Atomizer/Cartomizer/Clearomizer Tips and Maintenance

Tips To Make Your Atomizer Last Longer (works for cartomizers and clearomizers too)

Higher voltage or wattage and lower resistance may provide you with a better "hit" from your electronic cigarette, but it also shortens the lifespan of the hardware you use.  Therefore, it is important to find a good balance that results in both quality performance and a substantial product lifespan in order for you to be satisfied.  

Lithium batteries often specify their average lifespan as a the number of "cycles" that they are capable of going through before a noticeable drop in performance occurs.  A "cycle" is usually defined as the battery being discharged and then recharged.  Lithium batteries found in e-cigs normally have an average lifespan of 300-600 cycles.  Using higher voltage means that you will be draining the battery cell more quickly, which in turn means that it will have to be charged more frequently.  These additional "cycles" result in the battery having a shorter chonologic lifespan. This being said, a small increase in voltage (e.g. moving from 3.3V to 3.7V) will likely have little effect on the overall lifespan of the battery.  But, a drastic increase (e.g. moving from 3.3V to 4.8V) could results in a substantial and noticeable decrease in lifespan.  At the same time, higher voltage means more power passing through the heating element or "coil" which reduces the lifespan of this portion of the device as well.  More details about this can be found below.

Resistance of the heating element (i.e. the "coil" in the atomizer, cartomizer, or clearomizer) can have a similar effect on the lifespan of both the battery and the heating element itself.  A lower resistance coil will allow more power to pass through the coil with each puff, which allows it to burn hotter than a higher resistance coil on the same voltage battery.  In doing so, two things occur: 1) the battery drains faster which could result in more "cycles" occurring (see above) and 2) since it burns hotter each time the coil (a filiment similar to those found in incandescent lightbulbs) wears out more quickly.  However, as with voltage, a small change in the resistance (e.g. moving from 2.1ohm to 1.8ohm) will likely have little effect and may not even be noticeable to the user.  But, a drastic decrease (e.g. moving from 4.0ohm to 1.5ohm) could cause a substantial decrease in lifespan.

Not only do the voltage, resistance, and usage influence the lifetime of the atomizer, but the e-liquid used in the device will influence it also. Using a more pure e-liquid and will extend the life of the atomizer.  While it may not be a perfect judge of purity, the rule of thumb often used is that the clearer the liquid, the few impurities that are present.  However, even the purest of flavors and nicotine contain a small amount of impurity.  Therefore, regular cleaning will also help to reduce or slow the buildup of these impurities. See the next section for tips on cleaning atomizers.

Why and how do I clean my atomizer?

Over time, atomizers may become dirty or clogged due to the flavorings added to E-Liquids accumulating inside of the atomizer as the liquids are vaporized. Some flavors may be more problematic in this area than others due to the varying ingredients in different flavors, but as a general rule of thumb darker color E-Liquids tend to dirty or clog atomizers more quickly than lighter color E-Liquids, though this is not always the case.

As an atomizer becomes dirty or clogged, there are several tell-tale signs that let you know that your atomizer may need cleaning:

  1. Vapor production has drastically reduced compared to when atomizer was new
  2. Vapor production has stopped completely
  3. It has become very hard or difficult to draw air through the device
  4. There is a burnt/harsh taste when using the device

If any of the above occurs it is recommended that you clean the atomizer before using any further. By doing so, you may be able to extend the life of your atomizer and improve or restore performance.

There are many methods for cleaning, some more successful than others. “Blowing out” the atomizer is usually the first recommendation and can fix many issues on the fly. As mentioned above as a fix for a flooded atomizer, simply remove the atomizer from the battery and cartridge, place your lips on the cartridge end of the atomizer and blow firmly to push the excess liquid or gunk onto a paper towel from the threaded end.   However, if this does not fix the problem try one of the following methods:

Hot Water Rinse – This method works sometimes to fix minor problems

  1. Run under VERY hot water
  2. Blow out atomizer to remove excess water
  3. Set upright and allow to dry for 24 hours

Soaking/Baths – Most recommended and common method, will fix many problems, but takes time.

  1. Soak in water for at least 30-60 mins
  2. Blow out” atomizer to remove excess water
  3. Soak in water a 2nd time for at least 2-3 hours
  4. Blow out” atomizer to remove excess water
  5. Set upright and allow to dry for 24 hours

The Plunger – Much faster cleaning method, will fix many problems. *Requires The Plunger Kit from MyFreedomSmokes.com

  1. Attach plunger fitting to syringe.
  2. Attach atomizer to other end of fitting
  3. Place cartridge end of atomizer under hot water and pull water through atomizer
  4. Push and pull water back and forth through cartomizer several times until fully cleaned
  5. Remove from water and blow air back and forth though cartomizer several times to remove excess water
  6. Unattach atomizer and set upright to dry for 6-8 hours

How and Why You Should Prime Your Atomizer

As vapers we are often excited to receive new e-cig hardware and want to use it right away. However, if the proper steps are not taken to prime the new equipment it can result in poor performance, a burnt wick, and a shortened life span for atomizers or cartomizers. To avoid these problems it is very important to make sure the atomizer is properly primed. We recommend the following procedure:

  1. Fill the cartridge with E-Liquid
  2. Without the battery connected, insert the filled cartridge into the atomizer
  3. Puff and blow through the cartridge mouthpiece until a slight gurgle is heard to ensure liquid has reached the atomizer coil.
  4. Wipe off any excess liquid from the atomizer threads using a paper towel
  5. Connect the atomizer to the battery and enjoy!

***Important Note! - Sometimes even after the initial fill and priming of the atomizer it is necessary to prime it again to ensure that no air bubbles are blocking the flow of the liquid.  A good example of why this is necessary is the eGo-T system.  In the eGo-T there is a spike directly in the center of the atomizer that protrudes into the cartridge.  If the cartridge is less than half full and the e-cig is placed in a horizontal position for an extended period, then the liquid level falls below the wick.  This could allow the wick to dry and air to replace the fluid that was once there.  When the e-cig is turned upright again, that air bubble could stop the flow of liquid from resuming to the atomizer coil.  Priming it again by puffing and blowing air through the assembly until a slight gurgle is heard without firing the atomizer is the only way to ensure that the proper flow of liquid has resumed.

Using VG Based Liquids with Tank Systems or Cartomizers

Most tank atomizers such as the 510-T, eGo-T, and eGo-C or cartomizers such as dual coil cartos, clearomizers, and DCT's will not work well with thicker liquids.  With each puff the liquid closest to the heating coil is being vaporized, and thicker VG liquids are often unable to wick fast enough to re-saturate the area fully between puffs.  If the heating coil is fired while dry, it becomes very easy to burn the wick and results in a burnt or harsh taste that may remain permanently.