Using RDAs - An experience journal

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Posted by admin 13/01/2016 0 Comment(s)

Following up from the previous articles at Slim's on drippers, this is more of a collection of personal experiences that that I gained in my time using drippers.


In the first article, I provided an overview of drippers as to why they are awesome and in the last article, I spoke of design aspects of drippers so you can decide what would suit you. This article will mostly look at actual usage of drippers and other aspects surrounding general use of drippers. I strongly recommend you take a look at the article on sub-ohm vaping and safety to go together with this article.


We will look at mods/batteries, heat generation, drip tips, choice of wire gauges, juice blend choices and wicking.


I use my drippers with mechanical mods. There are 2 reasons for this. First is because I build only sub-ohm coils on my drippers and the second reason is that they look good on mechanical mods :)


Regulated mods (electrical mods) come with limitations on their circuitry. For example, the DNA30 board, can fire a coil down to 0.4ohms. So if I am building a coil at, say, 0.25ohms, it will not fire on my DNA30 mod. This is where a mechanical mod shines, as it will allow you to fire any low resistance coil. While there are regulated devices that allow firing coils at even lower resistances, I find that a mechanical mod is the way to use sub-ohm coiled drippers (see article on sub-ohm vaping and safety). I also noticed that from experience, the battery on a regulated device running a 0.5ohm coil drains faster than running the same coil on a mechanical mod. I am not sure why that is, but I am guessing its the circuitry. Either way, lower resistance coils pull more power out of the battery than a 1+ ohm coil, resulting in shorter battery life.


As a general rule, I stick to mechanical mods if the coil build is less than 0.5ohms and use regulated mods for coils around 0.7ohms-1ohm, in order to balance decent battery life and a quality vape.


I generally stick to mods made of copper or mods with copper contacts. Copper is a good conductor of electricity and there is a noticeable difference in the 'hit' factor and the overall reaction time (after hitting the fire switch) compared to a stainless steel mod.


All coils generate heat when electricity from the battery passes through it. The lower the resistance, the more heat is generated. This will not only cause your vape to be warm, but will cause your mod to get hot also, including your dripper and even drip tip. This is generally not a big concern unless you chain vape or if your coil resistance is very low. In order to keep things manageable, make sure your dripper has sufficient air flow to allow cooling of the coils and maybe you can even choose a mod that has some heat resistance qualities, such as the Paragon mod which is wrapped with carbon fiber. There are also some drippers that come with heat sinks (Vulcan, 454 Big Block etc) and delrin insulation (Mephisto V2) for better heat resistence.


Drippers will produce a lot of vapor, specially with a sub-ohm build. This means that having a wide bore drip tip will help you suck the vapor out of the dripper without much resistance. Some drippers now come with their own drip tip, with a super wide bore drip tip (Mutation X V2, Little Boy etc).


As the drip tip is very close to the coils in a dripper, the heat generated will be noticeable to the lips, specifically after a few inhales. So I generally prefer delrin drip tips as they have good heat resistence qualities and is more comfortable to use for longer sub-ohm vaping.


A wide bore drip tip also allows for easy direct dripping into your coils/wick. This will save time as you don't have to take your top cap off every time you want to saturate your wicks.


Keeping your drip tip short also intensifies your vape experience as the distance the vapor has to travel from the coils to your mouth is less. Generally, a longer drip tip will always result in a cooler vape.


Just keep in mind that bigger bore drip tips won't give you bigger clouds, thats mostly dependent on your lung capacity and the coil build.


The gauge of wire (kanthal) used for your coils have a direct impact on the resistance of the coils you build, and hence the quality of your vape. The higher the gauge, the thinner the wire and vice versa. Deciding which gauge wire to use is a challenge, and must be decided after experimenting with different gauges. Thicker wire is great for sub-ohm coil building while thinner wire is great for coils on tank systems. One thing to keep in mind is that the thicker the wire, the longer it would take for the coil to fully heat up evenly, regardless of the resistance. Because of this 'ramp up time', you would need to hold the fire switch for a few seconds for the coils to fully heat up and start producing vapor at its best. Rule of thumb is to balance this out, so don't use too thick of a wire and don't use too thin of a wire. I regularly use 26g kanthal for my drippers if I am looking to build below 0.5ohm and 28g if I am looking to go around 0.7ohm-1ohm. That is my preference and I discovered what suits me after experimenting with different gauges. Buy a sample back of kanthal wire in different gauges and try different builds to find your sweet spot.


Also note that thicker wire maintains its heat a lot longer than a thinner wire, and so would need a lot of air flow to cool down. Having a thick wire coil at low resistance with less air flow will produce a very hot vape thats usually not enjoyable.


From my experience, I prefer parallel coils (coil wrapped from 2 strands of 28g kanthal) in dual configuration as it heats up very fast (low reaction time) and produces a quite warm vape. The vapor production is fast and is flavorful as this kind of coil will cover a lot of surface area on the wick. Check out videos in YouTube for different kinds of coil builds and experiment to see what will suit you best.


If you've been vaping a while, you know that the PG in your juice carry the flavor and the VG produces the vapor. When using drippers, its wise to go with a blend with more VG as this will make the vape a lot smoother and will definitely help you produce more vapor. In my experience, I found that 70PG/30VG blends were too harsh on my drippers, while the same blend is perfect for me on a tank system. I recommend Slim's 'More VG' option for a perfect balance in vapor production/smoothness and flavor. As there is more VG in the blend, adding a bit of extra flavor (Heavy flavor option) definitely helps keep the vape flavorful.


Also keep in mind that drippers amplify the delivery of nicotine. If you are using 12mg on a tank system, that same juice just might be unvapable on a dripper as it might come out way too strong. A recommended starting point is around 6mg and then work your way from there to suit your vape style.


Lastly, lets look at wicking. The preferred material in the community (and mine) is Japanese cotton. This stuff is organic and has great wicking qualities. They also come in pressed sheets (around 5cmx6cm) and is very easy to work with. Its always advisable to use a decent amount of cotton for your coils. Use too little and your coils will actually start glowing (and give you a harsh, burnt nasty hit) as there is no contact between the wick/juice and the coil. Use too much, and it will stop/limit wicking, resulting in a dry and nasty vape. So stick a decent amount of wick through your coil, make sure its snug and can move within the coil with some resistance when pulled/pushed.


Its important that you don't pack/stuff cotton in the juice well of your dripper. This will result in poor wicking and can cause dry hits. Instead of packing, keep a decent amount of space for your juice well without cotton (abt 20% without cotton) so it will allow the juice to flow within the well. Keep the cotton fairly fluffy and loose within the well, instead of stuffing in all the cotton in the world. It is true that more cotton will hold a more juice, but there is no point in having a lot of juice that can't be wicked.


On a closing note, the world of drippers has opened a whole new chapter in my vaping journey. In using them, there was a lot that was learnt and putting it all down in an article is impossible. But I hope this article helps shed some light on the path ahead if you are new to dripping or are thinking of getting into drippers.


As always, stay safe and happy vaping!

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