8 Common User Errors in Vaping
Having trouble with your gear? Follow our tips to keep you vaping
1. 'ATOMIZER LOW' ERROR
“Atomizer Low” flashes on the screen of your regulated mod, and you wonder, how could this be?
Before we answer this question, you should keep something in mind. Even though the worldwide vaping community is hyper-connected, we have yet to define standards. Just like in the heyday of any industry, different manufacturers don’t share anything globally. Not yet, anyway.
Unfortunately, “Atomizer Low” can mean different things depending on the mod you use. Usually, it stems from the resistance of your coils. The mod reads that the coils are a lower resistance than the lowest allowed resistance of your device.
The Crown 3 includes a 0.25 ohm coil, which is not low for your AL85 but it would be too low for an Eleaf 30w iStick. the iStick can only read resistance down to 0.4 ohms.
This answer is not an end-all. "Atomizer Low" can also mean there is a short in the coil, a poor resistance reading, loosely seated coil, or a faulty 510 connection on the device.
The quickest fix for this error is to make sure your atomizer is compatible with your mod.
Most current devices on the market will have resistance limitations listed in the user manual, make sure you double check the specs.
With the iStick 30w used in this example, you will need to use coils that are 0.4 ohms or higher.
Variations in pre-built coils that can differ up to the tenths of an ohm, make sure your coils are not cutting it too close to the mod’s limit.
If your coil resistance is close to your mods lowest limit, pop in a spare coil into the tank and try to fire up the mod.
2. 'CHECK ATOMIZER' ERROR
This is a general-purpose warning like “Atomizer Low.” Oftentimes, “Check Atomizer” indicates the 510 connection on your mod doesn’t register your tank. Some devices spit this error out when there is a short or a bad resistance reading/loose coil.
If your mod does not see your atomizer, it can’t determine the resistance, and it can’t send power to the coils.
Sometimes, out of nowhere, a device can deliver this error and leave you stranded without a vape.
Suppose you are at work, and just got out of a tense meeting. You are about to take a vape and your Pioneer4You IPV6x says “Check Atomizer.”
Without any tools, the only thing you can do is remove the tank and clean the 510 area, both on the tank and the mod.
If there is an adjustable 510 pin on the atomizer, make sure that it isn’t missing.
When you re-seat the tank or clearomizer, try to thread it only until you start to feel a little resistance.
This means your tank is making contact with the mod. Take great care not to over-tighten your tank when you put it back on.
Over time, doing so will damage the 510 connection on the mod and/or internal wiring as well. This is especially the case for spring-loaded 510 pins.
Suppose that didn’t help… Well, then you have to try to troubleshoot.
Is it the IPV 6x or the tank?
Try another known working tank on the IPV 6x, to see if it still outputs the error. If it works fine, you have a problem with the tank.
If not, there is an internal error with the device, send it out for service!
3. RESISTANCE (OHMS) JUMPING
The resistance you see on your ohm meter or mod is actually a calculation, it is not a perfect metric.
Suppose you have a pre-built 0.5 ohm coil, and you are using a regulated mod. If the mod reads resistance down to tenths only (0.1), you will see a calculation of 0.5 ohms.
Most pre-built coils have a variation of 0.1 +/- from being handmade. That means a 5-pack of 0.5 ohm coils can actually include a 0.6 ohm and a 0.4 ohm in there, too.
If you see your resistance reading jump by a tenth or two, it is not cause for alarm.
When your resistance reading jumps from 0.5 ohms to 1.5 or 2.5 ohms, you know you have a problem.
When the mod thinks you have a high resistance coil, it will output much more voltage.
This will burn the coil outright, since the true resistance is actually 0.5 ohms, not 2.5 ohms.
Troubleshooting is the best way to figure this problem out. The first thing to do is to figure out whether it is the atomizer or the mod.
Let’s say it looks like a Kanger Subtank may be at fault. Try that Subtank on a different regulated mod to see if it also jumps around.
If it is the tank, generally replacing the coil will fix this issue. If that still doesn’t work, it is the Subtank base that needs changing.
If it is not the atomizer, it is the mod. Let’s say an IPV D4 looks like it is to blame. Take the hypothetical Subtank off, and put on a different atomizer.
Unless you are an expert coil builder, I would suggest using another pre-built coil tank.
Oftentimes, your RDA deck built out by hand won’t get as stable a reading as a manufactured coil head in a tank.
If the mod’s resistance reading is still jumping around, you found the culprit. Send it off to service!
Check out our unique RTA vape tanks. Also be sure to check out our new arrivals section for our selection of new vape mods and high-end RDA vape atomizers, where you will find the newest devices the industry has to offer.
4. BURNT TASTE / DRY HITS
If you take a hit from your mod and you get a nasty taste, you may be experiencing a burnt coil. Dry hits were far more prevalent back in the early days of vaping, when silica wick use was widespread.
It is not that use of cotton has ended this issue, but dry burning silica had an especially repulsive taste to it.
Although new coils with silica are becoming harder to find, cotton burns too. The unpleasant taste given off is a symptom of firing too high voltage at the coil in too little time.
The wicking process can’t keep up and as a result the wick dries faster than it soaks up liquid.
Once you burn your wick, the coil head will never taste the same. It cannot saturate anymore juice in the burnt area, and will be far less efficient.
Keep in mind, wattage and voltage work in sync. High wattage allows more voltage to pass. Low wattage limits voltage to the coils. The higher the resistance of your coil, the less wattage you can apply to it. The lower the resistance of your coil head, the more wattage you can push to it.
For example, 0.2 ohm coil heads from Horizon Tech can take up to 70 watts of power. While the 2.4 ohm coil heads from Kanger can’t take any more than 7 watts without burning up.
Not too long ago, pre-built coils had tiny wick holes for juice, at a time when syrupy VG juice became popular.
High VG e-liquid caused coils to burn out fast, so the industry moved towards more robust coils.
The newest tanks on the market have made huge advancements towards negating dry hits.
Organic cotton distributed throughout the surface combined with huge coil head juice holes for better saturation.
You should always start with lower power and work your way up.
Once you get used to your atomizer, it will be easier to determine if you are applying too much power.
Like a new car out of the showroom, wear in your coil in first at lower wattage. You should be able to raise power after the coil wears in.
Check out our chart for optimal wattage & resistance with pre-built coils:
Regulated wattage for pre-built tank coils
|COIL OHM (Ω) RATING||MIN WATTAGE||MAX WATTAGE|
5. NO ATOMIZER CONNECTION
The most important connection between your atomizer and your mod is the 510 connection. Both your tank and your device have one.
Many devices have self-leveling 510 connectors, but some have adjustable ones. This means you need a screwdriver to adjust the 510 pin up or down, to meet your atomizer.
If you have an adjustable 510 on your atomizer, you may need to adjust that as well, to meet the 510 on the mod.
If you thread your tank onto your device and do not feel any resistance, one of the 510 pins are not touching the other.
Adjust one or the other, and thread the tank back on. Once you feel resistance, tighten a tad more and stop.
No need to over-tighten the tank onto the mod, otherwise you can damage the 510 connection.
6. LEAKING ATOMIZER TANK
If your tank is leaking juice, it is time to troubleshoot. You do not want juice getting into the battery compartment or worse, the circuitry.
To find the culprit, the first thing you should do is take the tank off of your device.
Let’s say your Kanger Subtank is leaking. The first thing to do is to take the base off and check if the coil is loose.
If you can tighten the coil down further, there is your problem.
The o-ring should be watertight to prevent juice leaking through the base and out of the airflow valve.
If the coil is nice and seated, the next step is to see for a hairline fracture in the glass. This can be a pain to see, but in the right light it is visible.
Take a look at the o-rings for the tank section as well. See if one is missing or folded over itself, thereby allowing juice seepage.
On a Subtank, the glass tank section is out in the open and can crack.
If there is no hairline fracture in the glass, you can be missing an o-ring in the coil-thread area. This can sometimes happen, manufacturers have accidentally also sent coils without o-rings many times.
Compare the coil you are using to the other coil your tank came with to see if there is a missing o-ring. If you bought an extra 5-pack of coils, check those too.
Finally, if nothing else helps, you can start to blame the base of the atomizer.
If the coil head can’t thread on easy, the threads may be gone. If that is the case, juice may be escaping via the threads down through the airflow inlet.
7. BATTERY LEVEL INDICATOR DROPS WHILE VAPING
The vast majority of regulated devices show you a battery life indicator. On some mods, you see the battery level indicator drop while vaping.
This means when you hit the firing button, the battery discharges, and it looks empty on the screen.
This is called “battery sag.” What is happening is that the indicator shows how much voltage is coming out of the battery. At full power, the sag is substantial, but at lower power it may show less sag.
When you release the firing button, the battery readout goes back to normal. Only while you are discharging the cell will the battery indicator flash empty.
While this is technically not user-error and is completely out of a user’s control, it is good practice to charge your mod or batteries before there is no charge remaining at all.
Over-discharging cells is a common way to prematurely drain your batteries before their time is due.
Mechanical mods do not tell you when your battery depletes. On a regulated box mod, when the battery gets down to 3.4V nominal charge remaining, it is time to charge it.
Stop and charge the mod or batteries at 10-20% charge remaining to get the most longevity out of your battery cells.
8. THE DANGERS OF HYBRID CONNECTORS
Hybrid devices are the most dangerous mechanical mods. By design, hybrids have less voltage drop, but they also have limitations.
Never use a pre-built coil tank on a hybrid mod, to do so is to find the quickest way to the emergency room.
Tanks like the Smok TFV8, Horizon Arctic, and Youde Zephyrus do not have adjustable 510 pins. The 510 connection on these atomizers is almost flush with the positive pin in the center of the 510.
That positive pin needs to stay insulated and away from the negative ground. It will not do so on a hybrid!
Once both positive and negative (ground) currents meet at your 510 connector, it will be too late to unscrew the tank off of your hybrid mod.
The mod and atomizer will become so hot, you won’t be able to touch them without getting burned badly.
At this point, you better run in the opposite direction and make sure the mod is away from anyone else around you as well.
The scenario described above is what can happen if you’re uninformed about battery safety and carelessly operating a mechanical device. If you’re not sure about it, never be afraid to ask an experienced vaper or your local shop for some pointers.
Oftentimes you see a news report about the dangers of vaping, complete with a vaper that sustained injury. Many times, it is due to using a hybrid mod with a tank that’s unsuitable for hybrid connections. Most times it is totally user error, avoidable with either some built-in protections or battery knowledge, or both!
Regulated devices, whether boxes or tubes, are far safer than hybrid mods. They have built-in protection to prevent improper battery cell discharge.
Any new regulated device like the Smok Alien 220w or IPV Vesta will protect you from shorts, vents, and reverse polarity, among many other things. The newer the device, generally, the more advanced the protections are.
Are you looking for a new RTA vape tank? Check out our new arrivals section for our selection of new vape mods and high-end RDA vape atomizers, where you will find the newest and best devices and atomizers the industry has to offer.