What should I do first?: The first thing you need to do is connect your charger to the plug that came with your e-cig starter kit and then plug it into a wall outlet. The light on the charger should turn green.
Then, grab one of the batteries that came with it (hopefully you ordered a kit that came with two batteries) and screw it into the hole at the front of the charger. With most models, the light on the battery, itself, blinks a number of times, stops blinking and the charger light turns from green to red.
According to the instructions that come with most kits, you are supposed to charge each one of your batteries for 8 hours the first time. Then, you are supposed to use your e cig for twenty minutes (whatever that means) and give it another one hour charge. Now, if you are a rules follower, do what they say to do.
I have found absolutely no evidence that there is anything even resembling sound electronic theory that supports this strange ritual and have spoken with several electronic engineers who say this is based on old, pre-lithium ion battery technology practices (lithium ion batteries do not have a “memory”). In fact, I have found that these devices actually work better if you use them right out of the box with whatever factory charge was put in the batteries when they tested them. Then, when it dies the first time, charge the battery for 8 hours (this is done with both batteries). After each battery has gotten its first really long charge, they only need to be charged for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours when they go “dead” from then on. (I work with monkeys, mostly, so they aren’t much help as far as figuring these types of things out.)
Please ignore the light on the charger unit. It will turn green way before 8 hours have elapsed. Removing your battery before it has charged for 8 hours may have an adverse effect on its overall life and its useful life between charges.
The way these things are theoretically supposed to work, is that the light will remain red until the battery is charged. The problem is, it may very well tell you that it is charged 20 minutes later. Technically it is charged but not fully charged. You will only get 10 or 15 minutes of use out of it before it dies if it has only charged for 20 minutes.
It should be noted that using a battery that has not been fully charged will produce less than desirable vapor. It is sort of like trying to vacuum with an almost dead battery on your Dust Buster; the engine runs slowly and little to no dirt is picked up!
Okay, my batteries have been charged; now what?: Now, comes the easy part (not that charging the battery was exactly rocket scientist material). Put your e-cig together and start puffing away! There is only one way these things can be put together, so it’s pretty hard to go wrong here (not impossible I’ve found out, but pretty darned hard!).
If you have a two part model (the kind I do not recommend for both performance and cost reasons), there is literally only one way to do this. Screw the battery onto the cartomizer. For the sake of maintaining my faith in the intelligence of humanity, I really hope this is self explanatory. If you can’t figure out how to screw part #1 into part #2, hand it to a monkey and he’ll show you!
If you were smart and purchased a three-part model, it might take the monkey a couple of minutes longer to figure it out. Screw the atomizer (the metal doohickey that is about half the size of the battery) into the battery (the thing you just charged that has a light on the end of it). Once those two pieces are screwed together, it’s simply just a matter of pushing a cartridge onto the e-cigarette.
NOTE: Many times, the atomizers that come with e-cig starter kits have a completely empty cartridge attached to them that is put there solely for the purpose of protecting the atomizer during shipping. Pop this off before putting it onto the battery. An empty cartridge does not have any gauze-like stuffing inside of it and can be thrown away.
Many e-cigarette starter kits come with “pre-loaded” cartridges. Pre-loaded cartridges already have some sort of e-liquid in them, so there’s not much you need to do here. Usually, the plastic wrapper that the cartridges come in have what type and strength of e-liquid is in the cartridge written somewhere on the plastic wrapper (sometimes it is written very small, though). If your kit came with unfilled cartridges, please scroll down a bit to the “How Do I Fill My Cartridge With E-Liquid?” section of this article.
Most of the time there is a rubber/plastic cap on the e-liquid end of the cartridge. Pop the cap off of the cartridge and throw the cap away. Sometimes, there is an additional piece of plastic film under the plastic/rubber cap that is placed there to further protect the freshness of the e-juice inside of the cartridge. If so, that needs to be discarded as well.
The “big hole” side of the cartridge that you just took the cap off of should look like a tube with a piece of liquid-soaked cotton-like material stuffed in it. That is the side that needs to be pushed onto the open end of the atomizer (the “closed end” already has a battery on it). The side with the small hole is the mouthpiece side of the e-cigarette. Your e-cigarette is now charged, assembled and ready for use!
How do I “smoke” this thing?: First off, we do not “smoke” an e-cig; we “vape.” This terminology may come in handy if you are in a restaurant or bar that has a “no smoking” policy. Thank goodness you are only vaping!
If you have a push button style of e-cigarette, like a Joye 510 (also called a Janty, Dura and Pilot, amongst other things), simply press the button down and begin inhaling. The vapor should come quite easily with this type of e-cig. (I’ve already checked … the monkey got this on attempt number three!)
If you have an e-cigarette with an automatic battery like a traditional DSE901 an M401, a bluCig, Greensmoke or Smoking Everywhere e-cig, to name a few, you simply take a drag and the microprocessor within the battery senses you are inhaling and will start releasing the vapor. Although an automatic style e-cigarette battery may sound like it is easier to use, it will take some practice to get it just right. Drawing too hard or too easy will not produce the desired amount of vapor. With ten minutes or so of practice, you should find an amount of suction (for lack of a better term) that is just right for you. (Last time I checked, after 8 months, the monkey was still working on this. A slightly greater degree of intelligence and patience is required with this type of e-cigarette.)
Eeeek! Why is my battery flashing me?: There are two times that a battery may start blinking. Some e-cig models have an automatic cutoff built into the batteries that temporarily shuts the battery down after it has been activated for 5-7 continuous seconds. This is actually a safety mechanism built in to keep people from burning out their atomizers. For those of you that prescribe to the “damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead” mentality, you can trick e cigs that have a battery cutoff by using it for four seconds, backing off for a split second and then starting over again for another 5-7 seconds (surely a 10-12 second drag is enough, isn’t it?).
All e-cigarette batteries eventually need to be recharged. You will notice that the more a battery gets drained, the poorer the ecigarette performs (sort of like me at midnight). Eventually, your e cigarette battery will become completely drained and need a recharge. You don’t have to guess when this happens. Your e-cigarette will let you know by flashing repeatedly. Unlike the blinky thing that happens when you try to use a battery for too many consecutive seconds, a dead battery will begin to flash immediately when you try to use it and no vapor will be produced. The monkey figured this out pretty quickly but continued to press the button on his Joye 510 (he really likes the blinking light!).
One Final Note On Using Your E-Cig: There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to using an e-cigarette. It has been estimated that it takes one or two months for beginners to get to the point where they are completely at ease with using their e-cigarette. There are also many different ways of vaping. Some people like to take multiple small puffs (sometimes called “sips” or “mouthfuls”) in succession with small intakes of air in between each sip. Those that utilize this method claim that it is easier on the throat and that it allows them to taste the flavor of the e-liquid better. Others - especially those who are looking for a “throat hit” - like to take one long drag directly into their lungs. You may want to experiment with each method. In time, you will find a way that works best for you (no two people do it the same).
My Atomizer Is Getting Really Hot - Is This Normal?: An atomizer will definitely get warm while you are using it. If it gets really hot, the vapor production actually decreases. It is best to give the atomizer at least a fifteen second break between drags. This will not only prolong the life of the atomizer, but it will result in better vapor production for you.
How Do I Fill My Cartridge With E-Liquid?: If you planned ahead, you probably purchased some e-liquid (also called e-juice) with your e-cigarette. (NOTE: Just because you did not plan ahead does not mean that you are not smart. You are probably pretty intelligent if you haven’t had to break out the monkey for any of the above steps.)
Filling a cartridge, whether it was a prefilled cartridge or if it is a “blank” is really quite simple; you simply need to add one drop of e-liquid at a time until the filter becomes saturated. A perfectly filled cartridge will look like a “slushy.” There are only three things to remember here:
- If after adding a drop, it still looks like gauze, it needs at least one more drop.
- If after adding a drop, it looks like a little lake, it has one drop too many (not a big deal).
- If after adding a drop, it looks like a slushy, it is perfect and ready to be used!
How Do I Know When I Need To Add More E-Liquid?: When the amount of vapor decreases or when it begins to taste like you are “smoking” a sock, it is time to “top off” your cartridge. Believe me, you’ll know!
How do I Keep from Getting E-Juice in My Mouth?: The number one reason people get e-liquid in their mouths, is that they are holding their e-cigarette incorrectly. Your e-cig needs to be angled so that it is pointing slightly downward toward the floor. If the battery end is higher than the mouthpiece, it is a simple matter of gravity taking over, causing the liquid to flow downhill into your mouth (even the monkey figured this out!).
More Questions?: I can’t possibly remember all of the questions that I get asked about these things when a new user first gets their starter kit. This page may very well be updated as I encounter more questions from first time e-cig users. If you have a question about your new e-cigarette that you would like answered, please ask it in the comments section, below. Who knows? Your question may be so great, that it makes it into the body of this post!
One Final Note: No monkeys were harmed while writing this article.
E-Cig Express Quote of the Day: “An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.” - Charles Darwin
About the author: Scott McKirahan has articles published on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from politics to sports, and is the owner of the e-cigexpress.com website.