Posted on January 4th, 2010 by Jack Stone
In the previous article I talked a little bit about how electronic cigarettes work. For the most part, they all work exactly the same, however there are just a few very minor differences.
Let’s start with the battery. The battery is located where the nicotine would be on a traditional smoke. It’s the largest part of the electronic cigarette and is used to power the atomizer, which vaporizes the nicotine solution into a vapor that you inhale. Almost every brand utilize rechargeable batteries; I think most of them are lithium-ion although I believe a few are nickel cadmium. Whatever type they are there rechargeable I know that.
Most brands have a small LED at the tip of the battery that lights up when you take a drag. Some brands are marketed as this light is used to distinguish the electronic cigarette from a traditional smoke in the event that someone sees you smoking indoors and tried to stop you. With a blue LED at the tip of the battery, it’s pretty easy explaining you’re not smoking a real cigarette, at which point the person should probably leave you alone and let you smoke since electronic cigarettes are not covered by smoking bans.
Some brands use a red orange LED at the tip of the battery and the market needs as stimulating the look of a real cigarette for those that may want to not draw attention to themselves while smoking the device in public.
Either way most of the batteries have a small LED at the tip that lights up when you take a drag.
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Posted on September 10th, 2009 by Jack Stone
If you’re considering purchasing your first electronic cigarette, it can be hard to decide which brand to go with because there are quite a few out there and so many options available.
Consider some of these things before you decide to purchase electronic cigarettes:
Price is always one of the biggest concerns for everyone. The good news is that nearly every brand of electronic cigarette offers savings over traditional tobacco cigarettes. Since you’re already spending a good chunk of change on tobacco cigarettes, and you’ll save a significant amount of money switching to nearly any brand of e-cig, I usually recommend purchasing whatever brand is easiest to use and that you’re most likely to stick with and not go back to smoking real cigarettes.
That said, the first thing you’ll need to purchase is a starter kit. Most starter kits range from $40 – $80, although some are still charging over $100. I haven’t tried any brands that I’d recommend over $100…to me, they’re all just overpriced versions of what you can get at $70, and in most cases, the brands charging over $100 for a starter kit are just relying on huge distribution channels to drive their sales and actually have a worse product than the less expensive brands sold exclusively online.
It takes a lot of math to figure out which brand will be the most cost-effective over time, but you can read this article where I reviewed the cost of BluCigs over 1 year in comparison to tobacco cigarettes. In that article, BluCigs ended up coming in about $400 cheaper than traditional smokes.
In summary, price is a bit subjective, because you’ll save a significant amount of money with almost any brand, so it’s perhaps better to pick a brand that you’ll be more likely to stick with, which leads us to our next point.
Ease of use
One of the biggest issues with electronic cigarettes is that they require batteries to operate. At first glance, this isn’t a big deal…a lot of us have an iPod and that requires batteries and it works just fine. True, and while the battery-powered mobility of electronic cigarettes are exactly why they’re such a great smoking alternative, the batteries can also be sticking point and something you should consider when buying your first e-cig.
What most people don’t consider is what happens when you get stuck outside of the house or office and your batteries run out? Well, for me it meant I was going to bum a traditional smoke from a friend, or perhaps several until I could get back to base and recharge my e-cig batteries. What I found out was that 2 batteries (which is what most e-cig starter kits come with) won’t last an entire day of heavy smoking, so you either need extra batteries, a charger for your car, or some way to charge those batteries on the go.
And this brings us to the reason I ended up choosing BluCigs as my brand of choice. Unlike every other e-cig brand I’ve tried, BluCigs comes with a carrying case, built like a pack of smokes, that will actually charge your batteries on the go up to 6 full charges. That means no matter how forgetful I was in charging my batteries the night before I almost always have enough charge in my “pack” to last me the rest of the day. Running out of batteries is a major issue…the last thing you need when you’re trying to satisfy your nicotine habit is anything that will get in the way, and dead batteries for most people means they’re going to smoke a tobacco cig. So, BluCigs made an excellent decision in offering the carrying case that also functions as a battery charger.
The other factor to consider is how easy your electronic cigarette will be to smoke and how easy the cartridges are to refill. There are two aspects of this to consider.
First, there are two battery types out there…automatic and manual. Manual batteries require you press a button while inhaling in order to smoke. Automatic batteries on the other hand are designed to sense small pressure changes and activate the device automatically when you inhale, so no button to press. I went into automatic vs manual electronic cigarette batteries in the past, so I won’t go into that in detail here, but I will say that the vast majority of people are going to be better off with automatic batteries.
Second, you have to ask, how easy is it to replace cartridges when they run dry? Most cartridges are pretty much the same, the only real difference is that some are sold prefilled and some are sold empty and meant to be refilled manually by you. The thing is though, since cartridges are all pretty much the same, you can manually refill even the prefilled cartridges when they run dry. So, that said, for your first foray into electronic cigarettes I’d recommend a brand that offers prefilled cartridges just because you can refill them manually if you decide that’s something you want to do. Otherwise, you can just reorder prefilled cartridges if you don’t want to bother with the hassle of squirting the nicotine solution into the empty cartridges yourself. If, on the other hand, you order a brand that only offers manual refill cartridges and you decide later you don’t want to deal with the hassle of manual refills, you’re out of luck.
That’s about it for this article, I’ll follow this one up with a few more considerations for your e-cig buyers out there.
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Posted on September 7th, 2009 by Jack Stone
Most eCigs are available with two different types of batteries used to power the devices. There is a current trend toward automatic batteries because of their ease of use, however, there are situations in which manually-activated batteries are more appropriate and so they are still widely available in some devices. But ultimately, what’s the difference between an automatic and manual battery? That’s what I’ll cover in this article.
Automatic eCig batteries are the new trend these days because of their ease of use. Automatic batteries utilize a pressure switch to sense when you take a drag. At that point the battery turns on and begins to supply power to the atomizer, which vaporizes the nicotine solution in the cartridge and produces the nicotine vapor that you inhale.
While they’re meant to only be activated when you take a drag, automatic batteries can sometimes be activated by wind, especially when driving in a convertible or car with the windows down.
Some automatic batteries may also be activated unintentionally by other types of short term pressure changes, such as loud, booming base at a concert or club.
Because of automatic batteries’ potential to activate unintentionally, manual batteries are available that rely on a press-button in order to activate. Many of the older model eCigs utilized manual batteries because it was a simpler technology than pressure-sensing automatic batteries. Manual batteries are still around due to demand for use in windy weather and in concerts and clubs.
Most manual batteries have a small button located on the middle outside of the battery. When the smoker presses the button, the battery sends a charge to the atomizer, activating the vaporization, which the smoker inhales.
There are drawbacks of manual batteries that one should be aware of. First of all, the button can be pressed, and the battery activated, if the eCig presses up against another object, such as a set of keys in a pocket or purse. While you can usually keep an automatic eCig in your purse or pocket without fear of activation, it’s generally not a good idea to keep manual eCigs anywhere the button could pressed unintentionally. Manual batteries also require one extra step, pressing and holding the button, in order to take a drag, so you can’t hold the manual eCig the same as you might be used to holding a real cigarette when smoking because most people won’t be able to reach the button this way.
So, automatic and manual batteries both have their strengths and weaknesses. Automatic batteries are easy to use and can be held just like a traditional tobacco cigarette. In most cases, they can be stored in a pocket or purse without fear of unintentional activation. On the other hand, they can be unintentionally activated in windy weather or other pressure-changing environments such as loud concerts and clubs.
Manual batteries can be used in windy environments as well as concerts and clubs without fear of unintentional activation. However, the button can be pressed unintentionally when stored in a pocket or purse and they must be held in a different way than traditional cigarettes in order for the user to reach the press-button while taking a drag.
The most popular battery is the automatic type because its strengths and weaknesses make it perfect for all but a few specific situations.
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