E-Cigarette Battery Safety: A Straightforward Overview
Do you spend any time thinking about whether you’re using your vaping device and batteries in the safest manner? If you don’t, you should take the time to do so because lithium-ion batteries are far more powerful than most people realize. Apart from the fact that both types of batteries are very efficient stores of energy, the lithium-ion batteries of today bear little resemblance to the disposable alkaline batteries that you’re accustomed to using. If a lithium-ion battery is treated so improperly that it experiences a critical failure, it can potentially vent flames and hot gases, starting a fire or causing severe burn damage to your skin in the process. Trapped inside a vaping device with poor venting, a lithium-ion battery can even cause an explosion. Lithium-ion batteries are extremely powerful, and you must treat them with respect. Vape safely! This is our overview of e-cigarette battery safety.
Transport Batteries in Carriers
Carrying loose batteries in your pocket is one of the worst mistakes that you can make as a vaper. The top and bottom terminals of a battery are metal, and they are conductive. If a metal object such as a key ring or spare change touches those terminals, it’ll form a circuit – and the battery will discharge. Short circuits in pockets are some of the most common e-cigarette battery accidents, and the flames from a venting battery can cause severe burns. When you transport your vaping batteries, transport them in carriers that protect the batteries and cover their metal terminals. Carry batteries outside your pockets.
Don’t Charge Batteries Unattended
Even if a battery seems to be in perfect condition – even if you use exactly the charging equipment the manufacturer recommends – there is still a small chance that the battery could overheat and experience a critical failure during charging. It’s rare, but it does happen to a small number of lithium-ion batteries every year. If a battery catches fire while charging, quick action with a fire extinguisher can prevent the fire from getting out of control and causing injury or property damage. A battery fire can become an extremely serious event, though, if no one is there to do something about it. Don’t leave batteries charging while you’re asleep or out of the house.
Don’t Charge With Mobile Device Chargers
Have you noticed the quick charging features that many new mobile phones and tablets have? An iPhone X, for example, needs just 15 minutes to restore 20 percent of its battery life. To get those fast charging speeds, modern mobile devices use powerful USB wall adapters that supply higher-amperage currents than a computer’s USB port would supply. The makers of those devices test the devices’ batteries to confirm that they can handle the extra stress of higher-amperage currents. The battery in your vaping device, however, hasn’t undergone such testing. Don’t charge a vaping device or battery with anything other than a computer’s USB port, a high-quality external battery charger or a USB wall adapter recommended by the vaping device’s manufacturer.
Don’t Use Mechanical Mods
One of the greatest aspects of modern electronic vaping devices is the fact that they can be incredibly safe while supplying massive power. A typical high-end mod, for example, automatically detects overheating, short circuits, battery over- and under-voltage, dangerously high currents, reverse battery installation and more. The possibility of a regulated mod catching fire or exploding while you use it is very close to zero. Mechanical mods, on the other hand, have none of those features. A mechanical mod is nothing but a battery tube and a button. When you press the button, a mechanical mod will activate whether it’s safe to do so or not. Suppose, for example, that you’ve bumped your device on a hard surface at some point while using it. You’ve shaken your atomizer coil loose, and the atomizer now has a short circuit. If you have a regulated mod, the device will display an error message rather than attempting to fire the atomizer. If you have a mechanical mod, though, the mod will attempt to fire the atomizer no matter what – and that’s when bad things can happen.
Aside from the fact that mechanical mods have very durable components, there’s really no benefit to using them. They’re less powerful, less flexible and far more dangerous than regulated mods. Mechanical mods were fine devices during the age of lower-wattage vaping. If you’re a sub-ohm vaper or cloud chaser, though, it’s time to ditch your mechanical mod for a regulated device with an appropriate suite of safety features.
If You Do Use Mechanical Mods, Use Caution With Hybrid Mods
Let’s suppose that you already know the dangers of using mechanical mods, and you’ve decided to use one anyway. If you’ve made the decision that a mechanical mod is definitely the right choice for you, you should avoid – or at least exercise extreme caution when – using a hybrid mod. In a hybrid mod, the pin in the center of the atomizer’s threading directly touches the top of the battery. That design is fine if the atomizer is designed for use with a hybrid mod. Suppose, though, that the atomizer has a floating center pin or a pin that doesn’t protrude from the threading. In that case, it is possible for the atomizer’s threading and center pin to touch the top of the battery simultaneously – and if two connected metal objects touch the battery’s top terminal at the same time, a very serious short circuit will occur. Many of the e-cigarette battery explosions that have occurred during use have happened with hybrid mods. If you decide to use a hybrid mod despite the risks, use it only with the included atomizer.
Don’t Use Damaged Batteries
The design of a lithium-ion battery presents several potential risks as the entire metal enclosure of the battery is conductive. That’s why lithium-ion batteries have plastic outer wrappers; the wrappers aren’t conductive. They provide electrical insulation. If you have a battery with damage to the outer wrapper, though, you’re losing the benefit that the wrapper provides. Suppose that you have a battery with a torn wrapper, and your vaping device has metal inside the battery compartment. You could encounter a situation in which the metal of your vaping device touches the battery’s terminals – and the side of the battery – simultaneously. That’s a dangerous short circuit – but it’s easy to prevent. If a battery has a damaged outer wrapper, replace the wrapper or stop using the battery. If a battery has signs of structural damage such as bulging or warping, stop using the battery.