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Basic Coil Building And Safety For Beginners

Discussion in 'The ECF Library' started by Technonut, Mar 21, 2015.

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  1. Technonut

    Technonut
    Moderator
    Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Oct 11, 2010
    East Coast, USA
    Basic Coil-Building For Beginners

    This guide contains most of the information needed to successfully build a safe, working coil. It is however, only a guide. There are more options available in wire types, coil types, and wicking materials out there. This guide is intended to cover the basics to get started.


    Batteries and your safety

    So, you just purchased a rebuildable dripping atomizer (RDA) / rebuildable tank atomizer (RTA), and may be wondering, "where do I go from here?" Before we get to the fun stuff, let's get the most important subject out of the way.. YOUR SAFETY! The batteries that we use in vaping aren't your typical superstore variety. They are the same type of high-amperage batteries used in cordless power tools, and other industrial applications. A basic understanding of these cells, and respect for their power-output is necessary before proceeding further. Not taking the time to do so may lead to using a battery not suited for the task, resulting in potential injury, fire, or in extreme cases, explosion. Please take the time to read and understand this important information. Here is a link from one of ECF's battery / safety gurus, Baditude:

    Battery Basics for Mods: IMR or Protected ICR?


    In a nutshell, purchase a good quality / brand IMR battery, and know it's Maximum Constant Discharge Amp rating. Stay within that rating when calculating the desired resistance (ohms) of your coil build. Your safety is in your own hands.. Do NOT be tempted by many of the inexpensive batteries available on e-Bay, and other "cut-rate" online stores. There are actually many counterfeited versions of trusted battery brands out there. In reality, these are cells which may have been pulled from used laptop power packs, failed quality control from another manufacturer, and in some documented cases, a smaller battery encased in a larger shell, made to look like it's counterfeited counterpart! :shock: This could be of serious concern when used to power our vaping devices.


    [​IMG]


    Here is a chart covering some of the more popular 18000 series batteries, and their amp limits. There are others such as the LG HE2 18650, which were not included at the time of this chart being made. This does give a general idea of what these types of cells are capable of though. Please pay VERY close attention to the amp limits when using the smaller 18490 /18500 & 18350 cells:


    [​IMG]


    Where can I find these quality cells?


    Genuine, good quality IMR batteries can be found at online vendors specializing in vape-gear. ECF has a list of Forum Suppliers which may be helpful:

    ECF Forum Suppliers


    We also have a battery & charger forum, which can provide feedback from members on various battery and charger related topics:

    Batteries and Chargers


    As mentioned above, please DO NOT skimp, or go cheap on your choice of batteries. In most cases, we are only talking a couple of dollar's difference between an "iffy" inexpensive cell, not up to the task at hand, and a good quality cell, which is up to the task, and will serve your safety needs well. Google can be your friend when shopping:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=admittingly&rls=com.microsoft:en-US:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7SAVB_enUS500&gws_rd=ssl#rls=com.microsoft:en-US:IE-Address&q=genuine+aw+batteries

    https://www.google.com/search?q=admittingly&rls=com.microsoft:en-US:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7SAVB_enUS500&gws_rd=ssl#rls=com.microsoft:en-US:IE-Address&q=best+mod+batteries+18650&revid=775238438


    Some of the quality brands to be on the look-out for are:

    AW
    Sony
    Panasonic
    Sanyo
    LG
    Samsung



    Ohm's Law - have I broken it?


    You may have heard that you need to learn and have an understanding of Ohm's Law, and how it relates to building a coil.. That is correct. a basic understanding is necessary, and will be useful to you. :) Here is a link to a video which explains it well:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJ4wrOaKYDY


    ECF's resident battery guru Baditude also has it covered in his blog:

    Ohms Law For Dummies


    About the wire we will use


    Let's move along to the wire used for your coil build...

    The most common wire used in vaping to heat the e-liquid is known by it's trade-name Kanthal. There are other wire types used, such as Nichrome, but for the scope of this how-to guide, we will be using Kanthal A1.

    Kanthal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Kanthal A1 is available in different wire gauges (wire diameter). Basically, the higher gauge wire is thin, and gives a higher resistance over it's length than the lower gauge wire, which is thicker, and provides a lower resistance over it's length.

    Here is a handy chart showing the different gauges (AWG). The resistance (ohms of your coil) will depend upon the length of wire used. This is measured by "ohms per inch":

    [​IMG]


    There is an EXTREMELY helpful coil-wrapping calculator here, which encompasses most information needed:


    Coil wrapping | Steam Engine | free vaping calculators


    A 'must-have' tool of the trade

    You are going to need a way to measure the resistance (ohms) of the coil, and to ensure that there are no electrical shorts BEFORE powering it with your vaping device. This can be accomplished by using either a multimeter, or more commonly, a "speciality" ohms meter used in vaping for this purpose. These are relatively inexpensive, and can be found at most online stores which carry vape-gear. Here is a pic of one type:

    [​IMG]


    Here is a video review of this type of meter, and it's use, by ECF member, and popular YouTube reviewer, Mark Todd:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eyE2QzoqG0


    Some of you may have a variable voltage / wattage vaping device which has a built-in ohm meter. It's Ok to use the device to check the resistance of your newly built coil once in awhile, but even better to purchase a stand-alone meter if you are going to be routinely rebuilding coils. There is always the possibility of any electronic vaping device failing, and you wouldn't want it to be when you're checking a new coil build. ;)

    Remember the battery's Maximum Constant Discharge Amp rating discussed earlier? It comes into play here. When choosing the resistance (ohms) of your coil, it shouldn't exceed that rating. Here is a chart showing amp draw from the battery at various voltages / wattages / resistances:

    [​IMG]


    Wicks

    Now that we have most of the "technical" stuff out of the way, it's on to choosing a wicking material to wrap your Kanthal wire around. There are a few choices out there, including:

    Silica Wick
    Cotton
    Rayon
    Stainless Steel Mesh

    Each have their own following for various reasons. I prefer silica to any listed above, although cotton is very popular for many at this time. Many vendors carry these different wicking materials. It's a good idea to perhaps purchase a small amount of each type, or a sample pack if available, to see what you're the most comfortable working with. ECF has a forum dedicated to both wick and wire topics:

    Wick & Wire Forum


    The build


    Using the information above, it's now a matter of wrapping a length of the Kanthal wire around your chosen wicking material to form a coil around it. There are quite a few techniques for wrapping different styles of coils, but if this is your first, I would recommend an evenly-spaced single coil. Looking at the Kanthal ohms per inch chart above, match the gauge (AWG) that you have to the chart, and determine the measurement (in inches) that would place the coil at, or a little over 1.0 ohm. Anywhere up to 1.5 ohms is acceptable for a good first coil build to get your feet wet.

    ** CAUTION: In the interest of safety, I recommend keeping your build no lower than 0.50 ohms. As your experience level, and comfort-zone increases, you may go as low as 0.20 ohms. Please do not go lower, as it can be extremely stressful on the battery. You may want to see the "big clouds" like in many YouTube videos, but will find that this can still be accomplished by building within the limits recommended above.**

    There are many different RDA's, and RTA's available on the market. All of them share at least one positive post, and one negative post in common. The methods of wire attachment may be different, but the primary goal is to make a solid connection when tightening each wire. Always be sure to test the resistance, and for possible shorts with your ohm meter after building.

    Chances are, the specific RDA / RTA that you have will be covered either in ECF's Rebuildable Atomizer forum, Coil Builds forum, or by a YouTube reviewer. You should be able to find enough build info to proceed on from this basic guide.

    Rebuildable Atomizer Systems

    Coil Builds


    Here is a general video found on YouTube which will help in actually seeing a basic build being done:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkXX-qYosO4&index=101&list=WL

     
    SK1LL, Ed_C, Wworrells and 7 others like this.
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