This guide is for vapers new to mechanical mods looking to understand the safety aspects when using a mechanical mod device. If you are just beginning vaping we do not recommend jumping straight into mechanical devices as they have no in-built safety systems and rely on knowledge of batteries and resistances.
What is a mechanical mod?
A mechanical mod is essentially nothing more than a device to hold a battery and connect it to a clearomiser with a simple firing button. It can almost be considered like connecting a battery directly to an atomiser. There are no electrical circuits or wiring to protect the battery or the user.
Why use mechanical mod?
Lots of people love their electrical circuits but it is hard to beat the aesthetics, feel and robustness of a mechanical mod. They are easier to maintain, have much fewer parts to go wrong and are generally easier to repair than a circuit board based mod.
Another advantage of mechanical mods is the ability to use low resistance coils and atomisers which may not be compatible with other e-cig mods. By making ones own coils the resistance can be lower which gives much more vapur.
Is a mechanical mod safe?
Any device that uses a Lithium battery cannot be considered 100% safe however Lithium batteries are used due to their power and small size. A good quality mechanical mod used by an experienced vaper is safe but they will not have the extra protection of electronic circuits. It is the users knowledge that has to act as the brains for a mechanical mod.
What risks are associated with mechanical mods?
The greatest risk is a short circuit either in the atomiser or the mod itself. A short-circuit is the equivalent of taking the positive lead and negative lead from a battery and touching the two together. A lot of electricity will flow quickly which will cause the battery to overheat and possibly catch fire or explode. Taking the correct precautions should mean the risks are kept under control
Mechanical Mod Safety Tips
Get an Ohm Meter or Multimeter
An ohm meter measures resistance and a low resistance, 0 ohms or around that point is a short circuit. Many cheap multimeters have the ability to measure resistance although they are not as accurate as more expensive or purpose built ohm meters. One way to reduce the inaccuracy is first to measure the resistance of the leads by touching the + and negative together to take a base reading. Then measure the resistance of the mod or atomiser and subtract the base reading from the results. For example if the resistance of the leads is 0.5ohm and the resistance of the mod is 0.6ohms it is potentially possible for the resistance of the mod, after taking away the base reading is 0.1ohm. Very close to a short.
Short-Circuits and Resistance Testing!
The greatest risk is a short circuit as described above. Always check the resistance of the atomiser before first use and regularly thereafter. The mod can also short-circuit so it is also worth testing.
Use Good Quality Batteries!
Always use good quality batteries! Use either Protected Lithium-Ion which have a small protection circuit built in or Safer Chemistry IMR Lithium-Manganese (Li-Mn) which have a less volatile make up. We only stock high quality Efest IMR safer chemistry batteries in our battery section.
Choosing the right type of battery for the job is out of the remit of this guide however if the goal is to use very low ohm coils that will draw a lot of power get a battery with a high amp rating that can cope. For the vast majority of uses a 20-30A rated battery is more than enough.
Use a good Battery Charger
Dont skimp on batteries or the charger. The better the charger the longer batteries will last as they receive a better quality charge.
Battery Voltage and Charging
As a mechanical mod does not have a built in circuit the user must monitor the battery output. Do not over-discharge batteries. It becomes quite evident when using a mechanical mod that when the vapour production wanes the battery is going flat. Stop and change batteries, do not run it into the ground. Over-discharging batteries can ruin them and be dangerous. It is better to have four batteries and rotate them than to have one and repeatedly use it to depletion. It is good practice to monitor the battery voltage with a voltmeter once in a while to ensure it holds its charge and does not hold over 4.2 volts
Battery Polarity, Stacking, Size and Type
Particularly with flat top batteries it is easy to insert them the wrong way around. Always ensure they are inserted correctly for the mod. 99% of the time it is positive end in first - but check. Do not stack batteries on top of each other and always check you are using the right size battery for the mod. Batteries are sized 26650 (large), 18650 (most common), 18500 and 18350. As mentioned above always use the right rating battery, if in doubt go for a 35A battery.
Always check the mod you purchase has vent holes. Batteries during a short-circuit heat up dramatically and can expand. By having vent holes in the mod the build up of pressure can escape without tearing the mod apart.
Firing Button Lock
Most normal electronic based e-cigarettes have a safety cut out around 10 seconds. Mechanical mods do not so if the button gets pressed in the battery will keep delivering power and overheat which can be dangerous. When not in use engage the lock that most mechanical mods have to stop the trigger being pushed in. Some mods do not have a lock and the battery simply has to be removed.
Mechanical mods are great but have to be treated with respect. A knowledge of batteries and resistances as well as the ability to use a multimeter is pretty much essential. A bit of a learning curve but well worth it and there are plenty of videos and articles online. We at EcigZoo are also always here to help so just get in contact.
Mechanical Mod Warning Statement
Mechanical Mods are very simple devices without any electrical protection circuits built-in. It is therefore essential to use them safely and treat batteries with respect. Mechanical mods are for advanced users and safety research into how to maintain and check batteries and resistance is highly recommended before using one.
- Always use either Li-Ion protected or Li-Mg IMR safer chemistry batteries; the correct battery for the device.
- Ensure the battery is inserted the correct way around. Do not stack batteries
- Take care not to over-discharge batteries through use. It is noticeable when power is waning and less vapour is being produced. Stop using the battery and recharge. Check charged batteries regularly to ensure they are not charging to higher than 4.2v . Do not use batteries that have been deeply discharged or are not functioning as they may have an internal fault.
- It is better to rotate several batteries instead of overusing one or two
- Great care must be taken not to create a short-circuit. Before first using a new atomiser always check that the clearomisers and tanks have not shorted by either using an electrical meter or testing on a non-mechanical e-cig to measure resistance. Zero or very low resistance indicates a short. Check for short-circuits regularly by touching one meter probe to the positive central pin and one to the body. Zero or very low resistance indicates a short.
- Short-circuits do not just occur in the tank but may occur in the mod itself. Test for them by checking the resistance with a meter. This can be done by removing battery, holding one probe to the positive centre pin and another to the body of the mod. If there is zero or very low resistance then the device may be shorting and should not be used without further investigation and repair. Refer to the meter resistance reading instructions.
- A shorted tank will cause the battery to heat up incredibly fast and can cause it to explode. Safety is essential and if the battery cap / battery / tank cannot be removed quickly and safely to stop the short get the mod to a safe outdoor location if possible and away from it as fast as possible.
- Prevent the mod from firing accidentally when not in use by using the locking feature or if none by removing the battery
- Make sure your mechanical mod has vent holes.