Battery safety may seem like a quaint topic at first, or one you initially might want to just skip right over. This section will take an overview of some of the basic safety guidelines which are important to follow with the different types of vaping and electronics batteries and discuss further the importance of Ohm’s/Watt’s laws and why it’s important to at least have a general handle on it.
For many of us, when we first started vaping it really wasn’t a huge concern. For myself, during the first few years of vaping, all the e-cigs I used came as part of a complete kit, and other than the charge holding capacity and maximum voltage or wattage output, there was no real need to know anything else about the actual battery inside the unit, and I honestly didn’t care.
Only as things progressed into box mods, when we started buying external batteries and chargers, it became necessary to know the finer points and ratings of each battery. It was only then that many of us began to discover that not all electronics batteries are the same, and some just aren’t suitable for vaping and in particular, sub-ohm vaping.
We’ve all heard the stories of batteries blowing up, and although it’s extremely rare, it isn’t to be scoffed at and is due primarily to improper battery usage, storage or maintenance and can be easily avoided as long as you ensure you are following basic safety guidelines and are using the appropriate batteries for your device/setup.
So, let’s take a look at the types of vaping batteries and the basic safety requirements for each, shall we?
Disposables / Built-In Battery Mods
A disposable battery mod would be anything with a built in battery. It is considered disposable because you would rarely ever change the internal battery and in most cases it wouldn’t even be recommended. With these batteries after a few years, or a set number of charges, they are used up so to speak and need to be disposed of. Here’s a list of things to pay attention to when using and/or purchasing an all in one battery mod.
-1 Buy Authentic Equipment
The first rule of thumb with any mod is to always buy authentic equipment from honest and reputable shops and dealers. Take anything that looks too good to be true with a grain of salt. If a box mod is selling for half the current average from one particular retailer, be careful that you are buying the authentic device. There are many knock-offs out there and they should be avoided whenever possible.
-2 Use Proper Coil Resistances
Make sure, particularly if you are planning to sub-ohm vape, that you use coil resistances that are compatible with your unit. The website should provide that information in the details before you by, or refer to your owner’s manual for devices you already own. DO NOT USE COIL RESISTANCES LOWER THAN RECOMMENDED BY THE MANUFACTURER OF EACH DEVICE.
-3 Do Not Overcharge or Leave Unattended While Charging
Most all in one battery mods have protection against overcharging and will automatically shut off when charged to capacity. It is still recommended to pay attention to the device while charging and look in on it every half hour or so just to ensure it isn’t overheating. For devices that don’t shut-off it is important to avoid overcharging them and to disconnect the power as quickly as possible once the battery is fully charged to avoid overheating. It is best not to leave batteries charging overnight.
-4 Use Charging Cable Provided
It is also a good idea to use the charging cable provided with the unit as well as some cables may charge your mod too quickly and can cause damage or overheating. We all have a multitude of charging cable around the house now and it is tempting sometimes to use a phone or tablet cable, but it is best to use the charging cable designed for your mod to ensure long life and safe usage.
Replaceable or External Batteries
When you are vaping on devices that require you to use your own batteries, it is very important to be using or buying the right ones for the device you plan to use. There are a few things to consider and because there are so many options available, it’s important to follow a few simple guidelines here as well.
-1 Buy Quality / Name Brand Batteries
I have this listed in both sections because it really is that important, even more so with the external electronics batteries. You want to make sure you are buying authentic name brand batteries to get the best results and ensure adequate safety. There are many less than reputable electronics retailers online who sell knock off batteries and the ratings aren’t always accurate. When it comes to vaping batteries, do yourself a favor and spend a couple dollars more if need be but buy the good batteries Panasonic, LG, Sony, Samsung, etc. Not only will they last longer, you’ll get better results and peace of mind at the same time.
-2 Always use the right sized battery
Vaping batteries don’t come in your regular AA or C sizes like the common household batteries we are all used to. The size of the battery for vaping devices is a number, the most common of which is 18650. It is important to use the appropriate sized battery for your device. You may notice that another battery fits into your vape depending on the size you are using, but it important to always use the correct battery for your mod based on the device manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that your device not only functions properly but doesn’t overheat, damage your unit or worse, explode.
-3 Ensure battery is adequately rated for your intended setup
When you are looking at electronics batteries, after you’ve established the size (18650 etc.), you’ll notice a few other numbers listed. One, you’re probably already familiar with is the milliamp hours or mAh. Although that is important as it let you know approximately how long the battery will last between charges, the most important number to verify if the Amp limit of the battery.
Electronic cigarettes create a complete electrical circuit for as long as you have the firing button held down in a similar way to a light switch that completes a circuit when the light is turned on. For as long as you are engaging the firing button, or completing the circuit, the electrical current (Amps) is being pushed through your coil resistance (Ohms) and then, going right back into your battery. As a result of the way the power is being used, the first thing to ensure is to always buy and be using “high-drain” batteries with the correct amperage rating.
High drain batteries were specifically designed for the type of power output required for vaping, particularly “sub-ohming”. Again, because this is all about your safety, it’s worth clearly stating: If your battery is not high-drain or does not have the amperage requirement for the setup you are using, you risk the battery overheating, leaking chemicals or gasses or even exploding.
To determine the Amp limit you’ll require, we’ll be using Ohm’s law and simply dividing the voltage output of your device by the resistance in your coil. So, as an example, most batteries when fully charged put out roughly 4.2 volts (4.2 is a good number to use as a rule of thumb if you are unsure what voltage you are using as well). If we are using a 1 Ohm coil, 4.2 divided by 1 equals 4.2 Amps (4.2 / 1 = 4.2). We would need a battery with a continuous discharge rate of 4.2 Amps minimum. If we were to use a 0.5 Ohm coil, we would simply take our 4.2 Volts divided by 0.5 Ohms, which would give us an Amp requirement of 8.4 Amps (4.2 / 0.5 = 8.4) and so on.
You could always input your numbers into the online Watts/Volts/Amps/Ohms Calculator if, for example you know your desired wattage output and not your Volts. The calculation for your Amp limit using Watts, would be the square root of your Watts divided by you resistance in Ohms. Regardless of your math skills, I would always recommend double checking the numbers anyway using the calculator and they do show all the calculations required. As long as you know at least two numbers, Watts, Volts, Amps, or Ohms, you can solve for the other two.
It is highly advisable once we have determined our Amp limit requirement to use or buy batteries with at least five Amps more than required as that will reduce the load on the battery itself which reduces overheating and adequately ensures proper battery safety as there is always a margin or error.
-4 Use the Appropriated Charger
Although it may be tempting to use a charger other than the one recommended, as many times the sizes do match, it is very important to only use the charger recommended by the manufacturer of your batteries and if possible the one made by the same company.
Each battery charger is slightly different and may have different ratings than the one needed. If you are using a charger other than the one recommended be careful to ensure all the numbers match. Don’t cut corners, it’s just not worth it.
-5 Store Batteries Properly
Lastly, but also very important is storage of batteries when not in use. It is very important to keep batteries away from intense heat or cold as that will cause damage and may lead to battery leakage. Batteries are best stored in a cool dark place where they won’t be jostled around. A drawer is inadvisable because they will get tossed around every time you open and close the drawer.
The best option is to buy a case or box of some sort where you can leave the batteries separated. Store your batteries away from any metals or magnets too as both could cause damage or complete failure. If you are carrying spare batteries with you it is a good idea to make sure they are well secured and separated in a case of some king. All to often I hear stories from friends who had a couple in a pocket unprotected and they very often will leak either liquid or gas and need to be discarded.
A little care in maintaining your batteries will go a long way in saving your money and any worry or concern about the safety of your vape!