Tips & Tricks

  • Turn your AC9 into an Auto Dripper

    The first thing you may notice about the above image is that you can't see a wick. That's because there isn't one. Not in the traditional sense at least. All you can see in the tank is about a milliliter of Vanilla Blackberry Swirl from Virgin Vapor (which is amazing btw). 

    Taking off the top-cap reveals what's going on. 

    That puffy substance nestled in the 1.4 Ohm coil is cotton. From a cotton ball, a sterile cotton ball. 

    So how does it work? Really well. I was quite astonished actually. That little amount of cotton holds over a milliliter of juice, and it saturates the coils with e-liquid better than any SS mesh I've ever used. This results in VERY thick vapor, and the best flavor I've ever experienced. The best part is, its EASY! And I mean really easy, to set up. SS mesh can be difficult at times, even for the most experienced genesis users, and sometimes the wicks just refuse to oxidize properly. When you get it right, it works really well. But when it's wrong, it's a really bad experience. 

    I've found that setting up a cotton ball "wick" on a genesis to be even easier than setting one up on a RDA. There's more room to work, and to me the AC9 posts are easy to work with. And beyond that, a genesis atty has a tank, a dripper doesn't of course. With the AC9, the wick hole (and more importantly the fill hole) is large enough for juice to travel through it. The fill hole size allows air to enter the tank, preventing a vacuum  which would hold the juice in the tank rather than letting it travel to the cotton. So while this works really well on an AC9, it may not work so well on an RBA with a smaller wick hole and smaller fill hole. 

    The first time I tried this, I used a longer, thin piece of cotton and worked it down into the tank; essentially making a genesis wick out of twisted cotton. But I found that the capillary wicking of the cotton is not very good. It holds a ton of juice, but juice doesn't travel through it as quickly as say SS mesh; especially when the cotton is crammed into the wick hole (it's tight so the fibers are really too close together which is bad for capillary action). 

    So I decided to use a small piece of cotton that was just sitting into the wick hole, then when you tilt the atomizer juice runs up the wick hole and re-wets the cotton. Essentially making it an auto-dripper. It worked beautifully. 

    Here's how I set it up: 

    Start with some Kanthal, I use 28 AWG kanthal. I like 28 gauge because it allows for more wraps per a given resistance, which increases the surface area of the coil, which produces more vapor. 

    You can't really wrap a coil around cotton (it's too flexible and soft), well you can but it's ugly and difficult to control what resistance you'll end up with. So use a drill-bit or screw-driver or something similar. Try to find something that is roughly the same size as the wick hole. I used a 9/64 drill-bit shaft (3.5mm). 

    Then wrap your coil as tightly as you can manage. Try to keep your wraps as close together as possible. The coils will expand once you take it off the shaft and you don't want a large spring. 

    Next, get a small screwdriver (or anything with a small enough shaft to fit through the wick hole), and position your coil above the wick hole securing the leads to the posts.

    If you use something that is too small your coil will warp, so try to use something that is just small enough to fit through the hole. A Phillips head screwdriver with a 1/8th inch shaft works well. Don't worry if your coil isn't even or pretty, or if your leads are stretched a bit. This would cause hot-spots with SS mesh, but with cotton it's fine. The cotton expands quite a bit, especially when wet, so it will make good contact with the coils as long as they're reasonably concentric. 

    Next get some cotton. I use medical cotton balls, they're sterile so you don't have to worry about anything being on the cotton. You don't have to boil anything off, they're clean, thus the designation sterile. 

    Slowly pull off some cotton from the ball, twisting as you pull. The twist will hold the cotton together. 

    Once you have enough pull the piece off. You should have a piece that looks similar to this:

    Then you can work your small piece into a wick shape at the base by twisting it further until it looks like it will fit through your coil. Twist it down into the coil, twisting the same direction that you twisted the cotton so that the cotton piece holds together and moves down inside the coil.

     Keep moving it down until it is into the wick hole. When your done it should look like this:

    Make sure the cotton is touching the coils at every point. You may have to fluff the cotton a little with a thin piece of wire.  If you twist the cotton back the other way (opposite direction from when you twisted it down into the coil) it will expand and loosen up the twist. That will give you better contact with the coil and also improve wicking. When you're satisfied, trim the top with some scissors. 

    That's all there is to it. Now all you have to do is drip some juice onto the cotton, making sure you get the cotton inside the coil really saturated, and fill the take if you want. If you're just tasting a juice you don't have to fill the tank obviously. When you want to change the wick, all you have to do is pull out the cotton and insert a new piece, you don't ever have to move the coil.  It's that easy. 

    When you're done it should look like this:

    Hope you guys try this, it's super easy and works better than anything I've ever tried. 




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  • Comments on this post (18 comments)

    • Brent says...


      You think I’ve never seen an RDA?

      I call it an auto dripper because it isn’t using a wick. If you use a piece of cotton with a long tail that extends down into the tank then it is a wick. If you don’t, then it isn’t wicking (i.e. drawing liquid up from the tank into the coil).

      The only thing I don’t like about RDAs is having to constantly drip. If you use a small piece of cotton with this method you’re not using a wick so you essentially have a dripper with a tank below it, and instead of dripping, you simply tilt the tank and the juice re-wets the cotton. I.e. an auto-dripper.

      On June 02, 2014

    • jimmy says...

      Just tried it out on a Zap using 5 wraps of 28 gauge wire at 1.6 ohm on the Provari.
      It hits better than mesh or expensive ceramic wick..its great!
      Thanks for the tip Brent!

      On January 17, 2014

    • uoser says...

      i normally vape ss mesh with a 3/2 wrap with 28g wire. how many wraps would i need to accomplish the same thing, throat hit wise, using a cotton wick? i vape with a mech mod, no vv or vw.

      On December 18, 2013

    • greg says...

      @ rrenger it fires like a beat on 8 ribbon wire. and on kanthal 28, and on..well it is just the best I’ve ever had on any coil I’ve made for it.. really brought my cobra clone back to life! I’ve not had much success with cotton in my octopus though

      On October 06, 2013

    • Rod says...

      Nice tutorial on using cotton for a wick. I love the stuff.
      But, I really want to know WHY you call this “auto dripping”?
      You’re using a cotton wick in a genny. Which is no different than using SS mesh, silica, ceramic, SS rope or what have you. Whoever came up with this term, has no clue or ever seen a RDA.
      Wonder what they would call an Ithaka with cotton yarn?

      On October 05, 2013

    • ricks says...

      With my RBA’s, I’m using 28ga with 10-12 wraps tightly wound with very little cotton strips hanging in the tank with a little puff ball above the coil. It works great on my AGA-t and AGI. So easy to make.

      On September 15, 2013

    • ricks says...

      I’m trying this tonight. I made a micro coil with mine on my AGA-T. Its 30ga wire with around 10 tight wraps coiled tightly together. Can’t wait to Vape it…

      On September 09, 2013

    • Brent says...

      Vape King,

      I assume it would work on other genesis attys, though I haven’t tried it. It does depend a lot on the size of the wick hole, if the wick hole is small not very much juice is capable of traveling up to the cotton. The fill hole size is even more important, because some attys have a really small fill hole that fills up with juice and doesn’t let air escape from the tank. This causes a vacuum that doesn’t allow juice to travel to the coils.
      The AC9 has the largest fill hole/wick hole combination on the market so while I’m sure you could use other genesis attys, I can’t say if they will perform as great using this method. It’s very easy to try it and see though.

      On August 27, 2013

    • vape king says...

      Will this work on other gennys? I assume the rsst will work too but what about cobras, agas, zap, etc. Curious if its the large holes that help or something else entirely I’m missing

      On August 27, 2013

    • Brent says...


      I’ve tried it with a long tail in the tank, but I’ve found that cotton like this doesn’t “wick” as fast as it needs to in order to carry the juice up to the coils. It works better at just holding the juice, so by using a short tail, you can just tilt the atty and re-saturate the cotton. With a long tail, there is a lot of cotton in the tank that is just holding juice away from the coil. And considering how much juice cotton can hold, that’s a lot of juice that’s potentially wasted.

      On August 20, 2013

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