Great Night on the Lanes

I had a pretty amazing league night at Arnold Bowl last night.  My average is (was) 182, and my first of 4 games was a 182.  I can live with that… my goal is to shoot 200+ every game and maintain at least a 200 average, but at least hitting my current average every game means I’m doing my part to contribute to a team win.

I finished up with a 255, 266 and 203.  After finishing Game 3 I was thinking “I’m not sure if I can do this for another game!”  Those kinds of scores require some focus and consistency which is hard to maintain for 4 hours, at least for me.  Anyway, I finished with a 906 series, and a new high-game and high-series scores for the season.  I have to check the “trophy” the guys made me for my first 3-game 700+ series a couple of years ago, but I think my previous best 3-game series was a 721.  My last 3 games last night would have been a 724 series in a different league.

WOW! It’s been a long time…

I realized today that it has been a long time since I’ve posted anything about my vapor experience.  So, I stopped by the blog today to see when my last post was… DECEMBER 14, 2013!  And, not only have I not posted about my vapor experience, I have not posted about anything else, either.  I am surprised and disappointed that is has been so long.

I should have been blogging, and I do need to find a way to make it part of my regular routine.  I like sharing, and there has been SO MUCH to share since December!

I could try and give a massive recap of the last 6-7 months, but I’m not going to do that.  I’m going to start with a short update on where I am with the whole vapor thing, and then make a commitment to come back and make some posts, over time, about some of the products I’ve tried and experiences I have had since December.

So… apologies for slackin’ on the writin’, and I’m gonna try and do better!

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.