OBS Engine 100W
Always on the lookout for something a little bit different from the rest of the pack, I asked our friends over at Sourcemore if I could try out the OBS Engine 100W mod as I was intrigued by the replaceable battery tube. So is this particular Engine firing on all cylinders or is it going to be a MOT fail?
This arrives in fairly simple packaging with the Engine 100W mod, a manual, USB-C charge cable and a 18650 adapter hidden in the battery compartment. It’s available with either a gunmetal or stainless steel frame with six coloured battery tube options, I was sent the “Gunmetal & Puzzle Purple” variant, additionally it’s available as a full kit with the OBS Engine S sub-ohm tank.
- Size 90 x 37.8 x 27mm
- Zinc Alloy + resin construction
- Replaceable battery tube
- External 21700 battery / 2 amp fast charging
- Power 5~100W / 1.0~8.4V
The Engine 100W mod is surprisingly small and light once you pick it up out of the box, and it remains very pocketable even with a tank and battery fitted. Whilst at first glance this might appear to be a deceptively simple design, there’s actually a delicate mix of curves and bevels on the chassis which make it look appealing and it feels comfortable to hold, my thumb or fingers tend to fall on the beveled section above the battery tube ensuring a good grip, a very clever ergonomic design. I appreciate the minimal branding in play here as well with a simple OBS logo screen printed on one bottom corner and raised “engine” lettering at the top/back, however the black battery cap on the bottom seems a little out of place and I would have preferred this to have matched the rest of the chassis.
The 510 platform is flush with the top of the mod and it’s about 27mm across in this area. Twenty five millimeter atomizers sit perfectly here and there’s even a little room to spare.
Whilst I’m happy to report zero button rattle with nice clicky buttons, the whole front panel does feel a bit “plastic fantastic” and I am concerned about how this will hold up to scratches in the long term. There’s a 0.96” colour screen in play here which is visible even in bright sunlight, or at least current wattage is, despite the deeply tinted finish on the front panel.
On the bottom right corner there’s a USB-C charge port with a claimed 2 amp fast charge capability and, for once, this lived up to the hype. I recorded a peak charging rate of 1.9 amps and everything remained fairly cool to the touch, handy in an emergency but I’d still recommend using an external charger whenever possible.
One of the main draws for the Engine 100W mod is the replaceable battery tube, this is accessed by removing the battery cap and pulling the resin tube down, and these will be available separately if you like to colour coordinate your gear. The battery tube is held in place by an o-ring near the spring loaded positive pin and whilst it is held in place fairly securely, it does come with a couple of issues.
First of all when you’re installing a battery and screwing the battery cap back on, it’s all too easy to pull the tube out of place. I’ve found that the best solution here is to grab hold of the top of the chassis rather than the tube whilst doing this. Speaking of batteries, this passed both of my oversized battery tests which is a bonus.
The second issue is that the battery tube spins, it’s not so loose that it spins freely but if you’re the type that tends to fidget with things then you might find yourself absentmindedly twisting this about in your hands.
This sports a rather cutback experience as is becoming common these days with just a single “power” (wattage) mode available ranging from 5W to 100W with a 21700 battery fitted or 80W with an 18650. You’ll be asked which type of battery you’re using when you change batteries, rather annoyingly the board will then default to a 40W watt output every time, but at least it doesn’t do this if you simply turn the mod on/off with the usual five clicks.
There’s a slightly strange non-standard user interface in use here:
- Wattage adjustment is locked by default. Press up or down 3x to unlock it then adjust wattage, wattage is locked again once you hit the power button.
- Power + down button clears the puff counter.
- Press power 3x to change the screen colour.
- Pressing power + up + down shows what appears to be a serial no and software version.
Whilst this is all very serviceable and easy to use, it is a little odd. The “power 3x to change screen colour” in particular seems out of place and I have occasionally found myself doing this by accident. As “Power + up” and “up + down” both appear to be unused, either of those would probably have been a better choice to prevent this sort of behaviour.
Power delivery seems spot on though and as this has a maximum 8.4 volt output which means there’s a boost circuit in play here so at least it’s not a totally bare bones board, this makes it a much more attractive proposition.
Wattage is only adjustable in 1W increments so I’m sure the mouth to lung crowd will be crying foul here or asking for a voltage mode with finer 0.1v increments. One thing I couldn’t find mentioned anywhere is the supported resistance range, but I’d hazard a guess at the standard 0.1 to 3.0ohm range common in most devices.
- Attractive compact design
- Replaceable battery tube
- Boost circuit with 8.4V output
Non-standard interface with a few bugs
The non quirky, non-standard interface and a couple of other issues I noticed during testing sometimes make this feel like a rushed or unfinished product. For example when you put in a freshly charged battery whilst the battery bar is full, the battery percentage will still only display 90% charge!
Whilst this might make it seem like I’m picking on the OBS Engine 100W mod, that would be an unfair assessment as the board seems to be more than capable and there is proper boost capability here as well which I definitely appreciate. I also like the aesthetics and have found it very comfortable to use. I’m even tempted to purchase a couple of the replaceable battery tubes at some point as well.
They also supplied me with a couple of discount codes to use if you’re interested: