E-Cigarette or Vape Mod Not Producing Vapor? Here’s What to Do
By Lee Johnson Posted October 13, 2019
Very few vaping issues are as annoying as a completely unresponsive e-cig or mod. You press the fire button or take a puff and… nothing. There are many potential reasons your e-cigarette might not be producing vapor, but they can be broken down into issues with your battery, connection problems, issues relating to your tank and road-blocks put up by the software on a mod. Generally speaking, you’ll be able to solve your problem without taking it into a vape store for a repair or getting a replacement device, but if nothing works, it may hint at a more serious issue.
Here are all the things to check out before you give up on your vaping device, broken down by the type of issue.
Mod Not Producing Vapor: Battery Problems
If your device isn’t firing, it might be because your battery isn’t sending power to your coil. If it’s a minor issue, this is the most obvious reason for a lack of vapor and is the simplest to solve. However, serious issues with batteries tend to mean you’ll need a replacement.
The Obvious Causes: Switching On, Recharging and Settings
The most obvious problems that could lead to your e-cig not firing are that your device isn’t switched on, that your battery isn’t charged or that your wattage setting is too low. Most devices switch on with three or five quick presses of the fire button, so try that first – usually an LED will flash or the screen will activate so you can see when it’s switched on. If this doesn’t work, the battery could be depleted, so try plugging your device into a charger (for mods with on-board charging or in-built batteries) or removing the battery and charging it separately (for devices with removable batteries).
Finally, it could be that everything is fine with your battery but your wattage setting is just too low to produce a noticeable amount of vapor. Switch to a higher setting and try again.
Is Your Charger Working?
If your battery doesn’t produce vapor but it won’t charge, it could well be an issue with the charger itself rather than the battery. If you have a spare charger, try it with the same device or battery. If you have a spare battery and a device with replaceable batteries, try a new battery in the device to see if that works.
Worst Case Scenario: Your Battery is Dead
Unfortunately, if your charger works and the problem doesn’t seem to be with the device itself, your battery could be dead. Over time, all batteries stop working, and if you’ve noticed that your battery hasn’t been holding its charge as well, this could be the cause of the issue. If you can replace your battery, simply buy a new one. Unfortunately, for devices with in-built batteries, a dead battery means you need a whole new vape pen or mod.
Mod Not Producing Vapor: Connection Problems
If your battery isn’t the issue, that doesn’t necessarily mean your coil is receiving power when you try to activate your device. A few different connection-related issues could be to blame for your lack of vapor, and these are generally straightforward enough to fix. The tell-tale sign of a connection issue is that your mod or device is switched on, but it doesn’t recognize your coil or throws up an error message like “no atomizer.” Vape pens may also repeatedly flash an LED to indicate an issue.
Is Everything Screwed in Properly?
You can fix the problem easily if something isn’t screwed in properly. Firstly, and most obviously, ensure your tank is connected to your mod’s 510 connection securely. You don’t need to really tighten it down, but ensure its screwed down snugly and not just sitting loose on the mod.
However, a less obvious connection issue might be to blame: the connection between the coil head and your tank. You screw it in place when you install or replace the coil, and this might not have been done correctly. For instance, if the threading got crossed, the base of the coil head might not be fully making contact with the tank. Similarly, the coil can actually come loose from the tank over time, especially when you’re unscrewing either the top of the tank or the base to refill. Check the coil, removing it and screwing it into place again, and then try to vape again.
Are Your Connections Gunky or Dirty?
Even if your tank and coil are screwed in securely, a dirty or gunky connection point could be preventing or impeding the flow of electricity to your coil. Inspect the 510 connection on your mod or vape pen and the corresponding connection on your tank. If there is a lot of build-up or spilled e-juice, clean this up with a paper towel, Q-tip or a cleaning wipe. Clean the connection and try your device again.
Is Your 510 Connection Making Contact With Your Tank?
Although most modern devices have spring-loaded 510 connections to prevent this type of issue, it’s possible that the connection point on your mod isn’t quite reaching the base of your tank when you screw it in. This is a bit of a serious problem to fix, because if you go too far you can do more damage to your device. Really it’s best to avoid trying to fix this issue unless you’ve ruled out all other potential causes.
However, if you have and your device is a basic vape pen – or an older mod without a spring-loaded contact point – you can gently lift the 510 connection point ever-so-slightly so it makes contact. On rare occasions, these will have screw-points on top for making adjustments, but it’s more likely you’ll have to get a thin flat-head screwdriver (or similar tool) and insert it between the O-ring (which separates the connection point from the threading) and the connection point, and very delicately lever it up. Go around to the other side and do the same again.
If your tank’s connection has a screw-point on the bottom, you can simply unscrew this slightly to correct the same issue without risking damage to your mod or device.
Mod Not Producing Vapor: Software Issues
If the problem isn’t related to the battery or the physical connections, it could be a software-based restriction on your vaping device that’s leading to the problem. If you’re new to vaping or have recently gotten a new mod, it may well be that an unfamiliar setting or feature is causing the problem.
Are You Exceeding Resistance or Current Limitations?
All regulated devices have hard-coded limits on how much current you can draw from a battery using it, or what the minimum supported resistance is. If one of these is the issue, a mod will display something to that effect on-screen, but these same limitations also exist on vape pens and other devices without screens.
The basic advice is that most vape pens won’t support sub ohm tanks, and in general, very low-resistance (i.e. a small number of ohms, such as 0.04 ohms) coils won’t fire on many devices at all. If you’re trying to use a sub ohm tank (with coils under 1 ohm in resistance) on a vape pen, this is likely to be the issue – try higher-resistance coil or the same tank on a sub ohm capable mod to check. If you have a mod, the manual and/or the place you bought it from should display the minimum allowable resistance. Current limitations will also be noted, but the current you’re drawing can be hard to work out without using a vaping calculator or using Ohm’s law for yourself.
Finally, if your coil is a Ni200 (nickel) or Ti (titanium) type, you should only use these with temperature control (TC) devices, in the appropriate TC mode. If you’re trying to vape in variable wattage/power mode with one of these coils, this could be the root cause of the problem. TC coils tend to have much lower resistance than ordinary ones.
Are You Puffing for Too Long?
Almost all regulated devices have a cut-off for really long puffs, usually cutting out after 10 seconds. If you aren’t getting any vapor but the problem is intermittent, it could be that you’re running into this limitation. In many cases, the device cuts out for a while after hitting this limit to give the coil time to cool down. This will rectify itself, just be sure to take shorter puffs in future.
Have You Locked Your Device?
Something as simple as a locking feature can stop your device from producing vapor, but it’s a very easy problem to solve. A combination of button-presses – for example, pressing both adjustment buttons together on the Smok Alien 220 W or pressing right and “fire” together on the Innokin Proton – will lock your device, and then none of the buttons will respond. On mods with screens, there will likely be a padlock symbol or other sign to indicate that your device is locked.
On vape pens, it might not be as easy to spot, but try clicking the fire button three or five times in quick succession, and look for a blinking LED to indicate that you’ve done something. Test the device, and if it doesn’t work, perform the button-presses again and re-test – you might have just turned it off the first time.
For unlocking a device, finding your manual for your specific mod is the best way to find out exactly what to do.
Mod Not Producing Vapor: Tank Issues
If the battery and connections appear to be fine, and you haven’t run into any software limitations, your tank may be the reason you aren’t getting any vapor. Like the previous sections, most of these issues are generally quite simple to fix.
Have You Flooded Your Coil?
A flooded coil can cause your vape mod not to produce vapor, and this will often be accompanied by a gurgling sound or spitting when you try to vape. Fixing a flooded coil is fairly simple: you can blow down through your mouthpiece to force the liquid out through the airflow holes (or invert your tank and blow through the airflow holes to force liquid out of the mouthpiece), or even just turn your device to a higher setting and clear the tank by vaping. You can also disassemble the tank and clear it more directly.
The biggest issue with flooding is the risk that it will happen again. There are plenty of posts online on how to make sure this doesn’t happen, but the key points are to ensure you don’t get liquid down the center tube when you fill up, try not to puff too hard, make sure all of your connections are secure and to change any old coils.
Are You Getting Airflow?
Without airflow, your tank will fire but you won’t get any vapor through the mouthpiece. A lack of airflow is easy to spot because it feels like you’re trying to suck a thick milkshake up through a straw, but the tank will still get hot. Many devices have adjustable airflow, and if this is closed off, simply open it up to fix the problem. Similarly, your fingers could be inadvertently covering the airflow holes when you vape.
However, it could also be that something is blocking the mouthpiece or the central chimney and stopping the flow of air. Without pressing the fire button, try to blow down through the mouthpiece and feel for air coming out of the airflow slots. If it seems like this is the issue, the best advice is to disassemble your tank and clear the chimney manually.
Is There Enough Liquid in Your Tank?
This is a fairly obvious issue, but if there isn’t enough e-liquid in your tank, it won’t be able to produce any vapor. This is easy to spot because when you try to vape, you’ll probably experience an unpleasant burning taste. TC tanks simply stop firing when there isn’t enough liquid, but in any case it should be easy to spot. If your liquid isn’t reaching the wicks around the side of your coil head, you’ll need to fill up.
You might also have this problem just after filling up, if the wick hasn’t had time to soak up the e-liquid yet. Priming your coils – manually soaking the wick with e-liquid from the top and the sides – prior to filling up and waiting five minutes after filling before vaping prevents this issue.
Are You Using an Old Coil?
Unfortunately, coils don’t last forever, and if you have enough liquid and none of the other issues seem to be the culprit, it might be time to change your coil head. They tend to last two weeks or more, but this varies quite substantially and if you’re getting a bad taste and reduced vapor (or no vapor at all), then this could be the problem. Simply install a new coil to fix the problem.
Getting Your Mod or Vape Pen Working Again
In most cases where your mod is not producing vapor, the solution will be simple and covered in this post. However, there are many potential issues with vaping devices, and if none of these fixes works for you, you may have a more serious problem. Whether this is just a mod that’s given up – perhaps after having juice spilled on it or been dropped in a drink – or just an unresponsive tank, chances are that if none of these solutions work you’ll need to spend a bit of money to get a replacement. The best advice is to get a mod with a replaceable battery, because this should minimize costs if anything goes wrong again, but as with all electronic devices, sometimes luck just isn’t on your side.