Battery Safety on Unregulated Devices
Posted 29th Jul 2014 to Vaping Style and Culture
I’ll be honest when I say the eGo style electronic cigarettes never cut it for me. It was great for a daily carry as they were relatively inexpensive and fit into my jacket pocket with ease; however it didn’t deliver the flavor or even the vapor production that I was really looking for. I soon started exploring mechanical mods, which is electronic cigarettes without a regulated chip. These mechs mod’s only restriction was the battery it used how much power these batteries can deliver. As I researched more and more, it seems the battery is crucial in delivering the best performance out of this particular electronic cigarette.
Since no regulation is used on a mech mod, using a safe battery is extremely important. With high-powered batteries that can deliver 100+ watts (yes mech mods can really pack a punch!) it is vital that the battery used is behaves safely even in the worse situations. Since mech mods have no regulation, it has no battery protection or anything to prevent a short from happening. In the event of a short, the battery would short out and malfunction. What you want is a battery that behaves safely during a malfunction. IMRs (lithium manganese oxide cylindrical cell) are the suggested batteries to use as these batteries have a safer chemistry and when and if they do malfunction, IMRs vent out instead of violently explode like an ICR (lithium cobalt oxide cylindrical cell) battery can do during failure. Keep in mind just because an IMR battery vents instead of exploding, it does not necessarily make it any safer as these chemicals that are being venting are actually poisonous.
Best thing to do is to practice safe battery exercises to avoid a battery from venting:
- First off always use a good charger that doesn’t rely on the batteries built in protection. The charger you use should have over charging protection. In addition, never leave your charger unattended which means no overnight charging. In the case of failure, there could potentially be a fire and something that needs to be dealt with immediately. Monitoring of your batteries when charging should not be only to your unregulated device’s batteries. It should be for any electronic cigarette actually as even an EGO battery can explode if overcharged!
- Secondly you should check your battery often if it gets too warm and especially hot to the touch, stop using it. Heating up a battery is the quickest way to get it to fail, which is why leaving a battery in direct sunlight or even in a car on a hot summer’s day is a huge no-no.
- You should also check the battery to how much voltage it is outputting, if the battery drops below 2.5 volts, it is considered damaged and should be thrown out; continued usage of an overused battery will lead the battery to failing. To check your batteries’ output voltage, a multimeter or an inline voltmeter are two tools that can be used.
- All batteries have a protective covering except for two openings on the positive and negative ends of the battery. If these battery covers or wraps start ripping off, stop using said battery as this could lead to a short happening as well.
- Another thing to keep in mind is the limitations of the batteries. All batteries have an amp limit, some, of course, are higher than others and going past the amp limit would result in the battery failing as well. But how do you know if you are going past the limit? Great question! Always use ohms law to check if you are going past your batteries’ limitations.
For example, an IMR 18650 Sony VCT5 battery has a 30 amp limit to a single battery. Using Ohm's law (current or amps = voltage/resistance) we should always use 4.2 volts as a constant (4.2 volts is the maximum output of the battery, although as the battery life decreases the voltage output also decreases, it is good practice to use 4.2 volts to remain conservative in your calculations) and dividing by the resistance of your atomizer (say 1 ohm just for easy math) gives us a current or 4.2 amps. 4.2 amps are way under 30 amps (limitation of the battery) so we are in the clear. However, if we were to use a 0.1 ohm atomizer, according to ohms law we'd have a current of 42 amps (42 amps = 4.2 volts/ 0.1 ohms). Since 42 amps are much more than 30 amps, we are essentially overloading the battery, stressing its limitations which would ultimately lead to the battery failing.
Although battery failure sounds very scary and there seems to be a ton of rules to follow, it’s actually a lot worse than it really sounds. Don’t treat the batteries in an unregulated device like a battery in a remote control where when the remote control stops working, it’s time to change out batteries. Instead, check on your batteries once in a while for voltage output and to see if it is getting too hot. In time, this will become natural when using your mech mod to the point where it’ll become habitual. So relax and have fun! I remember when I just tried a mech mod, I absolutely fell in love. I was intrigued with the simplicity of the device as well as how fantastically it performed. I was not convinced vaping could replace my smoking habits, but with my first unregulated device, I knew I wasn’t going back!