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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Phil Busardo Interview on the PrimusZ...

Good coverage of the PrimusZ... (starts around 5:30...)

Thanks Phil!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

PrimusZ in the Clouds...

Sony 30A - Wherefore Art Thou...??

Over the last few weeks there has been much discussion between myself and Mrs. Wolf regarding the issues of battery safety with respect to mechanical mods, cloud chasing, and so on has occurred at the vape shop (K & D Vape Shop).

First some background.  Vaping involves either "regulated" power or "unregulated power" for the most part.

Unregulated power is basically a battery connected to a coil of wire such that when the battery is connected to the circuit the wire heats up.  In the case of vaping this generates the "vapor."

There are several vaping-related issues with this.

For one, batteries do not emit a fixed, continuous voltage (and hence power level).  When you charge a 3.7V battery fully the voltage is actually 4.2V.  As its used it "runs down" to about 3.6V at which point its completely discharged (you can run it down to 0V but it won't recharge).  So your vaping experience changes over the charge of the battery charge, i.e.,  it might be too much at the start of the charge or it might be too little at the end - in any case there is zero likelihood it will be "just right" for long.

The charge level affects the flavor - more charge means more "throat hit"and nicotine.  Similarly more charge means more vapor which implies more nicotine absorption.  (Imagine the volume of a single huge "cloud" versus twenty tiny clouds.) So your battery level impacts your overall vaping experience.

Regulated power means that there is a control that sets your voltage and as long as the control can maintain that exact voltage it does.  So your vaping, nicotine and so on are "controlled" accurately until the battery dies.

The downside is that the regulation consumes power, i.e., adds overhead, so your battery life overall (as well as your maximum possible power level) is reduced.

Mechanical mods are, for the most part, unregulated (though there is no reason you couldn't build a mechanical regulator).  Instead, they are manually "regulated" by turning them on and off (which is actually what regulation does in the mod world anyway).

So the issue with respect to battery safety becomes this:  What happens when I run a Lithium Ion (or LI variant) through what appears to the battery as a near short, i.e., low ohms or sub ohms?

And what batteries should a shop own offer to people using these types of mods?

The most popular battery today for mechanicals, at least in our neighborhood,  is a "30A Sony" battery.

So, Mrs. Wolf asks, should we sell these 30A Sony batteries?  Are they Safe?

The easiest way to answer this question, I reply, is to "check the specs."

"Specs" are data sheets published by people who build electronic or other devices that outline what the device is and is not capable of doing.  How it should be or should not be used, what happens when you abuse it, how you shouldn't abuse it, etc.

So, after this question, as well as some discussions with other vapers who have stopped into the shop, I set about looking for "specs" on the "30A Sony" battery.

What I would expect to find is an offical Sony Energy Devices (a unit of Sony that actually makes batteries) document that describes this battery - its spec sheet.  The idea is to check these specs and see if the battery is designed to adequately work within the context of a mechanical mod.

But I didn't find this kind of spec sheet.

Instead I found variations of what looks like some kind of PowerPoint (there are several different ones) that look like this.

So it would seem that the "30A Sony" battery is what this chart (taken from the link above) describes.

(If anyone finds a more detailed or specific Sony Energy Devices document I'd like to see it.)

But let's look at this in a little more detail.

First off, remember that batteries are basically "dead" at 3.5V.  So if we inspect this chart we see that at heavy discharge loads (here greater than 20A) the battery comes "out of the gate" dead more or less.  (Note too that the discharge test terminates at 2.5V so no battery goes below this threshold.)

In my experiences designing the GRX 1.0 board for the PrimusZ a battery is pretty useless at 3.5V.

But this is where the 30A seems to start (more or less).

So my thinking is that this battery isn't designed any different than any other in its class and the 30A is coming from this chart.

So what do batteries actually do in a situation like this?

This video (thanks, Erik) gives a pretty good idea:

Basically this guy is comparing the voltage drop across two different mods.  But he is also showing how batteries actually work in a mod.

The first mod emits 3.92V into a .58 ohm load during the test, thus the battery is producing 3.92V/.58 ohms or about 6.7 amps of current.  This works out (using 3.92 x 6.7) to about 26.5 watts.

No where near the "30A" stamped on the battery.

So what are we as a shop looking for in a battery?

Several things:

1) Safety - how does the battery perform when shorted out, i.e., does it catch fire or explode.

2) Reasonable discharge performance into a typical "sub ohm" load.

3) Documentation - does the battery come from a place where we can have some understanding that we know where it came from and how it will work, e.g., reliable, manufacturer-written specifications?

4) Sourcability - can we get this battery more than one time from more than one source? (Batteries are upgraded all the time as the chemistry improves so we really want a reliable battery family...)

So here is a review of a similar battery to what we might use (we actually chose the 15Q).

What's important is probably this chart (from the link above):

This tells us how long the batter will last when churning out 6.7 Amps - about 6-7 minutes before the level falls below about 3.7V.

(And see, this battery is also a "30A" battery if you look at the chart closely enough...)

So what's the bottom line?

We ended up with the SAMSUNG INR18650-15Q.

First, because the spec sheet tells us the battery can handle a dead short without exploding or catching fire.

Second, from research these batteries seem to be used commercially in a lot of tools like drills, etc. and Samsung SDI seems to be a supplier in this market.

Three, we can get them (or newer version) from commercial suppliers.

Fourth, the would appear to have the appropriate amount of power required for a mechanical.

And, with apologies to the guy who made the video above:

The .08V difference between the two modes represents a 1 in 100 (or 1%) accuracy.  I highly doubt the meters used (ohm and power) are that accurate so though one mod "beats" the other you'd have to do a more scientific experiment.

First, you'd have to sample a lot of batteries to see how much they vary (probably more than 1% in my experience).

Second, you'd have to check that the coil ohms value doesn't change as it gets hot or is heated (it does but I don't know how much in this case).

Third, you'd have to know how accurate and reliable your meter's are (.01 matters in these cases and the measurements in the video clearly bounce around).

The bottom line on the video: its probably showing a mostly normal "variance" between all the pieces and parts.

Presuming both mods are made of similarly conductive material I would not expect too much variation.

For those that are interested - stop down and we can discuss this in more detail if you like...

And yes, you can go far below the .58 ohms used in the video.

Yes, the "amps" to the coil goes up.

But this means also means the "voltage drop" worsens as the battery tries to compensate for what amounts to a direct short and your battery life of 6 minutes will decrease proportionally as well.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

PrimusZ "Black Mamba"

We will be attending Vapebash in Chicago this weekend (April 11/12).

Though we don't have a booth just be on the lookout for these mods.

We are looking for a few more folks to be involved in testing the first release so if you are interested let us know by stopping by

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mods and "Vaping" - Some Pre-History...

US Patent 3,200,819 from 1965
For most the notion of a e-cigarette you find in a convenience store is a modern idea.  Most "early adopter" vapers I know started out around 2008 or 2009.

But did you know that there is a "pre-history" of vaping?

At the left is an image from a 1965 patent application for an e-cigarette (full information here).   Invented by Herbert A. Gilbert (who is still alive today - I found this because he did an interview somewhere) this e-cigarette patent is one of the reasons that modern "big tobacco" doesn't own the "vaping" market (nor can the Chinese inventors of the modern vape).

To patent something today related to e-cigarettes you have to show that there is no "prior art."  Prior art meaning that no one has either already invented or sold your idea commercially.

Since this patent covers the basic modern notion of a e-cigarette quite well so there isn't much room for new invention in terms of new patents.  Of course, you can always invent new details or mechanisms (a sharper razor) to accomplish some part of the vaping process better, but you can't claim "invention" (and hence control over) the basic concept.

The patent description says: "The present invention relates to a smokeless nontobacco cigarette and has for an object to provide a safe and harmless means for and method of smoking by replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavored air; or by inhaling warm medication into the lungs in case of a respiratory ailment under direction of a physician. Another object of the invention is to provide an article of manufacture resembling a cigarette by which air may be drawn through a porous substance of a cartridge which has been moistened with a chemically harmless flavoring preparation, combining moisture and taste following which the moist and flavored air passes through a section of the device heated by a suitable heating element so that warm, moist and flavored air is drawn into the mouth and if desired into the lungs of the user."

But pre-history doesn't end there.

There is a peer-reviewed scientific journal called "Tobacco Control" (from the main page Tobacco Control describes itself as "Tobacco Control is an international peer review journal covering the nature and consequences of tobacco use worldwide; tobacco's effects on population health, the economy, the environment, and society; efforts to prevent and control the global tobacco epidemic through population level education and policy changes; the ethical dimensions of tobacco control policies; and the activities of the tobacco industry and its allies").

From 2003 you'll find an article titled "Estimating the health consequences of replacing cigarettes with nicotine inhalers."

The Background section of the paper describes: "A fast acting, clean nicotine delivery system [ed. note Vaping] might substantially displace cigarettes. Public health consequences would depend on the subsequent prevalence of nicotine use, hazards of delivery systems, and intrinsic hazards of nicotine."

And the conclusions?

"Clean nicotine inhalers [ed. note Vaping?] might improve public health as much as any feasible tobacco control effort. Although the relevant risk estimates are somewhat uncertain, partial nicotine deregulation deserves consideration as part of a broad tobacco control policy."

Though they don't describe what a "clean nicotine inhaler" is in any detail - they really did not exist in 2003 - the conclusion here is, in my opinion, that is what is called "Vaping" today will "improve public health" as much as any tobacco policy.

What does this mean?

Rather than trying to strangle out cigarettes you might be at least as well off providing the public something like "vaping..." to do the same job.

Some food for though.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Perspective on

From this as well as other sources:

During the 3-1/2 years of World War 2 that started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and ended with the surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, the United States produced 22 aircraft carriers, 8 battleships, 48 cruisers, 349 destroyers, 420 destroyer escorts, 203 submarines, 34 million tons of merchant ships, 100,000 fighter aircraft, 98,000 bombers, 24,000 transport aircraft, 58,000 training aircraft, 93,000 tanks, 257,000 artillery pieces, 105,000 mortars, 3,000,000 machine guns, and 2,500,000 military trucks.

About 2,300,000 combat sorties were flown.

We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services, invaded Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy, won the battle for the Atlantic, planned and executed D-Day, marched across the Pacific and Europe.

In addition the US designed, tested and deployed the two atomic bombs, in the process constructing Los Alamos research laboratory, developed the know how and research to refine uranium and create plutonium weapons, and ultimately conquered Japan and Germany.

During the almost exact same amount of time the Obama administration has been unable to build a functioning web site that can accurately register and track seven million insurance registrations.

Little wonder old geezers today have so little respect for the ability of the "modern generation..."

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Nicotine Poisoning Statistics: All You Really Need to Know...

We've all seen the screaming headlines on how "poisonous" e-juice is: Selling a Poison by the Barrel: Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes by the NY Times, is a good example.

It's also on the nightly news:

So I was, of course, curious what the truth was.
Childhood poisoning

My first research turned up this article where we find the following:
Looks kind of alarming, especially when you compare it to the CBS report above: "For the report, the CDC examined records of phone calls made to poison control centers regarding conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes and nicotine liquid, with a total of 2,405 calls for e-cigarette and 16,248 cigarette exposure calls from September 2010 to February 2014. Among e-cigarette phone calls, 51.1 percent involved children 5 years or younger, while 42 percent of calls were for people 20 and older. "

The number 2,405 calls jumps out over four years (2010 to 2014), or about six hundred a year.

But then I looked a bit more closely at my first research.

Why, its a set of statistics only for the Washington DC metro area only.  DC Metro, according to Wikipedia, has around 6,000,000 million people, or less than 1/50th of the US population.

So we have to multiply these numbers by 50 to get an idea of the national stats (I looked around on the CDC website but I could not find this kind of poisoning info in the same simple form).

So, the evil "Arts/Crafts/Office Supply" industry must poison about 447 x 50 or about 22,000 children each year.

As opposed to 600 or so for e-cigarette juice.

Of course, cosmetics (no safety caps there - and no doubt the epitomy of evil for its lack of concern about child safety), poisons a mere 125,000 or so children each year in my estimation.

One hundred and twenty five thousand.

A little quick math and we see that across all the types of poisoning listed there are probably at least 500,000 childhood poisonings reported each year in the US.

Now if we assume that each e-cigarette user does at least one thing on the list above: uses a cleaner, or has plants, for example, we can see that, at 600 incidents per year, e-cigarette users are actually far more responsible with the e-juice than regular household items.

But no one thinks about this in this way, nor do they report it...

Perhaps the problem is that mom's (or dad's for that matter) makeup kit has no safety lock - hmmm, but that would make putting on makeup while in stop-and-go DC beltway traffic difficult - wouldn't it?

Plus who would feel empowered or chic by a make-up kit with a fiddly safety lock on it.

So all these reports on the dangers of e-juice are, to put it as kindly as possible, pure, absolute BS.

Sure, 600 poisonings is too many, but if you really wanted to save children you'd be thinking about safety caps on "cosmetics/personal care products" because tens of thousands of more children would be saved from poisoning.

(But then no one reports this on the news and that's not really politically correct, is it...?)

Childhood poisoning, if you look at the DC web page, has an upside.   More than half of the incidents reported are handled over the phone, i.e., no one goes to the hospital.  One imagines that this is also true for the e-juice poisoning as well (and though e-juice might say "Strawberry" on the bottle - which a five year old cannot read anyway - it surely does not taste like Strawberry - more like shit in my opinion).  So while little Jr. might put it in his mouth I doubt it will stay there for long.

Childhood poisoning is no laughing matter.

But it would seem that news outlets think that its more responsible to pick on or bully ex-smokers (because that's what vapers are) than to actually care about what happens to "the children."