Battery safety for dummies
You use battery-operated products every day, your phone being the prime example, and your e-cig being another. But do you ever think about battery safety?
Most of us go through our routine without ever encountering a problem. But batteries are highly charged electrical products and as such need to be handled with a semblance of care.
A mistreated battery can behave in a potentially destructive way such as venting, giving rise to the viral videos we see of peoples e-cigs ‘exploding’. It’s not the e-cig that ‘explodes’, it’s the e-cig battery venting.
Let’s take a general look at e-cig batteries and how you can stay vaping safe.
What are the different types of e-cig batteries?
There are two types of e-cig batteries; integrated and removable. Both have their pros and cons, each need different treatment.
Integrated e-cig batteries are within the body of your e-cig or mod and you cannot remove them. These e-cigs charge using an on-board USB port and feature passthrough charging, which means you can continue to vape while your e-cig is on charge.
Removable batteries can be taken out of your e-cig or vape mod. Some can be charged within your device using an on-board USB port (although this is generally not recommended), but they are usually removed and charged inside an external charger.
Charging and over-charging your e-cig battery
While charging your e-cig or its batteries may be a part of your everyday life and it is usually done without much thought, there are some rules that should be followed. The first thing to remember is to only use a high-quality charger purchased from a reputable vape supplier.
The second point to note isthatovercharging your batteries is a huge no-no. While most modern e-cigs have inbuilt protections to stop anything from happening, it is always better to be safe.
Leaving them on charge all day might seem like a good idea as it means you’re guaranteed to always have a vape, but it’s not worth the risk. Don’t leave them on charge unattended and only charge your batteries until they are full, then immediately remove them. This will not only minimise risk, but it will also help to extend the life of your batteries. Win-win.
Discharging and over-discharging your e-cig battery
Yep, you can also over-discharge your vape battery!
When you buy a new phone or laptop, the instructions will tell you to fully charge your battery then drain it completely before recharging. This is because that type of battery has something called a ‘charge memory’ so you need to ‘train’ them.
Modern e-cig batteries do not have this internal memory; therefore you do not need to fully deplete them. Over discharging your battery is more damaging as overcharging it.
If an e-cig battery is over-discharged it’s no longer safe for use and must be properly disposed of. If you attempt to recharge an over-discharged a real safety issue could arise.
Luckily, most modern e-cigarettes have a minimum voltage cut off to prevent the cells from ever becoming over-discharged. This does not apply to mechanical mods, however!
Storing your e-cig battery
If you have an integrated e-cig battery, it is already stored safely in your e-cig. Don’t expose your e-cig to extremes of temperature, don’t attempt to remove the battery and if damage occurs to your vape mod then be safe and replace it.
If you have an external battery and you need to store it outside of your e-cig, remember to use an appropriate battery case or sleeve to stop any damage to the cell.
Be wary of chips, dents and damaged casing on a removable battery. If this comes into contact with the metal body of your e-cig, it can vent.
DO NOT store your removable batteries loose in your pocket or bag. In fact, do not store them loose anywhere. If they come into contact with anything metal e.g. keys, phone, money, they can and in some cases do, vent. The last thing you want is a battery violently venting in your pocket!
E-cig battery safety
This boils down to something very simple – common sense. Do not mistreat your e-cig or its battery. It can be easy to forget that it is an electronic device that uses power.
Lithium-Ion batteries are safely used in literally millions of devices every day. However, there are some risks associated with such high energy devices that vapers should be aware of.
Batteries shouldn’t have damage to their cases, should never have contact with water, also avoid short-circuits and over-charging. These things can print a fire risk.
Although many Lithium-Ion batteries have “protection”, the following cautions are still relevant, as the protection circuit is a potential safety mechanism rather than something absolute.
Tips for battery safety
Li-Mn batteries (“IMR”) present safer chemistry and less fire-risk but are capable of delivering very high power in a short burst. If short-circuited, the metal causing the short can get hot very quickly, which may lead to other damage or secondary fire-risks.
- Always buy from a reputable vendor that is proud of the quality of their goods.
- Check that the product or packaging displays the correct CE and ROHS safety markings and that the distributor can prove their authenticity.
- Do not store, use, or charge batteries in extremes of temperature, high or low. Only use charging equipment in good condition and specific to your battery type. Never mix batteries from one manufacturer with a charger from another without specific confirmation of compatibility.
- Always charge batteries specifically as directed in the product instruction manual.
- Do not leave charging batteries unattended, and always charge batteries away from flammable materials.
- Transport loose batteries properly separated in non-conductive (e.g. plastic) containers, and never where they can come into contact with metal items that can cause a short circuit (e.g. pockets full of loose change or keys).
- Do not use batteries with visible leaking or mechanical damage to the case, insulation or terminals.
- Don’t continue to use batteries that have ceased to function normally.
- Do not submerge batteries in water. Batteries should be disposed of and recycled in accordance with your country’s appropriate legislation.