Introduction To Vaping Basics
This Guide To Vaping is called The Basics of Vaping because it is written for ex-smokers that have already started vaping with ‘cig-a-likes’. Vapers that use cig-a-likes don’t really need to know much about it. Charge and recharge, screw a prefilled cartomizer on, then off, replacing it with a new one. Boom! You’re done. Easy Peasy, right?
Cig-a-like users might very well enjoy the ease of using a 2-piece ‘battery and cartomizer’ setup and may have no need to look beyond that point.
Modern batteries, with either a 510-thread or 808-thread, offer decent battery charges and the prefilled cartomizers can last up to the equivalent of 12-15 analog cigarettes if you vape them similarly to the way you used to smoke tobacco cigarettes.
If you are perfectly happy with your current cig-a-like brand, if you’re enjoying the vape experience, then read no further. But, on the off chance that you’ve outgrown what the cig-a-like can do and need or want something “more”, then proceed… I promise to keep it as basic and easy to understand as possible. Vaping is not something you need to have a degree in, and as much as advanced vapers like to intimidate others that this whole thing is hugely complicated I assure you it is not. It may not be easy to wrap your first coil (don’t worry about that now), it can be learned in a couple of short hours. Let’s start small though, and take it a step at a time…
‘Beyond’ Can Be A 4-letter Word
The Vaping Community beyond the cig-a-likes is huge. The majority of vapers that begin with cig-a-likes move beyond them to larger batteries, tanks and clearomizers after a few months, sometimes less. They find that vaping becomes more than a substitution for smoking tobacco, it becomes as close to a ‘hobby’ as anything else can. In addition, the added amount of control the Vaper has over the vaping experience is a big reason to move beyond the relatively simple cig-a-like. Spinfuel’s The Basics Of Vaping is geared to this type of Vaper. This Vaper makes up the bulk of the Vaping Community.
First Step – Confusion Is Nothing New
There is a tremendous amount of choice when you decide to move up to the next level of vaping. There are literally dozens upon dozens of batteries (called mods, APV’s or PV’s), several tanks configurations, cartomizers, and clearomizers and you can become overwhelmed if you attempt “take it all in” as fast as you can. It pays to have a plan, to learn at a comfortable pace, and to move on to something else only when you are satisfied that you’ve learned all you can, or want, to about the each part. Confusion is nothing new, and you should not feel discouraged when you encounter it.
Step Two – Battery
Arguably the biggest investment you will make at this point is buying your primary battery. Make no mistake, there will be more. Depending on how involved you get with the hobby of vaping you could very well end up with a dozen or more batteries in all kinds of configurations. For now, let’s stick to investing in just one. Which one? That all depends. One thing for sure is you’re going to want to invest in a Variable Voltage battery. Lucky for you the cost of Variable Voltage (VV) batteries have come way down in the past year and nearly every large battery is a variable voltage battery today.
Why You Should Stay Away From The Single Voltage eGo Battery
Up until last year most Vapers moved up to an eGo battery when they decided to move beyond the cig-a-like. There was good reason for this, which I’ll explain.
The eGo battery is, at its simplest, just a large cig-a-like battery. While mini-eCig batteries have either 320mAh or 380mAh, the basic eGo starts at 650mAh (there are smaller, less powerful eGo’s but ignore them for now) and goes up to 1000mAh. This figure, 650 to 1000mAh refers to the length of time between recharges and has nothing to do with the amount of power reaching the atomizer. You will recharge a 650mAh eGo battery after 3 to 4 hours of use, and recharge an 1100mAh eGo battery after 8 to 9 hours of use. Physically speaking the higher the mAh the bigger the battery. An eGo battery usually has a 510-thread but will often require a special ego-specific clearomizer, or an 510-eGo adapter in order to use all the 510-compatible tank systems that are available, including the popular Vivi Nova’s, which are called “Clearomizers” but look like tanks.
The Single Voltage eGo battery comes in literally every color and every design you can imagine, and then some. You can spend between $15 or so to $45 or so depending on how fancy you want to go. An eGo battery can last as little as two months or as long as 18 months, depending on how its used and how often it is recharged, and who makes it. There is no set lifespan for any battery in VapeLandia. eGo batteries can come from reputable companies and rip-off companies. It is very important to know where it comes, and when it was made.
So, if they are inexpensive, colorful, fancy, and offered in all sizes, why should you avoid them? The answer is that Single Voltage eGo batteries deliver a ‘barely adequate’ vaping experience for the money. Let’s take a look back to a Level One factoid just briefly.
All cig-a-like batteries allow you to vape between 3.7v and 4.2v. As the battery loses power that 3.7v or 4.2v decreases until it gets down to around 3.2v and then shuts down and requires a recharge. One of the reasons you probably wanted to move to Level Two was because of the 3.7 to 4.2v delivery. Well, the single voltage eGo battery delivers the same voltage, 3.7v, and decreases in the same manner. As I said, it is a larger version of the cig-a-like, nothing more. By avoiding the single voltage eGo you can go right to the good stuff, the place you will wind up at anyway.
Vapers who have invested in a Variable Voltage battery can alter their vaping experience based upon their preferences, or what they want out of a particular vaping ‘session’. Vapers can adjust their VV battery for the ideal throat-hit, flavor and vapor production as often as they like. Each time a Vaper spends with an eCigarette is called a “session” within the confines of this series. Remember that. With variable voltage you control several aspects of your vaping, unlike that of a normal cig-a-like or Single Voltage eGo.
But the main benefit of using a variable voltage battery is that you can tweak your battery to produce a higher “quantity” of vapor than any cig-a-like. Most Vapers at Level One decide they want more vapor to fill their lungs, so spending time adjusting the voltage to find that sweet spot that produces the maximum amount of vapor but without losing the flavor as well is time well spent.
I would urge you to forego any single voltage battery from here on out. If you like the eGo battery style, as I do, you can invest in a Joyetech eGo Twist (max of 1100mAh) or Vision eGo Spinner (max of 1300mAh), both of which are wonderful variable voltage eGo-style batteries and can be adjusted from 3.0v to 6.0. The Twist allows increments of .2 volts per click and the Spinner has an unlimited amount of voltage settings between 3v and 6v because the dial is smooth, you can stop it anywhere you like. Personally I like the Spinners while others like the Joyetech Twist. You’ll find the Spinners to be a bit thicker than the Twists though, and slightly heavier.
Beyond the eGo Style
We will cover particular batteries in greater detail as the Level Two series continues, but for now I’ll touch on just a couple of the Variable Voltage batteries that are beyond the eGo style, and a bit more expensive as well.
At first you’ll tend to want to look at VV batteries in the shape of a metal tube, like the ZMAX or eVic. For the most part the tube shape makes the most sense and its not until you get into bottom-feeders and other dramatically different shapes that you’ll have a reason to look beyond the tube shaped VV batteries.
LR, SR, Tanks, Clearomizers – A Brief Encounter
Don’t be afraid of what I’m about to say, this won’t be on a test anywhere. In addition to “voltage” there is also “Wattage” or “Power”.
A normal battery, mini-eCig or single voltage eGo battery, with a normal prefilled cartomizer, or Standard Resistance Cartomizer (SR) will output the voltage at about 3.7v when the battery is fully charged, and at about 5w (watts). That’s the gold standard for simple vaping. When you add variable voltage to the mix you can not only play around with voltage settings but by changing cartomizers and atomizers you can further adjust things like vapor production though manipulating the power, or wattage, by using different attachments.
For instance, Halo Cigs sells a LR, or Low Resistance blank cartomizer that has a resistance setting at between 2.1 to 2.3 ohms. When used on one of their standard cig-a-like 4.2v 808-thread batteries the wattage output jumps to around 7-9 watts. This generates a warm vapor, and more vapor than a standard resistance, or SR cartomizer, which is normally around 3-ohms.
OHMS – A measure of “electrical resistance”. A lower number indicates lower resistance and therefore faster heating, a higher resistance indicates a higher resistance and slower hearing. Makes sense, no?
Now, hang on, with a variable voltage battery you can use a LR, or low resistance cartomizer/atomizer and with the proper voltage jump the wattage up to and over 12 watts. (You will also drain your battery much faster).
Again, I don’t want to scare you off, but when the time comes you’ll learn about Dual Coil cartomizers, Bottom Coil, Side Coil, Triple Coil, as well as ultra-low-resistance cartomizers, clearomizers and more, that give you an almost unlimited amount of tweaking in order to not only maximize your vapor production or flavor, but to also tweak your settings for each and every eLiquid, which like fingerprints are all different. But this level of vaping is months away, so relax for now.
Things To Keep In Mind
The difference between a single voltage eGo or cig-a-like battery and a variable voltage battery is that the VV battery has a booster circuit that used for regulating power. The power is sent to the cartomizer or atomizer at whatever voltage you selected. These same circuits are often made with short-circuit protection and they are capable of maintaining the selected output no matter how much power you have left in the battery.
Remember I told you that a cig-a-like/single voltage eGo would start at 3.7 or 4.2v and decrease over time, most variable voltage batteries with circuit protection and booster circuits are able to maintain a constant power flow. This results in your battery shutting down when it can no longer hold the output at your selected setting. This also means that your vaping experience doesn’t degrade as the power in your battery decreases, which is a big reason right there to want to go to a variable voltage battery with circuit protection, circuit boosters, and more.
PROVARI – The ProVari is the Roll Royce of the Variable Voltage Batteries. Today, as we go to press, this $170 battery is Variable Voltage only, but a Variable Voltage, Variable Wattage ProVari is rumored for 2013. I trust this rumor since the Joyetech eVic is both VV and VW and sells for $104.91 at MyVaporStore. ProVape, the company behind the ProVari must move to VV/VW in order to compete.
The Take Away
- There are plenty of great reasons to want to move up from the cig-a-like to the larger battery. However, you should skip the single voltage eGo battery altogether and go right for the Twist or Spinner, or a tube-shaped variable voltage battery like a ZMAX or eVic or a hundred others. If money is no problem, take a look at the ProVape ProVari.
- Variable voltage allows you to maximize your vaping so that you get what you want from it.
Homework (Optional Of Course)
Head over the MyVaporStore and take a look at the various Variable Voltage batteries. Whether you decide to invest in one that also offers Variable Wattage is beside the point for now. I don’t even want to expose you to VW, variable wattage in any great detail for a while yet, but needless to say at some point you will invest in a VV/VW battery.