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Thread: Beginner's RBA Questions

  1. #1
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    Beginner's RBA Questions

    Hi all!

    I'm about to take the plunge into purchasing an RBA. Although I have read a fair bit of info around the topic, I'm still an absolute beginner, hence I have some (hopefully simple!) questions to ask before I dive in. If you kind folk would indulge me with some answers I would be most grateful! Here goes...

    1. What essential gear will I need?
    I'm assuming kanthal wire (28g, as I plan on building coils around 1-1.5 ohm. Does this sound right?) and cotton for wicking is a must. So other than an RBA of my choice, is there anything else that is absolutely essential to get the ball rolling? For the sake of comprehensive answers (and hopefully having this thread be more useful to others too), please assume I have no equipment or tools at home already. Though speaking of RBAs...

    2. What decent value RBA would you recommend for beginners?
    I realise that there are a stack of variables here, and much may come down to personal preference. That said, if you could recommend just the one RBA for a beginner, which would you choose? And why?

    At the moment, I'm currently vaping on Nautilus tanks, and looking at the Kanger Subtank Mini. I like the subtank mainly because it seems pretty versatile with the additional option of using premade coils. Not hell bent on subohming, but having the option is nice should I want to indulge in the future. Personally, I also like a large tank size as I'm often on the go during the day, so 4.5ml capacity is about the smallest that would be convenient for me. Larger would be good too, but certainly not essential. Finally, being a "starving student", budget is definitely a constraint, though if a genuinely better option is available I'm happy to wait a little longer and save some more pennies. There's no rush at this stage. But on saving pennies...

    3. Time spent building aside, is switching to an RBA cost effective in comparison to premade coils?
    As noted above, I'm hardly a high roller over here in Student Land, so any pennies saved along the way (without notably detracting from the vaping experience) are more than welcome. At present, I buy authentic coils via FastTech for my Nautilus, and considering I usually get at least 60ml/coil, they work out fairly affordable overall. In short, is building my own coils likely to save money? How long will your average coil last in usage terms?

    4. Are there any safety considerations to be aware of that are specific to RBAs?
    I've read the related sticky found elsewhere on this subforum, so would it be safe to assume that an ohm reader is an essential part of the kit? For the short term, would the resistance readings given by the P3 suffice? Or should I hold off until I also have one of these devices in hand? Are there other relevant safety precautions I need to be aware of other than that already mentioned in the sticky?


    Questions questions questions!

    Though I think that about covers it for now, so please feel free to jump in with anything you think is relevant. All opinions and thoughts most welcome!
    Last edited by Brave; 10-08-15 at 03:54 PM. Reason: No reasons. Only excuses.
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  2. #2
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    Hi Brave. You might want to mention which mod you use as that could affect the answer to the 28g question. 28g is probably going to be too thick @ 1.5 ohms if you don't have adjustable watts. Be sure to check out steam-engine.org (the Coil Wrapping section). The Heat Flux and Heat Capacity parts can give you a good idea how different setups will perform without having to actually make them.

    1) I would absolutely recommend a coil jig such as the Kuro. I got the 3 size set from FT. Also some good wire cutters which will cut your wires off really flush to the edge, and sharp scissors for the wicks, and tweezers to squeeze the coils after heating to make them uniform.

    3) I spent something like $40 or $50 on what seems to be a near lifetime supply of koh-gen-do cotton and kanthal wire of several guages. $50 is probably going to last you what, a year maybe, buying premade coils? A coil that you wrap yourself can last a long time - I've heard of months - you can simply dry burn it with no wick to clean it. Wire is so cheap though, and you generally get bored of the build after days or a week, so it's no biggy to just make a new build. I change wicks every 1 to 2 days, or 3 or 4 if I'm too busy or lazy.

    I'll let others handle the other questions as I'm not all that experienced, but I can say that my FT clone Zephyrus is one awesome rebuildable or prebuilt coil tank. It eats through juice like crazy though, so maybe not the best for you since budget is the priority.

    Good luck!
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  3. #3
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    28g, and perhaps a small amount of 26g (I personally never use 26g as I find it gunks up quicker in RTA's and is not large enough for RDA's. But many people happily use it ). Pliers and wire cutters, scissors and a screwdriver set containing 2.4mm and 3mm. Ohm reader. I don't think 28g is too thick; 8 wraps 2.4mm will be about 1.5ohms.

    I'd suggest a Kayfun Lite v2, new or second hand for most affordable (even better a second hand KF3.1!), also the Squape, Rose, and Kayfun 4. Keep an eye out for second hand ones that are more affordable. Plus if you don't end up liking a second hand RTA, you can sell it for about the same price you paid and just be out postage.

    $10 for 100ft of kanthal can give you 200 15cm pieces which are more than long enough to make a single coil. Disregarding a few m wasted whilst learning that's 16 years worth of coil if you re coil as often as once month.
    You could get about 60 Kayfun wicks out of one sheet of KGD. Ok, that's a best case scenario with no wastage and I've seen plenty of people use and waste what I would use for 6 wicks in 1 go. But even at 30 wicks a sheet and re wicking every 2 days, thats $15 for a pack of KGD that will last you about 3.5 years. (I re wick a KF3.1 every 6 days or so, and a KF4 every 2 days. Some people more often, many less; just depends on variables such as juice ingredients, wattage, and amount vaped)
    The point that I'm making is it's super cheap.

    Not really. Just watch some rebuilding videos for whatever RTA and you'll be fine. When you check ohms and test fire your coil, it's often obvious whether it's touching anything thats going to short.
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  4. #4
    CMB
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    1. Cotton, wire, drill bit(I use a 1.5mm), tweezers and some kind of flame like a cooking torch. I don't use wire cutters of any kind, just scissors to cut the wire, then twist the excess off once tightened onto the posts. 28g would be fine for 1-1.5 ohms.

    2. My suggestion would be to try and find a Kayfun lite in the classies. Will last forever, well made, is easy to build and vapes great. Keep in mind I hate atties with a heap of airflow as I like tighter mouth to lung type draws, you might like something else.

    3. Absolutely, as long as you don't go nuts and buy everything under the sun. If you had a good atty, there's no reason why $20 worth of wire and cotton wouldn't last you a year. Depending on the juice, coils can last months, just dry burn and re-wick as needed.

    4. You don't really need an ohm meter if you are using the P3, but look at one, or even a cheap multimeter if you are using mechanicals. In fact a multimeter is probably more useful than a straight old ohm meter as it will let you test and diagnose other issues that might pop up with mechs.
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  5. #5
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    also a good thing to do is get a rda first to practice building with - still get a tank like you are intending but i reckon its good to practice on a dripper

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    "muji" cotton is both better than KGD [denser] and much cheaper

    I agree with what everyone says, but wanted to add that an in built ohm meter on a mod is only ikely to update every few seconds, or when you press fire. A dedicated ohm meter will read in realtime and pick up small fluctuations, which could indicate a loose connection
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    You guys really don't disappoint with your depth of knowledge and helpful advice. These answers have already cleared up a lot of my niggling questions, and provided a wealth of great info to run with too; particularly with all the equipment recommendations. Thanks very much!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vapaholic View Post
    Hi Brave. You might want to mention which mod you use as that could affect the answer to the 28g question
    Aha. Didn't really think of that... I'm currently using a Provari 3, and usually vape somewhere around a cool 10W with my Nautilus tanks. I've been using either the 1.6 or 1.8 ohm disposable coils (depending on availability), though I do seem to prefer the 1.6. I don't expect dropping the resistance down a little further will pose any kind of a problem for me in terms of vaping preference, and - according to the spec sheet at least - the Provari fires down to 0.5 ohm with v38 firmware. That said, I'm not really intending to go anywhere near that low at this early stage.

    Thanks for the equipment tips too, I was looking at the coil jigs and unsure if they were worthwhile. I'll definitely take your advice on that though - thanks again!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaoself View Post
    I'd suggest a Kayfun Lite v2, new or second hand for most affordable (even better a second hand KF3.1!), also the Squape, Rose, and Kayfun 4. Keep an eye out for second hand ones that are more affordable. Plus if you don't end up liking a second hand RTA, you can sell it for about the same price you paid and just be out postage.
    Kayfun clones of all shapes and sizes seem to be everywhere, but I haven't seen too many genuine articles advertised in my online travels. Were you specifically referring to genuines with your recommendation?

    If I can afford them, I would always prefer a genuine article as the one or two clone tanks/parts I've bought in the past have been less than stellar. That said, omoney is most certainly a consideration, and I see a lot of positive recommendations for some of the clone options online too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brave View Post
    I'm currently using a Provari 3
    Heh, yeah I googled P3 and eventually realised, doh. 28g will be fine, I concur. I agree with avtek too about the rda/dripper. So much easier to practice on instead of having to drain juice and dismantle tanks between builds. Also great for trying a bunch of different flavours in one sitting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brave View Post
    Kayfun clones of all shapes and sizes seem to be everywhere, but I haven't seen too many genuine articles advertised in my online travels. Were you specifically referring to genuines with your recommendation?
    Genuines definitely. The classifieds here have seen a KFL, KF4, and Squape for sale in the last few weeks. Place a wanted to buy ad and someone might help you out!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaoself View Post
    Genuines definitely. The classifieds here have seen a KFL, KF4, and Squape for sale in the last few weeks. Place a wanted to buy ad and someone might help you out!
    Thanks very much for the clarification and heads up. I think I will do just that, though I will wait for pay day next fortnight so I can be 100% sure I have enough coin to cover whatever asking price might eventuate.

    I'm trying super-hard to not double post here, while responding to each and every reply, but I type so slowly that you guys are always more than a few posts ahead of me! Regardless, all the advice and info posted so far has been read, absorbed and is very much appreciated. Humble thanks to all who have contributed!

    PS. That steam-engine.org link is top notch Vapaholic. Hadn't stumbled across that site on previous travels, so extra kudos to you for passing it on!
    Last edited by Brave; 11-08-15 at 01:31 AM. Reason: PS
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