If you have spent any time on any of the various forums related to electronic cigarettes, you are sure to have noticed references to “mods.” Some forums, such as the e-cigarette-forum and the e-smokers-forum have whole sections devoted to the activity of modding. The term mod refers to a modification of the electronic cigarette and most often refers to a modification of the battery that powers it.
In order to understand why mods are popular in the world of electronic cigarettes, it is necessary to look at the admittedly brief history of the device. 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 an hour or two of use before the battery needs to be recharged is not uncommon for a moderate to heavy vaper using a battery the size of a cigarette.
In addition to these limitations, there has always been the threat that electronic cigarettes would cease to be available to the consumer. In the United States, the FDA embarked on a misguided and authoritarian campaign to confiscate incoming shipments and spread misinformation, threatening the supply of the new technology.
Modding is the solution that many vapers have found to improve the performance of their personal vaporizer and ensure continued availability through the use of common parts. 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.
While most parts for mods can be found at your local electronics store, it was not long before a number of vendors began offering components that are specifically suited to the creation of a personal vaporizer. Vendors such as Madvapes and ecigmods offer everything needed from batteries to atomizer connectors. Many commercially produced mods are also available in designs that range from the simple to beautiful.
New electronic cigarette battery designs such as the eGo, Riva and Hello 016 have effectively solved the battery life issues, but mods continue to be popular. If nothing else, they are a statement of creativity and personal preference that goes well beyond the personal vaporizer that simply looks like a cigarette.