How to Hit a Cart Without a Battery

Published Tue, February 08, 22

When your favorite Secret Nature vape cart won’t hit, it’s natural to stop at nothing until your ability to blow clouds is returned. We’d suggest stopping considerably shorter than other vapers have gone when they encountered similar issues, though.

While it’s technically possible to strip down an Android charger and hit your vape cartridge out of an electrical socket, does that really sound like the wisest option? In this guide, learn why vape cartridges need batteries, why these batteries might stop working, and what to do when they do. Along the way, we’ll take a look at some of the ingenious methods people have come up with to continue vaping without a battery in sight—for purely academic purposes, of course.

What is a vape cartridge?

A vape cartridge is a disposable container of cannabis or hemp concentrate combined with a coil, atomizer, and everything else needed to transform cannabinoid concentrate into vapor once a source of power is provided. Convenient and high-potency, vape cartridges containing strictly natural ingredients have gained favor over the last few years.

Do vape cartridges have batteries?

Yes, vape cartridges need to connect to batteries to produce vapor. The vape cartridge uses the electricity in the battery to power its coil, gently evaporating cannabis concentrate into a vaporized state.

The mechanism depends on the design of the cartridge, but most vape cartridges are designed to admit 510-threaded cartridges, the universal standard within the industry. Vape batteries only contain a certain amount of charge before they must be plugged in. Some batteries used for vape cartridges have higher battery capacities than others.

What do you do if you lose your vape battery?

If your vape battery fails or you lose it, a replacement can usually be found without much difficulty. Practically every town in the United States has a vape shop, and 510-threaded vape batteries generally cost around $5 - $50.

Vape batteries are also widely available online, and expedited shipping options are often available. With vape batteries so affordable and plentiful, there’s truly no reason to resort to more drastic approaches.

Can you hit a cartridge with an Android charger?

Yes, you can technically use an Android charging cable to hit a vape cartridge without a battery. The method is quite simple, and many people online have already tried it. Whenever you’re handling electricity, however, there’s room for danger. Plus, there has been no widespread confirmation that the Android charger method for hitting a vape cartridge is safe.

For these reasons, we strongly suggest that you do not try the Android charger method when you’re stuck with a vape charger and no battery. Whether it’s a short drive to a store or a few day’s wait for an online package to arrive, you have plenty of time to avoid shoving live wires up your poor vape cartridge.

How to hit a cart with a black wire: 5 steps

If you want to learn more about how to use an Android charger to hit a vape cartridge, we’ll put together the list of steps below. Again, we do not recommend trying this at home.

1. Cut off the charging port of an Android charger

Use scissors to cut off the charging port (the part that goes into the phone), not the USB port (the part that plugs into an AC USB dongle) of the Android charger toward the base. Make sure to leave room to reach from a laptop, desktop, or wall USB port.

2. Remove the green and white wires

For this project, you only need the red and black wires in your Android charger. Cut off the other two, which should be white and green.

3. Strip the ends of the black and red wires

Use a wire stripper to strip the ends of the black and red wires. If you don’t have a wire stripper, nail clippers also work—just don’t melt the ends of your wires with a lighter.

4. Insert the black wire into your cartridge

Locate the small circular hole at the center of the bottom of your vape cartridge. Insert the stripped end of the black wire snugly into this hole.

5. Touch the red wire to the outside of the cart

Lightly touch the red wire to the exterior metal surface of the vape cartridge. At this point, you can plug your Android charger into a powered USB slot. You should hear an immediate hissing sound and notice vapor emerging from your cart. Inhale carefully since this hit is probably a lot harsher than what you’re used to.

Why does hitting a vape cart with an Android charger work?

In Android mobile device chargers, the red and wires serve as the negative and positive leads respectively. The white and green wires serve unrelated purposes. With a vape battery, a positive lead is provided by the connection between the battery and the cartridge, and the battery serves as a ground.

By using a live Android charger, the positive lead from the battery is replaced with the new positive lead you’ve stripped in the charger. Tapping the red (negative) wire to the outside of the cartridge or battery grounds it, completing a circuit and providing electricity to the vape cartridge’s coil.

Can you hit a dab pen with an iPhone charger?

Yes, you can also use an iPhone charger to hit a vape pen. Both OEM Apple iPhone chargers and third-party charging cables work, but keep in mind that the cable scheme for Apple cords is significantly more complicated than in their Android equivalents. That’s why the majority of desperate (or just curious) vapers usually choose to try this vape battery alternative using Android chargers instead.

Can you hit a vape cartridge with a lighter?

Some cannabis users on the internet have reported successfully hitting vape cartridges using lighters, but this is one method we certainly don’t want to recommend. Whether or not it’s possible to light the vapor in a cartridge by placing a flame at its bottom hole, doing so could burn you or fill the resulting smoke with heavy metals and other dangerous contaminants. We can somewhat understand being desperate enough to use the modern power of electricity, but applying flame to a vape cart would be positively Stone-age. 

Can you dab a broken cart?

If by “broken cart” you’re referring to a vape cartridge with a broken glass wall, then the answer is absolutely “no” if you don’t want to inhale any of the hemp or cannabis concentrate it still contains into your lungs. The vapor you inhale would be accompanied by micro-shards of glass that could seriously damage your respiratory system. Always just do the right thing if you break a cart and throw it away.

3 reasons you should just buy a new battery

The cat’s out of the bag. If you wanted to, you could grab an Android charging cable and some wire strippers right this moment and get to work. Other than as a cool electrical experiment, though, there isn’t much merit to jury-rigging a vape cartridge to dab from a USB port.

It’s not as if vape batteries are some fabled, mystical item. Plus, nobody ever made a rule that you could only keep one vape battery in your house or car at a time. Most importantly, now that you’ve seen the alternative, you know firsthand just how important it is to only hit vape cartridges the way they were intended: with a rechargeable battery. Let’s explore each of these points in more detail.

Vape batteries are cheap

If you want to feel fancy, you can buy a $100 510-threaded vape battery. It will probably fail just as fast, however, as that $10 throwaway battery you bought at the same time. If you’re spending money on cannabis or hemp vape cartridges but you’re afraid to throw away a few bucks on a new battery, you have some priorities to reassess.

You can keep multiples on hand

Here’s a crazy idea: Instead of just buying one new vape battery whenever your current one breaks, why not invest in a few so you’re ready when disaster strikes? If you’re a frequent vaper, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to buy as many as 10 disposable vape batteries at a time. 

You might not use them for years, but at least you’ll never worry about not having a vape battery when you need it ever again. Plus, such an expenditure could set you back less than $100 if you play your cards right.

Hitting carts any other way is dangerous

In the end, there is only one real way to hit a vape cart: Connected it to a charged battery. Other methods might provide quick results, but you’re sacrificing your safety and security. Instead of desperately searching through the internet for alternatives now that your vape battery has broken, just pick up another battery—or several.

Hitting a cart with a wire FAQ

If you’re going to hit a cart using a wire, you should go into the endeavor with the maximum amount of knowledge possible. Check out this FAQ section for more information on hitting a cart without a battery:

1. Is it worth learning how to hit a cart with a water bottle?

It’s technically possible to hit a vape cart using a water bottle or similar drink bottle. The concept is similar to an ordinary water bottle bong, but instead of creating a bowl for cannabis flower, you insert a straw that attaches loosely to the cart.

Hitting a cart with a water bottle technically counts as smoking, though, since you simply apply a lighter to the end of the cart and inhale through the mouth of the drink bottle. Applying a lighter to a vape cart is always more dangerous than simply activating the coil using a USB cord, especially since the mouthpieces of vape carts are usually made of plastic.

2. What do I do if the cart wire trick is not working?

If the coil inside your vape cart is defective or there is another fatal flaw in the vape cart’s design, it won’t work even when applying a live wire directly to the coil. In most cases, however, you simply aren’t doing the cart wire trick right.

Remember that you only need the positive and negative leads within the wire, which are usually labeled black and white. The positive (black) wire fits snugly and conveniently inside the small hole in the bottom of your cartridge, and the red wire rests lightly on the outside metal threading.

Make sure any extraneous wires are out of the way and that both the positive and negative leads are receiving power. An easy way to test this is to simply touch the red and black wires together. If there is a spark, the circuit is live, if it is not, there is a problem.

In many cases, the thin plastic coating on the red and black wires has worn through further down the cord due to repeated use, creating a circuit lower on the cord instead of at the intended endpoint. Your first step when troubleshooting should be cutting the top two or three inches off your cord and re-stripping the red and black wires to create a new connection point.

3. Can I learn how to smoke a cart without a pen?

Yes, learning to smoke a cart without a pen is easier than it seems. All it takes is the type of charger that’s already lying around your house or easy to buy at the gas station around the corner. Methods aside from using a USB cord to hit a vape cartridge, though, aren’t usually worth the effort.

4. How can you tell if electricity is running through a USB cord?

If you want to make sure your USB cord is “live,” simply touch the black (positive) and red (negative) wires together. If you notice a spark, electricity is running through the cord. If not, power is either not running through the wires or there is an unintended connection point lower along the wiring.

5. Why is my cart not hitting on my battery?

There are a few reasons a vape cart might not be producing vapor even though it’s connected to a battery. First on your list of problems to check for, of course, is if the battery you’re using is charged.

Next, look for any residue that might have accumulated on the contact points between your cart and the battery. These contact points are flat and metallic and connect when you screw the cart onto the battery.

It’s also possible either the battery or the coil inside the cartridge is defective. If the coil is defective, you will only be able to hit the cart with a lighter. If the battery is at fault, though, simply replace it, or hit your cart with a cord instead of a battery.

6. Can I vape a cart using a laptop?

Yes, it is possible to plug a cord into the USB slot of a laptop and use it to hit a battery. You’ll need to make sure that the laptop itself is charged enough to power its USB slots, though. Similarly, you can use USB battery packs and comparable devices to hit carts with stripped cords as well.

7. Can I vape a cart using a car USB charger?

Yes, you can plug a stripped USB cord into a car charger as a way of supplying power to the coil in a vape cart. You can either plug the cord directly into a USB slot or into the type of adapter that connects to your car’s cigarette lighter. Just don’t try to put the cart directly into the lighter.

8. Can I shock myself by hitting a cart with a USB cord?

Yes, it is possible to shock yourself when using a USB cord to hit a vape cartridge. The current going through a USB adapter is usually quite weak, however, so the most you'll feel is a slight jolt. Still, you should carefully avoid getting shocked by always keeping the red and black wires in your USB cord separated until the time comes to touch both to your vape cartridge.

9. What happens if you put water in a vape cartridge?

Putting water inside a vape cartridge usually won’t ruin it as long as the water is removed quickly. One way to remove the water is to place the vape cartridge upside-down on top of a towel.

You can also apply a hair dryer to the outside of the cartridge at low heat until the moisture has evaporated. It won’t taste good, but you can, of course, also vaporize the water away by simply hitting the cart or otherwise connecting the coil to an electric current.

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