What is an E-Cig?
Electronic Cigarette Intro: Part 2
What is an e-cig?
It was invented only six years ago in
…and has quickly spread throughout the world, growing rapidly in popularity, and recently brought to public attention by celebrities, with mall kiosks, and on TV news.
Virtually all of the hardware (at least the atomizers) – and much of the software (i.e., the liquid) – has been manufactured in
Starting in 2009, however, American and European companies began manufacturing unique battery housings (for much more powerful batteries) called “Mods,” such as AltSmoke’s Silver Bullet and BB…
…and mixing purer, cleaner-tasting e-liquid.
Most electronic cigarettes have three components, illustrated in this photo of the Joye 510 Yeti model:
a. The cartridge (or cart) contains the porous material that absorbs the e-liquid. In the 901 and Yeti, the cartridge and mouthpiece are integrated and can be either flat (“whistle-tip”) as in the 901 or round as in the Yeti.
b. The single most important component of an electronic cigarette is its atomizer (or atty). This is what takes the juice from the cartridge and magically transforms it into the vapor, flavor, and throat hit described in the next section. As shown in the photo on the right, the Yeti atomizer is unexposed (as is the 901), sitting inside a tube – enabling non-messy dripping (an alternative to refilling carts) and delivery of a smooth inhalation experience.
c. The rechargeable battery (or batt), of course, powers the atomizer. The three most important factors of battery effectiveness are:
1. The voltage (i.e., how much power is delivered to the atomizer). Most e-cig batteries are 3.7V (although a fully charged battery can initially deliver up to 4.2V). Some batteries (when stacked in battery housings) can be as high as 6V (although AltSmoke does not recommend this).
2. The mAh (milliamp hours) – how many puffs before the battery needs to be recharged. Slender batteries (in models that look at least something like an analog cigarette) range from 100 to 280 mAh. “Mods” (described below) contain larger generic batteries ranging from 750 to 3000 mAh. A high mAh battery also delivers that initial 4.2V far longer than the slender batts. [You can see why Mods have become so popular among experienced vapers.]
3. The switch (how the battery is engaged). Most e-cig batteries originally had an automatic switch (e.g., turned on by sucking on the mouthpiece or by sound or movement) as in the DSE901 battery shown immediately below. An increasing number are manual (turned on by pressing a button on the side of the battery) as shown in the bottom photo of the Yeti batt.
The exception to the three-component rule is the KR808D, a two-component device: the battery plus an integrated atomizer/cartridge (the “cartomizer”).
Most e-cigs fall into one of five categories (based primarily on length), examples of which are shown in the photo below.
1. The Super-Minis – the smallest e-cigs (84–103 mm), the same size and shape of a king-size or 100s analog cigarette. Because of that, these often are initially appealing to current smokers. However, since they necessarily have a small atomizer and battery (100 mAh), they are not nearly as effective as any of the following categories.
2. The Minis – mid-length (108–118 mm), a bit longer than a 100s analog. They strike an optimum balance between effectiveness and ease of handling … and, therefore, are the ones carried by AltSmoke. Models include the three in the photo:
- The black unit at the bottom of the group – the 112 mm Joye510 (the most popular among those in the know). It offers outstanding vapor production and flavor; and its manual switch battery is the most reliable of any cigarette-shaped model, putting you in full control of the vaping experience. Its only downside is its 150 mAh battery, requiring frequent recharging. [This is made up for with the PCCs, Passthroughs, or Mods described below.]
- The silver & red one – the 117mm KR808D (rapidly increasing in popularity because of its simplicity and 280 mAh battery).
- The black unit at the top of the group – 118 mm DSE901 (the longest of the Minis and one of the very first e-cigs). This tried and true model, until recently, typically was the one most often recommended for the new vaper and still is a very good choice.
3. The Penstyles – the longest type (155 mm), the same size as a…pen (and also one of the very earliest models). Like the KR808D, it has a 280 mAh battery, but its great length makes it less appealing to many vapers.
There also are models not falling neatly into the above by-length niches:
4., Those that mimic the two other tobacco smoking devices: Cigars (shown in the photo) and Pipes. If you are a cigar or pipe smoker, these are the obvious choices. However, they are not nearly as effective as the next category and are dwindling in popularity. Since you are used to smoking something much larger than and doesn’t look anything like a cigarette, I urge you to consider…
5. The Mods – Chinese atomizers and cartridges combined with western (e.g.,
As you can see, Mods like the Silver Bullet and BB are considerably wider than a Mini, such as the 510 Yeti shown here:
However, even with the atomizer (not shown here), the BB is not that much longer…
…and fits very comfortably between your fingers. [The Silver Bullet fits very comfortably in your hand.]
- The larger of the two is the beautiful yet rugged Silver Bullet (also available in black):
It accepts one rechargeable, protected 2400 mAh 3.7V 18650 battery (for one to two days of uninterrupted vaping. Like the BB, the Silver Bullet is ready for use with the Yeti (Joye510) atomizer … and (with the inexpensive adapters sold by AltSmoke) can also be used with atomizers of other Minis (DSE901 or M401) … with Penstyle (e.g., DSE801) attys … and with KR808D (or GreenCig) cartomizers. Pretty versatile (and powerful) personal vaporizer, eh?
- The smaller model is the sleek BB, shown here next to its big brother.
Although named for its original matte black color, the BB also is available in pink or purple:
It accepts one 900 mAh 3.7V 14500 rechargeable, protected battery (for many hours of uninterrupted vaping).
Most new vapers begin with one of the Minis, then later on, move up to a Mod like the Silver Bullet or BB (still using the atomizer they started with). A few are ready to invest a little more upfront for an extremely satisfying (and very cost-effective) return … and start right out with one of these Mods.
As previously mentioned, the Achilles Heel of cigarette-shaped personal vaporizers is the frequent recharging of the batteries. This is not a problem when you have access to a power outlet to charge one of your batteries while you are vaping another. But when you are out and about, you’ll want a…
PCC (Personal Charger Case)
The PCC is your on-the-go battery charger. When the battery you are vaping with poops out, you just swap it for the freshly recharged one – even when you are away from a power outlet. So, every hour or three (depending on how heavily you vape), you open the PCC in your shirt pocket or purse and switch batteries. [Quite similar to removing an analog cigarette from a pack and lighting it.] This will keep you going all day and evening long. Charge the PCC itself while you sleep.
The Yeti PCC (shown above) charges one of your batteries and holds an additional atty and three cartridges. The KR808D PCC (shown below) is part of the KR808D starter kit. It charges a battery and holds two cartomizers.
When you are sitting at your computer, you can use a…
Yeti USB Passthrough (PT)
This provides a constant charge to the atomizer, so no recharging is ever required. It looks, feels and operates like the battery on a portable Yeti, just with a slender cord coming out the end plugged into a USB port on your computer. And, with one of AltSmoke’s adapters, this PT also can be used with a 901 atomizer or KR808D cartomizer.
Just like a computer, as important as the hardware is, an electronic cigarette is just a paperweight without software. For an e-cig, the software is the e-liquid.
Cartridges and Cartomizers
You can feed that e-liquid to the atomizer using either:
· The Yeti starter kit comes with five cartridges prefilled with high-strength (16mg) tobacco flavor … and you can purchase additional five packs of the same prefilled carts.
· The DSE901 starter kit comes with five cartridges prefilled with high-strength tobacco flavor. Additional prefilled carts are not available (but see below).
· The KR808D starter kit comes with two cartomizers prefilled with high-strength Mint/Menthol. Five-packs of prefilled high-strength KR808D cartomizers are available in a variety of flavors.
For a much greater selection, what I recommend, however, are unfilled carts that you fill with e-liquid in the flavor and nicotine level of your choice. Available are five-packs of unfilled Yeti or DSE901 cartridges or five-packs of unfilled KR808D cartomizers in a variety of colors.
[For background information on e-liquid, nicotine levels, and flavors, see the first half of Part 3 of my Wonderful World of Vaping Illustrated Guide.] AltSmoke offers e-liquid in either of two categories, three nicotine levels, and 16 flavors:
· Non-USA AltLiquid – 15-ml Child Proof bottles in 11 flavors: 555, Butter Scotch, Cappuccino, Caramel, Flue Cured, MLB Tobacco, NuPort (Menthol), Peanut Butter, Piña Colada, RY4, and Tobacco.
· USA-made AltLiquid – 15-ml Child Proof bottles in 5 flavors: Smooth Tobacco, Full-Flavor Tobacco, Clove, Nu Menthol, and Cigar.
Electronic Cigarette Intro: Part 1
Electronic Cigarette Intro: Part 2