Battery Safety for Vaping
What are the types of batteries used for vaping?
The two main types of batteries used in vaping devices are ICR and IMR. As the industry progresses, and sub-ohm vaping becomes more easily accessible and user-friendly, IMR batteries are becoming the standard. The difference in ICR and IMR batteries is the chemical composition. ICR batteries are composed of Lithium-ion and Cobalt, while IMR is composed of Lithium-ion and Manganese. ICR batteries are built with an internal protective circuit board (PCB) in case the battery fails. Although IMR batteries do not feature a PCB, the chemistry composition is much safer and also allow for high drain uses, specifically for sub-ohm vaping. IMR batteries are also referred to as “unprotected” or “high drain” batteries. If the PCB for ICR batteries ever fails and the battery vents, the outcome would be much more dangerous compared to an IMR battery venting.
What does it mean when a battery vents?
When a battery fails, it undergoes a process called thermal runaway, where it releases flammable gases or “vents.” For this reason, mechanical mods and regulated mods are designed with vent holes or some type of venting system. In order to avoid the gases from building up and combusting, these vent holes mitigate that risk by allowing the gases to escape.
Why is Maximum Discharge Rate (in Amps) So Important?
Knowing the maximum discharge rate (in amps) of a battery is essential for safely using your e cig. Before diving further into the importance of AMP ratings, we have to first take a look at Ohms Law. In a nutshell, ohms law is a formula that uses a mathematical equation to show the relationship between resistance, voltage, current (amps), and power (watts). Thankfully, there are calculators out there so you don’t have to remember or even know the formula.
Most batteries out there now have the maximum discharge rate printed on the battery, or included in the product title from most vendors. If this information is not given, you can always calculate it by taking the C rating and multiplying it by the batteries capacity in amps (this is done by taking mAh and dividing by 1000). Make your life easier, and purchase only batteries that have this information given already, either on the battery or included in the product title.
In order to make the maximum discharge rate relevant to vaping, we have to determine how many amps your setup is drawing from the battery. Let’s look at the ohms law calculator and use an Aspire Atlantis with a 0.5 ohm coil as an example. The Aspire Atlantis 0.5 ohm coils have a maximum operating wattage of 30W, so if we enter 0.5 in the “resistance” field and 30 in the “power” field, we see that this setup utilized at maximum capabilities draws 7.75A from the battery. So in order to be on the safe side, you would need a battery with a maximum discharge rate of at least 10A. You never want to use batteries with a maximum discharge rate that’s barely meeting the amp draw. Pushing anything to its max is never a good idea in the long run and can cause the battery’s shelf life to shorten faster than normal. Our preference with using a sub ohm tank like the Aspire Atlantis or Kanger Subtank is a battery with at least 20A rating, just to be on the safe side and ensure that we’re not pushing the battery anywhere close to its limits.
For mechanical mod users
If you’re using a mechanical mod, you might be wondering how to figure out how many amps you’re setup is drawing form your battery. Since mechanical mods don’t have a feature of controlling the voltage or wattage outputs (unless you’re using a kick), the output is determined by the battery life. You might have noticed that some of your batteries have 3.7V printed on them, which is standard for all vaping batteries. The number 3.7 represents the average output of the battery (in volts), unless you’re device has the ability to control the output like a regulated mod. When a battery is fully charged, the output is 4.2V, and when it’s almost fully depleted it’s 3.2V. The average of the two is 3.7V. In a mechanical mod, a fully charged battery will produce more power compared to a battery that’s been used. The longer you use the battery, the lower the voltage output.
So let’s say we’re using a set up with a 0.3 ohm build with a fully charged battery. If we look at the ohms law calculator, and put 0.3 in the “resistance” field and 4.2 in the “volts” field, we discover that the setup is drawing 14 amps from the battery. So in this case, you might think “I’ll be in the safe zone using a battery with a 20A maximum discharge rate,” right? Not so fast. As you continue using your setup with a .3 ohm build, over time, the resistance might drop below .3 and end up at .2 ohms. Now if we plug in the numbers again, we get a 21 amp draw with a .2 ohm build. Now you’re overstressing your 20A battery, and that’s not good. It’s always a good idea to leave some cushion with the maximum discharge rate for best practices. In this case a 30A or 35A battery would be perfect.
Best Practices for Battery Safety
- Always keep batteries in a safe, non-conductive container and away from fire hazards
- If batteries are not in a safe container, keep away from other metal objects to avoid shorting the battery and causing it to overheat or even explode in extreme cases.
- Never expose batteries to water
- Keep batteries away from flame
- Do not use batteries that have any visible damage, corrosion or leaking.
- Do not over charge or discharge your batteries. Over discharging reduces battery shelf life. Batteries, should be replaced in the device when almost fully depleted, but not completely depleted.
- Do not charge batteries unattended
- Charge batteries away from fire hazards
- Properly dispose of batteries according to your state or local laws. They are considered hazardous waste.