NOTICE: OBJECTS IN PICTURES ARE SMALLER THAN THEY APPEAR
So this is a review and a documentary. It's a review, because you're going to learn a lot about the SmokTech Octopus Dripper and it's a documentary, because this is my FIRST RDA and even though I've learned a lot from using Genesis style atomizers, working with a dripper (as I'm told) is a whole new experience.
So this review is looooooong overdue.... It's overdue for 2 reasons. The first, is that I didn't think I'd want one (we'll see if that's still true or not). Second, because I thought I'd be reviewing the SM2.0 (which is actually a SmokTech Squid knockoff), but because it's sooooo tiny, I decided to put that off...
So let's talk about the Octopus for a moment.... If you don't know what this is, it's a REBUILDABLE DRIPPING ATOMIZER (also referred to as an RDA or just a "dripper"). Maybe you've seen that term, maybe you haven't. If you haven't, basically what we have here is what's (supposed to be) a VAPING POWERHOUSE that's (supposed to) produce copious amounts of Vapor at the inconvenience of having no tank. Now while it might be inconvenient for some to not have a tank, it does have one MAJOR BENEFIT, and that is the ability to quickly and easily TEST OUT NEW eLIQUIDS! Aside from that, the other significant benefit, in addition to massive Vapor production and quick eLiquid turnaround, is its FLAVOR REPRODUCTION. If you want to know what your eLiquid REALLY TASTES LIKE, everybody and their grandma says that you should try a dripper. So that's where I am today!
As you can see from the image above, this particular RDA has something that most drippers do not. It has 2 very easy to use thumbscrews, as opposed to most of them using hex-screws or phillips-head screws. Trust me, not needing to have a hex-key (allen key/allen wrench) is a big deal when you're working with something like this.
As you can see, the one that I have here (which is from DiscountVapers.com), is scratched at the top. I thought about sending Eric an email (Eric is one of my favorite e-tailers!), but I decided that any minor OCD I may or may not have, was less important than the fact that a couple of tiny incidental scratches really doesn't matter enough for me to bother him. I mean, it's not like he did it himself and then sent it out to me, knowing I was going to review it... LOL!
Now drippers generally use a Silica Wick (as you can see above). There's nothing stopping you from using an oxidized stainless wick, but most "Flavorcentric Vapers" prefer the overall flavor profile of the eLiquid from either Silica or from Cotton. The Octopus gets its name from the fact that it uses 4 folded-over wicks in order to produce 8-strands (or legs) to hold your eJuice. As I understand it, the wick that comes with the Octopus can hold a whopping 1ml of eLiquid without a tank. I tested the coil that came with this wick (which by the way, is not the worst one I've ever seen) on my VAMO and it tested out at 1.8 ohms (which by the way is pretty good, considering that it's advertised to come with a 1.7 ohm coil).
Now, this particular RDA has 2 posts. Technically, that means it's a "single-coil" device. However, due to it's somewhat large size and easy to use thumbscrews, I would think that if you wanted to run dual or even quad-coils, that it shouldn't be too much hassle. I probably won't do that, but you've got the flexibility if you want it.
One additional thing to note about the dripper that I purchased, is that it is CLEARLY an Octopus Version 2.0. I didn't even know that there was such a thing, however if you look carefully at the picture above (sourced from DiscountVapers.com), it clearly shows the hole on the "floor" of the inside. The one that I have, has a RAISED airhole under the coil assembly. If I had to make a guess, I'd say that they did this to eliminate (or reduce) the chance of the eLiquid seeping out of the airhole. To be fair, I hadn't heard about anyone having a problem, but I suppose an inexperienced user could think that they had to put WAY MORE eJuice in their RDA than they needed to, thereby creating an unintentional problem. So anyway, that's good news... I like getting upgraded stuff. It's also nice to know that SmokTech actually fixes their products, even before they explode.
I also plan to take this opportunity to review some of the 8 billion eLiquids that I need to review for an upcoming Blog post for NicoPure Labs (ok, it's only 36, but that's a LOT of eJuices to review). I say it like that, because so far my experience with the eVo line of eLiquids has not been positive... But hey, I'm game... I'm ready, willing and more than ready to be surprised!
Update 7/19/2013 - The NicoPure Labs review is UP! You can read it HERE!
My setup for this review:
I'm going to be using the Octopus on my Sigelei Mechanical Mod #19...
If I have any issues, I may fall back to my VAMO, but I don't expect any...
I AM going to use the stock wick & coil, if for nothing else, than to review it...
If it doesn't work well/taste good, I've got plenty of Silica and Kanthal to rewrap...
STOP: So as I'm about to start using it (and long story short), I find out that the 510 connector is BENT and I load the wick up with eJuice and don't ask me how or why, but it's leaking from the 510 connector too! I contacted Eric at DiscountVapers.com and I've got a replacement already in the mail! Have I mentioned lately how much I like DV?
You could almost say that he's "Super"! :)
So I took the opportunity to do a couple of things. The first thing I wanted to know, was how BIG the air holes are. Remember, there's three. One is under the coil, one is on the side by the gaskets and one is in the top cap. The two on the inside are both 1.15mm. The one on the top cap is 1.3mm, so the max airflow through the default holes is 1.15mm. The current hole in the top cap is drilled into the bottom most recessed area. I'm going to drill a 1.7mm air hole into the topmost recessed area. I checked and this will put the air hole right next to the wick/coil. The other thing this will do, is eliminate my need to line up the topcap with the hole that's between the 2 O-rings. So I guess this will be my first MOD. LOL...
As you can see above, I went ahead and drilled the hole, loaded the wick up and STOP.
The wick/coil that came with this device tastes funny, so I'm done...
I wrapped a new wick/coil, 5 wraps of 29 gauge Kanthal on a double/double of 3mm Silica wick and reloaded it with eJuice and POW! Of course the image above may not be my finest work, but @ 1.2 ohms, with no hot-spots, it's firing nicely. BTW, the fact that the included wick/coil needed to be replaced is NO BIG DEAL. More than 99% of quality made RBA's don't come with one at all (for those of you who are wondering, I did trim the "loop" at left before I loaded it up with eJuice).
Now that I've got the Octopus working properly, we can get down to business.
The first thing that I notice about this setup, is that I don't notice any difference between using this and an RBA like my AGA-T2. Of course that now presents another issue, because I think that the flavor/Vapor from the Kanger Protank is ON PAR with my RBA. I'm wondering if perhaps I don't have enough wick. I'm wondering if the resistance of my coil is too high. I wonder, I wonder, I wonder....
So as an experiment, I wrapped this:
That's *12* diameters of Silica wick. Oh yeah, I need to mention that I had a buddy of mine mention to me, that he didn't think that the Silica I was using was 3mm. He was right. I pulled out my digital micrometer and confirmed that it's only 1.54mm!!! The place I purchased it from has mislabeled this product and has been notified. In any event, I wound up with a 1.3 ohm coil (which is awesome for 3 wraps of Kanthal), but as you can clearly see, if I left it like this I'd be wasting MOST of that wick.
As you can see, what we have this time, is the same thickness as experiment #1, but I'm wasting less Silica in the process. Since the wick is the same (12 diameters), the coil came out to 1.3 ohms again.
One note about coils and resistance. For those of you that don't know, the lower the resistance, the HOTTER the coil gets and the higher the resistance the COOLER the coil stays. THERE ARE BENEFITS TO BOTH, so don't let someone with no electronics knowledge confuse you into thinking that "sub ohm vaping is better". 99% of sub ohm vapers will readily admit that their Vapor is HOT, HOT, HOT! If you've got super-sensitive taste buds, getting the eJuice that hot will BURN the eLiquid and make it taste not so great. The hottest coil I've been able to USE has been .7 ohms. Anything lower than that tends to make MOST eLiquids taste like poop.
Final wick experiment:
While I liked the appearance of the last wick/coil setup, I still wanted to go for a narrower width. We're not talking the width of the coil, but I still can't justify wasting that much wick. If you look at most videos that show coil wrapping techniques for RDA's, you will clearly see them cut off 60-70% of their wick. If you just take your time and do it slowly (meaning that it takes 30 seconds to make the wick instead of say 8 seconds), you will get what I have above. The center coil above looks like it's too loose/sloppy, but I manually adjusted it right after I took the picture. This coil is 12 diameters @ 1.3 ohms, perfect.
The real question now is, "how does it taste and was it worth my time doing it?"...
So it's now 2 months later (I stopped writing this for the following reason)...
I went ahead and pulled out "the precious"... My last 12ml of Boba's Bounty that's been steeping for the past 2 months. From what I understand, steeped BB on an RDA is like "Heaven". While I'm sure that's far from true, it's the only eJuice I have in my possession that is worth trying on this RDA.
So I trimmed up the ends of the wick and loaded it up with Boba's Bounty and after I made sure that the coil was firing properly, I went ahead and started Vaping on it....
HMM... I'm not getting what I'm expecting here. Every video I watch where people are doing something similar, shows copious amounts of Vapor and claims ridiculous amounts of flavor too. I'm not seeing that at all. The Vapor is no better than an AGA-T2 and the flavor is maybe slightly less.
So I'm stopping this review for now.
You see, I'm really happy with my Kanger ProTank, so I'm not really looking for a new "hobby" if you catch my drift. I've got so many other things going on in my life, that I don't need to spend this much time "perfecting" an RDA.
Remember, the object of Vaping is supposed to be getting rid of Analog Cigarettes. If you were smoking and you wanted a better experience, maybe you'd try another brand. You wouldn't go out and spend ridiculous amounts of time trying to figure out a better way to smoke!
I am still interested in possibly getting a dripper of some kind. Possibly a LR306 or LR510 from Empire Mods. Remember, the idea of quickly trying an eLiquid, without committing to filling up a tank is compelling. I figure that it could come in really handy, especially with me doing this Blog and testing out eLiquids.
Again, I'm sorry I hit the brakes on this Blog entry, but believing that I've done everything correctly and then winding up with the results that I have, I figured that I was better off moving on, than beating a dead horse.
Thanks for the kick in the pants to get this online Sandie!
If you appreciate what I'm doing here, you know what to do....
Like it, Tweet it, Share it, +1 it, tell your dog about it, etc... ;)
(most images used above are mine, others sourced from www.discountvapers.com & www.google.com)