About Rebuildable Atomizers for MODs
Mechanical vape MODs and Regulated vapor Box MODs hold your battery and provide the power of the vaping device. They work in conjunction with an atomizer that is the housing for the coil and wick that vaporizes the e-liquid when heated.
When you are new to vaping with MODs and rebuildable atomizers, the whole thing might sound a little intimidating. You hear about having to build your own coils, that you can get battery shorts, and that it can be dangerous. But, actually, if you know the basics and are careful and systematic when you build your coils and properly test them, you will quickly find that it is not as complicated as you first thought. The coils you build will be the most satisfying as with a little trial and error, you will end up with the perfect vape. It will have just the right balance between heat, vapor, and flavor.
First, let’s review the different types of atomizers before we go into building coils.
Different Types of Atomizers:
There are different types of atomizers with specific characteristics. Rebuildable Atomizers (RBA) mostly used to refer to Rebuildable Tank Atomizers (RTA), Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers (RDA), Hybrid Atomizers or Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizers (RDTA), and the newer Sub Ohm Tanks. We will go over each type in detail.
Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers (RDA):
Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers (RDA) require a custom build of the coil and wick. Drippers don’t have a refillable tank, so the top cap will need to be removed and the vape juice dripped directly onto the coils and wicks. Some attys have a deeper juice well than others and allow for more puffs between redripping. Still, 4 to 6 puffs is normally the max before you puff a nasty dry hit, which happens when the wick gets dry.
RDAs comes in different shapes and use different systems of airflow that control cooling to offer different vaping experiences. Drippers with a smaller distance between the deck and the mouth piece and with smaller airflow intake tend to maximize flavor production. While RDAs with a roomier chamber and larger airflow intake allow to build hotter coils that will chuck more vapor. Some attys are excellent all around and able to produce a lot of vapor or a lot of flavor depending on your coil build and airflow settings. Some drippers have a extra large wide bore drip tip eliminating the need to remove the top cap to drip. Just drip directly through the wide opening.
Rebuildable Atomizers (RBA) or Rebuildable Tank Atomizers (RTA):
Rebuildable Tank Atomizers (RTA), also called Rebuildable Atomizers (RBA), are a type of customizable atomizers used with Mechanical Vape MODs and Vapor Box MODs. RTAs are similar to vape pen tanks, but have an oversized e-liquid capacity and require custom building of the coil and wick that vaporizes the e-liquid when heated. The coil and wick are enclosed in a chamber surrounded by the vape juice. With the size of the chamber limiting builds to a smaller single or dual coil and relatively constricted airflow, RTAs are the atomizer of choice for intense flavor, but produce less vapor than other types of atomizers.
Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizers (RDTA):
Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizers (RDTA) are similar to RTAs. They are a hybrid between an RTA and an RDA. Like RDAs, they have a large open deck on which to build the coils and wicks, and its top cap doubles as a tank. Remove the tank part and you can drip as you would with an RDA. Otherwise, keep the tank in place and press on the drip tip to release e liquid onto the coils.
Sub Ohm Tanks:
The latest innovation to hit the market are Sub Ohm tanks. They are more similar to an oversized bottom coil vape pen tank and can hold 4.5 ml of eliquid or even more. They are very easy to operate as you just need to unscrew the base of the tank for bottom fill tanks to refill it with a high VG ejuice or to access the oversized wick. Newer tanks are even top fill. You can use disposable wicks or switch to the rebuildable atomizer deck and build your own coil. Sub Ohm tanks work well with box MODs.
Ready to Build Coils for Your Rebuildable Atomizer?
When you first hear “rebuilding an atomizer” it probably sounds like a daunting task involving lots of steps, lots of material, lots of skill, and a degree in engineering to understand Ohm’s Law. In fact, it's pretty easy. The basic steps are: take your atomizer apart, remove the old coils and wicks, clean the parts, wrap and put in the new coils, test your build with an ohm meter, rewick, drip in the liquid, and vape away.
Where it gets a bit trickier, is in the preparation and wrapping of the new coils that you will put in your atomizer. What gauge of wire to use, how big to make the wraps, and how many wraps? The combination of the three is what determines the resistance of your coil. Both simple and complicated builds go by this simple rule. As you can see, it will not take you long to master the art of coiling. However, we strongly recommend that you build your first coils with someone who is experienced and can teach you the process step by step, especially the safety checks. Below you will find some information that will help you better understand coil building. Do not attempt anything that you are not sure you fully understand as it can be dangerous. Furthermore, Vapor Widgets is not responsible or liable for any injury, property damage, or defect that is caused by misuse, abuse, or modification of your devices.
Material You Will Need:
To get started you will need the following:
- Coil Wrapping Jig – it will come with different diameters pins for your coils, 3/32” and 1/8” are the most common to start with
- Ceramic Tip Tweezers – the ceramic tips will keep the tweezers cool and will help avoid shorts
- Scissors for cutting wicks
- Wire Cutter – to cut the Kanthal wire used for the coils
- Needle Nose Pliers – to pull the wire and tighten the coils together
- Flat and Phillips Screwdrivers – some atomizers may have Allen key screw heads, but the Allen key will be included with the atty
- Ohm Meter – it’s easier to use one specifically made for vaping as it will have a 510 connection
- Cotton – organic, unbleached
- Kanthal Wire – 24 gauge is the most common to get started with RDAs and 26 gauge for sub ohm tanks and RTAs
Check out our rebuildable atomizers building materials tab and you will find most of what you need.
Planning Your Build:
The first thing is to verify at what resistance you can build for your specific MOD. You will then need to determine your target resistance and decide how you want to build it. If you have a regulated box MOD, the manual will give you the minimum that your MOD will accept. For instance, the Sigelei 150W will accept coils with resistances of 0.1 Ohms and up.
With a mechanical MOD, you will have to calculate it yourself using Ohm’s law. First, check the characteristics of your battery. The operating voltage should be 3.7V for an IMR battery and the pulse discharge current will be different for each battery. The purple Efest 18650 is rated at a 35A pulse discharge current. You can enter those two variables in an Ohm’s law app (there are many available for Apple and Android phones) and it will calculate the minimum resistance you can build and also the amount of power that will be used. With our 3.7V and 35A example, the minimum resistance would be 0.11 Ohms operating at 129.5 Watts. So now you know that your MOD with this specific battery can accept coils of 0.11 Ohms and up (we will leave the notion of voltage drop aside for now).
So what’s next? Define a target resistance. The lower the resistance of your coil, the hotter the vape will be and the more vapor it will produce. The higher the resistance, the vape will become cooler, but will also produce less vapor.
- Will it be a single or dual coil build in your atomizer? Single coil is when you have only one strand of wrapped Kanthal between the negative and positive posts in your atomizer. If you have more than one negative post in your atomizer, you can do dual coil builds. Dual coil builds will use two separate strands of wrapped Kanthal each going between the negative and the positive center posts. Each coil will be on a different side of the atomizer.
- What gauge of Kanthal wire should you use? Some rebuildable atomizers will have limits on what gauge of wire you can use. For example, RTAs have a limited space for coils and will demand a smaller wire (the smaller the wire, the higher the resistance). Some RDAs have post with smaller holes that limit the gauge of the wire you can use.
- What size should I make the wraps? The bigger the wraps, the higher the resistance. Coils wrapped around a bit between 1.5mm (1/16”) and 2.5mm (3/32”) are called micro coils. When the using a 1/8” (3.0mm) bit, they are called macro coils.
Some Ohm’s law apps will also help you with the coils. Enter single or dual coil, the Kanthal wire gauge, the resistance you want, and it will tell you how many wraps for each coil.
Do not ever attempt to use a newly wrapped coil without testing it first. RBAs are intended for advanced users who have a working knowledge of how electronic devices work and have access to the necessary safety tools. Proper precautions should be taken when using these devices as to not cause damage to them or harm to you. RBAs should not be used by anyone without the proper knowledge of ohm's law and how it applies to MODs. Users should know their battery's amp limit and how to test atomizer resistance.
Wrapping and Testing Your Coils:
Now use your coil jig and start wrapping. Make sure the wraps are tight and not overlapping as it would create a short. Once you have the coils secured on the posts in your atomizer, test your build with an ohm meter and make sure it's close to the resistance you had targeted and that it's above the minimum resistance your MOD can accept. If your ohm meter reads no resistance, you certainly have a short. Check that you have no overlap in your coils, that the coils are not touching the posts or the deck, that the leads are not touching the coil on the opposite side (the leads should be bent up and cut close to the post holes), and that the post screws are tight.
Once your build has passed the ohm meter test, set it on your MOD and fire it. Use the ceramic tip tweezers to make the wraps tight, but, again, make sure not to overlap them. If you have a dual coil build, make sure the two coils are as symmetric as possible and are the same distance from the posts and leveled at the same height. The coils should fire at the same time from the inside out and have the same glow.
Wicking Your Coils:
Wicking is next. Unfurl the cotton ball or cut a strand of Japanese cotton and pass it through the coils. The cotton should be snug in the coil, but not tight as it should still be able to slide through. Once the cotton is in place, cut off the excess leaving enough to tuck under your coils onto the deck/juice well of your atomizer. Make sure you leave a little space between the coil and the cotton for proper airflow. Now all that is left is to drip and vape.