I’m having a day off to chill out after building my Coolfire 4 18650 squonker yesterday (and having a run of 5 videos in 5 days), and this is the basis for this article ( Warning! it’s going to be pretty picture heavy! ).
After a run of 5 videos in 5 days I thought I’d knock out a mod yesterday because I really wanted another regulated squonker – but didn’t have the money to buy one. I really do hope that 2017 will bring us more regulated squonkers, although I fear that the size aspect may put off a lot of manufacturers. The challenge I had was that I don’t have access to my tools in my ‘workshop’ that I use for the bike because it’s still all in boxes in my garage. This means that I have minimal hand tools, and certainly nothing specialist or out of reach for any regular person, it does however mean that it needs a bit more elbow grease and hard work to get it done – it would have taken a fraction of the time with the correct tooling!
A bit of history first.
Making a mod is brilliant, it doesn’t make any difference if it’s a complete uggo, or if it’s huge, small, messy, or swish and professional AF, if you make it, the sense of accomplishment you get is brilliant. A couple of years ago, I really enjoyed learning how mods worked and how to make something as simple as a parallel box mod. This was my very first mod, a box bought from a local headshop, and it was a brilliant learning experience – certainly something I’d approach differently now I’ve learned a bit more!
I remember when building this, I had two guiding beacons to help show me what to do, and because of that, I’m not going to show wiring diagrams and build videos because there are already brilliant ones out there. These are the two I found super useful so I’d urge you to check them out…
The parallel mosfet wiring diagram from modmaker.co.uk, I personally chose not to use the fuses or on/off switch because I forgot to order them, but particularly the on/off is great to have – http://bit.ly/2eQ49SL
The great video from Al USAF on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Pmlhm6NkII&t=744s
Now I feel the need to highlight something, I’m no ‘proper’ modder, and pretty much everything I’ve made is suitable just for me because they are far from professional as you’ll see…
In this article, I don’t profess to know a lot or end up with a great professional product, however, this is how I approached it, and the end result is pretty useable and functional for my needs. Hopefully it’ll go some way of inspiring you to have a bash at making one – as long as you work safely it’s a brilliant way to spend a Sunday 🙂
Ok so lets get into it, I started out by figuring out what I wanted; a squonker, single battery for size, and regulated. So with that in mind, I had a look to see what I had available. It didn’t need to be an amazing board, but it did need to be fairly robust, not take up a massive amount of space, and easily available in case you fancied having a bash. These three are the ones I settled on..
The Coolfire IV 18650 because it’s Innokin and always dependable, the Kanger Cupti because it did nothing but flood so I never got to properly test it, and the Cloupor Mini because it’s a great little mod – I went for the dependable Innokin for this first outing, plus it went up to a decent wattage range. In retrospect I may have forgotten that the battery life isn’t brilliant, but I’m still OK with my choice, mainly because it allowed me to cheat which we’ll come to later!
First thing to do was to take apart the mod, nice and easy with 2 star drive screws at the top and at the bottom allow you to slide up the faceplate and 510 – although you do need to take your wire cutters and snip the negative lead from the bottom of the battery tube to allow it all to come out
Then it’s an easy enough process to figure out which wires go where..
The bottom red wire was the positive from the battery, the top was the positive to the 510. You may just be able to see the black wire behind the bottom red, and that was to the negative of the 510 (we snipped the negative for the battery to get the board out, and that’s situated at the bottom of the board.
So the next step was to snip the wires and separate the faceplate from the upper portion that holds the 510. Now, remember earlier when I said I was going to cheat a little? Well this is why. Historically I’ve been terrible at hand drilling holes in the right place for screens and buttons. With all the marking and measuring in the world, I seem to have some kind of gorilla on acid moment where the holes end up somewhere completely different LOL. My cunning idea was to use the entire faceplate because it obviously already has everything in place, but I would lose out on the board support that you’ll see in the elbow in the picture, but it seemed stable enough to go without.
Challenge number two came with the fact I’d previously broken my Dremel and didn’t have a hacksaw, so because of that brilliant bit of forward planning, the elbow grease came into full effect. I put a zip bag over the faceplate and board to try and keep the dust out as much as possible, and had at it with a small square jewellery file…
This was not a quick job as you may expect
But after a while, sore fingers, and stabbing myself only the once, I finally got there..
I used my old vapemate (WARNING: SELF PROMOTION IMMINENT), I didn’t want to damage the new one that if you haven’t checked out you probably should at the vapemats shop – http://bit.ly/2g7ALfC – I would suggest doing over something that the filings wouldn’t get engrained into though, maybe paper or a plastic tray of some kind etc
Next stage was to get the hole in the box (from modmaker.co.uk) for the faceplate, so I taped it up with masking tape, and drew around the outside with a pencil (with a thin nib)
The eagle eyed among you may have noticed there is a tab at the bottom of the board, I thought I may be able to use that as a stopper, but the corner posts in the box meant I had to file that off, so I did that along with squaring up the top where I’d filed it. You’ll notice that the shorter lines aren’t perfectly square, but that isn’t too much of an issue because when I’m filing the hole, I constant hold the board to it to look to match it as closely as possible.
Using a stepped drill bit (crazy useful if you make holes a lot) I started to make holes in the box
The cordless drill by the way was a cheapy from Homebase in the UK, something like 20 quid, and is always uber useful and what I used for building claptons until I was sent the Daedalus Clapton Wire builder from Grey Haze – http://bit.ly/2fOJvqw
Then it was back to sore fingers with the files again, I used a steel rule and a mini stanley knife to cut the tape I didn’t need, it helps to see the boundaries to file up to, it’s not a great surprise that my hand hurts like a mofo today!
Top tip: the more holes you can drill initially the less you have to file
Pro tip: use a Dremel – at this point I REALLY wished I had one
Then it’s just whittling away with the file until the board fits in there snugly, my idea was to make it snug so I only used a dab of glue at the top and bottom to really hold it in – which kinda worked! This was the test fit, I did choose not to use this squonk bottle because it was too long, but it did the trick for the moment.
This is where it really starts coming together and looking like a mod – do NOT get over excited and start rushing things at this point, I’ve done it before and I did it a little with this, which I’ll expand on later, but often ends in tears LOL
The battery sled I used was a Keystone single 18650 where I snipped off bits of the contacts where they could short out on the box, I didn’t take a pic, but it’s pretty obvious when you see the sled..
You can see one at the bottom left of this picture. I also snipped off the the 4 raised sections on the sides that hold the battery snugly, mainly because they make it difficult to get the battery in and out quickly without a ribbon.
Out comes the drill once more, again with the stepped drill bit to make the hole for the 510. I must admit, I bodged it a little by putting the 510 face down on the top of the box and eyeballing the centreline for the hole, for once it came out pretty central! As for the size of the hole? no idea, I just stopped making it bigger once the 510 snugly fitted in it (told you I wasn’t professional!).
A test fit once again to make sure I’d not royally stuffed up – it’s at this point I’d drill in completely the wrong place (remember that excitement about nearly finishing?)
Really getting there now, and so it’s time to get the soldering iron out. I strongly advise using additional flux even if your solder has flux in it, it all helps. Before that though I marked each wire with a little bit of tape to let me know what went where..
Unfortunately it was at this stage I kinda messed up, even with my desperately clever way of telling which wire did what, because I replaced a couple to make them longer, I messed up, I’ll admit it, I caused a couple of sparks when I connected the negative for the 510 to the battery thinking it was the positive lead. Luckily I was able to stop any batteries from venting etc by pulling it super quickly, but please please pay attention to what you’re doing at this point.
Happily the resilient board from Innokin didn’t break, and once I managed to stop being a moron I was able to solder the wires to all the right places. The shock and self annoyance at this point did take over though and I forgot to take more pics so I’ll try to explain how I soldered it.
Firstly I filed the back of the battery holder so I could pass the 510 leads behind it to keep it tidy, then I soldered the negative lead (which I had to extend) to the negative tab (which I bent 90 degrees) you get with the FDV 510. For the positive 510 wire I started by tinning the end (getting solder on it) and also getting some solder in the hole of the positive 510 tube clamp (the brass bit just above the hose in the picture), then heating them up together allows you to insert the wire into the clamp – there are plenty of videos of this on YouTube.
For the battery, I routed the positive and negative leads to be out of the way and soldered them on top of the sled battery contacts – while you can do this while they’re in the sled, it often melts the sled so I’d suggest doing so before you’ve put them in the sled to make sure that doesn’t happen.
A few dabs of gorilla glue in the post holes in the corners of the enclosure allow you to drop in the magnets, they have to sit flush with the enclosure or they will make the lid wobble.
While the glue was drying, it allowed time to drill a hole in the lid to allow you to press the bottle for squonking. This again was just drilled with the stepped drill bit and filed. The shape isn’t important, as long as your finger fits in there it’s all gravy and can be whatever shape you want, just make sure there’s no sharp bits! I eyeballed this again and kept the hole as small as I could while still allowing easy squonking. I don’t like extra large holes where you see the top of the bottle or the battery etc, but that’s just my preference.
Finishing with the magnets in the corners of the lid (same way as before), also a couple of blobs at the top and bottom of the board for extra security and it’s done! (although please don’t over drip the glue because some ‘may’ get around the button and cause it to stick, not that I’d do that and spend a considerable amount of time unsticking it *ahem*)
LESSONS I’VE LEARNED:
- Test the board regularly, don’t go from getting it out of the donor and getting it all together without ensuring it works throughout the process
- Use the glue sparingly if you have to use any at all
- Using the same colour wire for everything is a pain in the hoop, if you can use proper red and black that’s great
- While the above shows you can make something with very little tooling, even something like a Dremel would make life way easier!
I do hope this article has been interesting to someone! As I said at the start, making a mod is great fun, it’s pretty easy to do, and there’s a wealth of information available, so if there’s a kind of mod you want but can’t afford, or you want a one off, something different, something created by your own hands, go for it – be safe and enjoy the experience!
The enclosure, sled, Fat Daddy squonking 510, and magnets all came from modmaker.co.uk
‘AVE IT LARGE!