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Atomizer death - a new theory

Discussion in 'Experiments With Equipment' started by kinabaloo, Apr 12, 2009.

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  1. kinabaloo

    kinabaloo Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Atomizer death - a new theory

    We all know that atomizers eventually die and it was long believed, reasonably enough, to be that the fine nichrome wire broke after the repeated stresses of expension and contraction, plus getting thinner as it slowly gets thinner with age.

    Sun created a new theory about the final death - through examining many deceased atomizers he noticed that the nichrome wire had been disconnected at the the solder joint; his theory being that as the deposit on the coil grew bigger, it eventually pulled out the wire from the joint.

    I think this may play a small part sometimes, but is not the main reason.

    A well-soldered joint could not be pulled apart. Unless ... the joint had become weakened.

    I believe the solder joint is weakened chemically (perhaps aided by heat) by the juice/vapor. In particular, tin is leached from the solder joint making it much softer and the join looser. Eventually, the electrical connection is lost (and the nichrome wire might even remove its leg from the joint to take up a more comfortable position (i.e. not necessarily with any great force exerted by the deposit growing in size).

    The evidence for this - and also the inspiration, though it took a day for the implications to become apparent to me - was discovered by Exogenesis in his analysis of atomizer coil deposits (Analysis of the Black Gunk on Atomizer Coils). The results showed an unusual amount of the element tin within the deposit.

    A possible solution is for pure silver solder to be used for connecting the nichrome wire heater coil or the use of a 'wire-wrap' technique for the join.

    It remains uncertain what part of the juice causes the leaching of tin and by what reaction or other effect.
     
  2. Sun Vaporer

    Sun Vaporer Moved On ECF Veteran

    Jan 2, 2009
    Florida
    kinabaloo--I do not know about this at all as the ones that were still heating somewhat the I experimented with with the Ice Cleaner where loaded with residue that was on there for months and when cleaned, the coil was tight as a drum at those contact points--So based on what I have scene--this theory would need much more investigation.

    I might add that that would not explain that all of the cold ones I have examined and cleaned, the coil was in fact lifted an the contact was snapped--not disolved way. INHO--these atomizers failed due to the mechanical action of the expantion and contration that occurs with the heat and when there is residue build up on the coil, the coll can not expand and contract properly and hence forces a break in the contact. That is what it looks like upon examination and also watching the coil heat and contract with heavy residue build up.

    Also note that buld up happens in a day or two--not weeks ---Sun
     
  3. kinabaloo

    kinabaloo Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Sun - but the death typically occurs after weeks not days.

    I didn't say the solder was all disolved away, just weakened a bit at the join - enough for the wire to get loose. Previously you reported that the wire was pulled out of the join, not snapped. Indeed, I don't believe the wire would snap because it is on legs of some milimeters in length so it has quite a lot of room to move. Only in the very worst cases would deposit form all the way to the solder joint.

    It might look like it has snapped at the joint but i think it simply lifted out of the joint.

    This new theory is not completely an alternative to yours but refines it. And it is just a theory; I don't say it is fact ;)
     
  4. taz3cat

    taz3cat Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 2, 2008
    Port Arthur, Texas
    Sun if your theory is right we need to clean our atts everyday. May try that.
     
  5. exogenesis

    exogenesis Super Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 1, 2009
    UK
    Were the 'snap points' of the dead coils at the solder joint?

    The wire is looped deeply within the solder blob,
    and is unlikely to pull out I think.

    If the snap point is at the solder blob then the wire could have been just weakened there,
    rather than dissolved completely away ?
     
  6. kinabaloo

    kinabaloo Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Many people say that one cannot solder to nichrome wire in the usual sense of a strong bond - the solder simply holds the wire in place. So it is quite possible that it can come out after spending time in fluid containing acids and solvents such as e-juice. This a very unusual environment for a soldered joint.

    This can be tested of course :) But would involve leaving such a joint in juice for a month or two.
     
  7. Sun Vaporer

    Sun Vaporer Moved On ECF Veteran

    Jan 2, 2009
    Florida
    Taz--you are right--just like cooking one time in a pan--it needs to be cleaned otherwise the residue hardens and builds up---the more I look at and watch these coils in action--and how the residue can build up in just one day, the more I come to the conclution that they are in fact made quite well, but the use without cleaning is their demise----Sun
     
  8. kinabaloo

    kinabaloo Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Either way, it is good news as it seems that the heater coils are not simply burning out as once believed and so there is the possibility of extending their life considerably by getting on top of the deposit issue (cleaning), lowering dry deposit content of juices and (perhaps) asking the manufactures to make a tighter joint, perhaps with a technique like wire wrap where one wire is tightlt wrapped around the other (not unlike twisting wires together).
     
  9. kinabaloo

    kinabaloo Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Sun - in that we agree: i think one can see a deposit after just a few hours of use. But there might be a joint issue as well as a deposit issue.

    Regular cleaning is still as important as ever.
     
  10. kinabaloo

    kinabaloo Vaping Master ECF Veteran

  11. breakfastchef

    breakfastchef Moved On

    Feb 12, 2009
    My experience has been that the solder joints are fine. Upon inspection of my last atomizer that died, the break was in the coil amidst the stuff we call the 'hardened black gunk. This particular atomizer was killed on my 801 Magnum mod in one day. I just had a second atomizer die on my Magnum yesterday. (Surgery on the 2nd atomizer will be today)

    I Although I like the extra power of 2 CR2 cells, I may have to throttle down to one CR2 cell so I am not cooking the coil to a premature death.
     
  12. surbitonPete

    surbitonPete Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 25, 2009
    North Yorkshire UK
    I must say all the broken coils I have examined are 'snapped' off at the point of soldering....it is literally a clean break and it us the wire that is broken the soldered joint is still strong and containing the actual soldered part of the wire. I guess it's possible that the heat of the soldering could have weakened the nichrome at that point.
     
  13. Caesarea

    Caesarea Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Mar 12, 2009
    UK
    I suspect my USB passthrough has killed 2 penstyle atties in 24 hours. I'm using it more cos not at work. :(

    Drain em every day, but have not tried boiling/lemon juice etc. No point now they're dead I guess. Wicks are not black. No gunk visible. Could the em field change the plating chemistry?

    Scientific ignoramus here.

    Are they worth boiling?
     
  14. surbitonPete

    surbitonPete Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 25, 2009
    North Yorkshire UK
    If have a circuit tester and know how to use it caesara..then you could find out if they are worth boiling ....but at the same time if they don't even get warm they are probably dead.:(
     
  15. Caesarea

    Caesarea Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Mar 12, 2009
    UK
    Oh oh .... well.....what a waste.... requiescant in pace. Shall bury them with teabag ceremony ;)
     
  16. surbitonPete

    surbitonPete Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 25, 2009
    North Yorkshire UK
    Lol ....hope you have plenty of spare atomizers for the rest of the Easter break if you are going to be vaping away.
     
  17. Caesarea

    Caesarea Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Mar 12, 2009
    UK
    Yep, SP, should be OK, *thanks lucky stars and Smokester!
    but at this rate of attrition (8-o)
    think I shall disconnect the usb passthrough - I run it off a USB mains adaptor, perhaps it delivers too much punch.

    Besides I just love to vape all day on low or zero. If I went back to High, I'd put the pen down more. hmmm dilemma....

    Time for a cuppa - nowt to do here Easter and town is dead.
    *Puts kettle on and watches steam wistfully...
    :)
     
  18. kinabaloo

    kinabaloo Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Pete - I am not saying the solder disappears; it will probably look the same to the eye, but that if weakens just a bit at the point where the nichrome enters for it to slip out. That could look like a break. If the one you saw was definitely snapped, fair enough but it would be easy to mistake the two.

    Here's a picture of a very badly gunked coil where the gunk reaches down to the solder joints; but I think this is really extreme:
    [​IMG]

    Ceasaria - if they are quite new, soak in a hot not boiling wash with some lemon juice or vinegar. Rinse, dry, reprime and try for a few minutes; nothing to lose.
     
  19. Caesarea

    Caesarea Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Mar 12, 2009
    UK
    "Ceasaria - if they are quite new, soak in a hot not boiling wash with some lemon juice or vinegar. Rinse, dry, reprime and try for a few minutes; nothing to lose. "

    OK will try. Thanks, Kinabaloo!

    :)
     
  20. kinabaloo

    kinabaloo Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    A new report with photo by breakfastchef just arrived (http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/forum/modders-forum/3759-my-diy-dse901-magnum-power-29.html#post192900).

    [​IMG]

    Sun / Terraphon has the theory that the wire often snaps about that location because the gunk buildup eventually pulls the gunked coil upwards until the wire breaks.

    However there is another possible explanation: that location is likely to suffer the highest average temperatures as it is away from the solder blob and copper wire and also away from the coil (which most time is cooled by the juice (about half way between the two).
     
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