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Why Isn’t My E-Cigarette Working?

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Why Isn’t My E-Cigarette Working?

There is probably no broader or more difficult vaping problem to troubleshoot than an e-cigarette that simply isn’t working. You press the button, and nothing happens. If you have a device with a screen, maybe the screen displays a cryptic error message. In this article, you’re going to get some much-needed help. We’re going to explain some of the most common e-cigarette problems and describe the steps you’ll need to take to fix them.

E-Cigarette Battery Problems


  • Device doesn’t turn on or respond at all
  • Indicator light blinks repeatedly or changes red
  • Screen displays a message such as “check battery” or “low battery”


  • Press the activation button on your vaping device five times quickly. Many e-cigarettes have fire buttons that lock to prevent accidental use. Pressing the button five times clears the lock.
  • Remove the battery or batteries and check for incorrect installation. If the batteries are reversed, the device may not turn on.
  • Charge your device fully. If the batteries are dead, the device will not function. Some devices will refuse to fire coils at higher wattages even if the batteries aren’t fully dead.
  • Try a different USB cable if your device isn’t charging.

If Nothing Works

  • If you have a device with removable batteries, try using different batteries. If those batteries work, you may need to replace the original batteries.
  • If you have a device with a permanent battery – and the device isn’t charging or responding to any button presses – it is possible that the device is faulty or that the battery isn’t holding a charge. In either case, it will likely be necessary to replace the device.

E-Cigarette Tank or Atomizer Problems


  • Device responds to input but doesn’t produce vapor when you push the button
  • Screen displays a message such as “check atomizer” or “resistance too low”
  • Device produces a brief spurt of vapor before stopping


  • If you are using a tank, disassemble and reassemble it. If the coil screws into the tank’s top hardware and bottom hardware, connect the coil to the bottom hardware first before reassembling the tank. If your tank still doesn’t produce vapor, try a different coil.
  • If you are using a rebuildable atomizer, check the atomizer with a resistance tester to confirm that there isn’t a short. If there is a short, correct it by adjusting or rebuilding the coil.
  • Check the bottom of your tank or atomizer for a threaded pin. If the pin is threaded, twist it to expose more of the pin and ensure that it makes a solid connection with your device.
  • If you have a mod with a hole that exposes the top part of your battery, you have a hybrid mechanical mod. Stop using the device and take it to an expert for examination. Used improperly, hybrid mods can be extremely dangerous.
  • If you’re vaping in temperature control mode – and your device produces vapor for a split second before stopping – your coil is hitting the temperature limit. Increase the temperature limit or lower your device’s wattage.

If Nothing Works

  • If your vaping device works and responds to commands – but you can’t get the device to produce vapor regardless of what you do – you should try a different tank or atomizer. It is possible that a construction or assembly problem with your tank or atomizer is preventing a good connection from the battery to the coil.
  • If you have any type of mechanical mod – and it doesn’t produce vapor regardless of what you do – stop using the device and bring it to an expert for examination.

E-Liquid Problems


  • E-liquid leaks from the tank – particularly from the bottom intake holes
  • E-liquid leaks from the bottom of a rebuildable atomizer
  • Device makes a gurgling noise when you vape
  • Tank or atomizer makes a loud popping noise or spits hot e-liquid into your mouth


  • If you have a leaky tank, disassemble it and check the silicone o-rings for stretches and tears. Replace the o-rings as necessary. Reassemble the tank carefully. Crossed threads commonly cause tanks to leak. If a thread doesn’t turn smoothly, back it up and try again. Don’t force it. If the tank continues to leak, try replacing the coil.
  • Pay attention to the VG/PG ratio of your e-liquid. If your tank has a coil with very large wick openings, an e-liquid with too much PG will flow too quickly through the openings and leak out of the tank’s intake holes. Try an e-liquid with a 50/50 blend and adjust from there if necessary.
  • If you have a rebuildable atomizer that leaks, the most likely cause is that you’ve added too much e-liquid when dripping. If you’re continually adding e-liquid to the atomizer because you’re getting a burned taste when vaping, check the coil for hot spots and black residue. If the coil has hot spots, adjust it. If black residue covers the coil, build a new coil.
  • If you hear a gurgling noise when you vape, try running a paper towel down your tank’s mouthpiece to soak up some of the condensed e-liquid caught in the tank’s chimney. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, increase your device’s wattage slightly. If you still hear a gurgling noise when vaping, use an e-liquid with a higher VG percentage.
  • If your device spits hot e-liquid into your mouth when you vape, try increasing your device’s wattage or closing your tank’s airflow openings slightly. You can also install a mouthpiece with a built-in screen that breaks up e-liquid droplets before they can reach your mouth. If your tank has a mesh coil available, try it. Because mesh coils have excellent wick-to-metal contact, they are less prone to spitback than conventional wound kanthal coils. If all else fails, run a paper towel down your tank’s chimney periodically while you vape. Spitback is the result of condensed e-liquid pooling on the coil. If you eliminate the droplets with a paper towel, you’ll eliminate the source of the spitback. Your tank will then resume vaping smoothly.


~Jason Artman



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