The ThermoVape Cera is a portable convection vaporizer made by Thermo-Essence Technologies (TET). The vaporizer consists of the "body" and one of three cartridges depending on the material to be vaporized. Using the proper cartridge, the Cera can handle loose-leaf botanicals, oils, and glycerine-based liquids.
- Type: Convection
- Heat source: A proprietary American sourced resistance wire built specifically for the Cera.
- Power source: One Panasonic 2900PD 3.7V 18650 battery
- MSRP: $249.99 (Stainless Steel) / $499.99 (Titanium), including one cartridge. Additional cartridges are $99.99 (Stainless Steel) / $199.99 (Titanium). A battery and charger are not included in the MSRP.
- Made in: USA
- Website: www.thermovape.com
- YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ThermoVape?feature=watch
- FC thread: ThermoVape Cera
- Warranty: Lifetime Warranty against manufacturing defects. Cartridges come with a year long warranty, after which a $15 rebuild fee will be charged. See ThermoVape Warranty.
- Abbreviations: Cera Loose Leaf (LL or CLL) - Cera Essential Oil (EO or CEO) - Cera E-Liquid Vaporizer (EL or CEL) or Cera Vegetable Glycerine (CVG)
- Comes in a plastic container
- Cera body, 1 heating core, the switch, top cap, and mouthpiece
- User Guide
- Extra o-rings
- Size: 6 in by 1 in (15.24 cm by 2.5 cm)
- Weight: With battery, the Stainless Steel model is 12 ounces and Titanium ~8 ounces.
The ThermoVape Cera is a portable vaporizer that is built in the USA with solely American-sourced parts. Using a modular design, it is capable of vaporizing herbal material, oils, and glycerine tinctures. The cartridges can be cleaned via boiling in water. The device is powered by rechargeable and removable 18650 battery. The cartridges come with a one year warranty and can be rebuilt for a $15 fee after the one year period.
Thermo-Essence Technologies was co-founded by a physician and an engineer who have filed for over 20 vapor-related patents since 2010. They are dedicated to creating solutions that provide an alternative to smoking. The TET product line is completely engineered, designed, manufactured, and assembled in California.
The ThermoVape Cera employs a simple modular design. It uses cartridges that screw into the device. The design is entirely analog, eschewing digital electronic components in favor of directly user-controlled heating. The lack of electronics also lends Cera superior durability and longevity.
Cera cartridges are 100% free from any plastic, fiber glass, silica rope, teflon, mylar, solder, low grade metals, adhesives, glue, or epoxy. All cartridges are also free from any treatments or coatings. Both the cartridge and the vapor path are 100% ceramic and metal, with an operating temperature of 1300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Each cartridge is available in Stainless Steel and Titanium models. In terms of vapor production, there is no advantage to using Titanium over Stainless Steel. If using a Cera for hiking, camping, or in other outdoor activities and settings where the device may be subject to water exposure and increased wear and tear, then titanium should be considered for its greater resistance to small-space corrosion. Titanium is also lighter, with a titanium Cera clocking in around 4 ounces lighter than a stainless steel model. Both are extremely durable and long lasting materials.
Because a cartridge is subject to heat cycling and related fatigue, it is a consumable element and eventually must be replaced. All cartridges carry a one-year warranty, although TET expects that the actual lifetime will be substantially longer. Out of warranty, cartridge rebuilds are available at a cost of $15 plus shipping.
Loose Leaf Cartridge
The loose leaf cartridge is the only cartridge to feature a zirconia housing. Combined with the zirconia top cap and mouthpiece, this provides a unique all-ceramic portable convection vapor path and bowl, lending the purity that glass is known for while offering increased durability in comparison. The ceramic is also very easily cleaned; while warm, reclaim oils can be easily wiped off with a cloth or piece of herbal material, which can then be easily vaporized in the loose leaf bowl itself. The design is extremely accommodating of bubble hash as well, needing no bed of herb beneath the concentrate.
The threaded base of the cartridge is designed with a small amount of "float", meaning it is normal for it to wiggle inside the ceramic housing. This is designed to account for the difference in thermal expansion properties between the ceramic and the SS/Ti threaded base.
The LL cartridge is wound to run at 16 watts nominal power.
Essential Oil Cartridge
Oil cartridges come in either stainless steel or titanium. Unlike the loose leaf cartridge, the entire housing is composed of SS or Ti. The cartridge is designed to load from the top, using gently applied heat to melt your concentrate of choice into the top ceramic plate. This ceramic plate is fragile, and contact with metal tools should be avoided. The plate is designed to "float" in respect to the metal housing to account for the different thermal expansion properties. Loaded oils travel from the top ceramic plate to vertical ceramic plates further below in the core. The oil rests within the porous ceramic, which is then heated in order to vaporize the oils via conductive and radiative heating.
The cartridge is designed to avoid clogs, but it is possible to clog the intake vents if you do not follow proper loading techniques. The cartridge should not leak under normal use. Though the cartridge works upside down, oil may leak out mouthpiece when used in this way. It is wound to run at 14 watts nominally.
The e-liquid cartridge comes in stainless steel and titanium. The initial design was essentially identical to the EO cartridge, but a redesign is currently pending which will reportedly allow for greater storage capacity. The original cartridge was wound for 16 watts nominal.
Outside air is pulled in through four intake holes in the Cera body that are located above the battery compartment. Thanks to a seal created by two plates during the installation of a heating cartridge, the battery chamber is not part of the air path. From these holes, the air moves up into tiny intake holes just above the threaded plate in the cartridge being used.
In the LL cartridge, the air is drawn through the glowing core, heating to vaporization temperatures and then passing through the holes in the bottom of the ceramic bowl. From there it moves through your herbal material and vaporizes via convection. The vapor then moves thr outough the obstructive filter (or "UFO") built into the ceramic mouthpiece. Thus full air path consists of first ceramic, then SS or Ti, the a nichrome wire, and finally all ceramic for the vapor path.
In the EO and EL cartridges, the vaporization is conductive and radiative in nature rather than convective, and so the air is not passing through a heat exchanger prior to moving through the contents of the bowl. Here, the air path includes stainless steel or titanium before and after vapor production.
All O-rings are FDA approved medical device grade and are certified safe at operating temperatures. The design keeps all O-rings out of the air flow path and well within safe temperatures.
The power switch is momentary, meaning it must be held in order to keep the Cera on and use it. Some users seeking to modify their Cera in order to have a latching switch have found success with various solutions such as using one-inch diameter furniture end caps to hold the switch down, or bending thick wire to form a lever that presses the switch when held in your hand and releases it when you let go. See the Mods section below.
Care should be taken when modifying a Cera to have a latching power switch. A CEO cartridge forgotten with the power running can eventually spit oil and making a mess. The ceramic will also get very hot if the power is left running unattended.
The Cera comes with a safety pin that may be inserted into the side of the device for safe traveling. The bottom cap needs to be loosened before the pin may be inserted. With the pin in place, the switch will not turn on the Cera.
How to Use
- Raw dried botianicals such as tobacco, and others.
- Dry concentrates such as screen sieved
- cold water extracts
- oil botiancial combinations.
- > 20% Plant material/Paraffins/Lipids etc. i.e everything else that is medium-high grade or lower - Beset to mix with loose leaf
- TetraLab's PureGold
- High purity liquid oils that are liquid at room temp
- High purity oils that are soft at room temp.
- High purity oils that are solid at room temp.
- < 20% Plant material/Paraffins/Lipids etc.
- Vegetable Glycerine and Propylene Glycol based tinctures, a.k.a E-Juice
You have total, absolute control over the temperature. The Cera can be easily run to produce no visible vapor, dense visible vapor, or anywhere in between, from the absolute lowest limit of vaporization temperature to near combustion. Temperature control is easily achieved by:
1. Warm-Up time: 10-20 seconds for a lower temperature start, and more flavor. 20-30 seconds for a warmer start and denser vapor.
2. Inhalation speed. This alone can be used to adjust the temperature, as this is a convection vaporizer you have a lot of control by how you choose/prefer to move air through the Cera.
3. The activation button. Like the T1 the Cera has some power to spare (to account for the people that live in sub-zero temperatures, altitude, high humidity environments etc.). So once the desired type of vapor is acheived using steps 1 and 2 above. The device can easily be turned off/turned on i.e. "pulsed" if desired. This keeps the device cooler, and increases battery life, and is another way that temperature can be controlled.
General Cera Usage
The Cera is a simple and reliable design, and very well built. Effective usage depends on the owner understanding the unit and using it as it was designed.
That starts with battery power, and lots of it. Cera needs a lot of power, more so than most batteries of the correct size (18650) can provide well. We also want top performance. The most important characteristics here don't normally show up in advertising. Using mAh (capacity) numbers to select can lead to trouble. It is therefore recommended to stick to the recommended types, at least for your main battery. You really need two batteries (at least one a tested first quality type). An extra charged battery is useful to swap in to decide if your main battery is getting weak. Being as you'll get half an hour or more heat time from the recommended types, it's easy to loose track of usage and so a charged spare is the only sure way. Misjudging weak performance as sign of needing a repack and reloading a LL cart early is not a big deal, but overfilled oil carts can end the session.
Batteries of differing lengths are OK provided the spring is compressed enough, but some might try to bind in the tube if the outside isn't perfectly round, so be careful trying non-recommended types for fit. If one gets stuck it can be pushed out with a stiff wire through the socket in the top.
When you attach a cart, screw it down firmly but not overly tight. You'll notice a flat surface around the threads in the socket and a matching flat on the connector on the cart. These form the seal that keeps 'battery air' out of the vapor path. The lowest ring on the cart seals the cart to the top of the tube so the only air into the cart is drawn through the small vents in the tube wall. The top 2 rings retain the cap and can be removed on the oil cart if a drip tip or something similar is used. The LL cart needs the upper rings to seal as well as retain the cap and mouthpiece. The cap can be stiff when new, twisting it some as you put it on and off helps until the rings 'get broken in'.
The cap and mouthpiece form a very important particle trap. Debris (including condensates) that would normally get sucked in with the vapor and foul things up are forced to exit through the four slots in the top of the bowl with the vapor. They then must enter the gap under the flange in the mouthpiece where they can circulate around and try to follow the vapor up through the narrow gap between the flange and the inside of the cap. Then anything making it this far has to take a third right angle turn to 'find' one of the four feed holes in the flange rim to enter the mouthpiece. Finally the vapor takes a final turn up leaving the junk behind somewhere along the line. There's a very small amount of float designed into the mouthpiece fit in the cap so the whole thing is 'self cleaning' (although it does need wiping out from time to time). Don't worry about 'the wiggle', it's intentional.
There is provision in the Cera design for the use of a safety lock function to prevent accidental turn on. With the end cap unscrewed, the provided Safety Pin can be inserted completely through the body using the two largest holes (either direction) before tightening the cap again. This traps the insulating pin between the top of the battery and the cart, rendering the system safe regardless of the switch condition. Doing this leaves the Cera ready for instant use by “pulling the pin”. In the event the pin gets lost, the battery can be removed for safe transit until a replacement can be procured.
The CLL can be used in many ways. Two are recommended for new owners to consider. The first is a much simplified technique aimed at getting those new to vaporization (as well as just Cera), vaping with as few distractions as possible. The second technique, aimed at more experienced owners, will give heavier outputs faster but needs more discipline and experience to accomplish.
For the first technique, exploit the advantages of the basic CLL system to simplify the task. Grind your botanicals and cure them well. Removing the water before is important, it has to be very dry to vape well as the water has to be evaporated off first, robbing vaping power in the process. Fill the bowl up but don't pack it in all that tight. Put the cover and mouthpiece on the top and turn it on. Wait 30 seconds (the body near the holes should feel a little warm by then) and begin to puff on it in a normal manner. Nothing happens at first, but keep puffing. As you draw air through it, Cera heats the air in the lower chamber before transferring it up to the load though the holes in the bottom of the bowl. After a few solid puffs the air coming out will warm up and start to develop some 'taste'. You'll probably not see visible vapor at this stage but keep puffing away. As the temperature continues to rise, vapor will replace the taste only phase and you'll start to see vapor in your exhale. Keep the power on full time with this technique. The unit will heat some, but five or even 10 minutes of continuous running will do no harm (past 'using up the battery' faster). Remember to keep at it, if you stop pulling air through, it's going to cool off and you'll have to start over.
You can pull the top cap off at any time to check the progress. The center part of the bowl will shift from green to brown as vaping progresses. The darker area will naturally spread to include the entire bowl. No stirring is normally needed (or really wanted). Most users stop vaping when production tapers off, long before black material shows up or the 'burnt popcorn taste' happens. If you start getting hints of that taste, it's time to give up and refill. There's still a little of the good stuff left so most users save their vaped botanicals for processing later. The bowl can be brushed or wiped out between sessions, as can the debris traps in the top cap assembly. An occasional poke with a pipe cleaner (wetting with Isopropal Alcohol helps here) or some cotton pushed through with a toothpick will keep the mouthpiece in good order.
The advanced technique requires more understanding of the system. Start with an empty bowl. Turn it on and watch the heater through the holes in the bottom of the bowl. In 15 seconds or so you should see it start glowing. Keep watching. After another 15 or so seconds it will finally reach 'full brilliance' and is then ready to do it's job. Pulling before this point is going to cause problems but you can't watch it when the unit is loaded and assembled so you need to develop 'a feel' for the timing. It varies with battery type and condition as well. Check this time periodically as you go so you can accurately predict when it's fully hot.
To load for the advanced technique (and higher output), go for maximum surface area in the load. Grind very fine, keep it dry and pack it in. Seriously pack it, not so solid you can't draw through it of course, but up to the rim of the bowl. Then fit the cover and mouthpiece and power up. Wait until you're sure the core is hot (Step 1) then start a series of 'medium slow' full pulls to heat the load. From time to time (say after 20 or 30 seconds of preheat) do a 'test puff'. Blow out the warm air in your mouth like puffing on a cigar and check for vapor. Solid vapor, not wispy trails. If you don't get a good solid 'test puff' (good vapor), give it another 10 seconds or so pulling and try another time. Once you get a solid test puff going you've got the bowl up to working temperature, the end of Step 2, time to honk on it as you wish. The harder you pull (within limits of course) the more hot air is pulled into the load to make vapor. Go for it. In this mode most guys will want to shut the power off after a solid hit or two to savor the experience and save battery. This is fine, just remember you need to keep the heat in the bowl up so don't let it idle too long.
The bowl of the CLL is small by industry standards intentionally. This gives improvements in performance but also means the supply of vapor is limited and easily exhausted. Some heavy users can clear the useful vapor in only a few hits, others take more smaller ones to do the job. You can power down and 'save it for later' at any point, vaporization stops as soon as you stop pulling air through and resumes when you start again. Stay aware of the taste, it's your best clue to what's happening inside. The change of taste to the start of 'burnt popcorn taste' indicates the available material has mostly evaporated away and temperatures in the bowl are climbing as other reactions are starting to happen. Do not go past this point.
Water separated concentrate typically called 'bubble hash', a sand like granular solid, can be very effectively used in the Loose Leaf cartridge. Simply load it loosely in the bowl (don't pack) and not quite to the top so it has room to expand, put the cap on, and start the heater. It vapes very similar to botanicals only at a slightly higher temperature, and of course it does so for a longer time before becoming exhausted. Some strains clump together and seem to take more heat while some remain loose and separate. You can mix them with botanicals of course, or line the bowl with botanicals first, but it isn't necessary. If you have this material available then by all means try it, it's quite a treat.
The Cera Oil Cart is not only expanded in size from the Revolution/DART system but the geometry between the heater and the ceramic reservoir has been optimized. Users familiar with Revolution/DART will find a lot in common, but also some differences in performance and usage.
If you look down into the cart you'll see the ceramic top plate that makes up the floor of the upper chamber. There should be gaps on the side to let the vapor from below get past it. Note it's porous, looking something like a dry sponge. In use the concentrate will be absorbed into that material like water into a dish sponge. The heater will evaporate it from there. Below the plate are four rings of the same material in a stack, they too absorb the concentrate when it's loaded. Up the center runs the heater, basically all the reservoir material is 'at the ideal distance' from the heater (unlike before) so it all comes up to temperature at once. This combined with the increase in reservoir volume makes for heavy hits on demand and lots of them between reloads. Also included in the new design is space behind the rings so overfilled oil (within reason) has a place to be held until it can be used, rather than leaking out the bottom. Former Revolution/DART users will recognize (and appreciate) these changes.
Now to loading. If your concentrate is 'thin' and flows very freely then you probably don't need to preheat, but preheating helps in all cases. Just run the core for 15 seconds or so until the body starts to get warm (or even hot) to the touch. Then add half a gram (no more is recommended until you get experience with that concentrate). In general, this is about the volume of the upper cavity. If it's wax, pack it in. Otherwise scoop some in and let it melt down. You may want to hit the heat for a dozen seconds or so to speed things along. Some of the more solid waxes, glasses, shatters and the like can take fiddling to get them melted in without having vapor build up spit them out again.
Once the cavity clears and the concentrate is in the lower chamber, fit the mouthpiece of your choice (drip tip, Pure or True Flow or Cera cap and mouthpiece) and turn the heat on. Some concentrates make noise heating up, some don't, but in 20 or so seconds (from warm) you should be getting lots of vapor starting to happen. This will build over the next minute or two as the full cartridge comes up to temperature. Hit it as you wish. Most users will want to power down between hits, others will find it works better for them to leave power on for a few hits then shut it down (typically for a longer time) before resuming. You should experiment. Unlike convection systems, vapor is being produced whether you draw or not. If you don't draw it out, it condenses again inside but over time this will degrade the taste ('cook') your oil and is to be avoided. Don't let it idle for long periods with power on.
When your session is over for the time being, just set it down and let it cool. There should be no need to keep it upright (or any other position) until cool. The design is very resistant to leaks and 'plugging' provided it is not overfilled. When the action slows down, as always consider your battery charge first. Assuming it's low on concentrate and adding more can leave you overfilled with a still dying battery. Battery life will be quite long, over half an hour of 'on time' typically, so it's easy to forget about it. But don't. If you overfill, you're going to waste concentrate and time correcting it. So, try a charged battery before you reach for more concentrate.
Cleaning Options for the Cartridge, Top Cap, and Mouthpiece
- ISO/EtOH soak
- Water based natural agents, i.e. simple green and the like
- Ultrasonic cleaning
- Gamma sterilization
Blow Torch Cleaning
Torching is only recommended for titanium cartridges. It can be done with stainless steel, but repeated torching is not recommended. The LL cartridge can certainly be torched, but cleaning it via other methods is very easy in comparison. To clean with a butane or propane torch:
- Unthread the Cera Cartridge from the Cera Interface/main body.
- Remove 3 external O-rings
- Hold onto the metal threaded base with an insulated tool to keeps you a safe distance away
Be careful. Torching is not required for cleaning.
Cleaning the body
The main body of the is not intended to be boiled. It can be easily wiped clean with isopropyl alcohol.
Batteries and Chargers
The battery TET offers, the Panasonic 2900mAh NCR18650PD, is the best bet for the Cera. Using different 18650 batteries may yield slower heat-up times and/or diminished run time, even in the case of batteries bearing higher mAh ratings. Panasonic's 2250mAh CGR18650CH is the best other battery presently found online, and is favored for usage with the LL cartridge due to offering a noticeably faster heat-up time during the first 20% of its battery life. For the rest of the battery life, the CGR18650CH and the NCR18650PD perform the same while the PD's will last a little longer. The CGR18650CH has been discontinued by Panasonic and care should be taken when purchasing due to the risk of encountering counterfeit products.
- Panasonic NCR18650PD 2900mAh
- Panasonic CGR18650CH 2250mAh (discontinued)
What is the significance of the mAh of the battery?
- A 2900mah battery will provide longer run time in exchange for a longer warm up period for the core.
- A 2250mah battery will provide a quicker warm up period for the core but the run time will not be as long.
- TET's stock charger
- Tenergy's TN269 two-channel charger is also known to work.
- Users have found that portable cigar humidors and cases designed to carry epipens work well for carrying the Cera.
- Forum member iamn3ko found that a tobacco pipe stand works well as a Cera stand, with the addition of an insert for counterweight. Photos available here.
- Some users have found that silicone "tester" tips designed for use with e-cigarettes work well as an alternative to TET's silicone heat shield.
Connecting to a Water Pipe
- The device will mate with a glass piece out of the box. Included with your order will be some o-rings. You can put an o-ring around the mouth piece to create a better seal. The thermal sleeve will also help create a perfect seal. For EO and EL cartridges, you can use a 510 drip tip and use it in conjunction with a Revolution Glass Adapter, connecting the end of the hose to the mouth piece.
The Cera is designed to be open to modification, with an outer diameter of exactly 1" and the top cap's opening measuring exactly 0.5".
- Forum member iamn3ko created a mouthpiece setup optimized for high airflow using a drip tip, stainless steel screen, and 00 size stainless steel flared ear gauge tunnel. Photos here.
- Forum member NothingToSeeHere has been working with a supplier in China to have a custom ceramic mouthpiece manufactured that replaces both the Cera top cap and mouthpiece and incorporates a space for a ceramic screen. Photos are available here.
- Custom laser engraving will eventually be offered. Inquire about it with your order.
- Forum member JoeKickass created his own body from copper tubing, a 3/8"-24 bolt, and silver solder. Photos here, here, here, and here.
- Forum member BLAZING OG has successfully used heat shrink tubing to provide extra shock protection, heat shielding, and an alternative color. Photos are available here.
- OF created a proof-of-concept Cera body with the aim of creating the cheapest Cera possible, as documented here and here.
Cartridge Thread Adapters
An adapter solution will eventually be offered by TET, allowing you to run Cera cartridges on alternative battery supplies and other cartridges on the Cera body.
- OF has created several of his own adapters, one of which is pictured here. JoeKickass also included one as part of his body replacement, as seen here.
Some users seek to replace Cera's momentary switch with a latching unit. A suitable switch is very difficult to source and has not been found yet by the modding community. High DC current ratings are required and most switches only carry an AC rating.
- Some users have attempted using these AC rated switches anyways and have thus far not reported any failures. Here is an example by forum member J.D.420, and another by JoeKickass for his custom body.
- OF used thick wire (such as brass) to create two switch modifications, one which latches the switch in the on position until it is removed, and another known as the "Reverse Dead-Man's Switch" which offers a side lever which allows you to engage the switch using a different grip and ensures that the device is turned off when it is put down.
- Some have achieved latching functionality using a simple cap over the switch, combined with something small to depress the switch. Forum member ma7ija shared a solution using velcro, and member Homecpwork found success using a 1 X 7/8-1" Furniture End Cap.
- OF has created his own power adapter. An official PA solution is expected to be offered by TET in the future.
Check the batteries and make sure the cartridge is screwed in all the way. Make sure the safety pin is out. If it is still not working, you can test for switch failure by removing it replacing it with a wad of aluminum foil to make contact between the battery and the metal ring at the base. If this does not work, it is most likely a failure of the strap that runs the length of the inside of the body; contact TET for warranty service.
Thermo-Essence Technologies provides a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. Cera heater cores come with a year long warranty, after which time a rebuild fee will be charged. The batteries are a consumable and will need to be replaced eventually. The Cera should not be disassembled by the customer and has been built to identify tampering; any such tampering or damage will result in a voided warranty. Repairs are performed solely at TET's facility. Return shipping is the customer's responsibility and shipping costs are non-refundable; TET also recommends using a trackable shipping method. We will ship the warranty units back to the address provided by the customer using USPS Priority Mail. If the unit was purchased from an authorized retailer, a proof of purchase is required with the items being returned. No warranty items will be sent unless items have previously been sent back to TET for repair. TET reserves the right to modify policies without prior notice.
Where to buy, and the future
You can only buy from www.thermovape.com
There will be NO PRICE INCREASE or DECREASE in 2013.
Because of the extremely high cost of the materials in the Cera, and based on the overall cost of building high end mechanical devices that our hand assembled in the USA, there will be predictable yearly price adjustment of the Cera product line. So this time next year the Cera will increase in cost/sale price by 2%-5%. Based on the model this is as conservative as they can be. Plan for a yearly price INCREASE of the Cera by a minimum of 2% every year, and no more then 5%.
The prices are going up on 12/1/2013 all Cera products (anything with Ceramic or Metal) will go up.