Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Review: Aromamizer RDTA by Steamcrave

I first heard about Steamcrave in the NDS "RBA and Mods"-group on Facebook, where several of my fellow Norwegian vaping geeks recommended the RDTA warmly. My friend, Roger (the maniac behind Steamer Elixire), posted some photos of the 2-post velocity deck (I'll get back to that) which kind of tempted me to try it out. Actually it was tempting enough to go get one.

Having a look at Steamcrave's web-page (which is a bit slow at times, so be patient), it looks like they set out to create a tank atomizer that performs like a dripper. Hence "RDTA", I guess. The name Aromamizer also gives us a pretty good idea of what they're aiming for. The Steamcrave web-page is a bit confusing actually. They operate with 2 models of the RDTA, a 3ml (SC200-S) one and a 6ml one (SC200), and also there's a 3ml and a 6ml version of their OCC tank version of the Aromamizer. All of this I'd say, is actually a tank system. The only difference between the 3ml and 6ml versions is the top cap, and the pre-built OCC heads, the 3 post deck and the 2 post velocity deck is of course interchangeable. It becomes a bit clearer when you go into their shop though.

In the box
Actually, I got several boxes in the shipment this time, but first let's see what's in the SC200-S set:
  • The RTDA itself, including the 3 post deck
  • Spare tank section
  • Spare o-rings (looks like one of each)
  • Spare screws (both hex and Phillips)
  • A small Phillips screwdriver
  • A small Allen key
  • 2 vapebands for airflow control, one with 2 holes and one with 4
  • User manual
  • All packed in a nice presentation box with foam inserts
In addition to this I also got the 2-post deck, the 6ml version of the top cap and a dual coil kanthal OCC coil head (0.3 Ohms). All of these can be purchased separately. They've now also released a 0.15 Ohm single coil NI200 OCC head for use with temperature control, and you they've got delrin versions of the driptip and vapebands in different colors available as well. On top of this they've created some bundles including both build decks, so you've got quite a few options here.

Look and feel
Honestly, this is not the best looking tank around, but not the worst looking either. Without the vapebands, it looks kind of standard. I don't know... the vapeband kind of makes it look a bit messy. On the other hand, it feels really well made. All the parts screw together very smoothly, and the o-rings are perfect fits. Feels very solid.

In use 
When you start using this, you'll quickly understand why it's not the best looking tank in the world. When designing this, they've focused on functionality and performance, not looks. For example the bottom section is knurled, making it easy to unscrew. Some may think this make it look better, some may think it makes it look worse... the guys at Steamcrave, I believe, don't really care how it looks.

When it comes to the build-deck... or build-decks I should say, I think they're both pretty easy to build on. They're not huge, but not tiny either, and quite easy to build on. I do prefer the 2-post deck and definitely recommend you get this if you're thinking of buying an RTDA. It gives you a bit more room to build, and I could quite easily fit dual Clapton coils in there. Also it has 4 holes so you can fit one coil at the time, and I've seen people mounting the coils both horizontally and vertically, even diagonally. I'm not saying the 3-post deck suck... not at all, but there is less room and it's better suited for more standard builds. I've seen people put quad coils on the 3 post as well though.

The liquid feed design and airflow design on this atomizer is quite unique as you can see. I guess it's best explained in the illustration. The juice comes in from the bottom while the air comes in from the sides hitting the coils directly if you keep them high enough. Actually it's quite easy to adjust this, as you can just peek into the air holes on the side. If you can see your coils, you're good. I've seen some people complaining that the airflow is not adjustable enough, but in my opinion I think it works perfectly. Twisting the rubber vapeband, and having the option of 2 or 4 holes in them, you can adjust it exactly the way you like it. Personally, for the build I'm on now, which is the dual Clapton build I talked about, I use the 2 hole band with the holes fully open. Some say it will make a whining noise if you cover up the air holes a bit. Well it does make some sound but I'd say it's barely noticeable and I honestly don't see a problem with that. Then again, personal preference I guess, some people like their tanks quiet, some don't care. I mean if you're going to use this tank to it's full potential your coils are going to make some noise anyway.

The drip tip is also quite special. It's quite short and is fitted with what Steamcrave calls spit-back protection, which works very well. I guess the illustration on this is quite self explanatory as well. Another example of how much thought they've actually put behind this tank.

Filling the tank is done through the bottom. You unscrew the bottom section, build-deck and all. This gives you access to the holes that the juice comes out from. It's pretty easy to fill and you don't even need a needle tip to do it. Actually I believe you can just poor the juice in there as there is 8 holes which will let the air out easily as long as you tip the tank slightly. Never mind if you got some juice left that won't go down the holes... it's coming out the same way anyway. Some might say that they could have made this fillable from the top, and well yeah they could probably, and it might even have helped them sell more as top-filling is kind of hot right now. On the other hand I see an advantage doing it this way... you can actually inspect your coils every time you fill, so you'll see when they start to get clogged up and ready for some dry burning and fresh wicks. 

All in all I think this tank is a dream to use. Easy to build, easy to fill and you have loads of setup options. You can even choose between hex and Phillips screws on the 3-post deck, don't think there's room for Phillips on the 2-post though. It's even easy to clean as none of the parts have these inaccessible spots where water gets stuck no matter how much you shake, wipe and blow. Having the 6ml top cap is also great, as you can easily end up with quite thirsty builds on this one.

Performance
You've got a lot of options when it comes to builds, airflow and so on with this tank, so I guess performance depends on how you set it up. That being said, you'll get a lot of good ideas online, and the 3 different setups I've used so has performed amazingly well. The flavour I'd say is at least as good, if not better than on the UD Goblin Mini I reviewed last week ... and I said that one was on par with some of my drippers. I've run it all the way up to 60 watts (still all I've got at the moment) and it has no problem keeping up. The setups I've tried so far is a dual horizontal Clapton on the 2-post coming out at around 0.4 Ohms, a standard dual horizontal coil (28 AWG) on the 3-post at around the same Ohms and the 0.3 Ohm kanthal OCC head. All have been amazing, but I'd say the Clapton gives the best flavour and vapour, although it needs a bit of pre-heating to get going. The OCC also works very well even if it's doesn't taste and perform quite as well as the other setups. It gets surprisingly close though, and I'd it is the best tasting OCC setup I've tried so far, so if you're just looking for a sub-ohm tank the OCC package of the Aromamizer is great option.

Pros and cons
++ Great flavour
++ Great vapour production
++ Loads of options
+ All tools and spares included
+ Easy to use
+ Great fan-club on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/steamcrave/) and they get a lot of kudos for listening to their customers.
- Looks (if that matters to you)
- The Allen key was kind of soft so you can't really use much force or it will become unusable pretty quickly.

Conclusion
Go get one! Price wise it's not bad either, you get the SC200 kit (or the SC200-S) for $39.99 at steamcrave.com. I would recommend getting the 2-post deck though, which you can either buy separately, as an upgrade or in a bundle. Actually I'd say go for the bundle and a couple of OCC heads for your vacation. Worth every penny.

Thanks to Maggie at Steamcrave for offering a decent discount so I could get all the extras (and then some) and do this review properly.

Vapour UK


Disclosure:
  • All my reviews are my honest opinion even if I am affiliated with the company manufacturing or selling the product. 
  • This review does not contain affiliate links.

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