Advanced Questions for Beginner Users, or the "I want sick clouds, bro!" Thread - Sticky Edition!

Discussion in 'Help I have questions!' started by OBDave, May 4, 2015.

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  1. OBDave

    OBDave VU Donator Gold Contributor

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    Hi All:

    I've been seeing a ton of questions in the last few months that seem to involve new vapers who have ended up with advanced setups they're not entirely sure how to use, mechanical mods in particular. What I'm hoping to do here is start a kind of first-stop post, with links to some threads where our members have taken quite a bit of time to type out thoughtful, detailed posts answering some of the questions that get asked quite a bit. With luck it'll save some time for those of us who've already dedicated countless hours helping out...


    Are these batteries good? Plus other battery info...

    Some quick and dirty info: the best known 18650 batteries (the most common size for vape use) currently in production as of this post are rated for a 20 amp continuous draw - favorites in the vaping community are the Samsung 25R and LG HE2 and HE4. Sony used to make a popular 20 amp cell, the VTC5, and equally popular 30 amp cells (the only batteries that currently exist with a continuous amp rating higher than 20) called the VTC3 and VTC4 - the VTC5 were out of production for a long time (new stock begain appearing in late June 2015), and a significant portion of those sold today are counterfeit. Even reputable sources have been known to be duped by a wholesaler somewhere along the supply chain, so exercise caution if you buy Sony. LG is said to be releasing the HB6 soon, and this battery will have a 30 amp continuous rating when it's available, but a low storage capacity of 1500 mah. EDIT: The HB6 has been on the market for a few months as of December 2015 and seems to be holding up as advertised - legit Sony VTC5s are also back online, but still use caution when selecting a supplier (stay away from eBay and Amazon). LG also has another new cell, the HG2, with a 3000 mah capacity and 20 amp rating.

    Some companies sell batteries they didn't produce - Efest and MXJO are popular examples. These batteries will often have a misleading amp rating, claiming 35 amps when in reality what's being stated is a "pulse" or "burst" rating that can only be achieved for a short time. The continuous rating is what most experienced vapers will rely on when calculating what kind of coil they can safely use. Also, these manufacturers buy "seconds," or batteries that didn't pass quality control at the manufacturer and thus the big names don't want to sell them with their brand attached. For these reasons, these batteries are not recommended as highly as trusted manufacturers such as Samsung and LG. A simple rule of thumb is to avoid any type of battery with "fire" in the name (Trustfire, Singfire, Truefire, etc.) in order to avoid setting yourself on fire.

    If you're using a mech, you should never let your batteries drop below a 3.6-3.7 volt charge – draining your batteries too low can cause serious and permanent damage. Experienced vapers will know by "feel" when to change batteries, but if you don't a multimeter is a good tool to have – install a fresh battery (which should be charged to 4.2 volts), take a dozen or so pulls on your mod, then pull the battery out and test it. Repeat this process until your battery is down to 3.7 volts, then put it on the charger and install a new one. After practicing this for a few days, you'll develop the feel needed to stay safe and can stop monitoring constantly. Instructions on using a multimeter:

    http://altsmoke.com/multimeter.html

    Getting a decent battery charger should also be high on your priority list – the three most popular for vape use, listed in descending order of general quality perception, are Xtar, Efest (even though the batteries aren't recommended), and Nitecore. If you must cheap out in other areas, don't when it comes to your batteries or charger.

    Here's a thread from @[email protected] (a vendor I haven't personally used, but who gets good feedback from those who have bought there) doing some comprehensive battery testing on the VTC series versus Efest, including a new cell Efest claims as 38 amp...they actually don't come out looking too bad:

    http://vapingunderground.com/thread...ony-vtc4-vs-new-efest-38a-vs-efest-30a.77680/

    More good battery info here, particularly from @State O' Flux and @NemesisVaper :

    http://vapingunderground.com/threads/getting-started-with-batteries.117492/#post-618116
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  2. OBDave

    OBDave VU Donator Gold Contributor

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    What kind of mod should I buy?

    If you're asking this question, you should probably be looking at a regulated device – these allow you to adjust power settings and have safety functions built in so the device won't fire if you've accidentally done something dangerous. With the proliferation of regulated mods on the market, some offering massive power well in excess of 100 watts, there's really not much to be gained from using a mechanical mod with no circuitry or safety features. This wasn't the case as late as mid-2014, when regulated devices were severely limited in power output and the only way to get big power was to build yourself.

    With advanced regulated devices, there are two sub-categories: self-contained and replaceable battery. The self-contained units are nice for their small size and for alleviating the need to buy separate batteries and a charger, but they're also limited in power output as compared to replaceable battery mods. Also, if you have a battery problem your whole mod is pretty much junk - with replaceable batteries you can toss them (actually, please recycle them in a proper fashion) and get new ones for a few dollars when they wear out.

    That said, if you're set on a mechanical, or "mech," there are two main types – those with a 510 pin between your atomizer and the battery, and "hybrid" models with a hole in the top cap, allowing your battery to contact the atomizer directly. These are desirable because they produce less voltage drop (power loss), but dangerous because if the center pin of your atomizer doesn't protrude from the bottom of the threads and stay firmly locked in place the battery could contact the threads, causing a hard short that will in turn cause your battery to vent and/or explode in short order. For this reason, hybrids generally aren't recommended as a first mech.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
  3. OBDave

    OBDave VU Donator Gold Contributor

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    What kind of atomizer should I buy?

    This is a highly subjective question. Let's assume there are three main types, RDAs (Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers), RTAs (Rebuildable Tank Atomizers), and clearomizers, which have factory-built, replaceable coils.

    There is an insanely wide variety of RDA and RTA choices available, and new devices hit the market at a rate of several per week. Some are built to maximize flavor, others for big clouds, some strike a balance between the two. You'll have to do your own research on the forums to see what appeals to you, as simply asking this question is likely to net a slew of answers wherein members tell you what they've experienced and liked, but very few of us have experience with enough different devices to speak with authority on others with which we're not familiar. Those that do have that experience are probably posting reviews to help you with your research, rather than waiting for you to post a thread asking them to deliver a dissertation on the 100 devices they're personally familiar with.

    More helpful: do some research, and if you narrow your search down to 2 or 3 devices, that's the time to start a thread asking for specific comparisons between them. You'll still get a lot of posts from people that either ignore your question or are such fanboys of their favorite devices that they'll try to tell you that you need to buy whatever they have because if they bought something it must be the best, but having some idea of what you want before posting will help reduce these usually-unhelpful comments, or at least limit them to suggestions that closely align with what you want if you've worded your desires clearly.

    Clearomizers, long adored for their simplicity and shunned for their lack of power and "sick clouds bro" abilities, are making a huge comeback in 2015 with the advent of the "sub-tank" segment of the market that uses low-resistance coils. They get their name because the tanks are usually clear, made of either polycarbonate plastic or Pyrex glass - some flavors, usually including cinnamon or citrus, will damage the plastic tanks, so glass are preferred and have become the standard on most new designs. Many newer RTAs also use a clear section to monitor juice levels - again, the same concerns exist with plastic tanks, especially if you tend to vape "tank cracker" flavors.

    Again, there are a ton of these on the market, each with its fans and detractors, so you'll have to do your own research for the most part. One thing to note is that many of these do not have a sufficiently-protruding center pin for use on hybrid mechs, so it's strongly recommended to avoid combining the two.

    A helpful thread with lots of info and reviews of sub-tanks collected in one place:

    http://www.vapingunderground.com/threads/subtank-wars.60527/
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
  4. OBDave

    OBDave VU Donator Gold Contributor

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    What kind of wire/coil should I use to get sick clouds, bro?

    If you haven't built a coil before, it may be best to start small – a single coil with a resistance in the 1.0 ohm range. To get this you're going to need some thin gauge wire, like 28. You'll probably move on to more advanced builds once you have a few successful smaller ones, so it would be a good idea to pick up a variety of round Kanthal, say in gauges of 28, 26, and 24, to start. Wire is cheap and can be had for around $5 a spool. Don't worry if you move on before you use up all your thin wire, it'll come in handy if you start learning advanced builds that involve wrapping or braiding multiple strands down the line.

    YOU NEED TO HAVE A MEANS OF CHECKING YOUR COIL RESISTANCE BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO USE IT. To repeat, YOU NEED TO HAVE A MEANS OF CHECKING YOUR COIL RESISTANCE BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO USE IT. Ohm meters are available for around $15 and are very simple to use, not to mention handy building platforms to keep your atomizer in place while you install your coils. You can also use a multimeter, which is handy to have if you're using a mech and need to test your batteries as well. Instructions on using one for vaping purposes can be found here:

    http://altsmoke.com/multimeter.html

    I find that I can get great flavor and vapor production out of simple dual coil builds using the tension coil method @MacTechVpr goes into detail on throughout this thread (and there's even more over at ECF if you're inclined to visit that forum and search):

    http://www.vapingunderground.com/threads/micro-coil-frustration.3692/#post-76476

    Of course, there are tons of other great options, depending on how complex and intricate you want your builds to get – check out the Builders Corner subforums for more, but for basics it's probably best to stick to round Kanthal and avoid the exotic builds/wire materials/ribbon wires/etc.

    Helpful calculators and assistance with planning your builds can be found at:

    http://www.steam-engine.org/

    A good thread on how to effectively wick your coils from @scarecrowjenkins (he's using Japanese cotton, but the fundamentals are sound for regular cotton and rayon, too):

    http://vapingunderground.com/threads/rda-wicking-method-w-japanese-cotton.64969/
     
  5. OBDave

    OBDave VU Donator Gold Contributor

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    Other great threads to start out with

    This will probably be the section of the post I update most frequently, but if there are any other areas you'd like to hear about, chime in!

    The open-for-discussion version of this thread, where you can see some more discussion and ask questions about what's posted here:

    http://vapingunderground.com/thread...ant-sick-clouds-bro-thread.76012/#post-438745

    Check out post 5 from @madmonkey here for another member's great take on a beginner's overview:

    http://www.vapingunderground.com/th...aping-and-want-huge-clouds.57203/#post-342212

    A quick read on the basics of variable voltage, variable wattage, and temperature control (limiting) devices:

    http://www.vapingunderground.com/threads/newb-s-about-vv-vw.70127/#post-419194

    Another great @madmonkey post here at #10:

    http://www.vapingunderground.com/threads/beginner-help-please.73577/#post-437994

    More on using Steam Engine, including why YOU NEED TO HAVE A MEANS OF TESTING YOUR COIL'S RESISTANCE BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO USE IT, with some good info from @Neunerball :

    http://www.vapingunderground.com/threads/steam-engine-inaccurate.77423/

    @UncleRJ gets the nickel wire party started with what promises to be the definitive temperature-limiting discussion - once again @madmonkey kicks things off in earnest at post 15:

    http://www.vapingunderground.com/threads/requesting-a-temp-control-users-guide.78455/#post-449764

    Another @madmonkey post on the factors behind coil ramp-up time - #5:

    http://www.vapingunderground.com/threads/slow-firing-plume-veil-1-5.79743/

    @madmonkey again on chip deficiencies in the Sig 150 and possibly other sx-330 mods

    http://vapingunderground.com/threads/segelei-150-and-other-sx-330-mods-voltage-off.81521/

    A thread from @CDZVaper on the iStick 50 auto-firing issues:

    http://vapingunderground.com/threads/istick50-auto-fire-issue.74956/#post-443856
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
  6. GrayVaper

    GrayVaper Drips in Public VU Donator Bronze Contributor

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    This is one of the reasons why I love this group! :D:):):)
     
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  7. OBDave

    OBDave VU Donator Gold Contributor

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    Updated with expanded info on clearos and material concerns, plus added links exploring temp control, build ramp-up times, and problems that have cropped up in the popular iStick 50 mod...
     
  8. OBDave

    OBDave VU Donator Gold Contributor

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    Updated to reflect that legit Sony VTC5 batteries are working their way back into the market...
     
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  9. OBDave

    OBDave VU Donator Gold Contributor

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    Updated with some changes to the battery section. Also, a helpful quick-and-dirty guide for what are commonly accepted as the best vaping-use 18650s:

    Samsung 25r2 or 25r5 - 20A continuous discharge, 2500 mAh
    LG HE2 and HE4 - 20A / 2500 mAh
    LG HG2 - 20A / 3000 mAh
    LG HB2 - 30A / 1500 mAh
    Sony VTC3 - 30A / 1600 mAh
    Sony VTC4 - 30A / 2100 mAh
    Sony VTC5 - 20A / 2600 mAh

    And from @Mooch, vaping's foremost battery expert - a much more comprehensive guide (right click to expand):
    [​IMG]

    I'll get something up here on TC basics soon, too...
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  10. OBDave

    OBDave VU Donator Gold Contributor

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    Let's give a warm welcome to @f1r3b1rd, who's going to help add some fresh info to this semi-dead one-stop noob thread...
     
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  11. f1r3b1rd

    f1r3b1rd #Team Jimi Supporter Staff Member Senior Moderator VU Donator Diamond Contributor Member For 2 Years

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    [​IMG]
    So you want to see what this “TC” temp control is all about?


    This is my take on the temp control, I have come to these conclusions after being an early adopter with the first edition dna40, sx350j, and dna200. Rather than discuss any board at length this more about the commonalities with temp limiting. Notice I said temp limiting and not temp control. The reason being, what vapers refer to as temp control is not control at all. It now can mimic control but it is really a series of ceilings preventing you from getting the coil over a predestined temperature or the mod to fire over a predetermined power output. It is not a thermostat, nor designed to hold it at temperature, only to not cross the temperature set.

    Currently there are 3 metals commonly used for Temp Limiting. New metals get experimented with and become fads with this technology as often as shoes get popular. At the time of this writing the three primary metals are NI200. Titanium, and SS. NI200 is the hardest to work with but yields the most consistent results from the board. Titanium, is highly popular but in my opinion can yield rather inconsistent results and was left with rumors of less than healthy output should it get to hot. (temp limiting?) stainless steel, is my personal favorite because of its ease of use, benign health effects and proficiency.

    When buying a TC mod, the 2 features to make sure the mod has are upgradeable software and the ability to load in your own TCR value.

    What is a tcr value? TCR is the basis of temp control. Essentially, TC works by using metals whose resistance increases in a linear fashion as the temperature increases. In other words resistance goes up at a constant rate as temperature goes up. The board uses its starting temp and resistance; then, figures out the change in resistance, and, uses that to factor the current temperature. It then regulates the temperature by backing down the power output and monitoring the resistance.

    The nature of the technology leads it to be a little bit finicky at first; and, while each model does things marginally different a major constant are the things that it is finicky about. Primarily, since tc relies on the resistance change with temp, and that these changes are so minute, good, clean, solid connections are a must. Additionally, Contact coils do not work right- contact coils "work" in non tc mode due to the oxidation buildup on kanthal a1, but since tc relies on non-oxidizing coil material, you don't get the isolation, and have wildly fluctuating coils. This is especially noticeable with ni200 and why many early adopters went on a search for something more user friendly. Its resistance is so low and the metal itself is so soft that it became very troublesome to use. Stainless however is very similar to build with as Kanthal and the resistance is high enough to be used in power mode. A contact coil is what you think of when you think of a vapers coil. All of the wraps are touching. The oxidation can build up which can cause the resistance to askew. This interference is greatly reduced when the wraps of the coil are spaced. It is this reason that a spaced coil, is preferred; and, in the case of most metals necessary, for temperature limiting to work properly.

    On many mods, you need to “pair’” your atomizer with the mod in order to give the mod a baseline resistance from whence to start. This is KEY as this is the very basis of TC any change in the resistance will throw the calculation of and lead to a bad vape. Even body temperature, it is this reason that before pairing the mod, and after the build, set the atomizer and mod to the side for about 10-15 minutes and let them both come to the same temperature. Then screw on your atty and lock in the resistance.

    Mods with a loadable tcr value will have a place where you can plug in a number generally starting around the third place after the decimal. This chart has some of the more commonly used tcr values.
    qDpbMVR.jpg

    www.steam-engine.org has the tcr values for most metals available with a tcr value associated to them. In the event that you are using a dna2oo steam engine also has downloadable .csv files available as well. These .csv files are exact charts for the tcr of a given metal that allow the DNA board to be a little more accurate.


    I hope this information gives you a fair bearing on using TC and helps in some way should you have any injuries’ please let us know
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
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