Sunday, September 11, 2016

REVIEW: Kanger Dripbox 160

I bought this from eCig.com. Used my own greenbacks. As always, these are just the opinions of some guy, and your mileage may vary...


Why Kanger has chosen to call this a drip box when there's no dripping going on is beyond me. It's a squonker... a mod with a compartment for a plastic bottle. That bottle is attached to a a feeder tube in the compartment, and, when squeezed, e-liquid is forced up through the tube, through the 510 connection, and into the bottom of the atomizer.

Naming oddities aside, this is a pretty nice piece of kit. Let's break it down...


The kit comes in an interesting box. Rather than having the mod and atomizer set separately, the entire thing is assembled. Add two quality 18650 batteries, cotton (I don't remember it being wicked when I opened it, but I might be mistaken - it does come with cotton and a replacement, pre-wicked, dual coil deck, and some more cotton), and e-liquid and vape away. That assembly is sitting upright in the bottom front two-thirds of the box. The top lifts off and the entire shebang is on display. Nice. Behind the kit is the accessories box which includes a couple coils (claptons of an indeterminate nature), a couple spare grub screws, a spare bottle with cap, USB cable, spitback shield insert, and the aforementioned cotton and atomizer head. Oh, and there's a manual, and instructions for using the QR code to validate and verify the device.


The device is very Reuleaux-like in the hand, but that's about the only similarity. Instead of a third battery, there is the bottle compartment. The back does not come off for battery placement. Instead, there is a latched, hinged door in the bottom. Unlike the Reuleaux (up until the newly released RX 2/3), this device takes only two batteries. The polarity of the batteries is stamped into the metal nects to the contacts on the door. Next to the battery door is a little blunt arrowhead shaped cap that is held in place by two strong magnets and, when removed, provides access to the bottle. It measures 120.3 tall with the included atomizer attached. Without the atty, it's 82 x 41.25 x 51.5 mm. With batteries, partially filled bottle, and atty, it weighs in at 348 g.

On top, above the box, there is a fixed 510 connector. Behind that connector, there is a stamped in K logo, and a couple screws. The entire top is surrounded by a seam. On one side, there is a Kangertech logo in black. There's a set of eight holes top and bottom to provide for battery ventilation. In front of those holes is another seam. On the other side, it's the same without a logo. In front of the seams, there's a wrap around piece of metal with a rather fat teardrop cutout window exposing the bottle. There are also two deep whole for screws towards the top as well as one rather flush mounted screw right beneath the 510 connector.


Opposite that, on the back, are the controls, and the screen. it's a nice bright screen, and nothing that hasn't been seen dozens of time by now. A battery indicator, an resistance reading, applied voltage (when in power mode) or applied wattage (when in TC modes), the applied wattage or temperature, and the mode (Ni, Ti, NiCr, SUS) and measure (C, F, or W). A large red button (the buttons are black on the white and stainless models) sits above the screen, and two smaller red buttons, stamped with a + and a -, sit below the screen. Beneath those buttons is a USB charging port that might, or might not, allow for data and upgrades. It would appear that the board does include balanced charging (although I still recommend removing the batteries to charge externally).

The included RDA features a swappable deck so either the installed Velocity style deck or the older two-post, two hole deck can be used. There are three o-rings holding on the top cap. The top cap is a two-piece affair. There's a barrel with the K and Kangertech logos on one side, two slots for air, and two holes (one of which is labelled MTL), and a delrin wide bore drip tip/airflow control insert. Inside the delrin topcap, which is held in place by two o-rings - is a groove where the spitback guard can be installed.

When compared to an older mod like the DNA20 or my iStick 20, the menu on this is fairly complicated. However, those devices are quite old at this point. Compared to many newer devices, the menu is quite simple.
  • When batteries are installed, the mod automatically powers on
  • Five clicks of the fire button turns the mod off
  • Five (or six) clicks turns the mod back on
  • Three clicks changes the mode, and other three clicks for the next mode, and so on... the modes round robin
  • Pressing the + button increases the wattage or temperature
  • Pressing the - button decreases the wattage or temperature
    • The increase/decrease is in 1 degree increments until the accelerator kicks it up to 10 degree increments OR .1 watt increments until the accelerator kicks it up to 1 watt increments
    • The wattage range is from 7 to 160 watts
    • The temperature range is from 100 to 315 C/200 to 600 F
      • The temperatures do not round robin
      • At the bottom of each temperature range, it switches to a point in the middle of the other (450 F and 230 C)
  • Pressing + and - at the same time flips the screen
  • Pressing + and Fire inverts the screen (black becomes white, white becomes black)
  • Pressing - and Fire does nothing
  • Pressing all three buttons at the same time locks the adjustment buttons
  • In Ni mode, pressing +, -, +, -, + will display the device's serial number
  • When the mod is off, nothing can be changed through any key presses
Using the mod is (mostly) a pleasure. Once the coils are wicks are installed - very easy due to the Velocity deck - and primed, a squonk from the bottom will further saturate the coils. Set the mode and temperature or wattage, and vape happens! There is a little ramp up, but not significant.

In power mode, the wattage feels like the wattage should. At least, up to about 85 watts which is as far as I pushed it. I admit I did not use the device in Ni or Ti mode, but in stainless steel mode (labeled SUS for some odd reason, but calibrated for 316L), the temperature control is good. I have yet to burn my wicks in TC mode, no matter how dry they become.

I did try to use the NiCr mode, and found that it just did not work. It is possible that I used the wrong grade of nichrome, though... I know I fumbled a bit in as much as I accidentally had it set to SUS when I first fired it, and that was WAY too hot.

That experience did bring up something... the mod was not taught to recognize different wires and kick the user over to a more appropriate mode. If a Ni200 or Ti coil is accidentally fired in power mode, it will remain in power mode... Further, there appears to need to be a biggish gap between old and new atomizer resistances to trigger the New Coil +/Old Coil - routine.

The RDA itself is less a disappointment that I had thought it would be. There's ample air for a DTL pull, and the air is easily adjusted. Phil Busardo reported receiving a lot of spit and splatter. I experienced much the same problem UNTIL I lifted the coils to sit behind the airflow slots. Once I had done that (they normally sit, oddly, just below the air flow slots), there was no splatter. The idea of interchangeable decks is just about genius, and the inclusion of a Velocity deck as well as a two post, two hole deck is a nice touch. Turning the barrel around to MTL, though, does not create a MTL vape. IF a single coil build could be placed in the RDA easily, and IF a smaller drip tip could be used, it MIGHT suffice.

Pros and cons? Sure...

Pros:
  • Great price! I paid $37.50 plus shipping.
  • Fairly accurate feeling in power and SUS TC modes (I did not try Ni or Ti)
  • THE BEST squonk bottle exchange system I have ever used
  • Balanced charging
  • Decent squonk atomizer included (I really like the swappable heads)
  • Nice bunch of spare parts included
  • Easy menu
  • ZERO rattles
Cons:
  • Battery door does not quite close flush. The mod rocks a tiny bit... Battery compartment can be a tetch tight...
  • NiCr TC is still bad
  • MTL is a waste of time
  • Bottles are a bit stiff
  • Seams and screws everywhere
  • Non-standard menu system
  • Plastic buttons
  • Fixed 510
  • Hinky coil detection/rejection
Grade:

      This is no Italian stabwood DNA200 custom squonking beauty, but neither is it a sloppily built mech. It's not a mod for beginners, but neither is it a feature packed pro-only mod. It falls right in the middle. However, at the low price point, it's a fine addition to any vaper's collection, and a nice enough way to introduce a vaper to the world of squonking. I'm glad I bought it, and I recommend it IF the vaper can keep an eye on the settings when swapping coils.

2 comments :

  1. stunning bit of kit for vaping
    the weight and feel in the hand is good.
    burn grate with fizzy juice (mango and pineapple)
    started on a basic kangertech and must admit its a step up.
    grate display and well finished
    i feel yes there are a few screws but its a big mod and is well made.
    well done kangertech

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  2. Its a brilliant mod and cant see me using anything else going forward, solid build and SS Temp mode is supberb (dual 316 26g claptions) bloody drink the juice but that's down to me not putting it down

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