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How do coil heads work?

Coil Heads and how they work.

New to 2102 and 2013 manufacturers introduced replacable coils heads on most atomizers.
There are still one and done clearomizers on the market like the CE4, but they are more rare as we have moved toward the cheaper replacable coil head.

The basic premise of a replacable coil head is to save you money on purchasing clearimizers when they "die". If you replace just the coil, your clearomizer becomes "new".

It is important to always buy the coil head that is specific to your device.
Below you will see three different types of coils for three different clearomizers. As you can see, none will likely fit in the same device.

We have a long stem Top Coil (the coil is replaced on the TOP of the clearomizer), next is a BOTTOM coil which is replaced from the bottom of the clearomizer and last is another top coil that is significantly shorter than the first top coil.


All of these coils are basically the same but they will only fit on the intended device.

A coil head is simply a housing for a wick and coil element which vaporizes your eliquid. There is nothing fancy about them and they all work pretty much the same way. There are differences in flavor, vapor production etc, but this is due to the design of the coil and the materials used, at it's core a coil head is a coil head.

Below you will see a deconstructed coil head.

It consists of:
1. Wick and coil bundle (this is what atomizes the eliquid)
2. The base housing. This is where the wick and coil are sitting and where the coil wire gets connected to the negative (outside shell) and the positive (your battery pin)
3. The stem or "flute", this piece generally seals the coil head to the top of the clearomizer so no liquid gets into it and performs a second function, channeling the vapor to the drip tip. On a bottom coil this just slides into a center post for the same reason
4. A seal (also known as a grommet, oring or condom) this works with the stem to keep excess liquid from flowing into the coil or the center stems of your clearomizers.

All these pieces put together creates an atomizer. Once the positive and negative make contact and you press the power button the coil wire heats up and the liquid that has been travelling along the wick is atomized by the heat.

It is a simple system.

There are a few potential areas for problems to arise:

1. The seal is very important to it's operation, without the seal properly in place excess liquid can get into the coil causing leaks, gurgling and a host of other issues.

2. The wick, if the wick gets burned it will no longer function properly giving you dry burned hits, lack of vapor and "nasty" flavors. You must replace the coil head if any of this occurs, there is no fixing it beyond replacing the wick, some people can and do do this but it is vastly easier to just pop on a spare.

See below for what a burned and clean wick look like. The burned wick happens eventually to every coil, there is no preventing this. Wicks burn for multiple reasons:

1. The voltage/wattage is too high for the ohm of the coil generating excess heat burning and carmelizing the liquid onto the coil and creating a situation where the wick can no longer bring enough liquid to the coil, this will "pile up" and cause even more burning. Too high a voltage or wattage can actually "pop" a coil, breking it and severaing the coinnection. If your coil produces NO vapor, you've popped a coil.

2. Chain vaping, a chain vaper does not give enough time in between vapes to "cool down" the coil thus creating too much heat even with the right voltage combination.

3. Thick liquids. Thicker liquids can cause less wicking as the thicker the liquid the harder the wick has to work, delivering less liquid to the coil in turn, burning the wick.

4. Harsh liquids or liquids with sugars. Sugars carmelize much faster, sweeter liquids can easily clog a coil. Tobaccos can do the same thing.

Coil heads are sensitive, and it is for this reason most vendors do not warranty them. We cannot know what the exact cause of your "bad" coil maybe. With all of the new variable voltage and variable wattage devices out there it is very easy to pop a 1.8 coil with a high setting on your mod.

Coil Leaking:

Another issue that arises with coils is leaking and that is generally caused by sealing issues.  See below for an exanple of an improper seal.

There are usually a few seals (or orings) on a clearomizer coil head, these seals prevent liquid from seeping into the base or out of the clearomizer, once the seal is damaged it will leak.  This is no different that a seal on an oil pan, no properly seal and you have an oil leak.