An RDA is a rebuildable dripping atomiser, a device for vaping that includes rebuildable atomiser coils and requires regular topping up with e-liquid. Vapers choose RDAs because they’re looking for more precise control, better reproduction of flavour and more vapour production. RDTA stands for rebuildable dripping tank atomiser, an advanced device for heating your e-liquid to transform it into vapour. People choose these devices because they offer excellent flavour reproduction and copious clouds of thick vapour. These atomisers are compatible with mechanical mods and are the most customisable option for experienced vapers - you’ll be building parts of them yourself and have complete control over the materials that go into them.
An RDA (rebuildable dripping atomiser) or vape drip tank requires a custom built coil that needs to have juice dripped directly onto it (which is why they also get called “drippers”). There can be some confusion about the difference between an RDTA and an RDA. In simple terms, the RDA has no tank, just a shallow reservoir beneath the atomiser coil which needs fairly constant refilling, while the RDTA has a tank which feeds the coil automatically. Usually the RDA reservoir won’t last you more than 20 puffs, depending on the setup you’ve created, before the wick starts to dry out. However the benefit of this is you can change flavour more frequently than with a regular coil.
What is an RTA?
An RTA (rebuildable tank atomiser) is similar to the RDA in that you still need to build the coil yourself, but this one has a tank. Depending on the tank, they can have even more capacity than the conventional 2ml atomisers from regulated mods so they don’t need as frequent refilling.
What do I need to know?
Brushing up on Ohms law is a good place to start - so you know how much charge you’ll be getting through based on your setup and whether that’s suitable for the battery power you’re using. The formula used is I = V/R where V is voltage, I is current and R is resistance (which comes from your coil). There are free online tools you can use to plug in the power from your battery to find what sort of current you’ll get through based on your coil and whether this is suitable for the battery you’ve got.
Typically the RDAs are considered to be the easier option to start with, they’re also ideal for cloud chasers given that they have some serious power behind them too. Choosing a bigger deck when you’re beginning is usually advisable and sticking to no more than three posts when you’re making your first setup is also a good idea as you’ll still have enough room to work with everything when you’re still learning.
You’ll also be able to make multi-coil setups, which would normally be too powerful for some vapes but with an RDA or RTA you can power these nicely giving you maximum flavour payoff and cloud production.
What additional equipment will I need?
To build your own coils - you will require some specialist equipment to do it efficiently and safely.
Wire. The variety you’ll want to use will depend on what you want to get out of your vaping experience. The most commonly used coil wires are kanthal, stainless steel and nichrome. Kanthal wire is a popular option as it’s easy to work with and has a good ramp up time, whereas some Sub Ohm coils can take longer to get going. Stainless steel is what’s used a lot in conventional Sub Ohm coils, has great flavour payoff and is very malleable making it easy to work with - it also operates with both temperature and wattage control mods so is great for you’re working on a coil for the first time. Nichrome is another pliable option to work with, typically used for low resistances and high temperatures.
Cotton. Your wicking material is obviously very important - you might find you prefer some varieties over others but organic or Japanese cotton are two popular options. It needs to be organic so you know it hasn’t been bleached or treated with chemicals so it’s safe to inhale from.
Pliers or tweezers. Whenever you’re doing fiddly work with wire, you need some pliers to bend things into place and thread your wicking material through the coil itself. Needle nosed pliers are your best bet for this - make sure they’re ceramic or have a rubber grip so you can test the coil by firing the button as you work.
Screwdrivers. You’ll need these for setting up your deck - there’s some tiny screws to be set into place so investing in a fine set for your RDA is a good idea.
Ohmmeter. Safety first - you need to be able to check your setup is safe before you use it - the Ohmmeter checks the charge flowing through your vape.