Monday, April 4, 2016

REVIEW: The Boreas RTA by Augvape and Roxy

I normally hate disclosures and disclaimers, but this one... this one is different. I am friends with the designer, Roxy, online through the ECF and Facebook. We've had lots of long conversations regarding atomizer design. In fact, it was after one of those long conversations that she decided to send me one of the Boreas tanks that had been sent to her for the purposes of a review. Is that going to change how I feel about this device? Not one little, teensy, tinsy bit!


To start, let's look at the word Boreas. It is either named after the 2013-2014 winter storm that swept across the US and caused multiple fatalities (I hope not), the painting by John William Waterhouse (nice painting), a peer-reviewed scientific journal covering all aspects of quaternary research (probably not, but I suppose Roxy could be a quaternary researcher in her spare time), an asteroid (that would be cool), a Turkish drama (Ha!), an apparently very nice restaurant in Holland (Mmmmmm), or the Greek God of the North Wind (likely, and fitting, 'cause this tank has airflow for days). Oddly enough, the name of the tank never came up in conversation. The word is pronounced bore-ee-us. Not bore-ass. Not bore-ease.


Taking a look at the tank, it's large. Not HUGE like the VCMT 30 mm, but big. It's listed as a 25 mm tank, but it's a tetch larger measuring 26 mm around the airflow control ring. The remainder of the tank does measure 25 mm. This is important only when using it in side-by-side mods. This will not fit in the new Movkin Disguiser, for instance. It measures 51.3 mm from top to base, not including the drip tip or 510 connection. The capacity is supposed to be 8 ml. I never measured with a syringe, but I have precious little left in a 30 ml bottle after three fills, so I'm thinking that's about right.

Since I already kind of compared it to the VCMT 25/30, let's take a look at the other obvious comparisons. It is actually a touch shorter than the Kanger Subtank Plus, and it holds more e-liquid. How about that? A lot of people are comparing the tank to the Aromamizer Supreme. It's a fair comparison, but I think there's more than just Aromamizer DNA in this beasty. There's also a bit of Bellus! In fact, I think there's a lot of Bellus in both the Aromamizer Supreme and the Boreas and it's a touch disappointing that more people haven't pointed that out. The Bellus is an awesome 22 mm tank!

When dismantling the tank, everything comes apart. There's the 510 drip tip, the top-fill cover, the top of the tank with the chimney, the glass, the airflow and juice control ring, the upper section of the base, the deck, and the lower section of the base. This degree of granularity is great in that is is easier to clean and easier to figure out where things might have gone wrong should any problems arise.


In the plastic clamshell box, along with the tank, is a drip tip, a baggy of spare o-rings and grub screws, a spare glass, an allen/hex wrench, a manual, and another building deck.


Yeah... more than one deck to play with. On the surface, this is a head scratcher, but when a closer look is taken, it becomes obvious that the decks are not identical. One deck has large, 2.5 mm juice holes in the bottom of the deck, The second deck has smaller 2.0 mm juice holes. The intention here is to have a separate deck for lower wattage builds and / or thinner e-liquids. Personally, I just like the idea of a second deck so I can keep a build at the ready. I have no issues with reducing wattage to carry on vaping when I am away from my build kit (which, to be fair, is a rare occurrence). using the two decks for two styles of vaping also provides a sort of second stage to the juice control.

Which brings us to the juice control... It's not an independent control as near as I can tell. Instead, it's tied directly into the airflow control. It actually makes sense to do so in a way - higher wattage equals hotter vapes which require more juice and more airflow. It makes sense, and it works, but it take a second to get used to. Only a second, though... after all, a lot of the RTAs hitting the market as of late do not have juice flow control, or airflow control, or either (I'm looking at you Diablo).

The airflow on this tank is incredible! There are four, 2.5 mm air holes per side. That comes out to roughly 40 square mm of space. I backed that number into a series of calculations and it's equivalent to a single hole about 7.10 mm across. Care to guess how big the bore on the chimney and drip tip are? If you guessed near 7.10 mm, you'd be close enough. This means that the air comes straight in to the coils and up the chimney and into your mouth all without any serious restriction. Not only does this mean incredible flavor and vapor, but in a pinch (and with a long enough drip tip), you could likely snorkel with this thing.

The question must be asked, then, can this tank be used for mouth-to-lung vaping? The answer is a qualified yes. Yes, but not with the build I am currently running. Yes, but not with the wattage I'm currently using, Yes, but not with the supplied drip tip. Yes, but only with a relatively thin e-liquid (remember that the airflow control is the juice flow control - shutting down one shuts down the other). Perhaps a better question is, should this tank be used for mouth-to-lung vapes? Probably not.

Building on this device is simple. Simpler than simple. Not only is it a velocity deck, but it's an enormous velocity deck measuring 17 mm across. The post holes are a wee bit over 2 mm in diameter. Fitting big builds should not be much of a problem. My first build was a dual 24/28 Clapton 5 wrap on 2.5 mm that came out to .22 Ohms. Using Wotofo Comp coils, it took less than five minutes to get the coils installed. It took another couple minutes pulsing to eliminate hot spots, and another couple to wick. If a person wanted to build a single transverse coil, or a single, centered vertical coil it would be possible. A single coil on one side, however, would not be advised as there is no way to close off the air ot eliquid on just one side. All in all, for the build described above, it took less than 10 minutes between deciding to build a setup to vaping. If I had used a dropper to fill the tank, it would have likely taken longer to fill than to build.

Which brings up the filling method. As mentioned earlier, it is top fill. Once the top is removed, there are two generous kidney-shaped holes that e-liquid can just be dumped into. The gap between the wall of the chimney and the edge of the tank is large enough, a snub-nosed bottle can almost fit in there, drippers work fine, too. The instructions say that the airflow'juice control should be closed down to about half of one hole, the tank filled, then the tank should be inverted for the last bit of tightening. The juice flow should then be adjusted to the desired level and the tank righted. The first time I filled it, I simply shut off the juice flow, filled, opened the juice flow... and dealt with a bit of flooding. Not pouring out the air holes leaking, but some spatter and gurgle that lasted through a couple pulls. The second time I filled it, I followed the instructions to the letter (except I used juice instead of joice... just sayin'...), and still dealt with a bit of flooding. Less, but still apparent. The third time, I closed down the airflow as directed, dumped in my juice, put the top back on, and opened it up. Still a bit of flooding. Might have been my wicking... dunno... Do know that I have not had any leaking. In fact, with the copious amount of vapor that this tank has been producing, I think I've seen more condensation than anything else.

And, they lived happily ever after... eh... not quite...

There is a known issue with the o-rings. Some of them - especially those on the base of the decks - seem to be either ancient and brittle, or pinched and damaged. Either way, a lot of folks have been dealing with broken o-rings on one or both decks. Fortunately, there are spare o-rings. Others have complained that the top fill cap is nigh on impossible to remove. I did not have that experience, but can report that it was TIGHT! There have also been a few reports of janky machining or machine oil. I had neither of those problems.

As this is the first run (or so) of the tank, I imagine that many of those issues will be ironed out with subsequent batches. However, the fill cover really should have had some small amount of knurling... maybe just a groove or two to grab onto. I doubt that will be added in future runs... maybe the Boreas V2. Maybe I'm wrong...

So let's break it down into some pros and cons and give it a grade...

Pros:
  • Incredible build deck
  • Great air flow
  • 8 ml capacity
  • Juice flow and airflow control
  • Nice looking
  • Extra deck
  • Extra glass
  • Extra screws
  • Extra o-rings
Cons:
  • No true single coil option
  • Juice flow and airflow controls are combined
  • Janky o-rings
  • Not really a mouth-to-lung tank
  • Top fill really, really tough to get off at times (needs knurling or grooves) 
  • Not a fan of the 510 nipple nub on top
  • The airflow control ring gives the tank a bulge
  • 25 mm will not play nice with all your mods
Making the grade?
  • Finish - 9/10 - Almost a polished stainless steel with nary a burr, scrape or scratch to be found on mine. I also found no evidence of machine oil. The issue with the o-rings cost 'em a point.
  • Form - 8/10 - It's a TANK of a tank. The only two things I could think to improve would be to recess the control ring so that it would be a true 25 mm, and eliminating the 510 nubbin on top.
  • Function - 10/10 - I should dock a point for the inability to tuck a true single coil build in there. I should dock a point for not really being suited to mouth-to-lung vaping. I should but I'm not going to. People looking to buy this tank are probably not members of the #teamsinglecoil #tootle-puffer club. With those two non-issues out of the way, this is an incredible vape.
  • Final - 9/10 - A! Get this tank! It's available (might be on back-order at this point) from subtanksupply.com for around $40.

2 comments :

  1. The Diablo does have airflow control, 8th the awful clones that dont.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So I have belatedly discovered. However, the clone I have is not awful... just lacking airflow control.

      Delete

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