What is an APV?
Advanced Personal Vaporizers, otherwise known as APVs or Mods, have been around for years, but continue to evolve into more and more functional and elaborate devices. There is such a wide variety of styles and configurations that attempting to list them all is a futile proposition. Instead, we’ll give you some background and a selection of the most popular styles and brands that should be a good start to your search.
A Brief History of Mods
The first electronic cigarettes that appeared in 2007 showed the potential of the device, but it was clear that there was room for growth in the design area. In particular, the factory supplied batteries were less than stellar. They fulfilled the form factor requirement and look like a cigarette, but the power and charge life left a lot to be desired. Getting only an hour or two of use out of a tiny cigarette-like battery before it needs to be recharged is not uncommon for a moderate to heavy vaper.
It wasn’t long before some enterprising individuals realized that a variety of different power sources could power an ecig. They called their creations mods and the term stuck. The most common mods involve the use of 3.7 volt rechargeable lithium batteries which deliver a noticeably higher voltage than the 3.2v or lower found in the typical electronic cigarette battery. Some modders have also used multiple batteries and regulators to increase voltage to 5v or more for an even more intense vaping experience. These batteries are then attached to a momentary push button switch that controls power delivery to the connector that the atomizer is attached to.
Creative modders have come up with quite an interesting array of housings for the battery and switch, but simple battery boxes and flashlight bodies remain the most popular. Commercial manufacturers eventually began marketing their own versions of mods and many have begun to use the term Advanced Personal Vaporizer (APV) to better describe the devices.
Advanced Personal Vaporizers
Larger battery capacity and replaceable internal batteries are the two primary characteristics that define an APV. Vendors have come up with seemingly endless variations on two main styles, the tube mod and the box mod. A tube mod is cylindrical in shape while a box mod is a square or rectangular box.
Tube mods were originally conceived using flashlights or pieces of pipe as a starting point. Since then, many companies have begun manufacturing nearly endless variations on the theme. Length, battery type, button placement, switch type and aesthetic design are the primary distinguishing features between them. The Tube Style Advanced Personal Vaporizers details some of the best available.
Box mods had their start in the simple AA battery boxes found at Radio Shack. Early electronic cigarette users looking for more power realized that these boxes could be easily modified to hold one 3.7v 14500 battery, a switch and an atomizer connector. Once again, manufactured variations now abound, made of plastic, wood and metal. See our list of Box Style APVs for some popular ones.
Either style can be found containing unregulated, regulated or variable voltage. Unregulated devices have no circuit board or chip that regulated the voltage. The power is delivered directly from the battery to the atomizer and will decrease as the battery charge is depleted. Some unregulated devices have mechanical switches that operate by simply making contact with the battery, while others have a wired switch, which allows for better button placement.
Regulated devices have a circuit board or chip that delivers a consistent output throughout the charge life of the battery. Some are regulated at a fixed voltage, while others allow it to be varied. Variable voltage means that the user can increase or decrease voltage output depending on the atomizer or cartomizer in use. Variable wattage devices actually measure the resistance of the atomizer or cartomizer and automatically vary the voltage to make a certain amount of power that is selected by the user.