Here’s a fun thing to think about: A vape mod is like a tiny computer in many ways. It has a power supply, memory, a microprocessor and an interface. In fact, it’s fair to say that a modern vape mod is a more powerful computer than anything that home computer users could buy at the beginning of the PC era. A computer can’t do anything without a program to run, though, and in a vape mod, the programming comes in the form of firmware. Firmware contains software code like the applications that you run on your computer or phone, but the primary difference is that firmware is a permanent part of hardware. It’s the thing that makes it possible for you to control that hardware.
Are you confused yet? If you are, we’ll soon fix that. This is your complete guide to firmware for vape mods.
What Does a Vape Mod’s Firmware Do?
Every time you use a vape mod from V2 Cigs UK or another vape shop, you’re interacting with the device’s firmware. The firmware provides the device’s interface and controls how the device responds when you press the buttons. In fact, everything that you do with your vaping device involves the firmware in some way.
This is a partial list of the functions that the firmware performs in a vape mod.
- The firmware allows you to adjust the device’s wattage, voltage or temperature. It performs the mathematical calculations necessary in order for the device to output the correct level of power when you press the fire button.
- The firmware contains the device’s visual interface, including any graphics or special fonts that you see when looking at the mod’s display.
- The firmware controls the mod’s safety features. For example, the mod’s chipset might include a temperature sensor that monitors the device’s internal temperature. The firmware gathers readings from the temperature sensor and shuts the device down if overheating is imminent. The firmware also checks for short circuits and other potential safety issues.
- The firmware includes instructions for managing the device’s battery during use and charging. When you connect the mod to a power source, the battery should begin charging. The firmware ensures that the charging amperage is correct and stops the charge cycle when the battery’s target voltage has been reached.
The more features a vape mod has, the more complex its firmware will be. Even the simplest vaping device, however, has firmware to regulate battery charging and power delivery.
What Type of Microprocessor Does a Vape Mod Have?
Like so many other small electronic devices these days, most vape mods use RISC microprocessors based on the ARM architecture. As you may already know, mobile phones also use ARM-based processors – which means that your vape mod has a little in common with your iPhone or Android device. Companies around the world license the ARM instruction sets and other technologies, often incorporating them into their own custom-designed chips.
The manufacturers of the integrated circuits for vape mods include Nuvotron, Atmel and ST. It’s more accurate, however, to call the chipset in a vape mod a microcontroller rather than a microprocessor. A microcontroller is a single integrated circuit that includes a microprocessor along with memory for program storage and capabilities for input and output. It’s all of the components of a simple computer on a single chip.
Some people enjoy tinkering with electronics and would like to try building their own vape mods. For those people, companies such as YiHi and Evolv offer fully assembled and pre-programmed chipsets for vape mods. To use one of these chipsets, you only need to provide an enclosure and solder the appropriate connections.
What Language Is Used to Program Firmware for Vape Mods?
The most common languages used to program the firmware for vape mods are C and assembly language. Because the ARM architecture is so well known – and is perhaps the most common architecture used by programmers today – there are plenty of budding programmers who have taken an interest in programming new firmware that expands the capabilities of their vape mods. If you’re interested in learning how to program firmware for a vaping device – or simply want to get a better idea of what’s going on behind the scenes when you vape – you can find numerous open-source vape mod firmware projects online. Since those projects are open source, the code is always free to download, view and modify.
What Are Firmware Updates for Vape Mods?
The more complex an electronic device is, the more likely it becomes that bugs will be discovered in the firmware after the device’s release. As we mentioned earlier in the article, though, a vape mod is essentially like a small computer. A vape mod generally stores its firmware in rewritable flash memory, and that means it’s possible to overwrite the existing firmware with new firmware. Manufacturers of vaping devices use the firmware update functionality to correct problems or to add new features that weren’t present in the original release of a device.
How to Install a Firmware Update for Your Vape Mod
In order to install a firmware update for your vape mod, you need a device with that capability. Since upgradeable firmware is usually a major selling point for a vaping device, you’ll probably see it mentioned online and in the device’s instruction manual. Secondly, the device must have a firmware update available. Sometimes, a device will never actually receive firmware updates because the original firmware has no known issues. If your vape mod has an update available, though, it’s probably in your best interest to install it because the new firmware may improve the device’s reliability or add new functionality.
To install a firmware update for your vape mod, visit the manufacturer’s website. In the support section for your device, you’ll find the application that’s used for updating the firmware. You’ll need to download that application and run it on your computer. The firmware itself will generally be a separate file that you’ll also need to download. Run the firmware updating application and connect your vape mod to your computer. You’ll then point the application to the firmware file and click the “Start” button. While you perform the firmware update, do not disconnect your vape mod from your computer or turn your computer off. When the update is complete, you’ll see a confirmation message on your computer. At that point, you can safely disconnect the vape mod.