Hellvape & SMM Passage RDA Review | Amazing Airflow with Great Flavor
Passage RDA intro
The Passage 24 mm Dual Coil RDA is an exciting new product from Hellvape and Suck My Mod (Matt). It features an intuitive build deck and an adjustable honeycomb system of “passages” that increase airflow velocity to the coils. It’s a deliberate and intricate design that’s more than your typical “innovative” airflow. For fans of dual-coil rebuildables and a direct-lung draw, it’s hard not to be drawn to this RDA. Early signs point to it being one of the best this year.
MyVPro sent me these RDAs free of charge for the purpose of this review.
Colors: Black, Matte Black Piano Black, Purple, Stainless Steel, Gold, and Blue
- 24 mm Base Diameter (25 mm at barrel)
- Deep juice wells
- Stainless steel construction
- Knurled threaded top cap
- Conical top cap
- Internal honeycomb airflow
- Tracked airflow control with adjacent and sealed airflow passages
- Two post build deck
- Floating separation block per post
- PEEK Insulator
- Dual coil configuration
- 810 AG+ Anti-Microbial/Bacterial Drip Tip
- 810 Frosted PMMA Drip Tip
- 510 BF Squonk Pin
- Gold-Plated 510 Connection
- PASSAGE 24 mm RDA
- Pack of O-Rings
- 510 Adapter
- Spare 810 Drip Tip
- BF Squonk Pin
- PASSAGE Sticker
- User Manual
Passage RDA overview
The Passage RDA is dual-coil rebuildable best suited for exotic coils. The draw is for restricted lung hits, ranging from tight to just a small amount of restriction. I’ve enjoyed it from 40 watts to 100 watts, depending on the airflow setting and coils used. And it works well for squonking or dripping due to a raised squonk platform and generous juice well. You can have the best of both worlds.
The Passage is 24 mm in diameter at the base and top cap, and it’s about 32.5 mm tall with the 810 tip on. It’s a three-part RDA that features a dual-coil deck, plus a barrel and domed top cap. The barrel sits in a track system that makes the atty easy to remove from a mod, and fine tune the airflow placement.
The barrel extends out to 25 mm, and has two raised air slots for the dual coils. Those slots feed three airflow passages each. Down in those passages is a honeycomb configuration of 19 small air holes. Due to the outside airflow sitting high above the airholes, and because those holes are small (only about 1 mm each), this RDA is touted as leak-resistant, since juice making its way out is unlikely.
Build quality and aesthetics
The Passage is an attractive RDA. I received the all black matte with the red tip, and SS version with the blue tip. The all-black one looks sweet on my Pulse Dual. I really like that pop of red that sits on top. Although I’ve only seen the rest of the colors online, the purple one looks really cool. A couple of the colors available like gold and electric blue have the sparkly flecked tip — lucky for me I got the solid colors.
The Passage has some flair without being hokey or over-indulged — aside from the rainbow version (does anyone out there really buy rainbow versions of drippers?). I’m a fan of the etched Passage logo and also the logos on the drip tip along the metal collar. I think I first saw tips like that on the original Manta RTA. On the Passage, one side of the resin tip is etched with Hellvape, and on the other side it says Ag+. Apparently, Ag+ is a silver cation (which means silver with a positive charge — so says Google). But Hellvape is marketing this as an antimicrobial and anti-bacterial tip. I don’t know how a metal base of a tip makes the whole thing free from bacteria though. It’s not like it’s a flea collar for bacteria! Or is it? Regardless, I like the tips. The opening is about 12 mm and they funnel down to the 810 base to about 9 mm.
Looking over and assembling the entire atty, the whole thing is almost perfect besides some machine marks in the well. Even the passage section in the top cap is sandblasted, which is a nice detail. In general, there are no hiccups with flimsy O-rings and tight or lose parts. The overall fit and finish of the Passage RDA is of high quality. Aside from the barrel being a bit thin for my tastes, I have no real complaints with its build quality or looks.
It’s a two-post clamp deck with top-mounted flathead screws. Inside the clamp posts is a separation block that allow leads of opposing coils to have their own terminals. The screws are not attached to the separation blocks so they don’t rise with the screws, but the bottom of the blocks have an angled edge which makes inserting leads easy. Leads just slip in and lift up the block.
You can pre-cut the leads (my preferred method), or install them like you would any kind of Velocity-style deck and snip from behind. The post “holes” end up being large enough for almost any popular type of multi-strand wires, and there’s ample room in the well for wicking. The coils I’ve been using are 3 mm ID coils of interlocked and fused Claptons. I could go up to 3.5 mm ID, but I’d stop there because of the way the airflow is designed inside the top cap.
The chamber is really reduced when you put on the top cap. Since the honeycomb pattern is flat (not following the circular form of the top cap), you have to be careful with how far out from the posts you place your coil — as for the coils’ height, Matt recommends placing the coil to about the top of the post holes. Just note that when you adjust the airflow (by turning the top cap), the flat wall of honeycomb airflow will cut into your coil’s clearance from the chamber’s walls. If you’re like me and always try to get your coils as close to the airflow holes as possible, you might want to take a step back. I got a not-so-pleasant hit once when I closed off the airflow some. Favor the placement of the coils closer to the posts.
This airflow system provides an amazing experience when vaping. It’s quite intricate and difficult to explain (especially in text). Obviously since it’s a dual coil RDA, the airflow is a set of two configurations that mirror each other. What’s happening on one side is happening on the other.
- First the air comes in from raised slots in the barrel
- Then it’s funneled down into three adjacent passages that are separated chutes sealed off from each other, located in the bottom portion of the top cap
- At the base of those passages are small 1 mm air holes; the two outside passages have 5 holes and the middle passage has 9 holes
- There are 19 airholes in total at the bottom of the passages that form a flat honeycomb pattern
Having these separate passages increases the velocity of air, as do the small airflow holes in the honeycomb pattern. This makes for effective cooling of the coils because the air comes in so fast. It’s not turbulent, but it’s a rushing airflow with a fair amount of noise, though it’s not too bad.
Airflow control and adjustments
The airflow adjustment comes from the knurled top cap, but also in the placement of the barrel. After you get your build installed, put on the barrel and line it up with your coils (the slots will be above your coils). If you want to use the airflow totally open, make sure to have the coils centrally placed in relation to the slots. Then just put on the top cap and line up the passages with the barrel’s slots.
Since the honeycomb airflow is on a flat wall, shutting down the airflow is a little tricky to get the holes smack dab in the middle of your coil. If you simply turn the top cap, the honeycomb airflow will go to the side and be out of the optimal position to cool the coils. Luckily, the barrel is on a track system that turns about 30 degrees. That makes the RDA easy to take off the mod, and turning the barrel enables open air holes to be moved directly in front of the coils. The only issue here is that because the airflow holes are low in the passages, I need to remove the drip tip to see which holes are open and where they’re placed. Having a bright light source shining down into the outside passages really helps.
Passage RDA performance
I was ready to get started when I opened my samples, but the Passage RDA doesn’t come with any pre-made coils. I didn’t know how much I appreciate those coming with atties until I didn’t get any. I found some quad-core fused Claptons I had lying around and first used those.
The airflow is amazing and the flavor is top-notch. I don’t even have a favorite airflow setting — I like it fully open or shut down to one passage depending on the coils I use. Fully open it’s got a slight bit of restriction, but with one passage it’s a great restricted lung hit. Of course, it’s not a cloud-comp atty, but you can easily fog up a room. I’ve only pushed it to 90 watts, yet despite the chamber being reduced so much by the top cap, the RDA does not get hot — even with just one passage open –and I’ve had minimal spit back.
The Passages RDA doesn’t have the best flavor I’ve ever had from an RDA, but I think it’s pretty great nonetheless. I’m getting bright tones and nuances that work great with fruity flavors. Even creamy juices work well too, tasting more high-key and lively. This is the kind of rebuildable that makes me want to try out every possible exotic coil to see how they will perform. I’ve been really impressed lately with some interlocked fused Claptons I recently bought (just for this RDA).
As for the leak-resistant aspects of the Passage RDA, it’s been fine. I haven’t had any leaking really to speak of (which isn’t really that big of a deal for RDAs anyway). Of course, over-squonking can might make a little mess when taking off the top cap/barrel, but it’s not bad enough to be a con like in the Mutant RDA. Plus, the raised squonk platform pretty much keeps the juice just in the well.
Pros / Cons
- (+) Quality manufacturing and good looks
- (+) Knurled top cap
- (+) Easy removal from mod
- (+) Leak resistant
- (+) Traps two isolated leads with one screw
- (+) Deep juice well
- (+) Works great in drip or squonk mode
- (+) Inventive and effective airflow
- (+) Dense vapor
- (+) Bright and lively flavor
- (+) Airflow adjustment can be tricky
- (+) Doesn't come with coils
The Passage RDA is highly recommended. With such an easy-to-use deck, my build was installed, wicked, and juiced up in no time. It took just a couple hits before I said to myself, “Damn! This is a really good RDA.” I’ve been using it daily for a couple weeks and am still just as impressed.
Although I think the airflow adjustment can be a bit tricky in the beginning, it’ll make more sense the more you use it. Aside from that, there’s a lot to like. The price only makes it more appealing. I remember when simple three-post RDAs would set you back at least $100. For the inventive design and solid execution of the Passage RDA, I think it’s a steal for the money. MyVPro has it priced at $30.99.
Kudos to Hellvape and Suck My Mod.
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