Vaping, or using e-cigarettes, is becoming more popular across the Europe and North America. Often used as a method for quitting traditional cigarettes, vaping is rapidly spreading as a pastime in its own right. Vaping itself involves inhaling water vapor through an e-cigarette or through another personal vaporizer, such as an electric vape mod. Unlike traditional smoking, vaping does not contain as many known carcinogens, nor does it lead to dangerous secondhand tobacco smoke. For these reasons, vape mods are being sold more rapidly than ever before.
Table Of Contents
- What is a Vape Mod
- History of Vape Mods
- Who Would Want a Vape Mod
- Best Practices
- Safety Tips
What Is A Vape Mod?
A vape mod is an answer to the initial personal vaporizers (PV) created for e-cigarette users. While the PVs were electronic devices that relied on live wires and circuits, vape mods are simply mechanical devices that have no electronic components whatsoever. In fact, mods do not work until the user initiates the physical connection between the pieces.
Vape mods are made up of three basic components. Sometimes referred to as mechanical mods, they consist of a tube of metal, usually stainless steel, aluminum or brass. In addition to this basic tube, the vape mod includes an atomizer, a tank to hold the fluid and a battery.
Mechanical mods are made in a variety of shapes, sizes, and metals. The better the quality of the outer tube materials, the better the conductivity of the vape. Many mods are constructed of strong stainless steel, while brass and coated brass are other popular choices. Although some mods are made of aluminum, it is the softest metal and will break down the fastest with repeated use.
Atomizers vary widely in shape and size, depending on the overall design of the vape mod. Inside the atomizer is a metal coil that is wrapped tightly around a wick that extends into the fluid tank. This wick soaks up the fluid, also called e-liquid or e-juice, that will be vaporized.
The fluid tank can also come in a range of sizes and shapes. Most are formed from acrylic, and once they go bad or begin producing lower quality vapor, these tanks must be replaced. Taking good care of the mod and cleaning it on a regular basis will prevent much of this wear-and-tear, but the fluid tank is often one of the first parts of the vape mod that must be swapped for a newer part.
When the user starts the vape mod, he or she initiates the process by pressing the firing pin or button. The firing pin is connected to the battery, in turn causing the atomizer to heat the coils and vaporize the fluid inserted into the mod. Users then inhale the vaporized fluids.
Most firing buttons are located in the lower portion of the vape mod so that they can be activated by the user’s pinky finger as he or she is holding the device. Other mods place the button in the upper half of the device for activation by the user’s thumb. The ideal location is based almost entirely on the user’s preferences for ease and accessibility.
History Of Vape Mods
Vape mods have not been in existence for very long, although the ideas of inhaling vapors extend much further back in history. The first mechanical mods in 2007 were serviceable but not much more. They looked more like traditional cigarettes, and the battery lives of these devices left much to be desired. Because the batteries needed to be replaced or recharged after only an hour or two of use, those interested in vaping were not getting as much out of the experience as they wanted.
It was at this point that personal vaporizers, looking too much like traditional cigarettes, began to be replaced by the earliest versions of the mechanical mods. Utilizing the improved performance of 3.7-volt rechargeable lithium batteries, vape mods were able to deliver a noticeably higher level of vapor without draining their battery power.
In addition, many people who were vaping on a regular basis tried their hands at creating their own vape mods from basic elements found in most electronics stores. New mod companies noticed this interest in creating more personalized vape mods, and they started catering their designs to be interesting and attractive. These professionally produced vape mods offered more stable parts and packaging than the do-it-yourself creations that initiate to this commercialization. This stability meant that vape mods were becoming increasingly safer.
Today, the many options for vape mods are based more on the personality and preferences of the users rather than actual mechanics. Most mods are built in the same design, so it is really more about the personally chosen aesthetics of the devices rather than the functionality. This means that most users are free to choose and even design their vape mods based on their individual styles and preferences.
Who Would Want A Vape Mod?
Vape mods are not intended for people who are new to vaping in general. They have some inherent dangers because of the mechanics of the heated battery that can cause severe injuries for inexperienced users.
However, there are many benefits for proficient vapers. One of the main reasons that people turn to mechanical mods is the aesthetic appearance of these devices. Although vape mods more frequently used in the home because of their size and the impracticality of transporting them in pockets, they are a great way for users to relax at home. Available in a variety of colors and metallics, along with many customizable options, these mechanical vapes are attractive accessories for both men and women.
Another common reason that vape mods are rising in popularity is their overall durability. The old style of personal vaporizers was heavily dependent on electronics to create the desired vapors. This meant that as soon as one part of the device failed, the personal vaporizer was essentially useless. Most high-quality mods are virtually indestructible because the few necessary mechanical parts are enclosed in a strong, metal tube. This means that they can be dropped or stepped on and come out no worse for the wear.
Many experienced users have made the leap to relying on re-buildable atomizers that require the user to be able to see how the coil is performing as it is happening in order to make adjustments and improve the overall vaping experience. Mechanical mods, unlike regulated mods, continue to work as long as the user is pressing the firing button. This means that the user can make his or her changes with the coils and atomizers without waiting for a regulated system to be reset or cleared of error messages.
More advanced vape users who understand sub-Ohm vaping also prefer to use mechanical mods. Because there are no regulators on this type of vape mod, these users are able to fire at any resistance level. However, sub-Ohm vaping should never be attempted by anyone who is not thoroughly versed in Ohm’s law, battery c-ratings and amperage calculations because it can be extremely dangerous and potentially explosive.
Possibly the largest reason that users turn to vape mods is for the enhanced flavor of the fluid vapor created by these devices. The mechanical mod is able to produce more vapor and with stronger flavors than personal vaporizers, leading to a more enjoyable vaping experience overall. Users who have been vaping for a while find that vape mods offer the best vapor with the least amount of effort.
Being ready to begin vaping means that all the supplies have been purchased and gathered in order to have the best possible experience. There are many options available for vape mods, and it is up to each individual consumer to choose the best route for him or her. These are a few tips for selecting the best vape set-up.
- Choose a vape mod – A good mechanical mod has a functioning locking mechanism, open ventilation holes and good reviews from previous purchasers. The lock is necessary to prevent unwanted ignitions of the coils that could inadvertently lead to fires and explosions. The ventilation holes release hot gases that may build up when the mod is beginning to short circuit or when the battery is going bad. Having good reviews from other consumers will demonstrate the usability of the vape and the length of time it will work.
- Avoid buying a clone mod – Clone mods are less expensive remakes of high-quality mechanical mods. Most of these items are cheaper because of lesser materials and lower quality craftsmanship. In addition, they are imitations of another company’s work without copyright permission and therefore should not be supported. Because they are not based on the legitimate building plans created by the original company, these vape mod clones are more apt to have issues and imperfections that could affect their effectiveness and safety.
- Buy a quality battery – Like the mod itself, there are brand-name battery options and less expensive batteries. Higher-quality batteries will improve the performance of the mechanical mod, getting the most out of the energy. No vape should operate with a battery that has a less-than-20-amp limit. Quality batteries will be able to manage the resistance of the vape’s coils better than some of the more generic options. A lithium ion battery, which is designed to shut off the energy when there is a problem with the vape, is often selected, but it can become very hot and flammable when there are venting issues with the mod. For this reason, many users swear by the high-energy but safer lithium-manganese batteries.
- Select a good charger – Any charger purchased for a vape mod must be designed to function with the batteries. Choosing a charger with an LED display can be an excellent method for monitoring the voltage of the battery, thereby avoiding overcharging from continued vape use. Many chargers can also accommodate multiple battery sizes.
- Choose an e-liquid – Since vape mods are often selected because they intensify the vapor flavor, it is imperative that a good e-liquid or e-juice be chosen for the mod. This means that purchasing any of the fluids that promise extra flavor is unnecessary because the flavor will become too overwhelming when enhanced with the vape mod. Many mechanical mod users also prefer low-nicotine e-liquids for the same reasons.
In addition to their ease of use, vape mods are preferred for their ability to be taken apart completely for thorough and efficient cleaning. When mechanical mods are manufactured, most are put together using machining oil. This oil tends to attract warehouse dust and dirt before it even reaches the user. Even the cleanest mods will add more dirt over time and with continued use.
It is best to clean a vape mod in its entirety at least twice a month if it is being used every day. More frequent use, such as multiple times a day, will require more thorough and more regular cleaning to keep it working safely and to keep the vaporized fluids pure. A microfiber towel, rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip are all it takes to have a clean mod.
Cleaning should always occur when the batteries are changed to ensure that battery acid from old or overused batteries does not leak throughout the device.
There are a great number of mechanical mod cleaning products available for sale on the Internet and in stores. Although some of these items may seem to be even better for cleaning the device, rubbing alcohol for sterilizing the pieces is really all that is necessary.
A comprehensive cleaning should begin by taking each piece of the mod apart. The microfiber towel should be dampened with a little rubbing alcohol before it is used on the various parts of the mod. Each of these areas needs attention:
Remember To Clean:
- The underside of the contact pin
- The firing pin
- The inside of all tubes
- The threads on all sides of the tubes
- The outside of all tubes
Then a Q-tip should be rubbed over the top of the contact pin. Once all the pieces have been rubbed down, a full 15-20 minutes should pass before any parts are put back together. Although it may seem that all the pieces are dry in less time, it is important that the vape mod not be reassembled too soon. Trapped moisture will only lead to more dirt and mold attaching to the mod, and this could negatively affect the future performance of the device.
It is a good idea to also apply a lubricant such as Noalox to the threads of the pieces on a routine basis. This emollient will help to keep the vape mod conductive and preserve its effectiveness. However, common lubrication products such as petroleum jelly should never be used on a vape mod because they can prohibit the flow of electricity.
Because there is an element of danger associated with putting a combustible item like a vape mod near the mouth, it is always best to purchase and use these devices with as much care as possible. No mod should be used before careful examination. Buyers should scrutinize the specific unit that they will be placing near their faces before they begin vaporizing.
These are a few of the areas that should be investigated and some parts that should be acquired before the use of a vape mod:
Tips And Tricks
- Check for a firing pin or button that must be placed in a lock mode when not in use.
- If the mod came with a battery, ensure that it is a high-quality and name-brand option that works well with the specific type of vape.
- Always spend money on the best batteries for the vape mod to improve performance and safety.
- Get a fuse for the mod battery that will act as a fail-safe and that will trip if the connection begins to short.
- Find a good place to collect all the hardware, supplies and tools associated with the mechanical mod that will stay clean and safe.
- Do not carry a mod in a pocket or handbag with keys, coins or anything else metallic that could cause an overcharge reaction.
- Make sure that all vape materials and accessories are out of the reach of children and pets.
In Order To Stay Safe While Using A Vape Mod, Users Should Also Consider These Tips:
- Use a multimeter to monitor the battery voltage of the mod and to detect short circuits before they happen.
- Rely on a good battery charger that will prevent overheating and explosions.
- Prevent the mod from running the lithium battery down to nothing which could also lead to overheating.
- Always insert the batteries the correct direction.
- Never stack batteries.
- Remove batteries when the vape mod is not in use.
- Label and date all rechargeable batteries before using them to track the age of the batteries and to replace them at one year old.
- Do not store batteries in places that receive direct sunlight or that are subject to extreme heat.
- Make sure that the mechanical mod has proper ventilation holes that allow gases to escape in the event of an overheated mod.
- If the mechanical mod would begin to get hot, swell or vent hot gas, get away from the mod as quickly as possible.
Because the mechanical mod is dependent on a lithium battery, the device is not completely safe. Such batteries store a surprising amount of energy in the small tube of a mechanical mod. This volatility can lead to short circuits in the mod that cause the batteries to overheat and the mod to catch fire. If this heat rises too rapidly, the vape mod can actually explode in a user’s hand.
Unlike the original personal vaporizers, mechanical mods do not have an electronic chip in them that can detect oncoming short circuits or over-discharges. Because these issues lead to explosions and potential injury, mechanical mod users must be extra vigilant when using their devices in order to preserve their safety.
In 2014, the American Heart Association issued its first official statement regarding e-cigarettes and vape mods. Since vaping contains nicotine, like traditional cigarettes, the association contends that using mods could lead young people to become addicted or possibly even try more damaging cigarettes or smokeless tobacco. However, many former tobacco smokers using traditional cigarettes have extolled the virtues of vape mods for overcoming their long-term addictions.
In addition, vaping is not under the review of the Food and Drug Administration, meaning that few guidelines and rules are currently in place to govern the creation and sale of vape mods and e-liquids. Many individuals and upstart companies are creating and selling their own e-liquids, sometimes called e-juices. This means that many of these substances are mixed at very high concentrations of nicotine and other ingredients and sold to others without any regulating body overseeing the creating and distribution. Such little control over a marketable commodity can lead to unknown physical and mental responses.
Because these devices and vaping in general are fairly new activities, it is not yet clear what the long-term health effects will be. In addition, there hav been newer investigations into the effects of secondhand vaping and its effects on those around the mod users. Based on these concerns and the many unknowns of using mods, vape kits and e-liquids are not sold to anyone under the age of 18 in the United States.
Whether used to help habitual tobacco smokers quit smoking or as another pastime all together, vape mods continue to be popular across Europe and North America. Although there is very little long-term information available about vaping, the quickly rising interest in this activity merits serious consideration by potential users before any kits or supplies are purchased. With proper investigation and preparation, vape mods can be a good alternative to traditional cigarette smoking.