Humpty's Review on theDSE 601  (Jan 2012, updated mar 2012)








T
he 601 has been around for quite some time now. A year ago, I had refrained from trying one for the simple reason of thinking it old-fasioned. Only after becoming seasoned that I realize I don't actually use any of my mods in public so what difference does it make if I mainly vape at home ?

Answer: none. And none it is, infact some of my mods are not that far from looking like a pipe. A battery, an atomiser and cartridge, all ecigs are basicaly the same. And it was time to give it a try.




Construction and Looks Usage
Three distinctive features are found on the 601. The first is that the atomiser is married to the battery unit, i.e you can't change the atomiser, you have to change the whole unit which usually includes the mouthpiece too. Hmm, expensive.

Fortunately, the second feature is a replaceable battery (18350 3.7v). It's a common type, not hard to find and cheap.

The last feature is that it is an auto switcher. Real pipe smokers will feel right at home. Big battery auto-mods are rare and being an auto lover, this was the main reason that prompted me to buy.

The atty is a big one and reminds me of the 801. The cartridges are the biggest I've ever seen. I don't know how much they can take but I've filled them with 3ml and not seen any overflow.

The overall feel is a little large for my hands but it's comfortable. I've smoked real pipes before and although this thing is plastic, it weighs and looks like a real pipe.

After a few days, I turned the pipe on it's lid and e-liquid started to run out of the air-inlet hole. It occurred to me that some liquid residue must have collected inside the pipe. A tip would be to occasionally blow out this residue from the battery end during maintenance/cleaning.
After putting in the battery, there's a pivot arm contact that slides over the +ve end of the battery top and holds it down.
The first time I did this gave me a fright because as you do this, the circuitry flashes a green led indicator which could be mistaken for a spark. 

Switchwise,  the 601 is probably too sensitive for it's own good. The slightest draw activates the switch. There doesn't seem to be a duration cut-off which is fine by me, as I prefer not to have one.

Unfortunately the vacuum sensor frequently fires up by itself if left alone. And after only two days of use, the green led (batttery indicator) developed a permanent on-off flash every 3 secs. Although this doesn't effect it's performance, it does let down the overall usage and presentation.

The draw for me is too airy (light) but I can get used to this as long as there is enough vapour, which there is as you will see in the next section. There are two places where you can tighten the draw at the expense of reduced vapour. The first is at the join of the mouthpiece to the atty. Over time, some liquid residue builds up around the atty to seal this air-leak, so for tight drawers, I recommed you don't tape this part. The second place is a small hole on the rim of the battery cover. It's conveniently placed so that you can cover your thumb or finger over it for a tighter draw. It's not quite the same as a regular atomiser though.

To get the best out of the auto switcher, one or two primer puffs adds to the authentic sensation of using a pipe. 


 

Vapour Taste and Throat hit
You need to make sure the cartridge is well soaked with e-liquid before firing up the 601. After it heats up, the cartridge will give up most of it's juice. It was not neccesary to replace the stock filler, it performs quite well.

The atty is a cool vape, by that I mean it must be normal resistance (as opposed to LR) giving normal temperature vapour.

Vapour is plenty. The more primer puffs, the more vapour and because of the big atty, much more vapour than a standard 501 or 901. The vapour is airy though, I notice this because I'm used to LR type vapour which is thicker.

Vapour colour is towards the white-grey side.
Upon first vaping a brand new 601, I couldn't tell wether it was the primer or the atty that was distorting the taste of my RY4 liquid. It turned out it was both.

The primer took about 1 day to disappear.

The taste distortion of the atty is pretty significant. It makes the e-liquid flavour taste completely different. These big atties usually have big barrels. They add a smokey dark flavour and takes away any sweetness. These atties are usually most suited to tobacco type flavours but the RY4 tasted like crap. Luckily I had some DK-tab which otherwise tasteslike smelly socks on traditional attys (501,901) actually tastes like good tobacco on the 601.

The smokey taste adds to the throat hit and you can add to this by taking a longer draw.

There's also an added benefit to a big barrel atty.
Remember all those yucky liquids you tucked away in some shoebox either because you hated the flavour or they tasted too 'chemical' ? I found this atty is pretty good for masking away those unwanted tastes.

Maintenance
Big atomisers usually burn e-liquid at a faster rate.  It's been only three days now and I've gone through 15ml. That's 5ml a day instead of the usual 3ml.

The battery outlasted my expectations, I could get a whole day's usage on a 1200mah.

Re-filling is a bit of pain. The cartridge fits into the atomiser, not the mouth-piece. You take it out by hooking your fingernail under a tiny hook (at the base of the cartridge) and pulling it out. It will almost certainly to be covered in e-liquid residue, so a tissue needs to be standing by and it would be handy if you had three hands.

Cleaning unfortunately is a No-No. The atomiser is fixed inside a barrel that cannot be taken apart. The only way is either to flick out any leaked liquid or let it stand upside down overnight.



Pros Cons
Looks and feels like a real pipe.

Replaceable common type battery.

Good auto-switcher.

Controllable draw (air-resistance).

Lots of vapour.

Great tobacco type taste with some liquids.

Big usable cartridge.
Atomiser is irreplaceable. (unless you mod it yourself)

Bad taste if used with the wrong e-liquid flavour.

Liquid guzzler.

Dodgy battery indicator and vacuum sensor.

Impossible to clean the atty.


Conclusion

Classic looks and easy maintenance. 

It's a pity the atty cannot be changed (or can it?). I would have loved to find out what this thing can do with an LR atty. But the amount of vapour and primer puff experience has more than made up for this. I've just got to watch I don't blow too much cash on e-liquid!

Definitely a plus for auto-lovers. It's so rare to find a big batt mod that's auto and this is where the 601 separates itself from other big batt mods. Unfortunately, what should have been a reliable piece was let down by the doubtful electronics an airy intake, and difficult maintenance.














Mar 2012
(Well, after 2 months, I got fed up with the dodgy sensor and decided to take it apart and ended up converting it to take a 901 atty.It turned out the sensor was only mis-behaving because of leaked liquid into it. After a cleaning, it performed well again.Want to take up the DIY challenge ? click here

After taking it apart it turns out that the controling circuit is separated form it's sensor. Not only is the sensor decent, but the circuit board is quite innovative, see the PM69 mod here.
)








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