Anatomy of a Mechanical Mod

Posted 1st September 2014 by blademansw
This guide is intended to gently ease you into the very shiny world of mechanical mods, explain the terminology and how to use them safely.

What is a Mechanical Mod (mech)?

A mech is at its simplest either a metal tube or box to hold a battery, a 510 connector and a mechanical switch.

When the switch is operated, the battery is directly connected to the 510 connector and hence the attached atomiser.

There are no safety functions as standard in a mech, just normally a locking ring for a tube mod, some devices do not even benefit from this feature.

When you use a mech you are responsible for ensuring that the atomiser you have attached is of a suitable resistance, with no short circuits.

You will also need to be aware of when your battery is going flat and you need to change it as there is no undervolt protection either. You will know that your battery is going flat as the quality of vape will fall. Be warned though, it is possible to damage batteries by running them down too flat.

Later on we will discuss a device known as a Kick which is very useful for newcomers to mechs.

There are frequent discussions (sometimes heated) over the use of cloned mechs vs originals. This is not a subject I will get into except to say you should always purchase the original devices if this fits within your vaping budget.

Components of a mech

This example describes the various components of a Nemesis clone. The original device is designed and manufacturerd by Atmomixani.

Here is the complete device, configured in kicked 18650 mode.

Here is the device ready to be assembled in 18350 mode. Note the locking ring for the switch that threads onto the base of the device and the switch on the bottom right.
Also take note of the small holes in the base of the 18350 section above the threading, these are for battery venting, as are the grooves in the threading on the switch.
You should always ensure that any mech you use has sufficient venting in case of battery failure.
If you cannot blow through the device with the switch attached and without the 510 connector in place you have a pipe bomb.

Here is the device with the 18650 tube attached to the 18350 section, with the locking ring installed.

Here is the adjustable 510 connector. This device offers base airflow through the 510 connector and out of the sides of the 510 connector. The airflow is adjustable by rotating the polished ring.
The 510 (positive) pin is threaded and can be adjusted in and out to suit the atomizer.

The 510 connector attached to an atomiser. To attach an atomiser, screw it into the 510 connector, then snug up the positive pin when it is fully attached.

Battery rattle can be adjusted at the switch. The 510 connector should never be over tightened as you may struggle to remove it otherwise.

Locking switch set to locked position. You can stand the device on end with the lock ring in this position.

Locking switch unlocked and ready to fire.

What is a Kick

A Kick is a small electronic module that you can insert into a tube mech that gives you short circuit protection, wattage control and under-voltage protection. The Kick was originally developed by Evolv and has subsequently been cloned and adapted by various Far East manufacturers.


(Sigelei Kick)

The Kick is inserted into the mech with the positive terminal (shown) towards the atomiser. The battery's positive terminal must contact the terminal on the underside of the kick for correct functionality. Adjust the Kick to the required wattage using the small trim pot (the Sigelei Kick shown goes from 5W to 10W). If you have a short circuit, the Kick will not allow the device to fire, and if you go undervoltage on the battery, the kick will produce a stuttering effect to your vape and then shut off until a new battery is installed.


(Kick installed in the Nemesis Kick tube with Kick ring attached)

Batteries and Battery Safety

Even if you do not plan to use your mech for sub ohming, I would personally always recommend that you select the highest performing safe chemistry batteries that are currently available.
The price difference really is negligible, I do not understand why anyone would purchase anything less.
That may come from my experience for many years in the field of RC Modelling, I have seen batteries go bad and it's not a pretty sight.
Always buy your batteries from a reputable vendor and research what you are purchasing and that it is suitable for what you are doing.

I would also recommend a decent charger such as the NiteCore range, or Efest Luc.

Batteries I would suggest are as follows at the time of writing:

18650

Sony VTC4 (20 amp continuous)
Sony VTC5 (30 amp continuous)
Efest IMR 18650 35A purple (20 amp continuous, 35 amp pulse)

18350

Efest IMR 18350 10.5A purple (10.5 amp continous)

Just to re-iterate, research that your batteries are capable of the load you wish to present to them.

Vape Safe

Vape Safe 2 is a fuse that attaches magnetically to the negative terminal of your battery and protects you against a short circuit condition. It will also trip if more than 6A is consumed by your device.
Please visit Vape Safe for more information.

Thanks go to Red Head Full Of Steam for pointing out this one to me!

Using the mech

To use your mech, decide which battery size you are going to use, and check the resistance of your atomiser is suitable for this battery. Check for shorts using a resistance meter.

You can use the online resources at Steam Engine to help with battery selections.

Attach the relevant tubes together and install the lock ring.
If you are going to use a Kick, install the Kick into the Kick tube and attach the kick ring.
Install the atomiser onto the 510 connector and snug up the 510 connector pin.
Screw the 510 connector onto the top of the mech.
Slide the battery into the mech positive terminal first.
Screw the switch into the mech, and tighten it up until the battery no longer rattles. You never want to overtighten the switch as it can cause autofiring, misfiring or jamming.

Test fire the mech, and if all is correct you should hear the delightful crackle from your vapouriser.

When you have finished lock the device with the locking ring before you place it down or put it in your pocket for example.

Troubleshooting

If you cannot get any parts seperated from the mech, like the kick ring for example, place it in the freezer overnight then use rubber gloves to disassemble the device.

You can use a compound such as Noalox on threads to lubricate and keep the threads free from corrosion or oxidation.

If your mech suddenly gets hot or you suspect a battery failure, do not mess about. Immediately go outside and chuck it away from you into a safe area. If the battery is going to vent, let it happen and don't try and stop it.

You can always get a new battery, you can't get a new hand.