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How to Hit a Cart Without a Battery: 7 Ingenious Ways

Ethan Parker

Written by: Ethan Parker

Updated on March 5, 2024

How to Hit a Cart Without a Battery 7 Ingenious Ways

We’ve all been there. You reach for your vape pen, only to realize with a sinking feeling that the vape battery is dead. Or maybe you’re hit by an urge to vape when out and about, but your trusty rechargeable battery is sitting at home. That’s when the big question of how to hit a vape cart without a battery pops into your mind.

Thankfully, it’s possible to hit your vape cartridge using other alternative tools and techniques, ranging from your smartphone charger cord to a laptop USB port. The real issue is whether these ways are worth their effort. Read on to find out more.

What To Do When Your Vape Battery Isn’t Working

Sometimes our vape batteries simply stop working, whether from age, wear and tear, or an untimely accident. Before assuming you need a new vape battery, there are some quick troubleshooting steps worth trying:

Double Check If It’s On

This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to inadvertently turn off or lock your vape pen or vape pens when carrying them in your pocket. Most have a 5-click on/off function, so ensure you’ve clicked the power button the correct number of times. For disposable vapes with no power button, skip this step.

Inspect the Battery Connection

Over time, the connection point between the tank/cartridge and battery can loosen or get clogged with gunky buildup. Unscrew the components and clean off any debris with a cotton swab. This simple maintenance may restore the loose connection.

Test the Atomizer Coil

If the vape battery seems fine, the issue could lie with the vape cartridge’s coil that heats the cannabis concentrate or e-liquid. Vapes from brands that use ceramic heating technology rarely fail on this front, but those using metallic coils are prone to issues.

Try screwing your cart or cartridge onto a different working battery – if it fires up, you know the coil is still good and the original battery is faulty.

Check for Physical Damage

Most quality vape pens can withstand minor drops and bumps. But a harder impact could potentially loosen the battery compartment or internal components. Carefully inspect for any visible damage that could be the root cause behind your dead battery.

Ensure You’re Using the Right Charger

Generic bargain chargers may seem like an easy replacement, but using the wrong charger type can prevent your battery from properly recharging. Always use the manufacturer’s recommended charger, wall charger, or a high quality car charger replacement.

7 Methods to Hit a Vape Cartridge Without a Battery

Sometimes you just need to get creative when your vape battery dies or goes missing. While not ideal long-term solutions, these clever hacks can satisfy your cravings in a pinch until you get your hands on a new battery or rechargeable vape mod. Just remember, some methods are sketchier than others – so use with caution!

Method #1 – Using a USB Charger (with Exposed Black and Red Wires)

One of the most popular battery-free vaping methods uses a cut up USB cable and any powered USB slot like a laptop, game console, or portable Android charger. This nifty hack allows you to use the power from any powered USB port or slot to heat up your cart’s atomizer coil. All you need is an old Android charger (USB-C or USB 3.0) and a few basic tools. If you have a stripped USB cord, all that remains is to locate the green and white wires. They should help you hit vape cartridges with the black and red wires.


  • Step 1: Cut off the end of an Android charging cable, USB-C or USB 3.0 cord (iPhone cables won’t work). Use an old one you don’t mind sacrificing.
  • Step 2: Strip away 2-3 inches of the outer rubber/plastic coating to expose the wires inside – there should be a red wire and black wire, possibly green/white ones too. Carefully cut off the end of the USB cable opposite from the main USB plug end using scissors or wire cutters.
  • Step 3: Carefully strip off just 1/2 inch or so of the thin plastic coating on the ends of the red and black wires to expose the bare copper wire inside. A wire stripper tool works best, but nail clippers can work in a pinch if you’re delicate.
  • Step 4: Locate the small circular hole on the bottom of your vape cartridge (where it connects to a battery). Gently insert the stripped end of the black wire firmly into this charging port hole.
  • Step 5: Take the exposed end of the red wire and touch it to the outer metal shell, base threads, or any metal surface on the body of the vape cartridge itself.
  • Step 6: With both wires making contact, plug the intact USB end into any powered USB port or slot like a laptop, game console, car charger adapter, portable power bank etc. The cart should activate and begin heating up!
  • Step 7: Take a hit from the vape cartridge while it’s plugged in and heating. Then quickly unplug the USB cord when you’re done to prevent overheating and wasting oil. Repeat by reconnecting when you want another hit.

Method #2 – Using a Lighter (Not Generally Recommended)

Look, we have to mention this method because some vapers swear by it. But heating up your vape cartridge with an actual butane lighter is highly ill-advised and pretty risky. There’s a real chance of burning your lips/hands, inhaling noxious fumes, or even shattering the cart if overheated.

The general idea is to briefly wave the flame back and forth across the air intake holes at the bottom to try heating the oil and coil. But getting the timing and heat exposure right is extremely difficult. One small slip and you’ve got a face full of vape shrapnel. Not fun!

Method #3 – Using an iPhone/Apple Charger (Advanced)

Android cables are ideal for DIY vape hits, but you can also make an iPhone/Apple cord work with a bit more effort. The wiring is a tad more complex due to the sturdier plastic coating. But where there’s a will to chase the dragon, there’s a way!

Start by cutting the end off an old iPhone charging cord opposite the USB port. Carefully strip off the thick outer rubber casing to expose 4 thin wires inside – 2 red, 1 black, 1 white/green. Use a precision tool to strip just the ends of the black and red wires down to the bare copper.

Next, connect the black wire to the charging hole on your cart, just like the Android method. Touch the exposed red wire to the metal outer shell. Finally, plug the USB end into an Apple USB wall charger or powered port.

The higher 5V power of Apple cords provides stronger, quicker heating than basic 1.5V cart batteries. So be prepared for some potent rips if you get it working right!

Method #4 – Using an Android Charger Cord with Exposed Green and White Wires

One of the easiest and most reliable ways to hit a cart without a battery is by rigging up an Android charger cord. Their simple wiring makes this a very user-friendly hack. However, while many feel this technique is technically acceptable, there’s still no definitive proof that hitting vape cartridges this way is 100% safe long-term. Use at your own risk!

What You’ll Need:

  • An extra Android cable (USB-C or USB 3.0 cord)
  • Wire strippers, nail clippers or pliers
  • A laptop, power bank, or charging adapter with powered USB port


  • Step 1: Choose an Android charging cable you no longer need, as you’ll be cutting into it. Unplug the USB end and cut off the opposite end meant for connecting to the phone.
  • Step 2: Use wire strippers to cut through the outer rubber insulation about an inch from the end you cut, exposing the inner wires. You should see four colored wires – red, black, green and white.
  • Step 3: Remove the green and white wires, as they’re not needed for power transfer. Keep the red (positive) and black (negative) wires.
  • Step 4: Carefully strip off about 1/2 inch of the plastic coating on just the ends of the red and black wires to expose the bare copper wires inside.
  • Step 5: Locate the small circular hole on the bottom of your vape cartridge (where it screws into a battery). Insert the stripped end of the black wire snugly into this charging port connection point.
  • Step 6: Take the exposed end of the red wire and touch it to the outer metal casing or threads of the vape cart.
  • Step 7: Plug the intact USB end into a powered USB port on a laptop, power bank, charging brick, etc. You should hear/feel the cart activate as it starts heating up.
  • Step 8: Hit the cart while it’s plugged in and recharge by unplugging between hits to conserve oil. The 5V power provides stronger, faster heating than a normal 3.7V vape battery.

Method #5 – Using a Wall Charger

While some desperate vapers might be tempted to plug their rigged USB charging cord (or AC USB dongle) directly into a wall charger or outlet, this is strongly inadvisable. Wall chargers provide significantly stronger electrical current that can easily fry and permanently damage your vape cartridge. There’s also a real risk of fire, shorts, or even electrical shocks if not handled properly.

Method #6 – Using an In-Car USB Cable

Have an Android charging cable but no other powdered USB ports around? Your car USB charger or cigarette lighter adapter can work in a pinch! Simply strip the USB cord to reveal the white and green wires as shown in the first method, connect the wires to your vape cart’s threads and charging port hole, then plug it into your vehicle’s powered USB slot or lighter adapter.

The limited power from a car USB port is relatively safe for a short vape session. Just be sure not to let the wires dangle into the car’s heating vents or near any flammable materials. Obviously, don’t try vaping and driving at the same time!

Method #7 – Using a Laptop USB Port

One of the most convenient power sources for an improvised USB vape rig is your trusty laptop or desktop computer. As long as the laptop itself is powered on and not running on empty, its USB ports should provide enough juice to heat up and hit your cart without a battery. Just be sure to only use the USB cable method while your laptop is plugged into a power source and charging – relying on the laptop battery alone may not provide sufficient power.


  • Step 1: Strip the ends of a USB charging cable down to the red and black wires.
  • Step 2: Connect the black wire to the charging port on your vape cart.
  • Step 3: Touch the red wire to the cart’s outer metal casing.
  • Step 4: Plug the intact USB end directly into any available USB port on your laptop or desktop tower.
  • Step 5: Hit the cart while it’s plugged in to vape, unplugging between hits.

The laptop’s relatively low-powered USB ports make this one of the safer methods for hitting carts sans battery.

Why You Should Get a New Vape Battery Instead

Sure, jerry-rigging wires and power sources to hit your vape cartridges without a battery can be a fun little science experiment. And in a pinch, these hacks can certainly satisfy your cravings. But at the end of the day, they’re really just temporary workarounds that pose some real risks if not done properly. Here’s why you should seriously consider just buying an appropriate new vape battery instead.

It’s Risky

The best and most reliable way to hit and power a vape cart is by using a compatible battery designed specifically for that purpose. While alternative DIY methods can bail you out of an emergency when a real vape battery isn’t available, they are inherently risky.

These methods are also unreliable and require quite a bit of skill, materials and caution to pull off safely. Improper use of exposed wires, power sources, or overheating the cartridge can potentially lead to burns, fires, damage to the cart, or inhaling noxious fumes. It’s just not worth the hassle or dangers.

Vape Batteries are Affordable

High-quality vape batteries and pens may seem pricey upfront at $10-$50, but they are a much smarter investment than ruining multiple vape cartridges through improper DIY powering methods. Most 510-threaded vape batteries last for several months of regular use, so a one-time $20 purchase ends up being very cost-effective in the long run versus wasting money on replaceable vape carts. Having a backup battery on hand is cheap insurance against being stuck without a way to properly power your vape.

Your Vape’s Battery is Old

Be aware of the typical lifespan of your vape battery and its signs of degrading performance. Most lithium-ion vape batteries only last 300-500 full charge cycles before they start taking much longer to recharge or not lasting as long per charge.

If your vape battery seems to be charging significantly slower than usual or quickly dying, that’s an indicator that it’s just getting old and time for an affordable fresh replacement.

Frequent Ask Questions

Ethan Parker
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