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Wicking issues with Aromamizer: what am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'RTA' started by Waxxiii, Apr 24, 2016.

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  1. Waxxiii

    Waxxiii Senior Member

    Jan 13, 2016
    I've only been rebuilding for a few weeks now. So far I've found everything running pretty smoothly on the coil front but I just can't get my wicking right, no matter how closely I follow tutorials and try different things. I'm having this problem in both of my RTA's but for the sake of simplicity I'm going to stick to asking for advice regarding my Aromamizer for this thread. I just want to mention that I have had zero issues with wicking in any of my RDA's but I guess with a tank it's a little more difficult.

    Ok, so I'm having a problem with dry hits. My current favourite build is a single horizontal coil, usually about 8 wraps of 24 or 26, depending on where I want my resistance at, id = 2.5, placed between the two posts. I usually vape around 27 watts. Anything higher than that and I'm getting dry hits every time. Should I be able to vape at higher wattage without dry hit or is that about right for the coil build I have in? Even at 27 watts and below I am finding that I'm getting dry hits and sometimes the flavour is muted.

    Can I get some general advice and tips on the best way to wick? What length and width should I be using? how much resistance should there be when pulling the cotton through the coil?

    Oh, and I'm using rayon.
  2. Shawn Hoefer

    Shawn Hoefer ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 21, 2015
    Arkansas Ozarks
    Your rayon is likely too tight in the coils and that prevents a smooth flow of e-liquid. With rayon, you want to feel the crunch, but the wick should still move, albeit with a little resistance.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N910A using Tapatalk
  3. Wingsfan0310

    Wingsfan0310 Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 2, 2013
    Flat Rock, MI, USA
    In RTA'S dry hits are usually caused from too much cotton. Either too much in the coil(s) or too much in the juice channels. Leaking or flooding on the other hand is usually attributed to not enough cotton (usually in the juice channels) Good luck!

    • Like Like x 1
  4. Waxxiii

    Waxxiii Senior Member

    Jan 13, 2016
    I think my problem here has been the length of the cotton. I've been messing around changed the width of the cotton but have continued to get dry hits. Anyway, I just re-wicked and cut the cotton far shorter than I had thought it should be and actually, so far I'm getting much better flavour and no dry hits.

    I guess it's just a learning curve.
  5. Waxxiii

    Waxxiii Senior Member

    Jan 13, 2016
    Thank you for specifying that it is the juice channels that I needed to focus on. That is what made me realise that I may have my cotton too long.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. rice721

    rice721 1.21 GigaWatts! Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 26, 2016
    Majority of the rtas with dual coil velocity decks have a step between the juice channel and where you want your cotton to sit (griffin, Gemini, smok rta, herakles).

    For me if that results in leaking then I would rewick with longer ends that reach into the juice channel.

    But I would say usually you don't want to stuff your wicks into the juice channel.
  7. RAWRferal

    RAWRferal Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 4, 2015
    Except the Aromamizer doesn't have juice channels...

    Hope your issues are now sorted OP, I gave up on it myself, the wicking just couldn't keep up to where I like it.
  8. Waxxiii

    Waxxiii Senior Member

    Jan 13, 2016
    Can anyone tell me how high I should be able to have the wattage? I'm trying to establish whether I have issues with my build/wicking or whether it's pretty normal to be getting dry hits at 27w and above due to the type of build I have in. I expected to be able to vape a little higher than 27w but perhaps I'm completely wrong.

    I have a single coil, horizontal build. 6 wraps of 26 AWG with overall resistance of .68. Obviously the tank I'm using is the Aromamizer.

    @suprtrkr I was hoping to get your input here too.

    Thanks guys.
  9. suprtrkr

    suprtrkr ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    In general, I think of 25ish watts to be about tops for a coil in the .7 range, but I don't normally build single coil or use 26ga wire. Assuming you are using Kanthal A1, Steam Engine tells me you are winding 6 wraps in a 2mm mandrel. The heat flux section says anything over 18 watts is going to exceed 235 mW/mm² with that build; this may be contributing to your dry hit problem. Using larger wire still would reduce the surface heat flux at the same wattage. So would moving to dual coils. Also, using a larger mandrel would let you go to more wick in the core, which should also translate to greater juice uptake. All in all, I would build that thing duals with 28ga KA1, 7 wraps on a 3mm mandrel for .7Ω, and vape it in the 20-30 watt range. (OK, actually, I'd probably build in in the .4Ω range.) If you really want a single coil at that resistance, and more than mid-20s watts, you need bigger wire. A lot bigger. Hhhmmm... twisted 26s would work, on a 3mm mandrel at 11/10 wraps, for that same resistance; then you'd have to hit it with 50 watts to get any vapor at all, and it would be good out to about 100 watts anyway.
  10. Waxxiii

    Waxxiii Senior Member

    Jan 13, 2016
    Oh, this makes me realise just how much I have to learn. And thanks, you have clarified a few things for me. It wasn't that I actually wanted to vape any higher than 27 watts, I really just wanted to work out whether I should be able to as I was thinking I had a problem with the way I had wicked it.

    I actually intended to swap out this coil with a dual build tonight so I appreciate the suggestion. I plan on building at around .5 this time to see how I get on with that. I have just bought the Avocado and am wondering whether I would be better with a single or dual coil in that. What would you suggest?

    Can you explain what you meant when you said "The heat flux section says anything over 18 watts is going to exceed 235 mW/mm²". What is this telling me?

    Thanks for your help once again. :)

    P.S How long had you been vaping before you got to grips with all this?
  11. suprtrkr

    suprtrkr ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    I tend to use duals in everything that will accept them, and some things that won't (I may be the only person who ever put a dual build in a Kayfun). I like dualies as it lets you use smaller diameter wire (heats faster and uses less watts) and more wraps for more surface area and shorter ramp time on less watts. I judge this more efficient. You are (if I remember) a MTL girl, though, so efficiency is not your main interest, really, in a lower watt regime. Duals, in my experience, give more cloud for the same watts as they have bigger surface area provided you size the wire right. This may or may not be important to you. I also find building duals in a topper intended for them makes better use of the air, and the block outs most toppers use to allow single coils don't work well, but that's minor compared to getting a good vape. You vape all day every day, but you only rebuild occasionally.

    The "heat flux thing" is your next step, so fasten your seat belt and be prepared to re-read it a couple of times. This is one of the great reasons Steam Engine is such a useful tool; it enables you to know where you want to set the watts, and how your coil set will perform before you build it. While it is generally true more watts = more vapor, it is more accurate to say what makes vapor is thermal energy flowing from the coil surface in contact with wet wick. Heat on dry wick burns your cotton; heat not applied to wick can't make vapor. The abbreviation I gave above, read in English, is "milliwatts per square millimeter of coil surface." That tells you how much power your coil is pumping out. Read in conjunction with the total watts the machine makes, it give you a clue about how much surface area the coil has by dividing. All other things being equal: two coils fired at the same watts, the larger surface area coil will be cooler and make less power per mm² than the smaller; and two coils with equal surface, the more watts will be hotter and make more power per mm² than the lower power coil.

    So bring up Steam Engine to the "Coil Wrapping" page. Set it up for 26ga Kanthal A1 round wire (I am assuming that's the only wire you have, and it will do for an example), dual coils, a target resistance of .5Ω, a mandrel size of 3mm and a coil leg length of 5mm. Over to the right in the Results box, you can see you will need two 7/6 wrap coils. Note the number in parenthesis behind that figure is .93Ω. This is the resistance of each one of the coils as individuals, and that means you won't get exactly .5Ω for the total build, but rather half of .93, which is .465Ω. That's not bad-- it might be within the limit of your ability to measure it-- but it isn't exactly what we want, so let's play with the mandrel size. Raise it to 3.5mm and you will see the 7/6 coil comes out to 1.05Ω, and the pair will total .525Ω. Closer, but still not exact. So we try it at 2.5mm and get a 9/8 wrap, also for 1.05Ω. We're probably not going to get much closer, so pick which one you want to use (I would go with the 7/6 on 3.5). One key thing to note is, so long as the resistance doesn't change, the length of the wire, and therefore the surface area of the coil, also does not change. Thus the 9/8-2.5 and the 7/6-3.5 have the same surface area and will make the same heat flux, while the 7/6-3 will have slightly less surface, and be slightly hotter than the other two. Note also, the bigger the mandrel, the more wick it will take to fill the center of the coil, a thing to remember if you're having juice transport problems and getting dry hits. FWIW, I like to make my coils between 5-10 wraps and the largest mandrel I can cram into the build deck, consistent with the wrap count.

    On to heat flux. In the Results box, two lines below the number of wraps, is a line headed "Heat Flux." There's a clicky-box where you can adjust the watts you set on the machine, and off to the right there's that annoying mW/mm² thingy again. The background of that number shades through the spectrum (backwards, actually) with blue being cold, red being hot and green the sweet spot. The background gets noticeably green between 100-200 mW/mm². That's actually a measure of the power streaming from the coil surface, but it's also an excellent indication of how hot the vape will be: the bigger the number, the hotter the vapor coming off the coil. I personally find I like vape between 80-180 on that scale. You may find you like something else. It doesn't matter in the absolute sense, save you will find some juices respond better to different temperature regimes. What's important is knowing what you like, so you can duplicate the heat flux no matter what kind of build you attempt. Assuming you are set up for 26ga, 3mm, 7/6 wrap, you'll see the green starting at 23 watts for 102mW/mm², and it starts shading yellow-green at 47 watts for 208mW/mm². That's where you set your mod wattage to keep that coil set "in the green." Now, go back and change the wire size to 28ga and look at what happens to the heat flux. Whoa! 47 watts is way up in the red at 417, and the new coil set wants to be a 5/4 wrap. That set doesn't get into the green until you back off to 12-23 watts! Now, my friend, you know why I stock a variety of wire sizes and types, and keep a selection of mandrels handy :) I know what heat flux I like, and my preferred wattage range, and I build my coils to match it. I told you, months ago, Steam Engine was a handy friend to make :)

    As to how long it took me... the right answer is forever plus 3 days, but it was different for me. For one thing, my background is engineering and I already understood Ohm's Law and math did not scare me before I started building. For another, I did not then have the advantage of Steam Engine, or the resources of this board at my beck and call, precisely because I never even imagined either one existed. Another big difference is, back in the stone age, when mods were carved out of rock and we wound coils out of plant fiber and animal sinew, there were no high power regulated mods available at all. The best you could get was 15 watts, and no coils lower than 1.5Ω. That's why I started building and went to mech mods; I needed more than 15 watts could give me, and the only way to get there was go mech, and build subohm.

    So, it was a trial. It took me weeks to build a coil that would actually vape, and I had to go down to the vape shop and pay a pimple-faced kid to teach me how to wick it. And I figured out my resistance the old fashioned way: by calculating the circumference of the drill bit I used as a mandrel, times the wraps, and multiplied the total wire length by the resistance factor. (I might also mention tank availability was a great deal more limited; I never liked the Kayfuns much because they don't breathe freely enough, so I found the Fogger and stuck with it for 3 years). Once I got a build that worked, I never varied it at all for years; just kept building the same thing over and over because it worked. When you're a mekkie total resistance, and thus amp loading, is a lot more important than heat flux, and the vape varies with battery charge anyway, so I never gave heat flux a though.

    Then I found this board, got introduced to Steam Engine, and things began to hum :)
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Waxxiii

    Waxxiii Senior Member

    Jan 13, 2016
    I'm no longer a MTL girl ;). Somehow it just wasn't enough anymore.

    Anyway, I'm off to read and absorb the information in your reply. Thank you.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Waxxiii

    Waxxiii Senior Member

    Jan 13, 2016
    Thank you SO MUCH for explaining the heat flux box to me. Understanding that has helped a lot of things fall into place. Looking at that I see that my wicking wasn't an issue at all. I was simply expecting my coil to perform above its capabilities. I had this idea in my head that lower ohms equal higher wattage. I now understand that to a degree that is true but I wasn't appreciating surface area. Now I understand how to interpret the heat flux section my builds can only improve. Again, THANK YOU.

    Well, I'm pretty glad I came to rebuilding now, with Steam Engine and ECF at my fingertips. I don't think I would have stuck to it if I didn't have these resources to hand, as you didn't.

    I'm sure I've asked you before but since I understand marginally more now I'll ask again. What builds and resistance do you favour?
  14. suprtrkr

    suprtrkr ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    You are quite welcome, my friend. Nothing pleases a teacher more than seeing the light of understanding kindle. You have made my day, and for that, it is I who should thank you. I am pleased as well you have taken to building. It adds, I feel, an interesting new dimension to the hobby and a greater degree of control over the vape.

    To answer you, I am generally in the 35-60 Watt range, and the .4-.6Ω resistance area; further, I keep the heat flux between 80-180mW/mm². I do vary from time to time. I have several mechs I build in the .7-.9Ω range as the toppers I use on them flow insufficiently well for a cloudier build, and building higher ohms with smaller wire keeps the heat flux where I want it with lower vapor volume. I also have some big air drippers I build down to .25, or even lower on regulated mods or in Temp Control, not that I do TC much. I can't take huge cloud too much, it makes me cough. But every now and again I get the urge. For my ADV, though, somewhere not too far from .5 and 40 watts. Right now, I have set up on my desk a RX200 with an MT RTA, coiled .26 with SS316 twists, an RX200 with a Boreas coiled .18 with SS316 twists, both running in TC; and a Fakir's FX22 with true hybrid Troy2 coiled .9 Kanthal 28ga slick and a Wotofo Phantom with a Wotofo Sapor coiled .7 Kanthal 30ga twists. My car rigs-- on the other side of the desk, not what I'm vaping now-- an SX Mini with a MT coiled .45 SS316 26ga slick and a Reo Grand SL/LP and a bottom feed Velocity coiled .6 Kanthal 30ga twists.

    I like regular old Kanthal A1 wire, and use it a lot. I find 28ga is the handiest to have around but I've got it from 22 down to 40. I like it slick wire, twisted, 28/32 claptons, 26/32 claptons and 2x28/32 fused claptons. I also favor 316 Stainless wire-- maybe the cleanest tasting I have found-- and, despite today's report, usually run it in wattage mode. I usually run SS wire either twists or slick, primarily because I haven't found a reliable source for wire small enough to use as a clapton wrap in the resistance range I favor. I am aching to try it, though, as soon as I find some.

    I think you can get about 85-90% of the surface area bonus using twists versus clapton wire, and with a lot less effort building the wire. Still, I do like a clapton build. I just ordered a new wire wrapping jig today, hopefully it will get easier and I'll use more of it. I have tried Aliens and Flat B@stards and Staples and Zippers and God knows what else, but I don't like buying premade wire, and I'm not likely to go to the effort of making it.

    I wick everything rayon, just about. I have tried every kind of cotton there is, I think, and I like rayon better. I have tried SS mesh wicks, but I don't favor complex flavor profile juices, where they really shine, and don't usually spend the effort to make them. I haven't ever tried bamboo, or SS cable, and don't have any real interest in them. I don't favor silica or Ekowool. One of these days, I probably will buy some ceramic rods and give them a try.
  15. Waxxiii

    Waxxiii Senior Member

    Jan 13, 2016
    Can I ask another quick question. A friend asked me to build a coil for his Subtank. He wanted the lowest resistance I could get it to. I was aiming for .2 with a dual coil build (tricky in a Subtank) but it's come out at 1.2. So I have dual coil, 5 wraps of 24awg around a 2mm mandrel. Is this unsafe? How am I able to establish what is and is not safe? I perhaps should have considered this before building.
  16. suprtrkr

    suprtrkr ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Something is wrong. You read steam engine correctly, a dual coil, 5 wraps of 24 at 2mm, should be .2Ω. The fact it is not means something is adding resistance to the circuit. While there is, in general, nothing at all unsafe about a 1.2Ω coil, I am disinclined to tell you that one is, because it shouldn't be reading that high. I would be leery of it until I figured out why. Is it the mod reading 1.2, or a stand alone ohm meter?

    Regarding safety in general, the issue is more about the mod than the coil. On a mech mod, the coil value is crucial because this determines applied watts, and thus amp loading on the batteries. But with a regulated mod, the wattage and amp loading is determined by the watts setting, and the coil value is meaningless so long as it falls within the operating parameters of the mod. A decent general rule of thumb is, on a regulated mod, 60 watts per 20A battery in the mod; if one battery, don't run it higher than 60 watts, if two, no higher than 120, etc. For a mechanical mod, I prefer a bit more headroom for safety, and don't load 20A batteries above 40 watts each.

    Be happy to teach you how to calculate it exactly, if you like.
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