Vape Guidance: Build Your Coils(Chapter 2)

Are Nickel Coils Safe?

There have been some concerns about whether nickel coils are safe. There appear to be two main concerns – could Nickel leech when hot or exposed to e-liquid, and could there be an allergic reaction to nickel.

Firing it up

A TC mod will have a menu option that lets you switch from VW to TC mode; on the iStick you do it by holding down a small button between the up and down controls. You can then set the temperature exactly the same way as you’d adjust voltage or wattage.

You’ll find there’s a range of temperatures available – the iStick TC40W lets you choose from 300-600°F or 100-315°C. A lower temperature will give you a cooler, less dense vape; higher temperature means warmer, thicker clouds. Like VV or VW, it’s best to start low then adjust upwards in small increments until you hit the sweet spot.

When you’re in TC mode the mod’s display will change to show the appropriate information. On the iStick, when the mod isn’t firing it tells you what temperature you’ve set. Press the button and it changes – instead of showing how long you’ve been firing for, as it does in VW mode, it shows you the actual coil temperature.

This rises at an amazing rate as soon as you press the button until it reaches the setting you chose, then the C part of TC kicks in and the screen shows “TempProtection”. In TC mode the display also shows how many watts it’s taking to reach that temperature, which is always nice to know.

So is it worth it?

Vaping with TC obviously isn’t as simple as buying a new mod and setting it up for the perfect temperature. You’re going to have to change your coils too, and potentially your atomiser – although the choice of atomisers that take Ni200 or Ti coils is increasing fast, it’s more or less limited to the new generation of sub ohm tanks. If you’ve been happily puffing away on an old Protank 3 for the last couple of years you’re not going to find compatible coils for it.

So does the new technology justify the cost and learning curve?

The short answer is yes, it does, for two reasons.

Firstly, temperature control gives you a more consistent vape. Once you’ve experimented with it a bit, and found the setting you like, it irons out a lot of the variation inherent in vaping. If you want a device that hits the same way every time TC will deliver that – and it will keep on delivering it down to the last drops of liquid in your tank. Many vapers enjoy tinkering with their gear to get the ultimate vape, but plenty more just want a safer, no-hassle alternative to smoking.

The other reason might not actually be the most important, but it’s going to be seen that way by the public health community because it relates to safety. It’s pretty clear by now that the reason some researchers have found high levels of formaldehyde in e-cig vapour is because their experimental technique was causing repeated dry hits. Obviously nobody’s going to keep vaping under those conditions so the real-world risk is very low, but that isn’t how the sceptics see it. As far as they’re concerned, there’s a way to set up a mod so it delivers an unwise dose of formaldehyde.

Using TC neatly solves that problem. Dry hits happen when the ability of the coil to vaporise liquid outruns the wick’s ability to deliver it. Without enough juice around to cool it the coil temperature rises rapidly and what liquid is left – and sometimes part of the wick – gets burned. As any smoker knows it’s combustion that creates most of the carcinogens, so it should be avoided. With temperature control it will be avoided, because as soon as the mod detects a sudden rise in temperature it lowers the voltage to compensate. The coil stays at the correct temperature, the wick is safe and those last droplets get vaporised properly instead of incinerated. With TC, dry hits are a thing of the past.

The heat is onTemperature control is here to stay. It has some real advantages over earlier devices, including banishing the spectre of dry hits. The difference it makes to both safety and the enjoyment of vaping is fairly conclusive, which together with the average vaper’s love of novelty is helping the technology spread with amazing speed.

From a high-end item in 2014 it’s now available in entry-level box mods like the iStick, and a year from now non-TC mods will almost certainly be in the minority. That’s not to say all their owners will be using that feature, but as the technology improves and the choice of atomisers expands more and more of them will be. Just like VV and VW before it, TC takes vaping a big step forward. If you haven’t already tried it, you should look for it in your next mod.

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