I recently picked up Mad Vapes‘ variable voltage box mod to use as a sort of test bed when I evaluate new gear. I’ve written about box mods before, I do generally find them a little bland, but I needed some versatility without breaking the bank on a fancy e-cigarette mod. An inexpensive box mod seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
|MadVapes VV Mod, 2nd row, left|
This VV model, and box mods in general aren’t going to win any beauty contests. Winning beauty contests isn’t really the point of this mod. This mod offers the versatility of variable voltage while maintaining an incredibly modest price tag. Like all box mods the MadVapes version is constructed from a battery holder used for electronics projects. In this case, the box used is a three AA battery design.
The three slot box translates into a fairly chunky little box. Overall the box dials in as much smaller than a juice feeder like the Boge Revolution. The box fits in the palm of my hand quite easily, but it might be a bit big to carry around in a pocket. This size of a box is required to fit all the components required to make the device tick.
Two slots are reserved for batteries while the third holds the electronics. The batteries used are of the 14500 variety (roughly the same size as standard AA batteries) and rated at 900mAh. The electronics consist of the battery connector and necessary wires along with a small circuit board that contains the variable voltage regulator.
The regulator is connected to small wheel used to make voltage adjustments on the outside of the box. There is both slots for a screwdriver as well as a flat indentation on the wheel to allow for adjusting with your fingernail. The adjustment wheel may be tight at first, turning the wheel with a screwdriver back and forth a few times should loosen it up enough to allow finger adjustment.
The case sadly lacks any sort of markings to determine what voltage any given position represents. It is probably a good idea to pick up a voltage meter to help dial this box in accurately if you are shooting for a specific voltage.
Other external features are typical for this type of device. The box features a sliding on/off switch and a small fire button. I found the fire button worked well without a lot of pressure required to set it off. This is good news compared to other box mods I’ve used which made nearly pierced my thumbs. The mod does not have any type of LED indicator.
This utilitarian box is pretty well assembled. The wiring and connectors including the battery connection are sealed with some kind of glue or epoxy. The voltage regulator is, however, exposed. This is necessary because the regulator works by taking excess voltage and converting it to heat. Workmanship on the exterior is very clean. The cutouts for the voltage adjustment and 510 connectors are clean with no burring or melted plastic.
The two weakest points of the build quality are the 510 connector and the battery cover. The 510 connector is slightly loose, not enough to cause any real issues, but it simply doesn’t feel as solid as I would like. The battery cover also slides off with very little effort. This is more a drawback in the batter box itself than in the building of the mod.
The good build quality of this variable voltage box mod results in pretty steady performance. The button fires up the connected atomizer every time its pressed without complaint. The only exception to that is when the unit is pushed extraordinarily hard, such as running triple coil cartomizers at 6 volts and beyond, a protection circuit apparently kicks on requiring the on/off switch be flipped off and on again to resume normal operation.
The unit’s output capabilities ranged from 2.83v to 7.2 on the high end. At lower voltages this box will run quite warm. This is due to the voltage regulator transforming the excess voltage to heat and is normal for this type of circuitry. Unfortunately, these circuits are also terribly energy inefficient. Coupled with the smaller capacity 14500 batteries, the box is not an all-day on the same battery kind of device. You will still get several hours out of it with moderate to heavy use in most cases.
Too Long; Didn’t Read
The variable voltage box mod from Mad Vapes is a basic, utilitarian variable voltage device. While this device won’t be turning any heads with fancy styling or exotic features, it will diligently perform its duty. The bare-bones nature of the unit makes for a very affordable way to dip your toes into vari-volt vaping.
- Fairly easy voltage adjustment
- Good build quality
- Reliable performance
- Kind of ugly and clunky
- Minimal features (no LEDs)
- No voltage markings
- 14500 batteries do not provide the greatest time between charges
- Device can run hot
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