I’m relatively new to vaping. I got my hands on a sig 150w tc with a smoke tfv4. I have been purchasing the pre built coils about once a week, along with a 15 mil juice once a week. To consider cutting down on cost as well as maximizing flavor I have been researching for an RBA for my tfv4. I am trying to quit smoking, as well as take a serious interest in the vaping community. This is my constant every day vape, as well as a juice guzzler. All and all I’m looking for a direction as well as opinions about RBA to come to a medium for cost and upkeep to keep on vaping! I don’t know anything about building coils : ( what should I buy to conserve battery, juice, and get a satisfying vape along with ease of use and maintaining the RBA. From start to finish please!
I see you got a lot of info on the chat already. But yeah, DIY is the way to go if you want to save money.
Vaping is a bit of a very personal thing though and what works for me doens’t necessarily work for you. A lot of it comes down to trial and error. This goes for what to use (regulated or mech mod, tank, rdta, rda, …) as well as for the e-juice you’re vaping (flavor, cloud production, nicotine levels, flavor palette, PG/VG ratio, …), making your own coils or buying pre-made coils, etc, etc.
It’s really difficult not to make it even more confusing than it already is for beginning vapers. The good thing is, the only “quality” and expensive thing that you really have to get, is your batteries. With all the rest, you can experiment with low-cost things until you find what really works for you. There are very cheap mods, both regulated and mechs. You should always have more than 1 mod so in case one (or 2) break down, you have something to fall back to. The same goes for your atomizer or atty (i.e. tank, rda, rdta, …).
Building coils may seem like a daunting task for someone who hasn’t done it, but really, it’s very easy and anyone can do it. You don’t need to spend hours making fancy coils that could win a competition for it to make your vape enjoyable. Just wrap some metal wire around a screwdriver a few times and you’re done, easy as that. Most people use Kanthal A1 wire 26g. If you want to vape on temperature control, buy Stainless Steel 316 or 316L, same 26g. A roll of about 300ft shouldn’t set you back more than $10 and with about 7-8" of wire per coil, you can get a hell of a lot of coils out of it.
If you decide to make your own coils and use a non-regulated mod, ALWAYS check your resistance before you put it in your mod. www.steam-engine.org is the place to be if you want to make your coils and calculate how to build them.
When it comes to atty’s, you can get a lot of good clones for less than $10, especially if you go to the Chinese websites like gearbest.com and fasttech.com, but you might even find those low prices in local stores. They’re good to start with and see how you get on with it. If you do have the money, it’s always a good idea to support the original designers and buy the real thing. They’re usually a bit better in quality of build, flavor, airflow, and whatever else. But that being said, a lot of clones are very close to the original thing and can be a way to see if you like it or not.
But again, vaping is very personal and you will have to work out for yourself what works best for you. Nobody can tell you that, just like nobody else could choose an ideal car for you or your favorite color.
Then when it comes to e-liquids, any DIY will be at least 5 times cheaper than the cheapest and lowest quality commercial e-liquids you can find and you’ll have complete control over quality, flavor, pg/vg ratio, nicotine ratio and so forth. If you have no idea where to start, start by watching some youtube videos, like the ones of diyordie or zestyvapes (there are dozens, if not hundreds). Check out ELR’s resources page to see where you can buy your ingredients and maybe check out some clone recipes of the commercial juices that you know you like. Start by purchasing those flavorings and start mixing.
You can mix using syringes, pipettes or using a scale. A scale is the biggest investment of the 3, but it’ll pay itself back in no time and will give you the easiest and most accurate way of mixing your juice. Syringes and pipettes will need to be cleaned (which takes a long time and a lot of effort each time you mix) or you throw them out and they’ll just be an increasing cost every time you mix. Syringes are usually the way people start out because it’s the cheapest initial investment, but most people turn to a scale pretty fast. You’ll need one with a 0.01g accuracy and in the US, the LB-501 scale is the most commonly used one. However, you can probably get cheaper ones too.
Conserving batteries… that’s an easy question. Just make low-wattage builds on your RBA and you won’t use as much electricity. Again, check www.steam-engine.org and play with the numbers until you get a satisfying coil build. A bit of an understanding of Ohm’s law will get you a long way and understanding the different metals (through experience) will get you even further. Wire isn’t expensive, test with different builds.
That being said, batteries in a mod are like the oil in an engine, you do NOT want to put cheap stuff in there and you want to keep your batteries in pristine condition. If you have tears in the wrap or your batteries are out of sync (different charge), stop using them and get new ones. With the money you save from quitting smoking, the least you can do is spend a little of that on good batteries that you can trust, like Sony, LG, Samsung (among others). For more info, browse Mooch’s articles on www.e-cigarette-forum.com. He always follows up with the latest evolution in batteries and publishes his test results there. He’s the go-to-man for the whole global vaping community.
I forgot to say, but when you’re going to make your own coils, there’s a lot of debate on what’s good and what not. My personal advise, watch a lot of coil builds on youtube, but don’t make tight coils that you have to dry-burn and tweak to get the hot spots out. Make is safe and easy for yourself by building spaced coils (simply coils where the wraps aren’t touching each other).
There are doctors and metallurgists who say that dry-burning a coil releases toxic cancerous fumes and changes the core structure of the metal coil. You can simply avoid that buy spacing your coil and there are plenty of how-to’s online.
@jake31 covered it really well. Nothing to add except my experience. I went the route of buying a Coil Master kit. That got me the basic tools to include a resistance meter that would also “burn” the coils. I really enjoy building RBA’s and get very nice results to include the Baby Beast RBA. I use simple SS wire and my builds are not as powerful as some of the more exotic premade coils but they produce good vapor and great flavor. For me wicking has always been the challenge, but again, for me, it is fun experimenting and learning. I believe that is the key. The materials are very inexpensive. I can build a lot of coils for the cost of a premade coil. I can see where a person who gets frustrated with builds that don’t work out would probably not take well to making their own coils. As stated by Jake31, YouTube is full of folks doing builds and there are a lot of subtle hints to be found.
In General higher ohm coils/lower wattage (generally MTL) vaping will:
Heat the coil slower, which may produce “less” vapor
Provide A “cooler” tasting vape, can produce more flavor
May use less E-Juice (<$ less money)
Prolong battery life (<$)
Prolong coil life (<$)
Prolong wick life (<$)
May result in less PV maintenance/Issues
Less irritation to non vapers
Aids stealth vaping
May be better in the long run healthwise (<$)
For hands on instructions, might want to google: “you tube: build vape coil”.
I did that and bought all the tools and stuff. I tried it for about 6 weeks and went back to tanks with pre-made coils. (Specifically the Big Baby Beast by Smok). I’m chucking some nice clouds at .15 Ohm for about 4.00 a week for my pre-made coils now.
Why did I go back to pre-made?
I tried every type of cotton, something just wasn’t right. I tried different wraps of wire. The flavor of the liquid tasted better to me initially and then something started to bother me. I didn’t like the liquid all over my hands, I didn’t like goofing around with the coils or burning them off. I didn’t like stuffing wicks. It is more time consuming and there is a learning curve - a big one.
So right now I have 4 drippers in a drawer I only use for testing recipes. I have a Boreas and a Melo a bunch of cotton, a bunch of coils, clippers, tweezers… that cost me a lot of money! (I am saving them for divorce or dooms day because you never know but)
Vaping can turn into a very expensive hobby so unless you really really want to play with this stuff… (don’t get me wrong, eventually it will save you a lot of money) the performance you get from pre-made coils is nothing to shake a stick at. If I was smoking I would pay 8.00 a day, not 4.00 a week.
There is a market for both types of people and sure, DIY of any type requires you to get a little bit of experience to become good at it.
However, you can just buy pre-made coils for your drippers as well if you don’t like to make your coils and wicking really isn’t a problem if you’ve wicked a few. You just have to learn how to estimate how much cotton to use.
But sure, if you feel more comfortable with tanks and premade coils, that’s fine. As long as you stay off those cancer sticks, it’s all good
I’m completely opposite. I don’t think any tank can come near the flavor of a dripper, I find making coils and wicking them easy and relaxing and I love that I save so much money doing it.
Everybody’s different and there’s something for everybody.
Before you go full out on buying new equipment if you don’t know whether you’re going to like it, it’s always best to give it a try first. Get yourself a cheap clone, get yourself a roll of wire (you don’t need a coilmaster set immediately) and some pre-made wire or coils, some cotton, experiment and see what works best for you.
It was too much hassle for me lol
Thanks everybody for the advice, it definitely helps. I plan on sticking with my sigelei 150w t.c with the smoke tfv4 for the time being, it was gifted to me by a co-worker for covering a shift ha ha. I’m told it’s a good set up. I kind of like the pre made coils, it’s very convenient… but there not always consistent. The level of control i could get from a RBA while still keeping the tank set up and having to maintain every few days sounds nice but I am a little worried to have an experience like Maureeenie had. I see i could get the RBA with some cotton and coil and wrap it without a kit. My next main question is could i check ohms by quickly firing (just tapping the fire button to get a read) on my sig at low watts with an RBA? Is it safe? Or would i have to buy an ohm reader. I’m just worried it’s not going to take and it will be a frustrating experience and a waste of money. I plan on to just by pre made e- juice (space jam andromeda) the thing just eats juice and battery using the stock sub ohm coils. I could make an RBA with something closer to 1 ohm and still get pleasant flavor and vapor? I’m really not feeling to keep on buying a 7$ coil once a week when i can make something that i absolutely love after the learning curve. I find the “stock” coils cotton ends up tasting like crap but remains un burnt, the coil eventually turns black and that flavor isnt the same after that happens (even when cotton still seems to be in good shape)
Btw set up includes a pair of sony vtc4, which i recently rewrapped, they are about a year old but they are still holding well. I can run them with this cloud beast at about 40 watt for a day and end with about 50 to 60% battery left over
i used the tfv8 baby beast coils that came with my alien kit and was planning to buy the rba. when i looked online i noticed i could get an rta for 20$ and the rba for the tfv8 was $10 plus shipping. i ended up getting the rta for 20$ with free shipping bc the rta’s and rda’s have much more durable and roomy decks for building on. also if you break an rba and buy a second, you basically paid the $20 already. there are plenty reviews on YouTube for tanks. they give helpful pros and cons for each. you can get the Griffin rta for $18. it doesn’t leak and easy to build on. eBay is the cheapest place i have seen for wire for building. those premade coils are way too expensive in the long run. btw, subohm tanks like the tfv4 you have and any other tank that gives a cloud is going to drink a lot of juice. best to start diy b4 you spend too much on juice. or at least buy juice in 250mL bottles. thats a little cheaper. if your buying 15ml at a time, that’s going to get old Real quick. and i just use organic cotton balls from Kroger for wicking. you get a lifetime supply for $3.
You can only know if DIY is for you if you try. You can start off really cheap, there are RDA’s for $5, a bit of wire costs $5 and same with cotton. All other stuff is stuff that people usually have at home (wire cutter, screw driver etc). You could read the resistance of the coil on your mod (just screw it in and it reads/displays the ohms).
In the beginning you might mess up a few coils, who cares, wire is so bloody cheap. But if you don’t try, you will never know and you’ll just be torn between the opinions of others. Some will always be pro while others are con.
How does this look? At 30 to 40 watts, around 4.7 volts and 0.76 ohms. What can i expect? This was after about 5 or 6 hits. I get a big loud pop occasinally that frankly scares the crap out of me lol
popping can have several reasons, usually your coil getting too hot, starting to boil instead of vaporize your liquid. it can also be due to bad wicking (not enough wick in the coil).
My tf4 is packed away. I got tired of spending the money to replace the coils and being doubly pissed when 1/5 coils in a pack were faulty and would not thread, or thread and dump a full tank of juice. I had 0 desire to start building coils until I got so frustrated with the money I was spending on the tf4 for the performance I was getting out of it. At least with building your own coils and wicking, there probably is a fix for the problem (most often user error).
I like the replaceable coils, they taste good for longer, better air flow, but they were eating my juice up. This tfv4 may be more trouble than it’s worth for someone like me who is more of a flavor chaser. I love the flavor from the rba but the tank in general seems a bit fussy and a lot of upkeep. Anyway I did my 2nd wicking last night, no problems since I got the rba. Have yet to build a coil though. All in all I love my Sig, may consider trying a different tank that may fit my needs better. Any suggestions?
Hmmm. My experience with the tf4 was that the one thing it did well was tasting good–almost too saturated with flavor. I had to dial down the percentages in recipes a bit.
The tf4 was the last tank I purchased that I had to buy coils for.
Made the switch to rta with the Griffin 22.
But the Griffin 25 Plus is so much easier to work with and I’m never unhappy with how it delivers flavor or clouds. Flavor is primary to me, clouds are secondary. the 25 Plus gives me both.
plus the tank holds a lot of juice, which is important for me.
lmao. Is that a tank in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?