Bitten, by the Mad Dog of China
The Mad Dog mech mod kit is the first fully integrated kit from Chinese manufacturer Desire. Last year they released the Mad Dog RDA. This kit borrows from that feature set and adds a whopping 7 mL juice capacity below the deck. The kit stands out, with a striking metallic finish played off against gold-coated detailing. The mod has a hybrid-only connection that connects directly to the RDTA. It also comes with an auxiliary 510 base for use with other mods. Currently the Mad Dog kit is on pre-sale over at Heavengifts for $85.
Let’s take a closer look and see what this kit has to offer, shall we?
Desire Mad Dog Kit Gallery
Desire Mad Dog Kit Specs and Features
- Mad Dog mechanical mod
- Mad Dog RDTA
- 2 x extra glass tubes
- 1 x atomizer base (non-adjustable 510 pin)
- Extras: 4 x extra grub screws | 4 x extra cross screws | hex key | o-rings
- User manual
- Available in three colors: red | black | purple
- Mad Dog Mech Mod:
- Dimensions: 89 mm x 25 mm (tube mod only)
- Battery: Single 18650 (not included)
- Material: 304 Stainless Steel | Gold-plating | “Aeronautical material”
- Spring-loaded magnetic firing button with screw-lock
- Hybrid top cap only
- Mad Dog RTDA:
- Dimensions (non-adjustable 510 base): 24 mm x 47 mm (without drip tip) 53.2 mm (inc. drip tip)
- Dimensions (hybrid connection): 24 mm x 36.5 mm (without drip tip) 42.3 mm (inc. drip tip)
- Capacity: 7 mL (stated) 5 mL (realistic)
- ULTEM drip tip (10 mm inner diameter | 16 mm outer diameter)
- Gold-plated 304 stainless steel build deck
- Central split-post deck design
- Bottom-fed airflow
- Airflow holes: 2.4 mm x 8.3 mm
Machining / Fit and Finish
The Mad Dog Mech Kit makes a dazzling first impression. The bulk of the kit is finished in a color-coated “aeronautical material” (looks a lot like anodized aluminum). The sample we received came in a metallic cherry red that plays off beautifully against the gold-coated detailing. The base of the mech mod and firing button are gold coated, as are the deck and base of the RDTA. The Desire brand name is engraved fairly deeply into the tube mod, and Mad Dog is engraved in a swooshy, cursive style on both the tube and the top cap of the RDTA itself.
The finishing on all the parts is excellent. The firing button screws in to lock, and can be rotated out counter-clockwise to fire the battery. It’s a fairly short throw, and nice and clicky to boot.
The Mad Dog RDTA features a gold-plated build deck, 20.4 mm in diameter. The deck sits atop a chunky 24 mm wide juice reservoir, with a 7 mL capacity. The central build posts are split down the middle, with gold-plated hex grub screws (you can change them out for the chunkier cross screws included in the kit) to fasten your coil leads down.
Straight out of the box, the deck comes with the single-coil adapter already installed. The adapter is made out of ULTEM and should effectively block off airflow from one side.
It’s a nice feature that Desire offers your choice of hex and cross screws for deck builds. The kit comes with the obligatory hex wrench, and I’ve not noticed any stripped threading on the hex grub screws yet. Note that the cross screws are for ease of build and aesthetics only, as the screw itself has the same 3 mm thickness as the hex ones.
Ease of Build
The Mad Dog RDTA is easy to get started with. Coils can be positioned and held in place with a screwdriver in one hand, while your other hand tightens the screws. Although you could get away with fastening a dual coil build in place in just the two centermost holes, I prefer to space my coils over all four. But to get that right, you might have to nudge and repositioning the coils so that they’re perfectly centered.
To wick the Mad Dog RDTA, you’ll need to leave your cotton fairly long to ensure the tails hit the top of the juice reservoir. The four wicking holes have a diameter of 3 mm.
I decided to wick with a lot less cotton, and roll 300 grade stainless steel mesh into 25 mm long tubes that run from the wicking holes down to the base of the juice reservoir instead. That way, you use significantly less cotton (just enough to wick the coil and cover the top of the holes) and the mesh lasts a lot longer before you have to change it. The most important thing to note here is to make sure no part of the mesh comes into contact with the coil itself. The idea is that the mesh receives no current whatsoever, and simply draws the e-liquid up into the cotton.
For a 24 mm RDTA, you lose a good 4 mm of space on the build deck. I just used a simple dual Clapton build. If you’re going for chunkier coils, you’ll have precious little room to play with.
The Mad Dog RDTA boasts an impressive 7 mL juice well. To test that statement out, I filled a syringe with 7 mL of e-liquid and filled the reservoir up. The glass tank reservoir holds 3 mL of e-liquid when full. That’s followed by the metal enclosure which leads up to the RDTA deck. This holds an additional 2 mL at a stretch, but overfill and e-liquid will seep out of the juice inlet. Even accounting for the amount of extra e-liquid your cotton will hold, this is not a 7 mL capacity RDTA. 5 mL, maybe.
I tested the capacity with the extra atomizer base, which extends things a bit. Attached directly to the mech mod via the hybrid connection, your capacity will be even less. I now have 2 mL of juice that I have to drip via a syringe. Unconventional!
Top Cap and Airflow
Airflow on the Mad Dog RDTA is bottom-fed, kind of. The top cap features two squared-off inlets, which allow air to hit the beveled inlets that are cut out of the deck lip. As air hits them, it is redirected directly to the coils above. I was skeptical about this at first, but the airflow is very smooth, no turbulence whatsoever, even when partially closed off. Wide open, it would suit cloudchasing builds.
This system gets rid of the need for an airflow control ring, but necessitates the unusual plug to make the RDTA single-coil compatible. The top cap is fitted with a rubber ring beneath the inlets, which makes for a snug fit that is easily adjustable.
All in all, it’s a good system, but you have to be careful to keep your wicks tidy, otherwise the top cap catches them when it’s being reattached. I’ve also noticed a little red residue on my cotton, probably from the rubber ring in the top cap.
The drip tip looks to be either PEI or ULTEM and has a standard 810 (Goon style) profile. Desire branding on the lip is a nice touch too. It can be easily changed out for any other 810 drip tip.
This kit had me stumped when I first opened it. The glass reservoir was attached directly to the top of the mod, making the top of the mod the base of the RDTA effectively. That’s a hybrid connection, by the way, effectively limiting your use of the mod to atomizers with a decently protruding 510 pin.
Assuming you’re going to use the RDTA directly on the mod, the only safety measure you have between e-liquid and your battery is a single o-ring above the 510 pin.
The extra atomizer base allows you to use the RDTA on other mods. But here, the 510 pin is non-adjustable, and therefore not hybrid-safe.
There are no venting holes to speak of on the sides of the mod itself. The firing button has four small holes drilled into it, but if your battery was to vent these would be of little use since they are blocked by the opposing magnets in the switch. The holes are about 19 mm away from the base of the battery, so they’re pretty much ornamental details.
The tube cannot be detached from the top cap. The switch can be broken down into five pieces but there’s no way to unload the spring-loaded Delrin ring that holds the battery in place and prevents rattle. The tube has no insulating sleeve (in case your battery wrap has a tear in it), although the inside of the top cap looks to be covered in an insulating material, probably Delrin.
On their website, Desire describes the Mad Dog Mech Kit as “suitable for beginners and all Mad Dog enthusiasts”. Judge for yourself, if this sounds like a safe setup like beginners…
Despite the lack of any safety features, I liked the firing button on the mod. It’s a short, fairly light throw, rotates anti-clockwise to fire and clockwise to lock again.
I say “liked” because, while taking it apart the smaller of the two magnets cracked into three pieces when it made contact with the larger one, rendering the mod useless (at least til I find a magnet with the same specs).
OK, I lie. You can still use the mod (just), but would you risk it? Safety features and build quality should be a no- brainer when it comes to mech mods, especially hybrid mech mods.
Aesthetics and ergonomics
The Mad Dog RDTA Mech Kit blew me away, aesthetically speaking. Every visual detail, from the red anodized finish, gold detailing, to the engraving and profile of the kit impressed me. What I particularly like is the curved grip on the body of the device. It’s a perfect fit for the thumb and forefinger, allowing you to easily fire the mod with your fingertip.
Mad Dog RDTA: my favorite feature of the RDTA is the airflow. It’s smooth and there’s masses of it. The RDTA wicks well, although the flavor could be better. The top cap stays cool and I like the low-profile 810 drip tip. Refilling is easy, and works best with a unicorn bottle. My only gripes would be the false labelling re: capacity and the tendency for the top cap to catch on the wicking at times.
Mad Dog mech mod: The short, clicky throw doesn’t need much more than a tap to fire. Depending on your build, this can be a cool vape. I’m happy with its performance around the 0.2 ohm mark. Of course, you have to choose carefully which atomizer you pair it with, since the setup is hybrid-only.
- Killer aesthetics and optics
- Great airflow
- Nice short throw on the fire button
- Build quality of the RDTA
- Easy deck to build on
- No vent holes on the mod – really?
- RDTA base is integrated into the mod’s top cap
- No insulation = no protection
- Poor-quality magnets
- Not a beginner’s kit yet advertised as such
The Mad Dog Kit is so easy on the eye that its flaws are just frustrating, really. Some classy aesthetics are let down by the lack of thought that went into integrating responsible safety features. As such, it’s hard for me to recommend this mech kit, unless you really know what you’re getting yourself in for. It’s not clear from Desire’s own product photos how to safely use it: some photos show the kit assembled with the extra 510 base (vapor photoshopped in), some without it. The bottom line: the 510 pin on the auxiliary base is not adjustable, so use very much at your own risk.
So: recommended – but only if you’re looking for a hybrid mech mod with precious little in the way of safety features. If you’re a fan of the Mad Dog RDA, you may appreciate the extra capacity, but no way is it 7 mL.
If you’re new to mech mods and are looking for an easy entry point, I’d recommend looking elsewhere.
What do you think of the Mad Dog mech kit? Beauty or beast? Let us know in the comments.