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1. Start from the beginning - what is this thing and why do I need it?
If you’re completely new to cannabis or have been a casual smoker in the past, the Neo provides a great way to avoid the byproducts of combustion and skip the sticky, ashy black mess that’s an inevitable part of smoking joints, pipes, and bongs. Compared to smoking cannabis, using the Neo will give you a cleaner taste, less lingering odor, reduced throat irritation, no tar-like ash to stain your fingers or fabrics, and more efficient use of your herbal material.
If you're currently someone that frequently uses joints, pipes, or bongs, you'll immediately notice a) incredible flavor, b) longer-lasting and more consistently enjoyable effects, c) no coughing, d) increased lung capacity, and e) your flower will last a lot longer. If you read our reviews, you'll notice that our most enthusiastic customers are those who switch over from combusting, even if they didn't really intend to.
If you’re an MMJ patient looking to use medical cannabis for symptom relief, the Neo offers some additional benefits to those already listed above. After finding a strain that works for your condition, grinding and measuring cannabis flowers and using the Neo and Terp Surfer can help you reliably hit a consistent dosage, which will allow you to control the effects better. That’s not as easy with smoking or edibles, or when vaporizing stronger concentrates like extracts or oils.
If you're already a vaporization enthusiast, then you'll appreciate that the Neo supplies desktop-quality vapor while being portable. You'll also enjoy its 'open source' ethos when it comes to playing well with others. Part of the fun of the Neo is experimenting with different types of pipes - both those old ones you put away in a box years ago and probably some new ones.
2. Is the Neo a vaporizer?
No. The Neo is an herbal atomizer--a personal extraction device for aromatherapy. Most vaporizers on the market are either cartridge-based vape pens, or are box-like devices into which you must put your herb. The Neo is more like a burn-free lighter with a sophisticated heating system that delivers hot air and radiant heat. When paired with a pipe, bubbler, bong, or other bowl, it creates a powerful and efficient system that extracts the desired compounds from dried herb without the harsh and harmful byproducts of combustion.
3. Can I use my own pipe or bong?
Yes! It works especially well if your bowl is perfectly round such that the chimney makes a good seal with it. We also provide a clear silicone adapter, ensuring you can use the Neo with the majority of pipes and bongs. If you have a bowl with significant irregularities, however, cold air may enter and reduce the heating efficiency of the Neo. Any gap in the seal between the Neo and the bowl acts like an open carb (or a hole in a straw) and reduces the suction pressure. Note: It is highly recommended that you clean your pipe thoroughly with alcohol before use, as the tars and residues from prior combustion will spoil the pure taste the Neo provides.
4. What size is the quartz chimney? What size pipe bowls work best?
The outside diameter of the chimney is 19mm (~0.75”) and was selected after testing many different bowls on the market. It works best when your chosen bowl is perfectly round and is slightly larger, so that the Neo’s chimney will fit inside of it and seal against the sloping edge of the bowl. Most one-hitters are too small to make a good seal with the Neo’s chimney.
5. Will a metal pipe work?
In addition to the bowl size and shape, the pipe material may affect your experience. Wood, ceramic, and glass pipes all work very well. Metal pipes tend to conduct heat away from the bowl and the vapor pathway, which is good when you’re combusting, but not so good when you’re atomizing. A metal pipe will work, but it may take several pulls before the bowl reaches a good operating temperature.
6. Can I use the Neo with concentrates?
Yes. The easiest way to use kief or concentrates with the Neo is to add them to the top of your herb. Heat from the Neo will melt the concentrate and it will spread through the herb, increasing the exposed surface area and enabling efficient atomization. Stainless steel meshes or lava stone can also work, but they need to fit tightly to the sides of your bowl to ensure that air flows through the matrix, not around it.
7. How do I adjust the temperature?
Although there is a power setting button, temperature is primarily controlled with your breath. The temperature depends on both the power setting and the airflow (i.e. how fast you inhale). We use a series of cigar-like puffs to dial in the density of the vapor, followed by a longer pull once the Neo and the herbs in your bowl have had a chance to heat up. Because the vapor produced is much less harsh than smoke, expect to inhale more like a normal breath. Slower, yoga-like breaths will reward you with denser vapor, as the air will have more opportunity to heat while passing through the heating chamber. Relax, breathe deeply, and enjoy.
8. How often do I need to charge the Neo?
The battery life will depend on several factors: the capacity of the battery (mAh, milliamp-hours), the power setting, and the cooling off time between inhalations. Depending on your pattern of usage, you should be able to get over twenty five 30-second pulls from a single, 2500 mAh battery charge. The Neo is designed to be energy efficient and uses an advanced technical ceramic to retain the heat between draws, enabling your battery to work less.
9. What is the lifespan of the battery? Will it degrade over time?
Most modern 18650 batteries have a lifespan of 300 - 500 charge and discharge cycles. In optimal conditions, your cells may achieve more than 500 cycles. If you are totally concerned about cycle life and not capacity, then you might not even do a full charge. Instead, you might do a partial charge. A partial charge is when you charge your battery only up to say, 3.8V instead of 4.2V. You will see decreased capacity, but less stress on your cell and an increased cycle life. To further extend the lifetime of your battery, consider buying a "smart" external charger - the best of which have an LCD screen that tells you the real mAh capacity of your batteries so you can make sure they are getting the advertised amount of fill or identify when they are losing efficiency.
10. How do I take the battery in and out?
The good news: your battery isn't going to rattle with the Neo!
The bad news: taking the battery in and out is a little tricky to learn at first (but it's eventually becomes second-nature). The spring-loaded contacts are stiff, which results in a very tight-fitting battery, but there's a trick to doing this easily.
To open the battery bay, lift it up using the the fingernail notch near the base of the Neo. This will expose the inner battery and the ribbon, which is used to remove it. Simply pull up on the ribbon to eject the battery. To put the battery in, make sure the ribbon is in place below the battery, place the top edge of the battery against the top (positive) contact. Push up with the battery to depress the top contact spring, and gently move the bottom of the battery into position on the bottom contact. If you do this forcefully, you run the risk of warping the housing and/or damaging the spring, so be cool like Fonzie and you'll get the hang of it in no time!
11. Is the battery safe?
It is safe - if used and taken care of correctly. The type of battery the Neo uses is an 18650 lithium-ion, the same type that is arrayed together to power some Tesla automobile models. It is a very powerful and should never be put in your pocket or anywhere else where anything metal could complete a circuit and spark a fire. If the outer cover is ever damaged, you should stop using it immediately. They aren't expensive, so just replace it.
12. What kinds of batteries should I buy?
The Neo comes with a quality battery, but if you want an extra one or need to replace it down the road, be sure to buy batteries from reputable manufacturers and dealers. Panasonic, Sanyo, Samsung, Vapcell, and LG are the top level 18650 cell manufacturers, making long-lasting cells in a standard size (18 mm by 65 mm) that fit the Neo. The 18650 battery should have a continuous discharge current above 25A. There are many "knockoff" batteries that are less expensive, but these are prone to shorter lifespans and aren’t always uniform in size.
13. Where's the vapor?
Visible vapor is not guaranteed when using any vaporizer. It depends on many factors such as the material being vaped, airflow, outside temperature, humidity, and more. If you are used to vaping e-juices and expect the same amount of visible vapor, you should lower your expectations for vaporizing herbs. E-juice contains vegetable glycerin which is a thick liquid that produces the visible vapor...so yeah, there's that. If thickness of vapor is a priority for you, here are a few things you can do: grind your herbs finely, pack them tight, and raise the power level (however, you should know this will sacrifice flavor). We understand some customers prefer big clouds, but feel like using your eyes to determine the quality of your experience is a little like using smell to determine the quality of a concert. Instead, we encourage you to focus on the result you're trying to achieve. If your material looks brown after use, it means the Neo is working well. We developed the Neo in order to extract the active ingredients of your material with great efficiency and the best possible flavors, not just to produce the thickest vapor possible.
14. How long does the battery last?
The Neo is designed to be energy efficient and uses an advanced technical ceramic (ceramic zirconia) to retain the heat between draws. The battery life will depend on several factors: the capacity of the battery (mAh, milliamp-hours), the power setting, and the cooling-off time between inhalations. Depending on your pattern of usage, you should be able to get over twenty-five 30-second pulls from a single, 2500 mAh battery charge. The Neo's power module uses replaceable and rechargeable 18650 batteries. These are readily available, fairly inexpensive, and can be used with an external charger so you always have a spare.
15. Do I need to grind my herb?
Just like trying to make coffee with whole beans, using large herbs decreases the exposed surface area and will lead to disappointing results. When first starting out, we recommend that grind your herb in order to increase the surface area and to maximize extraction efficiency. Using a pick/tool to chop and stir your herb between pulls will also help break it up.
16. Do I need a screened bowl or glass daisy?
With single-hole pipes it helps to use a glass daisy or find a bowl with a perforated glass screen bottom. These solutions inhibit particles from getting into the vapor stream, and they broaden the airflow across the bowl which reduces channeling effects and improves extraction. Moreover, with a daisy, we've found that the oils begin to migrate downward in the bowl and begin to concentrate at the opening. The way the airflow also concentrates there, then heats up the daisy and thus it helps to vaporize those oils.
17. Do I leave my herb loose or tamp it down? Tamping your herb will reduce “channeling” and will improve extraction. It also increases the draw resistance and forces the air to find smaller pathways through your weed--increasing the surface area exposed to the hot air, and resulting in a more efficient extraction.
18. How long does the Neo take to heat up?
Initial heat up time time will vary depending on how cold the unit is and what power setting is selected. Usually, starting from room temperature, a 30 second pre-heat is sufficient. Let's face it though, waiting for your weed sucks!... So, double-clicking the power button will start an automatic 30-second heating cycle. This means that you can start the preheat, then go prep your bowl. By the time you're done getting the bowl ready, the preheat is over and you can get down to business. The zirconia ceramic retains heat well, so there is no need to preheat if there isn't a pause in the action.
19. What power levels do the diamonds represent?
There are six power settings that correspond to 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32 watts. On the display are five diamonds that are filled or unfilled to indicate which power level you are on. Level 0 (22W) has no diamonds filled. Level 5 (32W) has all five filled. Note: Once the Neo has warmed up, you should be able to get rich, dense clouds from lower power settings. Higher power settings may lead to a sharper “bite” in the vapor and might also result in combustion if combined with a slower inhalation.
20. How hot does the ceramic and quartz get?
The quartz chimney and ceramic chimney may get quite hot and will retain heat even after use. Please be mindful of how you use it and where you place it down. Generally, the zirconia body will become about as warm as a fresh cup of coffee. The airflow is designed to be drawn in between the quartz and the ceramic, which keeps the unit cooler while also preheating the air. Be careful not to overheat nor operate it without airflow.
21. How do I know when the herb is finished?
After several pulls, the herb will turn a dark brown color similar to a roasted coffee bean and it will no longer provide flavor. You will notice that the taste of your bowl changes during a session. There will be more citrus and floral tastes at the beginning (lighter terpenes) and it will progress to deeper, nuttier flavors later after the lighter compounds have evaporated. Every herb is slightly different, so every bowl is a unique experience. Frequent stirring and re-tamping your bowl will improve the efficiency and extend your enjoyment. Speaking of extending your enjoyment, did you know you can use the remains of the bowl for your cooking enjoyment?
22. Do I need to take precautions when traveling with the Neo?
We love that the Neo is portable and we'll take it with us on hiking, biking, and camping trips. However, we do encourage you to take precautions when traveling. Erring on the side of caution, we encourage you to put on the silicone adapter to protect the quartz chimney from getting cracked, remove the battery and put it in a protective plastic case, and place everything in a hard shell case. And if you're traveling by air, be sure to read up on the latest TSA rules. We know we don't have to say this to someone who has read this far down on the FAQ page, but if you're traveling internationally, be sure to familiarize yourself with the laws of both your layovers and final destination.
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