Hey, CRAFT VAPERS! It seems that many of you have decided to follow my advice and get yourself a “Temperature Sensing” or “Temperature Control” device. Good for you! This means you are likely starting to accept that temperature control is the future of vaping, and to borrow from RipTrippers, that future is now. If you don’t have a temperature-sensing device, then move along vaper, this article isn’t for you. If you do have a TS/TC device, read on to learn how I get the best results out of mine.
When temperature-sensing technology came out, it was based largely on nickel wire (known as Ni200) because the resistance of nickel increases in-line with increases in temperature. As temperature rises, resistance increases by a predictable amount, allowing chipmakers to predict the temperature increase based on changes in the resistance of the atomizer. All you need to know is that someone smart out there discovered how to estimate temperature based on changing resistance, and it’s pretty damn accurate.
The dirty secret is that Ni200 is really tough to work with. It’s very soft and springy; so soft that often just re-wicking a coil will cause it to bend and twist, effectively ruining the coil. You have to wrap a spaced coil because contact coils screw up the resistance, but many vapers report difficulty in doing so, and you certainly can’t do a spaced coil on one of those fancy coil jogs many of you use. The resistance of Ni200 is incredibly low, which means many wraps are needed to get to the target resistance for temperature sensing. It’s so low, in fact, that wrapping a dual coil that actually fits in your RDA is nearly impossible. To make matters even worse, nickel is not very healthy for you if it off-gasses, and there is a lot of debate about whether using Ni200 is safe for vaping at all. In short, Ni200 is frustrating to use and might not be very safe, so why use it at all?
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I have discovered that the solution to my frustrations with Ni200 is just to not use it at all. Instead, I prefer using pure titanium (cue David Guetta’s song by the same name). Pure Ti wire (100% pure, grade 1 titanium) is cleaner, medically pure, much stiffer, has a higher resistance, and is overall much easier to work with than Ni200. The resistance is about double that of Ni200, which means fewer wraps to reach your target resistance (not to mention a much easier dual coil build), and it’s medically pure with no off-gassing (at least in the temperature ranges we are talking about with temperature controlled devices). In other words, it’s the answer to my temperature control prayers. Better than Ni200 and arguably better and cleaner tasting than Kanthal or Nichrome, if used correctly, it will deliver one of the best vapes you have ever tried.
Before we get started, lets get the safety concerns out of the way. Ti wire has two big concerns that you should know about, but both are easily avoidable. The first concern is that Ti can ignite into flames… a flame no fire extinguisher can put out. Scared? Don’t be, because the combustion temperature of Ti wire is far higher than you will ever reach on one of these devices if you use them correctly. The second concern is the formation of Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) which can be harmful to your health if ingested, especially when inhaled. TiO2 is easy to detect; it forms above ~1200 degrees F (600C) and appears as a whitish / grey powder on the coils. 1200F may seem like a lot, but keep in mind a brightly glowing orange coil can easily get to 1300F or above. The easy solution: just don’t glow your Ti coils and you’ll never form TiO2. If you do accidentally glow your coils and see any white powder forming, you can easily clean it off with alcohol. Those are the risks associated with Ti wire and as you can see, both are relatively easy to avoid.
With the safety concerns out of the way, let's move on to actually building a coil.
For starters, you need some wire. CRAFT does not currently sell Ti wire, so we get ours from jewelry suppliers. Our favorite so far is Unkamen Supplies. We strongly prefer 24-gauge for single coils and 26-gauge for dual coils. You can pick up 30-35 feet of either gauge for around $10 USD. Regardless of where you get it from, you want 100% PURE GRADE 1 TITANIUM. Yes, I’m yelling because this is serious. Go ahead and stop reading now and order some Ti wire. Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back.
Once you have your Ti wire in hand, the next thing you want to do is prep it. Don’t worry, it’s not hard. We suggest taking a little rubbing alcohol and wiping down the wire a little bit. Why? Because many times there is machine oil left on the wire and it can ruin the taste of the juice that you are vaping. Go ahead and give that wire a few rubs with some alcohol on a cotton ball, or if you have some, use one of those alcohol prep pads.
Ok, so now we have clean, ready to wrap Ti wire, so let’s wrap some coils! Steam Engine should be your best friend here, but I’ll share my personal recipe for success:
I really prefer 24-gauge wire for single coils. I also prefer to wrap coils with a 3mm inner diameter. They are easier to build that way, and give lots of space for wicking and a bit of extra surface area. For the best compatibility across devices, I tend to prefer a target resistance of .15ohms – .25ohms. If you are working with a DNA40 device, you want to keep that target resistance lower than .3ohms. The SX350J devices can go higher in resistance, but I would still keep it under ~ 0.4ohms at a maximum.
My ideal single coil is a 9-wrap with 24-gauge wire and a 3mm inner diameter. Go ahead and wrap your coils the same way you would Kanthal. You want the coils tight together (contact coils), not spaced like you would have to for Ni200. Don’t worry if you don’t get it perfect, you will be able to tune the coil once it’s wrapped (we’ll discuss that next). Don’t torch or fire the coils just yet; we’ll cover how to do that after we discuss dual coils.
I prefer 26-gauge wire for dual coils. It has a higher resistance per inch than 24-gauge, and it’s easier to hit the target resistance across the two coils. You are shooting for the same target resistances that you are with a single-coil: 0.15 – 0.25ohms, and again keep it under .4ohms at a maximum.
My ideal dual coil Ti set-up is a 10-wrap with 26-gauge wire and a 3mm inner diameter. Just like the single coils, you want to wrap them nice and tight, not spaced. Again, do not fire or torch the coils at all. We’re going to cover how to tune them next.
Once you have your coils wrapped, go ahead and mount them just like you would any other coil. Unlike Ni200, you don’t have to worry too much about getting the wire squarely under the screws in your posts as the resistance jumps are not as dramatic with Ti wire. Just make sure they are in there nice and snug, and if you are using dual coils, make sure they are the same distance away from the posts or the coils will fire unevenly. Once your coils are mounted, DO NOT FIRE THE MOD.
Now we can start to tune the coils. Typically with Kanthal, you would fire the coils until they are glowing hit and then give them a squeeze to make sure they are glowing inside out. The problem is that when you fire Ti that hot, you form Ti02, which we covered earlier and mentioned it was nasty stuff. SO let us avoid that at all costs by not firing the mod.
Here is the method for tuning Ti coils safely. For starters, adjust your mod so it’s firing at 6-7W. You can go a little higher; I wouldn’t suggest going any higher than 10W, but I strongly recommend you keep it in the 6-7W range. Start to pulse fire the mod (holding the button for 2-3 seconds, releasing, and repeating the process over and over). Once you have a little heat in the coil, stop firing the mod and give the coil a little squeeze with tweezers (ceramic is preferred; metal will work but DON’T use metal tweezers while firing the mod or it will short!!!!!). With some heat in the coil, you should be able to squeeze the coils pretty tight to clean up any gaps you had in wrapping it. Continue the heating and squeezing process until you are happy with the coil. Fire it with longer pulses to ensure it’s heating from inside out.
Ti will discolor under heat pretty quickly, turning blue as it heats up. Make sure the center of the coil turns blue first. If it doesn’t, go back to the heat and squeeze until it does. One trick that works really well is to do the pulse firing with the lights off. You should see a dull, deep red glow from the coils, which is fine; you just want to avoid the bright orange glow you get at higher temperatures. Once you are happy with the coil, you are ready to vape.
Before you start vaping on your new Ti coils, you need to calibrate your device. Let your coil cool back down to room temperature. Five to ten minutes should be plenty of time to let them cool. Screw-in your RDA and lock in the atomizer resistance (older DNA40 devices do not have an atomizer lock feature. If you have one of these devices, make sure it’s at room temperature before you start vaping on it). Once your atomizer resistance is locked in, you can wick your coils to your liking.
To set the temperature limit for Ti coils, you need to be aware that Ti and Ni200 heat at different rates. If you are using a device with a Ti coil mode (IPV3 LI, SX Mini M class, or EVIC-VT), simply set the target temperature where you want it to be and you are good to go. On a device that does not have a specific Ti wire mode (DNA40, IPV4 Snowwolf, M80, etc…), you have to make some adjustments. For these devices, you want to set a target temperature ~100F LOWER than you would for a Ni200 coil. So if you wanted a target temp of 400F on a DNA40 device, you would set your temp on the device to 300F. This will help to give you some padding to account for the fact that Ti heats up more quickly than Ni200.
Once you have set up and calibrated the device, juice up those wicks and get to vaping!
Testing your Ti build is pretty easy. Wrap your coils, tune them, wick them (but leave them dry), and calibrate your device. Go ahead and dry fire it for 10 seconds. If you move the wick after firing them, you should be able to see if your wick was singed or not. If you see any brown discoloration, your temperature is too high. Go down in temperature and repeat the process. I like to keep working my way up until I see a little bit of singed cotton, and then set my temperature about 10 degrees F lower than that level.
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Once your cotton is broken in (usually about the second time you need to re-drip), you should be experiencing what I am with Ti coils: the cleanest-tasting vape you have ever tasted. I get nice, warm, dense vapor production from my Ti coils, and the flavor is amazing. Truly the best tasting vape I have ever tried. The other bonus is that Ti coils last a LOT longer than Kanthal coils. I literally have 2-month-old Ti coils in my Kennedy that work just as well as the day I wrapped them. Your cotton will also last longer because you aren’t heating it to the point where the cotton starts to break down. Trust me, if you did it right, that 30’ spool of Ti is going to last you a really long time.
Riya, a Digital marketing enthusiast. She has 4 years of hands of experience in writing vapes, cannabis, and health-related blogs. She is hodophile and passionate about technology updates.