Mechanical Mods – A Primer for Advanced Users
Let's talk a bit more about mechanical mods – these devices were all the rage circa 2014, when high-powered vaping first started gaining in popularity and regulated box mods still stuck users with outputs in the 15-watt range, well below the 40 or more watts advanced custom builds (and at the time, all builds lower than 1.5 ohm were pretty much custom) were craving.
In the years that have passed, mechanical mods have been overtaken by regulated devices that provide more power and a higher level of safety to users. But there are still hobbyists out there who prefer the simplicity of a mechanical device.
What's the difference between a regulated mod and a mech, you ask? Simple – with a regulated device, the user selects a desired power output via an onboard computer. The mod measures the input resistance from the device topper and calculates how much power it needs to deliver to achieve the user's desired wattage or temperature. But a mech has no computer – it's simply a battery holder with a switch – push the button and the switch is activated, delivering as much power as the batteries are capable to the topper.
The biggest drawback here is the danger, especially if the mod user doesn't have a thorough grasp of Ohm's Law (don't worry, we have a tutorial with helpful links in the archive). If you ask your batteries to deliver more power, measured in amps, than they're capable of safely providing by pairing your mod with an atomizer build whose resistance is too low, you run the risk of sending your cells into thermal meltdown. That means overheating, fire, explosions, and other thoroughly unpleasant results that frequently cause grievous injury to the end user.
If you're going to use a mechanical mod, check both our Ohm's Law guide linked above and our previous mech use primer for tips on building and wire type. You're not going to get temp going to achieve a consistent vape – as your batteries get weaker so does your vape, so expect to spend some time developing a feel for when you need to swap out cells.
With all these drawbacks, why does anyone still want to vape mechanically? To be honest the practice is mostly lost on your author, who's been happily vaping regulated devices since 100 watts became market standard nearly two years ago (a number quickly surpassed to the point 200 and even 300-watt devices are pretty commonplace today). But for serious hobbyists, including entrants in cloud competitions where regulated devices are often banned, mechanical mods are still the way to go. Remember that safety is key here, and that building within your battery's limits is the biggest key to safety. For a little extra reading, please check out this post I put together a while back for new users in general – while some of the information is a bit dated, mechanical mods haven't changed much over the years and my advice still applies. As an added bonus, you'll get real battery specs, which are important to know as inflated claims by manufacturers are often what get people in trouble and place them in those fire, explosions, and thoroughly unpleasant situations. Happy vapor trails!