Ah, the heart of your vaping device — your vaping battery. It’s an essential part of your vaping gear. And, if you want to be able to vape freely (and without risking any major blow-ups, which are sometimes too literal), you need to understand how these vape batteries work.
Because if you don’t — KABOOM! (And I’ve already talked about vape battery explosions here in great length. They can do some serious damage, folks.)
In this guide, I’ll take you through the ins and outs of vape bats. Together, we’ll cover everything from avoiding any dangerous mishaps such as explosions or short circuits to getting acquainted with different types of batteries. So that you know what you’re doing when you’re vaping — and you’re able to stay safe.
Okay, let’s dig into this thing.
Basics First — Parts of a Vape Pen or Mod
In this section, we will go through some basic info regarding how your battery works with the rest of your vaping setup:
The Vape Mod Encasing
Basically, this refers to the mod itself, the chassis for your battery so to speak. They come in various shapes and sizes; Some are tube-like, some are box-like, some hold one battery while others hold two.
Its purpose is to hold your batteries in place, as well as to serve as housing for the chip-set (if we are talking about a regulated mod), and other electronic protections.
The Vape Tank
Your tank provides housing for your e liquid and your atomizer which holds your cotton wick and your coil to which your battery is hooked up via a 510 connector.
The topmost part of your whole device is a small, usually swappable nozzle if you will, through which the vapor is inhaled.
Once the fire button is pressed, the current is drained from your battery through the 510 connector, and your coil is fired up, allowing the e-liquid soaked cotton wicks to release the vapor through your drip tip, and the vaping may commence!
Types of Batteries
Now that we’ve covered how your vape device works, let’s see what types of batteries are usually at play here. Generally, when we talk about vape batteries, we talk about two different kinds:
·Internal vape batteries, and
·External vape batteries
Let’s see what the difference is between the two.
Internal Vape Batteries
Internal batteries are quite simple. They are charged while inside your device via USB cable. It is always best to charge them up to their full capacity.
It is highly recommended that you only use the USB cable which came with your device, and choose an appropriate power source. It is much safer to charge your internal battery on laptops or computers rather than adapters.
Especially avoid charging them on your phone charger because those chargers can damage your chip-set and affect battery life. Internal batteries can be restored after their life-cycle, but they (and vape devices that use them) are much safer than other batteries.
This is where it gets a bit more complicated!
External batteries are divided into two categories: protected and unprotected.
Both protected and unprotected batteries can be either ‘flat top’ or ‘button top’. This means that the positive electrode (end) of the battery is either flat or button, with most mods using the ‘flat top’ type.
·protected batteries — these have a safety system that prevents them from overcharging, over-discharging and short-circuiting thanks to a small circuit board usually found on the bottom of the battery.
·unprotected batteries — these are usually charged up to 4.2 volts and once they are discharged, they need to be charged again. Since they have no additional protective circuitry built-in, it is recommended not to overcharge or over-discharge them for it may lead to damage.
Investing in a high-quality charger that stops charging after 4.2 volts is a wise decision.
The Anatomy of an External Vape Battery
External vape batteries are mostly Lithium Iron (Li-ion).
They consist of three parts:
·the cathode (+)
·the anode (-)
·electrolyte (middle part)
The anode of all 18650 li-ion batteries is mostly the same in all cases. It consists of carbon/silicon and graphite.
The cathode, on the other hand, can be different, and this is the reason for the unique characteristics in different models of batteries.
One of the trade-offs with cathode chemistry is between energy, capacity, cycle life, and safety. For instance, with ICR (cobalt-based) batteries, the chemistry is both high energy and high capacity, but not especially safe. IMR is safer but has a lower capacity than ICR. Adding nickel to manganese (IMR) gives it a better output.
Different Battery Chemistry Types
IMR – Li-manganese
IMR chemistry can be found in many high-drain vape batteries. This way, the battery’s temperature remains low while working at a high current level, which means they are safer than the older ICR batteries. Usually, IMR batteries don’t require built-in protective circuitry.
INR – Lithium Manganese Nickel
This is a type of 18650 battery that is probably most widely used. By adding nickel to the above-mentioned IMR combination, the battery can produce more power, and remain within the safe lower resistance boundaries of manganese.
This type of battery chemistry provides a high capacity and a high discharge current. More importantly for vapers, this chemistry is quite stable, which means you don’t need expensive built-in protective circuits.
I:CR – Li-cobalt
The chemistry of this rather large type of battery provides the highest power of any 18650 battery, but at a certain cost. They cannot be counted on when it comes to safety. They are the most dangerous li-ion 18650 batteries on the market, which is why they are not recommended for vaping! They cannot be safely discharged at a higher current than their own mAh (milliampere hour) rating.
KEEP IN MIND: if you are using a dual or triple battery mod, it is VERY important that you never use batteries with different chemistry types in the same device! It’s also highly recommended that you charge your batteries using a reliable EXTERNAL charger rather than charging them inside your mod with a USB cable. The reason for this is that some power output levels can be harmful to your device.
Different Battery Sizes
Vape batteries are available in many different sizes. The following are some of the most popular:
These numbers refer to the length and diameter of your battery. The first 2 digits are the dimension measuring across, with the remaining 3 digits referring to the length of the battery.
Protected circuits will add between 2mm and 3mm to the length of the battery. Therefore, an unprotected 18650 battery measures 18mm across its width and 65mm in length.
What About Battery Current and Capacity?
Capacity (mAh rating) and amps (current handling) are probably the two things vapers are most interested in when it comes to batteries. Batteries with higher milliamp hours (battery life) usually have a lower discharge rate or lower amperage (amperage tells you how much power your batteries can deliver at once).
Batteries with low amperage are more suitable for use with lower wattage devices.
On the other hand, vape batteries with lower milliamp hours usually have a higher discharge rating (higher amperage). This means they are more suitable for higher wattage devices.
Capacity or mAh Rating:
A manufacturing standard to identify how long a battery lasts from charged to a 100% to being fully discharged.
A 3000mAh battery can run 3 Amps for 1 hour before full discharge.
Amp Rating/Continuous Discharge Rate (CDR):
CDR can be explained as a safe boundary at which a battery operates. The maximum electrical current at which the battery can be discharged continuously before it becomes unusable. This measurement is not a standard and it varies with different battery manufacturers.
Remember to NEVER exceed this value otherwise the vape battery could vent or even explode.
External Battery Chargers
You can find a number of high-quality external chargers on the market right now, ranging from single chargers that can hold one battery to chargers that hold up to eight or more batteries. Make sure that you find a charger which delivers the charge to your battery at an appropriate rate (the rate that you battery can handle without fizzing out).
Some more advanced chargers even have LED and screen indicators that show the charging rate. Recommended charger models include Nitecore, Xtar, and Efest.
General Vape Battery Advice
Battery duty cycle
This refers to the approximate number of recharges a vape battery can endure before no longer being able to hold a charge. This varies with battery type and make (some manufacturers are better than others).
You’ll get a longer life-span from a battery if you don’t completely drain them down each time you use them. Charging before the battery is drained (at about 30%) will surely prolong its overall life expectancy. Draining them below 3.2 volts on the other hand can shorten their life-span.
The appropriate temperature when storing vape batteries
Lithium batteries should be stored at 40% capacity at room temperature (69 degrees F).
Always use the right battery for your mod
In most cases, external batteries and mods are sold separately. Be sure to choose the ones which fit well size and power-wise with your device.
Do not overcharge your batteries
Always keep a watchful eye on your mod as it is charging. If your charger does not have an automatic stop feature once the battery’s maximum capacity is reached, it is best to not charge it overnight.
Use a battery case for transportation
ALWAYS carry your batteries encased in either a silicone bag or a little case. You might have seen the terrifying videos online of people’s pants suddenly being set ablaze due to their batteries exploding in their pockets. This happens when you put your batteries in your pockets exposed and they come in contact with some coins or keys on both sides.
Never use damaged batteries
If your batteries are scraped, torn, or frayed in any way, do not use them. Go to your vape store and have them re-wrapped.
Don’t charge or rest your device on flammable surfaces
Never rest your mod on a pillow or flammable surface and keep them away from direct sunlight. Do NOT leave your mods in your car during hot days!
A LOT to Think About When It Comes to Vape Batteries
There is, isn’t there?
Well, if you want to stay safe, it pays to know this stuff.
Then again, you can completely avoid using external batteries (they are the worst), and pick a vape device with a built-in battery that’s less of a headache.
Stay safe and keep on vaping!