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The ProVape Z-Atty – Professional Level RBA
When I asked our resident Rebuildable Atomizer Expert (Tom McBride) about atomizers, the rebuildable kind, he gave me some great advice, great tips, and some hands on training. I can now wrap coils, build wicks, and strip a rebuildable atomizer in the dark and put it back together. Okay, maybe not in the dark, but still.
Anyway, we practiced on a genesis-type RBA called the AGA-T, the one with that nice glass tank. The AGA-T is a damn fine atomizer, but when Tom and I had our final lesson together I asked him to tell me what he thought was the best RBA on the market, price be damned. He couldn’t be certain because he hasn’t worked with all of them but he indicated that the ProVape Z-Atty Pro was probably the best because it comes from the company that makes the highest quality APV on the market, ProVape.
The ProVape Z-Atty Pro is a $150 rebuildable atomizer that will take your breath away…if you are into rebuildable atomizers. It certainly took my breath away.
I proceeded to pick one up from ProVape because I was dying to see if it was indeed the best there is. The following are my impressions of the Z-Atty Pro and what I’ve learned about setting one up and vaping with it. I hope you enjoy it. By the way, I’ve only used 3 different RBA’s, but this one is by far the best one I’ve used. The article isn’t as technical as I’d like, I’ll leave that up to Tom, but if you’re interested in using a great rebuildable atomizer this article, hopefully, will give you the confidence to get one. They really aren’t as scary as they seem to be. You just need patience and a little practice.
When the Z-Atty Pro arrived we ripped open the box and found a plastic tube about 6 or 7 inches high. Inside the tube was everything you need (see photo) to get up and running with the Z-Atty. Even an Allen wrench! All you needed was the willingness to learn, some time, and some patience. That we had, well, except for time. Time is always precious for us, but we made time every evening until we understood the Z-Atty and could properly strip it down, rebuild it, and vape like Masters of the Universe.
Thoughts on the Z-Atty
First, I like to think of the Z-Atty Pro that you get from ProVape as a ‘starter kit’ because unlike other vendors when you order a Z-Atty from ProVape you get a complete set of items that you’ll need to keep the atty going for several weeks, if not months.
What’s in the package?
1 – Z-Atty-Pro Tank (Completely assembled with wick, wire, O-rings and quartz glass)
1 – Allen Wrench
1 – Refill syringe and removable blunt tip
1 – Spool of Kanthal Wire
5 – 400 x 400 316 Stainless Steel Pre-Oxidized Wicks
5 – 325 x 325 316 Stainless Steel Pre-Oxidized Wicks
The Z-Atty Pro – The How-To
Believe it or not, with just a little practice and a bit of faith I managed to almost-master the Z-Atty fairly quickly. What I really like about it is that during the initial building and rebuilding it takes a lot of punishment. If you do something wrong during the building phase the worst that can happen is that you shut down your APV with an error code, as long as it’s one with protective circuitry. Don’t go using something like the Bolt to test or rebuild one of these types of atomizers.
The first thing you want to do is set your APV to 3.3v before attaching a fully assembled-Atty Pro, then you attach the Atty to your APV. Press down on your activator button while looking at the coil assembly. In a short time, a couple of seconds, you should begin to see the coils heating up and glowing.
This next step is critical. Make sure that ALL the coils are glowing evenly. There should be no discernible difference in the amount of ‘glow’ coming from the coils. If there is you’ll need to adjust your coils, which isn’t as difficult as it sounds. The starter kit includes a blunt syringe needle so you can use that to gently nudge the coils to balance them out. It might take a few tries but you’ll eventually get them all properly spaced apart and when you do they will all glow with the same intensity. At this point the coils are properly aligned and ready to rock. You may also need to adjust the voltage up by 1 or 2 volts each time you test the coil arrangement, just to be sure you have a nicely wrapped coil that is going to be within the ohm range you’re looking for. This is where having a good quality APV comes in. Instead of killing your APV if you mess up the coil arrangement you’ll just receive an error code. Eventually you’ll probably work up to about 3.7v or 3.8v on the APV before you get the best ‘glow’. It doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect, but it should be pretty close.
ProVape has tested the coils that come assembled with the Z-Atty Pro. When it arrives you can trust that it met the standards for ProVape and that the coils are working fine. That’s not to say that there wasn’t a bit of vibration in the mail system while it was shipped to you so the coils may have slipped out of alignment slightly. In any case, you shouldn’t have to take too much effort to get it aligned and working especially with the initial assembly it comes with.
No Bad Coils
I love the fact that ProVape tells its customers that there is no such thing as a bad coil. What a relief it was to hear that! You can ruin a coil, sure, but what they mean is that once you wrap the coils you can manually adjust them to get them where you want them without having to start all over. It’s true that in some cases you can “pop” a coil if you step up the voltage during your “tweaking” too quickly. ProVape encourages people to “slow down”, and I think that is exactly right. Slowly down is my biggest problem, but since working on my own RBA’s I’ve learned that it is so much easier to just slow down and make the adjustments rather than trying to rush through it and risk ruining the coil wrap.
Note* While you are making adjustments to the coils remember to let the coils cool down a bit before firing it back up, and also remember it is easier to massage the coils into place when they are hot. But let them cool before trying to test them again.
When you’ve gone through the steps of properly spacing your coils and they are glowing evenly, let it cool down for a while. Let it get back to normal, room temperature. Once it does you’ll need to fire it up one more time before adding eLiquid to the tank portion. They call it being able to fire up from a cold start. That’s the point when you know you’re ready to add the juice and start vaping.
The tank for the Z-Atty Pro holds 4ML of eJuice, but for the first few times you fill the tank don’t fill it up all the way. Filling to the ¾ mark is your best bet. This is because it’s the break-in period and if you allow some air to get into the tank it makes things go more smoothly and quickly once the coils and the wick are broken in. Once they are you can fill the tank up all the way up.
Working With Wicks
As I mentioned above you get a total of 10 wicks premade and ready to go. There are two sizes of wicks in the starter kit, 400×400 316 oxidized wicks and 325×325 316 oxidized wicks. Each one produces a slightly different vape, with the 400×400 producing a bit more vapor.
Holding the your APV upside down, with the Z-Atty Pro attached of course, allow the wick to soak up as much eJuice as it can. It needs to soak all the way to the tip of the wick. Only after you are sure the wick is saturated with eLiquid you can turn it right side up again. I recommend a very very slight touch of the tip with your finger to test the moisture, or if your hands are rough, like Tom’s are, you can use a tissue and just touch the tip of the wick a tiny bit. If it is fully saturated a bit of moisture will soak into the tissue.
After the soaking you can fire up the Z-Atty. You should see healthy amount of vapor coming from the wick/coils setup. To be on the safe side, you’ll need to turn it upside down a couple more times to make sure that the wick is absorbing the eJuice, otherwise you run the risk of burning your wick, and no one wants that.
Finally, you want to put the top cap back on the Z-Atty, but align it so that it is directly lined up so that the air hole is directly over the wick. This is vital here; having the air hole properly aligned this way provides the maximum amount of vapor production. Having done this you can now put a drip tip on the Atty.
Vaping With A Z-Atty
When using the Z-Atty Pro remember to make nice long, steady and slow drags from it. Hint* If you hear any whistling going on you’re pulling on it too fast. Remember, slow down. Great advice for every aspect of our lives, but particularly important here. A slow steady drag produces much more vapor than a fast hard pull, in every atomizer, every battery, and every eLiquid.
See? That wasn’t so bad was it? There is more to rebuildable atomizers, including making your own wicks, which is also kind of cool to do. But when you buy your Z-Atty Pro you get 10 wicks fully assembled and they are going to last you for months.
You’ll also notice that the longer you use the Z-Atty Pro the better it works. As you get to know your Z-Atty Pro it gets to know you too. The break in period gets you both on the same page so you’ll have the best possible experience every time.
And in the end…
The bottom line for Tom and myself are that the Z-Atty Pro is one of the best RBA’s out there. It’s the third one I’ve used and the best one I’ve used. After learning the ropes on the AGA-T and then reworking some of that knowledge to work with the Z-Atty I’ve gotten a lot of experience using RBA’s. I can’t say that I use them exclusively because of the nature of my job, but if I was working as a full time photographer again there is no doubt that I would have a few Z-Attys and I would use them every time I vaped.
If you think you might like to try your hand at rebuilding atomizers the Z-Atty might not be the best one to start out with. Try your hand at something in the $25-$30 range first, like the AGA-T (I prefer glass tanks as a part of my RBA’s) genesis style. Don’t be frightened of RBA’s, they aren’t that difficult to use and boy do they ever give you a terrific vape!