Understanding Vaping

In this section we will try to give a little clarification to the terminology of vaping.

Opinions expressed are those of the author, and we accept no responsibility for misuse of any equipment. It is very important to read and understand the instruction  manual of your equipment before use.

What do the terms RDA, RTA and RDTA mean?

RDA – rebuildable dripping atomiser

An atomiser with no tank beneath the coil/s, just a small well into which the wicks hang, typically holding enough e liquid for a few puffs. The downside to this is that you will have to regularly drip fresh e liquid onto the coil/s and wick/s. Known as a dripper.

RTA – rebuildable tank atomiser

This atomiser has a tank holding from a couple of ml of e liquid to much more, the coil/s in these atomisers are rebuildable by the user, and sit low down within a chimney in the middle of the atomiser through which the air flows, with the e liquid feeding the wicks through holes in the bottom of the chimney.

RDTA – rebuildable dripping tank atomiser

A combination of the RDA and the RTA. The coil/s in the RDTA are set above the tank and has the wicks hanging down through holes in the build deck into the tank below, along which the e liquid wicks to the coils. The option is also there to drip directly onto the coil/s from above through the mouthpiece (drip tip) hence it being called a dripping tank atomiser.

All of these atomisers require the coil/s and wicks to be rebuilt by the user at regular intervals, which is a whole new subject.

Tanks and Clearomizers

 More basic tanks are available that do not require the user to build coils and re-wick themselves. These are more suited to beginners and those that can't be asked to faff with coil building.

These tanks use coils pre-made by the manufacturer, and offer a much less complicated setup. When your coil is kaput, you simply unscrew it and screw in a new one.

Care must be taken with a new coil to ensure that the coil has time to absorb the e-liquid before firing it up or you will burn the cotton, and the taste from that is pretty vile. We recommend 5-10 minutes for the coil to wet up properly.

Note - higher VG juice takes a bit longer as they are very viscose (thick) and don’t wick as fast as lower VG mixes.


Another variation is the squonker, with which an RDA is fed by a soft bottle containing e-liquid housed within the mod, through a tube up through a bottom feed (BF) pin to the wick. The mod has a hole in the side, and the user squeezes the bottle through the hole forcing e-liquid up to the RDA.

Now onto the power side of things


Pen Type

Basic Pen type or Ego– are a battery housing pretty much shaped like a pen, with an on/of button, and very little else. 5 Clicks for on and 5 clicks for off. These have a built in battery which is charged using a USB cable. The atomiser screws onto the top of the battery casing. Battery protection is provided within the unit.

Regulated Box Mod

This is a more advanced unit usually shaped like a box, which contains the battery or multiple batteries. There are a lot of different types but the basic functions remain the same. These mods contain a microchip that allows the user through button pressing sequences to change the setting at which they will deliver the battery power, to suit the coil being used in the atomiser. There is usually an up and down button and a firing button. Battery protection is provided to ensure that the battery is not over stressed in use, or charging. While some of these mods have built in batteries and are charged using a USB cable the same as the pen style, most have replaceable batteries that are removed once low in power, and charged in an external charger.

 Mech Mod (mechanical mod)

This type of mod is for advanced users only, as there is no circuitry provided to protect the battery, it is basically a straight through system. The battery is contained in a casing, sometimes pen shaped and sometimes box shaped. They contain only a battery/ies and wires connecting it to an on/off switch. The user must have a full understanding of coil building and Ohms Law before attempting to use this type of device, as the coil has to be built within the battery’s limitations.

Attempting to use this device without the appropriate knowledge could result in injury to the user, you have been warned.

 Battery Safety

We are not qualified to offer advice on batteries, so we include a link to the world renowned expert Mooch


And his You Tube Channel


We will however add that you must replace any battery wrapping that has been damaged. Never carry spare batteries loose, always carry them in a carry case to avoid cross contact of the positive and negative ends.