Mechanical Mods for Vaping
As vaping becomes more popular, especially as an alternative method to reduce tobacco use among smokers, consumers are always looking towards the newest trend. One option is a Mechanical Mod. Mechanical Mods are gaining popularity in North America, although they have been the device of choice across the pond for quite some time. Mechanical mods are gaining popular because of they offer a personalized vaping experience. You can build your own coils or buy pre-built coils, use various types of atomizers, and Mechanical Mods maximize the flavour and vapour when compared to regulated devices that use tanks.
Mechanical Mods consist of a metal tube commonly manufactured out of brass, copper, stainless steel, or aluminum. There is a switch/button with a post that makes contact with the battery when pressed. The current from the battery reaches the atomizer this way, which causes the coil to heat up and then turns the e-juice into vapor.
Mechanical Mods are unregulated devices, meaning that there are no electrical components involved to regulate battery usage or wattage like in a regulated device. Mechanical Mods require the user to posses increased knowledge and specific skills. These devices are often recommended for advanced vapers that are familiar with battery safety, battery ratings, Ohm’s Law, and amperage calculations. Mechanical Mods are highly durable and dependable devices. Unlike regulated devices, there are no electrical components which can fail. This can significantly extend the life of your device if properly maintained. However, since there are no regulated safeguards in place, it is imperative that the user understands their device and follows safe practices at all times.
Mechanical Mods are completely safe to use with proper practices; this includes battery safety. Batteries can fail for several reasons which can cause the user serious harm. By failure, we mean that a battery can vent, short, or explode. The most common reason for battery failure is user error or negligence.
Before choosing a Mech Mod the user should ensure that they know how to operate the device. They should become familiar with how the battery is installed, how the switch works, and if there are features to prevent accidentally engaging the switch. Quality Mech Mods have switch locks or recessed switches to prevent accidental engagement. Quality Mech Mods also have “venting” which are small holes that allow airflow to reach the battery and allow it to vent any gases that are emitted in case of battery venting. Prior to buying a Mech Mod, ensure that it has features such as a switch lock or recessed switch, and venting. Batteries should be inserted as per manufacturer recommendations; some are positive up and some are positive down. As a rule of thumb, you want the positive nearest to the venting holes.
With Mech Mods, you must keep a close watch on your battery voltage. You should never over discharge batteries. Mechanical Mods drain batteries quickly and they should never be fully drained. A safe point to recharge is around 3.80v, or if you notice the vapor production has reduced. If your tube is heating up or the switch is getting hot it’s time to take a break and check the battery. If the tube is hot, likely the battery is hot too.
Many Mechanical Mods are hybrid. Hybrid means that the atomizer is in constant contact with the battery. When you engage the switch, it completes the circuit. The only safe atomizer to use with a hybrid Mech Mod is one with a protruding 510 center pin. Not all atomizers and Mods are compatible.
It is important to buy all vaping devices from a reputable shop. Be weary of cheap, copied, or “clone” devices. These devices are mass produced by unauthorized manufacturers and, in many cases, necessary safety features are overlooked to keep costs down.
Maintenance & Performance
Maintenance is a crucial part of owning a Mechanical Mod. Maintenance requirements vary depending on the material. Stainless steel is the easiest to maintain, while aluminum, brass, and copper require frequent maintenance.
Proper maintenance goes hand in hand with the Mod’s performance and lifespan. Ensuring that the threads of the Mech Mod are clean and dry is critical. Aluminum oxidizes rapidly which requires daily cleaning of the threads to maintain performance. Brass and copper threads should be cleaned a few times a week, and stainless steel can be cleaned weekly. You can use baby soap and a baby toothbrush to clean all parts of the tube since there are no electrical components to worry about. Dark or discolored threads indicate that the threads need a thorough clean. It is also important to ensure that no e-liquid gets in the threads. Sweeteners in e-liquid can cause threads to seize. If you are using a non-abrasive polish to make your Mech Mod shine, it is important that all of the polish is thoroughly washed off the threads before it is reassembled! Polish left in the threads can cause them to “glue” themselves together – sometimes permanently. Best practice is to wipe your threads, your switch, and top cap down with a microfibre cloth after each use. Never put it away dirty.
Another way to keep your Mod performing at its best is to keep your contact clean. The contact is the part that touches your battery when the switch is engaged. If the contact is dirty your Mech Mod may not perform well when engaged. The rubber backing on a mousepad is the perfect tool for the job!
One of the most common issues Mech Mod users have is with threads. This issue is primarily caused by poor maintenance of the threads, as mentioned earlier. Failure to maintain your Mech Mod can void your warranty or cause the device to be unusable. A Mech Mod will last for years if it’s properly cared for and, since they can cost significantly more than other devices, it’s in your best interest to keep it in tip-top shape!
This page is written by Dana Miller, (Dragon Momma) Owner Dragon Mod Co., and we would like to take the time to thank Dragon Mod Co., for helping us out with the mechanical mod section of this battery safety website.