Upgrading My Loyal Nautilus Mini at Last
It’s been over two years since I quit smoking. The first few months saw a steady stream of new devices pass my lips in the quest for lung satisfaction. Spindly little batteries as thin as a BIC pen with a tiny coil and polyfill didn’t cut it. After a couple of months I had the basics worked out and was pretty happy with my Kanger Protank and Vision Spinner but a friend got a Nautilus Tank and it looked nicer so I did one more upgrade. Oh yea, I also switched to an iStick box mod while experimenting with different low-ohm Kanger coils and finally ended up with a 50W VW. It was a little bulkier but it lasted 2 days on a Nautilus, which I ran at about 8 watts with a 12mg concentration of nic (half of the 24mg I began my journey with).
I would probably have been content with the Nauty forever but I kept seeing all this talk about sub-ohm, specialty coils and temperature control and curiosity got the better of me again. I decided this time out to try and do it on a shoestring. I didn’t want to spend a pile of money but I wanted to dip my toes in the water. The effort was well worth it so I thought I’d share my experience with other vapers who might still be on the fence.
I looked at some of the advanced kits available and was tempted to drop a hundred and get everything new. The Vaporesso Target Pro had my eye since it first came out, as did the Tesla Stealth 100W. Within weeks of looking around the Kanger Arymi Armor and Smok Beasts were out and I was really torn. I didn’t want to make a choice that I’d live with for the next 2 years knowing I could have done better. I figured since I already had a reasonable 50 watt mod I’d hunt around for a compatible tank that would offer some of the updates and I could always invest in a new TC mod down the road or a complete kit if the improvements proved worthwhile. I wanted a tank that would give me top-fill convenience and modern clapton or ceramic sub-ohm coils. I hoped for fuller vapes and more flavor.
There are so many choices today it gets quite overwhelming at times. The TFV8 really is a cloud beast but the coils are not cheap and until I was convinced of the benefits I couldn’t justify increasing my day to day costs. One thing I kept in the back of my mind was coil compatibility. If the manufacturer employed a standard coil design that fit a variety of tanks chances are coil replacement would be cheaper (more competition) and I would have an easier time finding a replacement in a pinch. That got me to thinking about Vaporesso again. Their heads fit the Atlantis spec.
I went back to Vaporesso and discovered they had a stand-alone tank called the Estoc. It’s a 4ml top-fill with a wide bore delrin tip. Vaporesso only recently revamped their coils to be more ecological, making the metal sleeve fixed so only the coil portion is replaced. These new EUC coils are packaged in groups of 10 at the same price we normally pay for 5. Add to that Vaporesso offers these in both clapton and ceramic coils and this was starting to look like an answer.
I ordered the Estoc online for $27.00 Canadian and received it in about a week. The coil was pre-installed so all I had to do was fill it with joose and wait a couple minutes for the ceramic and cotton to soak. I took my first hit at 8.2 watts and was not impressed. I looked online and they were rated for around 40W so I bumped it up and took another hit. For me, it was too much of a good thing. The vapor seemed to shoot out of the tip at a rate I wasn’t used to. I knocked it back down to a little over 20 watts and I’ve kept it there for the last couple days. I freakin’ love it!
There is no doubt about it, the flavor comes through in spades. As does the throat and lung hit. I found myself experimenting with every flavor I owned, and even started to enjoy ones I used to think sucked. I had to mix in some low or 0 nic with most of them because the sub-ohm seems to really deliver it. I had a few coughing fits before I got the levels right. If you’re ordering your first sub-ohm I’d suggest picking up some low or 0 nic along with it to use with your stronger blends.
Overall, Id say it could be the best thirty bucks I ever spent. I’m enjoying every draw. The battery runs down quicker running at 22 watts and I refill more often but part of that could be because I can’t leave it alone. It’s almost like when I first started vaping. From what I’ve read, these ceramic coils last for months instead of weeks so I will actually be saving money with this upgrade. Anyone out there still on the fence, I highly recommend the upgrade and whole-heartedly give the Vaporesso Estoc 2 thumbs up. (read further – not so much).
Six Weeks In…
I was doing fine and then started experiencing random leaks, clothes and bedding stains with the levels in my e-juice bottles dropping rapidly. I messed around a bit and finally switched out my ceramic coil with the clapton that came as a spare and voila, fresh new flavor and a quiet draw. I had stubbornly ignored the growing gurgling in my ceramic coil determined to get the longevity promised but once I was experiencing the full flavor again I was happy.
I had actually switched back to my Nautilus for a while because the bad first coil (ceramic) was also shorting my mods (see further on re: running the coil at at least the minimum watts recommended). Writing this all down now it seems obvious to change the coil but I don’t always see the obvious until I’ve been around the track a few times. The upside of being not so smart is having gone back to the Nautilus for a few days I was desperate to get back to some of the flavors I had on my shelf that didn’t cut it on the Nauty. So I basically learned that once you’ve made the switch, it’s like trying to go back to Windows XP and a flip phone.
Not that I haven’t experienced a few more head-scratchers since then. When I went back to the Nautilus it was filled with some DIY Caramel which I really like. I think I was mixing it pretty heavy to get a good taste from the 1.8 ohm tank and possibly that is where my problems started with the Estoc. I know that soon after I put the clapton in I used some of my home-made stuff and it too went down hill within a week or so. I’m only about a week in on a new ceramic euc coil and enjoying my store bought juices more than ever. I will come back at least once more to let you know how long you can expect one to last with more typical, off-the-shelf e-juices in a few weeks.
Feb. 16, 2017
I’m definitely a die-hard sub-ohm and possibly ceramic coil vaper now. I say possibly because I only had the one clapton that came with the kit and I only bought ceramic spares. I’ve learned not to fill past the chimney flange. At the point where the chimney reduces in size I stop filling. This is in fact only about half the tank but most of problems ended when I started half filling. I read the tip on Reddit of course. The other thing that can and did seem to happen is when removing and replacing the battery or re-adjusting the airflow; when you do those things double check your bottom seal where the coil goes in. I’ve found it loose a couple of times when doing that double check.
Something that may have been my undoing at the very beginning, Newbies Take Note: Start using the coil at at least the minimum wattage recommended for your coil. I originally began low and worked up, something I learned with plus 1 ohm coils. That doesn’t seem to work so well with sub-ohm. Alot of my electronics issues were the result of starting the coil down at 18 or 19 watts when I should have be 24 or 25. Since I began hitting the Estoc with a minimum 25 watts most of my issues have vanished. I’m going to try filling the tank higher in the next few days and will edit the earlier suggestion if necessary
I can’t honestly say I use fewer coils than my old Nautilus. The flavor and vapor production on the Estoc is by far the best I’ve tried so far, but other than a few other BVC style tanks and an eGo One (which was sub-ohm) I don’t have a wide range of experience. Maybe ceramic coils last longer in a sub-ohm setup, I’ll be able to tell better when I’ve owned a pack of the claptons. From what I remember though, performance and life seemed pretty close between the clapton and the ceramic. What I really want to try next though is the Sense Blazer. Just not sure if I should go all in on the 200 or get the 80 watt and mini Blazer with reverse sandwich coils.