You may have heard that the special two-component Nebula is the most effortless and effective electronic cigarette ever made. Well, you heard right!
But what is a “Nebula”? Why is it so wonderful? What should your to order to make it work? And how do you use this marvelous alternative to tobacco cigarettes? Well, you’ve come to the right place:…and this guide is where all secrets will be revealed!
[NOTE: Electronic cigarettes are only for adults who are smokers (or already are “vapers”). If that does not describe you (or that person for whom you are investigating this), we wish you well, but ask you to venture elsewhere.]
Like any subculture, “vaping” has its own acronyms and lingo. We’ll clarify the acronyms as we use each one for the first time. Here’s some of the jargon to get started:
People who use electronic cigarettes are vapers who vape the vapor of personal vaporizers (PVs – another name for e-cigarettes) … just as smokers smoke the burning tobacco of traditional cigarettes, cigars, and pipes.
What gets vaporized (or vaped) is the e-liquid or juice in the cartridge of the e-cig (or dripped on the atomizer).
Milli (i.e., metric) measurements are used in this world: milliamp hours (mAh – how long or how many puffs before the battery needs to be recharged) … millimeter length of e-cigs (use a 100’s cigarette as your benchmark, i.e., 100 mm) …
… milliliters of juice (30 ml = 1 oz.) … and milligrams of nicotine (e.g., “High” = 24 mg per ml).
Since an e-cig is electronic (digital), vapers refer to a tobacco cigarette as an analog.
Throat hit (TH) is that rush you get when inhaling (centered on a tickle or pinched feeling in the back of the throat). Similar to the first drag of an analog after an hour’s deprivation.
See also the Glossary of terms and abbreviations Glossary of terms and abbreviations thread at Vapers Forum.
What is an Electronic Cigarette?
The e-cigarette itself (i.e., the hardware) is a battery-powered device for vaporizing the e-liquid put in it – for immensely satisfying inhalation of nicotine (optional) and flavor and the exhalation of a vapor that simulates tobacco smoke. There are many different models in varying shapes, sizes, and effectiveness. Most look somewhat similar to an analog cigarette, but are a bit longer. Some look like cigars or pipes; and some are much longer and/or fatter than analogs and have weird shapes. We’ll talk about all this in greater detail when we describe the Nebula model.
The e-liquid used in an e-cig contains:
USP-grade PG (Propylene Glycol) – used in food flavorings, cosmetics, asthma inhalers, and artificial “smoke” at rock concerts. NOTE: Some people are allergic to PG (e.g., a rash or sore throat, but nothing serious). They should use…
Or USP-grade VG (Vegetable Glycerin – more syrupy, and derived from veggies). PG generates somewhat more flavor and throat hit; VG produces a bit more vapor.
Plus a selectable amount of nicotine (derived from tobacco) or no nicotine at all.
Plus flavoring (derived from different types of tobacco and/or food/candy flavorings).
What is a Nebula?
The Nebula is the same length as “mini” class e-cig, much shorter than a “penstyle,” and a bit longer than a 100’s analog cigarette. It strikes what many of us find to be the perfect balance between performance and ease of handling.
Other E-cigs: Three Components
Most electronic cigarettes have three components, illustrated in this photo:
1. The cartridge (or cart) contains the porous material that absorbs the e-liquid. Shown below is the cartridge of a “penstyle” (the longest category of e-cig), with the stuffing pulled out a bit by those tweezers.
2. The single most important component of the 510 is its atomizer (or atty). This is what takes the juice from the cartridge and magically transforms it into vapor, flavor, and throat hit. Shown here is the atomizer for a super-mini (the shortest category of e-cig) – exterior and cross-section:
3. The rechargeable battery (or batt), of course, powers the atomizer. The most important factors of battery effectiveness are:
The voltage (i.e., how much power is delivered to the atomizer). Most e-cig batteries are 3.7V (although a fully charged battery can initially deliver up to 4.2V).
The mAh (milliamp hours) – how many puffs before the battery needs to be recharged. Slender batteries (in models that look at least something like an analog cigarette) range from 100 to 280 mAh.
The switch (how the battery is engaged). Most e-cig batteries originally had an automatic switch (e.g., turned on by sucking on the mouthpiece or by sound or movement) as in the battery shown on the left. An increasing number are manual (turned on by pressing a button on the side of the battery) as shown in the photo on the right.
The Nebula: Two Components
The Nebula represents the newest and most advanced concept in electronic cigarettes: the battery plus a disposable integrated cartridge and atomizer (the “cartomizer”). The cartomizer more effectively stores and delivers e-liquid to the atomizer – in a smaller package – than any other type of e-cig.
The Nebula is the simplest, easiest to use type of e-cigarette. No messing with e-liquid or cleaning atomizers required (although you can do both later on, I you want to). You simply charge your battery, screw on a pre-filled cartomizer and vape.
And that smaller cartridge/atomizer package enables the inclusion of a much larger and more powerful battery – the same as a long penstyle – but at a total length e-cig equal to the popular mini class.
The batteries of all three models are rated “3.7V.” But the Nebula battery’s true voltage is higher than even the penstyle, i.e., a Nebula’s freshly charged battery drops down from the maximum initial 4.2V more slowly than either of the other models.
Both types of switch are available: the automatic, which engages the battery by suction … and the manual, which is engaged by pressing a button on the side. Unlike most other models, each is effectively implemented on the Nebula … so it’s simply a matter of personal preference.
Cartomizers and E-liquid
Just like a computer, as important as the hardware is, an electronic cigarette is just a paperweight without software. For an e-cig, the software is the e-liquid.
Cartomizers automatically feed that e-liquid to the atomizer. VaporNine’s Nebula starter kit comes with five cartomizers prefilled with Carolina Tobacco or Crisp Menthol flavor (zero, low, medium, or high nicotine strength). You can purchase additional five packs of the same prefilled carts. And, for an even greater selection of flavors, you can order unfilled cartomizers that you fill with e-liquid of your choice.
[For background information on e-liquid, nicotine levels, and flavors, see the first half of Part 3 of my Wonderful World of Vaping Illustrated Guide.] VaporNine offers 10-ml bottles of e-liquid in four nicotine levels (Low, Medium, High, or ULTRA) and 11 flavors:
Caramel Tobacco (RY4), Carolina Tobacco, Cherry, Coffee, Cola, Hilton, Menthol, Rad Bull, Untamed Strawberry, Vanilla Vice, and Watermelon.
What Should I Order?
What you should order will depend on your budget, lifestyle, and whether this is your very first e-cig or you already have general vaping supplies. At a minimum, your order should include…
Starter Kit contains all you need to get rolling … and (by adding more cartomizers and/or e-liquid to your order) continue vaping for many weeks or months.
The attractively packaged kit includes:
Two 280 mAh manual or automatic batteries.
Five prefilled cartomizers (Carolina Tobacco or Crisp Menthol).
One combo USB/wall charger – for bringing exhausted batteries back to life … with a computer USB port or wall outlet.
An illustrated instruction manual – it’s small in size, but comprehensive in basic operating instructions … and written in real English (i.e., not an awkward translation of Chinese).
Those two batteries (fully charged) will keep most vapers going for a day at work … or for an evening out. This will also sustain anyone who has access to a wall socket or computer USB port during the day (to recharge your batteries).
The prefilled cartridges in the starter kit will last you two or three days. [The batteries will likely keep you going for two or three months.]
To enable vaping for at least two weeks, make sure to order more cartomizers and/or e-liquid! Either two or three $12 five-packs of prefilled cartomizers …
Or, for a much greater selection, what I recommend is e-liquid in its liquid form. Buy one $12 five-pack of empty cartomizers and at least 20 ml of e-liquid. A pack a day analog cigarette smoker will use approximately 10 ml a week, so order two or three 10-ml bottles. And why not try different flavors while you’re at it.
To ensure all-day vaping, you may want to supplement the starter kit, cartomizers, and e-liquid with:
One or two additional $20 batteries (280 mAh) – automatic or manual. [If you order the automatic battery kit, why not make that additional battery a manual, or vice versa.
Or the $25 Monster manual battery. This longer battery is 380 mAh and will last all day for anyone but the heaviest vaper. Shown here next to a regular Nebula battery for size comparison.
An extra charger to charge two batteries simultaneously – $15 wall or $10 USB.
A $9 pocket carrying case to carry two regular-sized batteries and three cartomizers.
What to Do with It
Plugging In and Charging Up
The first thing to do when your order arrives is to charge your batteries fully – at least until the LED on the charger turns from red to green, although four to eight hours is recommended for the initial charge. Plug the USB charger into a computer USB port … or connect it to the AC adapter and plug that into a wall outlet or power strip.
Screw a battery into the charger (notice that the LED on the battery flashes briefly and then it and the lights on the charger turn red).
Your First Vape
Remove the condoms from each end of a cartomizer and put them to the side (you’ll have a use for them later). Remove the plastic plug from the battery hole end of the cartomizer.
Screw the cartomizer into a fully charged battery:
Now the big moment! You stick it in your mouth and puff. [If you have an automatic battery, skip to the next paragraph.] Nothing happens. Oh, that’s right! I forgot to press the button. So you do it again, pressing the button while you inhale.
Oh, I felt something there, but not much. And where’s this vapor everybody talks about? Has Ben at VaporNine let me down? Nope.
The problem is not with your new Nebula; it’s with your drag technique. You’re attempting to do it the same way as you have smoked an analog cigarette: a short, sharp puff directly into your lungs. But an e-cig, although similar in some ways, is not an analog (it’s better, but different). So some brief instruction is in order…
Using his penstyle e-cig (with an automatic battery), Joshua Jamerson explains and demonstrates what you did wrong and contrasts that with the more effective way to do it:
If you have a manual battery, you don’t have to worry about that “fine line” he mentions. You just press the button and drag as long as you want. If you have an automatic battery, you may want to precede that long controlled drag, with a “primer puff” (to engage the battery) as demonstrated by Scott Bonner (“igetcha”):
One aspect of puffing on an e-cig that neither of them mentions is the two-phase inhale that most of us use. That long leisurely drag is not directly into your lungs (as with an analog), but into your mouth … and then inhale into your lungs.
Why don’t you give it a try? That was much better, wasn’t it? Lots of vapor and you really felt it. Oh, you want to go right back and do it again, huh? OK! Have at it … and start evolving your own puffing/inhaling style!
After awhile, you’ll notice the flavor, vapor, and/or TH (i.e., throat hit) begin to falter. If you’ve been using that battery for a few hours, recharge it and swap in a fully charged batt.
If you’ve been using that cartomizer for a few hours, you need to screw in a new cartomizer … or refill it.
Cartomizers were originally designed to be used once and thrown away. However, most users extend the life of their cartomizers by refilling them with juice (or by filling empty cartomizers from scratch). There are two classic ways to do that: the easy (but less effective) way and the more effective method (which requires a bit more effort).
The easy way: Drip into the hole at the battery end. The more effective way: Remove the end cap (and the plastic washer beneath it) at the mouthpiece end; and then fill the batting inside with juice.
Those are the classic ways. Here now is the new Carto Cap Filler Method devised by Dogsbody. It may be simplest and the most effective way to refill Nebula cartomizers.
Enjoy your Nebula, all the great e-liquid … and your interactions with one of the best vaping suppliers in the world!