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Sparki SP3 e-Cigarette Starter Kit: Impressions

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The Sparki SP3 lives in an interesting world.  It is for all intents and purposes, firmly in the “mod” category of e-cigarettes.  However, looking at the Spark Plug for Smokers website, it’s clear that the device is targeted toward a much broader audience.

History
The name of the website gives a little bit of a hint into the device’s history in the mod world.  The first incarnation of Sparki was known as the Steampunk Sparkplug.  The original version was one of the early “big battery” mods in 2009 alongside other mods like the Prodigy from Puresmoker.

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Just the SP3

Version two dropped the Steampunk moniker and was known simply as the Sparkplug.  The price dropped significantly from the original $100 asking price and was made available as a starter kit for around 30 dollars and at one point included a “thermal sleeve” add on.  The add on allowed a user to stack two batteries in the Sparkplug for 6 volt vaping.

The thermal sleeve caused a great deal of controversy in the e-cigarette community.  The batteries that shipped with the Sparkplug did not feature protection circuitry.  The fear was that a catastrophic failure of one or both of the batteries could have resulted in a fire or explosion.  If you are not familiar with protected and safe chemistry batteries as opposed to unprotected models this forum thread will help bring you up to speed.

The newest iteration is now known simply as Sparki.  I wonder if the 4th version will just be called “S”.  The thermal sleeve option is gone and the Sparki is now a strictly 3.7v affair. A promised upcoming add-on will be available in the future for high voltage use and will include protected batteries.

What’s in the box

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Courtesy McDonald Webb

The Sparki is available as a fully decked out starter kit that will set you back $39, or if you want to bring your own batteries and cartomizer, you can pick up just the main unit for a very reasonable 16 smackeroos.  From a price standpoint the Sparki is in competition with basic 510 starter kits, not mods.

So what does the princely sum of 39 bucks net you?  Let’s take a look into the box and find out.

  • 1 Sparki SP3 power regulator (aka the actual e-cigarette)
  • 1 810 threaded 510 hybrid atomizer
  • 5 blank cartridges
  • 16 ml e-juice (Kentucky Leaf Tobacco, 18mg)
  • 2 16340 800mAh batteries
  • 1 battery charger
  • Instruction manual
In all not a bad list of stuff for the money.  I especially like that they include a bottle of e-liquid rather than pre-filled cartridges.  I actually really like the juice and have been using it with other e-cigarettes.  I think it’s kind of strange that they went with separate e-liquid but still included cartridges rather than going the cartomizer route.
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The batteries shipping with the SP 3

The batteries continue to be of the unprotected variety.  I asked the owner of the company about the battery choice after the previous controversy.  His stance is basically that he believes these types of batteries to be safe, particularly in a single battery configuration.

The instruction manual contains a lot of information on safe battery handling.  In addition, you could always pick up a set of protected 16430 batteries inexpensively online.  If you opted for the power regulator only option, you should already have the correct batteries.
Design
The SP3 itself is a fairly diminutive example of an e-cigarette that uses a removable battery.  Height wise the Sparki is shorter than a 650 mAh eGo, but it is somewhat fatter.  The Sparki is made almost entirely of aluminum, so it is incredibly light in addition to being petite.
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Sparki, Center

The device is available in four colors: black, silver, white and pink.  If you opt for the starter kit, your atomizer will be color matched to your power regulator. Other than your choice of colors, don’t expect a lot of bells and whistles on this e-cigarette.

This model is a purely mechanical affair and features a fire button on the bottom. The button is recessed slightly in a housing to prevent most accidental misfires.  Because this is a mechanical device, there is no power cutoff, while you can set this thing down without firing it off, I’d recommend storing and transporting it with the battery removed to prevent accidental misfires.
The atomizer side of the Sparki uses a brass pin inset in a threaded endcap to which the atomizer attaches.  This is an interesting design as it allows the battery connection to float making some adjustment for the differences in atomizers.  Unfortunately, this means that the connector is not sealed and e-liquid can seep into the tube.
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Main Body Disassembled

Liquid entering into the e-cigarette is mostly a concern when dripping into the atomizer, using the included cartridges or a cartomizer isn’t likely to cause leakage. Being a mechanical device the liquid isn’t likely to cause any long term issues either, but it can cause a mess inside.  I had some trouble getting the unit to fire until I cleaned the gunk from off the battery contacts after repeated over drips.  I’m kind of a messy dripper, that’s why I’m more of a carto guy.

I’ll admit even though I should have used the cartridges for the purposes of reviewing the whole kit, I promptly chucked them into a desk drawer and forgot about them.  I hate cartridges that much!  I don’t, on the other hand, hate the atomizer.  While it’s an odd configuration, it worked admirably well with a drip tip attached.
I’m still a little bit puzzled about the threading and atomizer choice on the Sparki.  The threading for the atomizer connection is the 801 style.  The atomizer is a hybrid model that features 801 threads and a 510 body and internals.  This was apparently a result of customer feedback, but I have to wonder why they didn’t just go with 510 threading and not have to make custom atomizers.
Experience

Strange design choices aside, actually carting the Sparki around and using it is not a painful experience.  The SP3 size and weight along with durable construction make it easily pocketable.  I was concerned the aluminum would be more fragile than a stainless steel e-cigarette like the Icon.  After several tumbles onto the concrete, it seems to hold its own in the abuse category.

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I’ll teach that button, I’ll rip it apart!

Much like I do with the Icon, I still struggle to find the perfect button kung-fu on the Sparki.  Hitting a bottom button to fire the e-cigarette just doesn’t quite feel natural to me.  The button housing also makes firing a touch awkward as you have to work your finger over that collar to get it to fire.  If you come at it from a weird angle, you might not be able to press the button with enough force to make contact and activate it.

Despite having to struggle with the button a little bit, I find myself using the Sparki quite a bit more than I expected.  I think the portability along with half way decent battery life (I don’t get anywhere near all day, but a good several hours for sure) makes it a nice no-fuss option.  This especially holds true when I pair it up with a nice 801 cartomizer like the Ikenvape LR Fusion.

That particular device seems to work wonders on 3.7v mechanical devices like the Sparki. Performance is pretty solid from the Sparki much like many 3.7v devices.  Unlike some standard e-cigarettes and larger models like the eGo which output power at around the 3.2 volt range, true 3.7 volt devices tend to offer a better experience.  It seems like half a volt isn’t a whole lot more power, but the result is usually a more robust vape with increased vapor production and warmer vapor.

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Courtesy McDonald Webb

Too Long; Didn’t Read
The Sparki SP3 is a nice low cost e-cigarette geared towards users who are looking for something outside of your typical cigarette shaped e-cigarette.  The SP3 doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles but the benefit is durability.   The simple design has a little bit of something to offer everyone from newbies who don’t care if it looks like a cigarettes, people looking for a first mod, or even more experienced users looking for something small to cart around that still has removable batteries.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Simple design to reduce failures
  • Small and lightweight
  • Durable construction
Cons:
  • Starter kit doesn’t offer protected battery option
  • Bottom firing button can be awkward
  • No mechanical “off” switch to prevent accidental firing

Details:
Model: Sparki SP3
Manufacturer: McDonald Webb
Available From: Sparkplugforsmokers.com
Price: 39.99 (stater kit) 15.99 (e-cigarette only)
Threading: 801
Batteries 16340 lithium, unprotected (starer kit only) 800mAh protected batteries available at FocalPrice or MadVapes

Disclosure: I received the Sparki V3 starter kit for the purposes of review from the manufacturer.  I also feature banner ads and affiliate links for the Sparki.

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Disclosure

In an attempt to subsidize both the time invested in this site as well as my own e-cigarette habit, this site utilizes advertising banners, affiliate links, and automated advertising mechanisms such as Google's AdSense. For more details, please view my ethics and transparency statement. All posts on this site (including news items) are the opinions of their respective authors. Content may be updated without notice as deemed necessary.

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10 Comments

  1. >"Unlike some standard e-cigarettes and larger models like the eGo which output power at around the 3.2 volt range, true 3.7 volt devices tend to offer a better experience."

    Hi Steve,

    Perhaps you can clarify a point of confusion on my part? I've seen many comments, most notably from DaBoom in his "Wonderful World of Vaping" series on eGo type batteries being 3.2v. I have five fat bats and everyone of them are at least 3.7v under load , higher when fully charged, assuming my MadVapes volt meter is correct. I'm aware that many of the mini bats are in the range of 3v, some even less but I've never seen a eGo type battery advertised at anything under 3.7v. What do others know that I'm yet to understand about the voltage of eGo type bats? -)

    BTW the VV Box Mod and Volt Meter from MadVapes is by far the best investment I've made to date.

    Errol

  2. Well, the way I understand it is that most eGo style devices do indeed have a 3.7v battery in there. But, they have voltage regulators in them that ensure they output a constant voltage, 3.2 in most cases though I have seen some go higher. They basically do that so the experience is the same from when you first take it off the charger until its last puff.

    Of course, that nifty MadVapes volt meter can't read voltages on pulsing regulators like eGos uses, so you never can quite tell what voltage is really coming out of there.

    Fat batts usually give you whatever the battery outputs. For the most part on most 3.7v batts (including the Sparki up there) you'll start off at 4.2v and eventually peter down to around 3.2 or so before it gives up the ghost entirely.

    The VV box is pretty much like a good old reliable pickup truck. It's not pretty but it gets you where you are going and lets you take whatever you need with you.

    Steve

  3. I have to say that while I haven't tried the SP3, I did own an SP2, and it's a mistake I wouldn't care to repeat. As far as I can tell, the only real difference between an SP2 and SP3 is the color, as it seems to be made of pretty much the same parts. Don't buy this mod. It leaks, it'll break in about a week of daily use, and when you contact the creators of the thing for support, the best you'll get is, "gee, you know you can buy new parts," or "we never said it'll hold up longer than a week." If you're going to spend money on something like this, get something that won't die as easily as one of these things will, like a mini Xhaler, or even a Riva. The Spark Plug, and all of it's variations are absolute garbage. Don't waste your time or money on any of them. Unless you like wet batteries and cheap mechanical switches that can't complete a circuit after two thousand uses.

    1. Yikes! I know there's something different than the color since the old caps and stuff won't fit the new model. Not sure if it's anything beyond a threading change though. I did have liquid get into the tube once when I got a little crazy with the dripping. Makes sense because that brass connector isn't sealed.

      I unfortunately haven't been able to use the SP3 frequently enough to notice weather or not the button wears in a way that would cause it to misfire regularly. I hope they fixed any issues there, but can't really say.

      Thanks for the heads up!

    2. I was reading a thread on ECF today. Apparently, that spring in the button can get compressed and by removing it and stretching out out a little bit, it can improve the button action. Doesn't help with the potential for juice to seep into the tube, however.

  4. I have to say, I never used an SP2, love my SP3.

    Be clear that this is a nice device, and much less expensive than other tube style mods. I haven't had the misfire issues that others report. Sometimes my battery needs to be charged, sometimes I'm not pressing the button right. User error, button preference , these will vary. If you want to try batteries and get a feel for it, start here.

    The same way I am glad that I started on 4081/510 kits and worked my way through the food chain honestly… this is a good kit, it works and will tell you if you want this style or if you prefer an eGo style. You also wont break the bank starting here.

    I think at this price people need to get real… I don't imagine that the costs of production and design are all that far off for this device and other tube mods. I think we're seeing a vendor/designer that is giving us a great price on a device. For the price stop griping about the warranty. Nothing is free, a warranty is built in to the device price.

    Nice review Steve.

  5. >"Well, the way I understand it is that most eGo style devices do indeed have a 3.7v battery in there. But, they have voltage regulators in them that ensure they output a constant voltage, 3.2 in most cases"

    I wasn't aware of the voltage regulator in the eGo bat, now I know where the 3.2v originated. Your description of mod batts fits my eGo style Riva batts exactly. I use the term fat batts to describe all eGo style batts to make a distinction between them and mini batts.

    As it worked out I was going to build an adapter so I could measure the voltage under load as I thought possibly that's where the 3.2v number came from. I knew about the pulsing regulator as I had already read about it and tried the MadVapes volt meter on my PT and a mini bat that was handy and assumed it would be the same for my fat batts but tried it anyway and to my surprise it matched the voltage on my VOM. As it works out the full charged bat was 4.16v and 3.85v under load with a LR carto. A .3v variation was pretty much the case all the way down to 3.18v under load when it finally gave up.

    Do you know if eGo, or for that matter any of the other fat batts are still using a 3.2v regulator?

    Your analogy of "a good old reliable pickup truck" reminded me of a 49 Chev PU I had in the early 60s when I was stationed in Alaska. On subzero mornings when others were grinding away with jumpers and starter fluid my old PU fired right up after a few seconds of full manual choke. Now that's what I call a good old reliable pickup truck. -)

    Errol

  6. Hey u guys use a 810.Connection like bloog right? Looks like can i buy that adapter?

      1. Try MadVapes, I'm pretty sure they have an 810 to 510. Probably not an 810 to eGo if you need that specific one though.

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