Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

Battery powered OAV - Recommendations

591 7
I am considering buying either a OxaVap - ProVap 18 or a Larob - Instant Vap 18. Does anyone have any experience or preferences with either? Are there any others worthy of consideration? Thanks.
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
288 Posts
I recently bought the instavap over the oxavap at the hive life conference earlier this month. At the show the oxavap was priced $50 cheaper than the instavap. I can't tell you a whole lot about the oxavap as when I went up to the booth to find out more I was completely ignored by both of the reps behind the table. Not even a hello or an acknowledgement that I was standing 5ft from either of them. I went ahead and held the unit and read what info I could gather at the table. The angling on the oxavap looks like it could be useful if you have your hives low to the ground. They claim the unit takes a minute or two to prime and then you can treat repeatedly until the battery runs out. There was a video playing and it showed the spring loaded applicator in use. Both units use a similar plunger to insert the OA crystals. Overall it seemed solid in terms of construction. I stood there maybe 5-10 minutes turning the thing over in my hands and reading and neither guy spoke a word to me so I left. Lorrobees sells the instavap which is imported from Europe. He does not make the units, he is just the authorized reseller in the US. The environment was totally different at their table. The first walk past the table, I stopped to grab an info card. One of the reps immediately asked if I had any questions about any of the models they had for sale. I asked a quick question and then continued on (this was day 1 of the show before I had even considered buying). After my experience at the oxavap table the next day I went back to the lorrobees both and this time talked to Rob. Despite having 4-5 customers at the table Rob personally showed me how the unit operates and answered my questions. Here's what I learned: the instavap gets very hot at the front and is metal construction so poly hives are a no no at this point. Apimayes can be done through the front with a heat resistant adapter they sell on their site for $12. The heater is rated for 6000 hours of use. The battery brands they support are DeWalt Milwaukee and Makita. No immediate plans to support any other battery brands. The unit takes about 3 min to prime after which you can vape roughly 30-40 hives on 1 5AH battery. I asked what makes their unit different from oxavap and Rob said theirs features a voltage cutoff when the battery gets too low. When the juice gets below the safe threshold for operating, the instavap will stop working altogether. According to Rob the oxavap does not have this shutoff in place which will continue to drain the battery after it drops below 15v which can and will damage your batteries, shortening their overall life. You can still check the battery for life on the oxavap (using the little battery meter on the battery itself) but if you forget or are not watching closely while using the unit you may go past the safe point and damage the battery. On the instavap the cutoff insures that cannot happen. The nozzles are replaceable on both units. After both experiences I was happy to pay the extra $50 and give Rob my business. In all honesty I'm confident either unit would hold up and work as advertised. The voltage cutoff and Rob's customer service is what decided for me. If the oxavap guys would have spoken with me my story might have ended differently. Is there a feature theirs has that puts it ahead of Rob's performance wise? If there is they didn't want me to know about it 😂 maybe just bad timing and they may have been burnt out speaking with people when I happened to walk up. Either way I am happy I went with Rob. Take from this what you will and good luck with your decision 👍
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
1,482 Posts
I bought a Dewalt powered vapor machine from Rob mostly due to Kamon's test video on it. I bought it just in time for the broodless period between Thanksgiving & Christmas. I already had a couple of pretty new batteries (20v 6aH), so away I went thinking one battery was all I needed. One battery got me through two practice shots & 11 hives of my 20. A bit disappointed, I finished with the other battery (blaming the batteries).

I fired off an order for two new 8.5aH bats hoping to increase the number of hives per battery to at least 20. The first week of January I smoked them again and got through 18 hives and the machine shut me down again at 15v.

I'm NOT blaming the vaporizer yet.....I'm wondering if the load size may be the difference as I was loading with max load, not 1, 2, or 3g. Both treatments were done at 40-45 deg. temps and the bees were on top of the frames indulging on sugar bricks and not in a tight cluster, so I doubt outside air temp made much difference.

I still like the machine.....it saves me time hooking up inverter & cords, cords & cords. ( I like it, ....I can handle slight doses of disappointment without a problem. YMMV) 😃
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I recently bought the instavap over the oxavap at the hive life conference earlier this month. At the show the oxavap was priced $50 cheaper than the instavap. I can't tell you a whole lot about the oxavap as when I went up to the booth to find out more I was completely ignored by both of the reps behind the table. Not even a hello or an acknowledgement that I was standing 5ft from either of them. I went ahead and held the unit and read what info I could gather at the table. The angling on the oxavap looks like it could be useful if you have your hives low to the ground. They claim the unit takes a minute or two to prime and then you can treat repeatedly until the battery runs out. There was a video playing and it showed the spring loaded applicator in use. Both units use a similar plunger to insert the OA crystals. Overall it seemed solid in terms of construction. I stood there maybe 5-10 minutes turning the thing over in my hands and reading and neither guy spoke a word to me so I left. Lorrobees sells the instavap which is imported from Europe. He does not make the units, he is just the authorized reseller in the US. The environment was totally different at their table. The first walk past the table, I stopped to grab an info card. One of the reps immediately asked if I had any questions about any of the models they had for sale. I asked a quick question and then continued on (this was day 1 of the show before I had even considered buying). After my experience at the oxavap table the next day I went back to the lorrobees both and this time talked to Rob. Despite having 4-5 customers at the table Rob personally showed me how the unit operates and answered my questions. Here's what I learned: the instavap gets very hot at the front and is metal construction so poly hives are a no no at this point. Apimayes can be done through the front with a heat resistant adapter they sell on their site for $12. The heater is rated for 6000 hours of use. The battery brands they support are DeWalt Milwaukee and Makita. No immediate plans to support any other battery brands. The unit takes about 3 min to prime after which you can vape roughly 30-40 hives on 1 5AH battery. I asked what makes their unit different from oxavap and Rob said theirs features a voltage cutoff when the battery gets too low. When the juice gets below the safe threshold for operating, the instavap will stop working altogether. According to Rob the oxavap does not have this shutoff in place which will continue to drain the battery after it drops below 15v which can and will damage
I bought a Dewalt powered vapor machine from Rob mostly due to Kamon's test video on it. I bought it just in time for the broodless period between Thanksgiving & Christmas. I already had a couple of pretty new batteries (20v 6aH), so away I went thinking one battery was all I needed. One battery got me through two practice shots & 11 hives of my 20. A bit disappointed, I finished with the other battery (blaming the batteries).

I fired off an order for two new 8.5aH bats hoping to increase the number of hives per battery to at least 20. The first week of January I smoked them again and got through 18 hives and the machine shut me down again at 15v.

I'm NOT blaming the vaporizer yet.....I'm wondering if the load size may be the difference as I was loading with max load, not 1, 2, or 3g. Both treatments were done at 40-45 deg. temps and the bees were on top of the frames indulging on sugar bricks and not in a tight cluster, so I doubt outside air temp made much difference.

I still like the machine.....it saves me time hooking up inverter & cords, cords & cords. ( I like it, ....I can handle slight doses of disappointment without a problem. YMMV) 😃
Thank you!
 

· Registered
10F Langstroths
Joined
·
46 Posts
I have owned and used both of the products you're looking at so I'll share my experience (I don't think there are any better options out there).

The ProVap 18 seems to have a lot of adopters out there and a good product. The things I liked about it is that I could get just about 20 hives with my 6 AH batteries. I also felt like I could get into my hive entrances a bit easier with the ProVap due to the angled design of it I could easily fit it into the entrance, even with my reducers on without too much trouble; though I did have to hold onto it for most hives. The tip is reinforced with stainless outside of the copper so it is VERY sturdy and I don't think you'd be able to accidentally damage it. However, that's where I also ran into problems. The protective barrel kept causing sublimation of OA between the two barrels and it would eventually get plugged up. I'd pressure building up in the top and the plunger would pop out if I didn't stop and clean out the barrel regularly. This often meant I had to cool the vaporizer down a bit; run some water through it, and let it heat back up. This ate into my time and reduced the number of hives I could hit per battery. In addition, adjusting doses with the Oxavap plunger is much more of a chore. I had to adjust the nuts multiple times and keep weighing out OA until I had the weights down. If I stuck with this for the long haul I would DEFINITELY want multiple plungers to give the appropriate dose to different hive sizes.

In the end, I contacting Oxavap customer service and they were extremely responsive and refunded my purchase. I haven't heard of others having this issue so maybe it was my problem specifically.

As for the InstaVap I was never really close to getting 20 colonies done with a single 6 AH battery. I think the best I managed was 14 in 50F weather. I have quite a few batteries and have to bring them all fully loaded to make sure I don't run out of juice, but it's not a deal breaker (It did cause me to purchase a new charger that can handle 4 batteries at a time). My InstaVap also came slightly...misassembled I guess we'll say. The OA cup was leaking out of the top of the device. I contacted Rob and he called me VERY quick and walked me through reseating it and I haven't had the issue. I am a tiny bit concerned that me running it through a yard before noticing the issue could have exposed the electrical components to a bunch of OA and it may bite me later; but we'll see. The other negative I experienced with the InstaVap is that it couldn't fit into every type of hive entrance as easily. Some of my bottom board/entrance reducer combos just made it so the nozzle was a bit too high and I had to hold it partially into the hive at awkward angles or pull out reducers for treatment. It isn't the end of the world, but it is annoying and not an issue with the ProVap. On the flip side, when the nozzle can slide straight into the colony and the vaporizer can just sit there hands free; it is pretty convenient. Since my primary issue with the ProVap was that it kept plugging up from OA building up on the tip of the nozzle I have kept a close eye on this unit and haven't had a single issue.

Edit: I forgot to add, the InstaVap plunger is MUCH easier to adjust with the little screw and the doses are marked on the plunger. This is a great feature if you want to adjust for different hive sizes/OA dosage levels. If every colony in your operation is the same size and needs the same does, this shouldn't be an issue though.

Overall, the both have their pros and cons but in the end I went with the InstaVap because of the issue with plugging. However, I haven't seen those complaints elsewhere so perhaps I just had a defective unit. Either way, from my own experience I received great customer service from both vendors and don't think that should be the discouraging factor in your purchase one way or the other.
 

· Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,122 Posts
If you decide to go with the stainless-steel plunger style dosing, AND you have lots and lots of hives to treat, I recommend AT LEAST 2 plunger units per vaporizer.
As has been noted, running a single plunger unit, results in overheating and clogging. if you use 3 or 4 plunger units per vaporizer and rotate them, allowing them to cool between their next use, this problem is avoided.
Also, the plunger units need to be partially disassembled and washed in warm water at the end of the day.
Make sure to wear appropriate PPE when cleaning.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top