Mechanical Mod Safety Guide
A mechanical mod is a vaping device with no power regulation or safety features. In a mechanical mod, power goes directly from the battery to the atomizer coil without first flowing through an integrated circuit that manages power delivery and monitors for short circuits, overheating and other safety issues. Since a mechanical mod has no safety protection features, it’s a risky type of vaping device to use. There are several reasons why expert vapers choose to use mechanical mods, though, despite the risks.
In this guide, we’ll provide some helpful information to help ensure that you’re using your mechanical mod in the safest way possible. We’ll also explain why you might want to use a mechanical mod in the first place.
Why Do People Use Mechanical Mods?
There are two primary reasons why people use mechanical mods.
- They’re inexpensive and nearly indestructible. That’s particularly true of tube mods, which consist of just three easily replaceable components. A mechanical mod has no electronic components that can potentially fail, and if a button happens to stop working, you can always screw on a new one.
- Without any electronic components to slow the flow of electricity, a mechanical mod always fires instantly when you press the button.
The Two Types of Mechanical Mods
There are two types of mechanical mods: tube mods and box mods. As you might guess, the terms refer to the shape of the device.
A tube mod is the simplest type of mechanical mod, and it consists of three components: the atomizer connection at the top, the tube in the middle and the switch at the bottom. You insert the battery into the tube and screw the components together. When you press the switch, it completes a circuit and causes the atomizer to fire.
A mechanical box mod is similar in principle to a tube mod, but the fact that it has a box shape means that the battery isn’t positioned directly below the atomizer and above the button. Instead, wires connect the battery to the button and the atomizer. Compared to tube mods, box mods offer two benefits:
- A box mod can offer room for two batteries rather than one. Depending on whether the mod uses series or parallel wiring, a dual-battery box mod can offer double the operational voltage or double the maximum safe amperage of a single-battery mod. If you have a dual-battery mod, you need to know the wiring type in order to vape safely. Some box mods allow you to toggle between series and parallel wiring.
- A box mod can offer room for an internal squonk bottle. The first squonk mods were mechanical box mods.
A few box mods offer rudimentary safety features such as fuses or voltage limiting.
Mechanical Mod Battery Safety
The 18650 cell is the most popular type of battery used in mechanical mods. An 18650 battery has a positive terminal at the top and a negative terminal at the bottom. In a mechanical mod, the battery’s positive terminal should almost always face up. On the battery’s printed wrapper, you should almost always see a maximum safe continuous discharge rating expressed in amps.
The world’s 18650 batteries all come from major corporations such as Sony, Samsung and LG. When you buy a battery with a different company’s name on the wrapper, you’re buying a Samsung, Sony or LG cell that’s been re-wrapped for retail sale. Regardless of what the wrapper says, you really don’t know anything about the quality of the cell. For that reason, we typically recommend avoiding re-wrapped batteries. Buy batteries wrapped by the original manufacturers instead.
In addition to ensuring that you always vape within your battery’s safe discharge rate – we’ll explain that momentarily – it is important that you avoid using batteries with visible damage. Is the wrapper torn? Do you see a dent or bulge? Recycle the battery and start using a new one.
Basic Safety With Mechanical Mods: Dos and Don’ts
We conclude the article with a few basic tips for using a mechanical mod safely. While this isn’t necessarily an exhaustive list, it hits all of the high points and will help you get started with unregulated vaping in the safest possible way.
- Build coils with your RDA attached to a standalone resistance meter – not your mod. Don’t attach the RDA to your mod until you confirm that the coil’s resistance is safe and that it does not have a short circuit.
- Check the threading of your tank or RDA before attaching it to your mod. The centre pin should protrude from the threading. The pin should not retract into the threading when you push on it.
- No two mechanical mods are exactly the same. When you buy a new mod, read the instruction manual before using the device.
- When you’re not using a mechanical mod, remove the battery to prevent accidental firing. You should also remove the battery before removing the RDA or tank.
- Don’t over-discharge your battery. When you experience a noticeable drop in vapour production, it’s time to recharge the battery.
- The resistance of a coil may change with use. Check your coils periodically for resistance changes and short circuits.
How to Check Your Coil’s Amperage Requirements
If you’re going to use a mechanical mod, you need to know how much amperage your coil will draw from your battery – and you need to know that before you connect the coil to your mod. Here’s how to do it.
- Check the resistance of your coil with a resistance meter.
- Find an Ohm’s law calculator online. Search for the term “Ohm’s law calculator” to see a wide selection of options.
- Enter the resistance of your coil.
- Enter 4.2 volts. That’s the voltage of a fully charged 18650 battery.
When you enter those two numbers, you’ll see the amperage that your coil would draw from a fully charged battery. If the amperage is well below your battery’s safe continuous discharge rating, you should be safe.
Ohm’s Law and Dual-Battery Mechanical Mods
Are you using a dual-battery mod? Here’s where you need to know whether your mod uses series or parallel wiring. Bear in mind that if you’re going to use a dual-battery vaping device, the batteries need to be exactly matched. They should have the same manufacturer and the same specifications. They should only ever be used or charged together. Let’s assume that you have two matched batteries, each with a continuous discharge limit of 20 amps.
- If you have a series mod, the operational voltage doubles to 8.4 volts. The discharge limit stays the same. Enter 8.4 volts in the Ohm’s law calculator. The maximum safe discharge is still 20 amps.
- If you have a parallel mod, the discharge limit doubles, but the operational voltage stays the same. Enter 4.2 volts in the Ohm’s law calculator. The maximum safe discharge is 40 amps.