eLeaf iStick TC100W Dual-18650 Box Mod
Update: With the latest firmware update users now have a maximum output of 120W, and the update is available for both Mac and PC. Nice move eLeaf!
While our crew finishes up a slew of new Sub-Ohm tank reviews I thought it be a good idea to review a brand new eLeaf product that I find myself using more and more. The eLeaf iStick TC100w. This Firmware Upgradeable mod is literally the most ‘capable’ iStick yet.
When this dual-18650 iStick hits the vendor shelves soon, they will, I strongly believe, fly out to vapers everywhere. Features, build quality, and the price are factors that cannot be ignored by people wanting that 100W of power and the options to do so much with it. Most vendors will sell the iStick TC100W for about $40.
While some may get confused by the recent introduction of the iStick 100W released just a few months ago, the iStick TC100W is very, very different. In fact, the only features they share is the 100 watts of power and the dual batteries, everything else is different.
On paper the most obvious difference is the addition of temperature control tech. I’ll get into this particular TC system below, but there are a few features I’d like to mention first, features that may not be as obvious as temperature sensing/limiting.
First is the iStick TC100w hidden firing button. It lies behind one of the top to bottom magnetic battery covers, making the entire battery cover function as the firing mechanism. No more fumbling for the firing button position, just squeeze the iStick and start vaping. Eleaf has even added a Lock Switch directly above and on top of the firing panel (battery cover) so you can prevent accidental firing.
Dual Battery Placement
In most other dual-18650 devices, including the recent iStick 100W, the placement of the batteries has always been side by side, with a single battery cover. In the iStick TC100W there are two battery covers, one on each side of the device. The dual batteries are inserted through the side of the iStick TC100W, and the magnetic battery covers slap on fast and true. By the way, because of the placement of the batteries and the circuit structure, both batteries are placed with the positive end toward the top of the device.
One or Two Batteries? Your Call
The iStick TC100W uses a Parallel Circuit Structure. That means that the iStick TC100W can be used with one high-amp 18650 battery or two 18650 high amp batteries. However, using the iStick TC100W with a single battery the output is cut down to 75W. In order to achieve the full 100W you’ll need to insert batteries into each compartment. But think about that for a minute…
Unless you need that 100 watts of power all the time you can run the iStick TC100 at up to 75w using just one battery. That does throw off the balance some, but for those times when you might not have two fully charged 18650’s you can still get a great vape with a single battery. That’s pretty cool in my book.
Charging through the USB port
Probably for aesthetic reasons eLeaf has placed the USB port on the bottom of the device. In my experience those that hate the port on the bottom of the device and those that don’t are about equal in number. Doesn’t much matter to me as I always charge my batteries in a Nitecore charger.
An external charger will charge up the batteries much faster than using the USB port/cable anyway, so unless you don’t particularly care about the time it takes to charge the batteries, make sure you have a good external charger. I always recommend Nitecore for ALL battery charging.
iStick TC100 – Firmware Upgradeable
Unfortunately, we Mac users are left feeling unloved and unappreciated again, but if you happen to use a PC you’ll be happy to learn that the iStick TC100W is upgradeable through the USB cable and your Windows machine.
Making Mac users jump through all sorts of hoops to upgrade our vaping instruments is a pain in the ass, and hopefully the Chinese manufacturers will begin to understand that there are a few million Mac users that vape. Compiling an upgrade as a Mac app is easy to do, there is no good reason why they aren’t doing it. I would go so far as to say that IF Mac upgrades were available devices that allow firmware upgrades would increase quite a bit. Mainstream Mac users, i.e., Mac users that love the GUI but don’t peak under the hood often, will definitely avoid a PC-only firmware upgradeable device because they can’t be bothered with installing virtual machines on the Mac.
In any case, through firmware upgrades your small investment in the iStick TC100W will keep the device relevant for a longer period of time. (Newest upgrade bumps the iStick TC100 to a maximum wattage out of 120W)
eLeaf has begun to extend the abilities of their temperature control technology a couple of devices back, and in this new release the iStick TC100W utilizes the new TC-SS mode, which allows the device to use 316 Stainless Steel coils, and it supports various TC coils at different TCR values, meaning it can adjust the coefficients between the various metals in real time.
Changing the TC mode is a simple matter of press-n-hold a dedicated button below the plus/minus adjustment buttons.
Press and hold a few seconds to gain access to the sytem and then let go. Press and hold again to cycle through, or press and hold and go one by one through the cycle. The options are Ni, Ti, SS, Bypass, M1, M2, M3, and TCR.
The display on the front side of the iStick TC100w gives you plenty of information, but the ‘mode’ portion of the display appears in the above right of the screen in a tiny size, at least relative to other information displayed.
The OLED screen has not been seriously upgraded in a while, so you’ll feel familiar with the readouts; battery strength icon on the far left, ohms reading in the second position, top, voltage reading also in the second position, bottom, followed by the main readings in the third position.
The screen will display the current wattage or the current temperature, depending on the mode, dead center of the screen. In the far right position is the abovementioned mode display (top) and while holding down the firing panel the bottom position also reveals the wattage/temperature again.
Variable Wattage and Bypass Modes
Not much to explain about variable wattage mode, though the range is a nice 1-100w in .1w increments. Standard fare and fully expected.
Bypass mode though, is a bit different. This mode basically turns the iStick TC100W into a mechanical mod, which is something I don’t recommend for most vapers. I mean, you invest in an advanced mod that can do so much, why strip it all away by turning it into a mech mod?
Specs and Features
Thread type: 510 thread
Cell type: high-rate 18650 cells
(Discharge current should be above 25A, for example, Sony VTC4)
Output mode: VW/Bypass/TC (Ni/Ti/SS/TCR-M1, M2, M3) mode
Output wattage: 1-100W
Resistance range: 0.05-1.5ohm (TC modes)
0.1-3.5ohm (VW/Bypass mode)
Temperature range: 100－315℃/200－600℉ (TC modes)
Color: grey, black, white
What’s in the Box?
1×iStick TC100W (without cell)
I know this might sound silly, but I enjoy using the iStick TC100W more so than many of the mods I have in my collection. I Love, love, love the Firing Panel, it works like a charm every time and I can grip the device anyway I want and still fire it with a simple squeeze.
Despite the two 18650 batteries the iStick TC 100W is lighter than I imagined it would be. I think you’ll find it lighter too. The display, the adjustment buttons, and even the ubiquitous iStick form factor are nothing new, but the functions, the extended Temperature Control with Stainless Steel coils, and the options for various modes are impressive. Nothing revolutionary here, but it’s certainly evolutionary.
With all these options and features, and the 100W of power (using two batteries), you can use virtually any tank on the market. Whether you opt for mainstream sub-ohms like the Kanger Subtank (0.5-ohm OCC at 30w) or the huge Youde tanks or Uwell tanks (65-watts and above), the iStick TC100W can handle them all, in just about any metal coil as well. The adjustable Pin allows for a flush fit on most of the tanks I’ve used with the iStick, and for those tanks that don’t have a perfectly flush fit, it is hardly noticeable, and frankly, not that big a deal. Although, I’m still very involved with Cubis tank by Joyetech, and it looks terrific sitting atop the iStick TC100W, in black of course.
Priced at less than $40, give or take a couple of bucks, the eLeaf iStick TC100W is a wonderful device. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a very capable mod with high wattage output.
Buy it at Vapor Authority