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How to Fix a Broken RBA in 2024

Posted by David on

An RBA (Rebuildable Atomizer) is a type of atomizer used in vaping devices that allows users to build their own coils. This is also the component that heats the e-liquid to the point of vaporization. The term "rebuildable" refers to the fact that users can assemble the wicking material and coil themselves rather than using pre-made coil heads. Using RBAs requires some knowledge of Ohm's law and battery safety, as the resistance of the coils must be compatible with the power output of the battery. Users also need to ensure that the coils are properly secured and that the wicking material is correctly installed to prevent dry hits and leaking, more on that in a little bit.

Now, with all that being said, although enthusiasts enjoy RBAs because they offer the ability to fine-tune their vaping experience, and they can be more cost-effective in the long run since pre-made coils are not required, issues can still arise. You see, a rebuildable atomizer can sometimes malfunction due to various reasons: dirty contacts, damaged coils, poor wicking, or damaged insulators. And, that’s why we are going to cover some general tips for common problems you might experience with your RBA.

How Can a Rebuildable Atomizer Break?

First, we do need to cover some the key reasons why an RBA might break or stop functioning correctly:

1.Improper Coil Installation: If the coil is not installed correctly, it might cause a short circuit or not produce any vapor at all. A coil that touches the deck or sides of the atomizer can result in a short.

2.Over-tightening: Whether it's the posts screws, the RBA sections, or the tank itself, over-tightening can strip the threading or break parts.

3.Poor Quality Materials: RBAs made from cheap materials might degrade or break more quickly than those made from high-quality materials.

4.Excessive Dry Burning: Dry burning a coil to clean it or check for hot spots can weaken the wire over time, especially if done excessively or at very high wattages.

5.Wear and Tear: Like any device, with regular usage, the components of an RBA can wear out. O-rings can degrade, threading can wear, and screws can become stripped.

6.Accidental Damage: Dropping or knocking the RBA can cause damage, like cracking the tank, damaging the posts, or misaligning parts.

7.Liquid Leakage: If e-liquid leaks into areas it shouldn't, it can cause short circuits or other malfunctions.

8.Corrosion: Some e-liquids, especially those that are acidic, can corrode the metal parts of an RBA over time.

9.Electrical Issues: Faulty connections, damaged insulators, or other electrical issues can cause the RBA to malfunction.

10.Inadequate Maintenance: Not cleaning the RBA regularly can lead to build-up, which might cause poor performance or breakage.

11.Mismatched Components: Using parts from different RBAs or non-compatible parts can cause issues.

12.Inadequate Wicking: Incorrect wicking can lead to dry hits, hotspots, or even damage to the RBA if it causes consistent overheating.

How to Fix an RBA

If you're having trouble with your RBA, here's a step-by-step guide to help you fix the issue:

1.Safety First:

  • Always make sure to turn off your mod or remove the batteries before working on your RBA.
  • Avoid short circuits by ensuring all components are correctly installed and there's no contact between the coil and the build deck, except at the posts.

2.Disassemble and Clean:

  • Take apart the RBA, removing the drip tip, top cap, chimney, tank (if it's an RTA), build deck, and base.
  • Clean all parts using warm water and a bit of dish soap. An old toothbrush can be handy for scrubbing. For deeper cleaning, you can soak parts in isopropyl alcohol or vodka, but always rinse and dry thoroughly after.
  • Inspect all parts for any visible damage.

3.Check the Coil:

  • Inspect the coil for any signs of wear, burn marks, or deformity.
  • If the coil looks damaged or it's been in use for a while, consider replacing it.
  • Ensure the coil legs are secured tightly in the post holes/screws.
  • Make sure the coil is not touching the build deck or any part of the atomizer, except where it should be (at the posts). This can cause a short circuit.

4.Re-wick Properly:

  • Ensure that your wick is neither too thick nor too thin for the coil.
  • It should slide through the coil with a slight resistance but shouldn't deform the coil shape.
  • For RTAs, make sure the wick ends are correctly placed so they can absorb juice efficiently without causing leaks or dry hits.

5.Check the Insulators:

  • Insulators are typically made of a plastic-like material and can be found around the positive post and sometimes at the base of the 510 connection.
  • Inspect them for any signs of melting or damage. Replace if necessary.

6.Ensure Proper Connection:

  • Ensure the 510 pin at the base of your RBA is making proper contact with the mod. Some 510 pins are adjustable.
  • If you have an adjustable 510 pin, make sure it's not screwed in too tight or too loose.

7.Check for Loose Parts:

  • Screws and other small parts can sometimes become loose. Ensure everything is appropriately tightened (but not over-tightened to avoid stripping threads).

8.Assemble and Test:

  • Reassemble your RBA and ensure all parts fit snugly.
  • Before filling with e-liquid, do a dry fire (a brief press of the fire button) to ensure the coil heats evenly from the center outwards without hotspots. Adjust the coil or wick as needed.
  • Once satisfied, saturate the wick with e-liquid, assemble the rest of the atomizer, and fill the tank (if using an RTA).

9.Reconnect to Mod and Test:

  • Ensure your mod reads the coil's resistance correctly.
  • Take a few puffs to ensure there are no dry hits, leaks, or other issues.

Note: If you've followed these steps and still encounter problems, it might be time to consult with a local vape shop or consider replacing parts or the entire RBA. Always remember to practice safety when working with electronic devices and high-powered batteries.

There is Hope Yet to Fixing Your RBA!

Regular inspection and maintenance can significantly increase the lifespan of your RBA and provide a better vaping experience. To avoid these issues, it's essential to:

  • Regularly maintain and clean your RBA.
  • Be gentle when assembling or disassembling.
  • Use the device as per the manufacturer's guidelines.
  • Replace worn-out parts promptly.
  • Always check for shorts or resistance fluctuations when installing new coils.
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