Sunday, March 13th, 2016
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It doesn’t take much to short a Lithium-Ion battery. And it seems with the velocity of information on the internet, we’re seeing more stories about batteries shorting, mods exploding, and someone in our vaping family being injured due to faulty battery or mod handling. We hope that this information can and will help all of our vaping family members have a safe and wonderful vaping experience.
To put things in context, and to understand what happens when a battery shorts out and vents, you should watch this video. We can assure you that even for a very light short, you may feel the heat and the battery acid well before the explosion, but do you really want to take your chances? Odds are the short, the vent, and explosion will happen much faster than you can react.
So what steps can we all take to minimize the risk of a battery short and explosion?
First, never carry loose batteries in your pocket, purse, the console of your car, a drawer, or any other place where the batteries may touch. Indeed, your spare batteries should be in a battery case when they are not being used or charged. The case keeps the batteries aligned such that the ends will never touch and nothing will come in contact with the batteries. Reputable retailers are more than happy to sell you a quality battery case.
You can be sure that one of the most common causes of battery shorts is that the battery (or batteries) were in a person’s pocket and possibly even with a few coins bouncing around. This is a recipe for disaster, and the result is usually at least 2nd degree burns as diagnosed by the emergency room doctor. And you probably had to yank your shorts down in front of all your friends.
When You Are Not Vaping
None of us are constant chain vapers. Perhaps we work inside where we cannot vape. Maybe we’re playing ball and it’s not convenient to carry our mods in our hands. What can we do with our mods when we aren’t vaping? This is a tough one, but also this is why I vigorously recommend using a regulated mod.
It is quite convenient and tempting to tuck your mod into your pants pocket. No problem there…unless something in your pocket activates the mod. Did you lock your mod first? That’s an easy one to forget to do. Does your mod have an actuator limit, such as only five to ten seconds of activation then it automatically shuts off? (This is one reason why I prefer regulated mods!) What happens if you set your mod in the car console and it tips just enough for the actuator to be depressed? This actually happened to me once, and my unregulated mod caught on fire just as I smelled the burnt atty. Now imagine that this happens in your pocket…where nothing should ever burn or explode. (By the way, where are our genius vapers who want to make a belt clip for the various mods we use?!)
Do NOT Leave Your Mod in Your Car
Leaving your mod in your car may seem convenient, but is it safe? Absolutely not. During periods of even moderate temperatures, the inside of your car can turn into an oven. This increases the risk of overheating the batteries and potentially causing an explosion or setting your unattended car on fire. Some experts recommend keeping your batteries where they will stay between 50 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. To be even safer, avoid triple digit temperatures. And NEVER leave your batteries in your car!
Another cause for shorts, and certainly something that may lend to a mod venting is poor physical battery condition. The “sheath” and negative end of these batteries are typically one single piece, and there is only a small gap between the negative surface and the positive contact. This is the reason we have battery wrap and plastic tabs involved in the design of the battery. Believe me when I say this level of protection is just enough to be safe as long as the integrity of the battery wrap is not violated. Even a small tear like this can pose serious danger!
Dripping, Pulsing, and Dry Atomizers
Another piece of safety advice is if you drip, be very cognizant of how quickly your mod consumes juice. Dry cotton and a current with sub-ohm resistance are poor bedfellows. If you like to pulse while dripping, wait until you have enough juice in the atomizer first. Never pulse or activate your mod while the atty is dry. Here’s one example of how things can go south very fast.
Know What You Need In a Battery
Finally, we all love innovators and geeks when it comes to improving the vaping industry. We love huge clouds. But let’s be realistic. If your mod needs this many batteries, you don’t deserve the teeth that are about to be blown out of your skull. We’re trying to save lives through tobacco harm reduction. We’re not building weapons of mass destruction!
A satisfying vape does not require truckloads of power. It really just needs a proper understanding of watts, voltage, ohms, and amps. Most regulated mods handle the calculation of watts and voltage, relative to your implementation of atomizer, which is where the ohms rating is established. Thus, place focus here on the battery, which is where the amps come in to play.
The following chart (we would love to credit the author, but…..) gives guidance on which type of battery is generally best for your usage. However, lean heavily on your reputable retail specialty vape shop for guidance on your mod and configuration. That is your best source for expertise and assistance!
Talk with a reputable vaping-specialty retailer (not a smoke shop!) about your battery needs. Use retailers who avoid cheap clone mods. Seek out specialty retailers who provide expert guidance on vape safety, your mod, atomizers, builds, etc., and who also stock the materials that provide the best, safest vape experience. These folks are there to help you with your vaping experience and keep you as a lifetime customer. We’re all in this together, so let’s work together to keep each other safe from harm. Tobacco Harm Reduction is not just about eliminating tobacco from our lives.
If anyone has additional suggestions for safety or links to publish in the article, please let us know.
Kevin Carly – UTSFA Vice-Presidentby