6 Common Battery Safety Mistakes and 6 Excellent Solutions
The topic of batteries in regard to vaping has created a lot of worry amongst everyone in the vaping community. Battery safety has become a dreaded subject for many. I suppose the only way I can really address battery safety is the way that I would when I worked in a vape shop.
The first thing I want you to understand is that batteries were not built to fail, so if they do, there was some user error, and it’s something you 100% want to avoid. It’s a serious matter, and in certain situations, if not handled properly, it can cause permanent injury. We absolutely never want that to happen, so here are some common battery mistakes and their solutions:
1. Vapers often carry extra batteries around in their pocket, purse, or bag without a battery case.
Okay, so this is one that seems harmless. Most of us understand that our batteries are going to die at some point during the day, so we always carry extra charged batteries with us. The problem is not the battery in your pocket; the problem is all of the loose change or your set of keys also floating around. You know the way that favorite build of yours fires up? Well, that is completing a circuit, and your keys, loose change, or anything metal will do the same… but it will be in your pocket.
How to solve this problem: Easy! Put your batteries inside a battery case! They make all different sorts, from plastic, to soft cases, battery cages, to individual silicone battery cases! Pick them up from your favorite vape store, and remember: battery safety is every vaper’s responsibility.
2. People sometimes put their batteries in backwards. Not putting your batteries in the correct direction.
You remember when you were a kid and you would accidentally put the batteries in the TV clicker the wrong direction? TV didn't turn on did it? Well, too bad they didn't have a shocker on the TV remote back then because if there was, I can guarantee none of these people would be putting their batteries in the wrong direction. Guess what happens when you don't follow the proper battery orientation with a dual parallel mechanical mod, or any mod that does not have reverse polarity protection…. POP! You just vented your battery, and now your mod is most likely going to require some TLC.
How to solve this problem?: Put your batteries in the correct direction! Okay I guess that sounds easy, but seriously, I cannot stress the importance of this enough. I have seen this happen time and time again, and the blame is generally placed on the store the mod or batteries were purchased from. Just a hint, most knowledgeable vape stores can tell just by looking at the direction your batteries vented or the damage on your mod whether you had them in the correct direction or not. Accept the mistake and next time be more cautious.
3. Often, vapers use the wrong battery charger or a very cheap battery charger
Have you ever forgotten your cell phone charger at home and had to use a friend’s to charge your cell phone? Normally you don't have any issues doing this right? Well, for vaping this can be potentially dangerous. If you happen to use the cord for that little ego battery you have with an iPhone wall piece, this can actually over-charge your battery causing it to potentially burst. While this is not always the case, and normally the battery will short out before you are able to see any physical damage, the potential for this to create an electrical fire is there. The same goes for external batteries. I also see many vapers do buy the cheapest 18650 charger they can because they believe they are all the same. While saving the money might be nice, these cheap chargers often do not have the over-charge protection that the more expensive/name brand ones do have.
How to solve this problem?: Use the charger that comes with your device. I guarantee that your local store recommends the charger that comes with your device for a reason and that they want you to be as safe as possible. Stay away from cheap chargers that cost under $10 because there is a reason they are so cheap. The important thing when charging external batteries is that you make sure you are using a high quality charger such as Nitecore or Efest. Quality chargers will also lengthen the overall life of your batteries which is a nice bonus.
4. A lot of vapers over-discharge their batteries. GOSH DARNIT! Over-discharging (completely draining) your batteries.
I will admit, when I started vaping I was personally a huge culprit of this. I guess I was expecting the battery to just tell me when it needed to be charged, and let’s just say that with mechanical devices that is just not the case…Duh! Over-discharging your batteries can be just as damaging as overcharging them. The more you over discharge a battery the weaker the battery becomes.
How to solve this problem?: Well, for myself, once I picked up my Nitecore D-4 charger,I started to learn and really was able to watch what I was draining my batteries to. Now I am at a point where I am able to tell when my batteries reach exactly 3.8 volts every time. Always pay attention to when there is a significant decrease in power and switch to a freshly charged battery. It is better to charge a battery before it is over-discharged than after.
5. Every now and then, a vaper might build to too low a resistance and exceed the amp limit of their battery. This often ends very badly..
Okay, while it may be fun to challenge your buddies on who can build to the lowest resistance, I cannot believe how many times I have gone into a vape store and seen people walk out with builds that are dangerously low for their device. Running .05 ohms on a single 18650 tube mod? Do you have any idea how many amps are being drawn from your battery with a build that low? Well, it is 84 amps. That is exceeding your continuous discharge rating by 64 amps, putting your battery so close to thermal runaway just for the sake of “beating your buddies." Shelve your pride, and keep your fingers. Please. Please. Please.
How to solve this problem?: Either build higher or put your build on a dual parallel unregulated mod. It really is not that difficult to receive a “hot and satisfying" vape while still being conscious of safety. Realistically, the lowest you should build for a single mechanical mod is .2 ohms which is a 21 amp draw (at 4.2 volts). If you want to run those super low-ohm builds, please put it on a dual parallel unregulated mod, because then you are splitting the amp draw between the two batteries.
6. Coils touching the top cap.
You know this can actually cause more damage to your device than it can your batteries, but the damage to your mod creates an unsafe environment for your batteries. When a coil touches the top cap it creates a hard short (solid connection between electrodes causes extremely high current flow and complete discharge resulting in permanent damage to the cell), and probably tastes TERRIBLE! I have had people ask me why their vape is tasting horrible and when I take off the top cap I can clearly tell that their coils have been touching the cap. It is almost like sticking a metal coat hanger into an outlet.
How to solve this problem?: If you do not understand the basics of electricity or if you do not completely know what safety measures to take while building, i’d advise you to take it to your local vape shop and pay the $10 to get your RDA rebuilt. If you are really interested in learning how to build on your own, ask questions! I can promise you that your local vape store will answer most of your building questions. If you have additional questions there are multiple youtube videos and Facebook forums where vapers in the community would be more than willing to help you. Reach out to veteran vapers, because they were new once too and will have experience with building.