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.

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