Saturday, April 17, 2010

The MKI Screwdriver - follow up

I have been using this device for two weeks. I believe the time is right to provide a follow up to my first impressions.

Follow up from - First Impressions
The unit is slick and priced reasonably at $122 shipped to Canada from the UK. It did not perform as expected with the mini, but performed well with the 510 atomiser fitted. The stock (RN4075) atomisers are not becoming seasoned nor improving with age. I have tried to season them on regulated 3.7 volt devices to no avail. I have varied the cart filling with various known cartridge modifications (cart mods) to no avail.

The JoyE 510 is a hard hitting atomizer, capable of producing great vapour and throat hit (TH). It is also referred to as a relatively hot atomizer. A stock 510 atty runs with a 2.5 Ohm resistance when compared to the 801 and 901 which in turn have resistances varying between 3.3 and 3.7 Ohms. This in turn will run the atty cooler. In doing so, vapour production and TH are also diminished, providing for a cooler more flavourful and somewhat wetter/milder vape. This type of experience is welcome at times, and why I ordered the SD with the RN4075 connection.

After two weeks, the RN4075 is still not on my list of favourite atties. Although, I was able to troubleshoot the RN4075 atomizers with a few on line members, the atty has a steep learning curve, at least for me. The delicate balance between the atomizer being "just wet" (read moist) and flooded is a matter of one drop. It seems my frustrations stem from user error more than anything else.

To further complicate things, the filling contained in the carts as shipped is inadequate for proper wicking. Based on the finicky nature of the atomiser itself, this only compounds the frustration. When the atty is producing, it produces a pleasant experience. On the other hand once that balance is lost, the experience turns into a nightmare.

In concluding our atomizer discussion, it is my recommendation to anyone that has not previously tried a particular atomiser to either buy or borrow an adapter and try them out on their own equipment vice purchasing a new device fitted with an untried atomizer fitting. It will save disappointment and frustrations.

  • The batteries are overrated and their longevity falls way short from the advertised 1000 mAh expectations;
  • The charger barely holds the battery in place (not enough tension) which makes it difficult to use in any position off horizontal. Even after gently prying/bending the contacts closer;
  • The charger is inadequate to charge the 16340s - 6-8 hrs plus to charge a battery from dead. I use my multi charger with better results, although nothing to write home about. On one occasion the battery was in the charger for over 8hrs. I took it out and checked the voltage 4.1 volts. The charger's light never changed. I do not like nor trust this charger, and would definitely not recommend it's use to anyone (especially with non-protected batteries). The battery on a different occasion re-charged in 6 hrs from dead on my own charger;
  • The unit cannot be pocketed perse without unscrewing the atomiser as the button is too delicate. This has been addressed if - you want to use the neck lanyard, but there are occasions the last thing I want is a screwdriver hanging from my neck. I have since made a button protector, similar to the one available with the MKII from an 801 cart protector.
The batteries are still very much a disappointment. Following recommendations I used the nano charger exclusively, because I was convinced that the nano would provide a better charge than my "multi, fast charger". I found this not to be the case. batteries last at best 4-5 hrs between recharge cycles, regardless of charger used. Charge time from dead 8-9 hrs.

I have new batteries on order and should it prove different, I will update my review. having multiple chargers in use is not an option in my humble opinion.

With regards to the button protector, the cap did not serve it's purpose as intended (to prevent accidental firing of the atty while pocketed). My solution was to purchase a spring with slightly more resistance for my second unit. I have not modified the one I use at home, but the one I take with me has a stiffer spring. This slight modification has been satisfactory to date. The vendors recommendations with regards to spring tension was to use the case provided or the neck lanyard. The latter did not solve the problem (more on vendor experience later on).

Some final thoughts - The unit performs as expected for a 3.7V device. Not being an HV (high voltage) vaper, it has a place in my daily arsenal. I ordered the MKI because I was under the impression (from the vendors site) that the MKI was retro-fitted to incorporate the modifications of the MKII with the exception of the new battery. This is not so:

  • The MKI does not have the switch cover, nor the extra battery capacity;
  • However in all fairness the o-rings which I believe are indeed part of the MKII and the MKII switch form part of the unit; (the vendor states the MKII is not fitted with the o-rings, yet the review I saw on the MKII from Totally Wicked does)
  • The information contained on the main site with regards to spare parts is ambiguous at best, with regards to what fits what, unlike the Totally Wicked site (their main distributor in the UK and the US) which categorically state the MKII parts with the exception of the switch, are not interchangeable; and
  • Certain parts can only be ordered as part of larger package deals. Totally Wicked as a vendor as been reviewed with much reservation. The fact that they do not ship to Canada makes that an unfortunate problem. Although limited parts can be ordered via e-mail, from the main distributor. Ordering from the UK can become expensive. Fortunately, the screwdriver is well designed and should provide many hours of continuous use without failure. The Achilles heal if I can find one would be the "top cap". In my humble opinion that is the only "spare part" on the unit that could/would need replacement. The former switch is said to have been problematic and was replaced with a totally mechanical one. There is absolutely nothing that could possibly go wrong there and should the spring fail (weakest component) another spring can be had relatively easy and acquired locally.
It is a little pre-mature to offer a thorough review with regards to the SD. I will do a follow up at a later date as these are just my first impressions. However, I believe the developers sat far too long on a great product, enjoying the fruits of their labour vice improving the device, in doing so, I further believe they would have earned a greater market share, with some very minor tweaks.

I will not deny the fact that my experience with the owner has been anything but pleasant. hee hee. I will leave things at that for the benefit of all.

My conclusion is that the Screwdriver manufactured by Trog is a great device and in no way should be compared with the DSE 905, the Nomad etc... there is only one Screwdriver, and it works.

That being said it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the business plan of the Screwdriver. I purchased the SD MKI because I could not get a MKII shipped to Canada. From the Screwdriver site, I was under the impressions that former models were retrofitted to incorporate the MKII modifications with the exception of the battery case and top plate. This is not really so unusual, as other vendors/manufacturers have done similarly in the past as well.

A promotion was carried out for a period of time, in which the first 50 customers received a spare body with any full kit purchased (this promotion was extended however). A two for one sale is always tempting. Will the Screwdriver site carry spares in the future, that is any one's guess.

Outside of the promotion, which is now over, I can't fully endorse purchasing a MKI when the MKII sells for the same price, with a larger battery capacity. Should someone want a piece of history, then by all means order both, albeit the MKII is beefier and of course heavier.

There's a consensus of "why change something that isn't broke". True, but the Studebaker has long been a part of history. A good device that never kept up with the times! Well it did, it became the MKII. I believe the vendor did not take too kindly to my remark of the "Studebaker". That is indeed unfortunate, because although it might have been interpreted as an insult - it was probably the best compliment he could have received hee hee.

The views expressed in both my reviews are my own impressions and opinions. They are honest reflections of what I think of a product with out all the fanfare that is usually associated with product reviews.

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