Temperature Controlled Vaping
Temperature control. You might have noticed this setting available on your e-cigarette device or mentioned in the manual and never used it, or maybe you tried but didn't understand how it works or what it's for. It's commonly abbreviated to 'TC' in the vaping world and there are some other acronyms associated with TC vaping too, like different wire types such as SS, NI and TI.
If you are unfamiliar with TC vaping then it can be one of the most confusing things to set up to get a good vaping experience. I'll do my best to keep this simple and only explain what needs to be explained to get you up and running with temperature controlled vaping.
First things first, TC vaping will only work with some wire types, that's the metal your actual coil is made from, so if you are currently using Kanthal (KA1) or Nichrome (N80) coils then depending on your tank or dripper you'll need to either buy or make a coil from one of the TC compatible wires. If you don't know either check the packaging or the companies website. If you are using stock coil heads then the most common TC coils currently available are Stainless Steel (SS316) or Nickel (Ni200) I would always recommend trying to find SS316 coils for your tank at first as Stainless Steel is the only wire type that you can safely use in both TC and normal power mode. For that reason it's a good place to start because if you find that TC isn't for you, you can easily switch to wattage or voltage modes and still use the coils. I've always has good results myself with Stainless Steel coils too.
The other thing you need is a mod or device that's capable of operating in TC, most devices that use a menu system and a screen will have this feature although some do not. In most cases you will need to go into the menu and switch the mode from regular power mode to TC mode and choose your wire type, so if you are using Stainless Steel choose the SS option. If you have a compatible coil and the option on your device then you'll be able to use TC.
Why use Temperature Controlled Vaping?
At this point you may be asking yourself, OK, I have a coil made of stainless steel and a device with a SS TC setting, but what's the point?
The biggest benefit to using TC is a constant temperature from the start of your draw to the end. We call it TC but it actually makes more sense to call it temperature limiting. In essence when you push your fire button the voltage will hit the coil and heat it up quickly, when the coil gets to the temperature you have the device set to it will automatically adjust the voltage down to keep the coil at a constant heat rather than applying a constant voltage or wattage. I should point out that it's not really sensing temperature, what it's actually doing is reading the change in resistance of the coil and through clever maths and electronics working out what the temperature of the coil should be at any given moment. That's why you need a compatible wire and the correct setting on your device.
This system will also help prevent you accidentally burning your wicking material if your tank runs dry, the eliquid in and around your coil does a lot of cooling overall and without it your vape coil would get a lot hotter than it should. A TC device that's working as it should will almost immediately cut the power and stop this happening. Another benefit is that it uses slightly less battery power, in wattage mode when you push the fire button the set wattage is applied to the coil throughout your draw. In TC mode it will only use the wattage needed to keep the coil at the set temperature, so it might use 30w to get the coil quickly to temperature then drop to 15w to keep the coil there. It takes far less power to keep a hot coil hot than it does to get it hot from cold. If you get a few more hours before you need to recharge then that's always a good thing.
Setting up for Temperature Controlled Vaping
The thing that really confused me when I first started trying to use TC was trying to get my head around the fact that everything is different to vaping in regular power mode. TC wires have a much lower resistance than regular wires. I was used to vaping on coils with a resistance of 1.8ohm and now I was using a coil with a resistance of under 0.5ohm. I'm sure many of you will think 'I like MTL vaping on higher resistance coils', but remember this is TC, it's different and the resistance of your coil plays a far lesser part in the vape experience in TC mode. You should also make sure the coil and tank is cool and at room temperature before putting the tank onto your mod to let it read the resistance, if it's not it will not be able to detect the changes accurately. I also found that I needed to set the available wattage to higher level than I normally would. If you don't set the wattage high enough then the coil might struggle to reach the temperature you have it set at. In that case you aren't really using the temperature limiting at all during the draw. I'd recommend setting the power to at least 10 or 20w higher than you usually would, remember we are using the temp setting to limit how hot it gets, not the power adjustment. It's a bit like having a 180mph car and we are using a limiter to keep it at a steady 60mph, you can floor it to get to 60mph quickly but it's not going to go any faster. If the power isn't set high enough then you might not even get to 60mph before you reach where you are going, in this case the end of our usual draw time. So if you usually vape at 25w set the power to 40w and set the temperature low at first, take a draw on the device and keep adjusting the temperature up until it's where you like it. You should experience a smooth and consistent draw where the first second of your puff is exactly the same as the moment you stop to exhale whether that's after 3, 5 or 8 seconds.
Issues with Temperature Controlled Vaping
There's a few things that can spoil your TC fun, if your mod doesn't have a TC function or your favourite tank doesn't have an compatible coils then you won't be able to try it without buying more equipment. This could be just the excuse you need to treat yourself or it could be more expenses you could do without. If you are happy with what you have at the moment I would suggest sticking with what you have and exploring the world of TC at a later date when you decide to buy something new anyway. The reason is that some people just don't like TC vaping, especially when they've got very used to vaping in regular power mode, it is a different experience and some people just can't get on with it however much they try.
It has to also be said that some devices just aren't very good at TC. So if you are buying something specifically with the aim of using it in TC mode then I would check out some reviews, ask on vaping forums etc. to make sure what you are thinking of buying does TC well. On YouTube the channels Phil Busardo and DJLsb Vapes both do excellent TC testing so that's where I would recommend starting.
Temperature controlled vaping has been around for quite a long time now but it didn't really take off the way some people predicted it would. The last two vaping devices I've bought don't even have that function, I'm not sure if that's just the current trend of making everything as simple to use as possible or just customer feedback of people saying they just don't ever use it. For some people though it's an appreciated advancement in vaping and it gives them exactly what they want. It does require some experimenting and set up but when you find the wire and settings that work for you it can transform your vape into something far more consistent and brings some useful benefits with it. I'd encourage everyone to give it a try but not to be disappointed if you decide it's not for you.
Simon - My Vape Box