There have been times in the past where all of a sudden your mod seems to lack the “oomph” it use to have. You spend time re-wrapping your coil, dry burning your wick, rolling a new wick because dry-burning didn’t help at all, bought new batteries thinking maybe your current ones have become old and aren’t holding a charge anymore, etc. An under-performing mod, no matter how inexpensive, is one of the biggest letdowns a Vaper can experience. Many times all that is needed to bring performance back to life is a good cleaning.
- Isopropyl Alcohol (91% or higher), PGA (Pure Grain Alcohol) or cheap vodka
- Small bowl
- Paper Towels
- Screwdriver (To take the switch apart)
- Super fine grit sandpaper, emory cloth or a ScotchBrite pad
- Noalax (Optional. No-Ox-Id A-Special is much, much better for our use)
A dirty switch can lead to sticky or gritty action and, if oxidation or buildup occurs, it will sap a good chunk of performance from your coil and heat your fingers/palm to uncomfortable temperatures. If you have noticed that fully charged batteries are not seeming to “hit” as nice as they once were the first thing to check should be your switch. One surefire sign that your switch needs to be cleaned is if the switch is getting unusually warm. A dirty switch can lead to built-up resistance which causes the switch itself to become heated during use.
- Take the switch apart and let the pieces soak in your Alcohol/PGA/Vodka.
- Clean the switch threads with the toothbrush.
- Clean the ground contact point (The deck of the switch) with a Q-tip.
- Clean the brass screw threads with the toothbrush and dry.
- Clean the switch base.
- If you have No-Ox-ID, put a dab on the screw threads.
- Put the switch back together.
- Use a Q-tip with a small dab of No-Ox-ID to polish up the screw head.
- Use a Q-tip with a small dab of No-Ox-ID to lightly lube the switch threading and make sure to get some on the ground contact of the switch.
Clean threading with the toothbrush soaked in your Alcohol/PGA/Vodka. Use your sandpaper/emory cloth/scotchbrite pad to touch up the tube ends.
With raw aluminum, the contact points include the tube ends and the threading itself. If you have a raw aluminum standard make sure the threads are as clean as possible. Some ISO and a spare toothbrush will work wonders at breaking up the thread gunk. Once cleaned, this is where a few dabs of No-Ox-ID will really shine. It will keep the threading lubed so you won’t suffer from them seizing up, and it will keep the conductivity flowing oh so right.
With “Gunmetal” (clear anodized) models, the contact points are the raw aluminum tube ends. While it looks good and makes aluminum stronger, anodizing also has the unfortunate side effect of making the oxidized pieces non-conductive. It is important that you keep the raw tube ends clean if you want the best performance. Keeping your threads clean and lightly lubed will help to make sure they won’t seize up. While they won’t interfere with conductivity, it really sucks to end up with a stuck tube. A couple dabs of No-Ox-ID or Noalax will keep threading smooth (You can safely use Noalax on anodized threads)
Gently rub an ISO dipped Q-tip followed by a Q-tip lightly dabbed in No-Ox-ID is all that needs to be done to this screw.
Ground Contact point is the floor of the atty section, run a Q-tip with a dab of No-Ox-Id along this ridge to maintain good conductivity.
Finding The Resistance
Tools of the Trade
If you do not have ohm meters on hand and you sell rebuildables, they are a must-have item. I cannot stress this enough. If you do not have a method of reliably measuring resistance to the tenths place (0.19 for example), please get some of these meters. They are a vital tool for your safety and that of your customers.
Different wire types, due to the composition of materials that go into the wire, will measure different resistances per length than Kanthal. For example, there are a number of "competition" wires (Royal, Gplat, etc.) as well as standard wire types (Nichrome, Ni200) that are less common, but abide by the same principle.
Side note: always be aware that different types of wire, especially proprietary brands that do not disclose their compositions, may contain metals that when heated beyond a certain point may be hazardous to inhale. Do your research and make sure you feel comfortable vaping with a type of wire before using it.
The coils diameter will also come into play when determining the length of wire used. A 3mm diameter coil (usually the largest in precision screwdriver sets) will produce a higher resistance, with all other factors being the same, than a coil with a diameter of 2mm because more wire is required to wrap around the larger screwdriver.
Note: In many countries outside the United States, wire "gauge" is measured by the diameter of the wire. For example, 28AWG Kanthal may be described as 0.32mm wire. A good conversion chart can be found here.
Number of Coils
When to Replace Batteries
Using a battery beyond its intended lifespan, or using a battery that has been damaged can cause the battery to fail. Depending on the type of battery being used and its application, the results of a catastrophic failure can be somewhat unpredictable.
We recommend the replacement of any battery meeting the following conditions. Batteries have a lifespan, and are meant to be replaced once their life has come to an end. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
There are several conditions under which a battery may be considered to be damaged. Once a battery is damaged, it should be replaced. Using damaged batteries may cause them to discharge unevenly, become hot, or to experience catastrophic failure.
Torn wrappers: If your battery's wrapper is torn, especially towards the positive contact, you'll want to make sure that you replace it ASAP. Torn wrappers can result in the battery shorting inside the device. Though batteries can be re-wrapped, it's not recommended unless being performed by someone trained to do so. Re-wrapping without knowing exactly what you're doing can injure you, so please leave it to the pros, or don't do it at all.
Moisture: When your battery has been the victim of unfortunate submersion in water, or is showing spots of mildew or mold on the wrapper, it's time for a replacement. If such spots are showing on or through the wrapper, there is likely moisture inside the battery, which may cause it to fail.
Dents: Sometimes the damage is exceptionally apparent. If a battery has been dropped on a hard surface and is showing dents, it should be replaced. The contents of the battery are not designed to move, and when the battery becomes dented, contents have to shift to the new shape of the battery. This may also occur if you have a habit of excessively tightening them into your mods and denting the contacts.
Aging batteries should also be replaced. If you've had the same battery in regular rotation for several months, it's time to replace them. I'm being deliberately vague on exact time frames because there are several factors that play into what causes batteries to "expire" more or less quickly.
Usage: If you constantly run the same batteries in a mechanical mod, with low resistance builds close to their limits, they will begin to die more quickly, because they've had a stressful life.
Rotation: The more batteries you keep in rotation, the less often you use any single battery, so those batteries that are used less often will survive longer.
Paired Batteries: These may not be old batteries, but if you pair your batteries in devices that use more than one at a time (which you should), and one becomes damaged or needs replacement for any other reason, you'll want to replace both batteries in the pair, no matter how old they are. If you can find another use for the battery that's left, like using it in a mechanical mod or a flashlight or other regulated device, go for it. It may not be dangerous, but do not switch out single batteries from a pair.
I've stopped using a battery. Now what?
Now that you know when batteries need to be replaced, what should you do with the old ones? I'd like to mention here that this applies to all batteries sold in a vape shop, from eGo batteries to devices with internal batteries that cannot be removed, like an MVP.
Don't throw them out: If a battery must be removed from service for any of the reasons above, please do not just chuck them into the trash can. Lithium batteries can wreak havoc on the environment, and can injure people that are near them. Imagine a battery shorting in a trash bag as you're taking the garbage to the dumpster, and being unaware of it until catastrophic failure.
check out www.call2recycle.org to find a nearby organization happy to accept your rechargeable batteries FOR FREE.