The Art of the Micro Coil: A Beginners Guide to Coiling an RBA

For new or less experienced vapers, RBAs can seem confusing and over-complicated.  I was there myself – I had just gotten into the world of variable voltage, and I was still using carto tanks and pre-coiled clearomizers. While they did work, I never felt fully satisfied because I knew there was a better way.

When I finally did decide to get into RBAs, I made the foolish mistake of starting out on an AGA T2, probably one of the more difficult genesis atomizers to coil. I got so frustrated during the process that I didn’t try to wrap another coil for weeks.

Then one day, I was perusing ECF and I discovered micro coils. I had a dead A7 that I burned out the stock coil on, and at the time I had no idea how to wrap my own coil, so it sat dormant in my vape box for months. I decided to choose it for my first ever attempt at wrapping a micro coil.

Within 5 minutes, I had my coil wrapped, attached to the A7 and wicked. As soon as I fired it up and took my first puff, it was like a lightbulb moment for me. The vapor was so much thicker, the throat hit better, and the clarity of the flavor had improved. All after taking a quick 5 minutes to wrap my own coil.

Once I had mastered that, I could coil nearly anything. That’s the great thing about the micro coil – the amazing versatility it has. You can pretty much use a micro coil on just about any atomizer out there that is possible to rebuild.

Most importantly, it is super easy to do, the materials are cheap, and once you learn how to wrap one yourself, you will be empowered to enter the next level of vaping, where you have complete control over the results.

So let’s dive in to how to actually wrap one of these:

What You’ll Need

  • Kanthal Wire – I use 28 gauge almost exclusively, you can pick it up for next to nothing on ebay by searching 28 Gauge Kanthal. I get mine from Temco.
  • Something to clip the wire – I have used wire clippers, scissors and most commonly a nail clipper
  • Something to wrap the coil on. I strongly recommend starting out with a 1/16 drill bit which you can pick up at walmart for about $1.
  • Wick material – I strongly recommend using cotton. More on that later.
  • A basic pliers – I suggest needle nose
  • A rebuildable atomizer – You can definitely apply this to other types of atomizers like the Kanger Protank, but for starting out, a rebuildable dripping atomizer is by far the best way to go. I recommend an IGO-L, which you can pick up super cheap on Fasttech. They are very user friendly and perform flawlessly.

Wrapping the Coil

Ok. For this tutorial, I am going to assume that you followed my instructions and got yourself a 1/16th drill bit. It costs almost nothing to buy and it’s an invaluable tool in any vaper’s toolkit, so you need to get one – no excuses.

The difference between a Micro Coil and a regular coil is that all the individual coils are touching each other. If you ever look at the coil on a stock atomizer, you will see that it probably only has a couple of wraps, spaced out quite a bit. We want to do the opposite of that – more wraps, tightly touching. This will give you a lot more surface area on the coil for vapor to be created, and I think that having them all touching helps keep them consistently heated.

The hardest part of wrapping the coil is the first loop. What I do is take the drill bit, then wrap the wire over the bit 1 time, then pull the 2 ends together at the bottom so they are tight. This will help get you positioned so that the rest of your wraps are very close together. It should look something like this:

micro-coil-1

Sorry the picture is so shitty, but this should give you a pretty good idea. Now once you are at this point, grab the wire that is pointing away from you and pull it tight – then carefully wrap it around the drill bit 8 times. You want to keep a lot of pressure on it, so continue pulling it tight as you wrap it. This will help keep all the coils next to each other and uniform.

Once you have it wrapped 8 times, you should have a pretty tight coil wrapped with both legs facing downwards. It should look something like this:

micro-coil-2

Notice that there are a few slight gaps in mine. That’s ok.

Now depending on what device you are using, the next step will vary. Basically, we need to heat the coil until it glows orange, then compress the coils together with a pliers.

Method 1

If you are using an IGO L like I suggested, what I would recommend is that now you take your coil and attach it to the IGO-L.

Before you fire it, CHECK YOUR OHMS. You should always check your ohms before firing any atomizer if you value your face. If you did 8 wraps around a 1/16 drill bit, you should come out around 1 ohm. If you are using a variable voltage device, you might need to do more wraps – 12 or so to get the ohms high enough to fire. Otherwise you should be good.

Once you have checked your ohms, fire the device until the coil glows orange. Then take your finger off the fire button and quickly compress the coils with a pliers. DO NOT DO THIS WHILE FIRING YOUR DEVICE. It is no bueno.

When you are compressing the coil, you only need to apply light pressure. If the coil was heated until glowing, it should be a lot less springy and easily compress together to form a tight coil.

Method 2

If you are using something like a Protank where you can’t easily dry fire the device and then compress the coils, you can do it manually. Just slide the coil off of the drill bit and grab it by the end of one of the legs. then take a regular old lighter or any kind of fire producing device and hold it over the coil until it glows, then compress with a pliers.

Now that your coil is nice and tight, you are good to go. If you haven’t already attached it to your atomizer, go ahead and do that now and you are ready to apply the wick and start vaping.

Let’s Talk About Wicks

There are plenty of different wicking materials out there. The most common is Silica, and stainless steel mesh is also popular.

Personally, I don’t waste any time messing with either. I simply use plain old cotton.

Why Cotton?

Cotton is ideal for wicking. It can swell and absorb tons of juice. It’s a lot more pliable than silica so it makes it vastly easier to thread your coil, and it’s available damn near anywhere. Flavor wise, it doesn’t carry much of it’s own flavor – unlike silica which I think has a noticeable taste.

Just head over to your local CVS and pick up a bag of Sterile Cotton Balls for around $1.00 and you will have a lifetime supply of wicks. Plus you will never have to worry about sourcing the niche wick products that you can’t just head over to your local walmart and buy.

The main reason for cotton, especially for beginners is because it is just so easy to work with.

My first microcoil I wrapped, I wicked with silica and the hardest part of the process was threading the silica through the coil. With cotton, you don’t have to worry about that at all.

Diameter

There are different schools of thought on the correct diameter for a coil. Personally I like to choose between basically 3 different sizes for 90% of my builds.

Those 3 sizes are:

Large – I use a 3/32 drill bit for these. They aren’t that much bigger than the 1/16, but they are bigger. This provides more surface area and has no real drawbacks. I use larger sized coils most commonly on drippers and genesis style atomizers.

Normal – Normal for me is the 1/16 size. It is a great all around diameter to use. I almost always use 1/16 for Protanks and other BCCs. It works well for Dragon Coils. I really like it on Kayfun style devices because the drill bit will fit perfectly into the airhole making it super easy to do a chimney coil. It’s a great all around size and will work with anything.

Small – These work best for builds where the wick is wrapped around the outside of the coil rather than threaded through it. For a small build, I usually use a straightened paperclip. At 28ga Kanthal, you will need quite a few wraps, but these things can pack a crazy punch and produce a lot of vapor. I don’t use this size as much, but it does come in handy from time to time.

There are plenty of other ways you can go with diameter, but I find that most of the coils I wrap are one of those 3.

Types of Atomizers to Use with Micro Coils

Really, the possibilities are endless. In fact, there is rarely a build I do that doesn’t have a micro coil. I basically use them for every single build I do. The main thing I change from build to build is how the wick is wrapped.

That said, I have used micro coils specifically in: Protanks, BCCs, Genesis Atomizers, Kayfun Style Atomizers, Taifun GT and GS, Dripping Atomizers, Hybrid mods and Reverse Genesis Atomizers.

The possibilities are endless.

The Bottom Line

If you are planning to get serious about vaping, this is something you need to know how to do. It will save you tons of money, give you the confidence you need to be able to tinker with and troubleshoot your devices, and it’s actually pretty fun wrapping your own coils.

For me, this was the ONE thing I needed to learn to get to that next level of vaping where I really started to feel comfortable working with basically any atomizer I wanted without being afraid that I wouldn’t know how to build it.

If you haven’t tried to build your own coil yet, take a few minutes, wrap one up and see what a difference it makes!

10 comments on “The Art of the Micro Coil: A Beginners Guide to Coiling an RBA

  1. Gary says:

    So, heres the thing. Ive used every kind of rba there is and all the basic sizes of kanthal as well as many different types of wicks and I while I do find that cotton is the best by far, I often still struggle with knowing what ohm to use in certain atomizers and most of all… whats the right amount of cotton to use. Seems like I get a bad taste sometimes and I CAN never decern the difference between a good build and a bad one other than the taste. Everything else will seem perfect. So its gotta be the amount of cotton I think. That or the size of my coils. i dunno, but I wish I could get consistancy. I dont have anyone else that vapes to compare methods with as its just me that vapes out of people I know, although Ive been vaping for a year and a half

    Heres a question for you. What size coil, what type of kanthal, and how much cotton do you find optimal for an aqua build?

    • sam says:

      Hey Gary,

      Cotton can definitely be an issue. For most of my builds, I tend to run a basic wick-through-the-coil setup, and it really only requires a very small amount of cotton. So for starters I would suggest trying to do a basic coil and dial way back on the cotton – take about as much as you think you need and then tear about half of it off. You can always add more if it is too little, but I have rarely ever had a build where there wasn’t enough cotton.

      For the Aqua, it’s interesting you asked because I have had the same wick/coil setup on my Aqua since I got it back in November and it has been working really good for me.

      Mine is at 1.1 ohms right now, and I used 30 gauge kanathal with micro coils. I would guess there are probably about 10-15 wraps per coil. Cotton goes right through the wick and trimmed short.

      For a mech, that is a solid setup for the Aqua.

      If I was going to coil it up again for a variable wattage setup, I would probably aim for about 1.8 ohm. In fact, I will probably do a tutorial on this sometime soon.

      I have recently found that 30 gauge Kanthal works way better than 28 gauge on non-drippers. I have had plenty of working builds with 28ga, but they tend to end up giving dry hits MUCH easier than 30ga – this is true of practically any kind of tank setup – Kayfun, Taifun, Aqua, Protank, etc.

      • gary says:

        Yeahi try not to use much cotton, which is even more aggravating on a taifun with the direct wicking like it is. Anyway i also find 30 works better than 28 in most all rbas so I tend to use it the most. Heats up quicker to, i actually got my aqua kicking ass today, its running .65 right now (with some barley and candy from plume room) and wickimg.fine

  2. Lj says:

    i have been vaping a few weeks and quit smoking. i at one point came across micro coils and have built one that works but i am very confused. For one why will something explode if too low to fire? Second is i can only get my coil to about 1.0 resistance with my mini protank 2. i have an itaste vv 3.0 that the voltage goes from 3.3 to 5.0 and wattage goes from 6.0 to 11.0. what should i be vaping on or is that a too low of a ohm coil? if so how do i make one higher. Or is this battery just not one to use with micro coils? sorry if these questions sound foolish but im a noobie when it comes to this because im new to the vaping community. i would greatly appreciate a reply. thanks

  3. Lj says:

    oh and im using 28 g a1 kanthal awg. as what it says on my shipping order

  4. Lj says:

    posted wrong email sorry haha i changed it

  5. Lj says:

    i no longer see the comment i tried making because i used the wrong email i apologize. but i said that i am using 28 g a1 kanthal awg and can only get 1.0 resistance with the protank 2. i am a noobie and new to the vaping community so i need some clarification. why would something explode if it is too low to fire? Also i am using an itaste vv 3.0 with 3.3 to 5.0 voltage and 6.0 to 11.0 wattage. is 1.0 ohm micro coil too low? if so how can i make one higher or is my battery just not good enough for micro coils. id greatly appreciate an answer. thanks

    • sam says:

      Hey LJ, If you are using an iTaste, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about your battery exploding. When you use an unregulated device, it doesn’t have any protection in place to prevent the device from firing if you try to draw more amps than your battery is rated for. The iTaste is regulated and you wouldn’t be able to fire an atomizer if the ohms are too low. I believe 1 ohm coils will work on an iTaste, so you should be OK with your protank at that level. However, you can always add a couple more wraps to your coil to bring your ohms up. Also, for Protanks I prefer a 30 gauge Kanthal to 28 gauge, as I find you will have less trouble with dry hits, and you can achieve higher ohms with a smaller coil.

      • Lj says:

        Thanks a lot for the clarification. I have searched for the past few days for answers like these and all I really find are explanations on how to make the coils. I will look into getting the 30 gauge instead. Theres just one thing I noticed is the tank got hot quick with my 1.0 coil I made and was concerned as to why that was occuring. One thing I do not undertstand is for example with the protank it comes with the little peice of paper showing 1.7-1.9 ohm next to voltage showing from 3.1-3.3 volts. Is this what your should be vaping on? Or is it how much it uses on the battery, and i don’t understand this because there isn’t an explantion in the itaste manual or this paper that comes with the protank. Does it matter what voltage or wattage my 1.0 ohm coil is vaped on besides if it were to high i could get a burnt taste? Or does it not really matter. Thanks again I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you helping me out as I am trying to understand this and it just seems discouraging if there is noone to explain these things but im glad i found this website to help me.

        • sam says:

          I wouldn’t worry too much about the tank itself getting hot as long as it is hitting well.

          I would totally ignore the chart that came with the Protank.

          Basically you kind of need to feel your way through it. If you start getting hot/dry hits, you probably need to turn down the voltage/wattage. If you aren’t getting a big enough or hard enough hit, you probably need to turn it up.

          For a 1 ohm coil, you would probably be OK around 3.7 volts. If you want to go higher, you could try at maybe 4.2 and see if it is hitting too hot or not.

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