Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The $35 VV Wonder

I like to try all sorts of different juices. And cartos. And attys. And any other sort of vaping paraphernalia I can get my hands on. I also like to review and report on those vaping adventures and, for comparison purposes, consistency is important.

So, I set out on an educational journey to find a device that would provide a solid and reliable base for my vaping experiments. The fine and helpful folks a ECF provided a ton of feedback and suggestions that made that task a lot easier. While I've settled on my next "big boy" PV, it wasn't available at the time. Something relatively inexpensive to play with in the meantime seemed to fit the bill.

I settled on the Mad Vapes Variable Voltage (VV) Box Mod. Settled is probably not the right word here. Lucked out and ended up with a rocking little vaping box would be a bit more accurate.

For $35.

Yes, U.S. dollars.  Thirty five of them. Not a typo.

The box itself is a pretty darn simple affair. I don't want this to sound like I'm about to give a bad review, but it ain't fancy. It's a cheap 3xAAA battery holder with a pot, a VV circuit, some hookup wire and a 510 connection glued on to it. If you were electonically inclined, you could probably slap one together in less than an hour. In fact, Mad Vapes sells the parts to do just that if you like.

The guts of the little beast.

What that cheap little box does, though, is phenomenal.

The MV VV takes two 14500 3.6V protected rechargeable batteries for up to 7V of vaping goodness. Yeah, it's got a 510 connection (which is great for most folks), but MV also sells a handy converter for 808/901 vaping that works perfectly with the mod.

The dial for the voltage regulation is a small plastic affair with a phillips head screwdriver slots for turning it up and down. I find the screwdriver isn't really necessary. It'll turn just fine with your thumb. You can fiddle with testing the voltage using a mutlimeter, but it's easier to just start low and turn it up until you hit your sweet spot.  It's easy to use and no hassle at all. The dial is also recessed and has a good resistance to it, so I haven't had any trouble with it coming off my chosen voltage while I hold it or when I shove it in my pocket.

The fire button is a little nubby thing, so it's not the epitimy of comfort.

Another view of the guts of the Mad Vapes VV Box Mod.
It is off to the side instead of in the middle, which really wasn't a problem at all. The box form factor, though, can be a minor quibble point. To pick at the nit: when I'm driving and vape with my right hand (I grew up driving s stick, so I drive with my left) I'm constantly having to flip it over to hit the button with my forefinger. At the computer vaping left-handed I can just thumb it, which I prefer. I guess the only way around that would be to have a button on both sides, which isn't really practical. Round will be to go on the next VV mod, most likely.

More serious, after a few days of use, the button also started sticking. That causes the PV to continue firing after releasing the button. 

There's a master on/off switch to kill power and avoid accidental button presses.  However, having to constantly switch off the master switch and then switch it back on when I want to take a puff is kind of a pain.  Unfortunately, I don't see anyway to get a the button because the whole thing is sealed up with hot glue. (see pics) I quickly got the hang of remembering to flip the master switch when I was done vaping after it nearly burned a hole in my leg. Ouch.

So, the problem with the button aside...

This thing rocks. Hard. Really hard.

Here's a run down of some of the trials thus far:

With a 510 Dual Coil carto it hits like a truck. This also sucks the little batteries dry in a couple hours, though. Works great all the way up to about 4.2V. Beyond that the TH and heat get a little too much for me.

On a 510 LR carto it was about the same, but all the way down to 3.4V it performed nicely. Much better battery life and the box kept the power going nice and even right to the end. I prefer it a little higher, so I was hitting it at around 4V. When the battery did die, the box just stopped. It stayed at a constant voltage from start to finish. Exactly what I was looking for.

A regular Kanger 808 was simply awesome because of the ability to play with it. Starting at 3.8V and getting a smooth, even flavor and nice vapor. Then bumping it up all the way to 5V where it the TH got harsh and the flavor dropped. In between was an amazing array of TH, flavor and vapor with each setting being remarkable different.

I had similar result with an Iken Vape LR Mega 808 except that it just delivered cleaner and more consistently. The MV VV powered it just fine right up to the high 4V range.

The voltage dial and the fire button.
I have to admit, though, that my favorite experiment, so far, has been with high voltage. I bought an Iken Vape Stealth series 3.5 Ohm HV 901 atomizer and cranked the MV VV all the way up.

Okay, that just about took the top of my skull off... but backing it down to 6V and then also at 5V was one of those red letter moments for a vaper.  The flavor and plumes of vapor are pretty overwhelming.  Everything I've dripped into it just pops like I've never vaped before.  Freakin' amazing.

What I learned is that VV vaping is not the sort of thing you do because you like a particular juice or you want to substitute for a cig, or just to get a nic fix, or something along those lines.  VV is a way to experience all the nuances and enjoyment that vaping can be. It's not a means to an end, it's an experience.

It's not a pretty mod. It's not fancy. It's not even high quality construction, though it's certainly solid.  But for 35 bucks, some batteries and a charger, the Mad Vapes VV Box Mod makes that experience something that any vapor can try for themselves without making a major investment.

Sure, I'll move on to a bigger, fancier, sexier, and way more expensive VV mod. But I gaurantee those little 14500 bats will stay charged and the MV VV will be in my kit for as long as it continues to fire.

Angel's Luck & Electric Dreams,


  1. I mostly use my 30-watt iStick eLeaf with Kanger Subtank for recreational vaping, but I’m very interested to purchase one more box mod and some branded eliquids in big 120-ml containers just to extend my vaping experience a little bit.

  2. smok stick x8 is high quality cheap squonk mods, that produces more vapor than you'll ever need. On the other hand, it is quite a simple product as well, really easy to use. To sum it up, penguin se works great and lasts for a long time. Definitely our #1 pick and we vape it all the time.

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