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[FAQ] How should I build my coils?
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Michael Offline
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Post: #1
[FAQ] How should I build my coils?
I found this post while rummaging through the forum's recent threads, and it contained so much good information I thought I'd share it here. Thanks Almost Jaded for writing the original, this is just a copy/paste since you wrote such a great primer on coils and wire. Everything below the line was written by AJ, I'm just putting it here for FAQ reference purposes. 





There is more to coil building than gauge and wraps.  You can build a .2 ohm coil with 28 awg if you make it small enough - but it's gonna fry your wick and itself REAL fast.  The fancy coils - twisted wire, Claptons, etc, and thicker gauges aren't just to look cool (okay, SOME are just to look cool, lol), they also have different thermal capacities and juice wicking traits.  So here's your primer.

Thinner wire has higher resistance, and lower thermal capacity.  It heats up faster.  Thicker wire has lower resistance, and higher thermal capacity - it handles more power, but it TAKES more power to heat.  With any gauge, it's the actual length of the wire that determines the resistance - more wraps is just making a longer strand.  Pretty simple.

BUT - the coil isn't the only thing you're dealing with.  You also have a wick, and juice.  If you get the coil too hot, it will overcook the juice and gunk up the coil.  It will also fry the shit out of your wicking material unless you're using Ready-X or something else exotic that can reenter the atmosphere and survive.  This is where coil DIAMETER comes into play, besides gauge and number of wraps.

When you run more heat (power), you need a to dissipate it over a wider area to avoid burning things.  20W on a huge coil will make a little vapor.  20W over a properly sized coil will make a quite a bit of vapor.  20W on a really small area will light something on fire.  When you start approaching 100 watts - or more - this is obviously even more important.

Because that's not complicated enough yet, you also have to keep juice coming into said wick and coil.  Thus, there is a practical limit to the length of the coil (lots of wraps) because the heat from the center out - if it's a really long coil, the center will heat up, and if you take a long puff, the center will be dry by the time the outer parts get warm.  Boom - nasty dry hit of death.  

So the more wraps you use, the more diameter to need to keep enough juice in the middle to keep absorbing the heat - but now you're adding wraps AND diameter, so your resistance is going up, which is antithetical to getting more power - you've reached the "limit" of what's reasonable with that gauge wire and you need to move up to something bigger.

Ignoring the really tight stuff (30 awg and smaller) here are some rules of thumb for Kanthol coils:

28 awg is good for coils up to maybe 2mm in diameter and up to about 9 wraps.  28 is great for vaping in the low 1 ohm range, and around 10-15 watts.  You can also make a pretty small coil without much worry.

26 awg is good for moderate sub ohming, or for multi coil builds that don't go too low.  Good up to 2.5 mm diameter and maybe 7 wraps, vaping around 20-25 watts on a single coil or a moderately powered dual coil setup.  Inside diameter should be at least 2mm.

24 awg is good for making a fairly low resistance single coil in the .4-.5 range, or a good dual coil setup without going absurdly low resistance and blowing up batteries.  Good up to 3mm diamter and vaping up to the 40 or MAYBE 50 watt range on a single coil, you want to be careful getting toward 7 wraps because it's thicker and you're making a pretty wide coil at that point.  2mm is a BARE minumum, risking dry hits.

22 awg makes very low resistance single coils.  You can easily build something around .25 with a single coil with 22 awg Kanthol.  You want a pretty big diameter to keep it fed, and more than 5-6 wraps isn't a good idea.  Multi coil builds with 22 awg will result in irresponsible ohm loads.  Under 2.5 mm inside diameter is a guaranteed bad hit unless you take a really short puff.  

Hope that helps. 
01-02-2016 12:17 AM
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Almost Jaded Offline
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RE: [FAQ] How should I build my coils?
Aww, shucks...  

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01-02-2016 05:48 PM
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RE: [FAQ] How should I build my coils?
useful , now i know how to get a bit more out of my 26ga , who would of thunk 3.5 mm was to fat . well AJ for one .

thanks fore sharing Michael
kudos on the great plain english write up AJ

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01-02-2016 06:10 PM
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RE: [FAQ] How should I build my coils?
(01-02-2016 06:10 PM)Chuck-Drl Wrote:  useful , now i know how to get a bit more out of my 26ga , who would of thunk 3.5 mm was to fat . well AJ  for one .

thanks fore sharing Michael
kudos on the great plain english write up AJ

No problem! When I try to explain things, I tend to get too caught up in the science and math behind it, honestly if I'd written this it probably would have been 3x longer and 3x harder to understand because I tend to talk too much, so when I saw AJ's post I thought the same thing as you, great plain English explanation with just enough science to make sense without going too deep down the Ohm's Law Rabbit Hole Tongue

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01-02-2016 06:31 PM
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RE: [FAQ] How should I build my coils?
i try to keep to a .5-.6 coil , the kbox is rated down to .4 but gets assy when pushed to its limit

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01-02-2016 07:48 PM
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RE: [FAQ] How should I build my coils?
This is great, thanks for the work Michael and AJ.

(22-03-2017 02:46 PM)ecignut Wrote:  I always take notice of Paul - what he doesn't know about vaping isn't worth knowing.
01-02-2016 08:06 PM
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RE: [FAQ] How should I build my coils?
took the coil out of my doge and put it on a 2.5 mm screwdriver , grabbed the leads with pliers and gave them a tug then wrapped each lead 1/2 turn .
same wire same resistance , big difference in vapor production .
thanx guys

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03-02-2016 03:19 AM
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