Homemade E-Cigarette Vaporizer

Extensive research shows that tobacco kills. This is common knowledge as of late, which has prompted a flurry of anti-smoking ads to flood in. Regular smokers are now reconsidering their smoking patterns and are looking at healthier alternatives. Among those options are electronic cigarettes that vaporize flavorful liquid into smooth drags of smoke.

Prices for these devices can range anywhere from $40 to $240, which can be quite expensive for those on a budget. So instead of buying one, [MrRedBeard] decided to create his own DIY electronic cigarette contraption out of an Altoids can.

The approximate cost (not including batteries) is about $12. This covers the 5 Amp adjustable voltage regulator and the 500 ohm potentiometer that is best used for a rig like this. The wattage is what drives the heat giving it a more consistent vapor stream of cloud smoke.

For more e-cigarette hacks, check out these ones powered by an NES controller and this vaporizer that can send smells…in space!


As discussed in the comments below (and in the comments on the Instructable’s page) using a LM317 and the unprotected LiPo may not a good idea. Connecting them to 240V AC produces large quantities of toxic fumes that smell horrible. So re-create this hack at your own risk.

157 thoughts on “Homemade E-Cigarette Vaporizer

    1. No what’s next is a basic primer on what these things are and actually do so that future comments will be less replete with utter ignorance of the concepts hardware and chemistry involved.

        1. It isn’t smoking. It’s a vapor. Smoke is a combustion byproduct. Those who vape are slightly less moronic, it’s nothing more than a less carcinogenic way to stay addicted. Someone who links a website that even mentions religious figures on a website like this is the full blown moron.

          Troll on.

    1. I have to agree, smoking isn’t something that should be advertised in any way anywhere, even if it’s some “hack”.

      This still doesn’t remove the second-hand smoke problem, one can willfully and slowly kill oneself for all I care, but when my lungs are affected one’s right to smoke is rivalled by my right to breathe air.

          1. Which is a rather moot point,since following this logic you can equally say:
            “Ever heard of E-cigs and nicotine free liquid? (And modern e-cigs aren’t even that bad from an emissions standpoint, with quite a few offering very low nicotine emissions as well.)”

            I am not a smoker and i really hate being even in the presence of smokers due to the smell and the smoke.Smokers with e-cigs on the other hand don’t bother me.

      1. I would say the same thing about alcohol. Driving deaths, fights, domestic abuse, sexual assault, and far worse can all be attributed to alcohol. Yet, just bringing those things up will get a slew of responses from the plague of functional alcoholics that are just one bad decision away from increasing the prison population.

      2. Really Second hand Smoke from a vaporizer? I think you need to go back to school. Time to learn that the only thing you get 2nd hand from these are water vapour, if thats to hard for your precious lungs, then you need to go and move to the moon.

        Oh and I have the right to not have to see your idiotic comments.

        1. Please note, while we know tobacco is dangerous, we actually do not know that these alternates are safe either. They are too new, and no data exists. Existing data that is out there shows that they do not help anyone quit smoking, thus the new FDA regs that they cannot be advertised as a smoking cessation product. While we know that they use FDA approved flavorings and such, no one’s ever inhaled them chronically before, so time will tell if it is actually safer. Although given the choice between known dangers and unknown ones, I know what I would choose.

          1. “…no data exists…” “Existing data that is out there shows…”
            I think you meant that “since there’s no data to show they can aid in smoking cessation…”
            Note I have no idea whether there’s any existing completed studies on e-cigs, but your argument seems to contradict itself.

          2. My gf and I are part of the 35% that used e-cigarettes over the course of 1 year to get off nicotine and stop smoking completely. That said, there was a lot of glazing over the potential dangers of e-cigs when we started them, everyone said “they’re just water vapor, they’re risk-free, etc” But let’s face it, look at the damn thing they replaced, that we’re no longer slaves too.
            Long Live E-Cigs!

      3. [QUOTE]Solenoid says:
        September 13, 2014 at 7:48 am
        I have to agree, smoking isn’t something that should be advertised in any way anywhere, even if it’s some “hack”.

        This still doesn’t remove the second-hand smoke problem, one can willfully and slowly kill oneself for all I care, but when my lungs are affected one’s right to smoke is rivalled by my right to breathe air.

        Actually the vapor from using an e-cig, isn’t smoke at all.
        It is just water vapor, flavor, and nicotine (if contains any — they do come without it)
        and after the vapor is inhaled — the exhaled vapor contains hardly any nicotine.
        There is no second-hand — but water vapor — it just like what you get with a theater fog machine.

        1. I have been told that there is nothing coming back out of the persons lungs but water vapor. However my guy feeling is that there is no way lungs can be that good a filter to selectively clean the vapor particles of everything but water. Yes the particles are small and so there for have a large surface to volume ratio. But there will be some chemicals that do not touch the surface and there for will not me absorbed by the lungs. Second hand vapor there for must have something other than water in it and there for should be regulated as such. No vapor use anywhere that cigarettes are not allowed. I don’t care if you vape. I just don’t want to be exposed to nicotine again. I quit 20 years ago and understand the need to smoke my smokers. It is a very hard addiction to break. But once one has successfully broken the habit one should not have to be exposed to the products of said habit. As well as anyone that does not wish to be exposed.

  1. It’s not really a DIY esmoke.. it’s just an external variable power supply hooked up to a purchased esmoke. i.e.: If it was a real diy job, i’d see expect nichrome wire, ktype temp probe.. a bit of pid.. etc.. ;-)

    1. Right, this is exactly NOT what the title says: The “vaporizer” is the part that vaporizes the liquid on top, and it’s store-bought. It’s a DIY power source, and a poorly constructed one at that.

      Also, I must wonder about all the misinformation in the comments. This is NOT “smoking”. And while one can very well discuss the health implications of “vaping” (an incredibly stupid looking term by the way), they are undeniably less than inhaling the waste product of burnt tobacco.

    2. Actually it is a perfectly valid diy e-cig.
      The tanks (be it an atomizer or cartomizer) come in many different shapes and varieties.
      But all of them are useless without a proper power source.
      Currently the biggest thing in diy e-cigs are battery mods — not custom coils/wicks.

  2. Much as we all love edgy hacks, this one has a *serious* safety problem because people keep forgetting how toxic nicotine is – you can vape yourself to death if you’re not exactly sure of what you’re doing. They used to use it in pesticides for a reason, and have gone to neonicitinoids (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neonicotinoid) because nicotine is so toxic to mammals.

    LD50 data here: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/idlh/54115.html

    1. Um … You’re going to get violently ill before you approach LD50 with inhaled nicotine. Inhaled, the effects are near instant with the associated unpleasant side effects from too high a dose. Show me one case of a death from *inhaled* nicotine vapor in an adult that didn’t have a pre-existing medical condition

  3. After reading the Instructable, all I can say is DO NOT ATTEMPT! He uses an LM317 voltage regulator, which is rated for only a fraction of the current required. He doesn’t even bother to heat-sink it! He also uses Li-ion batteries to power it, apparently with no protection whatsoever.

    Smoking may be hazardous to your health, but if this thing burst into flames in your pocket it would be too.

        1. Not really. Fewer intelligent folk smoke as compared to unintelligent people. Education is a decent indication.

          And if you consider smoking to be a stupid habit, people who smoke are at least continuing to do something stupid.

          1. You seem to be correlating intelligence with education. Sorry, but your link only shows a greater smoking rate among those in a lower socioeconomic group and in those with less education. I’ve never read a study linking intelligence to education. But if you can prove me wrong, I’m OK with that.

          2. True, but the smarter ones (especially since the 1970s) don’t start.

            Adults (*) don’t take up smoking, teenagers do. No 30 year old rolls out of bed in the morning and says “Y’know, it looks like a nice day to start smoking”.

            Even the army knows to grab people before they hit 25.

            Gotta get ’em before they wise up.

            (* Yeah yeah, someone’s third cousin had a girlfriend who started smoking at 26…)
            (They used to arrest women for smoking… now they out-number the men.)

          3. And I’m sure you don’t have a single unhealthy habit. You’re a greek god that runs marathons and dines on nothing but health food and clean water. Being unhealthy is stupid, so people who don’t:

            work out regularly
            avoid sugary food/drinks
            floss twice a day (at least)
            call in sick every time they have a cold/flu
            wear a mask during flu season
            never exceeds 1 alcoholic drink per day
            bike or walk everywhere

            are mouth-breathing morons.

            … Or maybe we know unhealthy things are unhealthy, but we do them anyway because we like to. And we dog-pile other people’s unhealthy choices because *our* unhealthy choices are better than theirs. “Hey: I’m going to have a heart attack at 48 due to my diet and sedentary lifestyle, but at least I don’t smoke.”

      1. Smokers are morons?

        Einstein was a smoker.
        Tesla was a smoker.

        As well as many other great minds of the past, present and probably the future… Your comment that all smokers are morons is ignorant, there are tons of smokers out there who are MUCH more intelligent than you will ever be (which isn’t saying much judging from your comments)…

      2. Oh lookie, more morons. Colour me surprised.

        Smarter people will note Einstein & Tesla have been dead for quite a while, well before the link between smoker & lung cancer was proven.

        For over 40 years the message “smoking is for morons” has been said (I remember a poster from the 70s stating “kissing a smoker is like kissing an ashtray”); the smart ones took note. The morons did as expected.

        Feel free to list any current geniuses (or at least those considered to be reasonably bright) who are also smokers.

        Smokering merely points out you are stupid, lower class, or both.

        1. “Smokering merely points out you are stupid, lower class, or both.”
          Do you really have a study that correlates smoking with lower class? Lower class as in social rank, or income? Or is this just name calling?

        2. >Feel free to list any current geniuses (or at least those considered to be reasonably bright) who are also smokers.

          Patrick Moore: Started smoking aged 16, recently died (not of smoking related conditions.)
          he was a world famous astrophysicist, TV presenter, appeared in the first ever show in the UK dedicated to computer games (Games master). wrote a shed load of books.

          Was “Pipe smoker of the year” and by all accounts a shit load smarter than you, given that you are to all intent and purposes, unheard of, unknown and have nothing better to do than criticise other people over the internet.

    1. Again you also need to go back to school, What do you think is ingesting 2000+ chemicals better or 15? There is a huge difference, for the biggest one is no TAR, wow thats what causes most of people breathing problems from smoking, but with no tar well…

      Oh and if you live in a big city, your inhaling way worse than what is in these e-cigs, but I am sure you know that already.

      1. He doesn’t. Seems almost everyone here drank the koolaid. The campaign is working great though, have to nip that vaporizing in the bud. What will the government do when people aren’t buying cigarettes which kill them nor paying taxes. Worse yet, they can wean off the less addictive solitary nicotine and stop completely all without paying $25+/wk for patches or gum.

      2. “Oh and if you live in a big city, your inhaling way worse than what is in these e-cigs, but I am sure you know that already.”

        Doing something bad because you do something worse already doesn’t make much sense. Yes the city air is bad, but why would you want to make the air you breath worse regardless of the quantity it is being made worse..

    2. your comment is beyond ignorant. Spouting off, without bothering to educate yourself on the subject, is worst form of ignorance, because other fools will believe you and spread your ignorance.

      1. And you’ve educated yourself on the subject? How? Did magical unicorns teach you everything you need to know? I’m not spouting off, I’m trying to point out the implicit harm in such foolish behavior. Trying to claim that “I didn’t know, I thought it was safe” when you’re on your premature deathbed won’t magically reverse the harm and restore you to otherwise good health. There is no arguing with the forces of nature. Mother nature has no shits to give. Just because you have your head firmly planted up your ass doesn’t mean the sun stopped shining.

    3. to all you vaping morons calling me ignorant, that’s cute. You don’t know what’s in the liquid. Lab reports are hit and miss right now, and given the lack of controls on who’s mixing what to get what, you don’t have any guarantee that any liquid is the same from lot to lot (hell, you don’t even have a baseline for what is in the liquid).

      Vaping is the wild west at the moment and the FDA has yet to enact any procedures/protocols for monitoring the production process or certifiying the end product. The manufacturers are free to put in whatever they want without have to specify what they’ve done. No one has done any long term studies on effects to health (hasn’t been around long enough, duh). And yet here you are puffing away like you’re bullet-proof.

      I have nothing good to say for traditional cigs either. I have no idea what industry groups are pushing what agendas, etc… My opinions are strictly my own, I’ve held them since day one, and I will continue to hold them, because I am both a scientist and a student of history.

      Look at what regular cigs went through up to now… for years they were held high as “healthful”, “safe”, “invigorating”, etc… Doctors were endorsing them in the media. Health professionals were giving them lofty praise. And when real science finally caught up with what cigarettes were actually doing to us… dear god. Just because real science hasn’t caught up with vaping yet doesn’t mean vaping is safe. It’s ridiculous to assume so. Why engage in a behavior with zero possible postive outcomes?

      You don’t get a free pass because you’re ignorant. We breathe in shitloads of crap every day, no thanks to any number of factors, but just because that’s the way it is doesn’t mean it’s not doing us harm. Why the hell would you want to accellerate that harm by directly inhaling a cocktail of unknown ingredients straight into your lungs? At least most of the rest of our pollutants have some degree of dispersion prior to being breathed in.

      No one’s trying to take your toys away or deprive you of happiness… there’s no conspiracy. What there is, though, is a bunch of folks trying to point out that taking these kinds of unnecessary and foolhardy risks is absolutely absurd. If you’re too dumb to understand that, then by all means puff away on anything you can cram into your pipe. The sooner you shuffle off the better. Ideally, die far away form any kind of medical care. There’s no reason that the rest of us should have to shoulder the increased costs that your stupidity will generate… we’re paying for enough stupidity-induced costs already (cigarette smokers, drug abusers, alcoholics, etc…), we don’t need you adding to it!!!

      Would you let a complete stranger come up to you on the street, hand you a length of tubing and a syringe, tell you it’s completely safe by showing you a piece of paper claiming to list the contents of the syringe, and then shoot you up with it? Would you?

      Then why the fucking hell are you letting corporations do that to you every fucking day???? I don’t care if they’re selling tobacco, tobacco derivatives, cigarettes, cigars, snuff, ecigs, whatever… you’re at their mercy, and they (as corporations) have a complete lack of mercy. What could possibly go wrong???

      I understand that you can’t fix stupid. I doubt I’m going to change your mind on the matter. If you were smart enough to have your mind changed, you wouldn’t be smoking/vaping in the first place. But what I do hope is that those who haven’t yet started with these disgusting, harmful habits will read replies like some of the ones here and realize just what the magnitude of risk is that they’re exposing themselves to… that’s all I can hope for.

    4. It has been known for a long time, that lung cancer is not caused by nicotine — buy by the other chemicals, carcinogens, and toxic gases that result from burning something. Heck, if you throw a plastic cup on a fire, and breathe the fumes (long enough) you will die, because of the toxic gas — no nicotine was involved.

  4. Just a reminder that the solvents used to keep the nicotine in solution are just as toxic (and possibly more so) as cigarettes. The only *definitive* advantage of e-cigarettes is that you are not paying the stamp tax.

    1. False. E-juice contains vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol (a common food additive classified as safe by the FDA), flavorings, and sometimes nicotine.

      Maybe educate yourself so you don’t spout ignorance.

      1. “… sometimes nicotine”.

        Yeah, nicotine-free vaping makes me laugh. What’s the point, you might as well smoke water or suck on a Chupa Chup.

        I think “nicotine-free vaping” really seals the “we are morons” argument.

        1. That’s because you’re ignorant. There are two reasons I’m aware of for nicotine free vaping.

          The first is that some people simply enjoy the physical act of smoking, but would like to avoid the nicotine.

          The second is people who (for whatever reason) enjoy building hot rod vaporizers and making huge clouds of vapor. They even have competitions.

        2. Oh, and people who are trying to quit — end up using ‘nicotine replacement’ therapies, that also contain nicotine.
          While the people who use non-nicotine e-cigs, aren’t using nicotine at all.
          Now whose the moron?

        1. From I have read (MSDS, etc) from dupont, BASF, and on and on.
          have stated that propylene glycol can decompose into toxic chemcials/fumes, but only at very high temperatures and must be burning or under go combustion. So, unless you ecig has caught on fire — then this is a non-issue. Besides we’re talking temperatures greater than 212 degrees farenheight — my ecig’s not boiling…

          1. you realise that the heating element gets hotter than 212F (100C), no the syrup is not boiling when it’s in your pocket, but it is boiling when it’s going through the atomizer.

            In an electronic cigarette, a vapour is produced when the atomizer heats up the e liquid until the flash point is reached. For propylene glycol this is 99°C . The maximum temperature of the e cig atomizer reaches 250°C

            source> http://www.misteliquid.co.uk/blog/e-cig-3-reasons-why-you-need-an-e-cig/#.VCE8iBYeLDs

            funnily enough around 250c the vegetable glycerine will start to decompose and form acrolein, which was previously used as a chemical weapon. -and that’s why even with a shop bought atomizer, a battery hack, which may provide over-designed-voltage (not enough to break the atomizer, but enough to provide more heating power) may be a bad idea.

    2. Not even close. Nicotine dissolves in water very easily. The two main components of vape juice are propylene glycol / deionized water or vegetable glycerine / deionized water, along with any flavorings or scents the manufacturer adds using FDA approved food additives. You already ingest propylene glycol and glycerine each day in common food items, (and in toothpaste). Vaporizing these compounds simply volatilizes them, but burning tobacco to produce smoke can produce thousands of different chemical compounds, along with anything the tobacco plant absorbed during it’s growth cycle.

  5. While reading several comments that argue about relation of ‘being dumb’ and smoking, I was surprised that there were quite alot of comments before [Generic Human] pointed out about the poor design of this hack.
    Come on people, lets stop arguing about stuff like ‘being dumb’ and stick with the actual quality of the hacks. Even if it doesn’t seems to be a nice hack :(

  6. Oh my… So many ignorant, self righteous, simpletons with opinions.

    For people who used to smoke cigarettes, vaporizers are a huge step in living healthier. They offer a practical replacement for cigarettes, or a means to taper off altogether. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly.

    With regard to this “hack”, I’m gonna say it’s a pretty poor one. Using a linear regulator on a battery powered device is tremendously wasteful. Not to mention that even at the most conservative voltage, this thing must be running way outside the current spec for this regulator. Switching supplies are ideal for this application.

    If you don’t want to deal with the complexity of a SMPS, there are tanks out there designed for custom coil winding. Even some of the normal commercial replacement coils are pretty easy to rebuild with whatever gauge and number of turns of kanthal suits your power requirement.

    1. I agree with you that e-cigs have their use at weaning people off tobacco, but beyond that they’re stupid.

      FWIW, I purchased e-cigs for my brother & his wife (both morons), and wish they’d been around earlier for my father who currently has terminal lung cancer (he’s fucked).

      Still, anyone taking up vaping is a moron.

      If you are a smoker under 50 years of age (as the author of this hack undoubtedly is) then you are a moron. You’ve been told “this is not a good idea” often enough. (May not apply to citizens of non-Western countries.)

        1. The dictionary defines ‘moron’ thus: “A common insult for a person considered stupid.”

          Smoking makes you stink, makes your friends stink, fucks up your teeth, gives you superb odds of getting cancer, makes women’s mouths looks like cats arseholes, makes you addicted to nicotine, is expensive, etc.

          Apparently I’m using it correctly.

          What do you think it means?

          1. Hmm, that definition isn’t in my dictionary…, I do suspect you’re making that up.


            Both are methods to inhale nicotine. One may not give you cancer (jury is still out on the other) and be less offensive to bystanders.

            Both are stupid.

            Both are practiced by morons.

            Nicotine-free vaping (look at me, I’m pretending to smoke!) is stupid in its utter pointlessness.

      1. Tony: “and wish they’d been around earlier for my father who currently has terminal lung cancer (he’s fucked).”

        Basically you are upset because your father is a moron and as a product of his seed, it most likely means that you are also a moron. It is clear your brother is moron as well, the odds that you come from a poor and stupid family are very high.

        How long ago did you stop smoking?

        1. I never smoked.

          All my life the message was “don’t smoke”. I never could see the point of it anyway, let alone tolerate the smell.

          My father was born in the era when everyone smoked, because that’s what you did. He could never overcome the addiction despite trying.

          My brother (& wife) now use the e-cigs that I purchase for them (they’re cheap). Maybe they won’t die of long cancer as well. They are more pleasant to stand down wind of these days.

          1. So vaping is bad for your health you say? You must really dislike your brother and his wife if you’re going through lengths to purchase ecig products for them. If they die an early death I’m sure they’ll know who to thank.

  7. I wonder if you could make the heater out of a wire-wound platinum RTD? If you put constant voltage into it, seems the resistance would rise as it heats up until it reaches equilibrium. You’d have good temperature regulation, and the temperature could be modified by changing the input voltage. I’m not sure what the liquid contacts in an e-cig, but I bet you could cement the RTD to a small metal disk to contain the liquid and act as a heat sink.

    1. A platinum RTD sensor is usually available in decades of resistance starting at 100 ohms. So you might be able to buy one that presents an impedance of 100 ohms, at 0 degrees celsius, or 1000 ohms at 0 deg celsius, or 10k ohms at 0 deg celsius etc.

      They are positive thermal coefficient devices, or PTC’s, meaning that their resistance increases with temperature, VERY linearly.

      7.5VDC * 7.5VDC / 100 ohms (at 0 degrees celsius) = 0.5625 watts. That is probably not going to be enough power to heatup what you want to heat up. At room temperature even less wattage would be available.

      The RTD would be better suited as a feedback mechanism, for example instead of that 100 ohm resistor in the circuit, you might use an RTD to provide only enough voltage to regulate the temperature. As the RTD heats up it would reduce the voltage on the heater.

      This would create a constant thermal power regulator.

      If you got a part number or datasheet for the heating element I could provide a simpler solution.


      1. Well, at 185C, a 100 ohm RTD would read about 170 ohms. If we assume we need 1 watt to keep it at that temperature (I pulled that number out of the air. No idea how much heat loss there’d be to whatever’s being heated.), we’d need about 13 volts. You’d have to add a step-up if you were going to use the battery. But I like the simplicity. The heater is its own feedback mechanism.

        1. The problem is that in another post someone mentioned a 2 ohm heater impedance. With a 3.7V battery that’s just about 6.85 Watts. If you were hell-bent on making this work with the RTD as the heating element:

          V = Sqrt( R * P) = (170ohms * 6.85Watts)^0.5 = 34Vdc across the RTD.

          That’s a lot to ask of a boost converter and battery, to go from 3.7Vdc to (34Vdc at 0.2Amps.)

          If you could manage 80% efficiency on the boost converter you’re looking at a current draw of :

          34Vdc / 3.7Vdc * 0.2Amps / 80% = 2.3 Amps at 3.7V from the battery to power it this way.

          Just seems to me like a switching regulator driving a heating element with a temperature sensor as part of the feedback makes more sense, but the way you described is doable.

          1. Right, but I suspect that 6.8 watts is way more than needed. I’d bet that he’s closing a switch until it heats up, then opening it. If he holds it closed too long, it gets too hot. I guess we’ve gone as far as we can without actually building a prototype and making some measurements.

          2. Wait, I take that back. Google says that 40W elements are common. Then you’re looking at > 82 volts. Probably wouldn’t make sense to run it off a battery in that case. But a step-down transformer would work, and eliminate all other circuitry. Ah well, it’s not interesting enough for me to pursue right now.

  8. For all the open source “hacks” I see on e-cigs the one thing I never see is anything about theory. First misconception, it’s not water vapor. The two most common vaporizing agents are vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. The e-cig vaporizer must be designed to vaporize those within a fairly narrow tempetature range otherwise some really nasty (toxic) chemicals can form. So, no, they are not perfectly safe.
    Having a poorly regulated LiPo in my front pocket isn’t something I would want to tell my kids about either.

      1. Possibly, I’ll let ya know once I finish off this bowl. Geez man let a brotha type a wrong name for a common hood drink once or twice. Gonna get some “Steal” Reserve now, or maybe a “Schwitz” Malt Liquor that one with the goat on the can.

        1. I’m old.

          Brass Monkey is when you drink or pour out an olde-e 800 40oz bottle from the cap to the bottom of the conical top. After that you refill the conical top section with orange juice.

          Brass Monkey is ghetto champagne.

          Looking over the past 2 or 3 pages of articles on Hack-A-Day the above information more than qualifies as a champagne hack.

    1. Vaper prices start lower than a pack of smokes anyway.

      Most smokers really are broke-arse fools. In Australia a single cigarette currently retails for about a dollar. A ‘weeks supply’ could cost you a days wages…

      (20 per day vs typical take-home pay of $750 / week ($40,000 / yr))

      Eh, they’d only put it though the pokies anyway.

    2. Not sure if a “proper vape thingy” is any safer than this particular circuit. There are numerous articles about e-cigs catching on fire, sometimes during use, sometimes while charging. Though at least one was clearly wins a Darwin award when the fool was using it around an oxygen tank.

      I’m inclined to believe the ones catching on fire for one reason or another (except the oxygen tank incident) is due to cheap Chinese made clones. I see them quite often at the swaps right alongside the cheap $2 toy guns that break 15 minutes before the package is opened and the “brand name” purses that don’t get their logos glued on until after you purchase them.

      Of course… do E-cigs get UL approval at all? I never picked one up at a big box store to see.

  9. Strange circuit. The only thing limiting the current is the impedance of the heating element, or the thermal overload of the LM317, or the internal resistance of the batteries which, being Lithium Ion batteries is extremely low. The heating element impedance is not identified in this “hack,” or repurpose mod.

    If someone would measure or identify the impedance of the heating element I could suggest an improvement.

    PS “Vaping” might be the worst name ever. Cigarettes are cool. “Vaping” does not sound cool.

    1. It’s a simple ohms law translation. The average* e-cigarette heating element measures around 2 ohms, and receives ~3.7v, so ~1.85A.

      *I saw average, accounting for the standard cigarette/cigar shaped e-cigarette. E-cigarette mods and rebuildable atomizers often use more voltage or lower resistance, so the current is higher

      NOTE: Almost every reference to an exploding e-cigarette has been a case of one of these modders screwing up. The ones that weren’t due to that were from the eGo types getting stuff inside their connector and shorting out.(which is just poor design IMO)

  10. Most of the comments here are both pathetic and retarded. There is no danger of nicotine overdose from an e-cig unless you are drinking the fluid. E-cigs don’t cause cancer like tobacco. In fact many people use the to help them quit tobacco.

    1. >E-cigs don’t cause cancer like tobacco.

      This is a *slight* bit of disinformation. Nicotine, by itself, has been shown to be a carcinogen. That being said, the research on this only came out about a year ago. My thought is, how bad of a carcinogen could it be if we’re only finding out about it now?

        1. There are lots of cheaply made vaporizers (in this context I refer to the combination of battery and tank) that allow the heater to get too hot, which can and does burn the liquid. So in that right, the tobacco may pose as a carcinogen along with the byproducts created out of the other compounds in the liquid. Until a thermistor is used to sense the overheating of the wick, careless overuse of a vaporizer will still produce carcinogens, just in much lower quantities than found in cigarette smoke

        2. Some studies have found that inhaling pure nicotine doesn’t cause cancer.

          The devil is in the details, as usual. Vaporising it along with other stuff does create carcinogens, much like burning your toast does.

          So yeah, it’s a carcinogen, maybe sorta, and vaping it will give you cancer, maybe sorta. Best be on the safe side, eh?

          I don’t think anyone has ever figured out exactly what in tobacco smoke causes cancer, and certainly no-one knows what breathing the various glycols will do either. Safe to ingest doesn’t means safe to inhale – eating asbestos won’t bother you.

          1. https://vapersclub.com/pg.php points to a few studies some as far back 1940 on PG (propylene glycol) inhalation and in atmosphere esp used in hospitals and large HVAC systems to help prevent the spread of microorganisms. PG is also an ingredient in inhalers for asthmatics, PG is an excellent vehicle for delivery. There is also studies on just nicotine use with out combustion of plant mater ie gums that have been approved for long term use.

            if the smoking = moron then most NASA engineers during the 60’s and 70’s can be categorized as that, but keep in mind we have not been back to the Moon since the war on smoking and more engineers now are non smokers.

            Vaping just flavors (no nic) has been used by some as a method of weight loss because it can satisfy a sweet tooth.

            As for a hack this one sucks beyond suck, Want a vape hack https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKXozK6AjfM at least this one has an Arduino.

          2. As before, the 1970s was the cut-over point. Your reply even points out the difference.

            Pre 70s – eh.
            Post 70s – don’t smoke.

            “This is probably a bad idea” started in the 1950s.

      1. Haha I’ve been here for years, it just amazes me how Tony chooses to not only to argue a point that he has no facts to back up, but chooses to stereotype an entire population of people and call them names. If he made similar claims about people of different race/gender he would be tarred and feathered…

          1. “Basically, smarter people live longer by avoiding risk.”

            Who is to say that living longer is smarter? Maybe smart people see the current status of the world, and see with their intelligence that a more enjoyable and shorter life is preferable to that of avoiding every possible risk through your journey…

  11. Hmmm… not a lot of useful content here… perhaps sone of you should all start here…
    .. then maybe a trip here…
    .. followed by *actually reading* this…
    … then if you still cant be bothered formulating some constructive ideas, then maybe do a bit of chilling here.. http://www.trollhaven.org/

    Oh… and by the way an LM317… and the unprotected LiPo… maybe not a good idea, but then again, since I mis-spent some of my yooff finding the largest electolytic capacitors I could, and connecting them to 240V AC (don’t try this at home, it liberates large quantities of toxic fumes that smell of burning horse sh*t, but is without doubt entertaining)… perhaps I too should be wearing my I’m a Moron badge with pride… Never smoked a cigarette in my life however, so perhaps I don’t qualify.

        1. You missed what he was talking about.

          It’s capacitors he connected to the mains, not the vaper. (I doubt the vaper will last long should anyone try that.).

          And yes, hooking caps to mains is great fun (grab a pipe & make a cannon) and yes they smell bad and crap goes everywhere.

  12. So what causes all the name-calling on a post like this? It’s as if I’m browsing 4chan instead of HAD. If someone’s that offended by a project, why spend so much time and effort spewing vitriol instead of moving on to the next one?

    1. To stop spamming abusive comments is like concession, I think we should spend more time on the fact that the hack is poorly engineered from an EE standpoint. Except I feel like most of the people commenting in this post wouldn’t be able to recognize these poor practices if you told them outright.

      1. Most likely people not bothering to point out the obvious. Driving a heating element with a linear regulator being powered from a battery just doesn’t make any sort of logical sense. He may as well have sent the regulator into near over-current shutdown and used the dissipated heat to vaporize the fluid… ;)

  13. I know everyone has some bad habits, I sure have mine. But inhaling insecticide for fun? Might as well take up licking a lead bar 10 times a day, at least lead tastes sweet and won’t break the bank.

    I don’t see how it’s illegal to use microscopic amounts of lead as dopant in sealed microchips, yet an entire segment of the population insists on recreational insecticide consumption to the detriment of everyone else’s healthcare costs.

  14. Honestly, this is about the worst ecig hack out there. Plenty of people are making custom PCBs, enclosures, coils, batteries. Lots of people care about the science/hobby of what they’re doing with their ecigs, and what they’re inhaling (like, pages and pages of posts about wick composition). Even the suppliers are VERY conscientious (chemical lists for flavorings from places like flavor apprentice, gas spectrometer tests for nicotine purity)

    Straight dope on nicotine: increases oxygen uptake, and increases cell division. Cancer? nope. Might exacerbate existing cancer, but that’s about it.

    Ecigs: as pointed out earlier, yea it might not be “perfectly healthy” but inhaling 15 chemicals I select and source myself is way preferable to 2000~ produced by combustion/partial combustion. Also, the equivalent of a pack a day (in nicotine absorption) costs me $0.30, and I don’t even buy the super-wholesale nicotine (think 5 liters of kill-on-contact concentrated stuff), I just buy the 100mg stuff.

    Bottom line, if you’re into electronics, and you’re smoking, you should definitely switch to ecigs, either as a first step towards cessation, or just to cut your costs and have another place to geek out on electronics. Ignore the hater comments.

  15. @dan:
    First of all, you’re talking about the flash point of PG (99°C) — which is irrelevant to my comment.
    I was talking about the decomposition of PG — and this does not happen unless it is being burned or is on fire.
    The same can be applied to VG:
    ‘Acrolein is considereda carcinogen bythe USEPA;however,the level
    oftoxicity has not been established. Acrolein is released, at varyinglevels, during
    the combustion ofmost biomassproducts like burning leaves and cigarettesmoke.’
    source: ftp://ftp.aidea.org/RENEWABLE%20ENERGY%20FUND/RFANov08/267_Mobile%20Biodiesel%20Processing%20Plant_CCTH/Grant%20Packet/Technical/GLYCERIN%20BURNING%20OVERVIEW.pdf

    To sum it up — VG and PG do not produce anything harmful, from decomposition, unless they are combusted, burned, or on fire.

    1. I’m talking about the same thing that you are:.
      let’s clear things up first though:

      You said>From I have read (MSDS, etc) from dupont, BASF, and on and on.
      have stated that propylene glycol can decompose into toxic chemcials/fumes, but only at very high temperatures and must be burning or under go combustion. So, unless you ecig has caught on fire — then this is a non-issue. Besides we’re talking temperatures greater than 212 degrees farenheight — my ecig’s not boiling…

      Which is complete rubbish, 212 farenheit IS 100celcius,
      Basically you said, “the temperatures in my e-cig don’t get over 212 farenheit,”

      I’m saying. either you don’t know what you’re talking about, or your ecig is broken. (you’ll need temperatures over 130 to start atomising glycerine/water mix to a decent vapour)

      atomizer heater grids can run to around 250 degrees C at the upper levels (I provided a link to show this)

      the rest of what you say about it having to burn to release toxic compounds is also bull, if you don’t believe me, then here a datasheet from a manufacturer:

      look at section 10: conditions to avoid, temperatures over 200 degrees as polymerisation and decomposition occur at these temperatures. – not just as a product of combustion.

      one of the things that glycerol breaks down into is Acrolein.

      The point is that it IS possible to produce toxic chemicals in an E-cig. denying such a thing is just ignoring facts, However, there are safe limits for Acrolein intake, which you are unlikely to exceed for the following reasons:
      1, because it taste foul. even to most hardened smoker is going to stop and figure out what’s wrong.
      2, most vaping temperatures are USUALLY below the temperatures needed to form this, specifically because the heating grid is cooled in the liquid.

      so you’re left with a situation when IF you’re low on juice then your element gets hotter (including hot enough to produce toxic chemicals by decomposition of glycerol).
      If you do a terrible battery hack like this one, then you may provide more power to the heater, making it hotter and making the decomposition of parts of the juice into a toxic chemical more likely. -glycerol is only one part of the juice, and Acrolein is only one thing that is formed when broken down…

      long and short of it.
      element temperatures are over 99degrees C (or 212F)
      element temperatures can be hot enough to produce toxic compounds. (including ones previously used as chemical weapons.)
      flash point and combustion have nothing to do with it.

      1. You can also reduce the temperature needed to create vapor by using Glycerine with a bit more distilled water – glycerine with %10 water boils at about 80 degrees less than pure glycerine and if diluted by %15 its boiling point is even lower.
        Are there any ultrasonic atomizers in use as ecig vaporizers, they because they do not heat the liquid, should eliminate the possibility of non linear results altogether ?

      2. @dan

        First, yes section 10.3 (of EN__MSDS_4.pdf) does state:
        ** Propane-1,2,3-triol
        ** 1,2,3-propanetriol
        ** Glycerine,Propanetriol
        ** C3H8O3

        10.1 ReactivityStable under normal operational procedure.
        10.2 Chemical stability – No decomposition if stored and handled properly.
        10.3 Possible dangerous reactions – Will not occur.
        10.4 Conditions to avoid – Temperature > 200 °C (polymerization, decomposition).
        10.5 Materials to avoid – Avoid contact with strong oxidizing agents.
        10.6 Hazardous decomposition products – Acrolein (T > 250 °C)

        However: (http://www.westliberty.edu/health-and-safety/files/2012/08/Glycerol-Reagent-ACS.pdf)
        Section 10 – Stability and Reactivity
        Chemical Stability – Stable.
        Conditions to Avoid – Incompatible materials, ignition sources, excess heat.
        Incompatibilities with Other Materials – Not available
        Hazardous Decomposition Products – Carbon monoxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide.
        Hazardous Polymerization – Will not occur.

        The above MSDS does not mention, Acrolein .. (but CO [twice], CO2)


        Furthermore, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrolein
        ‘Acrolein (systematic name: propenal) is the simplest unsaturated aldehyde.
        It is a colourless liquid with a piercing, disagreeable, acrid smell.
        The smell of burnt fat (as when cooking oil is heated to its smoke point)
        is caused by glycerol in the burning fat breaking down into acrolein.’

        NOTE: that is says: ‘(is caused by glycerol in the burning fat breaking down into acrolein)’ — BURNING FAT


        Even furthermore: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/c9036c292229e5ec86cd2df0c/files/vgmsds.pdf

        ** NOTE THESE ARE FO VG, not Acrolein.
        Flash Point: APPROX 329F (176C)
        Flash point method: OPEN CUP
        Autoignitioin Tempearture: 698F (370C)
        Flammability Classification: NON-FLAMMABLE
        Extinguishing Media: FOAM, CARBON DIOZIE, WATER, or DRY CHEMICAL

        Unusual Fire or Explosion Hazards: KEEP AWAY FROM STRONG ACIDS or OXIDIZING MATERIALS

        — By the point your e-cig gets to these temperature, your face is being burned-off…

        QUOTE YOU, dan:
        ‘element temperatures are over 99degrees C (or 212F)’
        ‘element temperatures can be hot enough to produce toxic compounds.
        (including ones previously used as chemical weapons.)’
        ‘flash point and combustion have nothing to do with it.’

        10.6 Hazardous decomposition products – Acrolein (T > 250 °C)
        250C -> 482F ;
        this is in the range for the FLASH POINT, NOT NORMAL VAPING TEMPS, by any means …
        If your vaping temps are in this range, you’re doing it wrong, and you are crazy!

        — END OF STORY

        1. Firstly thermal decomposition does not have to involve burning. That’s a pretty basic part of chemistry.

          >if your gaping temps are in this range…

          Yes, your doing it wrong, nothing that you buy from the shops gets that hot when used stock.

          But guess what, you may increase the heat with a poorly thought out screen mod. Or with a poorly thought out battery hack. -which is exactly what this is!

          1. @Dan: You have a point about DIY vs stock-store bought, and the quality of the build/materials — not to mention how an individual uses it.

            However, you made no differentiation between DIY/stock in your original posts.

            You were talking about Ecigs and vaping in general.

            I can build a DIY gasoline flamethrower.
            Is it safer than what can be bought off the shelf? … probably not …

            Rule of thumb:
            if you DIY something, you have to be aware of the risks — this is completely normal and applies to everything.

            Maybe, the battery mod was of a poor design…
            That does not, however, mean that everyone, who vapes, is vaping at a particular temperature.

            For Instance:
            When I have done some DIY for something, ecigs or otherwise…
            I always make my design as close as possible to the stock one.
            In this case: I make sure that the voltage/current/power is close to the stock device.
            Granted, I have to be aware that I have no: over-current, short, temperature protection, or similar.
            Furthermore, due to the lack of these protections: I would have to limit draw time, etc and keep safety in mind.

            This is the burden of the DIY’er … if in doubt, go stock — quality stock, that is.

  16. my apologies to the genuine hacker/nerds here but the rest of these comments are just trolls trying to baffle each other with B.S. you guys have no shame (not on the internet anyway). reminds me of a friggen lynch mob. so the dude made a hoozywhatsit or a tickamahouse, who gives a fat rats cloaca? im sure this aint the venue for politics, but rather questions on the design, hardware, schematics or further development or collaboration. if you wanna talk politics go run for mayor or somthing and leave the people kind enough to share knowledge alone.

  17. Wow, I’ve tried to read all these posts, but seriously could not read any further before I had to scroll to the bottom and post myself.
    One thing I can see as a common thread that kept these postings together for as long as it did was that both sides can’t seem to tolerate being called a moron. Go figure!
    Anyway, the jest of people that vapor, in most instances, is trying to quit smoking, yes, a former bad choice, but as someone said earlier, people don’t always make the right choices when they are young, and thus have to either live with their choices, or try anything to make another path for themselves. Vapors ultimate hope, I believe, is to quit the addiction all together. Now, some on here seem to get into a war of the words, who is smarter than who, etc. but in actuality, people are trying to better their circumstances. I did wonder, on occasion, why non smokers, non vapors were even on this thread, if nothing more than to try to make themselves feel better because they can goole their facts better than “you”, but who’s to say why they are here. Anyway, congrats to all that want to quit smoking, I think the hacks are really just people trying to make it cheaper, as commercialism trys to stick it to the people, whether they are buying cigarettes, or ecigs, there is a market, and people are just trying to find an alternative. I don’t really care about how dumb you have to be to smoke, we all know it’s dumb, and even smart people do some pretty dumb things, and on a daily basis at that! I like to consider myself average, a little above average on some subject matters, but also know that my dumb choice to continue smoking is also a habit. Not always feeling like a choice, but more of something that is very difficult to change. I actually think that vapors are people that have migrated towards something they hope that will work for them, or even a chance it may work for them. That is one thing that most people all over the world can relate to, habits come in all forms, whether a physical habit, or not making a good choice due more than to conditioning, than habit, but really, smokers are probably more educated to the facts of how dangerous it is because we are close and personal to the effects more than someone who may not think about it quit so often. All should get off their high hourse, support your fellow man instead for trying, instead of ridiculing him, and know that people on this forum are here because the cost of everything is by market demand, and people just want another way out without cost being a factor to quit.

  18. This is great. I thought you can only make a DIY E-LiQUid and now ,DIY e-cig vaporizer. I’m a little intrigue about this. I guess I will make this someday but for now I just let other do this first for me to make sure it’s fine.

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