Building Vaping Coils – Beginners Guide
A Note On Safety
It is important to note when building or rebuilding your own coils it is absolutely crucial to know the limits of your device, hardware, and batteries. Never build at resistances that will exceed their safe operating capacity. Most mods have a limit to what kind of ohms coil they can use. Check the manual to see the range, and never go below this. This is especially important when it comes to sub ohm vaping. There is more about battery and mod safety here.
So, you are considering entering the world of rebuildable atomisers? Here we will try to give you everything you need to know to rebuild simple dual coils for your Rebuildable Tank Atomiser (RTA). Before we get started we really should mention that there are certain risks associated with short circuits in any electrical device as such please follow the steps in this guide to ensure you are building coils and vaping safely. Not only this, there are many guides on youtube to familiarise yourself with the procedure and only once you have done this should you proceed.
There are so many different types of wire used from Kanthal, but also, Nichrome, Nickel, Titanium, Stainless Steel and more, but this build we are going to use Kanthal.
There are also many types of builds with these wires, but as an intro to building coils we are going to use its simplest form of wrapping coils.
Now there is the easier way and that is to buy the premade coils from here to save you the bother of wrapping them, but you will still need to follow the same safety measures by testing them for shorting on an ohms reader - remember and always remember, SAFETY COMES FIRST.
Why would I want to build my own coils?
- The coils last longer as you mostly just re-wick them with cotton
- You will get a much better taste of your E-Liquids from your coils by changing the cotton
- Building coils equals to saving money and getting satisfaction from doing so
- Building a coil can be much cheaper unless you look into playing around a bit more and experimenting with things like Clapton coils. But that is for later once you have gained proficiency in building the basic coils first.
What you need to build coils:
- An ohms reader (essential)
- RBA of your choice (For this example we will use the Aspire Cleito and its RTA kit and the 'Fat Boy' tank)
- Resistance Wire: Kanthal or NiChrome (We are using 26ga Kanthal in this instance)
- Small blue 3mm screwdriver (included with most RBA’s) or 3mm drill bit
- The Allen key that fits your RTA’s screws.
- Small butane or propane torch. (Not really needed, but does make the wire more pliable)
- Tweezers (preferably ceramic tipped), needle nose pliers, or forceps.
- Small wire cutters or nail clippers
- Sharp scissors
- Wicking Material: organic cotton
- A little time and patience.
If you do not want to buy everything separately then you can buy it all together here: COIL MASTER TOOL KIT V3
If you do not have an ohm’s reader please do not attempt to build your own coils.
Now that you have all the supplies you need, before you get started wrapping coils you will want to figure out how many wraps your coils will need to have to reach the desired resistance. To do this there are various tools available. We recommend the coil wrapping calculator site at www.steam-engine.org by adjusting the variables like wire size (26ga), coil type (single) target resistance (0.6 ohms), inner coil diameter (3mm) leg length (4mm) this calculator will tell you exactly how many wraps you need.
For this build, each single coil will need 7 full wraps. As we need dual coils for the Aspire Cleito and its RTA kit both 1.2-ohm single coils will have a final ohm reading of 0.6 ohms as adding a second coil half's the resistance.
Oxidise the Wire
First, you will want to cut a piece of your kanthal resistance wire. Although 100mm is likely enough it is often easier for beginners to have a little extra to hold onto so we recommend cutting a 120-150mm piece of wire. You will then want to hold the end of your wire with your tweezers, pliers, forceps, etc. Light your torch and carefully heat the kanthal wire at one end until it glows orange then slowly move the torch down the entire piece of wire. Give your wire a moment to cool then grab the other end of the wire and repeat. Oxidising the wire will make it less “springy” and easier to work with.
Wrapping Your Coil
You will need your tweezers, a small blue 3mm diameter screwdriver or drill bit and your wire for this part. You want your wire to be on top of the screwdriver close to its handle. Hold the end of the wire nearest the screwdriver firmly with your thumb. You then will start wrapping your wire around the screwdriver until you have reached our target of six wraps. Do your best to keep the coils as close to one another as possible without any overlapping. It is important to try to keep the wire tight through the process to eliminate as much slack as possible. Once you have made your six wraps both leads should be facing the same direction. Double check your number of wraps by counting them on the side of the coil that is opposite of the leads. Once you are sure your coils has six wraps you can hold one lead firmly with your fingers and pull on the other lead with your tweezers or pliers then repeat with the other lead. This is to remove any extra slack your coil might have. DO NOT REMOVE YOUR COIL FROM THE SCREWDRIVER.
There is a great example from GrimmGreen in this video.
Wrapping your coil using a Coiling Kit
There are many Coiling Kits on the market and they range from a few pounds up, but they all basically do the same and make your life easier.
Here is a video from the Coil Master Coiling Kit
For the Aspire Cleito's RTA coils we will use the 3mm post from a Coiling Kit. First, insert the wire into the hole on the side of the tube leaving approximately 25mm of wire sticking out from the hole in the tube. Hold the end of the wire against the tube so it cannot slide back out. Pull the loose end of your wire around the shaft. Place the top winding tube piece onto the shaft with the pin towards the handle. Turn the top winding piece slowly so it catches the wire and starts wrapping. Be gentle. Excessive pressure will cause the wire to wrap over itself, so try and follow the natural path of the winding so that each turn spirals up until you have wrapped it eight times. Once you have eight wraps remove the top winding piece and straighten the wire that sticks through the hole in the handle. Adjust or straighten the leads as needed then remove the coil from Coiling Kit’s shaft and slide it on to your small blue screwdriver for installation.
Installing Your Coil
Next, we will want to take the build deck of your RTA and loosen the post screws most of the way. It is recommended not to remove the screws completely because they are easy to lose and hard to put back in when your hands are already full. You will then take your coil (still on the screwdriver) and place one lead in your positive post hole and the other in your negative post. Using the screwdriver currently inside your coil try to position the coil towards the centre of your RTA. Once you have it roughly positioned you can tighten your post screws. Be careful not to over tighten or you might cut the wire inside the post and have to make a new coil. Tthe Aspire Cleito's RTA is a dual coil device, so you will need to repeat the procedure for both sides. Once your coils are mounted securely and evenly trim the leads as close to the posts as possible.
Testing Your Coil For Shorts
When you are using dual coils you are creating a second path for electricity to follow which cuts the resistance in half. For example 1.2-ohms / 2 = 0.6-ohms. Simply make and install 2 of the 1.2-ohms coils we just made. Be sure to make the coils as close to identical as possible. Try to install and position them similarly. When test firing your dual coils they should fire at about the same time and glow evenly if one glows brighter than the other check your screws. If it continues to glow unevenly try squeezing the coil that glows brighter with your ceramic tipped tweezers. Let it cool then test fire again. Repeat until they glow evenly outward from the center.
Next, you will want to take your RTA and screw it on to your ohms’ reader and turn it on to be sure the new coil on your RTA doesn’t have a short. It should measure close to your target resistance of 0.6-ohms but it is important to remember it is quite common and normal for coils to have a slight variance in resistance of up to 0.2-ohms. If your coil displays the proper resistance within 0.2-ohms you are ready to move on to the next step. However, if your ohms’ reader is not reading your coil or displays a resistance more than 0.2-ohms different than your target resistance there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Usually, issues are easily fixed. Check to be sure your RTA’s post screws are tight. Check your coils positioning to make sure it isn’t touching the deck or posts. Be sure your atomiser is screwed completely into the ohms’ reader. If these steps corrected your problem, you are ready to move on to the next step. If those steps did not correct your problem, try making new coils. If you continue to have an issue, there might be a problem with your atomiser or with your ohms’ reader.
Test Firing Your Coil and Eliminating Hot Spots
Now that we have made sure your coils are installed properly and there are no shorts, you are ready to put your RTA on to your mod. Once your RTA is installed onto your mod you will want to briefly fire your mod until the coils begin to glow. Once your coils begin to glow stop firing your mod and gently squeeze your coil together with your tweezers. Repeat this process until the coils glow evenly starting from the centre moving towards the outer wraps.
Wicking Your Coil
There are many things you can use to wick your coil, organic cotton, silica wick, eko-wool (silica braided around cotton) are all very popular for different reasons and uses. We prefer organic cotton for its superior flavour and wicking abilities. You will want a piece of material just big enough to snugly fit inside your coil leaving about half an inch on either side. It sometimes helps to wet and twist the end of your wick to get it started. Push it in from one side of the coil and pull it out the other side. If It doesn’t go through easily you likely are using too much material for your wick. On the other hand, if your wick is sliding loosely inside the coil there is not enough material. Once your wick is threaded through the coil takes the wick sticking out of each side and trim them so they are just long enough to be folded over to sit on the deck of your RTA. Once your wicks are trimmed wet them with a few drops of e-juice and fold them onto the RTA deck paying mind not to push them underneath the coil so air can reach the entire coil.
There are many types of (RBA) Rebuildable Atomiser decks and each one can be wicked slightly differently. So YouTube is your friend here as these guys have researched and found the best way to wick a chosen RBA, so do the research and find the best way to wick your RBA.
Test it again!
After wicking your coils, it is likely they were pushed on or moved around a little. It is important to recheck your RTA’s post screws are tight. Then recheck your resistance on an ohms meter. Be aware it is possible that your resistance might have changed slightly +/- 0.2-ohms but this is normal. If everything checks out, you are ready to move on to the next step. If there is a problem, you will need to recheck everything working your way backwards until you find the problem.
Aspire Cleito RTA System Video Rebuild
Vape and Enjoy!
You have successfully built a 0.6-ohms dual coil for your RTA. Saturate your wicks with your favourite e-juice from the House of Liquid, replace your tank and screw your cap on, vape and enjoy! You deserve it!
The House of Liquid Team