High Wattage Mods: Does Your Device Truly Deliver?
Over the past year, we’ve seen an influx of high wattage mods hit the market. There was a time when 20 or 30 watts was enough power. Now, there is the inception of sub-ohm vaping and popularity of cloud chasing. This has brought the growing need for high wattage mods and devices. Manufacturers are building mods that range anywhere from 100 to 200 watts, and in some cases even higher.
Now you’re probably wondering, do these devices really push as much wattage as they claim?
Let’s find out.
Getting 200 Watts From a Regulated Device
Most manufacturers of high wattage mods (above 150+ watts) misrepresent how many watts their devices can actually deliver. A regulated mod is limited by both the chipset and the battery.
Serial vs. Parallel Battery Configuration
There are two different ways that batteries can connect; parallel and serial. Parallel batteries connect side by side, while series batteries connect as if they stack on top of each other.
Serial configuration treats the batteries as if it’s one battery, although it combines the voltage that the batteries are able to output. Two 20 amp batteries in series configuration can output 8.4 volts, but can only handle a maximum of 20 amps. To reach 200 watts on 8.4 volts would draw 23.8 amps from your batteries.
Parallel configuration doesn’t combine the voltage like it does with the amp limit. Two 20 amp batteries in a parallel configuration can only output 4.2 volts, but they can handle a maximum of 40 amps. Reaching 200 watts on 4.2 volts would essentially draw 47.6 amps from your batteries.
In either type of configuration, you cannot safely draw enough amps from two batteries to reach 200 watts. This makes it hard to reach the number of watts for high wattage mods.
Some people argue that because we pulse our batteries when vaping, (as opposed to a continuous draw) we are within the limits of our batteries. Be that as it may, this is not generally considered to be safe. In fact, pushing batteries to the limits of their ratings can damage the cell over time, and ultimately lead to failure.
The Limitations of Your Batteries
Your vaporizer can only draw a limited amount of power out of the batteries that are installed inside of it. One battery can hold a maximum of 4.2 volts. When you use two batteries, that number is doubled, but only when they are in a series configuration, giving you the ability to push 8.4 volts. A chipset can also store additional volts.
Using an Ohm’s Law calculator, below are the results of reaching 200 watts:
● Voltage: 4.2
● Resistance: 0.09
● Amp Draw: 47.62
The first thing you’ll notice is that your batteries need to have a full charge. They won’t remain at 4.2 volts for longer than 5-10 puffs at 200 watts, so your power will decrease significantly as the batteries are draining.
Secondly, the resistance of your atomizer needs to be at 0.09 or below. The majority of regulated devices fail to fire atomizers built at this low of a resistance.
Lastly, the amp draw is at 47 amps. The best batteries on the market can handle between 20 to 30 amps. Other batteries are rate as low as 10 amps, despite what its label says (there are also many fakes). Some manufacturers will even claim their batteries can sustain 60 amps. However, tests show that there are no batteries above 30A continuous. As a result, we don’t know how safe some batteries truly are unless you’re buying from a trusted and reputable manufacturer. To pull 47 amps out of two batteries is risky, especially if you aren’t absolutely sure of the specs of your battery.
The more amps you draw from the battery, the more the battery will suffer from battery sag. This is a temporary dip in voltage that happens to any battery while it is under load (when you’re firing it). Some batteries have less sag than others. This is in part due to the age and the quality of the battery. High-performance batteries are your best bet for the least amount of sag.
Due to battery sag, even a fully charged 4.2-volt battery will not output a full 4.2 volts. Some batteries might see a reduction of more than one whole volt while it’s under load. You’re likely to see even more sag when drawing high amps for a low resistance load. Fewer volts equals less wattage.
The Limitations of Your Device
The computer chip inside of your device can draw additional power, but only to the point where it’s still safe for your batteries. Most of the boards installed in high-wattage devices deliver a max output voltage of 7 to 10 volts. Upwards of 8.4 volts requires pulse-width modulation (read more about that below).
For example, let’s say that your vaporizer limits maximum output voltage to 8 volts. In order to get to 200 watts from 8 volts would require 25 amps drawn from your batteries. Drawing that many amps would result in a massive decrease in voltage. The safety protections built into RDA mods will usually not allow you to fire the device if the battery charge drops below 3.2 volts each.
Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM)
Manufacturers can further increase voltage by using pulse-width modulation which takes place when combining capacitors reach a predetermined level and discharge back into the circuit. Although not continuous, the additional charge acts like an extra battery. You will not get a full 200 watts while you vape but may attain your desired wattage in short bursts.
Can You Pull 200 Watts with an Unregulated Device?
Unregulated devices don’t bear any electrical components. A user has no restrictions from pulling as many watts as they want from their batteries. The makes unregulated devices extremely dangerous for people. It is important to have experience and knowledge of battery safety and Ohm’s Law. Batteries can only take so much stress. Trying to push the limits can cause it to explode. It is dangerous to use unregulated devices as high wattage mods.
With proper care, unregulated devices can be perfectly safe for experienced vapers who have the knowledge and know-how. The rule of thumb is don’t pull more amps than your batteries can handle.
Sure, you can technically pull 200 watts or more from an unregulated device, but your batteries will not be able to handle the stress for long. Use an Ohm’s Law calculator to make sure you’re building safely.
Note: ALL safety precautions mentioned above apply for unregulated devices as well
Don’t Let Your Screen Fool You
Just because the screen on your device says 200 watts doesn’t mean you are actually hitting 200 watts, at least not out of a dual-battery setup.
Theoretically, you can get 200 watts out of two batteries. By using pulse-width modulation, fully charged batteries, batteries with zero inefficiencies, efficient chipsets, and batteries with minimal voltage sag, you can likely reach 200 watts a few times before the battery loses its charge, but good luck getting all of those variables to come together at once!
It’s very likely to safely reach approximately 140 watts with two fully charged batteries. With pulse-width modulation, you can get higher wattage for short bursts and only until the battery charge drops, which may be just a few puffs.
The bottom line is you can expect accurate readings from dual-battery devices that push less than 125 watts. Any more than that is simply not safe or realistic.