April 2015

Sub Ω Tanks and the End of Non-Hobbyist Building

 

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Words and photos by Arvid Sollom

I remember the first time I saw the Kanger Protank coil in person. I immediately yanked the top off to peer at the insides of this “spaceship” feat of tiny engineering. Mind you, the evolution from 510 through CE1-3 (ceramic cup top coils) and the birth of the Vision clearomizer and Vivi Nova and everything in between never gave me the revelatory feeling that seeing that first tiny replaceable coil gave me. I pondered on the thing all night until I envisioned how, as with everything in vaping, bigger air, better coils and more juice meant that these little replaceable coils were going to eliminate any need to build. They had the technology; they just needed the time. The wait has been fun, but the end result has been long in coming.

I quickly left the world of prebuilts once the early rebuildable tanks were reasonably priced. The AGA Tiamat and the Phoenix v2 solidly won me over, and I never looked back. Building was fun, easy and cheap if you didn’t buy everything under the sun, and made for so much better of a vape! I had found a hobby that let me enjoy the pleasures of my efforts all day long, and yet, when I saw that Protank coil head, I felt the first nail hammered into the coffin.

It feels like decades worth of time has passed since that day in vape time, and finally the second nail has been driven in. I find myself without a rebuildable in my hand. That’s happened before, but it was for moments at a time. This time I realized it’s been three days since this latest vape setup hit my hand, and I’ve picked up a rebuildable less than half a dozen times.

That hasn’t happened in years at this point. As modest as things started with 1.5 Ohm “low Ohm” coils on a Genesis atomizer, I was always one to pursue how far things could go, all the while devouring volumes of info on how things work and how safety applies. My daily satisfying vape rested soundly at the edge of “safe.” I ran with a .12 Ohm “compressed quadcoil” 24-gauge Kanthal on a 1/8-inch inner diameter.

Since the hottest Sony VTC4 falls past 3.7 volts by the time you hit .2 Ohms, math and Ohm’s Law tells us we are under the 30 amp continuous rating of the battery. If those last couple sentences didn’t make sense, don’t worry; you’ll understand if you keep reading.

The “sub-Ohm tank” flood has arrived! It’s here and it’s here to stay. It will crush building as a need and… (story continues below)

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(story continues)… leave it to the fringes of us freaks who just love to tinker. It’s official: You can now buy a tank online or in your local brick-and-mortar store that will beat out at least 80 percent of current builds.

The Atlantis was a great solid first tank in the market. Fruits are bright and strong, but deeper notes of savory desserts and tobaccos are still a bit weak. It wicks well and produces a respectable cloud. I kept it around to use while driving or when keeping occupied. This is already more more cloud than any other tank user has seen, especially for a good portion of builders who are just looking for a good vape and aren’t out cloud chasing. Enter the Kanger Subtank, too large except on something like the Panzer Mod, and not quite enough air (Mini worked on both), but better flavor on the savory end. Real cotton and a normal horizontal coil were in the odd square head and it performed better cloud wise, at lower voltages, than the Atlantis. The Joyetech Ego One atomizer didn’t impress me until I got to use it on its native battery. Wow! For a little package, it’s very solid on the sub-Ohm clouds. Nothing that could suit me all day long, but it’s the sleekest, most impressive, tiny clouder available.

Finally I got my hands on the Delta II! I used it on a mechanical setup and right from the start I knew something wonderful was going on. I realized quickly that I was replacing the battery on my mod with the D2 more often than my standard setup and started to worry it was a power hog. It dawned on me that I was, for the first time in years, heartily preferring vapor from a prebuilt, store-bought coil! Then the final step happened. Finally, I picked up a 70 watt regulated device, threw the D2 on top and three days later realized I had stopped vaping my super sub-Ohm cloud blowing setup. When I want a hard, hot, fast hit, I pump it up to the 60 watt preset and blow out some seriously respectable clouds, then drop the wattage back into the mid 30s and sit back to enjoy the warm, richly flavored, solid clouds with relaxed hits the rest of the time. The key to the Delta II at high wattage is providing enough vacuum pressure to keep it saturated. When hit hard, this thing can blow!

While the Delta II proves to me that the death bell has started to toll for the casual building class of vaper, it stands at the foot of a mountain of progress that will occur in the next few months. I have a list over a dozen long of the new tanks already out or on the verge of release. I am sure there are more in the works, as it seems like an unending stream of cloud-chucking, premade tanks are here to stay, and building will be relegated to the few stubborn or quirky hard-core builders who love the hobby itself more than just the vape.

Arvid Sollom is the self-proclaimed “vape guru” at Old Pueblo Vapor, helping to solve customer mechanical issues or safety questions.

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