The Volcano Lavabox is available in several configurations, all based on the "original" ... a 900 mAh Lithium Polymer battery. The chipset is by Evolv, the DNA 200.
Volcano offers this in a kit form (shown at right) that includes a tank and a bottle of juice. The tank and bottle of juice add about $22. to the package.
Of all the DNA 200 based devices, the Lavabox was the one we anticipated most.
The finish is matte black. You have the option of swapping out the ruberrized portion of the case with any of four colors: Black, Blue, Red and White. You can see the colors in the picture immediately below this and to the left.
It's an excellent design with bevelled edges. The buttons are square with rounded corners and suit the device quite nicely. It's well designed, well engineered, and well built. No rattles of any kind and comfortable to hold.
The company, Volcano, spends quite a bit of time responding to users on forums, and listening to their input.
One of the most common requests defined the need for a larger capacity battery. One user even designed a case extension to house a 1300 mAh Li Po battery and offers it for sale to others. Volcano had their own plans and now offer a 1300 mAh Fullymax battery, case extension, and new extended ruberrized back plate – along with a parts bag that includes a mini Philips screwdriver, new screws for the ruberrized back plate and longer screws for the extended metal housing.
This is one of the Lavabox's best features. A system designed for expandability ... and the user can do it himself. It's not complicated, and Lavabox have excellent instructions and videos on how to make the most use of their device. After sales support and service is outstanding.
We opted to test and review both the original 900 mAh battery and the 1300 mAh extended kit.
We did have opportunity to also test out Volcano's support team. The 1300 mAh battery we received was un-balanced. This is a 3 cell Li Po battery pack, connected in series (3s). Cell 1 and Cell 3 charged completely, but Cell 2 did not. Volcano's support team responded within two hours with a complete explanation and step-by-step instructions on how to resolve the issue. In the response, they also said that if the fix didn't work (would only take 5-7 minutes), they would initiate the RMA process and exchange the battery. Great work!
By the way, the technique did not work. However, I know enough about batteries in general to figure out how to fix the issue and did manage to do exactly that.
The Volcano Lavabox has nine vent holes at the bottom of the device. This is one of the few mods we have tested that didn't even warm up when in use. With a massice 20C rating (both the 900 mAh and 1300 mAh), this is one system designed for heavy duty use.
The 510 connector is stainless steel threads with a gold colored floating pin. Air channels are scribed on the top of the device, so even devices with air flow through the 510 will work nicely with this device. And, by the way, the threads are absolutely buttery smooth.
The device we received is shown at the left.
If you are familiar with any of the DNA 200 devices, the button layout, screen, and micro USB positions are already familiar. What is notable about the Lavabox is that the buttons have a smooth and lightly tactile feeling to them.
They do click, but it is a subdued click. With the Lavabox, you don't need to announce you are vaping when you press the fire button.
If you have been previous versions of the Lavabox, you'll note some differences with the one we received.
Users discussed how the screen scratched easily. Volcano responded and the result is the version you see at the left with a new screen covering that is quite resilient. It does not show figure prints that easily and – despite our hard use – showed no signs of any scratches (at any angle).
Volcano have several accessories available for the Lavabox. There are replacement 900 mAh batteries, rubberized covers in four different colors, and an extender kit that includes a 1300 mAh battery.
The extender kit is shown at the right. It includes a new deeper back end, new longer rubberized cover, and a Fullymax 1300 mAh battery.
From the minute we removed the first screw on the original device, the entire battery upgrade took less than 10 minutes.
The only challenge was finding the patience to wait for the battery to charge up ...
The batteries for this device feature two sets of wires. One has an XT60 connector for the power (that's the yellowish one you see in the picture at the right) and a white balancing connector. You can't see that in the picture, it is below the yellowish connector.
Li Po (Lithium Polymer) batteries are a different chemical composition that the familiar Li Ion batteries we are used to. They are packaged in a semi-rigid plastic case. The 3s designation with these means there are 3 cells, connected in series. Nominal voltage is 3.7 volts, three in series means there is 11.1 volts at nominal charge. Like Li Ion batteries, these will charge to 4.2 volts in each cell for a total of 12.6 volts.
There is mis-information about the amperage capacity of these Li Po batteries. Each cell is rated at 1300 mAh. The total of the battery pack is 1300 mAh. You'll see even manufacturers claim that there is three times that much amperage though ... and that is not correct. It's a total of 1300 mAh with the 1300 mAh extender kit. These will last longer than Li Ion batteries. That's not due to the mAh, it's due to the C rating. Li Po batteries have a much higher C rating than Li Ion. In the case of the Lavabox (either the 900 mAh or 1300 mAh), they are 20C.
The C rating is the battery's ability to push power to the device efficiently and fast. These are widely used in the toy industry for remote control cars, airplanes, etc. – all because the C rating is high enough to generate some incredible power transmission to the small motors in these remote control devices. That's a bonus for anyone vaping at high wattage. Faster transfer of power to the coil and for a longer sustained vape. A cloud chucker's dream.
The Fullymax 1300 mAh battery dimensions are 66 x 35 x 21.6 (mm). There is a bit of space left in the housing after inserting the battery and Volcano provide two foam strips to add to the top to fill that space. Overall maximum space in the housing is 73.5 x 37 x 22 (mm). We are planning on swapping out the 1300 mAh battery for a 1500 mAh version we found that fit within these tolerances. We'll update this review once we try that out (battery is ordered).
The Watt Hours (WH) of the 1300 mAh battery pack is 9.9. At 3.7 volt draw, we should get 9.9 hours of vaping time from the Lavabox. In practice, we got nowhere near that. Vaping time with the device set at 35 watts (Kanthal coil) was no more than 5 hours. The 900 mAh battery gave us about 3.5 hours of vaping time. And, granted, this is heavy vaping time, not your average vaping definitely.
So, what’s the verdict? Is it worth it?
This is one pleasant company to deal with. Orders are shipped quickly and tracked through USPS. Support staff are responsive and gifted with positive methods of communicating. All DNA 200 based devices have limitations in the amount of time you can vape between charges – it's actually quite similar to the limitations of a mechanical mod. But, you'll get a level of satisfaction vaping with the Volcano Lavabox that is exceptionally good. The device itself is quite comfortable to hold. Once you get familiar with the functions of the DNA 200 chipset and navigation through the menus and Escribe software, you'll enjoy every minute of using this device. I'd recommend this without reservations and further recommend that you get the 1300 mAh extender kit.
What’s in the box?
- LAVABOX DNA 200 Box Mod (billet 6061 aluminum)
- micro USB Cable
- User Manual