Innokin iClear 30S – Initial Review

I stopped in at 510 Vapers in Imperial (www.510vapers.com) today and picked up an Innokin iClear 30S dual top-coil clearomizer.  $14 plus tax.

NOT an iClear 30!

Please note this is the iClear 30S, not the iClear 30.  They are two different devices, and I have seen more than one website selling a 30S as a 30 and vice versa.  What the difference between an iClear 30 and an iClear 30S? There are two major difference that I know of: 1.) the 30S has a replaceable drip tip and the 30 does not, and 2.) the 30S uses a cartomizer-type “cartridge” to hold the 16 long wicks inside the tank, whereas the wicks inside the 30 float freely inside the tank.

This is an INITIAL Review!

I have had this unit for about 10 hours and have vaped about 3-4ml of juice through it so far.  This is just an initial review.  I will write another one later on after I have run a few different flavors, and several tanks, through it.

Initial impression: this is the clearomizer I have been looking for! WOW! Good pull, warm vapor, you don’t have to hit it too hard and you get some serious thick vapor that is full of flavor, even when you suck it straight down to your lungs.  There is so much vapor I am astounded.  The cartotank I have produces quite a bit of vapor, but with the batteries I have the draw is stiff and I have to hit it harder than I like to get the vapor.  Even then, it doesn’t produce as much as the iClear 30S with a light hit.  As for the Pro Tank 2… forget about it!

Hit it too hard and it doesn’t work right and there’s not much vapor.  The included “cartridge” is stamped 2.1Ohms, which I usually run around 4.1-4.2 volts on my Kangertech Pro Tank 2.  I am currently using a Vision Spinner battery, and on the iClear 30S I am running it at about 4.4-4.5 volts.  I am not sure if this is a good idea, as no manual was included with the clearomizer and I haven’t bothered to look into it on the ‘net.

So far, there has been no leaking, and once I found a good spot for the voltage I have been SUPER pleased.  The two things I will be watching out for are 1.) consistency and 2.) cartridge life.  I will let you know how it goes in a week or two!

KangerTech Pro Tank II – Still Learning the Rules

I feel it is important to reiterate again that I am on what promises to be a very long journey, moving away from cigarettes and into the world of vapor.  I am learning as I go, and am sharing as I learn.  So, be sure to take what you read here in the right context: I am no pro.  I am just sharing my experiences, along with my observations and personal thoughts which can easily change over time.

Recap

I have been using a KangerTech Pro Tank II for 38 days as of this writing.  I have indicated that I have had some problems with atomizer head life and problems with some juices.  I have also indicated some dissatisfaction with ecig juices from STL Vapor Store which may have been premature.

Find a Friend in the Vapor Business

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have someone KNOWLEDGEABLE about vapor and vapor technology to guide you on your path.  Other vapers (your friends and coworkers that vape, for example) may not be the best source of information: they may have limited experience, like me, and unlike me they may not treat problems they have with vaping with a troubleshooting and observational approach.  In other words, there are people out there that should be able to tell you exactly how your vapor hardware should work, and should be able to help you identify and fix any actual problems you may be having.

Experimentation

I decided to spend a little money and do a little experimentation.  I had labelled my Pro Tank II as “inconsistent.”  I had trouble with atomizer heads, leaking and poor flavor.  So, I talked to the owner of my local vape shop (510 Vapers in Imperial, MO) about my problems, and he recommended I spend $10 on a “carto tank” (short for “cartomizer tank”) for comparison purposes.  While admitting to some drawbacks to carto tanks when compared to clearomizer tanks, Mike labelled carto tanks in general as “consistent”, and therefore possibly the clearomizer-alternative I was looking for.

I will get into the details of my carto tank experience in another post. I want to stay on the topic of Pro Tank II for a minute.

Do it Right

Mike wanted to see how my battery and Pro Tank II were working, so I let him give it a try.  Here’s what happened:

1. He noticed that my battery was way over tightened and recommended backing it off a bit, which he did.

2. He looked at the voltage setting on my battery and explained that, with the 2.5 ohm coil I had in my Pro Tank II, I should be running my battery closer to 4.0-4.1 watts.  He explained that if you’re not running your battery at a high enough voltage for the atomizer head in the tank, the coil can’t burn off all the ejuice when you take a hit.  After several hits with the battery too low, the Pro Tank II will start to leak.  Amazingly, this described my experience with the Pro Tank II very well: inconsistent burn, regular leaking, and atomizer heads that appear to die after a day or two of use rather than a week or more.

Still Experimenting But Doing it Right

I decided to go ahead and buy a carto tank, obviously.  It’s not a short story, so I’ll save it for later.  The thing is, I did this experimentation on Wednesday night before Thanksgiving.  Things didn’t go so well with the carto tank that night or Thanksgiving morning, so I started off Turkey Day by cleaning the Pro Tank II and putting in a new atomizer head.  I put the voltage on my battery to 4.1 and made a commitment to leave it that way.

Today is day 6 (SIX!) with the atomizer head I installed last Thursday.  This is the longest I have gone with a single atomizer head.  I have not had any leaking.  From time to time I get what I THINK is a “burnt taste”, but a little bit of agitation on the tank, and a little bit of cleanup in the atomizer head area, puts things back in order with good flavor.  For the last 6 days my KangerTech Pro Tank II has been super consistent.

I am still switching to the carto tank from time to time: it has juice in it I still want to use, plus having two good vapor delivery systems gives me instant variety on ejuice flavor.  Mike was right… the carto tank is super easy to use and so far is very consistent.  I’ll tell you about that later.

Summary

Find someone knowledgeable to talk to, other than friends and online forums, if you are having difficulty in your vapor experience.  A little guidance and understanding can go a long way to making it a good experience and saving you money.  The KangerTech Pro Tank II is an awesome bottom coil clearomizer tank that can produce very consistent results if you use it properly and give it a little TLC when you start getting near the end of the life expectancy of an atomizer head.

 

31 Days Without a Cigarette

31 days ago I walked into STL Vapor Store smoking a cigarette, and walked out getting tobacco flavored vapor from a Kangertech Unitank.  I haven’t had a cigarette since.

Comparing the Cost of Cigarettes and Vapor

I would have consumed 3 $45 cartons of cigarettes in that time, and I would be working on my 4th right now.  So, I would have spent $180 minimum on cigarettes in the time I have been vaping.

My original vapor purchase was $85.  Since then I have bought a $10 pack of atomizer heads, a $5 drip tip, a second $26 battery (I made it through the first 3 weeks with just one battery!), $18 in juice from STL Vapor Store, and $36 in juice from 510 Vapers in Imperial.  My total vapor cost so far has been $180.

So, after 31 days I have hit the “break even” point on my vapor purchases.  With one exception:  I currently have roughly the equivalent of 60-70 cigarette packs (3 to 4 cartons) worth of vapor juice in my kit.  So, technically I am actually way past the break even point.  If we play it safe and say there are just 2 cartons worth of juice in my kit, I am ahead by $90 minimum in the first 31 days.

Future Costs

The other thing to keep in mind is that, technically, the only thing I need from here on out are juice and atomizer heads for my Kanger Pro Tank 2.  Atomizer heads are $8-$10 for a package of 5, and a bottle of juice that is roughly the equivalent of 3 cartons of cigarettes ($135) is $12.  From here on out, the savings should be monumental, and any lapses in the savings will be because I chose to get some new toys: I would like a couple of extra tanks so I can switch between flavors easily, and I would like to see what one of the monster batteries with a digital display are all about.  There are also multiple methods to getting your vapor… I am still using what is commonly called a “clearomizer” and would like to experiment with some of the other methods as well.  The point is, all of these future expenditures will be optional.  All I really need to keep going is a steady supply of juice and cheap atomizer heads.

How Do I Feel?

I feel pretty darn good!  This morning I got dressed, packed all my stuff in the car, and headed out of the driveway before I had a vape.  Normally that process would BEGIN with a cigarette, or two, or three right after getting out of bed.  I had some vapor on the way to the automotive shop for a vehicle inspection, and enjoyed mixed berry vapor in the lobby while I waited to get my ride back.  I think the “habit part” of smoking a cigarette is completely gone.  If I don’t think about it, the urge to smoke a cigarette at “all the usual times” is gone: first thing out of bed, on the drive to work, whenever traffic gets hairy, taking out the trash, immediately after meals…  these are examples of times I would have one or more cigarettes.  I no longer associate these events with smoking a cigarette.  I usually have my clearomizer on me when I do these things, but I also do not feel compelled to vape because I am doing them.  I vape because I want to, when I want to, not because I am compelled by habit.

I haven’t emptied or cleaned up around an ash tray in over a month.  When I choose to go outside for a vape, it’s a choice not a requirement.  Considering the dropping temps, being able to vape inside and not offend others or stink up the place is a huge bonus and a huge tool in quitting cigarettes.

Most nights I read some sort of fiction book before going to bed.  Sometimes just a chapter, sometimes many chapters.  I REALLY like being able to vape while I read.

My wife and kid have not complained about scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, or headache after riding in a vehicle with me.  Try as I might to not smoke in the car I would almost always fail, and even with decent venting of the windows the complaints from my girls were common, especially on long trips.  This is over… no more second hand smoke.

Overall, I feel better, cough less, my mouth tastes way better, and the people around me are happier.

Vapor Review – Sahara Light (STL Vapor Store)

This is one of those reviews that will be very easy to write, and even easier and quicker to read.

Sahara Light is a Camel Light cigarette analogue eCig/Clearomizer juice available from STL Vapor Store.  Put differently, Sahara Light is supposed to taste like a Camel Light when you vape it.

It’s just this simple: Don’t buy it.  It doesn’t taste like a Camel Light, period.  If it tastes like any cigarette I have tried, I would compare it to a nasty, dirty, stale Edgefield.  And a new, clean, fresh Edgefield tastes like shit.  STL Vapor Store keeps a cardboard box on the counter for bottles of juice, any size, for $2. These are bottles of juice that have been returned and exchanged by STL Vapor Store customers.  Sahara Light is in there all the time.

I’ve heard that RY4 Double is a good Camel Light analogue, but I haven’t tried it.  I don’t intend to, either.  One of the best parts about quitting smoking cigarettes is not having chemical laced tobacco taste in your mouth… why have that when Grape Ice tastes SOOOOO much better!? (Grape Ice? More on that another day…)

 

Vapor Review – Blue Raspberry & Black Cherry (STL Vapor Store)

This should be kind of a weird review…

I’m going to review TWO bottles of Blue Raspberry, and give a review for Black Cherry, all in one review.  I had planned on writing a post for each different vapor juice I try, but as you can see by this post that already hasn’t worked out.  I think you’ll understand when you get to the end of the review.

If you haven’t read any of my previous vaping posts, here’s a quick recap:  3 weeks ago I got my first clearomizer setup and my first 2 bottles/flavors of ejuice.  I am by no means experienced when it comes to vaping… I’m sort of sharing my story as I go along.

2 days after getting my KangerTech Unitank, I was back at STL Vapor Store trading it out for a glass Pro Tank II, and while I was there I bought a 10ml bottle of their Blue Raspberry for $6.  After having only Sahara Light (an alleged Camel Light analogue) and nasty Absinthe Extra, the Blue Raspberry was THE BOMB! Smooth, great flavor, burned well… it was some GOOD STUFF and made me very happy.  A week ago I needed more juice, so I naturally went back to STL Vapor Store.  This time I picked up a 10ml bottle of Blue Raspberry and a 10ml bottle of Black Cherry, which was marked as one of their most popular vapor flavors.

Now, this would be a great time to get into a few things I have found/figured out about STL Vapor Store and write a review of the establishment itself.  I am going to keep this post to just a flavor review though, and hope to get at least a couple more posts up this weekend to “fill out the story.”  So, this is a teaser to get you keep an eye out for an upcoming review of STL Vapor Store.  Anyway…

The first bottle of Blue Raspberry I got came in a regular bottle with a standard STL Vapor Store Blue Raspberry label.  The second bottle of Blue Raspberry I got, 2 weeks later, had a “custom flavor” sticker, with Blue Raspberry written on the label by hand.  Compared to the first bottle of Blue Raspberry, this bottle was FLAT, and actually tasted/hit a little bit harsh.  (I think it would be good to mention at this point that STL Vapor Store offers two mixes of juice: 50%PG/50%VG or 100% VG.  So far I have only tried the 50/50.)  The Blueberry flavor was very weak… I really had to get a mouthful of thick vapor and let it hang there to get a good taste of flavor… compared to the first bottle.  Between bottles of Blue Raspberry I finished a small bottle of Sahara Light, so I don’t think I was suffering from “Blue Raspberry Burnout” when I tried the new bottle.  Overall, it was better than Sahara Light but unfulfilling and pretty much a let down.

I was excited to try the Black Cherry after burning through 2ml of the Blue Raspberry.  Unfortunately, it was flat and kind of harsh, too.  Holding enough vapor in my mouth provided a flavor that hinted at Kool-Aid Black Cherry (my FAVORITE Kool-Aid flavor), but really only a hint.  Again… just not too much to write about it… flat, harsh, unfulfilling and pretty much another let down.

I am left with some questions and concerns about the vapor juices at STL Vapor Store, and some concerns about the establishments themselves.  I want to cover those in a separate post, so I won’t get into them here.  I will just say that this post and my next few posts were really prompted by my experience at a different vapor store today.   I’ve only been vaping for 3 weeks, so I am by no means an expert and the vapor store I visited today is only my 3rd overall, and only the 2nd I have purchased vapor juice from.  I mention this because you, fearless reader and seeker of knowledge, should keep this in mind after reading my vaping posts.  Each post is another marker on my vaping journey, and we’re starting this journey from the beginning.

Summary:  If STL Vapor Store mixes their Blue Raspberry vapor juice properly, you will get a very nice full flavored vape that you will enjoy if you did blueberries, raspberries, or snocones made from these flavors.  If they don’t mix it right, I don’t think it matters what flavor you get, it will be flat and difficult to differentiate from other flavors.  I don’t think my bottle of Black Cherry was mixed properly, so I can’t really say if it’s any good when the right amount of flavor has been added… mine wasn’t very good, but I imagine it could have been.  I am beginning to think STL Vapor Store is not the best place in town to shop, and am starting to branch out with good results.

15 Days, 3 Hours, 0 Cigarettes

I still haven’t had a cigarette in just over 2 weeks, after giving vapor a try.

Things are going VERY well!  I still get an urge to smoke a cigarette at key times… surprisingly the “after meal urge” is not strongest.  The strongest urges come when I am working outside or driving one our trucks.  So far, all of the urges have been placated with the vaporizer, and I have come to enjoy the mechanics of vaping.  I have also found a couple of flavors from my local vape shop that I really like, and I have only scratched the surface of the flavors they have to offer.

I think “so far so good” applies, but I think that statement also implies the possibility for things to go “not so good.”  I think we’re past that point – barring a complete absence of vapor for an extended period of time, I think I’m good to go.  I really have no interest in messy, stinky, expensive cigarettes.  I have even had several 3-4 hour periods of down time because I am still running with one battery, and I didn’t relapse during the recharging.  Soon I will have a couple more clearomizer tanks that I can switch between, keeping my favorite flavors handy for easy switching, and multiple batteries with multiple charging options.

Oh… I also picked up some more ejuice yesterday and stepped myself down to 16mg of nicotine from 18mg, and I’m still doing good.

I highly recommend vaping as an alternative to cigarettes! More updates and flavor reviews coming soon! Thanks for reading!

Vapor Review – Absinthe Extra (STL Vapor Store)

I picked up a 10ml bottle of “Absinthe Extra” ejuice from STL Vapor Store when I bought my first clearomizer.  It jacked up the plastic tank in my KangerTech Unitank (there’s another post about that!) and I kind of got stuck on “Blue Raspberry” after getting the new clearomizer.  Over the weekend I came back to Absinthe, and here’s my review…

First, it’s thick.  It’s thick and has a lot of flavor and I think that’s why it jacked up the plastic clearomizer tank.  It has a visibly thicker consistency than other ejuices I have tried so far (“Sahara Light” and “Blue Raspberry”, both from STL Vapor Store), and it is a little bit opaque whereas the others I have tried are perfectly clear.

Next, it has a LOT of flavor that hangs around.  A friend of mine with a much better sense of smell was standing next to me when I hit it, and the first thing he said was “licorice?”  That comment made the connection for me… the fennel in the flavoring is pretty strong and gives this ejuice a flavor very similar to black licorice.  If you really like black licorice, you will probably like Absinthe Extra a lot.  I don’t care for black licorice much at all, so I really don’t like this flavor and will not buy more, and I’m skeptical on trying the “non extra” version, which is simply called “Absinthe.”

Summary – not my favorite flavor, probably won’t buy it again, strong fennel flavor makes it takes like black licorice.

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