Saturday, May 7, 2011

Minor Fixes for the Vortex

The Got Vapes Vortex cartomizer is pretty much all the rage for 808 vaping right now. Easy to fill and it vapes so pure that it's pretty close to perfect. Pretty close, that is.

Problem #1 is minor. The neat little cap they put on it is wonderful. It's just the right size for me, makes a handy drip tip, and has a textured feel that is quite nice on the lips. Unfortunately, it also fits very loosely and has a tendency to fall off.

Problem #2 is a bit more major. They tend to leak like a sieve. Out of the box of 5 I initially ordered, one leaked on the first fill and one kind of just fell apart when I tried to unscrew it from the bat. A third started leaking after four fills. Basically, they're a bit fragile.

Being the crafty vapers that we are, there's go to be an easy solution. And preferably one that's economical.

Let me aside for a moment and say that despite initial problems the guys at Got Vapes are on it and I suspect they'll have these issues fixed in the next iteration of the Vortex carto. More important, vaping an 808 with these things is amazing. Well worth any trouble.  In fact, I just ordered up two more boxes of them!

That said, let's tinker with it.

Left: Modified Vortex with belt and sealant. Right: No sealant and sporting the belt.

Problem #1 - The Loose Hat

See the review for my opinion on the cap for the Vortex. Short version is, I like it so much I frequently use it on regular cartos now.  Only when I'm stationary, though. They just aren't secure enough for travel. Until now...

Awhile back I read a post somewhere (probably ECF) where someone used a carto condom to hold their 510 cart onto their atomizer. My apologies to that original poster and kudos, cause it's an awesome idea. The original vaper just cut the end off the condom and slipped it over the cartridge and the atomizer. It wasn't pretty but it sure worked.  I'm gonna swipe that idea here.

Introducing the Vortex Belt!  With a carto condom and an Xacto brand hobby knife, you can make a little belt to fit around the Vortex cap and hold it on more securely.

Materials and Tools:

  • Carto Condom
  • Cartomizer
  • Vortex Cap
  • Hobby Knife

Step 1. Lay the condom flat and cut off the closed end. The tightest fitting condom you can find will work best.

Step 2. Squish the condom flat, trim the cut end straight (if needed), and then cut a 1/4 inch peice off.

Step 3. With the Vortex Cap inserted in the business end of the cartomizer, wiggle the belt down over it until the belt overlaps where the carto meets the cap.

Is that easy or what?!?

That'll hold the little devil on there much nicer.  If the belt bugs you when you vape, just scooch it down a bit while you're vaping and the pull it back up when you're done.  I also like this idea because it recycles a piece I usually to throw away. You know, that carto condom that has the butt plug attached inside it. Can't use it to bottom fill, so chuck it, right?  Well, now you can make Vortex Belts with them!

I've been using these on my Vortex caps for about a week now.  Th ebest won't make the Vortex safe to put in your pocket, but it sure makes it a little more comforting when you've got one bouncing around in your case with your expensive bats! 

Problem #2 - Plugging the Leak

Once again, I'll have to throw credit for this one to an anonymous donor, but props to him or her, as well. This works like a charm. It's a bit more complex. But it'll save a rather expensive carto and make it work even better.

The Vortex has but perhaps one fatal flaw. The bottom has a tendency to come loose and leak, or worse, come off completely.  Not fun with a carto full of juice.

To fix it, we're gonna have to take it apart, unfortunately.

Quick little cautionary note: This fix is not necessarily safe, nor will it promote better vaping with the Vortex. No guarantees. This just works for me. It's also not approved in any way shape or form by the fine folks at Got Vapes. 

Materials and Tools:

  • Vortex Cartomizer
  • Retractable Pen (or equivalent, see below)
  • 1/2" Thread Seal Tape (from your local hardware store)

Vortex guts! Yum!
Taking apart the Vortex is pretty easy. (Partly because they come apart so easily... ouch.)  Take a retractable pen, or other thin stiff implement, and carefully but firmly push down on the center tube.  The bottom will slide down and pop right out.  You can also attach it to a battery and give it a few gentle twists back and forth and it'll usually pop apart without too much trouble. Don't do that with a full carto. Obvious? You'd be surprised.

Take off the wrapper and use the thread tape.
Okay, so now we have the outer tube and the innards. The guts of the Vortex consist of the center tube (which also acts as a post to stabilize it), the metal ring that screws on to the bat, and a little plastic house that contains the wicks and the atty.  Also wrapped around the little atty chamber is a thin strip of material.

Those aren't the technical terms for those parts, in case you couldn't tell. I have no idea what they're really called, so "little atty house" works for me.

We're not going to take it apart any further than this, except to discard the thin piece of material around the atty housing.  I know a lot of people think that it's for wicking juice to the atty, but it's not. It's just there to hold the bottom on better. Chuck it.  Removing it makes the Vortex wick juice into the atty faster, which for me means better vaping.

Wrap it tight and trim off the ends.
To hold it on and seal everything up, wrap a piece of plumber's 1/2" thread seal tape around the brass part of the base.  The top edge of the tape should be flush against the top part of the brass base as shown in the picture. Make sure the piece you cut is long enough to wrap the entire base.

Next, press it down nice and tight with your finger. A little overlap is ok, and much better than a gap. Don't worry about the bit hanging over the bottom edge. Wrap that down and around the bottom of the base where it screws into the battery, but don't push it down into the threads. We'll be removing that extra tape in a bit.

Now slide the plastic outer tube back over the atty assembly. It'll be really tight, so go slow and work it down over the tape until the tube and the bottom of the base are almost flush. There's a little lip on the base that the clear tube should sit on. Give it a good squeeze around the base and set it aside for 15 minutes to let everything settle.

Finally, take a hobby knife and trim off the access tape. Takes a bit, but make it nice and neat so that there's none hanging down or jammed down in the base's threads.  Give it another push at the base and a squeeze around the area where the tape is, just to seat it nicely.

That's it!  Test it by filling it with water if you like. If done right though, you can pile in the juice and get to vaping!

So does it work?!? Well, my caps don't come popping off in the car and roll around on the floorboards. Sorry about that swerve, lady, but I didn't want to loose the cap. Still can't just pop one in my pocket, but it hasn't come off and leaked in my case either.

As for resealing the carto, that's hit or miss. I've saved two of five using this method. The last kept leaking a little bit, so I wrapped a tad of thread tape around the outside as well. Still using that one a week later. It's not pretty but it'll do the job.  Honestly, it's probably a lot more trouble than it's worth, but these are relatively pricey cartos, so I don't mind trying to save them.

These slight modifications make a good carto last a bit longer.  With these two adjustments, the Vortex is quickly moving up the personal rankings on my favorite CE2 r4 cartos. If Got Vapes can work out the problems in production, perhaps there's a new champ in town?

Angel's Luck & Electric Dreams,

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