Loading... Please wait...

Vaping 101: Mechanical Mods

Posted by

Mechanical mods: the vaping platform of choice for vape purists around the globe. Their simplistic design is their most redeeming feature as well as their downfall. Nevertheless, mech mods have a dedicated fanbase like no other.

Despite a lack of screens, voltometers, or other regulating features, mechanical vapers feel much more in-tune with this direct connection between atomizer and battery. But this intimate relationship can intimidate unaccustomed vapers who hope to own their own mechanical mod one day, but have been prevented thus far by a lack of knowledge in mechanical vaping.

While mech mods may appear complicated, they're actually deceptively simple to use! They use all of the same rules as the regulated mods you're used to—like don't build too low, keep your batteries clean, etc.—plus just a few extra, but once you pick up these little tidbits of knowledge, you'll be well on your way to becoming a bonafide mechanical vaper!

Important Note: Mechanical MODs are an ADVANCED USER PRODUCT and should NOT be used by ANYONE without the proper knowledge on Ohm's Law and how to test your atomizer's resistance. Please be careful when disassembling your MOD's switch, especially those powered by magnets. Only use mechanical mods with high drain batteries (>25A) and check them for any unusual marks or damage before using them. Always ensure that your atomizer's positive pin protrudes >2mm before attaching it to a hybrid 510 connection.
  • So, What Are Mechanical Mods, Anyway?

    Mechanical mods are a truly timeless vaping platform defined by its extreme durability bordering on indestructibility, impressive resilience against nearly every type of damage (water, shock, dust, pressure, etc.), and incredibly straightforward functionality heightening its ability to be repaired to working condition no matter what damage it has maintained.

    Because of this, mechanical mods can easily operate ideally for years on end. There's no risk of circuit boards burning out spontaneously, solder flaking off, 510 connections failing, or other such hindrances that tend to plague regulated mods. But because mech mods are designed to be as electrically simple as possible, this means that they have no inherent hardwired limitations or integrated protections that may protect or hinder vapers.

    Why, though?

    Back when regulated mods were no bigger than a fountain pen and power outputs above 15W were considered to be an instant dry hit, vapers quickly became underwhelmed by the weak vapor and light flavor that came from disposables and low-power atomizers. Thus, they began their search for an alternative power source not limited by integrated circuitry to a specific power output.

    It wasn't long before the first prototype mechanical mod was displayed in online forums by an inventive amateur vaper who had taken apart a flashlight and modified it to accept an atomizer in place of the light bulb. I know, I know, that's some super advanced engineering, but that's how most early e-cigarette components came to be: not from some manufacturer's R&D division, but from the minds of every-day, inquisitive vapers seeking a better alternative.

    How mech mods garnered their name is no mystery: obviously, their unregulated nature earned them the "mechanical" portion, and the word "mod" was originally short for "modified", alluding to the repurposed chassis. Now, however, I prefer to think "mod" has evolved into simply being short for "modular".

    Nearly a decade later, mechanical mod designs haven't changed much, especially for tube mechs. The same basic components remain the same: a tube-shaped body that accepts a battery cell with the negative and positive end connected by a circuit closed by a switch. Even for box-shaped mechanical mods, the basic principles are still the identical to the original design, save for the now-boxy form factor.

    Now with the ubiquity of high-wattage regulated devices, the superior performance of mech mods can no longer claim to be truly superior in every way to the majority of vape mods on the market. But nevertheless, vapers favoring a more manual approach to their vaping still treasure mech mods. The performance of these unforgiving devices depends entirely on the skill of the user, especially when using rebuildable atomizers, so some advanced vapers still prefer the hands-on feel of mechanical vaping.

    But How Do Mech Mods Work?

    Mechanical mods are powered by a "direct voltage", meaning the electricity used by the coil build is unaltered after leaving the battery. The interesting thing about direct voltage is that the perceived output of power—referred to as "wattage"—is inversely proportional to the resistance of the coil build. The lower the resistance, the more heat is output by the coil. This leads to bigger clouds and thicker vapor, which is exactly what mechanical vapers are looking for. But decreasing the resistance of the circuit also makes the amperage load of the circuit increase. Just how many amps a battery can safely handle is always displayed as the "continuous rating" (measured in "A").

    However, because there's no lower limit to the resistance that the mech mod will allow, it's entirely possible to accidentally build too low or overlook a short in your atomizer that makes it read at 0.00Ω. If this happens, the amperage load will be too much for the battery, causing it to fail in a catastrophic manner, releasing hot toxic gases and flames. That's why it's always crucial to double-check your builds and batteries before using them in a mech mod.

Chassis

  • Materials

    A mechanical mod's chassis, or the main body, may appear to be the most passive part of the entire device, but far from it, especially in tube-style mechanical mods. In tube mechs, the chassis is what carries electricity as it leaves the atomizer—if this pathway is impeded or throttled by unnecessary resistance, the whole circuit is slowed down, leading to a reduced maximum voltage from that mech mod.

    This is why it's a generally not a good idea to have a mech mod that uses multiple materials in its chassis. The separated pieces will add extra resistance to your device, even if they're welded together. For maximum performance, it's always best to get a mechanical mod that uses only one solid type of material in its chassis and has only one set of threading connecting the chassis together.

    But what kind of material will leave you the most satisfied? That depends on you! Each material has its own unique set of pros and cons that accentuate or attenuate different aspects of performance and durability, so read on to find the best type of metal for you!

    Silver

    Silver is the ideal mechanical mod material. Of all the commercially common metals, it has superior conductivity and superb hardness that is perfectly suited for the 510 threads and positive pins. The only reason we aren't all walking around with solid silver mech mods is because it's crazy expensive! Because of this, you'll most often find mech mods with solid silver contacts, such as shown above in the Nimbus Mech Mod—it's a great way to put silver where it counts without costing an arm and a leg.

    The unreal price of silver seriously restricts the ubiquity of solid silver mech mods, but that doesn't stop some mod collector's from picking up one for some seriously flashy cash for the low, low price of $400+. You can also pick up aftermarket components for your mech mod that have been plated in silver or crafted from it entirely to boost your device's performance even further—these are available either from the original manufacturer or from other 3rd party sources, just make sure you pick up the right part for your specific mech mod!

    Copper

    Copper Roundhouse 2 Mech Mod

    Copper, on the other hand, is a very commonplace material for mechanical mods as well as other types of APVs. Copper is one of the most conductive natural materials in existence, lending to its use in a wide range of applications such as electrical wiring, cookware, motors, heating, and so much more. This is all in spite of copper's tendency to tarnish over time, garnering a dull green patina not unlike that found covering the Statue of Liberty. Nevertheless, copper's corrosion resistance is one of its top reason for use—second only to its excellent conductivity.

    Copper is relatively soft compared to other common mech mod materials, so take extra care when carrying around your new toy—or better yet, just pick a different material for your daily beat-around device. Copper is also generally a little more expensive compared to other types of materials, so be prepared to fork over ~$20 extra for your new competition-winner. This increase in price goes up as the purity of the copper increases, but increases in purity are hardly worth the extra cost: above 99% purity and outside of cryogenic temperatures, any advantages in conductivity one copper blend has over another is negligible.

    C110 Copper is the most common form of pure copper at 99.95% Cu, but because of its difficult machinability, it's rarely chosen for our vaping needs. Instead, its cousin C145 Tellurium is much harder and more durable, making it common for devices like mech mods and RDAs despite a meager 99.9% Cu purity. C101 Copper—also called Oxygen-Free Copper—is the most advanced and the most expensive, but with a purity of 99.99%, some mech modders believe it's worth the price.

    Aluminum

    Red Plasma Aluminum XXX Mech Mod from Vaperz Cloud

    Of all the possible mech mod materials, aluminum is by far the lightest as well as the cheapest. Aluminum is a marvelous material responsible for making many of your favorite things possible, such as soda cans, bikes, cars, and even aerospace tech! And now you can have a little piece of that special stuff on hand every time you vape!

    Surprisingly to some, aluminum has excellent conductivity—falling just below silver and copper. It's also relatively cheap, making it a great choice for your next beat-around mech. Just be careful: aluminum is one of the softer metals. Not as soft as copper, per se, but just don't go chucking it against walls or anything.

    Brass

    Descendant Mech Mod by VAMP in Brass

    Known best for its distinctly golden color, brass is definitely gaining popularity alongside copper as the go-to mechanical mod material. Made of a varying blend of copper, zinc, and sometimes tin, brass comes in many different alloys. 464 Naval Brass—the most common type for vaping applications—has a 60%:40% Cu:Zn blend.

    Brass also tends to tarnish over time, but it's still just as manageable as copper. Brass' conductivity, however, falls below silver, copper, aluminum, and gold on the conductivity totem pole—pretty low for one of the top choices in metal. Brass offsets this lack of electrical magnetism with the fact that it's one of the hardest metals available, offering durability and longevity in place of instantaneous power.

    Stainless Steel

    Barebones Kit in Stainless Steel

    And last but not least, stainless steel—one of the most ubiquitous metals on the face of the planet—needs no introduction. This highly durable, low maintenance, extremely tough material is a top choice for almost any application available. But this isn't enough to work around the fact that steel has terrible conductivity! In fact, it's one of the worst materials available for conducting electricity. However, this is generally unnoticeable by noobies to mechanical mods—bless their poor hearts—but advanced vapers will tell you that installing a build lower than 0.3ohm will cause a hot button, or excess electrical arcing that makes the firing switch heat up suddenly.

    Stainless steel is available in a number of grades, such as 304, 316, and 316L. 304—also known as A2 stainless—is the most commonly chosen chassis material for stainless steel tubes mods as well as smaller vape devices like RDAs and sub-ohm clearomizers. 316 and 316L—also called A4 stainless—is another popular choice chosen specifically for its increased resistance to corrosion; 316L is especially popular as a coil heating element, thanks to the low-carbon content endowing it with improved resistance degradation under high temperature.

    Plating

    While it can be expensive to make a mechanical mod component entirely out of a costly material like gold or silver, metal plating is an easy way to add an extra dose of protection- and/or performance-boosting coverage.

    Gold, Nickel, & Rhodium

    White Nickel Twiztid Purge Mech Mod

    Gold, rhodium, and nickel plating are some of the top choices for protective finishes over crucial components like positive pins, threads, and battery contacts. These are all remarkably resistant to corrosion damage, so they're often placed in a thin layer over electrically active parts made from a material that's prone to tarnish, such as solid copper or brass. A tarnish-resistant plating provides a clean, polished metal surface for electricity to flow as freely as possible.

    Silver

    Silver plating is used in a similar manner, but as opposed to providing protection, silver provides supreme conductivity to any material, making it an easy way to completely break your opponents' will to compete without having to break the bank.

    Cerakote

    Cerakote is often chosen by manufacturers as a final protective finish in addition to adding a splash of color to mechanical mods as well as other heavy-duty equipment such as firearms and EDC accessories. Much more resilient than mere paint or anodizing, Cerakote is a high quality colored polymer-ceramic coating that adds significant protection against corrosion, abrasions, skips, chips, bumps, bruises, and anything else life may throw at you.

    Single- vs Dual-Wall

    Hagermann Karma Edition Mech MOD by Purge Mods

    Almost always, the chassis of a tube mod will have a single wall—super simple. Just one layer of metal between your hand and your battery cell. There are some mech mods, though, that utilize a double-walled chassis. A classic that comes to mind is any one of the  Hagermann mechs from Purge Mods. These mods use a sleeve-like outer tube that slides over the inner tube while leaving stylish cutouts in the etched design that show the colored wall underneath.

    In double-walled mech mods, the venting holes are inherently present, as the inner chassis doesn't raise up high enough to completely close off the battery chamber. In addition, thanks to the space between the outer and inner chassis, heat transfer from the battery cell is greatly reduced, eliminating sweaty mod hands nearly once and for all.

    Threads

    There are a wide number of factors that contribute to the boosted or diminished performance of your mech mod—one of the most important is the state of your threads.

    Unfortunately, I don't mean your sense of fashion. I mean, what are your mech mod's threads like? There's two types of threads found in a mech mod: the chassis threads and the 510 threads. The imperfect connection inherent to threading can contribute to unnecessary voltage drop, so it's a good idea to get a mech with only one set of chassis threads, if possible.

    Threads are one of the neediest components in your mech mod. Patina and tarnish tends to build up in the fine-toothed threads of your mod, reducing overall conductivty, so you'll need to clean these threads often if you want ideal performance from your device at all times. Similarly, when treating your mech mod with a protective sealant, it's important to avoid getting it on the threading of your mech—this can increase the mech mod's resistance even further, which drastically reduces your mech's potent kick.

    Vent Holes

    Vent holes are a crucial part of a mech mod's chassis—in an emergency situation where your battery is venting, those gases need to be able to escape the device. Otherwise, the gas will continue to build up until the chassis gives way violently and explosively.

    Vent holes may be an obvious part of the outer body, or may be integrated into the top cap or firing switch. Some vapers are opposed to having the vent holes facing the vaper during use, though the relevance is up for debate.

    Tubes vs Boxes

    Tube-shaped mechanical mods and box mech mods behave in very similar ways with only a few differences. For starters, mechanical box mods are likely to accept more than one battery cell wired in series, parallel, or both! Box mechs are also more likely to be "unregulated", which is very similar to a mechanical device, but includes circuit-based safety protections such as MOSFETs and fuses that prevent mishaps like short circuits.

    Mechanical vs Unregulated

    IMO, mech mods are still entirely mechanical even if they have non-circuit-based protections such as a raised plastic rim around the battery contact for reverse polarity protection, a plastic inner sleeve as a safeguard against wrap shorts, or wires connecting the components together. When things like MOSFETs and fuses—components that cut the circuit when excess power is detected—are added, the mech mod is still unregulated, but no longer fully mechanical.

    It's when the power supplied by the battery(s) is purposefully altered each time the circuit is completed by a buck/boost module that the device is no longer unregulated. So even in the case of semi-regulated devices that put out a constant voltage, it's not unregulated unless it's powered by an unaltered direct voltage from the battery.

    But that's just my mere opinion—different vapers have different opinions, so you may find devices being called "mechanical" or "unregulated" when they're only roughly one or the other, but what the device is officially called is entirely up to the manufacturer's discretion.

510 Connection

  • The 510 connection of your mechanical mod is one of its most crucial components, as this is where the atomizer is attached. The threaded part under the base of your atomizer is screwed into the threaded port integrated into the top of the mech mod. Choosing a proper 510 connection for your chosen atomizer can seem like an easy task—and it usually is—but it's important to know which kinds of atomizers work best with which types of connections in order to stay completely safe, especially with hybrid 510 connections.

    Floating

    Panzer Mech Floating 510 Connection

    A floating 510 connection uses a small metal pin electrically insulated in heat-resistant plastic (PEEK, Delrin, ULTEM, etc.) to connect the atomizer to the battery. This pin moves freely up and down—this moves the battery contact inside the mod up and down as well—but doesn't automatically adjust back when pressure is removed, so a flush installation between the mech mod and the atomizer is pretty dependent on the size of your battery, the atomizer positive pin, and how far you screw in the switch.

    Spring-Loaded

    Maraxus Mech Spring-Loaded 510 Connection

    The versatile and user-friendly design of spring-loaded 510s make them a favorite among vapers of all types. Similarly to a floating 510, a spring-loaded 510 uses a metal pin encased in nonconductive heat-resistant plastic to make contact between the atomizer and the battery. The difference between the two, however, is that in a spring-loaded connection, the metal pin is backed by (you guessed it) a spring that pushes the pin back into place when the atomizer is removed. This type of pin doesn't protrude on the other side of the mech mod's top cap—instead a battery contact on the other side makes a constant connection with the battery, but is usually adjustable to negate any battery rattle. This is also the type of connection most common in regulated mods.

    Adjustable

    Overdose Mech Clone Adjustable 510 Connection

    This 510 connection uses the same basic principle as the previous two, but the pin of an adjustable 510 is notched with a slot for a flathead screwdriver. Twisting this pin makes it raise or lower in order to accommodate attached atomizers. This type of connection has been relatively shunned in favor of the ease of spring-loaded 510s, but you can still find the occasional adjustable 510 on an older mod, or even a spring-loaded 510 with a positive pin that's been uselessly flathead-slotted just for the aesthetic.

    Hybrid

    Apollo Mech Clone Hybrid 510 Connection

    This type of 510 connection is only found in high-performance mech mods for a reason, as these connections carry the most risk. Because they connect your atomizer's positive pin directly to the battery's positive pole, hybrid 510s deliver the maximum voltage possible to your coil build. However, if your atomizer's positive pin doesn't protrude past the atomizer's 510 threads, the threads will make contact with the battery instead of the positive pin, which causes an instant short circuit and potentially a battery nightmare.

Firing Switch

  • Throw

    A firing switch's throw is the amount of space you have to push the button before it actually activates. For example, a regulated mod with a plastic click-button firing switch is going to have a very short throw, as any movement in the button will "click" it. But in some mods, you need to push the firing switch in quite far before it begins heating the installed coil build. Some people like their mech mod to have an instantaneous response with an ultra-short throw; others prefer longer throws, especially when using a non-recessed firing switch.

    The amount of throw a firing switch has is typically adjustable by changing the height of the battery contact or by simply unscrewing the firing button a little. However, these options may cause the conductivity of the mech mod itself to decrease due to less contact being made with the battery through the 510 pin and firing switch.

    Push Mechanism

    Spring

    Replacement Springs for Purge Mech Mods

    A simple spring provides resisting force to button presses and supports the battery contact as it connects to the battery. These types of switches are the cheapest and easiest to disassemble, but are also prone to increasing the resistance of the mech mod itself. This reduces the voltage output of your battery before it even reaches your atomizer! Because of this, springs can come coated in a variety of materials, such as copper, silver, gold, and even epoxy in order to help electricity get where it needs to go unabated. Springs are also available with different measures of thickness. This thickness is what determines the pressure needed to compress it (measured in "lbs").

    Magnet

    Replacement Purge Magnets

    In a magnetic switch, magnets provide the resisting force as opposed to a spring. This leads to a much more efficient transfer of electricity, thanks to the contact-less nature of magnets. These magnets can be either concealed within the button housing or come as a separate magnetic disc that attaches to the battery cell, otherwise moving freely within the mech mod's chassis.

    Just keep in mind, you have to be very careful when disassembling your mech mod's button. If you aren't paying close attention, the magnets housed inside the button could suddenly come loose as you're taking apart the switch. Then, they'll go where magnets naturally belong: together! And they'll do so faster and more explosively than the Flash in a gunpowder factory.

    Battery Contact

    Pin

    Colt .45 Mech MOD Disassembled

    By far the most popular type of contact due to its simplicity, a pin contact is a small rod-shaped piece of solid metal, possibly with a wide flat contact point. This piece is used to connect the switch to the battery cell, completing the circuit and transferring electricity to your atomizer. Common metals for this pin-shaped component are copper, brass, and stainless steel—copper is a favorite due to its superb conductivity and relative cheap price. These pins can also be plated in another material in order to add resistance to corrosion or additional conductivity.

    Clutch

    A clutch contact uses a wide metal contact disc broken up down the middle into multiple even pieces—kind of like pizza slices. These pieces are held together with elastic and kept within the button housing. When the firing switch is pressed, the contact is pushed upwards and spread out as it completes the circuit, providing a consistently even area of contact against the battery cell, even when the firing switch is pressed unevenly or at an angle. It's not common to have a built-in spring or magnets assisting the throw of this type of contact—it's typically not even needed—but it is possible to find exceptions.

    Floating Disc

    Firing switches using a floating disc—such as in the 4Nine Mech Mod—are relatively rare, but provide their own unique benefits, like being generally more compact than a traditional magnetic switch. These switches utilize a magnetic disc that is placed in a plastic housing and left to move freely inside the mod's empty tube chassis.

    Then, when the battery cell is inserted, the disc automatically attaches to the negative pole of the battery, providing the necessary resisting force to the button's throw. But despite the floating disc's unique design, it came to no one's surprise when this type of firing switch mechanism began to fall out of favor—because an electrical current runs through the magnetic disc every time it's fired, the disc can lose its magnetism over time.

    Recessed or Protruding

    More often than not, a firing switch will be made of the same material as the mechanical mod's chassis (the same suggestions for chassis material also apply to the firing switch). Exceptions to this are common, however. Regardless, this is almost always done for aesthetic reasons. All aspects the same otherwise, I'd always go for a mech mod with a matching firing button.

    Recessed

    A recessed switch is housed so that it is covered by the button housing, preventing it from being activated when it's placed on a table or desk but still allowing users to press the switch when needed. These types of switches typically don't have any kind of locking mechanism—it's hard to convince manufacturers that a next-to-impossible-to-mess-up switch needs an expensive failsafe added to the final design.

    Protruding

    Where a recessed switch in unseen, a protruding switch makes itself known. This type of firing switch sticks out far enough for it to be pressed when placed on a flat surface. Because of this, most protruding switches will have a locking mechanism to prevent accidental misfires, but some will rely on the sheer strength of the integrated spring or magnets in order to stand tall without being activated.

    Locking Switch

    Sometimes, a firing switch—usually a protruding switch—has some kind of locking mechanism integrated in order to prevent the button from being pressed accidentally. This can be something like a threaded locking ring that screws down to lock the switch into the "off" position, a knob to negate the switch's movement, or a lever that removes the battery contact away from the circuit completely. It's entirely possible that there's no lock at all and the mech mod relies on its magnets, spring, or button housing to resist accidental presses. Sketchy, huh? It used to be that nearly every mechanical mod that a locking switch, but with the advent of recessed switches, manufacturers saw no point in including additional costly locking mechanisms.

    As you can see, it's important to take into consideration whether a lock-less mech mod is really right for you. It does carry some significant inherent risks, but in my opinion, as long as you aren't keen on carrying your mod in your pocket or purse, you should be fine. A great way around this is whenever you're setting your mod down or putting it away, unscrew your firing switch just until it's impossible to make it fire, accidentally or not. Or even better, just take out your battery and place both in a vape-approved carrying case for total assurance of safety!

    Bottom vs Top vs Side

    The most common type of firing switch for tube mods is a bottom-fire switch, by far. Despite the obvious ergonomic benefits, it's still easier to manufacture than side-fire buttons. That's not to say that these don't exist, of course—there's a good number of fully mechanical mods that have the firing switch located on the side of the chassis, like Vaperz Cloud's Sifi.

    And as I'm sure you know, box mods almost always have the firing switch mounted on the side of the chassis, but there are even a few top-fire box switches in existence! While you probably won't find any on normal tube mech mods (hardy har har), there's plenty of mechanical box mods with a firing switch mounted on top of the chassis, such as those found on the REO and the Phantus Mini.

Cells

  • Polarity and Positioning

    When using any kind of e-cigarette—especially a mech mod—practicing proper battery safety is absolutely paramount to staying safe. If you don't properly educate yourself about the proper techniques to protect yourself and those around you, you may end up regretting it!

    Typically (in tube mods), battery cells are inserted with the negative pole facing the firing switch and the positive pole facing the atomizer. There has been some confusion as to whether you really need to position your battery this way.

    The entire reasoning behind this begins and ends with positioning the positive pole away from your face just in case it should ever begin venting. Which seems totally smart, I get it. But allow me to introduce two scenarios:

    Scenario #1: For some reason, you have the positive pole facing down (inverse), which has worked hunky-dory up until today. Today, unfortunately, you didn't see the nick in your battery's wrap—it had fallen out of the charger and you thought nothing of it. But because the battery is reversed, the circuit becomes a hard short as soon as you press the switch and complete the circuit. Electricity is sent from the positive pole (outer metal battery casing) straight to the negative pole—this can go boom very, very quickly. And that's a no-go.

    Scenario #2: You have the positive pole of your battery facing upwards. Which is quite the bonus, as that nick in the wrap you happened to miss only made your mod auto-fire, not go kablooey. So you can further your career as the nation's 3rd leading hand-modelist unabated.

    For the most part, 18650 batteries have been the most popular size of battery cell for vape devices. Both smaller and bigger cells are available, such as 18500 and 26650, but these are nowhere as commonplace as 18650 mech mods and rarely provide a performance increase. More and more mech mods able to use 20700/21700 cells are becoming available for vapers to enjoy, and for good reason, as these cells tend to perform even better than traditional 18650 cells. Plus, they often offer dual compatibility with the cells of old and new, thanks to conveniently included battery adapters.

    Parallel vs Series vs Stacked

    There are mech mods available—in both tube and box form—that utilize multiple battery cells in order to gain additional functionality. In these cases, the mechanical mod is considered wired in series and/or parallel.

    Series (Stacked)

    Series wired mech mods wire together multiple battery cells by connecting them end-to-end. This multiplies the voltage output by the number of cells in the circuit, providing a much harder hit. However, this also means that the amperage strain on installed batteries is multiplied as well—this isn't something that all cells can handle, so always take great care when using a series mech.

    A stacked mech mod is very similar in concept, accomplishing a completed circuit by simply bringing the pole of each cell into contact with the other.

    Parallel

    Parallel wired mechanical mods wire battery cells together side-by-side in order to distribute the electrical load evenly between the cells. This allows the vaper to enjoy the multiplied battery capacity as well as the increased amperage limit—it's no wonder that these big, safe, lumbering giants are often a top choice for new mech users.

    It's also possible to wire together four battery cells, typically in a dual series/parallel configuration. This endows the mech with extreme vape capabilities while retaining the increased battery capacity and amperage limit of parallel wired cells.

    Battery Wraps

    If any of your battery cells ever get a nick in the wrap—meaning if you ever notice a tear or cut in the plastic wrap surrounding the battery cell's metal casing—you'll need to repair it right away! If you don't, you run the risk of allowing the battery to short-circuit within the device you're using.

    This is especially true when using a mechanical mod: mech mods have no protective features that may notice and negate a short circuit, so any potential mishaps need to be detected by the user beforehand in order to stay completely safe. This means inspecting your batteries each and every time before you install them in your mech mod, and taking any damaged ones out of rotation until you have a chance to repair it.

    20700 Battery Wraps

    Thankfully, keeping all of your fingers intact is fairly easy, since these are steps you should be taking with any battery-powered device you have in your life! Plus, it's very inexpensive to repair your battery wrap—packs of dozens are available in a variety of designs and sizes, even custom ones!

    But if you don't have time to repeatedly visit random vape shops searching for battery wraps or spending days waiting for them to arrive in the mail, and need a literal band-aid fix in the short term, a great quick solution is a piece of electrical tape. Every hardware store has almost too much of it, it comes in a range of colors, and that's pretty much what it was made for, anyway. Perfect. Just don't rely on it for too long; it's just meant to hold you over if you absolutely need it until you can get a proper battery wrap.

Maintenance

  • Cleaning

    Just like your room, your car, and your life, mech mods need to be cleaned up eventually! After time, a substance scientifically referred to as "crud" will begin to build up on the surface of your battery contacts and threads. This useless added material isn't conductive in the slightest, unfortunately, and adds a good deal of unwanted resistance. Thankfully, it's relatively easy to restore your mod to perfect working order.

    Because aluminum and stainless steel are so durable and resistant to corrosion such as rust and patina, they are by far the easiest to maintain—all that's needed is a small brush (e.g. a toothbrush), mild soap, and warm water. Short of putting your mod through the ringer with the intent of ruining it fully, it's hard for newbie vapers to go wrong with these tried-and-true devices.

    More advanced rebuilders, however, may find themselves bumping up against the capabilities of stainless steel—stainless steel has a higher resistance compared to more conductive materials, so it doesn't transfer electricity as efficiently as copper or brass. This can lead to a plethora of issues, such as hot buttons and nasty voltage drop.

    This is why more and more mech mods are being made out of copper and brass in spite of the patina-prone nature of these materials. But cleaning them is actually relatively easy—you most likely have all you need to do so right in your kitchen!

    All that's needed to clean brass and copper is a bit of ketchup—white vinegar will work just as well—a toothbrush, and a little elbow grease. The vinegar in the ketchup dissolves the hard materials in the patina while leaving the bottom surface absolutely flawless.

    Cleaning silver parts may seem intimidating, but it's well worth it regardless! You can always use storebought polish—it'll work fast and thoroughly—but if you want to avoid taking away layer after layer of silver from your device by using harsh cleaners, there's much better method to get that shiny finish using all-natural ingredients!

    Simply remove the silver-plated parts from the device, wrap it in a sheet of aluminum foil, and place it in a container of boiling water with 2 tablespoons of baking soda. The patina on the silver will be converted from nasty silver sulfide back into its original shiny form right before your very eyes. Yep, just more black magic science afoot in the vape world.

    Polish, Protectants & Sealants

    Protective solutions such polishes, sealants, and protectants are a fantastic way to keep your copper, silver, or brass mech mod looking great and tarnish-free—just make sure to only apply it to the exterior of the mech mod and never to the threading or contacts. Neglecting to do this can lead to drastically reduced performance as the coating of sealant stops electricity from traveling from one set of threads to the next.

    Part Replacement

    More often than not, the manufacturer of your beloved mech mod will have more than enough spare parts and pieces on hand to make your mechanical device last for decades. It's just a matter of getting your hands on them! Your first spot to check would be the shop you bought your mech mod from, they'll most likely stock the replacements you need.

    But if that garners no luck, you can always check with the manufacturer directly. They should have a home page of some kind, whether it's an independently hosted webpage or something like a Facebook page. Either way, try getting in touch with them directly, just to see what they suggest. If you're lucky, they may even be in an extra generous mood and send you a fix to your broken part for free!

  • Outro

    There you have it! While that's not everything to know about mechanical mods, that's just about all you'll need to know before picking one of your very own (you'll have to find out how mech mods are made on your own time)! Now that you've learned so much, you're ready to start taking a look at our Mech Mods section, where we keep only the very best mechanical mods on the market. But if you wanna really save some time, we've compiled and rated all of the best mech mods from 2017 in a single, easy-to-use list for you to find the perfect mech for your vaping style!

comments powered by Disqus

Sign up for our newsletter

View Cart Go To Checkout