The Perseus by Vandy Vapes and the Mad Hatter RDTA by ADVken.
So Dean ran this competition to win the chance to do a written review on The Perseus and Mad Hatter RDTA. After coming home from Vape Jam I thought I would give it a go and sent him a review of the Kennedy RDA I had just purchased. I like to think it read well and had a few jokes along the way. Well…..I only bloody won the competition, didn’t I! So here is my attempt to give a thoughtful, well rounded review of the two, hope you enjoy it.
(*Editors Note: All pictures in this review will expand for better viewing when you click on them 🙂 )
Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomisers, RDTA’s for short, are everywhere. Every company is making at least one at the moment and the big question is why? From my perspective it seems a logical choice. Many people, myself included, love RDA’s, so the addition of a tank underneath will only make them better, won’t it? For instance, driving a car and using a RDA isn’t practical unless it’s a short journey. Don’t drip and drive people, it’s dangerous, you might spill your pint. Anyway, although RDTA’s are popular, they don’t seem to have the following that RDA’s have. They can be sniffed at by many vapers, so are these two any different? The Perseus is on sale for £29.99 and The Mad Hatter I’ve seen for around the $30 mark. Neither are expensive and provide a lot for your money, but what are they like to vape? Can you take them anywhere? Do they look good? Let’s see…..
What’s in the box.
For a start, let’s look at the boxes. The Perseus comes in a sample box so it would be unfair to judge it too harshly, I have to say though….It reminds me of an oversize pack of 20 Mayfair Lights, this makes me uneasy. All the Vandy Vape products I have seen come in boxes similar to this and I’m not the biggest fan of them. It took me long enough to stop smoking, I don’t want something that reminds me of those dark days. I will reiterate though, it’s a sample box. The production box may well be cornucopia of wonder-fullness, with a nice ribbon round it.
The Mad Hatter comes in a black flip up box that is tasteful and doesn’t look like half ounce of Old Holborn. In fact ADVken have made the Mad Hatter look quite stylish and it is a nice, appropriate sized box.
Inside of the ADVken box we are presented with the Mad Hatter RDTA. It is cushioned from the horrors of the world adequately, to the left is a spare glass and 510 drip tip adaptor and to the right, a bag of spare O-Rings and post screws and a little grub screw tool that goes by the name of ‘Doctor Coil.’ The good Doctor is actually one of the few tools I have ever received with a vaping device that is nice to use. In other boxes, when you are presented with the little blue screwdriver you think “I’m not using that, I don’t have the hands of a pixie.” Doctor Coil is another matter though, a good size and a vast improvement on an Allen Key, which I find awkward. It’s also shaped so that it would fit into a drill chuck, although I doubt I would use a powerful drill to undo the post screws on a RDTA, that would end in tears. Anyway, a nice little tool……I Don’t think it’s a real Doctor though.
Inside the box of the Perseus the RDTA sits with a plethora of Ultem Drip tips. Along with the one on the Perseus you get two extra. Both these RDTA’s use the Goon/Kennedy style of drip tips which I find very pleasing. You get two wide bore types, one is slightly thinner than the other and a more upright type. Also in the Perseus’ box is a spare glass, a bag containing O-Rings, screws and a little blue screwdriver, a 510 drip tip adaptor and a plastic block that will allow you to run the Perseus in single coil. An excellent collection of spares in my opinion.
What do they look like?
The Mad Hatter has gone for a traditional look, it stands at approximately 35mm tall (excluding 510 and drip tip) and is well proportioned. In the tank you have what can only be described as a support structure made of a coloured metal. At first I was unsure of this feature, it felt unnecessary and the RDTA reminded me of something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. This went on for well over a week until I returned home one evening to my village a different way and looked at the local water tower. There is a definite similarity that I like and the looks were not a problem after that. The side of the top cap also bears the Mad Hatter logo………Now, if you haven’t seen this logo, I don’t think it comes out well in a description. For instance “It’s a laughing, demonic skull, wearing a tattered top hat with the words Mad Hatter on it.” I get the feeling you are now thinking ‘How nice, I cannot wait to show it to the local vicar.’ In reality, it’s not that bad. The engraving is well done, it’s just about subtle enough not to be intrusive, and it kind of looks like the caricature of Slash on the Guns n Roses album Appetite for Destruction. Again, not a terrible thing in my opinion. I will point out though, this is the stainless steel version. I have seen the black one and it looks terrible.
The Perseus is a more modern looking RDTA. It has clean lines, no scaffolding in the tank, and stands at approximately 34mm tall(excluding 510 etc) and is also well proportioned. The Vandy Vapes logo is subtle and nicely engraved on the side of the top cap, it also has the words ‘Vandy Vapes’ around the drip tip, this will disappear under the mouthpiece of you use the wide bore drip tips.
Both of these RDTA look reasonably good. Both are 24mm and this lends a good balance to the overall look. The tanks, which I believe are a TPD compliant 2ml, don’t look too small or big, and they ‘sit well’ on my Minikin V2 or Hexohm. Some of the Sub Tanks or RDTA’s that are arriving on the market lately just look ridiculous, huge structures that must endanger users under power lines. They must be like walking through a doorway carrying a ladder. Neither of these are like that and are not offensive on the eye.
What’s under the top cap?
For a start, to see build deck on the Mad Hatter, you don’t have to actually take the top cap off. The top most part of the top cap (say that 5 times after a few pints) opens on a hinge to allow you to have a look at the deck and to fill the tank. To remove it completely you just pull it off like you would most RDA’s. On removal you are presented with a velocity style build deck which has two cut outs either side to allow the legs of your wick to go into the tank. Between the two posts is a tube which is spring loaded, this is how you will fill the tank. You simply get your e-liquid bottle, insert the nib in the tube and press down whilst squeezing it. (I feel I should get some recognition there for not making a double entendre…….you don’t know how hard it is.) The Mad Hatter has side airflow, you control this via an Airflow Control Ring that sits around the build deck but is independent of the top cap. To adjust the airflow you just turn the top cap and the AFC stays in place……Apparently. (More of that later. Spoiler Alert: It doesn’t) The build deck also has a small hole under a coil on one side to allow air to escape when you fill the tank so you don’t get air locks (see the above Spoiler Alert)
The Perseus is a bit more complicated in its design. For a start, you cannot just pull the top cap off, it has a locking mechanism (This will be covered, in detail, with swearing, in a later section entitled Why God? Why?) You have to turn the top cap only, in an anti-clockwise direction, to unlock it and then pull the cap off. The build deck you are presented with is very different to the Mad Hatter. It basically has four posts, with screws at the top, in a staggered pattern. The two centre posts are higher than the outer two and……Look, it’s really bloody difficult to describe it here, in writing (yes, I know that’s my job, but I’m not Shakespeare) To get the full impression of what it looks like can I suggest you either look at the pictures or, it’s very, very similar to The Icon RDA by Vandy Vapes and Mike Vapes. Actually, I did watch Mike Vapes review of the Perseus RDTA and he says he had nothing to do with the design of the Perseus’ build deck. I believe him for two reasons. 1. I like watching Mike Vapes and have no reason to doubt what he is saying. 2. He sounds like he could have me killed if I call him a liar. So let’s not fuck around with Mike.
The Perseus has under coil airflow which is controlled by turning the top cap to get the desired amount of air to your coils. You fill the tank by a small cut out in the side of the build deck. This allows you to simply place your e-liquid bottle in the cut out and fill it without a care in the world. (Again….I will return later to this, I may have just been a little bit sarcastic, I apologise) Similar to the Mad Hatter the build deck has large cut outs to allow your wicks to drop down into the tank. Both of these RDTA’s don’t have small holes in which you have to cram your wicks, this is a good point and makes building and wicking really easy.
How I built and vaped them.
Now I like to vape a variety of ways. From a Nautilus 2 with a 1.8 MTL coil to a Mech with a build so low it produces a cloud big enough that it makes my cat mutter “Oh for fucks sake.” I like variety. For a day to day vape though I like a .4 Ohm Clapton (26/32 Kanthal) that I run at 45 Watts (ok, 44.4……..Damn you Dean and your OCD, it’s catching!) this is the build that I decided to put in both of these RDTA’s. I also find it good to judge flavour as it’s just right for me.
Building the Mad Hatter is simple……It’s a velocity deck, we’ve all been there, wrap your coils, insert into the posts, tighten the screws, clip the excess, Done. The Perseus initially intimidated me a little bit. Do I use all four holes? With only 5 wraps of coil, you will need long legs on them to reach across the posts. I opted to place the coils into the two closest post holes, doubled them up, to see how that works. It did ok, building was easy and the coils bedded in with no concerns. Wicking both was easy, I let my wicks go about halfway down into the tank on both and throughout the testing of them, I didn’t receive a single dry hit.
Both the Perseus and Mad Hatter provided really nice enjoyable vapes with this build in them. They produced thick, dense clouds that I like and really good flavour. In both I used a liquid called Cerberus, which comes as a bottle shot from Dark Star Vapour, and you got all the custardy loveliness in you mouth with every vape. With its under coil airflow I felt The Perseus did a bit better flavour than the Mad Hatter, but it was close. Neither will be a disappointment if it’s flavour you’re after.
Later on I replaced the coils in both with .2 Ohm Aliens just to see how they handled a hotter build. At 77.7 watts (FFS Dean!) they still produced good flavour and cloudage. No dry hits and both were very good at communicating when they were a bit thirsty, it was simple at that point to stop for a minute to let them recover. They did get hot though…..But what do you expect. Actually, let me just get this out there. Don’t you just love it when someone goes “I’m running my RDA with a .03 Alien, crimpled, flapperton at 300 watts and it gets really hot!” Does it? Well, no shit Sherlock, watch out for that fire over there, it’s a bit warm, don’t put your face in it.
Using them everyday.
First of all I want to just talk about the Mad Hatter. I found this RDTA to be really simple and, reasonably, trouble free. To fill it up you just have to flip up the lid and fill it. It isn’t without its little annoyances though. The maximum girth of a bottle that can be used is 10ml or a dropper style. If you’re using a 30ml bottle you will need to have one of the thinner ones. This is because you need to keep the juice bottle upright or the Mad Hatters fill tube doesn’t work as well. I usually have 100ml bottles and found these too wide to use without flooding the build deck. On the subject of filling the Mad Hatter you also need to know when to stop. This may sound obvious but there is a reason for me saying it. Because the build deck only has one hole to release air, it’s easy to get an airlock, especially if your wicks go into the tank. Several times I looked at the tank when I was filling it and thought “it’s not full, I’ll give it another squeeze.” No, no, no, no, no! If you do that, you completely flood the deck, juice will spill out of the airflow, sometimes at the temperature of molten lava, and go everywhere. Your non vaping friends will look at you and go “Classy guy” and for the rest of the day, strangers in your vicinity will say “can anyone smell custard?” Just go easy on it and all will be well. ADVKen……another hole on the opposite side of the deck would be nice. The Airflow Control Ring just doesn’t work. It is separate to the top cap but once you introduce sticky e-liquid they just bind together and move as one. A little notch in the AFC/Build Deck would stop this happening. A few people have said they simply don’t use the AFC, just vape with full airflow. This is too airy for me, I like a tighter draw and feel you lose some flavour as well. If you are running it at 65+ watts I think this would be ok but that isn’t my option. I simply put the AFC on and position the top cap where I want it. Because it has the flip top lid I don’t have to move it to refill so that stops this problem for me. On the subject of the flip top lid…It is a bit of a gimmick. But it’s a gimmick that works. It makes refilling so easy, you don’t have to find somewhere to put a juice covered, sticky, top cap. The hinge is a bit wobbly but it snaps shut nicely and never came open in my bag or pocket. You also get a spare screw for the hinge which is a nice touch.
Basically, that’s the Mad Hatter RDTA. In many respects it’s a simple design, with a flip top lid, that works. It gives good flavour and you can take it anywhere and rely on it.
Now onto The Perseus…….
The problems I had with The Perseus and it’s bloody stupid locking system (AKA Why God? Why?)
Can I just say, whilst my blood pressure is in the normal zone, that if I handed you The Perseus and the Mad Hatter, full of your favourite liquid, and asked you to have a vape on them and to choose one to keep. I am confident you would choose The Perseus. It looks better. It feels better. It vapes, slightly, better than the Mad Hatter. That is my firm opinion.
Every problem I have with The Perseus comes from actually getting the liquid into the shitting device. Now, I want to say, right know, I can only review the RDTA that I have been given. I am aware it didn’t come in a production box and, perhaps, it’s a pre-production device. The one you buy may be excellent. If that is the case, I will, at a later stage, buy another. That’s how good it actually vapes.
I also want to point out that I have already sworn once in this section and I don’t want to use language that will make the Vaping Bogan blush, but it may be necessary to stop me from going on a killing spree. Those of you who don’t like such language I apologise now….perhaps you could try shouting ‘BEEP’ in your head when you read it.
Let’s start with taking the top cap off. You have to turn it, just the top cap, ant-clockwise, and then pull it off. Simple yes? Well…..No. Firstly, we are all aware of that old saying ‘Lefty-Loosey/Righty-Tighty’ yes? Good. That’s how we also take the RDTA off of our mod isn’t it. That’s right, we start to unscrew the whole thing. Ok, so now you hold onto the glass and the top cap and try again. Hold onto what exactly? The Perseus is smoothly finished, it has no knurling to get a hold of and if we introduce some random e-liquid into the mix, it suddenly feels like your trying to get hold of a well greased otter. When you have finally turned it enough to pull the fu…..thing off, success, you now have access to your deck and filling area. One thing bothers you though. When you put the top cap on last time, you could feel it brushing against your wicks. After turning it to lock, then unlock and remove the top cap, your wicks now look like Don King having a bad hair day. It’s also had the effect of moving your wicks as they enter the tank and this affects the filling port. The port itself is situated at the side of the deck under the positive post. It’s really just a small cut out that will allow an e-liquid bottle enough access to put juice into the tank. Be aware I said enough room to put the liquid in….I never mentioned anything about air leaving the tank. There is no hole to allow this to happen…..anywhere. What you have to do is position the wicks either side of this port so that they splay outward to allow enough room for the air. When you have to fuck around trying to get the top cap on and off it moves the fucking wicks so that when you try and fill it, e-liquid just goes everywhere. So basically, after trying to remove the top cap (and I’m not finished with that bit yet) you then have to use your e-liquid bottle to rearrange the bloody wicks so they don’t make you lose the will to fucking live.
Back to removing the top cap. I mentioned the locking system. Three times in the last two week it has completely seized up and refused to unlock. It just seems to jam and it takes a huge amount of effort, kitchen towel, shouting, swearing, concerned neighbours and dark thoughts about the designer that involves pliers and a blowtorch, to get the thing unlocked. Also, when I first received The Perseus, it was extremely difficult to disassemble the lower half of it (the tank part) I think it was put together too tight at the factory. I eventually managed to get it all apart but it has never tightened up enough again. When your trying to get the top cap off, it’s too easy to accidentally undo the bottom part of the RDTA, which is nice. Because sometimes you want it to fall apart and release liquid all over the fucking place. My last point about the locking system…..if we go back to the ‘Left-Loosey’ saying, to lock the cap on you have to go ‘Righty-Tighty’ which is the same way you screw the whole thing onto a mod. It’s on your mod at the correct amount of tightness, you put on the top cap, struggle with it for, I dunno, half a fucking hour, to get it right. At this point the whole thing is now spot welded to your mod. When you go to take it off the mod, you realise that it is now at one with your mod and if you’re not on the ball, you unscrew the bottom half of the tank (see above) and fill your world, and mod, with escaping e-liquid. Fuck my Life.
I think I didn’t do too bad there. I used the f-word a few times, I wanted to call it a cu..CENSORED.
It’s a shame really, The Perseus is a bloody good vape….but I don’t trust it. If I took it to work and that locking system played up, I’m looking at 12 hours with nothing to vape on. I don’t want that, so I take The Mad Hatter, which is 95% as good, but a lot more reliable. Why do we need a locking system anyway? I’ve heard a few people say “With an RDA, if you take it out of your pocket by the top cap, it might come off” That’s a fair point, well made. My response to that, after some thought is “DON’T TAKE IT OUT YOUR POCKET BY THE TOP CAP, YOU DUMB TWAT.” I really feel that Vandy Vapes have tried to solve a problem that doesn’t exist and caused a bigger problem. I have partially managed to stop the problem with the locking system seizing up by fitting a different, thinner, O-Ring out of my spares box. I’m pretty sure those spares came with my Kennedy RDA. So there’s a solution, if you want your Perseus to work, just buy a Kennedy for £85.
That’s my review of the The Perseus and Mad Hatter RDTA’s. I would like to say a huge thanks to Dean for giving me this brilliant opportunity (as well as two RDTA’s) I’ve loved every minute of it. I will say, once you receive something, free of charge, to review, you feel a weight of responsibility and a desire to be fair in your criticism. I really hope I’ve achieved that. Hopefully I’m not on a Vandy Vapes hit list now (I’m going to buy an Icon RDA, honest.)
Editors Note: A huge thank you to Ian for this write up, it tickled me and gave a lot of great real-world information, I think he did a fantastic job! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Also these products were sent in free for the purposes of review, links below:
Vandy Vape Perseus RDTA – http://www.vandyvape.com/detail/Atomizer/29
Advken Mad Hatter RDTA – http://www.advken.com/atomizer/mad-hatter-24.html