The atomizer of the e-cigarette
The atomizer is a nebulizer and is the smallest part of the electronic cigarette. Even it is small, without atomizer the e-liquid can't get converted into vapor.
In the atomizer is a spiral-shaped resistor which acts as a heating element. This is a filament which is wrapped around a fiber that holds liquid. The filament gets energy from the battery. A metal bridge with a mesh structure is on the side of the cartridge. This part passes the e-liquid to the fiber arround the spiral.
If someone pulls the e-cigarette, a microprocessor command the battery to provide energy to the filament which obviously gets very hot now. The liquid in the fiber will evaporate.
There exist atomizers with two filament wires (coils). We call them Dual Coil Atomizers. Dual Coil Atomizers have a lower resistance (about 1.6 ohms instead of 3.2 ohms). This means it can get more hot which results in warmer and more vapor. The downside is that dual coil atomizers have a higher consumption of both e-liquid and energy. Also the lifetime is a lot shorter.
If the e-liquid is completely exhausted (or when the filament gets too hot), its possible that the filament will burn the fiber around. You will taste this immediately. After a while, this fiber will be burned completely and then you need to replace for sure the atomizer.
Unfortunately, this can happen anytime. Ensure that you always have a spare one if you are using a 3 component system. To safe the life time, we recommend never to smoke your cartridge completely empty.
Lifetime of the atomizer
How long will the filament last? This is difficult to predict, but sooner or later it will happen. In practice, it varies between 2 weeks to 3 to 4 months depending on your usage.
We recommend atomizers with a low resistance between 1.5 to 2.0 ohms. These will last longer and produce a better result.
Maintenance of the atomizer
I recommend to clean your atomizer when the taste changes and the volume of vapor decreases. This should be done every week. I know e-smokers who do it even everyday, but this is not necessary. You can clean it in several ways. You can blow into the device or keep it under running hot water. In that case, you have to let the atomizer dry properly before you use it again. I put my atomizers sometimes in pure alcohol as this cleans and disinfects very well.
If you hare using a 2 component system, like most e-cigs today, then you will have a cartomizer in your device. This is an atomizer and cartridge in one piece. Everytime you replace your empty cartridge, you will get automatically a new atomizer which is a great thing. No worries anymore and no maintenance is needed. Our advice to beginners is to go for sure for an ecig with a cartomizer.