So what exactly is Temperature Control?
[pullquote-left]Nickel 200 wire (Ni200) differs from Kanthal in one very basic, very important way – it can allow your device to sense the temperature at which the coil is currently burning. This, in turn, allows your device to adjust its power output (wattage) in order to continue to burn at that exact temperature.[/pullquote-left]
This wire works very efficiently to heat very quickly, a perfect material for the ‘quick hit’ you need from your vape.
But don’t hold down that button for too long – Kanthal heats up continuously when the output voltage or wattage of your device is consistent. Basically, if you’ve set your device at 20 watts, the longer you hold the button down the hotter the coil will get, and the hotter your vape will get.
This hasn’t proven to be too much of an issue in the past. Coils were of reasonably high resistance early on, so they never got to extreme temperatures. And when coils became lower in resistance, we were all able to monitor our inhale to ensure that when the vape got too warm, we stopped inhaling.
But the vaping world doesn’t like to sit still when it comes to innovation, and it doesn’t like to just accept the limitations of a particular type of wire. Naturally, something had to change.
Enter the nickel coil.
Nickel 200 wire (Ni200) differs from Kanthal in one very basic, very important way – it can allow your device to sense the temperature at which the coil is currently burning. This, in turn, allows your device to adjust its power output (wattage) in order to continue to burn at that exact temperature.
At its heart, that’s exactly what temperature control does for you – it adjusts your wattage the longer you hold down the button. Whereas with Kanthal your wattage stays the same and your temperature rises, with Ni200 your temperature stays the same and your wattage lowers.
Do I need to use Temperature Control?
But what does all this mean? Do you even need to worry about it?
The short answer is no, you don’t need to worry about it. If you’ve been vaping for any extended period of time then you’ll know that vaping without temperature control is perfectly acceptable, and thoroughly enjoyable.
The longer answer is still no – you don’t need temperature control, but you might just like to try it out, and there’s a chance that you’ll end up preferring it.
Advantages of Temperature Control
You’ll get a smooth, consistent vape all of the time. You’ll quickly get used to how much easier it is to take a longer draw on your device when your vape doesn’t get overwhelmingly hot.
With the advent of sub-ohm tanks in the last 12 months, more and more people are getting into low-resistance coils of 0.5 ohms or less – the first thing you would have noticed is how hot these got on a long inhale. No more of that. While a coil still does heat up, your device will adjust its output to account for this and attempt to keep the temperature consistent. Likewise, chain vapers will notice that the coil doesn’t ‘stay hot’ between vapes, so your next vape won’t heat up exponentially.
Here’s a chart to demonstrate how this works over the course of a single vape – notice that the wattage adjusts to keep the temperature the same.
Your battery will last longer. Because your device is lowering its power output over the course of your vape, it’s not putting out as much power in order to achieve the desired vape. The difference in battery life depends on a number of factors when it comes to temperature control – the temperature at which you set your device, the wattage you set in order to determine how hard it hits initially, what type of coil you use (more on this later) – but all of them lead to a longer battery life.
The popular temperature control-capable eVic-VT kit from Joyetech shows a significant improvement on battery life using their Ni200 or Titanium coils over the Kanthal coils also available.
No more dry hits. This one is a bit misleading. You’ll still get a pretty awful taste if you run your tank dry and take a nice, long hit even in temperature control mode. But for anyone who’s used a dripper built to a low resistance and taken an inhale when the cotton has gone dry, this is a huge advantage as it will taste about a thousand times better without burning your throat. That’s where the ‘no more dry hits’ really shines, but it’s something you’ll appreciate less if you only ever use tanks.
Different types of Temperature Control wire/coils
Nickel 200 came first, and has since been followed by both Titanium (Ti1) and Stainless Steel (SS 316L).
All temperature control devices will work with Ni200 coils, which is why there’s a whole bunch of tanks capable of taking Ni200 coils currently on the market. The Kanger Dual Coils, Kanger Subtank, Aspire Nautilus, Aspire Atlantis and many more have an Ni200 option. Any temperature control tank you buy will typically have these included as the default as they’re the most common, and therefore probably the easiest to find information on and use.[pullquote-right]You should prime your coil in exactly the same way as with any regular device – add a couple of drops of liquid to the cotton within the coil, fill the tank and allow it to stand for a couple of minutes to soak juice onto the rest of the coil, and then take shorter puffs for the first couple of minutes of use.[/pullquote-right]The Titanium coils are gaining traction for a couple of reasons – Titanium is generally regarded as a safer wire to heat up to high temperatures and then inhale vapour from. Additionally, the Titanium coils don’t need to heat up to as high a temperature to perform comparably to the Ni200 coils. Many of the new temperature control tanks will also come with a Ti1 coil, and many of the newer devices support this coil right off the bat.
On the ‘safer’ note, the main concern surrounding Ni200 wire is that it can, by conservative estimates, cause Nickel oxide when burned at 720-degrees Fahrenheit or higher. No temperature control device on the market currently fires at temperatures as high as this.
SS 316L coils are new in the last few weeks, so not too much study has been done on them. Generally support for these coils is not a default option for most devices, however some devices are adding support through firmware upgrades.
How to set up your Temperature Control device
There are two elements to setting up your device to use in temperature control mode. Firstly, we must state that you should prime your coil in exactly the same way as with any regular device – add a couple of drops of liquid to the cotton within the coil, fill the tank and allow it to stand for a couple of minutes to soak juice onto the rest of the coil, and then take shorter puffs for the first couple of minutes of use.
How you set your device now will depend on what kind of device you’re using. Let’s go with an eVic-VT kit, which is a 60-watt device, and look at how you’d set that up.
When you turn the device on after filling the tank and priming the coil, it will default to 450-degrees Fahrenheit and 60 watts. 450F is rather low for a Ni200 coil, and will produce a cool vape with a small-to-medium amount of vapour production. The wattage, in a temperature control device, essentially tells the device how ‘hard’ to hit, or how quickly to achieve the desired temperature. As it happens, the default settings are excellent for starting out.
At 60 watts the eVic-VT will achieve 450F very quickly, so you get the initial hit you’re after. Since the device reaches that temperature quickly, it will adjust the wattage down quickly to remain at 450F.
You may find that 450F is too low for your comfort, and generally we recommend a temperature somewhere in the 470-540F range; at this point, it’s all about what feels good for you. Gradually adjust your temperature upwards to find your sweet spot.
Fahrenheit vs. Celsius
Most of us in Australia are familiar with temperature in Celsius. Most devices, however, are built with the American market in mind and default to Fahrenheit. Similarly, the majority of the information out there will regard Fahrenheit. We’ve spoken exclusively here about Fahrenheit for this reason, and when using a temperature control device it doesn’t really matter what shows on the dial once you’re used to it. But for the purposes of bringing this back to our accepted measurements, we’ve included a chart of Fahrenheit and Celius temperatures that are common for temperature control devices.