Rebuildable Atomizer (RBA) Wiki
What is an RBA?
RBA stands for ReBuildable Atomizer. They are rebuildable/reusable versions of the standard disposables items that every vaper knows - cartomizers, atomizers, etc. The goal here is to provide a cheaper, more sustainable (and often more efficient) way to get your vapor. Once you have an RBA that you like, you can buy the materials to rebuild and reuse it for less than a dollar each month (your mileage may vary). Furthermore, all the materials required to rebuild an RBA are in use in other applications, so even if vendors are forced to stop selling cartomizers, atomizers, etc (for instance, because of FDA regulation), you'll still be able to get a fresh clean vape as long as you have eliquid and a PV. **One thing you're going to need to think about with RBAs is safety.There are several types of RBAs, listed in the "types" section.At the heart of every RBA, is the coil, which is the heating element that causes your e-liquid to vaporize, and the wick, which supplies the hot coil with liquid.The coil is made of some type of resistance wire, usually Kanthal or NiChrome. When a current is applied to this wire, it heats up, hopefully enough to vaporize your eliquid. There are several common gauges (thickness) of wire that are common to use. Thicker wire (which is usually a lower gauge) allows more electricity to flow, and will require a longer wire to achieve the same resistance as a thinner (higher gauge) wire. Common gauges are .28, .30, .32, .34. The gauge of wire you will use will depend on what power source you are using (and what type of current it can provide), your workable area (how large the coil section of your RBA is), and your target resistance. This will be covered in greater detail in the "coil"section.The wick can be made of any material that will supply your coil with a constantly flow of eliquid, enough that the coil will always be wet during your draw. Obviously it will need to be a material that won't release harmful chemicals into your vapor. Common materials that are currently used for wick are: Silica, oxidized stainless steel mesh, cotton, bamboo. Further information, including pros and cons of the currently common wick systems will be covered in greater detail in the "wick" section.
Rebuildable Atomizers can be dangerous. This is because if they are built incorrectly, they can cause a short, which will cause a load on your battery that it was not built to maintain. If you are not using safe batteries, this can cause an explosion. Before firing up your new coil, you should first test it with a multimeter, or a device that can test resistances. If the resistance is not within a normal range (.9ohms to 3.0ohms), don't fire it. Always use safe chemistry batteries (IMR), or protected batteries. The following is copied directly from the ECF forums:Direct From Rolygate at ECF... a Warning:Please note very carefully that rebuildable atomizer coils and wicks have known risks.Rebuildables are for experts, not average or beginner vapers with no multimeter or knowledge of how to use a meter, or when a meter must be used, or how electronic devices work. These materials cannot safely be used by the inexperienced or those without basic knowledge of electronics.This is because:A rebuildable coil/wick MUST be tested carefully with a meter before it is used.If it is not tested it may damage the device it is used on.Faulty wicks/coils WILL blow electronic devices.New coil/wick units must be tested and then used first on a strong basic electrical APV such as a Silver Bullet, that will not be destroyed by a short circuit.No new coil/wick assembly should be used on an electronic device until known to be safe.These items destroy electronic devices if faulty. This is a known issue.These items have inherent risks and may go faulty at any time even if they were originally in good working order. The owner bears the cost of equipment damaged as a result.RAs or RTAs must only be used on equipment that cannot be seriously damaged or harm the user. In practice this could mean an electrical device with a hot spring (fuse) or an electronic device that will not activate if there is a short-circuit (a dead short). Unfused devices or unprotected electronic devices will suffer damage when used with a faulty RA or RTA.Not only this, but make sure that your battery is either removed from your mod, or your mod is adequately locked when you are building your coils. I've personally had kanthal wire melted into the skin on my finger because I did not need this warning while rebuilding a Genesis atomizer.
Types of Rebuildable Atomizers
Drip - These are the simplest of RBAs, and are a good place to start. It is simply a rebuildable dripping atomizer. The wick you use can be any of the ones listed in the wicks, though they usually use silica or cotton, and often come with silica when you purchase them. Dripping atomizers can be of differing sizes, and are variable in the amount of juice they can hold. Click here to see a list of common drip RBAs.Bottom Fed - These are similar to drip RBAs, but have a hole through the connection to allow for use on a bottomfeeder mod, like the REO. Click here to see a list of common bottomfed RBAs.Tank - Tank RBAs have a storage area for juice, and that juice is fed to the coil via a wick. Click here to see a list of common tank RBAs.Genesis - Genesis atomizers are tank atomizers that have a vertical coil, and often use a stainless steel mesh or ceramic wick. Click here to see our page on Genesis style atomizers.
The coil is the heating element in your atomizer. It is what turns the juice to vapor. Coils are generally made by wrapping wire around a wick a specific number of times, and then connecting the lead ends to the posts in your RBA. Resistance wire is used when making a coil, and there are two common types of resistance wire you can use. NiChrome, and Kanthal. Which type of wire you use is personal preference, they both work.Resistance wire that is useful for building RBA coils comes in different "thicknesses", or gauges. .28, .30, .32, and .34 are common gauges. .28 is thicker than .34. Given a target resistance of 1.8 ohms, a much shorter length of .34 gauge wire would be needed than a .28 gauge wire.Longer wire means more surface area for creating vapor. Given two coils, both 1.8ohms, one made from .28 gauge kanthal and one made from .32 gauge kanthal, both would produce the same wattage (or power, or heat) at 4 volts on your battery, however, for the .28 gauge kanthal, that heat would be spread over a much longer surface area. This will lead to more vapor that is less hot. It will also lead to a much larger coil.Picking the gauge of wire to use is a mix between the amount of space you have to work in (this would be much larger on a Genesis style atomizer than say, a vivi nova), how warm you want your vapor to be, your target resistance, the battery you are using, and personal preference. Thicker gauge wire is harder to bend and is more springy.If you are new to RBAs, it's probably safe to buy .32 gauge, and possibly .30 gauge and just try them out. See what you prefer.
There are many types of wicks. The following is a list with their pros and cons. There are possible health risks with some of the wick choices, though none of this is proven. See here for more information.TypeDescriptionProsConsSilicaFiberglass threadEasy to set up, will not normally burnPossible health issues, doesn't last very long.CottonPlain untreated cottonEasy to set upWill burn if it becomes dry, at which point it becomes unusable. You MUST keep it wet. Doesn't last very long.BambooWhite bamboo threadEasy to set upWill burn if it becomes dry, at which point it becomes unusable. You MUST keep it wet. Doesn't last very long.Stainless Steel MeshSteel mesh, often used in genesis style atomizers, rolled up and oxidized with a flame so that it is no longer electrically conductive.Wicks very quickly, you can dry burn it, lasts a long time.Difficult to set up.revision by arolsenan ERA on my REO— 3 months ago
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