Another week, more horror stories in the press. Batteries do not explode by themselves, 999 out of a thousand it is the result of user error and right now I am not just talking about the media induced frenzy around the batteries in your vape mod. I am going to take the next few minutes to once again talk about battery safety and what the industry can do to protect itself against future problems.
I am not going to go into great detail about proper battery safety, we have several amazing articles both here and on our sister site Guide to E-Cigs that you can peruse at your pleasure. The basics are very simple to get your head around:
- Know your batteries limitations
- Learn Ohm’s law
- If you aren’t sure of the battery you are holding, don’t use it
Most of the people reading this are already aware of battery safety, we are experienced vapers and we know the dangers of a battery discharging violently from improper use. We call it venting, but the media, in their incessant need for over-dramatics, calls it:
“Teen Loses Face Due To E-Cig Explosion”
When you push any lithium-ion battery to its limits it will literally throw a hissy fit and spit fire at you, it is that simple. It doesn’t matter if it is on your cell phone, your laptop, your happy new hover-board or your vape mod, if you mistreat that battery, you will be in trouble. The lithium-ion battery is quickly becoming the “bunny boiler” of the electronics world, it’s good to you for a while but as soon as you take a wrong step, it’s on and you will lose.
Try to push 40 amps from a 20 amp battery, BOOM!
Stick a knife into a cell phone battery just to see what will happen, you will get the same result.
Use the wrong charger while you sleep with your phone under your pillow, you will most likely wake up to the smell of burning, hopefully not your face.
Charge your hoverboard for 12 hours straight then immediately try to ride it while the internal components are red-hot, it will burst into flames, which will be made worse when your mother pours a bucket of water onto an electrical fire.
While we associate lithium-ion batteries with everyday life, we need to be respectful of these volatile little packages. It should be common sense that dictates the way people handle them, but apparently we have a few people walking around who are lacking in that department from time to time.
Lithium-ion Batteries in Relation To Vape Mods
Vapers go through batteries like water. Personally, I carry approximately 8 18650’s on my person most of the time. 2 in each of my mods and 2 pairs of spares. I have yet to cause a battery vent in my pocket or in a mod. I have deliberately caused a few batteries to vent, mainly to show other people how easy it is to cause catastrophic failure in a device.
Here are a few safety pointers to ensure you do not end up on the evening news:
- Do not put loose batteries in your pocket.
If you are carrying spare batteries, make sure that there is no way for them to accidentally discharge. If you have anything conductive near the battery terminals, they will find a way to punish you for your oversight. Keys, change or a random ball of tin foil will all work in conjunction with your batteries to cause you grievous bodily harm. These are not inanimate objects, they truly are conspiring to hurt you. Find something to use as a prison for these malicious power supplies, invest in a battery case, some battery condoms or even a specially made battery flask. In simple terms, if they can’t touch each other they can’t hurt you.
Check the wrappers on your batteries. Over time, charging them and inserting/removing them from mods can cause damage to the skins that keep you safe. Remember that anything that isn’t the small dimple on the top of the battery is a negative terminal. Electricity is devious, it hates being caged up and will escape any way it can. If you happen to be using a tube mod that has a switch on the negative side and the electricity has found a way to arc up the side wall, you are going to be getting that warm fuzzy feeling of a vent pretty quickly. If you see a tear in the wrapper, it is not difficult to repair the battery yourself –I have a step by step guide right here– or if you feel that it is something you would rather have taken care of by a professional, most vape shops will do it for you for a small fee.
- Just because it fits doesn’t mean you should use it.
Time to get to the serious part of this article. We hear people talk about hybrid mods and tanks all the time. Personally, I think that the 510 hybrid connector should be done away with until someone creates a pill that can increase human’s ability to brain effectively. The hybrid is basically a piece of metal with a hole in it to allow the positive connection on the atomizer to make contact with the positive connection on the battery. In days gone by, this was a great way to reduce battery sag and allow the vaper to get the most power to their build. Unfortunately, if the atomizer does not have a protruding positive pin in the 510 connector, it will allow the negative part of the terminal to also make contact. This is not just with tanks, there are many RDA’s that also have this design flaw. What you basically end up with is the negative arching with the positive and if you don’t realize that the burning sensation in your hand is a sign to move the device away from your face -and anything else you don’t want to lose- you will be on the evening news.
Fun fact: If you feel the device becoming hot, twist off the RDA/tank and it will generally prevent the vent. From feeling it get really hot to the actual venting occurring, you will have between 15 seconds and a minute to get the battery out of whatever it is about to melt and launch it. The main reason people get injured by venting batteries is because they have never taken the time to learn the signs.
How To Protect The Industry & Vapers
This week alone I have heard all kinds of different ideas on how to protect the industry from the backlash in the media, to the point where someone actually suggested making different connection points for items that should not be used with hybrid mods. Today’s article was written in response to a news article from Ontario earlier this week. I won’t link it but the basic story is that a 16-year-old who was too young to buy his own setup (vaping and smoking is illegal under the age of 19) sent an adult into a store to buy him a Noisey Cricket and indestructible RDA.
For those that don’t know, the Noisey Cricket is an unregulated series mod with a hybrid connector. The hybrid connector was not at fault because the RDA has a protruding positive connector. The most likely scenario for the damage done to this boys face was putting the batteries into the device the wrong way and then hitting the button. Simple enough mistake to make by anyone, but had this child been given proper education on how to use the device, this could have been avoided. I am not going to get into the fact that he shouldn’t have had it in the first place because that is a given.
The sad, yet simple truth is that the vaping industry could put all the warning labels in the world on vape mods and lithium-ion batteries, but if people don’t take responsibility for their own safety it will not matter. If you pay attention to what you are doing, where you are putting batteries and how you are using them and life will be happy.
If you forget that in reality, the battery you are putting in your vape mod is a trained ninja assassin, it will turn around and take you out in your sleep.
As always, enjoy your vaporizer and vape safe!