I’m about a week in to my first experience with RBA’s (specifically the Phoenix clone) and thought I’d offer my thoughts, tricks, etc. as a newbie. This information did not originate with me; I am simply copying what others have done and expressing what worked for me. The best, all-encompassing tutorial I read on the boards here was the vertical wick tutorial, but there has been a lot of great information and how-to’s from many people on the forums.
All atomizer use was done on an ego Twist for now (VAMO is on its way!). No problems with using the ego.
For the RBA’s, I have the Phoenix clone from MOV. I also have their V3 Phoenix clone which differs a bit from the "regular" Phoenix. V3 looks nicer than the regular Phoenix and comes apart in 3 pieces which is nice.
I used Kanthal 32 and 34. I like the 32 better because being thicker it is easier to work with. I have 28 but haven’t used it.
I wrap my coils using the drill bit method outlined in the vertical coil thread. Usually 5-6 wraps for a target range of 1.7-2.5 ohms. Of course I check them with a multimeter before firing. Tried both vertical and horizontal coils…I don’t really have a preference, performance seems to be about equal either way. The vertical coil is easier to use on the regular Phoenix, and a horizontal coil is much easier on the V3.
I didn’t do any heat prep to my wire with a lighter, just dry burn a few times after installing the coil and before installing the wick. Haven’t noticed any taste issues that were related to the wire.
Started out using cheesecloth. Don’t know if it was the type of cheesecloth I was using (unbleached, etc) but the taste was terrible. Then went to 100% cotton yarn. Much better, but flavor seemed muted. Finally switched to 100% cotton sterile gauze and flavor (and vapor) has been outstanding. This is my favorite wick material so far. I had some SS mesh but I can’t seem to find it so I haven’t tried that out yet.
**I make my wicks about 2 inches long, but I’m not sure if this is too long or too short. I stuff the excess wick around the posts into the well, but I’m a little unclear on how much of the well should be full of wick. Anybody can chime in on this.
I found that the air hole position has a LOT to do with the amount of vapor you get. Definitely as others have suggested, make sure the air hole is in front of the coil, not being blocked by the posts. I opened my air hole up a bit with a Dremel bit, definitely improved the airflow and lessened the harsh throat hit. If you open it up too much just move some of your wick over in the direction of the air hole and it will tighten up the draw a little bit.
I really like the RBA’s. I like both the regular Phoenix and the V3. The V3 is prettier and works better for horizontal coils. Performance is equal on both. Really digging the sterile gauze as a wicking material. These are little beasts and for the price I don’t really see the point in using regular atomizers other than backups.
I was a bit frustrated at first when I wasn’t getting the performance, vapor, and flavor I was hoping for. But with a little practice and patience everything comes together. So don’t give up if you are frustrated!! Get good at wrapping coils, find a good wick material, and watch the position of that air hole. These things can be a bit finicky, but with a little love these things are beasts!!
Hope this helps anybody thinking about trying the RBA’s or who is new and frustrated. Stick with it! And if anybody else has any suggestions or would like to add anything please do.