Practicing Battery Safety
With the variety of devices available on the market, and the types of batteries, it’s important to know your battery. Not all batteries perform equally in all devices, and not all hardware is intended to be paired. Disregarding battery and hardware safety can have serious consequences, particularly where the draw of the devices (or shorts due to hardware issue or user error) exceed the maximum safe discharge of the battery you’re using.
To avoid accidents and catastrophic failure of your hardware, you should always build, use and store your devices & batteries with safety in mind.
The worst thing you can do is toss batteries in the garbage. We should keep batteries out of landfills because of the length of time it takes for these products to break down. Also, rechargables can catch fire and vent when they are crushed and damaged – like in the back of a waste disposal truck.
Know Your Battery Types
In this industry there are a number of different battery sizes and they all fall into two main types of batteries recommended for use in electronic vaping devices.
- ICR = Typical lithium ion battery
- IMR = Lithium manganese batteries. Often referred to as “high drain”
Now, With that in mind, it is generally accepted that IMR batteries use a safer chemistry than ICR’s. That’s why IMR batteries can be purchased for Vaping usage.
IMR batteries are known to have a higher discharge rate than ICR batteries. This makes them a more appropriate choice for devices that use lower resistance coils and mechanical mods.
While some ICR’s offer a higher mAh (storage capacity), they don’t always offer the higher amps required to power devices and builds with a significant draw.
Battery Safety Considerations
- Always buy batteries from a reputable and trusted vendor. It’s too easy to rewrap a battery and sell it as something with inflated mAh ratings or falsified max continuous amps.
- If you are using a protected device, such as a variable mod with a chipset that offers battery protection and wattage control, you should be fine when it comes to battery selection.
- If you’re using an unregulated device such as a mechanical mod, always opt for high drain IMR or hybrid, or use a mod fuse that kills the circuit in the event of a short that would normally lead to a failure of the battery.
- Protect your batteries while charging them by using a quality intelligent charger. An intelligent charger can help avoid issues such as overcharging. They can detect the status of the battery and select the appropriate voltage and charge mode. They’ll automatically stop when the battery is charged and utilize reverse polarity protection.
- Always use a battery box or case. Never store loose batteries in a pocket, purse or other type of bag where they can find change, keys etc. An exposed battery can short if it comes into contact with metal.
- Do not stack batteries. If you must stack batteries then use a fuse if your batteries do not come with built in protection. The batteries you use should be like batteries that are ‘married’. Meaning they are purchased, discharged and charged always at the same time. Never stack unlike batteries, or like batteries of unknown condition.
- Check to make sure the device you’re using has proper venting for batteries. Vent holes allow for battery gases to escape in the event that a battery begins to fail and vents. If your device doesn’t allow these gases to vent it can turn a device into a pipe bomb.
- Avoid building coils that target low resistance. .5 to .8 is a sufficient build for great cloud production and flavor. If you must build lower than .5 ohms then always make sure your battery is rated to generate the amount of amps required by your build.
Now lets get into more technical stuff…
C Ratings and Safe Discharge
You’ll often see batteries list two different Amp levels; 1 for max safe continuous discharge, and a max amp discharge for “pulse”.
The max safe continuous discharge is also known as the C rating. To find the max safe discharge of the battery you take your mAh, divide it by 1,000 and multiply it by the C rating. For example a 2,000 mAh battery with a C rating of 10 would provide a 20amp max continuous draw.
That “max continuous draw” means the battery can be safely, continuously discharged at that amperage.
When you exceed the safe continuous draw limit of a battery, such as with very low resistance builds, you can no longer continuously draw from the battery. That battery may be able to support up to 30 amp pulse, but a continuous discharge above safe limit of the battery would/can cause the battery to overheat, vent, and/or fail.
Rule of thumb: do not count on the pulse rating to keep you safe while vaping. If you’re not using a battery that can safely function and deliver power under its continuous rating then you’re setting yourself up for trouble.
Not sure if you have the right battery for your build? Check with your local vape shop or speak with more experienced vapers who can help you choose an appropriate battery.
Watts, Amps and Voltage
Some people just want to vape, and don’t want to have to learn about electricity and ohm’s law. If that’s the case you shouldn’t be using devices like mechanical mods.
With a regulated variable device featuring a screen you’ll see references to the voltage with the ability to alter the wattage of the device. But if you max out the wattage of the device, is it still safe to use the device with your battery? This is where a little Ohm’s Law calculation comes into play.
My Mod uses dual 18650 batteries, is set to 40 watts and fires at approximately 4.65 volts with fully charged batteries. To calculate the amps (current) being drawn when it’s fired you divide the watts/volts.
40w/4.65v = 8.6 amp draw
This tells me that my device, at max wattage, is well within the safe limits of my IMR 18650 batteries.
You can also do this calculation with other known values. Let’s say you’re using a mechanical mod without a display. You know your fully charged 18.650 is 3.7 volts. You’ve built your RDA to .25 ohms. Divide volts by resistance to discover the amps.
3.7v/.25ohms = 14.8 amp draw
But what happens when you build your coil out at .08 ohms with a single battery (18650) mech mod?
3.7v/.08 = 46.25 amp draw
You can see the drop to a .08 ohm coil setup greatly increases the current well beyond the safe continuous discharge rating of a typical high drain IMR battery, and even beyond the max pulse rating of most IMR’s (35-40 amps).
This is why it’s important to understand the safe limits of your battery, do the calculations when building coils and understand how your resistance impacts the draw on the battery. Exceeding the safe limits of the battery greatly increases the chance of battery failure.
That’s it for today folks have a great day!
and don’t forget to visit http://www.esutta.com to get your vaping supplies!