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Battery Safety While Vaping

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Battery Safety

By

A Vape Shop llc

2395 Academy Place, Suite A

Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909

719-380-0000

http://www.avapeshop.com

Click for a you tube video of the accident. 

It has been an interesting day in the store. We had one of our customers come into the store, he told us what he was looking for put his keys in his pocket and the next thing you know his overalls were on fire. We got him stripped down and the fire out. As soon as it happened he pulled his vape out of his pocket which was in perfect shape. His pants were ablaze. A small cylindrical object fell onto the carpet it was blazing red hot and in flames. We took care of the man once he said he was OK we kicked the still burning object out of the store.

Is this another “oh my goodness my vape blew up story”? NOPE!!!! It was in fact a battery he had in his pocket that once combined with his car keys and the change in his pocket created a dead short across the battery. You notice I am not saying vape battery since these same batteries are used in rechargeable flashlights and a lot of other high current rechargeable items. If you carried a lantern battery, a cell phone battery or even a 9-volt battery this same thing could in fact happen to you.

Here are a few pictures of the end result.

The battery on the left is the good battery the one on the right is the one that was shorted with keys.

The burned/melted piece of cloth is part of this man’s fire-retardant overalls. The melted penny we believe to be part of the short. On the far left is safe 18650 rechargeable battery that was also in the man’s pocket. 

Exploded Battery

The burn marks on the floor are where the battery fell out of his pocket about 9 feet from where the problem started. 


This dime was found melted into the floor about 24 feet from where the problem began. 


In short the man was very lucky. He has a couple of pretty substantial burns on his leg and a couple of small burns on his hand but it was unnecessary. This is a very safe hobby if people recognize that there is some simple precautions to take. I would not stick my lantern battery in my pocket or even a 9 volt without it being covered. I would not carry boiling water without it being in a heat safe cup or remove a hot pan from my oven without hot pads so why would I carry a battery in my pocket without a case.

For these reasons I thought I would write a simple safety message on batteries and mods. It will not be all inclusive and if you feel more needs to get added please feel free to let me know what you think and myself or one of the staff at A Vape Shop in Colorado Springs Colorado. 719-380-0000

I am left to consider the millions and millions of people vaping around the world and have only heard of a handful of reported incidents thankfully. As is obvious from the story above there have been some incidents one I saw firsthand here at A Vape Shop. It is my opinion that most of these issues including the one we had happen here have arisen from misuse of the mods and equipment and poor quality merchandise. No matter what vape kit you use for vaping, they all contain batteries and the potential for danger, and like any electrical item should be treated with care. Here is a basic post of things we at A Vape Shop have learned to minimize risks when using the various types of mods and batteries.

Battery Specifications:

Most batteries have to general characteristics: The capacity of the battery (it’s mah rating) and amps (its current handling rating). When choosing a battery pick one that at least meets the minimum specifications of your mod/vape.

Capacity or mah rating – an approximation of how long a battery will hold its charge from when it is fully charged until when it will cut off. To put this in perspective 100 mah roughly = 1 hour usage with low drain applications like a flashlight.

Note from a Vape Shop llc, Colorado Springs: The “best battery” is not always the one with the largest mah rating. In some vaping applications a higher amp rating (CDR or continuous discharge rate) determines the better battery. Never look at a burst or pulse discharge rating as we are concerned about the continuous discharge rate.

Amp Rating/Continuous discharge rate (CDR): CDR is the maximum electrical current at which a batter can be discharged continuously before the battery will fail. This specification is set by the manufacturer, and is an industry standard measurement. The “pulse or burst discharge rate” is what a battery is capable of bursting for 3 to 5 seconds and is not a standard measurement. The burst discharge rate varies from one manufacturer/vendor to another so making any comparison is impossible.

General Best Practices

Do not use the battery if:

  • It has rust or corrosion on it
  • If the wrap has been damaged even if it’s a small nick. (stop in A Vape Shop to get them rewrapped it is inexpensive and well worth the safety. )
  • The wrap is peeling off
  • It is bulging
  • It is giving off an odor
  • It feels hot to the touch
  • Anything doesn’t look, smell, or seem right
  • Keep the battery and all other vaping supplies away from children and pets.
  • Never store your batteries in a car or in direct sunlight. 70F degrees can quickly reach temperatures over 100F degrees in a car. Even if it’s “just for a moment” don’t do it.
  • Charge new batteries before using them.
  • If you’re using a mod that uses more than one battery, those batteries should be the same age. You should "marry" the batteries to each other: purchase them at the same time, use them together, charge them all at the same time.
  • If the battery becomes hot inside your mod, remove it from the mod and discontinue use.

Removable Batteries

The most common types of mods we sell at A Vape Shop here in Colorado Springs have removable batteries. These are usually a long cylindrical 18650 battery. We sell more of these than the enclosed batteries because the are more cost effective because when the battery reaches its lifespan you simply dispose of the battery and reinstall new batteries instead of destroying the entire mod.

  • Use a battery holder. As the gentleman above learned Never… Never Ever. Never Ever Ever!!!! Cary batteries loose in your pocket. If the touch each other, or something like keys or coins manage to contact the battery, they can and probably will fail. In worst case scenarios this failure can be a leak or an explosion.
  • Never exceed the current rating of the battery you purchased. (This will be labeled in amps on most batteries.) To determine if you are either look in your user manual to see what the minimal amp rating your mod should be using or …. Take the voltage of your battery and divide by the resistance of the coil you are running. Make sure you do exceed the amp rating of your battery or batteries.
  • Check how your mod charges. Some box mods offer pas through charge. Pass through charging is when you can use your mod at the same time as you are charging when it is plugged into your USB cable. Understand that some mods use the mini/micro USB port only for doing firm updates. If the latter is true for your device, you will want to remove your batteries and use and external battery charger to charge your batteries. (Always check the user manual that came with your device.)
  • Always use the correct batteries. Look in your user manual Find out what the minimum requirements are for the device you are using. Make sure you are using that or preferably better batteries.
  • Charge your batteries safely. Always charge them on an approved charger and if you are going to charge them in your mod make sure that the device is actually designed to use the USB port for charging. Don’t leave the batteries unattended while charging. When charging is complete remove them from the charger.
  • When in doubt look at your user manual. Look in the user manual. If it does not give you the answer go to the manufacturers web site. If you don’t understand what it all means, ask a trusted dealer like the staff at A Vape Shop in Colorado Springs. If the person at the dealer does not explain it to your satisfaction talk to another employee until you are comfortable with the YOUR knowledge.

Equation Essentials

Here are a few basic equations everyone should know that is building their own coils

  • Calculate your battery’s capacity in amps:capacity in mAh / 1000 = capacity in amps
  • Calculate the maximum discharge rate if measured in C: maximum discharge rate = (battery capacity in amps) x (continuous discharge rate)
  •  Measure your battery’s volts with a multimeter.
  • Measure the Ohms of your coil and subtract .2  to account for the +/- .2 variance. (When checking your coil, it should be assumed that there could be a variance of up to .2 ohms due to mechanical connections, changes in coil over its lifetime etc.
  • Calculate the discharge rate you’ll have with the coil you’ve built: battery volts / Ohms = your actual discharge rate
  • Check to make sure that the actual discharge rate is LOWER than your battery’s maximum discharge rate.

Ohms Law

I can think of few things as important as having a basic understanding of ohms’ law when using a mechanical mod. Ohms law is a series of formulas that looks at the relationship between, power, voltage, current, and resistance.

Vaping is basically based around the amp rating of the battery – Like I mentioned above the amp rating is the current of the battery, in other words the ability of the battery to release the power stored in it. If the battery is pushed beyond its limit it may vent or explode like it did to the young man that was in my shop.

Let’s not have this happen to you!!!!

First check the resistance of the coil you are using and subtract .2 ohms for safety. If you are building it yourself, we highly recommend this be done with an external multimeter and not your mod. A Vape Shop sells several options for your convenience and safety. To compute this, use the simple formula amps = voltage/resistance. (the amp rating and voltage rating of your batter should be listed on the battery. So if you are using a .5 ohm coil and a 3.7 volt 3100 mah battery it would be amps =3.7/(.5 - .2)

(remember the .2 ohms for safety? So Amps = 3.7/.3 so the minimum battery you would want to run is at or above 12.33333 amps.

You can use an online tool such as steam engine to help with this. The result should never exceed the amp rating of your battery. If it does, you’ll have to use a coil with a higher resistance.

AMPS = VOLTAGE / RESISTANCE

Failing to follow this advice and using a mechanical mod at a level that exceeds the battery’s upper amp limit is known as short circuiting the battery. It has the potential to burn out your battery, damage the mod and even explode. If you accidentally do this your batteries are dangerous and must disposed of safely. Sub ohm vaping on a mechanical mod takes your device close to short circuiting, but keeps the resistance of the coil is just under the upper amp limit. Consequently, you should take extra care if sub ohm vaping on a mechanical mod.

In short vape responsibly and if in doubt ask. 

Edit---- This story was picked up by CBS news here is the link to the story.

http://www.koaa.com/clip/12385641/burned-man-shares-safety-warning-after-battery-explosion-caught-on-camera



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