December 2015

Techin Geek: Deep Dive with the DNA 200: To Geek, or Not to Geek

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Words and photos by Arvid Sollom

The train has started, and everyone is on board. Few new regulated devices premiered this fall and winter without a core temperature control feature, and the idea of releasing a regulated device without temperature control will soon be parallel to releasing a car without airbags or automatic transmission options. Sub-Ohm tanks are following the same trend by offering temperature control coils from their inception, though they have improvements to be made through modifications to connection points and changes to titanium or other specialty metals that would be superior and safer than nickel. Sub-Ohm tanks are following the same trend by offering temperature control coils from their inception, though they have improvements to be made through modifications to connection points as well as adoption of titanium or other specialty metals that would be superior to and safer than nickel.

In the midst of the maelstrom of progress stands the paragon of vape tech advancement, Evolv and the DNA 200. This time, Evolv released a product that stood counter to their early concepts of simple being best. The DNA 200 took vaping to a new, ultimate extreme of pure geekability, leaving user customization to be one of the driving motives for early adoption. Many initial devices come with very few preset profiles for the user. Bare minimums that allow standard wattage modes and nickel as a temperature control option are common. As the manufacturers using the chipset mature their products and the user base starts determining what profiles are useful to them, more and more should offer robust profile options from the get go. Initially, though, these devices expect the user to hook up the mod to a computer and begin to learn a whole new world of customization with Escribe.

The Software

Escribe is the computer-based interface software, released by Evolv, that gives the user access to the “brain” of the device. The meat of the application is the eight customizable profiles that reside in the DNA 200’s memory. A profile consists of several core components, a customizable label in words or a picture, an opening wattage setting, and an option for temperature control or wattage control. When set to temperature control, there are numerous additional settings past merely a temperature, starting with a metal-type profile for the coil. Each different material for the coil requires a separate “profile” itself, which provides multiple graph points to correlate temperature and resistance change. These different “.csv” files are available from online resources, such as Steam Engine’s Wire Wizard. Once the proper file is

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loaded into Escribe, it has the information necessary to measure temperature for the given type of metal used in the coil, and the user has some additional options to set. One option that must be set is a preheat power. This value allows the user to give the device an extra initial power range to use in order to achieve the set temperature—a boost so to speak—above the main wattage setting. Beyond the extra wattage allowed, the user can fine tune how the DNA 200 uses that power, with both a maximum time of burst, as well as a scale from soft to hard, which controls how close to the set temperature the coil will come before scaling back to the normal power level or below, in order to prevent overheating.

The Geezample

As an example, my titanium hard profile used with RDAs containing 6-10 wrap dual coil, 24 gauge Ti wire spaced wrapped around a 3 mm bit, has the following setup. It allows a standard 150 maximum normal wattage to maintain the 480 degree temperature setting. Next, the Ti grade one profile tells the device how to accurately measure the temperature change for this type of wire. Though rarely necessary, the profile is also set to allow the maximum of 200 watts to be used for up to two seconds to achieve the temperature nearly immediately. In addition, the preheat punch is set to 11 to make sure that the heat comes on fast and strong. Yes … they set the scale to max at 11; rock on, Spinal Tap! This profile is an aggressive, hot and cloudy experience, yet I can still vape out nearly every last drop of liquid without any damage to the fluffy, virtually dry wick, and experience absolutely no dry hit.

Escribe also provides a theme section, where virtually every screen message can be customized, from the opening splash screen to a warning for an out-of balance battery pack. In the screen tab, one can organize what data is shown while being used and while being charged; how long the screen takes to dim or go inactive; how bright it is during firing, while active, while idle and while charging; and how fast fades occur. Talk about some nitty-gritty customization! In the mod section, the extreme geeks can analyze their battery behavior and the mod case’s thermal properties to help maintain a positive atmosphere for the batteries to be in, and set values that help keep the system from charge time heat damage. In a final section, Evolv added a series of controls for researchers to allow the DNA device to serve as a study aid under controlled circumstances and settings, including a seal to guarantee that no data has been tampered with.

Should You Vape It?

So, does this mean that you need to be wearing thick, blackrimmed glasses with tape around the bridge to enjoy a DNA 200? Absolutely not, but you might want one of those types in a local store or social group to be nearby to help with some initial setup with the early models. Once profiles are created, this is one of the most foolproof devices when it comes to temperature controlled vaping, which we are likely to see until mid-2016. Hopefully, more mod makers will include a well-tested set of preprogrammed profiles, as well. And for those with pocket protectors filled with electronic nicotine delivery systems, this is a dream come true.

Arvid Sollom is a long-time vaper, old school modder and builder, resident tech, safety and temperature control guru living in the southwestern desert. He is a founding member of Tucson Vapers and Clouds of Tucson, as well as assistant manager at Old Pueblo Vapor, the city of Tucson’s original vape shop.

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