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Thread: Getting Started - A Big Guide

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Getting Started - A Big Guide [NOW WITH CONTENT]


    I know there are a number of fairly large/involved guides out there, but when I was getting started in the world of vaping I found a lot of them to be fairly irrelevant to Australians. Either because of pricing, wait times on delivery or other factors. I had a lot of issues with finding a setup I liked, sourcing nicotine and juices of decent quality and a whole heap of noob questions. So my goal now is to make a big guide encompassing local and international vendors, terminology, acronyms, hardware recommendations and descriptions, juices and more.

    I'll be dedicating the next few hours of today to getting this thing started, but it'll probably be another day or two before it's at the point of being particularly useful to a new/prospective vaper. I don't claim to be an expert on vaping, my post history is a clear testament to the learning curve I've experienced, but I've made enough mistakes now that I think I can legitimately help out those who are looking to get started.

    Anything below this is incomplete/a work in progress. It may make no sense in its current context. Formatting and design will come when I finish each section, so expect it to look ugly until I'm done.

    Table of Contents:
    1. Introduction
    2. Terms, Jargon & Acronyms
    3. Basic Hardware
    4. Basic Liquid

    1. Introduction

    So you're wanting to get started with e-cigarettes? Congratulations! Vaping can be a great way to cut down or quit traditional tobacco cigarettes. It can also be a great way to save money (more on that later) and it's pretty damn fun as well. But before we get into the hardware or liquid side of things, a quick foreword on vaping itself. I had a lot of expectations when I first started out, and some of them were unrealistic. I'd like to clear up a few things I get asked frequently when people see me vaping in public.

    1.1 FAQs
    There are many different ways an electronic cigarette can deliver nicotine vapour to you, depending on the hardware you choose. They all, however, revolve around the same concept. Liquid is heated by some form of element, which produces the vapour.

    So there's no smoke, that means you can use it inside, right?
    Yes, maybe. You're right in that there's no smoke being produced here, but public knowledge of these devices isn't all that high, so you may run into problems. I recommend being discreet with your vaping in bars/restaurants/similar or asking a staff member if it's okay before you do it. You'll probably find a lot of people are quite interested and happy to let you go about your business if you just explain it to them simply.

    Is it cheaper than smoking?
    Vaping can definitely be a lot more cost-effective than smoking. That being said, a lot of people end up spending more money than they potentially "have to", simply because they find vaping to be an enjoyable experience. Some people (myself included) think of it as a fun hobby and continue to purchase new gadgets because of this.

    So, how much cheaper can it really be?
    This depends heavily on how much you smoke now and whether you're buying packs or rolling. In addition to this, some flavours of liquid will cost more than others. However, assuming you want to do this very cheaply, I would say around $5 per day would satisfy even a heavy smoker's nicotine requirements. Again, this is a rough estimate and may be much higher or lower than what you require. I'll be going into more depth into hardware and liquid choices later on, which should provide you with a better estimate.

    How much healthier is it than smoking?
    This is a tough one. Not a lot of research (reliable research, anyway) has been done on the subject of vaping. I'm not even going to try to cover it here, so I'd recommend doing your own research on this one. The Wikipedia page for Electronic Cigarettes has some pretty good information and links to a number of case studies. Suffice to say, however, that most sources agree the risk of vaping is much lower than that of smoking. This is mostly based on the lack of combustion involved.

    2. Terms, Jargon & Acronyms

    As a new vaper, you'll have undoubtedly seen a whole slew of foreign terms online. Analog? RBA? PG? VG? Read on for a list of the most common ones and what they mean. Having a basic understanding of this new "language" will help you to gather information on your own and make better-informed choices.

    2.1 Terms & Jargon
    *Vape - Can relate to vapor itself, the act of vaping (using an e-cigarette) or even a device itself.
    *Juice - The liquid used in electronic cigarettes. It may or may not contain nicotine and/or flavour(s).
    *Analog - A traditional, tobacco cigarette.
    *Throat hit - The feeling of vapour hitting the back of your throat on inhale. Many people see this as one of the key elements of a good juice, because it feels satisfying to a smoker.
    *Atomizer/Atty - The heating element component of an e-cigarette. Usually designed to have some kind of tank or cartridge of liquid attached.
    *Cartomizer/Carto - A cartridge containing juice with an inbuilt atomizer. Usually padded with some kind of wicking to prevent leakage.
    *Clearomizer/Clearo - A sort of atty/carto hybrid. These are generally comprised of a clear section to hold the juice with wicks to feed juice to the atomizer.
    *Nic - Nicotine.
    *Passthrough - A battery with a port allowing USB connection for charging. This means you can plug the battery into most any computer to charge it while vaping at the same time.
    *Variable Voltage/Wattage - A battery which allows you to adjust the amount of power being outputted. These can be great for an intermediate user, as some devices will perform better with more or less heat being applied to the liquid.
    *Bottom Coil Clearomizer - A clearomizer with the heating coil at the bottom of the tank. Gravity helps ensure the coil will always have liquid around it, however some will dislike the cooler vapour produced because of the distance between coil and mouth.
    *Top Coil Clearomizer - A clearomizer with the heating coil at the top, usually with wicks to draw liquid up from the tank. Produces warmer vapour, but usually requires some technique to keep the coil surrounded by juice.
    *Carto-Tank: A tank with space for a cartomizer to slot inside. The cartomizer must have a hole/holes punched to allow liquid from the tank to feed in. Similar to a clearomizer in practise, but sometimes more difficult to fill and requires pre-punched cartos or a carto-punch device.

    2.2 Acronyms
    *PG - Propylene Glycol, a common substance found in juice. PG is mainly known to give vapour a feeling more similar to smoke.
    *VG - Vegetable Glycerin, the other most common substance in juice. VG is mainly known to give more actual vapour output ie. the stuff you see when you exhale.
    *PCC - Personal Charging Case, a box-shaped device with a battery. You charge the case like any other battery, and then can slot your small (analog lookalike) batteries into this to charge them on the go.
    *VV/VW - Variable Voltage/Variable Wattage.

    3. Basic Hardware

    So you're looking to go shopping and get some stuff? Awesome. Here I'll outline a few builds I'd recommend for a new vaper and their advantages/disadvantages. I won't go into too much detail on each component, as it's impossible to cover every option out there. Again, this is designed for a novice vaper who just wants to get going. I'll be linking to a number of different Australian vendors in this section, so you may want to search around a little for the best prices. I recommend buying most hardware locally, as shipping and wait times can make international orders a pain.

    3.1 The Analog Lookalike
    This is the pack I bought when I got started vaping. It can look fairly similar to an analog, which many people find enticing. Here's an idea of what it looks like assembled.

    Small, compact design.
    Tank system is easy to fill and use.
    Clear tank also means it's easy to see when you need to refill.
    Low risk of leaking, low learning curve.
    Kit includes everything you need to get started (except liquid).
    Looks and feels similar to an analog.

    You'll most likely need to carry the spare battery with you for a full day of vaping.
    Tank only stores small amount of liquid. You will likely need to refill throughout the day.

    A good, fairly inexpensive starter kit. Most vapers will likely outgrow this quickly, however, and look to buy a more robust setup.

    3.2 The Analog Lookalike II
    A slightly more advanced version of the above kit. Uses a cartomizer system instead of a tank, and comes with a PCC which makes vaping through a full day much more practical.

    Small, compact design.
    Cartomizer system holds more liquid than the above tank.
    Kit includes everything you need to get started (with a free 0nic liquid).
    Looks and feels similar to an analog.
    PCC included, somewhat compensating for the smaller batteries included.

    You'll need to carry the PCC around with you.
    Cartomizers can take some practise to fill efficiently.
    Cartomizers don't allow you to see how much liquid you have left.
    Cartomizers can dull the flavour of your juice.

    Another inexpensive starter, a little more complex than the first. Again, most vapers will outgrow this and look for a different setup quite quickly.
    Last edited by TRILLA; 27-06-13 at 07:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    3.3 Getting Serious
    Alright, enough of those boring pre-made starter kits. We want to pick and choose the components that will make up our e-cigarette to tailor the experience to our needs. I'm going to outline a bunch of different parts that will all work together, so you can give a whole lot of things a try and not have to worry about this not fitting that.

    Most batteries will come in two sizes/capacities. These are commonly 650mAh and 1000mAh. A 650mAh will usually measure around 85mm long and a 1000mAh around 110mm. Choose based on your size preference, though keep in mind the larger batteries will last longer between charges. A 650mAh will likely get light-moderate vapers through a day at work, though.

    Passthrough Batteries:
    1000mAh USB Passthrough
    650mAh USB Passthrough

    Variable Voltage Batteries:
    1000mAh Twist VV - Twist base to easily adjust voltage.
    650mAh Twist VV - Twist base to easily adjust voltage.
    1300mAh Spinner VV - Same concept but larger with more capacity.

    Smaller Batteries:
    400mAh Mini Battery - No VV or passthrough capability. Small form factor.

    I'll be focusing on clearomizers here rather than carto-tanks, as they're easier for a novice user to get the hang of. I also recommend bottom coil devices for ease of use, however I'll list a few popular top coil options also.

    Bottom Coil:
    VapeOnly BCC - One of the most popular and well-regarded BCCs for build quality, taste and vapour production. Fairly large 3.5mL capacity.
    Mini VapeOnly BCC - A smaller, 1.6mL version of the above clearo.
    Kanger T3 BCC - A reliable, cheap alternative to the VapeOnly BCC. Slightly smaller 2.5mL capacity. Filling to 3mL may cause issues.
    Kanger EVOD BCC - A rather small, well-regarded BCC. Capacity is only 1.7mL, however it is quite streamlined in appearance.
    Kanger ProTank - Probably the most hyped clearomizer of any kind at the moment. Approximately 3mL capacity, great build quality, glass tank. Easy to fill, excellent flavour and vapour production. Slightly on the expensive side.

    Top Coil:
    Innokin iClear 30 - One of the most popular top coil clearos. Large 3mL capacity and swivelling mouthpiece is a nice addition. Prone to gurgling in my experience, however.
    Vision MAXI ViVi Nova - Large 3.5mL capacity, good build quality. A well-regarded (though slightly dated) clearo. Some technique is required for best performance, as with any top coil device.
    Vision Mini ViVi Nova - A smaller 2.5mL version of the above. I would recommend only filling to around 2mL to prevent gurgling.

    Once you've got the main parts sorted, there's still a whole bunch of accessories which can bring a lot of fun or convenience to your new hobby. Some of them are necessary and others are definitely optional additions.

    Chargers, adapters and other stuff you might need if you're picking custom parts for your e-cig or just looking to get some spares for your kit.
    510 USB Charger - USB charger for your 510 (cigarette lookalike) batteries.
    EGO USB Charger - USB charger for EGO batteries, typically suiting most batteries 400mAh and up or labelled EGO.
    AC USB Power Adapter - An AC power adapter to plug your USB charger into. You can buy one of these on most any site that sells hardware, it doesn't have to be this one specifically.

    Here I'll give three sample setups, mainly divided by the cost involved but also by complexity. These are what I recommend, having tried all of them. Taste in hardware is fairly personal, some like a warmer or cooler vape, juice thicknesses and tastes vary. That said, you have to get started somewhere, and you're going to need to find a few products you dislike before you get to a place you're 100% happy with. Anyway, on with it!

    Small and Simple
    You want to spend less than the cost of one of the analog lookalike kits and get better performance? While not as streamlined, it'll last you much longer.
    2x Vision 400mAh Mini Battery - Smallest and cheapest of the EGO batteries, which allows you to work with all of the clearomizers above. Will get through an average work day of vaping. $26 for 2.
    2x Kanger T3 BCC - A reliable, cheap bottom coil clearo which is damn easy to fill and a reasonable capacity to get you through the day. $10 for 2.
    EGO USB Charger - You'll be needing this to keep your batteries going. $5
    [OPTIONAL] AC USB Power Adapter - You'll need one of these if you want to charge from your power point instead of your computer. $5

    Total: $41 without power adapter, $46 with.

    Stepping It Up
    Don't mind forking out a little extra? This is what I'd consider a fairly mid-range setup in terms of beginner devices. Size is moderate, performance is good!

    2x 650mAh Twist VV Battery - A beefier battery, still on the compact side, it should get most people very comfortably through a work day with time to burn. Variable Voltage is good for "growing room" and tweaking to your taste. $50 or $54 for two 1000mAh versions.
    2x VapeOnly BCC - Good price, great capacity. A little on the large side, but you shouldn't have to fill it all day. Great performer for the money. Comes with three heads, so each one will last you longer. $22 for 2.
    EGO USB Charger - You'll be needing this to keep your batteries going. $5
    [OPTIONAL] AC USB Power Adapter - You'll need one of these if you want to charge from your power point instead of your computer. $5

    Total: $77 for 650mAh batteries, $81 for 1000mAh. Add $5 for AC USB adapter if wanted.

    While this isn't the best or most expensive out there, it's all I'd recommend for a beginner. This is mainly because you won't like everything you buy first up, and you'll want to change around based on your tastes. There's always time to buy and sell, upgrade and swap.

    2x Kanger ProTank BCC - Again, probably the most hyped clearo at time of writing. Great capacity, build quality and performance in a reasonable size. Easy to fill. $34 for 2.
    Vamo VV Mod - It's bulky, but it has a screen, damn it! This thing is a great addition to the gadget-loving beginner vaper who just wants to jump right in. Keep in mind this is a mod, so it's a just the "controls". You need to put batteries IN this "battery". $40
    2x 18650 Batteries - These are some serious 2600mAh batteries which should last you a damn long time. $20 for 2.
    18650 Battery Charger - You'll need this to charge your 18650 batteries. $24

    Total: $118.
    Last edited by TRILLA; 27-06-13 at 06:42 PM.
    noname and Samtron like this.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    4. Basic Juice
    There's a whole lot of choice when it comes to juices and nicotine. The biggest thing to remember as an Australian is that you can't buy nicotine from within the country, but importing it from overseas in "reasonable quantities" is fine. When it comes to juice, there's PG/VG ratios, strength and more to pick. I won't go too much into flavours, as they're going to vary from person to person. Read on to find out more.

    3.2 Intro to Juice
    In this section I'll be focusing on the purchase of nicotine from international vendors and mixing it with flavours bought nicotine-free. The easiest way to do this is buying flavours called "doublers", which are intended to be mixed 50:50 with nicotine. Because of this halving process, you'll want to order nicotine at twice the strength you wish to vape. For example, if you want to end up with 18mg juice, you'll need to buy 36mg unflavoured nicotine and an equal amount of doubler.

    3.2 Sourcing Nicotine
    I'm putting this at the top of the section because you should do it ASAP. Why? You need to order it from overseas, which takes time. Even if you're not set on your hardware yet, I recommend getting some nic ordered as soon as you possibly can. It sucks when you've got a whole bunch of cool vaping gadgets and no nicotine to go with it.

    I recommend ordering around 200mL minimum, as when mixed with flavours this will give you 400mL of juice. So if you cape 4mL a day, this will have you stocked for over three months. And once again, remember to buy twice the strength you want to vape. 36mg nic will produce 18mg juice and so on.

    Here are some international vendors I've heard good things about. Remember to factor shipping into your choice, as that can be just as expensive as the liquid you order.

    Mt Baker Vapour
    Greenhouse One

    While you're at it, feel free to crab some pre-mixed flavours from these vendors. By pre-mixed, I mean flavours that already have nicotine in them! With these, just buy the strength you want. Eg. buy 18mg if you want to vape 18mg. You won't be diluting these ones at all, so they're good for convenience and trying new flavours without dipping into your pure nic supply.

    3.3 Taste Time
    Alright, your nicotine is on the way, now it's time to pick out some great flavours. I'll stick to Australian vendors once again, but I'll link to a few popular international stores and their best-known juices. Remember, you're looking to buy doublers, which most of these will be already. They might also be labelled as double shot.

    Some of the most popular local vendors of juice are...

    3.4 PG/VG Choices
    Alright, so one of the major choices in your liquid will be the PG/VG ratio. What is this, though? PG and VG are sort of filler liquids used to create the throat hit and vapour of your juice. PG gives that punchy feeling when the vapour hits the back of your throat and VG creates the vapour you see when you exhale. Everyone seems to have their own idea of the best ratio, but I think 75/25-ish is probably a good place to start. Because we'll be mixing our own nicotine with flavouring liquid, we have a bit of breathing room here. I recommend ordering your pure nicotine at around 50/50 PG/VG. Why? It's easy to mix to the strength you want. For example, if your nicotine is 50/50 and you want 75/25, you can easily buy 100% PG flavouring and mix it half half. I don't see too many people who enjoy more than 75% PG in most juices, so this is a good starting point (I think)...
    Last edited by TRILLA; 28-06-13 at 08:52 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Already hit the word limit on two posts, grabbing myself another one for good measure.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    And one for vendor lists.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Clagiraba, Queensland
    nice work, however, we do not generally allow spamming of vendor links in the newbie forum though, that was originally the sole reason for its existance.
    I see you mention at least 2 vendors so it was done for simplicitys sake, but any chance you can share the love in latter posts amongst a bunch of vendors ?
    Robray and TRILLA like this.
    In order of useful: Provari V2 and V1, vamo, eGo twist, Katana v3, Hex, Orion v2, LavaTube, eGo x 6, VMAX, 510N, Tick V2, Tick V1, noEgo 18650, noEgo 14650 , Indulgence x 2, 905 6v mod, KR808D

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    nice work, however, we do not generally allow spamming of vendor links in the newbie forum though, that was originally the sole reason for its existance.
    I see you mention at least 2 vendors so it was done for simplicitys sake, but any chance you can share the love in latter posts amongst a bunch of vendors ?
    Absolutely! I'll get that sorted now, I really wasn't trying to promote or anything like that. I might actually just link to good Google searches that will show relevant products from Australian vendors. Would that be preferable?

    Thanks for your feedback!

  8. #8
    Noe is offline
    AV Approved Manafacturer/Modder Chief Snus scientist
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    In the deep dark recesses of your mind! .. Prophet of the Vapeoligists & keeper of the sacred Bewdy.
    I only see links to 1 vendor & to me this "guide" reads as a long ad for that vendor.

    Perhaps instead of using links to vendor's products, use generic links to pics of the equipment & suggest a list of vendors at the end of the guide.
    Officially #1 Customer and Supporter of Essiemessy's Custom made Glass Drip Tips!
    Essie's Glass DTs

    Sent from my kickass gaming PC using keyboard & fingers.

    The Dahli Lama once said, "People do not laugh enough & take life too seriously, causing stress." A good laugh can cure a build up of stress, stress is a leading cause of grey hair & early death.

    Vape Hard or go home and Vape Hard!

    I'd rather be sneezing than wheezing!

  9. #9
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Central Vic,up near the Murray
    Agree with other posts about linkage ... but Trilla , before modifying , can I suggest you ofer this up to the good folk at vapeking , they might want to use it on their site
    You might score a Vamo for your efforts or something lol
    If the links were modified to be google searches for Aus Vendors that would make a terrific guide IMHO
    EPM V2-18490 (X2 ),GP Spheroid V2.5 and GP Piccolo V2.5 ,BBCB, Provari mini's, REO mini V2.1, 18490 REO , Jazz Carto Pipes ( fitted with GA tank and churchwarden stem Totally Evil!!! ), Meerschaum pipe ,e-holly35W,Phideas, AIOS,Taifun atties, PC Pipe mods.PC Squonker, Svapiamo squonker, GP Paps Heron combo.

    Vaping since 2007 totally smoke free since 2011

    AVF Rules , Read and understand them

  10. #10
    AVF Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Bunbury, WA
    that's looking great trilla. just a quick side note/mention: the vivi nova maxi and vobcc mega (and probably others, but those two as an example) really need a cone of some sort on an ego style battery to look "finished".

    oh, and maybe alphabetise the terms & jargon ... heaps easier to find the word you're looking for that way


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