I have long been a fan of the eGo form factor for e-cigarettes. I have wished for ages that someone would produce a variable voltage version of the eGo. My wish has finally been granted. Mostly.
GotVapes recently began selling the Piper vari-volt USB pass-thru e-cigarette. As the name indicates, this is a USB connected-only affair, there is no battery so your vaping will be tethered to a computer or a wall adapter. The connector end features the threading for an eGo cone and everything.
Size-wise the variable volt eGo is just a little bit shorter than your garden variety 650mAh eGo battery. The Piper, lacking an actual battery, is also noticeably lighter than a standard eGo. As an added bonus, the Piper even comes with its own semi-rigid carrying case.
The case is a very nice addition, it is roomy and can actually house two large e-cigarettes. There are little pockets for atomizers, cartomizers, e-liquid, ashes of long gone pets, whatever you like. I think the case may be the best thing about the Piper. Ok, no, the best thing is that this is a variable voltage device and is priced under 25 bucks!
I think variable volt may be a bit of a misnomer. When I think variable volt, I tend to think of something that lets you go through a set voltage ranges via a dial of some sort or in .1 volt increments. The Piper simply lets you select between three different pre-set voltages.
I would describe the Piper more like a selectable voltage device rather than variable. This may be splitting hairs a little bit, admittedly. Realistically, I don’t think I’ve ever been so picky that I thought to myself this cartomizer would work so much better if I could decrease the voltage by .2 volts.
The menu choices are 3.2, 3.7, and 4.2v. This is a decent selection as it basically gives you the standard eGo voltage, true 3.7 and a higher voltage option. I think the only major complaint I have is that I would have liked to see a 5.0v option as that is very popular and works well in a lot of scenarios.
Navigating between your voltage choices is a simple affair. 5 clicks of the rubber button upshifts the Piper into the next higher voltage (and then back down to 3.2 from 4.2). The button glows a different color for each setting, blue for the lowest, fuchsia (the blue and red LEDs both light up) for medium, and red for the highest setting.
Stranger than the fact I know what fuchsia is, there are what appears to be 3 smaller LEDs oriented under the somewhat flimsy rubber fire button. These appear to do nothing at all, they glow with ambient light from the button, but appear to have no light of their own. I suspect they may be openings for battery level lights from the battery powered version of the Piper.
Aside from the strange light ports and slightly cheap feeling fire button, the Piper appears to be fairly well engineered. The USB cable, while not detachable, is of a thicker gauge than the 510 pass throughs I normally use. The cable is only about 3.5 feet long, so depending on how you roll, you might need to find a USB extension cable somewhere. The cable also appears to be well seated, which should mean cable damage won’t be as common as it is with the flimsier 510 pass throughs.
|Blue, not fuchsia|
My 5 volt 510 passthrough is regulated in a manner that will prevent it from operating if it is plugged into an under-powered USB port. This does not appear to be the case with the Piper. It will operate on a lower amperage port, but it appears to cut the voltage delivered to the cartomizer to prevent disaster. There is protection circuitry built into the pass through. The Piper should be used on a 2 amp port (or a sufficiently rated AC adapter) for it to live up to its full potential.
|For best performance, plug it in|
Once the Piper is bolted to a sufficient power source, it performs as expected within each voltage range. I couldn’t verify this scientifically, as my handy-dandy voltage meter from MadVapes doesn’t work on pulsing voltage regulators, which all eGos have. Qualitatively, the performance seemed comparable to other devices running at the same voltage.
Ok, that’s great, but what does it mean, you say? Well, I’m glad you asked! Basically, this opens up a few different options without having to break the bank for a more expensive variable voltage mod. Specifically, I’m thinking dual coil cartomizers here.
While dual coils do alright on standard eGos, they are a completely different experience at higher voltages. On the 4.2 volt setting, dual coil cartomizers really start to open up and perform well. Some like to take their dual coils to 5v and beyond, but 4.2v is not too shabby.
|Separated at birth?|
The Piper in theory could also get you into the triple coil club, but don’t expect too much there. I found with triple coils, the vari-volt eGo could indeed get them to output vapor, but production was anemic at best. However, you do get a special perk. There exists a dual coil eGo cartomizer, which seems to me like it was custom made for the Piper.
Of course, dual coil cartomizers are just one example, and I have to be a little bit enamored by them at the moment. There are plenty of other reasons to like higher voltages. You have more options for the types of atomizers and cartomizers you can run on them. Higher voltages are also handy for eking out warmer and more plentiful vapor on standard resistance devices as well.
Too Long; Didn’t Read
The Piper vari-volt eGo pass through may be what a lot of eGo users have been waiting for. While this device limits you to only 3 choices and stops well short of the 5 volt mark, it is worth a look if you want to test the waters of variable voltage devices. It certainly beats fancy e-cigarettes hands-down in the price department. Even the lowliest of variable voltage box mods are probably going to set you back more than 25 dollars, and they don’t even come with a nifty carrying case.
- Simple operation
- Visual voltage indication
- Comes with a handy carrying case
- Compact and light weight due to lack of battery
- Only 3 selectable voltages
- Max voltage of 4.2v
- 2a USB connection required (battery powered version should be available soon)
- Flimsy activation button
- Somewhat short USB cable
Model: eGo Variable Pass-Thru
Purchased from: GotVapes
Price: 24.95 – 26.95 (depending on color)
Threading: 510 (with eGo cone threads)
Voltage: 3.2, 3.7, 4.2 selectable
Power: USB (2A 5v recommended)
Steve K(08/08/11 - 9:20 pm)
I probably should have mentioned this earlier. GotVapes now has the regular vari-volt eGo (the portable kind) available in a kit as well as the pass-through.
Dave P(04/19/12 - 9:38 am)
the links provided in this post are correct, but are not functioning when actually clicked on due to the "( )". The links mentioned are: http://www.amazon.com/Fosmon-Digital-Universal-No… -and- http://www.vaporkings.com/5v-2000mAh-USB-port-por…
Dave P(04/19/12 - 9:46 am)
…it looks like the original links posted are working now. The "( )" issue was fixed.
Steve K(04/19/12 - 10:03 am)
Ok, good :) To honest, I'm not even sure this model is even sold any more. I know the vendor I got it from stopped carrying it a while ago, and vari-volt versions in this class are becoming much more prevalant (with the eGo twist and the Innokin iTaste coming to market soon). But you provide good general advice about USB cables I hadn't thought of, so thank you for your post!
Dave P(04/19/12 - 10:18 am)
Hi Steve :D If anyone is interested in the Piper from Piper/FamCig, I do know of two companies that are currently selling this PT. It can be purchased through Vaporkings and Sterling Vapor E-cigs. There is also a different Piper version, that is not an eGo style, that is sold on e-smokeonline.com.
EcigBestSave also sells a VV PT that provides a 3.2V-3.7V-4.2V feature as well.
I hope this information is helpful for those interested :D
Dave P(04/19/12 - 11:08 am)
there is also a VV PT (that can be purchased through VaporSupplies and MyEcigSupply) that provides a 3.2V-3.7V-4.2V-4.7V feature!
jpopes(06/13/12 - 10:29 am)
Mine didn't came with a manual! it's the 3,2 – ……. – 4,7V silver version. Can I use it connected to my macbook pro 500mA usb ports? I also have a ac adapter with 5v 800mA!
Steve K(06/13/12 - 10:39 am)
I believe on most Macbooks, the USB port closest to the magsafe connector is a full-power USB port
BernieTheMac V.Cat(09/10/12 - 11:18 am)
I had one and loved it. Not with any name on it. Work best on a portable power pack. The only drawback is they needed to put a strain relief on the cable. After 2 month's mine lost connection from the wire bending at the bottom of the mod. Currently resides in the junk box. I have considered replacing it as they work great.
Steve K(09/10/12 - 11:28 am)
The things we put up with before the twist and super VVs :)