Atomizers: Why they suck, and how we can fix them.

Discussion in 'Atomizer Mods' started by ZIRO, Jul 13, 2009.

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  1. ZIRO

    ZIRO Full Member

    When it comes to e-cigs, the biggest problem I've encountered (and I think this is the same with most others) is atomizer lifespan/efficiency.

    An e-cig is basically a resistor that uses electricity in order to heat and vaporize Glycerin.

    The problem with this is that current atomizers use cheap resistors (heating elements) that oxidize quickly. Basically, the atomizers bind with oxygen molecules and degrade slowly over time.

    There is a simple answer to this (in my opinion), and that is the use of a more expensive heating element that will not oxidize quickly (or nearly at all). The material is called Nichrome, and is a nickel/chromium alloy that does not break down over time.

    I, myself, am currently in the process of designing my own e-cig (not a mod) that uses a self-feeding nichrome atomizer. I'm still trying to figure out what technology I'm going to use in order to make it self-feeding, but I have a few options that i'm looking at.

    If atomizers were made with nichrome, our problems may be answered.. is all I'm saying.

    Just my 0.02

  2. happily

    happily Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    check the mod forums it has been discussed at length
  3. ZIRO

    ZIRO Full Member

    Okay, damnit. just thought that it should be posted here (i it hasn't) because this is something that manufacturers should be doing, not just private modders.
  4. breakfastchef

    breakfastchef Moved On

    While we would all love the immortal atomizer, it probably makes little economic sense to a manufacturer who wants to sell us replacement parts to keep up the income stream.
  5. RjG

    RjG Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Atomizers are made with nichrome coils... it's wound around either a silica based fiber wick, or in some cases, a ceramic rod. If you've found an atomizer that's not constructed with coiled nichrome wire heating coil, post some pics.... that would be interesting.
  6. ZIRO

    ZIRO Full Member

    Then what is it we see when the wire is charred and nearly reduced to ash?

    I'm just saying that since Nichrome is one of the more expensive materials used to create heating elements, do you really think that the Chinese would incorporate it into their designs when there are many more available, and cheaper materials?
  7. RjG

    RjG Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    That charred mess is residue of the liquid. There really is a a coiled nichrome wire under there.
    Check out

    There really is nothing else that would work properly. I've measured it with a multimeter and a digital caliper, and it matches 38 gauge nichrome wire.

    The reason they die is usually from snapping. Snapping is either from the 2500 heat cycles you just put it through, or in some cases from stress from a build up of the charred stuff you saw, pushing up on the coil while you puff on it. Ones that die a REALLY early death come from bad assembly, nicked wire, or some other physical problem.

    Some (reputable people) have had the coil wire pop out of the solder blob too, although I've never actually seen it happen.

    Most will last a couple weeks to a couple months, not that bad really when you consider you're pumping in the neighborhood of 1.3 to 1.8 amps thru that tiny little coil...
  8. breakfastchef

    breakfastchef Moved On

    Methinks it is deposits of juice vaped in the past coating the wire. Cleaning cycles, that have been feared by many, were probably designed to reduce the deposits. A good burn off now and again might be better than the thousands of cleaning methods developed each week.
  9. RjG

    RjG Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    oops, forgot... nichrome wire is cheeeeeeeap in bulk. thousands and thousands of feet for $10. Around an inch goes in an atomizer
  10. Drewsworld

    Drewsworld Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Planned or Built-in Obsolecsence is a term often used in the manufacturing industry or in Chinese it is pronounced Fitchi ta wasaki nunch...Which means if you make it too good you wont sell any more...Its why BF Goodrich bought the recipe for the rubber tire that never wears out and why the Giant oil companies have lobbied to ignore Hydrogen Synthasis, and why Big Tobacco hates Ecigs...And why Aunt Jamima hates Bees.......................
  11. kinabaloo

    kinabaloo Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    All true except the case of e-cig coils. As RjG well explained, the early failure is due to deposit build up from the juice.

    At some time the wire would fail due to being heated and cooled quickly hundreds of times per day, though presently attys rarely reach that point. A more robust can't really be used because there are constraints in terms of battery power/life between charges and heat up time.

    So in this case I don't see any planned obsolescence. I don't doubt that it exists elsewhere though.
  12. CheeMiss

    CheeMiss Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Hi Ziro.....If you really can pull this off GREAT! Please put me on your list as a definite customer!

    My M401 is so temperamental that I am on the verg of tossing it in the garbage & it's only a couple of weeks old! I just went out and bought a pkg of reg cig's....4 atty's and they are all acting up at once, or is it the batts???? I am so sick of this high maintenance crap.

    YES, IF YOU ARE GIFTED WITH TEKKIE DUST, THEN BY ALL MEANS, CREATE, CREATE, CREATE A BETTER SYSTEM. And don't forget to incorporate a better juice cart. One that does not require constant refilling. And don't forget to make a PCC available with your model. It sure burns & baffles me that ALL e-cigs don't have that option.

    I wonder if the hookah will work with nicotine? Does anyone know if that would be a better system to use at home?
  13. ZIRO

    ZIRO Full Member

    RJG, thanks for the info. Then Perhaps a non-condictive cover could be made to protect the coils from getting gunked up?

    -Also, that gunk looks like it could be cleared up with acetone pretty easily... although I wouldn't personally want to try it.
  14. RjG

    RjG Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Damn near every chemical in the world has been tried on this forum, nothing works...

    What DOES work is burning it off. Once a week, a couple 5 second dry burns with a new battery (like you can see the coil is red for 5 seconds) cleans it right off 99% of the time. Cigar owners have known this forever, since there's a button to press that does it. Forum users here "rediscover" that method pretty much monthly ;-)

    Don't overdo it, you could burn out the coil, plus it takes way to long to "break it in" again if you burn too long. Let it cool 5 seconds between the 5 second burns.
  15. CheeMiss

    CheeMiss Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Please tell me how to do this burn off.
  16. RjG

    RjG Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    First, blow the excess fluid out of the atomizer

    If you have a manual, push the button until you see a red glow looking at the atomizer, count to 5, let go of the button. Wait 5 seconds and do it again

    If you have a M401 style ( or any e-cig with a mic/electronic switch) ... look at the atomizer (in a mirror if you have to) so you can see the "red glow" and blow on the END or EDGE of the e-cig to do your two 5 seconds burns

    If you have a vacuum/pressure switch e-cig, which you have to actually suck on it to make it go - you will have to rig up some external source of power, which is a little too far off topic to get into here ;-)

    When you're done, blow the bit of smoke out of it since it tastes yucky, put a few drops on the atomizer to prime it, and throw a full cart on it. All done.
  17. RjG

    RjG Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Here's a really long thread about it.

    Be warned though, applying 5V and more, on the newer e-cig atomizers, could burn them out. Personally, I wouldn't go past the voltage of a regular battery (red hot is red hot, no point overdoing it) , or past a couple bursts of 5 seconds - but opinions vary. I personally blew out a couple brand new m401 atomizers trying higher voltages and decided to stick to battery voltage only, and have no problems at all.
  18. CheeMiss

    CheeMiss Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Thank You very much. :) btw: I prefer your shorter version.
  19. baillou2

    baillou2 Full Member

    1.8 amps!!! Really?? As I recall a 3rd of an amp is more than enough to kill an adult human. Are you saying that the batteries hold that much power?
    I'm often confused when it comes to electricity, so maybe I'm wrong here.
  20. hifistud

    hifistud Super Member ECF Veteran

    60 milliamps at 230 volts will do it if it's across the heart.
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