With the explosive popularity of pod vapes in the world of vaping, auto draw firing mechanisms have made a huge comeback. Auto-draw allows the user to simply take a puff to vape instead of requiring the press of a button. This is very appealing to many vapers, but the design is inherently flawed. They often suffer from issues with inconsistency, auto-firing, and even premature device failure. In this article, we're going to cover how auto-draw actually works, why they can fail, and what you can do as the user to help keep your auto-draw pod vape from failing in the first place!
The general concept of how these auto-draw switches work is fairly simple. They have a flexible conductive membrane that will keep the circuit open in a neutral position, then the membrane will flex upward and complete the circuit when you take a puff. When the circuit completes, it fires your device and produces vapor. When you stop puffing, the membrane returns to the neutral position it was in before and opens the circuit again.
Now the first flaw of these little mechanisms won’t affect your vape, but it will affect your vaping experience. Since there needs to be enough suction to activate the auto draw switch, there will always be some amount of delay between when you start your puff and the time that the vape actually starts firing. That means you'll start each puff by pulling some air through the coil before you get any vapor, which can cause it to feel light and unsatisfying. Some pod vapes are much better at this than others. The Suorin Edge, for example, starts firing almost the instant you start to inhale. Sometimes it seems like all you need to do with the Edge is just think about taking a puff.
The main flaw is the fact that these switches are very fragile and sensitive to moisture. The fact that these switches must be part of the airflow system in order to serve their purpose by activating when you inhale means that they are extremely likely to come into contact with some moisture. Not only is there the all too likely possibility of a pod leaking juice down into the switch, but there is also just natural condensation that, while not as likely, can accumulate and leak downward into it. When liquid almost inevitably makes its way into the auto draw switch, that flexible membrane that we were talking about earlier can get stuck open or closed. Your auto-draw switch may remain functional after being barraged by these liquids, but the performance will most likely still be impacted, resulting in more of a delay between the start of a puff and the actual firing of the device. Sometimes, an auto-draw switch may fire just fine, but then continue firing after you've stopped taking the puff, burning out your pods. These issues are part of the reason why the industry moved away from auto draw switches in favor of buttons a long time ago.
Companies have implemented a few interesting designs to attempt to mitigate these flaws, most quite successfully. The reliability of these designs relies on one critical factor: You. You need to be vigilant about cleaning any juice that makes its way outside of where it is supposed to be. We would recommend removing your pod and cleaning the pod cradle and bottom of the pod itself. As long as you keep up on this, performing that cleaning process at least once a day, the major flaw in the auto draw firing mechanism has been pretty much solved.
Even so, many auto draw devices that are hitting the market are struggling with consistency since these switches can be so picky and sensitive. If the switch isn't sensitive enough, it can feel like you need to inhale the whole device through the mouthpiece to get it to fire. If it's too sensitive, it can continue to fire for a fraction of a second after each puff, which can kill your coils in short order. If it's low quality, you can experience all of these issues and more.
So it appears that the vape industry still has some work to do before we truly dial in a “precision” auto draw vape, but we are certainly getting closer.