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The Ocelot

Drip, Drip, Drip - The Sound of Dripping

Rating: 11 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 04-20-2013 at 03:09 AM (14159 Views)
I'm going to start with a disclaimer. Everyone has their own preferences and their own way of doing things. This is mine. It's a combination of tips I was given and my own experience. I'm sharing what has worked for me, but it isn't the last word. A large part of vaping is trial and error to find what works best for you.

The steps are pretty close to how I first learned to drip, but I've pointed out how my later approach differs.

This is just about straight dripping - it has no info about RDAs, types of wicks, etc. It's just about how to drip with a plain atomizer, like a 306 or a 510; nothing fancy. My preferred dripping set-up is an LR 306 (1.5Ω) atty with a bridge or an LR 510 (≈2.0Ω) atty with a bridge. I learned to drip using a 650mAh Joyetech eGo, which fires at ≈3.3v. When dripping with a variable voltage device I initially set it about 3.7v, then adjust to taste. Too cool, I turn it up; too hot, I turn it down.

A 510 atty looks like this and takes a 510 drip tip:

A 306 Atomizer has a 510 connection, but the body is slimmer and needs a different size drip tip. A 306 has the same components as a 510, but doesn't have a jacket (tube) going up the outside so you see the bridge and the wick. A 306 is short and often preferred as it provides a warmer vape.


The 306 drip tip fits on the outside of the body, like the "Cannon" from Cherry Vape. When using a 306 drip tip do not force it down onto the atty! Many of the tips aren't designed to go all the way down and if forced can be damaged causing them to leak Ė I know, I broke two.

Trivia time! The atty is called a "306" because it was originally part of Joyeís 306 cig-a-like design. 306 kits are still sold today.

Drip Shields - I never heard of a drip shield when I started dripping, so I haven't used one. I'm not sure if this diagram is true for all drip shields. I know that a drip shield fits on the outside of a 510 atty, similar to a 306 drip tip, and then a drip tip goes on top. Until I saw this diagram I wasn't aware that a 510 to 510 adaptor might be involved. If you're considering a drip shield, I recommend you ask someone who has used one. You don't have to use a drip shield if you don't want to, it's not a requirement.

Now, without further ado:

~~The Ocelot Method of Dripping~~

The very most important thing I believe about dripping is SOUND. You roughly count the drops, but focus more on the slight gurgle and the slight hiss. Practice over a paper towel. If you "flood" it, pour it out on the towel (we're only talking about a few drops of liquid) and try again.

You can't hurt the atty as long as it's not completely dry. They are designed to have juice, pg or vg, even water to wick and vaporize. If heated when dry, the wicks and coil may be damaged. This is why I cringe every time I read someone casually tell a new vaper to "dry burn." It can be a fine line for beginners between "burning out gunk" and making it worse. Some people passionately embrace dry burning for everything, good for them! I donít like the odds with stock coils, since sometimes an atty can retain a burnt flavor.

Please follow the steps carefully, don't skip any even if they seem simplistic. This takes a bit of practice. There's no reason to rush.

1. (If the atty comes with a primer): Blow the excess primer out - in through the battery connector and out through drip tip/mouth piece end. Do not rinse or clean out the primer, it is used to keep the atty wet during shipping and may be needed for proper break in. Primer is usually 50/50 PG/VG. If the primer is something else, the vendor will usually note it in the product description or it will taste horrible. If that occurs, don't be alarmed, it's not poisonous.

The "Do not rinse" instruction was in the original copy I received, but Iíve found you can rinse it with water/PGA/vodka if you want to, and then blow it out.

When "blowing out" an atty, you blow as hard as you can, from the connector end, into a paper towel until nothing comes out.

2. Drip in about 5 drops. If dripping through a drip tip, instead of directly onto the atty itself, softly blow across the top of the tip (like you would a Coke bottle) to get the liquid down in there. Take a "cold draw" (no power) and listen for a slight gurgle. If no gurgle is heard add 1-2 more drops.

3. Vape some short drags to be sure there is enough liquid (there will still be a slight gurgle), and then test different draw speeds. Remember vaping works by vacuum, soft shallow drags are not going to create enough vacuum to get a large vapor plume.

4. If you get a bad taste or hear a hiss at the end of the first drags, add 1-3 drops and try again.

5. Continue to vape a little stronger and top off with juice until the flavor starts to intensify (you will know).

6. When you get poor flavor/light flavor/less vapor or the atomizer hisses at the end of a drag it means the atomizer is ready for a few more drops. Approximate recommendations: 2-3 drops for 100% VG; 3-4 drops for PG/VG mixes.

7. It won't take long for you to get a feel for how your atty works and you can vape hard!

Changing Flavors

When Iím dripping, I blow out between flavors and then "stack" them Ė putting a fruit on top of fruit, candy on top of candy, etc. As you drip more, the second flavor will overcome the first, and sometimes you actually come up with yummy mixtures. Another option is to vape unflavored juice in-between flavors. In any case, a problem can arise if youíre vaping a strong flavor like coffee and want to change completely to something else. Blowing out or vaping unflavored wonít be enough to get rid of the taste.

I recently got some "Flavor Eraser" from Vixen Vapors. I was surprised that it worked quite well. You just put in a couple of drops and blow it out. Just donít vape it! It tastes nasty!

I donít clean my attys very often. When storing, I just leave in some of the last flavor or unflavored and put carto "condoms" over each end.

Bridgeless/De-wicked Attys

The first time I ever dripped was a with a bridgeless, de-wicked LR306. It scared the bejeezus out of me! A 306 is short and I was staring down at a hot coil. There was no way I was going to put my lips less than an inch away from something that looked like a small space heater. I got over it, but I just wanted to give you a heads up.

When someone refers to an atty being "bridgeless" or "de-bridged," the mesh bridge and often the wick (as seen in the 510 diagram) have been removed, leaving only the coil and the reservoir. The method of dripping with a bridgeless atty is basically the same as a regular atty, but you have to be fast. You are dripping directly onto the coil - think of dripping water onto the coil of an electric stove. Instant sizzle. The pros with using a bridgeless atty is more intense flavor and it can be easier to clean; the cons are there is no mesh to hold the liquid, so you have to drip more often and (in my experience YMMV) itís easier to get a dry hit.

Bridgeless attys are now available with a plate across the top to prevent back splash from popping juice. Again, I've never used one since they didn't exist before.


Care and Maintenance

A dirty atomizer can cause poor wicking and restrict the flow of liquid to the coil. Dirty wicking material will hold less juice and increase the potential for leaking. For longer life clean your atomizers when you feel the performance drops or they are not wicking properly. High VG content, dark juices and juices with a very sweet taste will need to be cleaned more often.

For cleaning use Ethanol/grain alcohol or vodka and let it soak for an hour. Drip clean ethanol/vodka into the atomizer from the mouth piece end and let it drip out the connector end, this would be the final "flush" before blowing the atomizer out. Add 7-9 drops of unflavored PG/VG (or a flavor you plan to immediately use) after a cleaning and blow out again.

Do not blow air in from the drip tip / mouth piece end, EVER. Blow air only in through the connector end and out through drip tip/mouth piece end. The whole point of "blowing out an atty" is to blow as hard as you can, if you blow from the mouth piece, the air will be forced down toward the small hole at the connector end. The pressure can damage the coil.

Dry burning isn't necessary. Any remaining vodka or water inside the atomizer will burn off after the first few pulls.

I also use a method of boiling a cup of water in the microwave, and then soaking the attys until the water is cool. I swish them around and repeat the process until the coils looks clean. I put them on a paper towel and let them air dry - usually overnight.

Do not let the atty stay dry for too long after cleaning, it needs to be lubricated. Drip about 5 drops of your juice or unflavored PG/VG for priming after blowing it out even if you wonít be using for a while. It's best not to store an atomizer dry.

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Updated 06-11-2014 at 04:42 PM by The Ocelot



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  1. WileECoyote's Avatar
    Thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for when I got my atty and started scratching my head and saying to myself, "Now what?" Degnr8 pointed me this way as well as you commented on the thread as well. I will be sure to pass this forward. The Vape is so amazing from dripping. I sometimes feel like a dragon! (Sorry just watched Hobbit 2)
    The Ocelot and unclemark like this.
  2. Ld3441's Avatar
    Perfect info and thanks so much! I have recently started DIY and need a way to test my samples. Never even considered dripping but here I go..
    The Ocelot likes this.
  3. Lord_Fubar's Avatar
    I already knew which end to blow out the e-liquid, but found myself not doing it the right way. Now I know why not to blow out from the drip tip. I also learned about cleaning my 306 even though it's still hitting like a dream come true.
    Thank you ever so much for posting this info.
    The Ocelot likes this.
  4. The Ocelot's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Fubar
    I already knew which end to blow out the e-liquid, but found myself not doing it the right way. Now I know why not to blow out from the drip tip. I also learned about cleaning my 306 even though it's still hitting like a dream come true.
    Thank you ever so much for posting this info.
    When you are blowing out the excess liquid in a clearo/glasso/carto, gently blowing through either end works, but blowing out an atty is a different action. Blowing an atty is blowing as hard as you can until nothing more comes out. It should probably have a different name.
  5. lyncentric's Avatar
    Ocelot! Amazing guide you've put together, here. I received my drip gear in the mail today (atty, shield, drip tip) and by following your instructions, was successful on my first try. Thank you so much for this! It made dripping easier and a lot less frustrating.
    The Ocelot likes this.
  6. emily n portland's Avatar
    Thank you so much for your easy to understand guide. This was the first thing that made sense to me, and made me feel like I could do this too. I placed my order for some 510 atomizers immediately after reading your blog, received them two days ago, and am loving being able to switch up flavors so easily.

    Trying new flavors if my favorite part of vaping, and I had several in my box I hadn't even tried yet because I didn't want to clean out a tank for them. Now I know one at least deserves a tank of it's very own.

    I've already recommended your blog to several others, and will continue directing people here.

    Thanks again!!
    The Ocelot likes this.
  7. Triphamr's Avatar
    Thank you a hundred times!
  8. The Ocelot's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Triphamr
    Thank you a hundred times!
    We're all here to help each other!
  9. ellamenno's Avatar
    Thank you Ocelot for taking such care in explaining all of the do's and especially DONT'S of dripping!!

    Is dripping going to give me the best "taste"? I have so very many juices that I like but the flavor is never quite all there for me. Out of the complex flavors I've purchased I usually only get 1 out of a 3 or 4 flavor juice. For instance, and I won't name names, I bought a highly recommended and expensive juice with the following description: a combination of the dark, refined spirit of Kentucky Bourbon, accented with toasted coconut, roasted almond, Madagascar vanilla bean, and laced with a caramelized brown sugar.

    ALL I could taste was the coconut To be fair, it was the best tasting coconut I've had to date. Any suggestions on how I can get the rest of the flavors to stop hiding? Oh, and I did steep the juice for 6 weeks and still coconut. Am I more likely to get clearer flavors by dripping? If so, I am so totally there!

    Thanks again Sir Ocelot.
    The Ocelot likes this.
  10. The Ocelot's Avatar
    I'm glad the info was helpful.

    Dripping is the easiest way to test small amounts of juice and since you are dripping directly onto the coil, the flavor is about as "true" as you can get; however, dripping isn't definitive of what a juice will taste like in a particular delivery device, each one can taste a little different. Juices dripped directly onto an atty are going to have a stronger flavor than when vaped in a clearo/glasso. That doesn't mean they won't taste good, just not exactly the same. For example, there is only one juice I really like. I vape it in a number of devices, since the flavor differs just enough to give me a variety.

    As I'm sure you are aware, taste is subjective and what nuances of flavor one can taste varies from person to person. Other factors can affect it too, like: steeping, what you have been eating or drinking, other flavors you have vaped recently, etc., and sometimes, for no reason, you might suddenly dislike a juice you used to love. It's just part of vaping. I have at least two full shoeboxes of juice that I'm going to have to try again, to see if I like them.

    I'm sorry I can't be of more help with flavors, I have struck out with most of the "famous" juices everyone raves about. I recently PIF'd a bottle of Gummi Bears to a friend and she was going on about how much it tasted like real Gummi Bears. I think it tastes like plastic with a hint of Raid. It had been "steeping" (as in I threw it in a drawer and forgot about it) for over a year. Another flavor in the same box I didn't like a year ago, now tastes yummy to me. Go figure.
  11. shelley cerata's Avatar
    This was so helpful - just tried out a ton of samples I got. As a newbie I wanted to find some flavors I really liked, but was so intimidated by how many samples I had. I had ordered a 510 atomizer because I read somewhere it was the best way to try things out, but had no clue what to do with it. This was such a great guide! Thanks so much.
    The Ocelot likes this.
  12. prairie guy's Avatar
    great info. here. thank you
    The Ocelot likes this.
  13. prairie girl's Avatar
    Ty so much ... were still learning alot about the different Tanks, Batteries ... ect ...
    The Ocelot likes this.
  14. The Ocelot's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by prairie girl
    Ty so much ... were still learning alot about the different Tanks, Batteries ... ect ...
    You'll figure it out, it just takes a little time. We all started at ground zero and are still learning.

    unclemark likes this.
  15. Knirps's Avatar
    Oh. My. God.

    Why is this not easier to find? Why did I have to wade through years old posts and seven different subforums just to find a simple guide to dripping?

    Thank you so much for typing this up, it is absolutely amazing.

    This site really throws me for a loop sometimes, that these guides and such aren't the first things that are given to new vapers and instead we are thrown into a wall of links to text posts, derailed rant threads, and adverts about the best stores/brands, etc. Stuck using that horrible search 'function'...

    Anyway, yes, thank you! Now I feel confident in purchasing a 510 atty and using it. Also, thanks for the anti-dry burn vote... It's one of the first things you read, everywhere on this forum, when looking up cleaning, maintaining, or flavor switching and it is BAD ADVICE! I had to purchase new coils for like 3 of my tanks because of bad advice...
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