Last Updated on February 6, 2016 by

Spinfuel’s Guide to Vaping – Take Care of Your Gear

We have all heard well the endless and incessant talk about battery safety and the need for it to be foremost in the minds of Vapers, especially the newer Vapers that are discovering equipment that is beyond the cig-a-likes and eGos we all started with. However, little to no attention seems to be overtly paid to the need for our equipment to be kept in good working order for the sake of safety.

Our cars have “Check Engine”, or “Service Engine Soon” lights that alert us to hazards that may arise because parts are worn out and not performing well, or what have you. Some of our more advanced PVs have similar functions, but for the most part there is no way of making us aware that crucial, but often not thought of parts are close to failing with potentially disastrous consequences.

Most of us have seen the “cloud chasing” folks that are building death defying sub ohm multi coil builds in now more than ever all kinds of atomizers, even some brave souls building very, very low ohm builds in Kayfun design and other tank atomizers. This presents hazards to Vapers that are largely not considered.

I was interacting on a thread when someone blamed his Kayfun for venting his battery. Understandably I was somewhat incredulous, especially knowing this design as I do as perhaps the most consistent and reliable design to date in many peoples’ opinion. After asking a number of questions it was determined that a faulty and worn insulator was to blame. It was simply worn out and abused by lack of attention to its condition and having coil builds it was never really intended to accommodate built on it, dual coils and the like.

I myself have experienced not venting, fortunately, but some definitely unattractive battery behavior because I was lax in paying attention to the insulators in my Rich Man V1 Genesis atomizer, which very closely mimics the AGA series of Genesis attys in basic design. There are a number of mods, all mechanical that because of their design can be very hard on some types of atomizers over time. They rely on tension in the battery tube to drive a floating center pin upwards to make contact with the atomizer’s positive post. Especially in Genesis style atomizers that follow the AGA design. This potentially puts a great deal of linear pressure on the center pin that runs the long axis of the atomizer all the way to the top of the positive post where the positive leg of your coil is captured. One day I screwed my Rich Man on my mechanical, inserted a battery and cinched it up to get the rattle out of it as I normally do. So far so good and I proceed to have a vape. Instantly the mod became red hot and I immediately dropped it.

It turns out that the constant, repeated strain of that pressure tore the bottom insulator at the 510 connector causing a dead short. I was very fortunate that the battery was a brand new high drain IMR that withstood the situation it was put in. Had that battery been not so brand new, not so high drain, my day could have gone considerably worse than having to replace a battery and an insulator.

So, where am I going with this?  There is no substitute for periodically disassembling, cleaning and inspecting your gear, especially if you are a mechanical mod user. This is good advice for everybody, as even users of regulated APVs should take good care of their gear even though the mechanical’s regulated cousin has protection against short circuits likely built into the mod.

On the mod side of things, the exposed external positive post is something that will come in contact with juice, dirt, other substances that cause oxidation and any number of contaminants. For the normal dirt and gunk that can accumulate, isopropyl alcohol and some Q-Tips will do the trick nicely. If you aren’t one of those fortunate souls who has gold plated contacts, over time tarnishing oxidation will build up causing your PV’s performance to decline. There are any many metal polishes and tarnish removers that will remedy the condition. Just be sure that the agent you are going to use is compatible with silver, brass, copper, or whatever metals your contacts may be, or may be plated with.

Inspection and cleaning doesn’t end there. Be it regulated, or mechanical, there’s bound to be some threading at the very least on the battery cap. With mechanicals there is generally a switch, possibly a telescoping section, or threading where a battery tube splits, giving you the option of using it in other battery size modes. Setting the switch on mechanical mods aside for the moment, these threaded features are not critical to safety per se, but keeping these threads clean and free of dirt and contaminants will keep your device performing at the level it was intended.

Switches and Accelerators

So, you’re at the stoplight as it turns green and you step on that accelerator. As you surge across the intersection you let up, but something goes terribly wrong when you lift your foot up and the acceleration doesn’t back off. A scary and panic inducing thought. Fortunately, it’s a very rare occurrence in cars, but for mechanical users that are lax in paying attention to the switches in their mechanical mods it can be a far more common event. While this doesn’t have nearly the same scale of consequences a stuck accelerator carries, it can be at best inconvenient, at worst very damaging to your equipment.

Here again, periodic disassembly, cleaning and removal of tarnish that may have built up on contacts should be part of every mechanical PV user’s list of things done to maintain safety and performance. I’m hesitant to cite specific examples of mechanicals, because there are so many different ones with different switch mechanisms. However, I will talk some about the Magneto since I have experienced a certain behavior first hand with this particular device.

The Magneto is a telescoping mechanical PV made by the fine folks at SMOK.  It is an immensely popular device, especially with Vapers that are just getting into mechanical devices mainly because of its price point and solid reputation. It features a magnetic switch that eliminates the need for springs that can wear out, collapse if too much current is run through them etc. The magnetic switch, in my humble opinion is a no brainer to the point that I scratch my head wondering why anyone screws around with springs at all, but I digress.

The Magneto’s switch has magnets strong enough to keep the device from firing in most cases when it is unlocked. I have had a couple of devices on it that are heavy enough to cause it to fire in 18650 mode. However, if not checked periodically the collar that keeps the magnet in the switch itself can begin to loosen and reduce the amount of gap between the magnets. This can result in the device firing much more easily when set down unlocked, causing some rather unpleasant and annoying things to happen, burnt juice, fried coils, damage to atomizers, battery abuse and the like. Fortunately, the Magneto will give you a warning sign that this is happening. If the Magneto’s locking ring just continues to spin when you attempt locking the device, you should unscrew the switch section and inspect it for looseness.

Tires and Insulators

Take a walk around any parking lot. Chances are you’ll see a goodly number of cars that have tires that are a little worse for wear. I’d bet dollars to donuts that if you really checked out the atomizers of folks at the next vape meet, you’d find some insulators that are in no better shape. I know I talked about this a little already, but it is the one point about equipment maintenance and safety that if neglected, can result in the worst consequences. Vented batteries are a horror show that I hope nobody has to experience. If caused by a faulty, worn insulator there is only one time it is going to happen to you. While your device is in your hand, right next to your face. So, it bears repeating. Check those insulators!

Let’s talk about the Kayfun design some. When they first hit the scene it was a strictly high end user device because of its price and availability. Now, there are a handful of clones and replicas that are priced so they are far more accessible to the average Joe and Jane Vaper, so, I feel it’s important to spotlight the design.

The insulators in all Kayfun type atomizers are to the best of my knowledge made of Delrin. While this material is extremely heat resistant and a wonderful insulator, it is not invincible. SvoëMesto original intent was that the Kayfun would be a single coil, rebuildable device. Vapers being Vapers, they have been stuffing the Kayfun with all manner of hyper hot dual micro coil, twisted wire and other exotic builds the designers likely didn’t have in mind.

Now, I’m in no way implying that people shouldn’t go looking for that build that makes a Saturn V rocket look like a birthday cake candle, just be aware of the implications for your equipment, not just your battery. Directly beneath the positive terminal block on every Kayfun design atomizer is a thin Delrin insulator that allows a proper circuit to be formed. If this insulator is exposed repeatedly to too much heat by prolonged use with intense, high performance coil builds; it can deform, become thinner and cause arcing across the gap between terminal blocks. This will in turn cause the aforementioned unattractive battery behavior rather quickly.

Triple A and 911

Most of the time when things go wrong with your car there isn’t much chance of anything worse than being seriously inconvenienced, and maybe going a little broke in the offing. A quick call to ‘Triple A’ or the mechanics garage will get you back on your way. When something goes wrong with your PV because of a lack of attention to maintaining your equipment, which isn’t sexy, it could mean a trip to the emergency room, or a call to 911 in the worst cases. My point is, a little time and care can save you money and in some cases save you from some completely avoidable second and third degree burns.

David Desrosiers