SMOKTech ARO Pyrex BCC Clearomizer Review

October 3, 2013 by · 8 Comments 

I was pretty excited to see this device while trawling through madvape’s website, fellow babies — for one main reason.  And when the order arrived, I was excited to have them for a number of reasons.  So let’s kick the tires, as it were, and take a look at the Smoktech ARO Pyrex BCC, shall we?

SMOKTech ARO Pyrex Clearomizer

Yes, as you can see from the picture, this is a Kanger T3 form-factor BCC; and as some of you know, I was an early-adopter of the T3 and have continued to use them to this day along with the myriad other toppers I’ve acquired in this 2 1/2 years of vaping.  The main reason I did not hesitate to order some of these is simple. Pyrex! In a T3 form factor! Did I mention Pyrex?

I used (notice the past tense action, there, fellow babies) T3s for those times when hauling a bunch of Phoenix drippers and bottles of juice (or even Genesis-type atties) around is simply out of the question.  I never enjoyed the time I spent using cartos for the most part (or those nasty CE clearos) for many reasons.  So when the T3 appeared, it was the perfect tool for the job…the job being to deliver a convenient vape that holds a lot of juice that doesn’t leak while driving, walking, being busy at work, whatever.  Sadly, until now, that meant not being able to use certain juices in those circumstances because of etching, cracking or melting. Not anymore, fellow babies.  Did I tell you about the Pyrex?

So how does this thing compare to the latest iteration of the Kanger T3/M3?  To my surprise, it compares very well…in fact, in some aspects, the Smoktech ARO outshines the Kanger.  Since I compared the new T3 heads with the heads from the ARO (almost identical with extremely minor variation), the most glaring difference to me is probably the main reason:  the ARO coil and wick seems to be built way better than the Kanger counterparts.  They seem to use a 3mm wick instead of 2 or 2.5, and on the standard res head (2.4 ohm), I saw a perfect 9 wrap coil with closely-spaced wraps, complete with no-res legs leading right to the wick.  Maximum heat to the coil where it needs to be. It sports the same pair of 1 mm filler wicks otherwise.  On the Kanger T3 head I’m looking at that measures 2.5 ohm, I see a 6 wrap of much thinner wire with no-res wire that doesn’t go all the way up to the (thinner) wick.  Of course, I believe I mentioned the Pyrex tank, correct?

At this moment I’m vaping a 40/60 pg/vg DIY juice that isn’t easy for the Kanger T3 to deal with.  In the T3, I can only get away with vaping this sauce at 7.5 watts (with a primer puff every couple of toots) because the wicks can’t keep up if I go much higher, resulting in dry hits.  No such issue with the ARO; I’m vaping this at 8.5 watts and have yet to get a dry hit.  I went so far as to jack it up to 10 watts and was able to pull 3 consecutive back to back toots before getting a skanky dry hit.  The stock T3, as much as I like it, simply can’t deliver such action.  Vapor production is great for a BCC device and flavor is a noticable, if not drastic, step up from the Kanger.  The draw is airy — similar to the T3 — and so far, after one tank I’ve encountered no gurgles ot leaks.  Like the T3, it holds about 2.5 ml and you have no option of using your own mouthpiece, but that doesn’t bother me in the least, especially since, in case I forgot to mention, it’s a T3 form-factor with Pyrex.  The mouthpiece is, in fact, a metal chrome-plated job that is actually quite comfortable.

Wrap-up: the ARO rocks, fellow babies — nice clouds and tasty vape-age, plain and simple.  I ran another ARO with 70/30 PG/VG at 9 watts without ever getting a dry hit the entire tank.  As far as the physics of how these BCC devices work, (negative pressure keeping the juice from running out the bottom) you will likely encounter the occasional bit of bottom leakage & gurgling if going from a very cool room to the hot out-of-doors or if you let the juice level get below about the 1/5 mark or so, just like the Kangers.  For me, though, the fact I finally have a T3 style device with a Pyrex tank is awesome.  The somewhat better performance is just icing on the cake.  Get yourself a few of these bad boys and forget about tank-cracking forever. $7.99 at madvapes; replacement heads are $1.49 each. Note there are two versions of the ARO; one is Pyrex, one is not.  Make sure you order the correct one and rock on, citizens!

Will Government Regulation Stifle the Vape Industry?

May 6, 2013 by · 8 Comments 

That’s a trick question, of course.  But for those for whom the trick seems elusive, let me fill yez in on some stuff I’ve learned and seen over the years…. Any time government gets involved in “regulating” something (which really means you must now seek government permission to engage in something), prices increase and innovation slows or stalls.

One thing I’ve noticed in my two-plus years of vaping is that innovation and new product introductions happen at an incredible pace. Just take a few minutes and look at all the new stuff that’s come out in the last 3 or 4 months; it’s amazing. Part of the reason for this is competition; manufacturers and vendors must follow the old business chestnut, “innovate or die.”   If you own a vape manufacturing business and you decide that you don’t need to try to come out with new and/or improved products, you’ll soon be relegated to the ash-heap of the vaping world.

But another reason, just as important and perhaps even more so, is that so far the vape industry has been allowed to operate in a true, laissez-faire capitalist environment.  It has been relatively unfettered by the greedy, power-hungry bureaucrats and politicians who taint most other endeavors in this great country.  That means that companies have a greater amount of money available for R&D and retooling.  They aren’t throwing money away trying to adhere to pointless regulatory paperwork and mindless governmental oversight or by hiring high-priced lobbyists to try to get a leg up on their competitors.   This is a good thing, fellow babies, and should be allowed to continue.

There are those, however, who think we need this sort of Nannyism and the associated ridiculous waste of money and resources in the vape industry (and indeed, in all of the business world).  But I’m here to tell you that we are the only regulation this industry (or any other) needs.

If I buy a bunch of batteries that are shoddy, won’t hold a charge or maybe even catch fire or explode, am I going to continue to buy these things? No.  Am I going to tell others about it as well?  Damn straight.  Am I going to go after the manufacturer for damages? You bet your ass.  This is real regulation, dear friends.  The market is the finest, fastest regulation in existence.  This battery manufacturer will either need to shut down and go out of business (thus alleviating the problem altogether) or examine what happened, fix the problem, and attempt to re-earn the trust of their customers.  Again, alleviating the original problem.  No politicians, bureaucrats or federal agencies required, fellow babies.  In fact, governmental regulation is nothing more than a “middle-man” scheme that accomplishes little except driving up costs and hampering innovation.

Let’s learn why…how many of you have ever bought a car?  The automobile industry is one of the most heavily-regulated in the country.  Yet every day, cars are bought that have defects, don’t work properly or are down-right dangerous to operate.  Gee, all that regulation sure did work wonders, innit?  And what happens when you get one of these cars that fail to perform as advertised?  Well gee whizz…you either quit buying from that company or attempt to sue to get the manufacturer to make right on it.  Same things you’d have to do otherwise.

In fact, one can argue that regulations allow defective products to be sold.  After all, if they meet whatever nebulous standards some government agency dictates, then the manufacturer has done their job.  In reality, your ability to gain recompense  will be hampered by the fact that they can drag this through the courts much longer (and expensively) because they can say “We did what the regulators told us we had to do.  Don’t like it?  Tell it to the politicians.”  And you know where that’s going to get you.  Every tried to sue the government lately?

So to answer the question “Will government regulation stifle the vape industry?”, the answer should be plain.  As consumers and vapers, we should be the only regulators the industry requires…and we’re far more fearsome that any politician, because we are free to take or money elsewhere and shut down any business who thinks they can get away with fleecing us…much quicker and more efficiently than if we have to go through a middle-man who doesn’t really care one way or the other.

Vape PR Toolkit: Countering Argumentum Ad Hominem

April 23, 2013 by · 7 Comments 

As vapers, and as proud warriors against the scum who would try to exert their will over our actions, we need to be prepared to not only counter the weak, pathetic arguments the control-freaks level against vaping, but also how to counter the irrelevant statements they make.  These are typically argumentum ad hominem remarks, and if you don’t recognize the term, you will instantly recognize what such arguments are.

I’m an unabashed advocate for laissez-faire capitalism, so I get the old ad hominem attacks all the time.  Here’s one: “Oh, you’re for capitalism? Only a fool would fail to see how pathetic capitalism is.”  Notice their argument isn’t based on anything except implying that I’m a fool and so any arguments I make are foolish. and therefore without merit.  If I were to reply, “Well, no, I don’t see it…please show me,”  the response might likely be:  “Oh, well, if you can’t see it for yourself, I can’t possibly explain it so that you’d understand.”   So not only am I supposedly a fool, I’m an idiot as well.  Double reason to ignore anything I say, regardless of the facts.


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To Vape or Not to Vape

April 1, 2013 by · 43 Comments 

Earlier today I was visiting with my cousin (she started vaping just a few months back) and the discussion turned to where can you vape and where can’t you vape.   In most all of Central Florida there are no vape bans/laws yet…it’s still (rightfully) up to the business proprietor or property owner as to whether you can vape somewhere or not.  Things may be different where you are.  But much like passing gas, just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

Look, I’m no Vape Etiquette Master; and I’m certainly not some fount of Vaping Rules that one should follow — but sometimes all it takes is basic common sense and a little courtesy.  One of my rowdier vaping buddies, Rick, usually has a healthy bit of both — but not always; especially after a few vodka-based beverages….

Last week we were at a small neighborhood dive kinda bar having a couple drinks when I asked the bartender if it was OK to vape in the place.  “I’d prefer it if you don’t,” the guy said.  “If you want to do that, you can go out to the patio around back.  With our crowd, it’s just easier that way.”

Looking around the place, I got the gist of what he was saying.  There was a pool table smack dab in the middle of the floor, some electronic dart machines against the wall near the front door and an assortment of hard-scrabble types scattered about the place.  So after coming back in from the patio from grabbing a quick vape, Rick asked “Where’d you go?”

“Out back to grab a vape.”

“Out back? Screw that,” he said and grabbed his SB and worked up a huge cloud of vapor.  There were some murmurs and gibbering at the sight of this cloud heading toward the pool table, and some guy in a leather jacket broke out a pack of Marlboros and lit one up.  “Hey, you can’t smoke here,” the bartender said as discreetly as possible.

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Tell All the People That You See…

March 13, 2013 by · 30 Comments 

…to follow me down (to ECA — thanks Jim Morrison) .

Yes fellow babies, we’ve all had the opportunity to read the forum post from Brad about Getting the Word Out regarding our beloved little corner of the interwebs and it’s time to spend a few minutes a day to get the Mission Accomplished.  So what can we do?

Are you a member of a vape group? If so, make sure everyone knows about ECA.  Tell them about the awesome camaraderie, the brilliant information available, and the goodies that can be theirs.  Have them all become members…maybe by holding a little contest in your vape group (bite the bullet, buy a bottle of juice or an eVod or something) and randomly select someone from your group who joins up for the Big Prize.

Converted anyone to vaping? Make sure that you give them an ECA card.  I’m hoping that we can all nab some of these to pass out, but if you order from the VFF store, ask for a few (and set one aside).  Make sure you give one to new vapers you convert and let them know about the place. I’ve told some people about ECA only to learn they’ve gone to that Other Place instead.  Handing them the card will make sure they end up at the right place.  Now about that card I asked you to set aside…if you have a printer, go pick up some business card stock at Staples or Office Depot. Scan both sides of the card and print some out so you can always have some to distribute.  So what if it costs four or five bucks…you’re not that big a cheapskate, are you?  And while you’re at it, spend a few points and order an ECA shirt and wear the thing.

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My Two Year Journey – What A Change

February 27, 2013 by · 54 Comments 

On February 28th 2011 I smoked the last of my MYO cigarettes; it was about 8pm and I was heading home from setting up a remote broadcast for our evening talk show.  There was no tobacco at home (an order for a new  tobacco blend I had placed from the UK was held up in customs and wouldn’t be coming for another week or so), so I pulled into a Walgreen’s to buy a pack of Marlboro Virginia Blend 100s.  As fate would have it, they were sold out; also sold out of my next choice, Camel filters.  But I spied a display of blu disposables behind the register and asked the check-out lady for one of the “classic tobacco” models and headed out to the car.

I wasn’t sure what to make of the thing but tore it out of the package, took off the little leaf sticker from the air inlet hole and had a puff. Surprise was the order of the evening; there was certainly more vapor produced than the smoke I was used to blowing out from a regular cigarette, and honestly, it didn’t taste half bad.  And I didn’t smell anything, even though the windows were rolled up.  Drove home and spent the next few hours just puffing away on the thing, surprised and pleased; no smell and no smoke meant not having to duck outside to have a puff.  That was awesome in itself.  The thing finally petered out around 1:30am or so after 5 and a half hours of total  and complete chain vaping.

The next morning, I pulled back into the same Walgreen’s and bought 2 more blu disposables; figured since I liked the taste and the convenience, I’d just buy these until my tobacco shipment arrived.  Little did I know that I would never smoke another cigarette again….

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Is Taste Really “Subjective”?

February 13, 2013 by · 19 Comments 

Watch or read almost any review of e-juice, and chances are pretty good that the reviewer is going to say “….but, of course, taste is subjective.”  Some folks go so far as to spurn juice reviews as a waste of time because, well, “taste is subjective.”  But is it really?  Perhaps, if we’re talking about one’s perceptions of clothing style, or of more emotional stimulation, like music; but when it comes to something like e-juice, which is carefully crafted with chemicals designed to replicate certain flavors, how true is that statement?

Taste qua taste is simply a sensation perceived presented via chemical reactions with receptors on the tongue as well as by interaction with  olfactory perceptions.  Through our evolution, our senses have developed to provide us with clues as to what will either harm us or help us…and the sense of taste is included in that process.  Typically, our sense of taste evolved to warn us that sharp, bitter-tasting stuff is probably poison, or that sweet stuff is in some way good.  It’s a bit of a protection mechanism, like our eyesight.  We don’t say, “This is a pleasant blue color…but eyesight is subjective.”  Your appreciation of the color blue may be subjective, but the color itself is not.

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Slap Shots Review: AVE Bark’s Root Beer

February 1, 2013 by · 37 Comments 

Alien Vision
“Bark’s” Root Beer 18 mg/ml 100% VG
30 ml = $16.30, about $0.54 per ml
Aroma from bottle = flat root beer. Makes sense. Liquid is clear with a light amber tint.
Devices: Silver Bullet at 3.7v with Phoenix RBA @ 2.0 ohms

I’ve been wandering off on mini-tangents with drink-flavored vapes recently, just to mix it up a bit.  Mostly some teas. a couple of colas and a coffee or two.  At a recent get-together with a few buds from the local vape meet, I was given the chance to purchase a 30ml bottle of AVE’s Bark’s Root Beer from someone who didn’t like root beer.  Why he had it to begin with, I dunno — but doesn’t like root beer?  Sacrilege!  Infidel!  Closet Communist!  In any event, this is my first root beer vape, and quite a first impression this stuff gives….

Ever since I was a kid, root beer has been my carbonated beverage of choice.  Even now, I really dig on downing an ice-cold Barq’s or an IBC straight out of the bottle; there’s nothing that comes as close to liquid perfection in my mind.  So why it’s taken this long for me to groove on a root beer juice is beyond me, to be honest.  I was kinda hesitant to vape this stuff, though — afraid that if it was rank or nasty it would turn me off the real thing.  However, that fear was not only unfounded, ya’ll, but just plain crazy.  This juice blew me away on the first blast.  Blewed and tattooed, fellow babies….

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A Vendor Request — Respect, Please

January 30, 2013 by · 26 Comments 

Is it just me, or does reading something like “This juice is like a spring day in the mountains with birds chirping and the sun shining” leave you scratching your head wondering just what said juice really tastes like?  Does it taste like cold air?  Lark’s vomit? Or how about this one…this is an actual juice description from a vendor’s website:

A wonderful taste of the best Mother Nature has to offer; smooth and inviting.

Now, if the name of this juice was Elderberry Wine or Mixed Berries then the description might makes some sense.  But when it’s called “Cornucopia”, well, not so much.  Why not say “If we told you what this juice tasted like, we’d have to kill you” and get it over with?  I don’t believe I’m alone in thinking that if Ford’s latest ad campaign for their new line of trucks was “A truly moving experience; does it have a smooth ride and a large cargo area? We can’t tell you — why not buy one and see?“, they’d be stuck like Chuck.

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The Importance of Educating the Masses

January 24, 2013 by · 32 Comments 

Last week I posted about getting proactive when it comes to vape bans and other Legal Mumbo-Jumbo designed to turn us into criminals in the eyes of the Nannies.  It looks like, however, we really need to add another group to the list; The Uninitiated.

Most of us have probably read in the forums about a fellow vaper who has lost a job due to vaping.  Another works for an employer that would ban e-cig use on their property.  Even Yours Truly was faced with the prospect of being denied the privilege of vaping in the building I work in recently.

Now, depending upon the sources and the numbers you go by, there are somewhere between 3 million to 5 million people who vape in the United States. Sounds like a lot — but in reality, there are about 240 million people in the US over the age of 18 according to the latest 2012 Census Bureau estimates. That means we are in a very small minority; just a little over 2% of the entire adult population.  And as much as we may know about vaping, that means there’s a whole bunch of folks out there that, to cop a phrase, don’t know Jack.  And the little they do know has probably come from the same disinformation and propaganda we’ve all seen and derided.

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