Saturday, April 27, 2013

Letters to Virginia Vapor: Bats

Dearest Virginia:

As I mentioned in the small pamphlet sent to you last week, we will now take a journey deeper into the heart of the vaping experience. While I know your hesitancy and rebellious nature frequently inspire you to buck the trend, I hope you will find these letters informative and motivational.

There are three main components to a personal vaporizer (PV) that matter. While these components can be broken down into subcomponents, my missives to you will focus on the more broad delineations and how they affect the experience of the virgin vaper.  Today we will be discussing bats.

Not the kind in your belfry, my Dear, but rather the kind that hold electricity. A PV uses the rechargeable kind of battery and, much like other distinct collections, they come in a wide array of colors, sizes, and power levels.  They are not, however, dishwasher safe.

Bats have various attributes that describe how they work and what they can do. When we discuss a PV, the first aspect we look at is how long it will last.

The easiest way to roughly guesstimate how long a battery will last is by it's rating in milliAmps per hour, or mAh. As you well know, bigger is better in these cases. With that in mind, consider our friend the cellular phone. The higher the mAh rating on your phone's battery, the longer it will last between charges. PV bats are the same.

Using a PV involves a few more steps than simply lighting up a cigarette, so having a bat that can last a long time is a desirable trait so as to avoid having to switch out frequently throughout your vaping activities. Simply put, higher mAh rating equals more stamina when it counts.

Don't settle for anything less that 650mAh in your bats when you first start out. Don't worry about going too big. You will wear out long before some of the larger bats. Smaller bats certainly have an appeal, in some regards, and can be quite enjoyable. They require a bit more work and planning to get maximum enjoyment, however. To the uninitiated, they can produce less than desirable results. These days, they are best left to the more experienced.

Another unit of measure we must consider when dealing with bats is voltage (V). How voltage works in an electrical circuit is beyond our little discussion here, but in relation to PVs and vaping, we can make a few generalizations. We'll discuss more specific application of voltage when we delve into attys.

All other things being equal, more voltage will result in more heat coming from the PV. The heat generated directly affects the properties of the vapor produced. We'll discuss those properties last, but keep it in mind.  Fixed voltage bats come in various ratings, most commonly 3.7V. Another popular choice is 4.2V. Bats can also be had that go up to 5V, 6V, and even 7V. The latter are best left to the well seasoned.

Applying more or less voltage can dramatically change the vaping experience, particularly in the amount of vapor produced and the flavor from the juice. It's a quick and dirty method of adjusting your results to your preference.

AS you start out, t's best to stay with the tried and true fixed voltage battery. 3.7V is fine (we can tweak that later by various means), 4.3 will work, as well. The higher voltage devices require a degree of finesse that is not worth considering at this point.

An aside: The allure of being able to have complete control of your experience being strong, however, a simple variable voltage (VV) device might be worth consideration. These devices have a small adjustment mechanism (frequently a nob or dial of some sort, though digital controls are becoming more common) that allows you to adjust the voltage of the bat to your liking. In these cases, however, simpler is better. If you attempt a VV device, start low (3.7V) and adjust it up slowly from there. You will find your sweet spot and bliss.

An additional consideration to let into that pretty head: regulated voltage. You see, in most bats, the voltage will drop off as the battery drains. As you vape, the battery will start of strong, giving quite a powerful experience. However, as you continue to vape, it will tire and weaken to the point of being nearly useless. This is typical of most bats. 

A regulated battery is another matter. They hold their power steady through the entire ride. As you can imagine, this is quite desirable. Unfortunately, is is very rare is common fixed voltage batteries, and is mostly found in much higher end devices. This is, however, one tweak you should seriously consider, should you find yourself enamored with vaping.

We come now to the matter of making a connection. Perched upon the top of the battery is a device called the atomizer. We'll discuss that in my next letter, so the important thing to note here is that the atomizer must connect to the battery in some fashion. This is usually accomplished by the terribly complex procedure of screwing the atomizer into threads on the top of the battery.

The threads are the thing. They come in different shapes and sizes and matching up the threads on your battery with the ones on the atomizer is vital. Without that connection, the whole infernal contraption won't work. Most threaded battery connectors are indicated by their type, usually some form of number.

The 510 connection is the most common. So much so that it is as close to an industry standard as is possible in the Vaping World.  You can walk into just about any vape shop in America and pick up something that will connect to your 510-style battery.

There are other connectors, such as the 808, 901, 306 and various proprietary types, but they are not anything you should concern yourself with at this point. Each has it's pluses and minus, but the difference they make in your vaping experience is subtle. If your goal is the consumption of nicotine in the most pleasurable way possible, the 510 connector will do nicely.

Our final thought for this round is the look of the PV itself. This may seem like a minor thing, all things considered. However, as I've mentioned previously, the objective we are after is to form a new habit to replace an old one. To do, so we must take every advantage we can. Getting something you'll not only enjoy using, but also don't mind sticking in your face is certainly an important part of it.

PV batteries come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Your basic black, or if you need a little pizazz, silver/chrome is quite good to start with. Many batteries (such as the Ego-C) come in simple solid colors - such as red, pink, blue, green - and add a bit of variety. Any will do for your first forray. Pick something that pleases you. After you've gotten hooked, you can explore some of the more exciting and intriguing designs.

And that, my dear Virginia, is the matter of batteries put to rest for now, at least as far as beginning your vaping journey. Herein, I've only really scratched the surface of the larger world of PV bats. Should you take to the activity with interest, you will find an amazing world of powered devices to enhance your vaping pleasure. See me again when you're ready.

Yours forever and always,

The above is a transcript of the first of a series of letters to a new and curious vaper, Virginia, and her diligent vaping suitor, Vaporous.  The letters were found in an old shoebox in the attic of a recently renovated house and given into my possession by a friend. While they were in tattered shape, I have endeavored to reproduce the letters accurately and in their entirety. Any misrepresentations or errors are entirely my own. -Capt.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Virgin Vaping: Simple Guide

I'm posting again to Vape-O-Rama because a friend just got her first PV. We were sitting at a bar last night and I'm trying to think of an easy way to explain everything she needs to know in a quick and concise manner because, let's be honest, vaping wasn't really the first thing on my mind as far as topics of conversation go. The Tom Collins I was drinking didn't help much either. It did get me thinking, however, about how to condense all the massive amount of information about vaping that's out there into a simple guide.

The more I think about it there are a few things that all vaping virgins need to know to have a great first time. At it's basic level, it's actually quite simple. Your first time shouldn't be confusing or complex. So, let's pop that cherry.

We're going to take a look at the basic considerations from least important to most important. The four things to consider are the battery, the atomizer, the juice and how to vape. We'll look at each in detail elsewhere, but here's the quick version.

The Battery

450, 650, and 1100 mAh batteries.
For virgins, bigger is better.
We'll start with the battery because, to be honest, these days it's not terribly important. It needs to be reliable and have a standard atomizer connector. Just about any battery you buy from a reliable source is going to do the job and do it very well. Don't worry about what all this means, dear virgin. Just relax and go with it.

Happy Vapor Virgin:

  • 510 or "Ego Style" atomizer connector.
  • 650 mAh rating batteries or higher (how long the charge lasts).
  • Buy a kit with two batteries and a wall charger minimum.
  • Pick a pretty color.

Sad Vapor Virgin:

  • Non-standard or proprietary atomizer connectors.
  • Pen-style batteries (280 mAh or lower)
  • Complex "battery mods."

Tweaks To Consider:

  • Simple variable voltage control (like the Ego Twist).
  • Controls to turn the PV off.

The Atomizer

The ViVi Nova and Kanger T3
replaceable atomizer tank systems.
Perfect for the budding Vape Virgin.
Atomizers, like many things, come in all shapes and sizes. It's job is to deliver the juice. Drop in the juice, heat it up, and boom, vapor. The combination of battery and atomizer can be one of the most complex, but useful, things to understand about vaping. They come in different ratings (measured by resistance in Ohms) and different juice delivery systems (straight atomizers, cartomizers, tanks, and other wild and wacky stuff).

Your first time, though, just keep it simple.

Happy Vapor Virgin:

  • Whatever came with the kit will probably work.
  • Replaceable atomizer tank system (like the ViVi Nova or Kanger T3)
  • 1.8 to 2.2 Ohms rating. Lower is a hotter vape, higher is a cooler vape.
  • Keep backups and extras (you're going to be trying a lot juice).
  • When the vape tastes funky, replace the atomizer.
  • Pick a pretty color.

Sad Vapor Virgin:

  • Straight atomizers (used for dripping, an advanced technique).
  • Cartomizers with fiber fillings.
  • Low resistance (1.5 Ohms or lower) or HV (2.5 Ohms or higher) atomizers.


As exciting as experimentation is, this is something you can get into later. It can radically change your vaping pleasure, or lack thereof. Go too low and you'll constantly be burning up your atomizers and juice, or both. Go too high and you won't get enough flavor. Save mixing things up until you're comfortable with the regular way.

The Juice

Da Juice! Available in eye popping
flavors, from Cheesecake and
Energy Drink to exotic tobaccos
like Line Rider and Harbor Nite.
Next to actual technique, we're going to maintain (arguably) that the juice you select is the most important consideration you'll have when switching to vaping. The logic is simple: if it doesn't taste good, you won't do it. Vaping is not smoking. It's vaguely like smoking. Sorta. To stick with it, you have to find something that makes it better than smoking.  That would be the juice.

The other consideration with the juice is how much nicotine it contains (rated in milligrams or mg). The nicotine in mg can range from 6mg (low and slow) to 36mg (burn your eyeballs out).  Anything more than that is not terribly safe.

Happy Vapor Virgin:

  • PG juice (more flavor) or a light mix of PG/VG (70%/30% at most).
  • 16 to 18mg of nicotine.
  • Pick a flavor you already enjoy (probably not tobacco!)
  • Go to a store that let's you sample!
  • Settle on a flavor or two and stick with them for awhile (couple of weeks).

Sad Vapor Virgin:

  • Too much or pure VG (vegetable glycerin).
  • Experimenting too much at the start.
  • Too high or too low mg rating (6mg on the low side, 24 or 36mg on the high side).


  • More VG = More Vapor and "throat hit."
  • More PG = more flavor.
  • Adjust the mg rating to your liking after you learn "How to Vape"
  • Carry an extra atomizer tip to "share" with other vapers.
  • Experiment! But to do it slowly. You don't want to try everything in one night.

How To Vape

Vaping is not smoking. I say that to people all the time. Technically, it's a replacement for smoking, granted. But other than inhaling and exhaling, it's pretty different. The goal is to replace the habits of smoking, with the habits of vaping. To do that takes a little practice, patience, and technique.

Don't use a vaporizer like a cigarette. Too often I see people who try to vape just jam the thing in their mouths and start sucking on it willy-nilly.


When you first start out, slow, gentle and longer is better than fast and hard.  You can get into the freaky hardcore stuff later, if that's what tickles your tits. For now, learn to do it right.

Happy Vapor Virgin:

  • Fire the atomizer for a 3-5 seconds.
  • Soft, controlled suckage and let the vapor hit the back of your throat.
  • Hold the vapor in your mouth for a few seconds.
  • You don't need to inhale it into your lungs (won't hurt if you do, though).
  • Exhale slowly.
  • Vaping takes longer than smoking (but you can do it more frequently).

Sad Vapor Virgin:

  • Puffing it like a smoke. No.
  • Firing the atomizer for too long (wait, and take another puff in a few seconds).
  • Giving up. (It takes 21 days to form a habit. Give it a month.)
  • Smoking and vaping. Give up the cigs right from the start.


There aren't any. It takes a little practice, but you'll get the hang of it fairly quickly. Like in one or two tries. If it's not doing it for you, consider trying some of the tweaks listed above.

That's it. Welcome to vaping!