Sunday, November 15, 2015

A ramble and a CLR rebuild

I want to write, tonight, about open systems, my non-reviews, about reviews in general, about a contest, about an under-appreciated tank, and how to better appreciate that tank. I’ll also be doing a build tutorial...

Open Systems

I believe in open systems. Further, I think anyone not using open systems is only doing so in an attempt to corner a segment of the market… an attempt to wrest your hard earned cash from your tightly balled up fist. Would you buy a Chevrolet if it only ran on gas purchased from Chevrolet? Of course not. Cars are - for the more part (obviously, you’re not going to use a Dodge Truck clutch in a Volkswagen Rabbit) - open systems. The gas that runs them can be purchased at any gas station. The oil that lubricates the engine can be bought at any auto parts store or grocery store. The tires from any tire store. Open.

For the more part, the vapescape is an open system. Sure, if you buy a Aspire tank you’re going to use Aspire coils. However, you have always had the option to use a different tank. Likewise, if you buy a 18650 mechanical mod, you’re free to use any 18650 battery you want (but, remember to use only high drain IMR chemistry batteries). For those devices that do not allow you to use the tank you want or the battery you want, it is often possible to buy adapters to make the system work regardless. For instance, you can get a 26650 sleeve which will hold an 18650 battery for use in 26650 mods. You can get an eGo adapter to use eGo tanks on mods with 510 connectors. You can even get an eGo to 808d to 510 adapter. Sure, it’ll look ridiculous, but you can do it.

Additionally, research has indicated that smokers have the greatest chance at successfully quitting cigarettes using open systems (as opposed to cigalikes, which are often proprietary).

Now, however, some players in the vape marketplace are trying to eliminate portions of that open market and lock you into their product. I’m not talking about the FDA… that’s a different can 0’ worms altogether (but since we’re here, have you joined CASAA and have you acted on the latest round of alerts?). No, the problem is internal.

Non-Reviews and other reviews

Perhaps you’ve read a couple of my “non-review” pieces. These are opinion pieces I write about products that have been announced that I would not buy because I see them as fundamentally flawed. One of the more recent pieces was a non-review of the Kanger NEBOX. An earlier article was on the Innokin Disruptor. Those are, in my opinion, two examples of companies trying to get you, dear consumer, locked into their products.

Kanger can almost be forgiven because they followed the path created by Joyetech with the eGrip. But where the eGrip was very small and stealthy, the Kanger NEBOX is quite large. Where the eGrips internal tank was glass, Kanger opted for polycarbonate. Buying this device ensures that for the life of the device you will be buying Kanger coils. You’re locked in. You cannot choose to use Aspire coils in the tank. You cannot put a different tank on the device. You can only use Kanger (or Kanger compatible) coils… or the RBA deck… also from Kanger.

Innokin’s offense was a bit worse, in my opinion, as they want to ensure that you’ll be using only their batteries as long as you want to use that mod. No dropping in a freshly charged Sony VTC4 for them! A new Innocell is all that will work.

I am writing this tonight because someone this past week took offense with the idea of a non-review. In an Anonymous comment from “Unknown”, I was told “no one cares either review or dont but talking crap about something you dont know anything about exceopt what you read we can read that for ourselves” I responded. You can go read the response if you want. I did not call them out on their appalling spelling or grammar. I did not point out that they read it, so, at some point they did care. Indeed, not only did they read it, they took the time to comment!

Another more recent non-review was of the Praxis Decimus. After I wrote the review, I watched a YouTube reviewer touch on every negative point I had made and then claim that he liked the mod because it felt good. That’s kind of like choosing to buy a Yugo because it had leather seats. Of course, in watching some YouTube reviewers, I wonder if they’d reject a Maserati if the buttons rattled. What is it with button rattle? If everything works great and the buttons rattle does that make it less worthy? Are the devices we are reviewing so perfect at this point that we have to pick nits that small? 

I'm not knocking any YouTube reviewer.... I am subscribed to, and watch, many daily.

Sorry… I digress… Moving on…

Online Contest

Joyetech is sponsoring a huge online contest to give away 250 eVic VTC Mini. It’s just the mod, not the kit. To refresh your memories, this is a single 18650 powered 75 watt temperature control mod that, with the latest update, will handle temperature control over Nickel, Titanium, and Stainless Steel. One of only a few mods on the market that will handle that range of wire! Further, it is firmware upgradeable, so if a new wire comes along, it might support it, too. If you’ve not signed up, do so. There’s still plenty of time. Go ahead, I'll wait...

That’s for the mod alone. While visiting the E-Cigarette Forum’s thread on the contest, a discussion was started about the best tank for the mod. The usual suspects were bandied about: Kanger Subtank Mini, Aspire Atlantis, Crown, Triton, TFV4, Phantom, and the usual contingent rejecting tanks altogether and suggesting nothing bu RDAs. I suggested the eGo ONE Mega. That’s the tank that comes with the kit (not in the contest, though - that’s just the mod).

The Little Tank That Could

The eGo ONE tank was almost universally praised when released with the eGo ONE kit. It was later widely  panned when it was included with the eVic VT and later the eVic VTC Mini. Negatives included noisy airflow (kinda, but no worse than a lot of other tanks), poor wicking (bingo), and small capacity (except the eGo ONE Mega which holds 4 ml). The primary problem with the tank, in my opinion, is the stock coil heads. These heads are available in 1.0 Ohm Kanthal, .5 Ohm Kanthal, .2 Ohm Ni200, and .5 Ohm Titanium. Every one of those stock coils is hindered by small wicking holes.

I like the eGo ONE tanks, though. The reason that they are not liked by many is that they are not being used to their fullest potential. That potential can be unlocked by using the CLR heads. The CLR heads are Rebuildable (that’s what the R stands for. I have no idea what the CL stands for). These heads have much larger wicking holes. Those holes can be adjusted to let in as little or as much e-liquid as you want. The heads are dead simple to build, and they are really, really affordable. In a search, I have found packets of 5 CLR heads selling for $8.47 plus shipping. I imagine that after shipping they might come in at as much as $12. For those without a calculator, that’s $2.40 per coil. The coils come built and ready to use, but can then be torn down and re-wicked or rebuilt over and over again. I can’t think of any RBA deck for a subohm tank that can come close to that price. 

I received quite a few responses on the thread after mentioning the eGo ONE Mega and CLR heads. Most had not heard of the CLR heads and I was asked to describe the build process. I even offered to make a video - my first on cam build tutorial.

Here goes nothing!

The CLR Rebuild process

  1. Remove the pin from the bottom.
  2. Gently remove the silicon insulator.
  3. Unscrew the top cap.
  4. Remove the old coil.
  5. Wrap wire around a 2.4 mm screwdriver (a 2.4 mm screwdriver is an exact fit for the slot in the coil head).
    1. According to MicroCoil Pro…
      1. A 28 gauge Kanthal A1 6 wrap will yield a 1.1 Ohm coil
      2. A 26 gauge Kanthal A1 6 wrap will yield a .7 Ohm coil.
      3. A 28 Gauge Titanium #1 7 wrap will yield a .4 Ohm coil.
      4. A 30 Gauge Ni200 8 wrap will yield a .15 Ohm coil
  6. Always use an Ohmmeter to check your work!
  7. Trim one leg longer than the other.
  8. Insert both legs through the top of the coil head.
  9. Use the screwdriver to hold the coil in position in the coil head’s slot.
  10. Bend the shorter leg back along the side. There is a groove in the base for this leg.
  11. Place the insulator over the longer leg and gentle push into the base.
  12. Insert the center pin, lining up the groove in the side of the pin with the wire.
  13. Trim both legs off as close to the base as possible.
  14. Wick the coil with organic cotton, Japanese organic cotton, or rayon (I suppose you could use silica if you really wanted to… maybe even stainless steel mesh… I have not used either of these wicking materials in this build).
  15. Hold the wick down and replace the top cap.
  16. Trim the wick to the sides of the coil head.
  17. Be sure to prime the coil before use.

I’ve timed myself. Without racing through it, I can rebuild one of these heads in under three minutes. Assuming I have all my tools… If I have to wander around the house saying “where did I put that _______________” all bets are off.

Breaking down the cost of a new coil in the CLR head, it is less than $.03 (3 cents) per coil. That’s figuring around 2-cents for 6-inches of wire and about a penny for a half-inch of rayon. Of course, your cost will vary depending on the wick and wire you choose to use.

So, there you have it. Open systems, non-review, and an on camera rebuild tutorial with a written backup.


  1. Very well explained ..thank you Shawn

  2. Excellent! I can't wait to get my CLRs. I really like this tank and this is going to make it perfect. Thanks..

  3. The CLRs also work wonderfully in the Egrip CLs.

  4. If i build the clr with ss wire... will it work on a ss tc mod?

    1. Yep. I use 430 SS which has a TCR of 0.00138. 6 wraps of that on a 2.5 mm Coil Master will yield just shy of .5 ohms.

    2. Should of stated that was 28 AWG...

  5. If i build a coil with ss wire in clr head... will it work on a ss tc mod?

  6. How are CLR's for mouth to lung

    1. CLR coils will work just fine for mouth to lung, but there is an additional step. You will want to take the center pin out of a 1 ohm stock coil and use that in place of the center pin from the CLR. Note that the center airflow on the one ohm stock coil is much smaller then it is on the CLR.

  7. Thanks for quick reply Shawn,I am an old used to be smoker having a hard time finding a mouth to lung tank,subtanks are killing the market on MTL, the disappointment is about to take me back to roll your own cigs,what is your honest opinion of the Ego mega for mouth to lung ?

    1. They are acceptable. But only just acceptable. It'll be even better if you find a small bore mouthpiece. If you want a good mouth to lung you're going to be looking at a Kayfun clone. There's also the Hurricane, the Firebird, the Squape, the Taifun among many others. But those are all RTA's. If you want a tank that can take coil heads and be rebuilt take a look at the Nautilus or the Kabuki. There's a company called VVTF that you can find on Facebook and eBay that makes an RBA head for the Nautilus and Kabuki.

  8. An RBA head for the Nautilus,that I would love,will see if i can find it.Thank you.Love your site