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DIY Coils: Tips, Tricks, and Whatnot

Discussion in 'Rebuildable Atomisers' started by debatedude, May 30, 2018.

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  1. debatedude
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    debatedude Thread Starter Mech Moderator Staff Member

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    I’m a DIY coil maker for drippers. Most of the time, I roll simple coils; in fact, the nuttiest I go is parallel. That notwithstanding, there is some helpful advice for all those who use coils (instead of pre-made coil thingies that you buy in blister packs) in their drippers or tanks. If I missed anything, feel free to add. If you have questions, again feel free to ask.


    Do’s and Don’ts for DIY Coils

    1. Batteries – DO buy the best batteries you can afford from a reputable dealer. Double check the battery specs. If you like <1-ohm coils, you should have some serious amperage batteries. I run Sony VTS 4 or 5 batteries, or something similar.

    2. Batteries – DON’T buy batteries from “some dude” just because the price is right. You might not get what you think you’re getting.

    3. DON’T (and I mean NEVER) fire coils without testing them first. Bad things can happen…like venting.

    4. DO test your coils. I test mine twice: once on an ohm meter and once on the mod I will use them on. If there are serious differences, I will tweak the coils. If that doesn’t work, I trash them.

    5. DON’T test your coils at full wattage. My rule of thumb is to first dry fire them at 50% of my intended wattage. If there are no serious hot spots, then I up the wattage to 75% of intended. Slow and safe – that’s me.

    6. DO change your coils. IF they turn dark red (nichrome), dark grey/black (kanthal), or dark brown (SS), they are done. Roll a new pair. I find I get 4-6 weeks using nichrome or SS, less with kanthal.

    7. DON’T over-tighten. You’ll either snap the wire or severely weaken it. And yes, this happens even with 22 and 20-gauge wire (which I use).

    8. DO gradually tighten your coils in the posts. Seat them right the first time.

    9. DO change your wicks regularly. They do become saturated. They can also burn through if your coils are not firing correctly.

    10. DO clean your coils. Clean coils are happy coils and seem to last longer. I generally clean my coils every 2-3 days.

    11. DO re-test your coils after cleaning!


    General Things I’ve Found Helpful:

    1. Finding the Sweet Spot: I like a hot vape, so I’ll set my mod for 4 volts and take a hit. Then I adjust the wattage from there to fine tune it to where I like it. Once I have it, I lock it in. I also write it down so when I clean and use the atty later, I don’t have to mess around trying to find the sweet-spot again.

    2. Keep lots of extra attys. Gotta have spares while the freshly-cleaned are drying. Personally, I have seven attys that I use in rotation. While that might be a bit excessive, I never have to worry!

    3. Cotton is cheap. Change wicks often.

    4. Who gives a shit what the other guy uses. If you’re happy with your set-up, then it’s right for you (even if you're a toodlepuffer LOL). Corollary: don’t be afraid to try new things. If you don’t like them, play them forward.

    5. Coil calculators are a godsend!

    6. There’s your home mod and your travel mod. But do you have a spare in case everything goes south? Always have a backup. Or two.

    7. There’s no such thing as too many batteries. I rotate through 20. My mechs have their own set of batteries.


    Did I forget anything? Add away!
     
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  2. debatedude
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    debatedude Thread Starter Mech Moderator Staff Member

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    This can't get enough mention! Quality batteries with high amps. Don't worry about the mAh (just carry extra batteries). Dual Clapton's coming in at 0.12 ohms are gonna need more than a Samsung 25R, especially if you want to maintain a safety buffer.
     
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  3. debatedude
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    debatedude Thread Starter Mech Moderator Staff Member

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    How to tell if your coils are not firing evenly:

    IMG_20180531_090459.jpg

    Notice the wick on the left is darker. It is more saturated with juice. This tells me that the left coil is not firing correctly. Time to pull the atty out of use and give it a tweak. If tweaking doesn't work, it's time for new coils.
    Notice the color of these coils: an extremely dark grey. These coils are old kanthal wire. In addition to not firing correctly, the color also tells me that these coils are done for.
     
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  4. SooKee
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    SooKee Contented Single Coiler

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    I find I quite often get a problem with one or two of the wick tails turning brown / gunking up more quickly than the other ends but I'm not sure whether it's down to poor wicking or the high level of sweetener in some of the juices with the sugar caramelising. I've gone through LOADS of cotton of late trying to get it just right but, as it seems to be not affecting the taste much that I can tell, I've tended to adopt a bit of a stuff it attitude (done so much lately I've really tired of re-wicking).

    Like I say, I'm not sure whether it's down to juice clogging in the wick, it seems to happen regardless of what resistance (to pulling the wick back and forth through the coil, not ohms) I try from from a little to a lot, thinner wicks, medium or tight. Kinda have an OCD complex to still having white wicks after a few days but I've put it down to the juices I use and that being unachievable. Really bloody frustrating but I'm not sure I'm striving for something that is beyond reach. One thing I think I sometimes do wrong (I think) is pull the cotton down too tight / sharply from the end of the coil so it joins the coil at a really sharp angle, having tried a few where I've tugged the wick back up a bit, so it joins the coils at slightly more of a right-angle tends to help, no doubt helping the juice wicking.

    I also mostly favour a cooler vape so I have tended to vape at very low wattages, say 26-32 on a dual coil build coming at about 0.45 ohms (around 3.6v). I'm not actually sure that helps though, either with flavour or clogging (if that's what's happening), run the mod at higher power and sometimes a lot of that gunk burns off. I think at such low power it's taking the coils too long to heat up such that the first few few vapes are a bit tasteless and needs a really full lung filling draw to get the flavour, try it at 45-50 (5v) however and the flavour is there more quickly, albeit NO WAY can I do a long pull at that power as it's akin to clamping my lips over the mouth of a volcano, way too hot, draw to long at that kind of power I also get some spit backs.

    20180605_174549.jpg
     
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  5. debatedude
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    debatedude Thread Starter Mech Moderator Staff Member

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    Bro! I've seen that before - it's a reddish color, yes? Judging by the color and the way your coils are gunked I'd say it is because of too much sweetener in the juice. I'll hazard a guess and say you're using a Malaysian juice. Pretty much every Malaysian juice I've tried did that to my wicks and coils.

    yeah that is low!
    Yup. You might want to try a 24 or 26 gauge simple coil set-up if you want to run low watts/volts. Quicker ramp time.
    You get used to it! LOL

    Does your mod have a pre-heat mode? If so, you could try setting the preheat to 50 watts higher than your set wattage for one second. That will really help the ramp-up time. If your mod allows you to program a 7-10 second draw, try a graduated (hot to cold) setting and see how that runs.
     
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  6. SooKee
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    SooKee Contented Single Coiler

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    Cheers, yeah Malaysian juices la, all of them. I occasionally get the very edges of the wick coloured too, where they drop down, I'm figuring they're touching the side of the tank and the heat is cooking the juice again, tucked them in a bit and it'd flushing out. With the frustration I've been chain vaping some of the builds too, trying to see what works quickly, that won't help I suspect.

    I just tried a couple of cleaner juices I had laying around and it seems to have flushed the colour out a lot (and ungunked the coils!!) that's why I thought it might be the sweetener as it's not singed /black as you'd expect if they were burning. Sadly though I just love the Cloud Niners juices so I might have to make do. Sure does gunk the coils though.

    I use a Smoant Battlestar, doesn't have pre heat. I'm thinking of picking up the newer Cylon (do I need it - no!!) and AFAIK that does have pre-heat.

    It's not too bad at 32+ watts, better still at 36 but tending to get hotter than I like then. I'm just waiting on some 24 ga SS to arrive, could try some 26 but I'm maxed out on coil making at the moment LOL and I'd rather get a build where the legs of the coil don't splay out too much, I'll likely try 24 ga 8 wrap, spaced and not spaced, see what works best.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
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  7. debatedude
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    debatedude Thread Starter Mech Moderator Staff Member

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    That can be a problem. I've done it a few (too many) times. IMO, the wicks will burn and start turning grey/black. The red is sweetener.
     
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  8. SooKee
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    SooKee Contented Single Coiler

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    For me I think they're not touching enough to burn, just cooking the sugar I think as it's reddish colour again.
     
  9. debatedude
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    debatedude Thread Starter Mech Moderator Staff Member

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    It's possible you are overdrenching your wicks through overfilling the juice well
     
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  10. SooKee
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    SooKee Contented Single Coiler

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    I think that's it, likely it comes from being wrongly concerned that the wicks were burning which led me to start giving them a liberal hose down every time I drip, in fairness the wicks have looked pretty saturated, overly so I guess.

    Sent using Tapatalk
     
  11. debatedude
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    debatedude Thread Starter Mech Moderator Staff Member

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    I usually put a drop or two right on the coils (always good to prime them) and then fill the juice well
     
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  12. SooKee
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    SooKee Contented Single Coiler

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    Yeah, I've been putting a bit more than that LOL. I start off on new wicks that way of course and do it on refills as well. I think the wicks are becoming so juice-logged they can't shift it, it maybe contributing to the coils getting clogged up too, kinda caking on before it's getting chance to burn off as opposed to being moist but pulling most of the juice through the wick.

    Sent using Tapatalk
     
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  13. SooKee
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    SooKee Contented Single Coiler

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    Been messing about a bit today. The 24 ga SS316 arrived so dropped two 8 wrap, 3mm coils into the RDA, comes out at about 0.21 ohm. Normally I'd vape at about 22-28 watts and got to figuring this was responsible for needing really long draws to get much out and then, mostly cloud vs flavour. So, went for it today and ramped the power up to around 45w, even pushed it to 50/55. Obviously the ramp up in power heats the coils up much more quickly and the flavour was there pretty much straight away, reducing the length of draw time, 1-2 seconds more than enough now vs a full blast lung inhale from empty to full that I needed (obviously while the coils were heating up), got to the point it was getting tiring to vape after a while LOL. The other bonus is I'm finding the sweetener is getting burned off the coils now so they are staying much cleaner. Guess the higher power is vaporising the juice almost entirely, not slowly cooking and caking it as was happening at 22-28w. Much better. Thanks for your help @debatedude, lessens my fear (of burnt wicks and coils) a lot more, enjoying it more too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
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  14. debatedude
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    debatedude Thread Starter Mech Moderator Staff Member

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  15. debatedude
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    debatedude Thread Starter Mech Moderator Staff Member

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    Now after that gets boring, up your game to 22 and 20 gauge wire. I use 22 gauge nichrome for my travel mods and 20 gauge SS for home use. Wow! What a rush! And this is why I have so many batteries! :rolling laugh:
     
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