Sunday, December 27, 2015

The sad myth of obsolesence

Don't ya just feel like ya signed up for a trip on a runaway train? Every day there's a new Box Mod, a new RTA, a new RDA, a new SubOhm Tank, a new Coil Build, a New Coil Head, a New Piece of Newness That You Must Have Now Or Forever Suffer From An Unsatisfying Vape!

It probably doesn't have to be that way. It's probably not that way, honestly. If you can stay away from the forums, the G+ Communities, the Facebook Groups, the Instagram stream, the Pinterest Boards, and the youTube Channels there's a possibility that you can puff along on an aging eGo-T picked up from the local corner store and be perfectly happy. I suppose I even know some people ON those boards and forums that stick with older, smaller equipment and are perfectly happy.

No, I am not using the rather awful iClear tank...
This throught, this rant, springs to mind as I hit my Innokin SVD V1 run up to around 5.5 Volts and topped with a dual coil Zodiac Genesis tank built to around 2.0 Ohms. And that's on an 18500 battery. I'm not fogging up the room, to be sure, but it is certainly satisfying and flavorful.

Still not using the stock clearo...
The thought then grew as I looked at the mod I was using. It is, by any current definition, an antique having been released sometime in 2013. But it still works exactly as it should. I also have a newly acquired Innokin Coolfire 1 that also works well when used as it was intended (Using an 18350 it delivers a constant 8.5 Watt output which will yield around 4.2 volts on a 2.1 Ohm coil). The same can be said for most mechanical mods, assuming the spring in the switch hasn't collapsed, the magnets broken, or the threads stripped out.

The same can not be said about many of the newer devices flooding the market. Slap-dash designs and shoddy quality control lead to mods that last a couple weeks, or months, before no longer firing or starting to display problems with the screen. I have a drawer full of eGo pens, wired up unregulated mods, and a few regulated mods that will no longer function properly in one way or another.

Some of the problems with these pieces of equipment, as with all failed pieces of equipment, must be written up as user error. I've had mods returned to the store I frequent with obvious plier marks on the tank and scrapes around the atty, and the 510 has been twisted out of place. Of course, the use has no knowledge of how those marks got there or why pliers would have been needed in the first place (HINT: Most devices only need things to be finger tight. Use of a torque wrench may void your warranty.) One tank was brought back with the 510 connector sheared right off. A break would have left a jagged edge. This was twisted. (HINT#2: Righty tighty, lefty loosy). There needs to be a bit more education provided to new users and to existing vapers when they choose - if they choose - to upgrade, In saying that, it must also be acknowledged that Nature abhors a vacuum and if an idiot proof device is created, Nature will supply a better idiot. That's a long way 'round saying "You can't fix stupid,"

It's also important, though, when the problem is not created by the user, to identify the problems with the mods that are breaking and report them back to the manufacturer - assuming the manufacturer can be located and/or the reason for the problem can be determined. Is the button sticking because of the thickness of the paint finish as was the case with the recently released Innokin Endura T18? This was reported, and Innokin has been Johnny-on-the-spot in getting the problem solved. Perhaps the wires used in the device were too small for the current required. Maybe there was not enough venting for the chip. Identify the problem, formulate a solution, and implement. Thicker wires, less paint, terminals instead of solder joins are all pretty easy fixes.

Oh, and let's scrap the hot glue guns, please!

However, some of the devices are being built shoddily to perpetuate the cycle of planned obsolescence. Sell a product inexpensive enough, and built cheaply enough, that the user will not hesitate to replace the product when it dies in three months. This kind of tactic is a very old tactic indeed and came about when greed supplanted pride in workmanship. It is not pervasive and all encompassing, as there are still companies that take pride in their work and offer warranties that match. Unfortunately, some of these companies take, perhaps, just a little too much pride and price their products out of reach of most vapers. You know who I am talking about... I mean, I don't want to name names, but PRO VAPErs shouldn't have to pay nearly $200 for a 40 Watt box mod when the DNA200 can be found for $120. It's important, then, to tell companies that have good products with good prices that they are valued. Tell them this by buying their products. Conversely, let the companies with shoddy products or sky-high prices know that they are not appreciated by avoiding their products no matter how nice it looks. There's no need in a market as saturated as this market it to keep up with the Jones's.

There's another tiny kinda benefit to using the older devices. I don't spend hours building bizarre, yet pretty coils. A simple wrap does the trick. In the Zodiac I mentioned earlier, I am using dual 6 wrap, 34 Gauge Kanthal A1 coils built on a 3 mm mandrel. Easy. I have another old Genesis built with 3 or 4 wraps of ribbon on a 2.4 mm screwdriver. Easy peasy.

So, take a look at the stash - everyone has one - and pick out something old, but functional. Get to know it again. Use it. Pass it along. Don't let it gather dust. In so doing, the sad myth of obsolescence can be beaten back a bit further, a bit longer.