How To Troubleshoot Your Vape Cartridge

vape, vaporizer cartridge repair, maintenance and troubleshooting

At Mary Jane’s we’re natural problem solvers, it’s true, but you don’t always need our expertise to solve the most common cartridge problems.

We have found that more than 95% of returns, once tested (by us doing these simple troubleshooting tips), have worked just fine. Taking a few extra minutes to troubleshoot a cartridge saves you the time it takes to exchange the product. Here’s some tips to save you a trip if your vape cartridge malfunctions.

The #1 Cause for Malfunction: Cartridge is not connected to the battery.

This is caused when the battery contact on the cartridge has been pushed too far up into the base of the cartridge causing a loss of battery connection. We recommend that you only screw in the cartridge to the battery just until all threads meet; screwing it too tight can often times push the heating element in too far.  When the heating element gets pushed in too far it can prevent the element from connecting with the battery, thus not “pulling”. If you can make sure that the element is pulled out so it is flush with the bottom of the cartridge and then try it on a charged battery to see if it “pulls” properly – 9 times out of 10 this does the trick!

This is a delicate, yet fast and simple fix. The tip of a pocket knife, or the tip of a box cutter work well, even your fingernail if long enough. As always, use caution please don’t cut yourself! The top left picture above is where this element is pushed in too far in on the cartridge. The top right picture is where to insert the tool (paper clip, finger nail, razor blade etc.) to gently pull out the heating element. The bottom left picture is how to pull up the heating element and the bottom right is how it should look once pulled out. You want to make sure the element is flush with the bottom of the cartridge.

The #2 Reason – Weather!

When the warm weather is here, it is important to never leave the cartridge and battery exposed to hot temperatures, i.e. in the car, out at the beach, etc. This is a guaranteed way to cause the cartridge to simply not work properly. Almost like if you left your phone in the hot sun for 8 hours it would fry the phone. Make it a point to never leave your cartridge in the car. This helps more than you know!

When it’s cold outside, the same things apply. Don’t leave your cartridge in the cold car, outside on a deck or smoking area, etc. If the cartridge gets cold, the oil will thicken and cause it not to pull. If this happens, we advise you (after trouble shooting the battery and cartridge) to put the cartridge in a small ziplock bag in a warm cup of water to warm the oil. Then try it on your battery again.

Reason #3 – “My cartridge is not pulling”

If it seems the cartridge is not “pulling”, first check if your battery is fully charged. The batteries that we sell have a “baby” charge, and it is always recommended to fully charge the battery before using. Next, make sure that the battery you are using has a 180 MAH or less setting. If you are using a battery that is for an e-cig, for example, make sure it is at the lowest watt/volts possible.

When a cartridge is used on a battery that is too strong, it can potentially blow the element in the cartridge, causing it to not pull, or it simply will not connect the element and battery and not pull. Consider what kind of battery you will be using when you make your cartridge purchase and let our budtender know.

We hope this helps you troubleshoot any cartridge problems you may have, but if it doesn’t, don’t hesitate to come on in with your cartridge and battery and ask one of our professional budtenders to help you.

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38 thoughts on “How To Troubleshoot Your Vape Cartridge

  1. I wanted to thank you for this very good read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it. I have got you book marked to look at new things you post…

  2. My vape pen flashes when i plug the cartrige in. The battery works fine until i screw it in. Iv try’d everything that i can find. What do i do

    1. If it only happens with that cartridge… then it’s a bad cartridge. If it happens with All cartridges then it’s your pen.

    2. Same here even tried the suggestions but found I had to back it off to the right spot while clicking the button until voila! Sweet magic clouds. Not ideal how it has to sit loose but hey it works now. Never buying dyna puffs again tho..hope this helps.

      1. Good to know! Thank you. dyna puffs isn’t something we carry but we’ll be sure to steer clear in the future. Glad you were able to find a solution.

    3. I’m having the same problem with some cartridges too! How can I fix this? This cartidge I have blinks with every pen I have when connected. In some cases shorts my pen, and I have to re-plug into the charger to reset.

      2 different vape pens, same thing happens, blinks once the cartridge connected, and when I press it it blinks. When I disconnect, light comes on.

      1. Anthony, it sounds like that cartridge might have a faulty connection point. Have you tried a different cartridge by a different manufacturer? A lot of cartridges are being produced with shoddy parts to save money. It might be worth spending a bit more to get a better quality cartridge to try that out. Not likely that it’s your batteries. If you live close to the House of Grass dispensary in Vancouver, please bring in your pieces and we can help.

    4. I have exactly the same! Two different batteries, fully charged, once the cartridge goes on ->> lights go off and don’t turn back on. Put battery back in charger for a sec and…. we’re back to square one.
      I’ve just found out 5 mins ago that I have one cartridge (with a black mouthpiece) that works! The ones with the silver tip. Is it my cartridges?

      1. It could definitely be your cartridge. Every manufacturer is different and some have higher failure rates than others. We try very hard to only carry cartridges with extremely low failure rates. If you’re near the House of Grass dispensary, or any other Mary Jane’s, you can bring your rig in for us to look at and help troubleshoot. We’ve seen it all and can probably help with a hands-on look at it.

    5. That’s most likely because the pen battery doesn’t support that type of cartridge, I had the same problem and found that alpine cartridges works best if you have a battery that’s higher

  3. I pulled the element out and messed it up cause it’s not connected to the wires inside. Any idea how to fix, ive been trying to put wires to touch element but no go… pls help!:)

  4. If I suck really really hard on a particular culprit cartridge I can get a little bit, but it has gotten progressively harder and harder. Like the cartridge is clogged. Other cartridges work fine and this one once did too. I’m thinking the warm water bath might help?

    1. I find just a couple quick things help if you aren’t getting any kind of draw at all – does it feel like you are sucking on a bent straw? If that is what is happening, you may have let the cartridge and pen lie flat or at a sharp enough downward angle where the oil drifts up and into the little holes? You have to make sure you keep the cartridge upright, with the mouthpiece pointed up. If it is super cold, I put the cartridge in my pants pocket so my body heat keeps it warm. As the blog says, be sure to not let any foreign matter (dust/dirt/fuzz/etc.) come in contact with the open cartridge – if you have to disconnect the cartridge from a pen/battery after you have used it for awhile, keep the little plastic cap that is part of the original packing materials and reuse it to cap your open cartridge to protect from debris. Hope one of my suggestions might help!

  5. This article is very helpful. It is true that a dirty or incomplete connection can spoil your fun. Check out the contacts and you are sure to find and be able to fix the problem.

  6. My battery turns on but with or without a cartridge it blinks pink and I tried pulling it out enough for it to 100% make contact with the medal pieces in both but it still won’t worked and I tried switching cartridges but it doesn’t hit or even click the button without it blinking pink and it doesn’t hit, please help me because can’t afford for new one and I payed a lot already for cartridges, btw it is a absolute xtract battery pen. Please anyone HELP

  7. I have a buck naked express vape pen and the battery is charged but it won’t hit or produce any vape and when I hit the button it doesn’t make the sound I know it’s not the battery because I tryed my boyfriends top piece on my battery and it worked fine

  8. My cartridge seems to get clogged and when it clears the oil comes out of the top as well. Is there a fix for this? It’s been really cold so Idk if that messed up the cartridge.

    1. Heat and cold fluctuations can definitely effect a cartridge and the oil inside. Also, the angle they are stored at, when still attached to the battery, can effect the flow. Try putting the cartridge (with the cap on the oil end, if you still have it) upright in your pocket for a bit to see if that warms the oil and gets it working right again. Good luck!

  9. I’m still having trouble with my pen.. I left it on the charger over night because I thought it was just low on battery but when I plug my new cartridge in it only lets me get 1 or 2 hits from it before it just shuts completely off but if I plug in an old empty cartridge it works just fine on all settings. Old is plastic while new is metal but bother have rx-green on them.

    1. It may be that you left it on the charger too long. These pen batteries need a bit of babysitting and don’t like to be left on the charger too long, it can burn them out. I would suggest trying a different battery if you have one. Not sure why it would behave differently with a different cartridge. If you’re close the House of Grass dispensary in Vancouver, WA, I would suggest bringing all of them into the store and see if we can trouble shoot it for you.

  10. I can’t tell you the frustration I have gone through to try to figure out, on my own, why a new cartridge seems to work just fine with my trusty fully-charged battery/pen until the charge on the pen runs low and I unscrew the cartridge to plug into my stand-by battery/pen (which of course is just freshly fully charged) and have said cartridge just fail. Just. Fail. And while I love my local dispensary and have been a faithful customer since I found how effective cannabis oil is in helping my chronic insomnia, while all of the salesfolk seem to be really really good friendly helpful salespeople, they seem to be a little short on being KNOWLEDGEABLE salespeople (which, IMO, would make them even more helpful salespeople). I was just about to resign yet another Green Dragon cartridge to the rubbish bin when I thought WTH, I’ll Google and see if I’m doing something wrong – and guess what? I was doing something wrong!! It was that darned “the harder you push something the better the connection” which obviously is completely incorrect here and is actually false in most life situations, don’t you think? So why do we keep trying to make something happen by shoving/pushing/twisting it?! IDK. Long rant short, THANK YOU FOR THIS BLOG! You just saved one cartridge from an untimely and early demise, and one insomniac from going into the office tomorrow on minus 7 hours of sleep! I am going to recommend cartridge classes at my local dispensary, and I’m DEFINITELY going to recommend this blog and website to everyone! Thank you, really.

  11. The mah rating of the battery doesn’t have anything to do with how “hard” it hits. It’s the amp rating of the battery that matters. Output voltage and discharge rate are two completely different things. FYI

  12. I bought a new pen and instead of getting a new cartridge I bought hash oil and tried to refill the empty cartridge with an eye dropper. Now when I suck the light blinks immediately and and there’s a gurgling sound and I can actually taste the oil. Can this be fixed?

    1. Without seeing the battery and cartridge, it’s hard to say if it would be fixable. However, the oil can definitely be retrieved. We have a repair kit for just such an occurrence. If you’re not close to our shop, I would recommend finding a syringe and carefully extracting the oil with the syringe, and transferring it to a working cartridge.

  13. My Vap pen is flashing red when I push the button. It was working fine yesterday and now it’s not. It is fully charged to so I am stumped. Please help!!

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