Insights on choosing a wire for your RTA...and other vape related stuff

A . Vaper on 5th Nov 2020

I've been vaping for a few years now, having quit a 30-year, 20 cig a day smoking habit. Something that has often irked me is that there is not a lot of information on the internet that is not heavily biased towards sales. I thought I would do my part to redress this imbalance. I used to use tank atomisers, but the high price and ecological impact of single use coils drove me towards using RTAs (Rebuildable Tank Atomisers).

What wire do I buy for my RTA?

A good question. Let’s split RTAs into MTL (Mouth To Lung) and DTL (Direct To Lung).

MTL atomisers use small coils and have restricted airflow, meaning the cooling effect on the coil is not that great. Usually a 28 gauge (single) Clapton or 26 gauge (single) Clapton wire would work with MTL RTA, but do keep the wattage down,

like, about 10- 12 watts to start off with, otherwise your coil will overheat and eventually char your cotton, and give you a mouthful of burnt cotton smoke. Yuk .

As for DTL RTA, I'd start off at a 26 gauge double Clapton for most tanks, especially if you're building on a double coil deck to help get the resistance of the build above the minimum that your box mod can handle. Airflow on DTL RTA is a load less restricted so you can literally inhale the vapour. This cooling effect on the coil or coils means you can run much higher wattages without the dreaded cotton smoke lungful, and the subsequent coughing up!

Wire Gauge

The higher the gauge of the wire, the thinner it is, the quicker it heats up, and for a set length of wire, the resistance increases. The opposite is true with a lower gauge. The lower the gauge, the slower it heats up and the lower the resistance. Also, as the resistance of your coil decreases, the more current your box mods batteries will need to supply. If you have a build that's 0.15 ohms, and you're firing the build at 60 watts or over, you had best make sure you have a decent quality pair of batteries from a reputable supplier!

Also, bear in mind that a wattage that works for a single hit may not work and be too hot for multiple hits in a short space of time . There is a bit of physics at play here, namely the latent heat of evaporation. What happens when you press the fire button is your coil heats up until the e liquid starts to evaporate: then, the coils temperature remains stable, as all the excess energy that would make it rise is used by the e liquid in making the e liquid evaporate. This would go on in perpetuity but sadly, the cotton can only wick e liquid to the coils at a set rate, and as the wick under the coils runs dry the coil gets hotter, very quickly. Leading to a dry hit, and the subsequent coughing fit. This applies to both MTL and DTL RTAs.

Notes on wicking....

This bit, you just have to get a feel for, once you've familiarised yourself with your RTA. It's like this: too much cotton in the coils will really restrict the passage of e liquid to the coil. Generally, when you pull the cotton through the coil, there needs to be hardly any drag on the cotton. Too little cotton is a problem too, if there is cotton not touching a part of the coil, that bit of the coil will run dry and cause overheating.

Also, it's important to get the correct amount of cotton in the juice wells. Too much and it chokes, resulting in no or too little transfer of e liquid. Too little cotton, the tank floods and you get e liquid leaking out of the air intakes. What I've always done is try to find a build tutorial online for any tank I've bought and used that as a starting point. There's a reviewer on YouTube called 'Vaping with Vic', he's a great source of information.

I hope you enjoy your visit to jagvaping, and happy vaping!

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