Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the 510/510-T
For new users the world of electronic cigarettes can be quite overwhelming. There are new terms to learn, equipment to become familiar with, maintenance procedures, and modifications options, all of which can vary from brand to brand, model to model, retailer to retailer, or person to person. This guide is meant to provide you with a basic understanding of the most popular electronic cigarette (e-cig) models so you can make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing and upgrading equipment
The Joyetech 510/510-T is one of the most popular models currently on the market, and rightfully so. It performs well, is of great quality, and it’s small, compact form appeals greatly to new users. At approximately 112 mm x 9.2 mm the 510/510-T’s size closely resembles that of analog cigarettes with which most new users are familiar.
The 510/510-T is a three piece design, which consists of a battery, atomizer, and cartridge. The battery serves as the power supply for the device, the atomizer vaporizes the E-Liquid to produce the “smoke” or vapor that you inhale, and the cartridge holds the E-Liquid and feeds or wicks it to the atomizer. While the 510-T works slightly differently by using a spike to physically puncture the cartridge, the functionality is very similar on both models and you can see the standard 510 configuration and how it works in more detail in the picture below:
There are two basic types of batteries available for the 510/510-T, manual and automatic, and each type comes in a variety of sizes. We will discuss the positive and negative aspects of each type of battery below. (All 510/510-T batteries are exactly the same in Joyetech 510 and Joyetech 510-T kits and therefore are completely interchangeable)
The automatic battery type is built to activate automatically each time the user inhales through the mouthpiece of the device. It works by using the moving air rushing through the device to trigger a small switch which in turn fires the atomizer. This action most closely resembles that of an analog cigarette and appeals greatly to new users who want their e-cig to fit into their normal routine as seamlessly as possible. This functionality also makes the automatic battery type great for hands-free use, but unfortunately it also makes it very sensitive, allowing it to sometimes be activated inadvertently by sound or light impact. This means that the battery may be activated while not in use just by carrying it in a pocket or purse, causing the battery to drain and in turn requiring more frequent recharging.
Automatic batteries also have an automatic shutoff built in that frustrates some users who want a longer, deeper draw. The final and likely most major downside to automatic batteries is that their hands-free functionality requires that they have a hole through the battery casing for air to flow through in order to flip the switch and fire the atomizer. This can cause issues, especially for new users that are prone to overfilling or flooding the device, by allowing the E-Liquid to flow down into the battery casing and causing the battery to malfunction prematurely. Consequently, it is recommended that caution be used when direct dripping E-liquid while using an automatic battery. (More on flooding & dripping later.)When using an automatic battery, it is recommended to employ a "primer puff" before every draw, to pre-heat the atomizer for optimal vapor production. This is taking a short puff, followed by the actual inhale draw. Therefore, while automatic batteries technically have a slightly larger capacity when compared to their manual counterparts (220mah vs. 150mah or 340mah vs. 280mah for the XL version), after taking into account the inadvertent activation issues and primer puffs required on the automatic versions, battery life is seems to be comparable to manual versions in practice.
Automatic Battery Pros and Cons:
The manual version of the 510/510-T battery is activated manually by the press of a button as opposed to automatically with each inhale, hence the name. It is generally more popular among experienced vapers because it allows for more control and eliminates many of the downsides of the automatic versions. When using a manual battery, a "primer puff" is not needed. Simply press the button before you begin your draw, then release after you are finished. There also less of a chance of inadvertent activation since the button must be pressed to activate the battery.
The main advantage of the button press functionality is that it allows the user to have full control over the length and heat of each draw. When vaping, long, slow draws are preferred to short swift draws since they produce more vapor and flavor for the user. Given that manual batteries do not have a shut off timer built in, the user can take much longer draws in contrast to the automatic versions and therefore inhale more vapor with each draw. However, the button installed on manual versions takes up a small amount of room inside the casing and therefore they are rated at a slightly lower capacity than the automatic versions of the same size. Lastly, the manual batteries are able to be fully sealed so that there is little to no risk of E-liquid seeping into the battery when dripping or flooding occurs. As a result they are considered to be much more reliable and less likely to malfunction prematurely.
Manual Battery Pros and Cons:
The 510/510-T has two lengths of batteries available, standard and extra long (XL). The standard length is what comes in most starter kits and measures 66.0mm in length without the atomizer and cartridge attached. It is rated at 150mah for the manual version and 220mah for the automatic version. However, many retailers offer upgraded starter kits including XL batteries and/or simply sell the XL versions separately so that users can upgrade at any time.
The XL battery, also known as “mega” or “jumbo” 510/510-T battery, lasts longer between recharges due to its larger capacity of 280mah for the manual version and 340mah for the automatic version. On its own it measures 91.0mm in length without the atomizer and cartridge attached. However, due to the larger capacity it takes longer to charge and due to the extra length it will not fit in the 510/510-T Portable Charging Case (PCC).
XL vs. Standard Size Comparison
This battery type is actually an accessory that allows for direct power for your e-cig from a computer, AC Adapter, Car Adapter, or any other USB power source. It looks like a standard 510/510-T battery, but is attached to a cord with a USB plug. There are two main versions of this accessory currently on the market. One has a small plastic battery case that houses a lithium battery located in line on the cord near the plug as pictured here. This battery is continuously recharged via the USB port when plugged in, and in turn supplies power to the atomizer that is attached to the mock 510/510-T battery casing at the end of the cord. The second version merely has a cord that goes directly from the 510/510-T battery casing to the USB plug. Since in both versions the cord is attached to where the LED is normally located, neither has an LED that lights up when activated.
In terms of its placement within the electronic cigarette assembly, the atomizer (atty) is the piece that holds everything together. One end screws into the battery and the other end fits the cartridge. The atomizer is also a very complex piece of equipment bundled into a very small package. It is often the source of issues with performance and taste and therefore it is very important that the new user understand the basics of how it works, how to use it correctly, and the most common problems that users experience.
Basically, the atomizer portion of the electronic cigarette houses the heating element (coil) that is responsible for heating up the liquid and turning it into vapor. In the standard 510, the coil itself is wrapped around a fiberglass wick and lies within a small pot or chamber, which holds a reserve of e-liquid. Above the coil is a metal mesh “bridge” that draws the liquid from the cartridge to the wick. The 510-T simply has a wick inside of a hollow spike in the center of the atomizer that wicks the liquid to the coil hidden away inside the assembly. As the liquid is heated by the coil and turns to vapor, the draw by the user causes the vapor to be pulled back through the vents in the mouthpiece and into the user’s mouth.
Standard 510 510-T
Atomizers, by design, are not meant to last forever. Think of them like a standard light bulb in your home. The coil in the atomizer is very similar to the filament of a light bulb. Each time the button is pressed, it’s like flipping the light switch to turn on the light. The coil is powered and heats up quickly, but when it is released the coil cools down. Over time, this heating and cooling will cause the coil to eventually malfunction much the same as if you flipped a light on and off many thousands of times.
If you get a “gurgling” sound when you draw on the device, you have flooded the atomizer. This means that there is too much liquid in the atomizer for it to properly vaporize. To fix this problem, simply remove the atomizer from the battery and cartridge, place your lips on the cartridge end of the atomizer and blow firmly to push the excess liquid onto a paper towel from the threaded end.
Over time, atomizers may become dirty or clogged due to the flavorings added to E-Liquids accumulating inside of the atomizer as the liquids are vaporized. Some flavors may be more problematic in this area than others due to the varying ingredients in different flavors, but as a general rule of thumb darker color E-Liquids tend to dirty or clog atomizers more quickly than lighter color E-Liquids, though this is not always the case.
As an atomizer becomes dirty or clogged, there are several tell-tale signs that let you know that your atomizer may need cleaning:
If any of the above occurs it is recommended that you clean the atomizer before using any further. By doing so, you may be able to extend the life of your atomizer and improve or restore performance.
There are many methods for cleaning, some more successful than others. “Blowing out” the atomizer is usually the first recommendation and can fix many issues on the fly. As mentioned above as a fix for a flooded atomizer, simply remove the atomizer from the battery and cartridge, place your lips on the cartridge end of the atomizer and blow firmly to push the excess liquid or gunk onto a paper towel from the threaded end. However, if this does not fix the problem try one of the following methods:
Hot Water Rinse – This method works sometimes to fix minor problems
Soaking/Baths – Most recommended and common method, will fix many problems, but takes time.
*Plunger kit shown here cleaning cartomizer, but atomizer cleaning process is the same
These tips may work on other atomizers, as well.
While the cartridge on a 510 may seem like a simple piece of plastic that holds E-Liquid it is actually a rather complex assembly designed to both feed E-Liquid to the atomizer at a consistent rate and deliver vapor through the mouthpiece when the user takes a draw. The mouthpiece end of the cartridge also has a small chamber to catch excess liquid as vapor is drawn through the cartridge. Looking closely you can see that there are air channels on either side of the E-Liquid chamber through which the vapor travels from the atomizer to the mouth. This means that the vapor does not travel through the E-Liquid chamber, but instead travels around it to the mouthpiece chamber. This is true of both the 510 and 510-T models.
Inside of the E-Liquid chamber of the 510 cartridge you will find filler material made of polyester or nylon batting. It serves as somewhat of a sponge to keep the E-Liquid in its designed chamber until it is wicked to the atomizer as needed. Without this filler the E-Liquid would simply dump directly into the atomizer as the cartridge is inserted, causing lots of leaking and flooding to occur. The excess liquid left in the filler material over time can eventually get "gummy" and affect the taste, throat hit or draw, so the filler should occasionally be removed, rinsed and dried for reuse.
Some users like to get rid of the filler altogether and choose to “direct drip.” This is done by simply dripping 2-3 drops of E-Liquid directly onto the atomizer coil. While many do this by simply removing and replacing the included mouthpiece every time they drip, a much easier method is to purchase a drip tip designed specifically for this purpose. A drip tip replaces the cartridge and will allow you to drip directly onto the atomizer without the need for removing the tip because the hole in the tip is enlarged. Proponents of dripping feel that it gives more consistant vapor and throat hit while also providing better or more flavor. The downside is that it may take some experimenting to determine the correct number of drops to use. Too few and you risk overheating and destroying your atomizer, or at least experiencing a harsh burnt taste. Too many drops and you risk flooding the atomizer which can result in excess fluid getting into your mouth or destroying the atomizer because it is working so hard to vaporize the extra fluid.
The 510-T is designed somewhat differently so that it does not require filler material. Essentially the atomizer and cartridge were redesigned in such a way that the cartridge is actually punctured by a spike sticking up from the center of the atomizer. The punctured hole is sealed by the spike and cartridge end cap to prevent leaking. Since it is sealed the wick inside of the hollow spike can wick the liquid directly from the E-Liquid chamber of the cartridge to the coil of the atomizer without the need for filler. The wick itself serves to regulate the flow of the liquid to eliminate flooding issues.
There are four common charging components available for most 510 batteries: USB Wire Chargers, A/C adapters, Car adapters, and Portable Charging Cases (PCC’s).
USB Wire Chargers: Charges a single battery and plugs directly into your computer’s USB port. Place the threaded end of the battery in the hole and screw it in place until the light turns red. It will turn green when charged.
A/C Adapters: Charges a single battery and plugs into a standard wall outlet. These aren’t full chargers, but are simply converters that allow you to plug the USB charger directly into the A/C adapter.
Car Adapters: Charges a single battery and plugs into a cars cigarette lighter. Like the A/C Adapters above these are merely converters so that you can plug the USB Wire Charger directly into the Car Adapter.
Portable Charging Cases (PCC’s): Charges a single battery and also holds one atomizer and two cartridges. Plugs into a USB port, with a mini USB on one end and a standard USB on the other. Place the battery in the far right hole, thread side down. The pressure from the lid will push it into place to charge - it does not screw in place.
There are three lights on the PCC:
Top Light - Red indicates a battery is charging. Turns off when charged.
Middle Light - Red indicates the PCC battery is too low to charge the battery inside.
Bottom Light - Red indicates the PCC needs to be charged. Green means the PCC is fully charged and ready for your battery.