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The Chameleon - final review

Discussion in 'Commercial Ecigarette Reviews and Videos' started by Switched, Jun 29, 2010.

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  1. Switched

    Switched ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 18, 2010
    Dartmouth, NS Canada
    Preface
    I received my Chameleon from IkenVape in early May. Having used this device extensively for nearly two months, in all it's configurations, I can now safely report my conclusions.

    The review
    As usual it came in a nice box (recyclable for future use for our doodads. The box contained:

    • A long and a short sleeve with end cap (extension sleeve is an extra)
    • The switch unit
    • A top cap
    • 3 atomiser adapters (510, 801 and 901/808)
    • 3 SLB HXV 5.2 Ohm atomisers (extra)
    The unit was well packaged at a cost $119 USD (with extension sleeve) shipped to Canada, considering the quality and versatility of the unit, this device is a good investment in my humble opinion.

    This device is amazingly small and lightweight. A mere 2 7/8” long with a diameter of just over 3/4” for 3.7V, and a mere 4 1/8” for high voltage applications. The device can be used stock with the 510, 801 and 901 atomisers, and accepts a standard 16340 or CR123 for 3.7V, a 14670 with extension sleeve for extended use at 3.7V or 2 x CR123A (protected) for high voltage applications.

    The unit is slick and well built. The thread assemblies are nice and smooth and engage without difficulty, the parts are nearly seamless.

    Remember the “class1” fit I talked about during my "first impressions" review. After the initial “breaking in” of the threads, all atomisers installed and performed flawlessly.

    Operation - maintenance
    The unit has performed near flawlessly* since acquisition. It is comfortable both as a 3.7V and 6/7V device using the myriad of adapters and battery combos. A nice feature wrt the way the atty adapters are constructed and fitted, is the way they can be accurately positioned when using flat tip carts. Unlike other devices which do not have a bottom button, the Chameleon does not require any contortions to fire the button, as the adapters can be positioned to suit your vaping style.

    To this day their is no mark on the body. It is not a finger magnet, and I did perform a "key" scratch test on the body without leaving a mark. The button although easily fired, will not fire in your pocket.

    The unit requires weekly maintenance for the adapters. This maintenance can be extended dependant on use, or until performance starts to drop. As brass tarnishes, it doesn't conduct as well. A quick trip in jewellery cleaner (30 seconds) once a week and all is well. I clean all threads with alcohol and re-lube with die-electric grease, or Noalox.

    *Near flawless

    During my weekly cleaning routine, I had cleaned all the threaded portions and the 801 adapter. Re-assembled the unit (for 6V) and went to bed. The unit worked fine (6V), prior to maintenance. The following morning, nada. Did a battery swap - nada??? Installed the AWs for 7V, and got a couple of weak hits, but - nada. Checked the atty, all is fine. Installed a couple of 16340s, a couple hits - nada. ... over. I thought I had a problematic switch. Tried the device at 3.7V using a 16340, bingo. Fired like a champ every time. Went back to 6V - nada. Tried 14670 batt, fired for a couple of times then - nada. Re-assembled as a 3.7V device all is well, regardless of battery combo with the short sleeve. I used it for the day, no problem. It hit every time.

    The small sleeve hadn't been cleaned as I was using the unit as a 6V device, huuum. Applied die-electric grease to the extension sleeve threads, and bingo, it fired flawlessly. After a couple of days, it started to hit erratically again. I proceeded to clean it, and alll worked well once again. Again, after a couple of hours the unit would misfire, went back to 3.7V and all is well, finished the day in that mode. The following day, went back to the extension sleeve on fresh batts - nada. So we have a conductivity problem as even the 14670 would not fire the atty, and appeared to giggle a little more than usual.

    I took out a set of verniers and decided I was going to shorten the extension sleeve, as the short sleeve performed flawlessly, but it was hit and miss with the extension sleeve. A point to note: Although the unit came with an o-ring, my application does not necessitate it's use. Having confirmed that there would be sufficient material available, I sanded off about 0.010" off both ends using figure 8s on extra fine emery cloth.

    Note:
    For folks that do not have a machinist background, it is quite common to have blueprints depict longitudinal tolerances (length) as +/- 0.010-15". Knowing this, that is the reason why I reduced the length of the tube. During an exchange with Isaac at IkenVape, the o-ring was supplied to compensate for different battery lengths and is only required by some. That is when the longitudinal tolerance light came on. The thickness of the cardboard for a Canadian pack of smokes is 0.013" so that gives you an idea of how small the tolerances are. I cleaned the threads, re-applied die electric grease and the unit has not missed a beat since. This unit has been used extensively and the switch fires as the day I received it.

    Performance
    The unit performs flawlessly (after length adjustment). My battery configuration renders a solid day in any configuration 6-8 hrs, including 6V and sees a solid 6 at 7V. I did use the 14670 once for a day and got a solid 9hrs before I decided to place it on the charger.

    Conclusion
    To date the unit has performed to near perfection. The versatility of the unit with its different battery/adapter combination, makes this a good investment in my opinion. A well though out unit that should render years of satisfaction and performance.

    What makes this unit special? It is a nearly an all mechanical device. Not only is it a nearly an all mechanical device, it is user serviceable. Anyone that is slightly mechanically inclined can service their own unit, to include but not limited to switch replacement. Isaac has put together a well documented and instructional tutorial on switch replacement. The switch is the only electrical component in this device, and hence its Achilles heel. Should the switch fail, Ikenvape will service it for the less mechanically inclined folks. The design is so simple, that it is a straight forward operation.

    I endorse previous recommendations with regards to this unit. The Chameleon is a solid 8.5 in my opinion:

    • Slight inconsistencies/differences in the oxidising process of the different parts - minus 0.5;
    • Electrical switch - minus 0.5; and
    • Requirement to adjust length - minus 0.5
    These may appear to some as negatives, but pale in comparison to some of the more serious reported flaws out there wrt devices straight out of the box.

    Disclaimer

    The length adjustment where I had to deduct points because I had to shorten it, is/was not a flaw as I am pretty sure the tube fell within design specifications and tolerances.

    Customer service and support from IkenVape has been second to none. He treats his customers like members of his own family, something we see far too little of these days. The only improvement I would suggest for this unit is an all mechanical switch, then it would not only be versatile, it would be bullet proof.
     
  2. Vaporologist

    Vaporologist Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    May 26, 2010
    Epic Journey
    Great review Switched! It was your initial review that convinced me to make the decision to purchase the Chameleon after previously being introduced to it by GrimmGreen. The Chameleon has worked flawlessly for me since the day I got it and I absolutely love it. Thank you for your honest reviews!

    Edit: It is such a pleasure being a part of the Ikenvape "family". They rock!
     
  3. aspen

    aspen Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 1, 2009
    Ca.
    Great review Switched, its all true and it takes a beating. I have dropped mine a bunch of times now and it just keeps working.:D
     
  4. Switched

    Switched ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 18, 2010
    Dartmouth, NS Canada
    Your welcome folks always glad to be of service. I had several good teachers ;) Of which Grimmer popped my cherry wrt the unit.
     
  5. WitchWay

    WitchWay Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 30, 2009
    Texas
    Fantastic review Switched! And such a pleasure to read! So well thought out and written. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    Despite it not having a mechanical switch, I can testify that it is almost bullet proof. Ok I can't believe I'm going to say this in public, but I accidentally (I talk wildly with my hands) tossed my poor Chameleon out the open window of a moving truck. I've been so embarrassed about abusing my baby this way that this is the first time I've admitted to doing it. Anyway... after several good bounces on asphalt and finally rolling into the grass on the edge of the street, my beloved Chameleon still fired! Albeit there are a couple small nicks in the edge of the end cap now, from the bounces, the sides didn't get a scratch on them. So it's definitely been tested for abuse and lived to vape another day.

    Kudos to Isaac and Val at IkenVape.com for providing the Chameleon and for allowing me to become part of the IkenVape family :thumbs:
     
  6. Switched

    Switched ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 18, 2010
    Dartmouth, NS Canada
    Thank you WWay I appreciate your kind words. No device is perfect, there is always room for improvement LOL. The switch is a minor point to many, but a serious contention with me. My personal preference as you know leads towards the all mechanical switch, hence why only the 1/2 point deduction. Because the switch although its Achilles heel, was well thoguht out and easily repairable by the average consumer, which is another reason for only a minor deduction. As we know the AM switch will be part of the Chameleon V2.

    What I really am starting to appreciate is that vendors are starting to take notice to some of these minor details, perhaps flaws and making the/their device better. IMHO its a win win situation for everyone concerned. As time goes by this is the avenue I will be striving for and continue to maintain, saying it like it is.
     
  7. WitchWay

    WitchWay Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 30, 2009
    Texas
    I agree fully that a mechanical switch would be better and less to go wrong. Without the consumer's opinion the suppliers/manufacturers would not know what is needed and wanted. Thankfully there are those that listen to the consumer, like Isaac and Val.

    I just wanted to share that despite it not being an all mechanical switch, it is extremely durable and I doubt many other PVs could have gone through what my Chameleon did and still work. And still look good too! :)

    Just tell me the AM switch will not be on the bottom and I'll be a very happy camper.

    Please don't ever stop being you and saying it like it is! I for one have gained a great deal of knowledge and insight from your experiences, knowledge and opinions. However I will not add your name to my cheerleader uniform :lol:


    Happy Vaping!!
     
  8. notsoogood

    notsoogood Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Oct 19, 2009
    The REAL Washington
    I wanted one of these but he didn't have anymore...I wonder if he does now? I'll have to check.

    Good review Switched!
     
  9. Switched

    Switched ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 18, 2010
    Dartmouth, NS Canada
    :lol: :lol: :lol:

    No If I read between the lines in the announcement it will go in place where it is now, but I could very well be wrong. BTW bottom buttons are nice :) but understandably not for everyone. If it is any consolation, the learning curve is quite shallow.
     
  10. Switched

    Switched ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 18, 2010
    Dartmouth, NS Canada
    If you go to the site, sign up for their news letter. That is what I did for mine. It doesn't cost anything and the readers get updates wrt when the products come in prior to being announced publicly. Just a little something Isaac does for his customers.
     
  11. wolflrv

    wolflrv Super Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 20, 2010
    Tennessee
    Switched...you didn't mention it..so I thought I'd ask. Have you tried the Chameleon with KR808D cartos or any of the 901 connector cartos(ie V4L, etc.)? Just curious about air flow with the custom Chameleon adapters? They are also supposed to work for the cartomizers.
     
  12. Switched

    Switched ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 18, 2010
    Dartmouth, NS Canada
    Dang! Sorry about that. Yes I did both the KR8s and 510s, at 3.7V and 6V. I am not to fussy with the cartos at 6V which BTW my 6V batty combo gives me 5V under load. Too hot for me, both kind of cartos, although the 510s were better.

    The KR8s were not from IkenVape but the 510s were, and yes they worked on the provided adapters. I have also tried them (KR8s) on the 510 adapter fitted with the 510/901 adapter and all was well.

    These are what the SLBs look like inside.

    cartomizers - Page 2 - E-Cigarette Forum

    Wrt air flow, if you watched Grimm's review where he stated the 510 was a little tight, my draw was normal. All performed well after initial thread breaking in. See Chameleon - first impressions.

    The Chameleon - First impressions - E-Cigarette Forum
     
  13. wolflrv

    wolflrv Super Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 20, 2010
    Tennessee
  14. WitchWay

    WitchWay Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 30, 2009
    Texas
    I have the SP2 that has the bottom button and it is not that I don't like it or can't use it. It's more that I use more than one device at a time and going between the side button and the bottom button confused my fingers :) I would be trying to push the bottom of the Chameleon and wondering why nothing was happening or trying to find the button on the side of the SP2 that wasn't there. If I only used one device it would be fine, but when using two they need to be the same :)

    I'll add to what Switched has confirmed. All cartos work on the Chameleon and trust me I've tried almost all brands 510 and 808 on it now, plus 3 different kinds of 4081 cartos (with an adapter). Matter of fact I haven't found any carto or atty that hasn't worked on it.
     
  15. notsoogood

    notsoogood Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Oct 19, 2009
    The REAL Washington

    Thanks switched!;)
     
  16. Switched

    Switched ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 18, 2010
    Dartmouth, NS Canada
    You are welcome. It is well worth it and the only wtg IMO. I believe the Chameleon sold out in a matter of a couple of days last time.
     
  17. wolflrv

    wolflrv Super Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 20, 2010
    Tennessee
    I've had my eye on the Chameleon and the GGTS for quite some time, due to their ability to use all types of atomizers. I already have a Mini-Vapestack from MadVapes..and I'm figuring the size of the Chameleon is pretty close to that. I waited too long on my decision making for the Chameleon and it sold out again. I also looked at the AFSv2 for the GGTS and ended up getting it and am loving it. In fact so much that I got the GGTS just to match it. I really feel like I've found my fav mod that can do anything I need it to. The biggest downside to the Chameleon is not being able to use the 18650 battery, which is my personal favorite. I really debated this hard though and I'd still probably like to have a Chameleon at some point as a "stealth" style backup, rather than the Vapestack due to it's ability to use all the atomizer types. That's still huge for me as I use 901, 808, 510 in atty and cartos. Not having to totally switch mods is a big deal.
     
  18. Switched

    Switched ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 18, 2010
    Dartmouth, NS Canada
    The GGTS was also on my short list, but was out of stock. At the time is was selling for $212 USD and only came with the 901 fiiting, not my favourite atty and the AFS was something like another $147 USD I believe. Wow! IMHO opinion that is an outrageous price to pay for any battery mod, even if it can hold a 18650. Since, the price has been lowered to reflect the actual and accurate exchange rate of the Euro, for which the price stagnated for quite some time at the upper end??

    Another downside to any mod that can accept an 18650 batt, is the battery rattling that occurs when using the device with any other battery combo. To some this is insiginificant, but would prove to be an annoyance to me.

    I watched for quite some time Imeos videos on the AFS and later the AFS2, and was moved away from the system, for many reasons. The aesthetics of the device started to diminish greatly with the AFS fitted and really disappeared after he developed the collector tank to compemnsate for leaky AFSs. The unit with all its accoutrements has now become a two fisted unit, something more conducive to household use than being capable of being used comfortably in public.

    Wrt carrying a spare gas can, I made myself a couple of 510 wetboxes, one for my 18650s, for a fraction of the cost of an AFS. The 18650 is used in my car for long trips, saves on using a PT.

    Nothing wrong with the GG. Those who love it, love it allot, but the build is far too complicated for my liking. IMHO, Imeo never heard of the KISS principle.
     
  19. wolflrv

    wolflrv Super Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 20, 2010
    Tennessee
    I guess I tipped the scale with the 18650 capability. I'm truly loving my GGTS/AFSv2 and it has become my non-stop no matter what I'm doing device. I mow my 2-acre property..work out in the shop..sit at my desk..go to town..eat at restaurants..it's always with me. I get some attention from it..but it's always positive as opposed to what I got with my FogLog.

    Yes..I agree..the price is steep...but by the time I sell off most of my other mods and gear...it will more than pay for itself.
     
  20. portguy

    portguy Super Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Portugal
    Great review Switched. Just knowing you chose this makes me certain that it is a nice mod.
    Besides..customer service is a BIG factor even for a skilled guy like yourself.
     
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