Thursday, May 7, 2015

REVIEW: Caravella Genesis Atomizer clone

I don't know if it's fair calling this a clone. As far as I can see, there never was a device like this manufactured for sale under this name. It does, however, have the Caravella logo on it, and would look nice on the Caravella mod.

This is my first Genesis style atomizer. And as such, I had to go through a rather steep learning curve. Where almost all rebuildable atomizers on the market at present have a deck in the base of the device, inside the juice tank. There is a cover and chimney over the build deck, and juice wicking holes in the cover. The Genesis devices have the coil assembly above the juice tank, and a wick that is poked through a hole in the deck into the juice below. Most atomizers require that you either fill the tank from the top and hope to create a vacuum to prevent leaks, or they have you remove the atomizer, and fill to the top (bottom, as the tank is inverted) of the chimney. There are exceptions as some have screw holes in the base or the sides allowing you to fill using a needle tipped bottle. The juice tank on a Genesis device is typically filled through a screw stoppered hole right in the build deck.

The differences don't stop there, either. The wick can be cotton, rayon, hemp, silica, or a mix of materials, but it's normally carbonized stainless steel mesh rolled into a tight tube. This mesh creates a wicking action and the juice is drawn up to the coil. In theory, a stainless steel mesh wick will never give you a dry hit. In practice, you can fill your mouth with a nasty metallic taste if it's not wicking properly.

To make matters more interesting, if the stainless steel mesh is not properly carbonized, you will get hot spots where the kanthal touches the wick. There is a bit of pulsing and "strumming" and tweaking of the wire wrapped on the wick in order to get the coil to fire as it should. If you're not using the mesh, you can wrap a micro or macro coil on a jig, install it, and then wick through and into the tank. You can also disassemble the tank and wick up into the coil.

Sounds like more trouble than it's worth, right? I almost thought so... However, once the coils are tweaked and the mesh wick (which I greatly prefer in this device and I'll explain in a moment) is properly set up, a Genesis device can be an absolutely fantastic vape!

This particular device doesn't disappoint, but it's not for lung-hitters or cloud junkies. It's a straight up flavor atomizer. The top cap covers the deck and is held fairly securely (I pick it up by the top cap without fear) by a double set of o-rings underneath. In the cap, which has a very nice, dark, laser engraved logo, is a single 1.3 mm air hole, and standard 510 fitting for the drip tip. The drip tip came with the logo etched on it as well as on the top cap, and my OCD won't let me change it out. When I tried some other tips, I found them to be a little on the tight side, and you certainly DO NOT want to use a tip with a long connector for reasons explained below.

the build is quite simple...
once you get past the wick.
The deck is a simple affair, too. There are two screws in the deck, and one center post with a screw at the top. That center post is the positive post and it rests right below the 510 connector in the top cap. Using a drip tip with a longer connector could create a short. There is also a hole in the deck for the wick to pass through. The two screws in the deck provide a fill hole and a negative connection. In the photo, the fill hole screw has been removed, but more on that later.

The glass tank is held in place below by another two o-rings - one on top and one on the bottom. I do not know the composition of the glass, but as I've broken one, I do know it's glass. Sadly, there do not seem any replacement glass tubes available, so I bought another complete kit. The tank is not as tight as I might like and I often fear pulling it off. I fear it, but I have never done it. It will hold about 3 ml.

The bottom features a 510 connector with a slightly adjustable center pin. Slightly in that you can pull it out or push it in, but it is not threaded. When you pull on it or push on it, be aware that you are moving the entire center post and can distort your coils if you push or pull too much.

The overall height of the atomizer is 73 mm. Its diameter is 21 mm, so it will not overhang most mods, and doesn't look bad on a 22 mm mod. I currently have it paired with my Black Copper Stingray. Surprisingly, the logos line up.

Great vape... just don't take a picture in
front of an open window on a breezy day.
Once the coil is installed and the wick is installed and everything is tweaked and running properly, this is a very nice vape! Using carbonized stainless steel mesh, I have never experienced a dry hit. Removing the screw and providing a little tilt on occasion to encourage the juice to flow up the wick, I have not experienced a hot hit either. At least not since I removed the screw. Leaving the screw in place can create a vacuum that will keep the juice from wick as fast as you vape and potentially lead to hot hits. I removed the screww and put it in a safe place. Some Genesis users prefer to leave the fill screw in and invert the device every couple hits or always vape with a "gennie tilt" to assist with the wicking.

Hot hits? When the wick runs dry and you get a metallic taste instead of the juice you were expecting. It's awful, but still not as bad as a dry hit with burned cotton or rayon, and completely avoidable. Hot in another way, too. If you chain vape on this device, the top cap can get VERY hot. At least it does with the .8 ohm build that came with it. I imagine using a  higher ohm coil might cool things off a bit.

The flavor production from this atomizer is superb. Some of the juices I tried and did not like enough to continue using regularly got a new lease on life with this tank as I caught nuances in flavor that were completely lost in other tanks.

There is a drawback that must be observed when using Genesis devices set up as I have this one set up. It is not a grab and go device. When standing up it is leakproof. I've not lost one drop. Tip it over, however, and all bets are off.

Would I buy this a third time? Yep. I like it that much. Will I buy a rubber anti-slip slip ring to put on the glass before I break it again? Already on order!

  • Finish 9/10 - .In my opinion, this is a beautiful atomizer. I even like the way it sits on my mods. I only wish the drip tip were not engraved so I could swap it out without having my OCD kick in.
  • Form 9/10 - The exposed glass tank with a less than solid connection via o-rings is an issue. I know that o-rings can hold a tank securely - I'll be reviewing the Big Buddha and that tank can hardly be taken off, it's so tight - so why not on this one. Some people might not like the smallish, non-adjustable air hole either.
  • Function 9/10 - Great flavor, decent vapor, strong throat hit even on low nic juices really lead me to like this tank a lot. However, I do not use this as a travel tank - it's strictly a stay-at-home unit.
  • Final - 9/10 
NOTES: I had to wrestle my inner Trekker into submission while writing this review - which took a lot longer than I wanted it to as I had to replace the tank halfway through the review process - to prevent oddball Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan or Star Trek: The Search for Spock references from appearing.

Now that the review is finished, allow me to say that I will be mixing up a juice I shall name protomatter so that I can use protomatter in a Genesis device.

Also, I decided I like this tank so much, I've since acquired another 2 Genesis atomizers and a Genesis hybrid device. Oddly, this is still my favorite.