If you've spent any time at all on this site, you may have noticed I tend to throw the word “mod” around a lot. If you haven't been around e-cigarettes a lot, that may be a somewhat confusing term. I'd like to take this opportunity to sort of break down the concept of mods. Keep in mind there is a virtually limitless world of mods out there, so I don't anticipate this will be the be all, end all of guides to e-cigarette mods.
Looking for even more basic information? Check out my newest e-Cig 101 article: What is an e-cigarette?
|ProVari: high tech computer controlled e-cigarette (read my ProVari review)|
You probably have worked out for yourself that the word mod is shorthand for modification. I know, because you're reading this blog, so that by default makes you smarter than the average bear. The term is sort of interchangeable for a number of things however.
Mods can refer to both the actual e-cigarette, also known as a personal vaporizer, or PV. There can also be mods for other parts of e-cigarette hardware, such as a cartomizer tank mod. Even more confusing is the word can also be used as a verb: Steve just modded a drip tip to fit on another kind of atomizer.
For the purposes of this article, I'm going to stick with just the PV mods. Also, for those of you following along who are more familiar with the mod world, keep in mind that this will be nothing like a complete accounting of mods. I'll just hit on kind of the major categories, since there are way too many different ones to do a complete rundown.
|All sizes and shapes|
What's the Point?
Mods sort of came into being to offer an alternative to the basic cigarette sized e-cigarettes on the market. While these devices are great at mimicking cigarettes, they may leave something to be desired in the performance department. By creating their own e-cigarettes, modders were able to use replaceable batteries that offered much better battery life and performance. Mods come in all shapes and sizes and offer users a wide choice in power output (voltage).
The current mod market has taken off from that point of people making their own e-cigarettes in their garages. There are now a huge number of companies building and selling mods. The Chinese manufacturers are now even building mods like the Boge Revolution.
|I just gotta be me!|
Types of Mods
While there are a lot of variations on the themes, there are essentially two primary styles of mods. The box mod is as the name sounds, shaped like a box. Similarly, the other type is the tube mod, which is generally tubular in shape.
|Tube mods and a standard eGo|
The term mechanical mod is sometimes confusing. After all, the purpose of these devices is to deliver electricity to a heating element. Electricity isn't really a mechanical process in my mind.
The term mechanical refers to the inner workings of the device itself. Basically, all this means is there are no electronic components in the device. The switches are mechanical in their action use some sort of metal contact to complete the circuit providing power to the heating coil.
Mechanical mods generally don't have voltage regulators or lights. Voltage output from mechanical mods will be directly related to the actual output of the battery(ies). This means that there is generally a sloping curve of power output from the mod as the battery drains.
Non-mechanical mods do not necessarily have voltage regulators either and may not qualify as mechanical due to other electronic components such as switches or displays. There are a number of different kinds of voltage regulators as well. Some simply keep the output at a constant level such as 5 volts, while others allow the user to select their voltages.
|Switch assembly in a mechanical tube mod|
The term Variable Voltage is often shortened to vari-volt or simply VV. Vari-volt mods feature some mechanism to allow the user to adjust voltages in the form of a screw, dial or a sophisticated menu system in some of the more expensive models. The purpose behind this is to allow the user to match the voltage to the attached hardware.
Adjusting voltages to different cartomizers and atomizers is a little out of the scope of this article, and there may be a future one about the subject. The explanation is a little dry and involves math, I'm not so much for the math. To put it in simple terms, different atomizer/cartomizer and e-liquid combinations will produce different results. Using VV, you can pretty much dial in the exact experience you like.
|Voltage regulator inside a vv box mod|
The final thing I want to touch on here is the juice box concept. Juice boxes are almost always box style mods and contain a bottle of eliquid as part of the design. The bottle of is used to deliver e-liquid to the cartomizer/atomizer directly.
By incorporating a bottle of e-liquid directly into the device, it reduces (or eliminates) the need to carry around a bottle of eliquid and refilling cartomizers or dripping liquid onto an atomizer every few puffs. The methods used to actually carry the e-liquid from the mod to the cartomizer vary, but there are generally two methods.
The first type is the bottom feeder. As the name sort of implies, e-liquid is fed into the bottom of the atomizer through the vent holes on the battery connector of the device. The other method, as you may have guessed is the top feeder.
Top feeders generally still have the actual bottle located underneath the cartomizer. They deliver the liquid to the top of the atomizer through a tube. The tube is either mounted to an adapter that sits atop the atomizer or connects to an atomizer with a specially drilled hole to accomodate the tube.
|Boge Revolution, mass produced bottom fed juice box|
Ok, That's It!
We have reached the end of our little journey. I hope I've shed some light on the subject. If you take anything away from reading this it should be that there's a world of choice out there beyond the traditional style e-cigarettes. The same rules apply here as they do for everything else I talk about, there's no one better than another, it's all about what you like.
It's also worth noting that the different types of mods I broke down above aren't mutually exclusive in many cases. For example you could easily have a variable voltage juice box, or a mechanical one (but not both at the same time).
As I mentioned before, this isn't an exhaustive list by any means. I'm sure I'll hear from some of you in the comments about something I missed (I'm going to say the Tekk Mod is a box mod, so there!). Feel free to add to this stuff in the comments. Also, I'll leave some links of reviews I've done on some of the various mods so you can see them in action.
Simple box mod: Itty Bitty Betty
Vari-Volt box mod: VV Box Mod from MadVapes
High-end vari-volt tube mod: ProVari
Non-mechanical bottom feeder juice box (mass produced): Boge Revolution V2.1
Mechanical bottom feeder juice box: Vapage V-MOD
Mechanical tube mod: Icon 1.1, Sparki SP3