Which type of wires TC mode uses?
Wire materials like Nickel 200, Titanium and Stainless Steel are suitable for TC mode, because their resistance value changes “significantly” (in percentage) with temperature and these changes are easier to be detected/tracked by the mod’s regulator chip.
On the other hand, Kanthal and Nichrome wire materials are not suitable for temperature control, because they don’t change their resistance value enough with temperature (to be detected by the mod). But, that’s why they are used on Power mode (because their resistance is fixed no matter its temperature, so they will consistently perform under constant power/wattage, even with long fire-button’s pressing).
Nickel (Ni200) wire presents a very low resistance that significantly varies when heated. This wire cannot be used in power mode (toxic).
Titanium (Ti) wire operates similarly, but it presents a higher resistance than Ni200, a faster heat-up (and cool-down). It also cannot be used in power mode (toxic).
Stainless Steel (SS) wire, however, can be used in both power mode and TC mode on mods equipped with SS wire-type TC-mode option. But, you can use SS as Ti-wire in TC-mode on mods without specific SS factory-preset TC mode, by just using it with the lower available temperature setting of 200oF/100oC (because the TCR of SS316 is low compared to Ti). The flavor provided by SS is usually acknowledged as “more pure”.
Every type of wire has a different TCR (parenthesis presents recommended coil’s value):
- Ni200: 0.00620 (0.05Ω)
- Ti: 0.00350 (0.1Ω)
- SS316L: 0.00092 (0.5Ω)
- SS316: 0.000915 (0.5Ω)
- SS317L: 0.00088 (0.5Ω)
- SS317: 0.000875 (0.5Ω)
- SS304: 0.00105 (0.5Ω)
- SS430: 0.00138 (0.25Ω)
- NiFe30: 0.00320 (0.1Ω)
- Tungsten: 0.00450 (0.07Ω)
Also check instructions here.
What features your regulated mod should have for TC vaping?
First of all, you obviously need a regulated mod equipped with TC mode of operation. All TC mods have specific factory-preset TC modes for Ni200, Ti and usually for SS316L types of wires. The mod’s TC feature will allow you to:
- select first the specific TC-mode for the type of wire you use on your coil (TC Ni, TC Ti, TC SS)
- lock the coil’s resistance value (before firing it up)
- then to adjust the maximum wattage attained
- and finally to adjust the temperature limit (in degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit) that your coil’s temperature will not exceed
When the TC function detects that the coil reaches your selected temperature (no matter if your wattage setting is too high and you’re pressing the fire button for long), it acts as a limiter and will restrict/cut-off the power provided to the coil until its temperature backs down just below your selected temperature limit. TC mode limits your coil’s temperature at your selected value, no matter what your vaping style is, whether it’s MTL or DTL, with short or long puffs or even if you’re chain-vaping.
Even if you’re an inexperience vaper, you can easily find each liquid’s “sweet spot” by changing the coil’s temperature limit.
Beside the above three factory-preset TC-modes of operation, many TC mods nowadays offer an individual TCR mode. This, obviously, allows you to directly set/adjust your wire’s TCR value, which might be different for the same type of wire, made by different manufacturers.
Coil’s resistance lock
When you mount up your atomizer (with the new TC coil) on your mod the first time, accept “new coil” (on the message displayed on the mod’s screen) in order for the mod to “lock” your coil’s resistance value at room temperature. This is significant for the TC mode’s accuracy and consistency of operation/performance.
Along with choosing the temperature limit of your coil, TC mods require to also set the wattage setting that must be kept locked, under which the mod will appropriately perform its tracking and retention of the fixed temperature limit.
Some TC mods use joules for their TC mode tracking procedure (and not only) instead of watts. A joule is the actual unit of the provided -to the coil- energy (converted into heat). A watt is just a joule per second (power is energy per second). So, when you’re setting your wattage on your mod, you’re actually adjusting how many joules per second are provided to the coil for as long as you press the fire button. Thus, just use the same setting in joules as you would in watts.
Some TC mods’ manufactures, recognize the inaccuracy of the measurement of a very low-Ω coil’s resistance value at room temperature (actually due to the fact that the mod’s internal resistance “losses” might be of comparable order of magnitude with the very low resistance coils usually used in TC mode).
So, they have equipped their TC mods with the ability to manually adjust slightly the value of the resistance of your coil, as measured by the TC mod. This enhances the accuracy of the TC mode operation with noticeable results when very low-Ω coils are used.
Sometimes, manufacturers equivalently present this adjustment as altering the internal resistance of the TC mod.
First-Time TC mode user?
If you have a TC mod, setting it up first time for TC vaping is easy.
- First thing to do: set it to the specific TC mode for the type of coil you are going to use in your atomizer. Depending on your mod, it may have a single factory-preset TC mode that supports both Ni/Ti coils or it may have individual factory-preset TC modes specifically for Ni-coils, Ti-coils or even for SS-coils.
- Second thing to do: when mounting your atomizer on the TC mod, accept to “lock-in” the reference resistance of your new coil, while it is still cold.
- Third thing to do: set the recommended wattage locking for the coil you are using (check recommended wattage-ratings on coil manufacturers’ website).
- Final thing to do: select the temperature (Celsius/Fahrenheit) that your coil should not exceed.
Recommended Wattage and Temperatures
Always start from low wattage and temperature settings and increase them along the way (much like you initially did with the watts on the wattage mode).
Starting from 15-20W, check how long it takes for your coil to reach the temperature you’ve set. If it’s longer than 1sec, just increase wattage.
Usual vaping temperatures are in the range of 200°C-250°C/392°F-480°F. By changing the temperature setting, it is relatively easy to “track” the “sweet spot” of your liquid. Your personal preference on flavour/taste will guide you to the temperature range that suits you for each different liquid.
Ni/Ti coils are typically wrapped to very low resistances and they should never be used on a mod that is not equipped with TC mode. Ni/Ti coils should never be dry-fired for long or intensively. Ni/Ti coils should never be used in VV/VW modes.
As a first-time TC-mode user, better start with SS wire-type coils. If your setup is not successful for TC operation (usually when your coil’s resistance is higher than 1Ω), the TC-mod will automatically switch to power-mode operation by itself (check your TC-mod’s resistance range on TC-mode).
In a removable-batteries’ TC-mod, always make sure you install properly amperage-rated batteries.
Are there any downsides with TC vaping?
Although TC mode provides performance consistency and helps avoiding the results already mentioned, it is not for every vaper.
- Vapor production is usually reduced (meaning, though, less liquid consumption). Thus, cloud-chasers must use suitable TC Clapton coils (or more “complex” ones) for confronting this (but liquid consumption increases).
- Pre-wrapped TC-coils are more expensive.
- Coil rebuilders need to know more for building TC-coils:
TC-wires must be very thin (Ni in particular) to wrap a coil with a very low resistance value, workable for TC-mode. This makes your coil delicate to handle (better try tempered Ni) when wrapping it (use the threading of a suitably-sized screw), when tightening it down to the atomizer’s posts (carefully, because it can break) and when inserting your wick in it (must use less cotton than usually with power-mode coils, for keeping wraps equally spaced).
Wraps-spacing is important in Ni-coils (if wraps make contact, mod’s TC function will fail to accurately detect resistance change). Ni-coil builds usually need double/triple the amount of wraps (as Ni-wire heats-up faster, additional wraps are needed to control conductivity).
Many prefer to use pure-Ti instead of Ni, due to its higher resistance (meaning less wraps). Ti is also more durable.
- For the case of vaping with clearomizers, you have to look for those few that use coil-heads suitable for TC-mode (using Ni, Ti or –better- SS wire).
- Single-18650 battery presents shorter-usage time, as TC-coils are of very low-Ω, needing more power until heated.
Is it really necessary to vape with TC mode?
No, if you’re using coils made of Kanthal, Ni80 or even SS with resistance larger than 1Ω (usually at tight MTL atomizers).
If you have an atomizer with an adjustable liquid-feeding system and you know how to build a lower than 1Ω setup succeeding adequate and continuous liquid saturation of your wick, then the only problem you might face, when using “plain” power-mode vaping, is increasing too much the temperature of the coil, due to either of your higher wattage setting (for the type of your liquid and the coil’s resistance value) or of your longer fire-button pressing. The results of such (over-powering your coil) conditions are possibly:
- getting a hotter vapour than you want
- not getting the flavour you want from your liquid
- experience dry hits (if your wick is not adequately liquid-saturated continuously)
- burning your wick
These mean that you don’t know yet how to adjust the power-mode accordingly. Using less wattage and shorter fire-button’s pressing are the first things to try. If these don’t suit you for your normal experience of your liquid’s flavor, try adjusting your atomizer’s liquid-feeding system accordingly or even arrange a better set-up.
If all fail, try vaping with TC mode.
Actually, it’s not that difficult to use TC mode of vaping.
As a first-time TC mode user, just get a TC mod with a specific factory-preset TC-SS mode. Buy pre-wrapped SS TC-coils (the manufacturer should mention wattage, temperature and TCR settings). Select the TC-mod’s factory-preset TC mode corresponding to your SS-wire coil, lock your coil’s resistance and then lock the recommended watts. Set the recommended maximum temperature and… vape.
Down the road, you may find yourself adjusting your coil’s TCR on TC mods equipped with such a manual-TCR adjustment. By that time, though, you should already consider yourself a bit more experienced on TC vaping, by knowing what to look for as far as the flavour/taste consistency’s performance of your liquid.
I am not in the vaping business. I found vaping as the escape door from my 25 years of smoker’s imprisonment. It just took me four days of attempting to totally get out of it, thanks to the appropriate –for me- “equipment” (includes e-liquids). Now, vaping “equipment” has become another one of my fields of interest, for helping others to discover, on their own, their personally appropriate “equipment”.
I am a hands-on enthusiast… by genes. I am triggered by everything that evokes any data already stored in my knowledge base, been a Physicist and an Electronics Engineer (for more than 35 years). I am intrigued by everything new that my knowledge-filter considers interesting enough to be analyzed for entering into my memory compartment. That’s why you will find me open-minded and out-of-the-box thinking. I have an urge for unfolding hidden “pictures” of design thinking on everything man-made.