The Hercules Oil Cartridge is our highest end cartridge and while the concept hasn't changed over the years, we have updated it with improvements many times since its introduction in 2012. The Hercules Oil Cartridge is the latest version and this article aims to outline each prior generation of Hercules and list the changes and improvements made with each generation.
It's gone like this:
Hercules - First ceramic rod heated herbal and oil vaporizer.
Hercules 3.7/7.4 Tanks introduced so loads could be changed out, but the rod was still permanently affixed to the base.
The Hercules SR-71 Introduced user serviceable ceramic rod and adjustable bottom insulator. Out with the tanks and in with the stainless steel mesh wick, 1.5 ohm rod for 7.4V only. Tons of power with this rod, upwards of 45 watts at 8.4V.
The center post of the SR-71 is a press fit design and makes electrical contact on the side of the rod, with the contact strips on the heating rod. The press fit design causes a few components of the bottom assembly to come apart when you disassemble it, as the heating rod and center post tend to stay together when you pull it apart. The firm fit can transfer a lot of power very solidly and delivered up to a theoretical 47 watts on our Persei vaporizer.
The SR-71 is harder to learn to operate due to the press fit post, and its less moving parts increases reliability once proper adjustment has been learned. It tends to function better when bathed in oil; neglected; etc. There is no spring loaded pin to get gummed up with oil, though all components must be cleaned thoroughly before a reassembly. The bottom insulator of the SR-71 was a mechanical flathead screw adjustable design.
Here's a photo of the different style center posts;
The current style gold plated, spring loaded post is visible on the left and center. The press-fit SR-71 center post on the right is the main reason that the -71 is more difficult to service and maintain but handles higher power more reliably, these parts stay together during disassembly causing the Threaded Insulator to require a cleaning and rebuild.
The Hercules SR-74 Introduced this spring loaded center post as well as a spring loaded bottom insulator, threaded top cap, and Grade 2 titanium wicks. The SR-74 is easier to service than the SR-71, as it uses a spring-loaded center pin that makes contact with the bottom of the heating rod, as opposed to the side. The rod stays with the upper heater core and the center post always stays with the threaded assembly when you separate the chambers, making the -74 easier to scoop reclaim out of if you haven't dialed in your cooldown technique. There's tricky rod placement due to the spring loaded center post and greatly reduced power with a 2.3Ω rod for 7.4V use only, and a double spring-loaded bottom insulator that requires occasional replacement as the springs inside wear out.
We updated the Hercules SR-74x with new heater core sizes to accommodate easy rod placement, the same as the SR-71 where you can easily line up seams and go! We reverted to the-71 mechanical bottom insulator and non-threaded top cap, which proved to be much easier to remove when oily. We made a small adjustment to the resistance of the ceramic rod to 2.1Ω, this rod bumps wattage up a little bit, hotter than -74 but no where near -71. Again, it's intended for use at 7.4V only.
Any SR- series unit can use either style heating coil, stainless steel or titanium, though the Ti coil is superior to the stainless steel coils that required trimming, both in ease of use and in flavor. The Ti coils simply require a slight squish to create an interference fit, and they'll last a long time.
In addition to new post styles, the chamber lengths were changed to optimize rod placement. The SR-74x (and newest Hercules Oil Cartridge) rod protrusion depth is optimized for one Ti coil, and really shines in this configuration; while past models like the SR-71 and -74 worked well with more coil length (the rod protruded further into the chamber).
Hercules wattage heating chart with values for SR-71 and SR-74
--All Hercules to this point have been 601 threaded for use on UP Tech vaporizers only.--
The Hercules Oil Cartridge is our newest model, and our first Hercules designed with a native 510 threading on the inner Stainless Steel heating cores, and on the bottom insulator to thread into 510 devices. This Hercules comes equipped with a new 0.8Ω rod and is designed to run at 20-35 watts (in the 4-5V range- 7.4V is a thing of the past now!) The stainless steel chambers of this Hercules are machined from 316L stainless steel. 316L is alloyed with molybdenum for superior corrosion resistance. It holds up better to chemicals and acids at high temperatures (far beyond any that the Herc reaches during operation) and comes with complete instructions to explain its disassembly, maintenance, assembly, operation, and troubleshooting. This is the newest Hercules we make and it's my strong suggestion for all customers going forwards, unless you happen to own an older V1-V5 Persei or an 8 Vaporizer.
If you have any questions about the history of the Hercules or which model is best for you, please contact our support team for assistance!