Drip, Drip, Drip - The Sound of Dripping
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 (<2Ω) atty or an LR 510 atty. I learned to drip using a 650mAh Joyetech eGo, which fires at ≈3.2v. 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 – I know, I broke two.
Trivia time! The atty is called a "306" because it was originally part of Joye’s 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 don’t recommend dry burning 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 I’ve 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!
When I’m dripping, I blow out between flavors and then "stack" them – 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 you’re vaping a strong flavor like coffee and want to change completely to something else. Blowing out or vaping unflavored won’t 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 don’t vape it! It tastes nasty!
I don’t 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.
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's easier to clean; the cons are there is no mesh to hold the liquid, so you have to drip more often and it’s easier to get a dry hit until you get used to it.
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 won’t be using for a while. It's best not to store an atomizer dry.
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