 3.2 ohms
    Joye 510 - 2.4 ohms
    M401 - 2.7 ohms
    LR BE510 - 1.7 ohms

    (approximate taken with a cheap multi meter and I was a allowing for a "base resistance" of 0.3 ohms which it reads if I touch the two probes together, so may not be 100% accurate..)
  13. HzG8rGrl

    HzG8rGrl Trippy Tip Hoarder Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 11, 2009
    *The Swamp*
    Ciscos-which they must be listed as Cisco's LR306's, are wonderful. I have also found that ikenvape has been doing some intense work on all of his atomizers and cartomizers. So far they have been "the bees knees" ,if you will, for me.
  14. THE

    THE Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 4, 2008
    That is exactly how I thought it worked!! But I never could explain it in detail.

    One thing I never thought of asking though .. is the coil larger in the higher resistance atomizer? Is that how they make the resistance higher/lower? If so, in a high resistance high voltage scenario you would have the same temperature over a larger area and produce more vapor... wouldn't you?
  15. BiffRocko

    BiffRocko Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    The nichrome wire, which is resistant, is longer.
  16. Geoff_NYC

    Geoff_NYC Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 7, 2010
    New York City
    excellent explanation...props to the OP.
  17. Deafmomm

    Deafmomm Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 26, 2010
    Lynchburg, VA
    This actually made sense to me! Thanks for the info.
  18. mistinthewoods

    mistinthewoods Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Feb 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, MI
    Well written explanation Biff. Several months ago when I first tried a 6 volt device with a HR 901 I posted somewhere about how superior it was to the 510 LR at 3.7 volts. I got a lot of flack from a certain long time ECF member who likes to start crap. He claimed that there would be no difference in performance due to the math involved in Ohm's law. I didn't catch his oversight at the time but now I realize that he was comparing 3.7V/LR to 5V/HR when I was talking about using a 6V/HR combination which comes out to 10.28 watts compared to the 9.127 you get from the LR. That's if you don't consider that the 2 3.0 volt batteries I was using actually read a hair over 8V off the charger.
  19. CartHeadMod

    CartHeadMod Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 17, 2010
    Holland, Michigan
    some people get in their car and go to work.......some want to know how to change the oil.....others want to know how to maximize their car's horsepower......
  20. BiffRocko

    BiffRocko Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    By the way, if anyone is confused about people citing Ohm's law versus Watt's law, don't fret. They are complimentary formulas. Here's a good article that describes it in detail for those who are interested in going deeper down the electronic theory rabbit hole.
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