OBS Crius RDTA Intro
OBS has released their new Crius RDTA tank. This 24 mm rebuildable dripping tank atomizer incorporates much of the feature set of the Crius line of RTAs that came before it. The major difference lies in the floating build deck design, and the addition of the 4 mL juice reservoir underneath. The build deck is identical to that used in the Cheetah II RDA, so if you’re a fan of the split post, half post-hole, half-clamp system, then you might enjoy the Crius RDTA too. The atty is constructed out of 304 stainless steel and comes in three colors. Also included is the 18 mm wide-bore PEI drip tip for that Goon-style feel. I’ve seen the Crius RDTA selling online for around $28.
Disclaimer: We received the Crius RDTA Tank from OBS for the purpose of this review.
OBS Crius RDTA Gallery
OBS Crius RDTA Specs and Features
- Crius RDTA
- Spare glass tank
- 2 x Clapton coils
- Spare parts: Extra o-rings | screwdriver | 4 x cross post screws | cotton sheet
- User manual
- Height: 49 mm
- Diameter: 24 mm
- Weight: 42 g
- Material: 304 Stainless Steel
- Capacity: 4 mL
- Central split-post design
- Post holes: 3 mm x 1.5 mm
- Clamp space: 3.5 mm x 1.5 mm
- PEI drip tip
- Available colors: Stainless | Black | Gold
Machining / Fit and Finish
Straight out of the box, the Crius RDTA impresses with its coated finish on 304 stainless steel. Apart from the engraved Crius logo on both sides of the side cap, the upper part of the atty is structurally identical to the Cheetah II RDA. The parts in their dry state are a bit stiff, especially so with the gold edition of the Crius, something I noticed with the RDA version of this device.
The build deck is a compromise of sorts between post holes and clamps for wire leads. The central post is split in the middle and cross screws secure the build in place from the top. The two inner screws fasten down onto post holes, 3 mm wide by 1.5 mm tall. The outer two screws open to release clamps, which are prevented from unthreading by the lip of the deck. Wide open, they offer 3.5 mm by 1.5 mm space for wire leads. It’s clear to see that the Crius RDTA is intended to take some fat coils. The airflow attests to that too (more on that later).
Although I like the ease of building with the clamps, they are secured with a single screw and don’t always sit flush with the post when tightened into position. This may pose a problem for larger builds, where any connection which isn’t snug and tight will play havoc with your resistance reading.
The RDTA base has four wicking holes, into which you’ll place your cotton. Beneath that, the central chimney connects the atomizer to the 4 mL tank reservoir. The single juice inlet is cut into the base of the atty, which is then closed off by the top cap when in use. In action, the Crius RDTA is relatively leak-free.
Ease of Build
Dual coils:The Crius RDTA is dual-coil only. While that’s going to disappoint the die-hard single coil builder, working on the Crius is a breeze and the kit comes with two Clapton coils to start you off. They have an inner diameter which looks like 3 mm, but feels a fraction tighter. A build with them comes to around 0.18 ohm. If we take those coils as an indication, OBS has designed this RDTA with high-wattage performance in mind.
Both post holes and clamps offer enough space to slide wire leads in with ease. I like the deck for offering plenty of room for the coils. The cross screws fasten down securely on the wires, although I think they’ll be easier to strip than slot head screws. Fresh out the box, one screw was overly tight and already stripped a little. Four extra screws are included in the kit. Note however that the post hole screws are 4 mm long, while the clamp screws are 7 mm, so you only get two extra of each.
The tank reservoir holds 4 mL of juice, which is a bit of a mismatch for an RDTA with as much airflow as the Crius. If you’re building with the included Claptons, you’ll probably go over 80 watts of power, and be refilling plenty often.
The tank reservoir, and how it connects to the rest of the RDTA, is my major irk for this device. The base of the deck threads onto the reservoir chimney. You have a gold-plated, adjustable 510 pin which should make contact with the gold-plated, non-adjustable 510 pin in the chimney. Actually, I would hesitate to call the deck’s 510 pin adjustable. Unscrew it, and you loosen the build posts. You also risk losing a connection between the two pins down the chimney.
The gold version of the Crius RDTA we received had this problem straight out of the box. Out of the three samples I’ve built on, only one of them hasn’t had some sort of problem with the atomizer pin.
Another issue that comes up here is one of overtightening. It can be a delicate balance, keeping equal tension between the tank reservoir, the rebuildable section and your mod. Overtighten it at the base and it’s difficult to remove. One glass tank cracked when I simply tried to fit it onto the reservoir base. Either I’m doing something seriously wrong here, or there are some problems with the tolerances of the tank and 510 connection.
Airflow and Controller
Airflow on the Crius RDTA is fed from the middle, directly to the coils. This minimizes any chance of leaking and makes for a very airy draw when wide open. I’ve found that even around 100 W I don’t need maximum airflow. But push it around 130 W and up, and you’ll be glad that the Cyclops-style holes are as wide as they are.
Like its drippable cousin the Cheetah II, the Crius RDTA tank features some knurled accents on the top cap. This offers a better grip to adjust airflow to the atty. Meanwhile the Crius engraving on the sides makes for an easily adjustable setup in this respect. I have noticed that the gold coated version of both the Crius and the Cheetah II are noticeably stiffer. That may have to do with the gold coating on both outer and inner surfaces, something the black and stainless versions don’t have.
The inside of the top cap features a domed chamber, which if it performs like the Cheetah II, should make for a smooth draw and concentrated flavor.
The Crius comes with a single 810, or Goon-style drip tip, made out of PEI, a heat-resistant material related to ULTEM. I’m definitely sold on the wide-bore drip tip. It’s comfortable on your lips, ergonomic, and gently tapers from a 10 mm inner diameter at the base to 14 mm where it connects to your cakehole. Outer diameter is 18 mm, so it doesn’t feel too thin or flimsy either.
On the downside, if you’re looking for something 510-compatible, you’re out of luck. There’s no 510 drip tip or adapter included in the Crius kit.
I can’t lie, I like the appearance of the Crius – in gold at least. The black version features the logo etched out in stainless. If you’re after that murdered out look, this won’t be for you. A couple of extra o-rings (in different colors) allows you to customize the look further. Overall the appearance is clean, tidy and compact. It looks great on top of the Minikin V2, but won’t be dwarfed by larger mods either.
While I had no real complaints about the Cheetah II RDA from OBS, I feel their concept hasn’t translated well into an RDTA setup this time. Aside from the problems with potential atomizer shorts mentioned earlier, this has mostly to do with wicking.
To put it simply, wicking the Crius RDTA is hard to get just right. I’ve built on three separate samples and each time I’ve noticed the cotton getting dry above deck. The easiest way to remedy this is to drip directly onto the build deck, or tip the RDTA upside down to force-wick the cotton.
I took some inspiration from Dampf Wolke 7 and tried wicking with stainless steel 300 grade mesh rolled into tubes, to feed e-liquid up onto the cotton. This technique works wonders, produces a clean taste and helps enormously with wicking. But mesh capillary wicking is fringe at best and probably won’t be your go-to technique to get this RDTA to work better.
Refilling the tank is easiest with a unicorn bottle or a syringe – and who wants to carry one of those around with them? Thicker bottle tips are too large for the juice inlet. When do you refill, it can be tricky angling the RDTA so that the excess air gets out.
When it works, the Crius RDTA performs well over a range of wattages, although the airflow does feel like it’s geared towards cloudchasing.
Simply put, this isn’t a “set it and forget it” type of RDTA. It’s finickity to get right – a bit like the Smok Skyhook RDTA, with that troublesome juice inlet. And if I’m not confident that the wicking is working how it should, that makes it difficult for me to relax – and enjoy the device.
- Interesting hybrid deck
- Easy to build on
- Smooth airflow and taste thanks to curved inner chamber
- Loads of airflow
- Dual-airflow only
- No 510 drip tip or adapter
- AFC can be stiff especially on the gold version
- Threading between deck and tank
- Atomizer shorts
- Doesn’t wick effectively
The Crius RDTA borrows the functionality and feature set of the Cheetah II RDA and adds a tank reservoir to it. If only it were that simple. For the extra convenience of 4 mL of e-liquid, the Crius came with several issues which made it difficult for me to enjoy this new offering from OBS. I’m not convinced that the capacity is really in line with the power this RDTA is designed to push. The 510 issues would be of major concern to anyone using this on a mech mod. And the build quality needs a bit of tweaking to make it fool-proof. Since the feature set already exists and works well as a dripper, I can’t see how this RDTA adds any significant value to the market.
What do you think of the new Crius RDTA? Had a better experience with it? Share your thoughts in the comments.