Lithium-ion batteries are some of the world’s most compact and energy-dense power sources. The lithium-ion battery is the reason why your phone runs all day on a single battery charge, and it’s also the technology that has made it possible to build electric cars with ranges of hundreds of miles. Lithium-ion batteries are definitely not the same as disposable alkaline batteries. They require special care. Lithium-ion batteries can potentially catch fire if they’re not charged and handled properly, and although such fires are incredibly rare, they can cause severe injuries and property damage when they do happen. Vaping devices use lithium-ion batteries, and you need to know how to handle your e-cigarette batteries safely if you’re going to vape. Use these battery safety tips as your guide.
Charge Your E-Cigarette Batteries Only With Approved Equipment
While a few vaping devices do include wall charging adapters, most include USB-based chargers only. When a vaping product manufacturer supplies a USB cable with one of its devices, the expectation is that you will charge the device using your computer’s USB port. Don’t charge a vaping battery with a USB wall adapter unless you’re certain that the adapter’s output voltage and amperage match the specifications of your e-cigarette battery. Most vaping devices expect a 5-volt, 1.0-amp charging current, but you should always confirm that before using a wall adapter.
V2 E-Cigs UK is an e-cigarette maker that supplies wall adapters for many of its products.
Never use a wall adapter for a mobile phone or tablet to charge a vaping device. A wall adapter for a device such as a phone usually has a “quick charge” mode that gives the phone a usable level of battery power in just a few minutes. Phones have high-end batteries that can handle faster charging rates without overheating, but vaping batteries may not have the same level of heat resistance.
Don’t Carry Unprotected E-Cigarette Batteries in Your Pocket or Purse
Does your vaping device use a removable lithium-ion cell such as the popular 18650 battery? If it does, you might be tempted to carry spare batteries in your pocket or purse. That way, you can swap batteries throughout the day rather than keeping your device tethered to a charging cable. If you’re going to travel with batteries, however, you need to purchase a case that covers your batteries’ metal terminals.
There are two reasons why you need to keep bare lithium-ion batteries protected. The first reason is because, if a metal object touches a battery’s terminals simultaneously, it’ll create a short circuit with no load. When that happens, the battery releases its full stored power in an instant. That’s enough power to cause an uncontrollable chemical fire, and you do not want that fire to occur in your pocket.
The second reason why it is important to protect bare batteries is because their entire metal cases are conductive, and they’re protected by nothing but heat-shrink plastic tubing. Carrying a vaping battery improperly is a good way to damage its outer wrapper, and if a metal object touches the battery’s casing under the wrapper, a short circuit can result.
Don’t Use Damaged Vape Batteries
As you probably surmised from reading the above section of this article, damaging a battery’s plastic wrapper is extremely easy to do – and if a battery’s wrapper is damaged, it becomes much easier to create a short circuit. Even the inside of your vaping device – if it has a metal interior – could potentially cause a short circuit by touching a battery’s metal casing.
If a battery has a damaged wrapper, it is possible to replace the wrapper yourself by buying heat-shrink plastic, cutting it to shape and adhering it to the battery with a low-heat hairdryer. Battery tubing is available in bulk on websites such as Amazon and eBay. If you’re not comfortable doing that work yourself, ask an electrician for assistance or simply recycle the battery.
Although a torn wrapper is an easy issue to resolve, other types of battery damage aren’t fixable. If you have a battery with a visible dent or bulge, stop using the battery and recycle it.
Keep Your Vape Gear Out of Direct Sunlight
Lithium-ion batteries are very sensitive to heat. If a lithium-ion battery becomes too hot, the chemical reaction within the battery becomes uncontrollable, and the battery enters a state called thermal runaway. In that state, the battery vents hot gas and can cause fires and severe burns.
A battery can enter thermal runaway in several different ways. We’ve described the two most common ways – a short circuit or improper charging – above. The environment in which a battery is stored can also cause overheating. Keep your vaping devices and batteries out of direct sunlight, and don’t leave your vape gear unattended in your car. Just as a hot car can be dangerous for humans and animals, it’s also bad news for lithium-ion batteries.
Don’t Use Mechanical Mods
The most dangerous type of vaping device is the mechanical mod. A mechanical mod is a very simple device – it’s just a battery tube with a button – and it has no electronic components. Most vaping devices have regulated power delivery, and they use their internal electronics to monitor for short circuits along with other potentially dangerous conditions such as overheating, improper battery voltage and unsafe loads. If a regulated mod encounters an unsafe condition, it’ll display a warning when you press the button. A mechanical mod doesn’t have that capability.
Pressing the button on a mechanical mod will always complete a circuit, so it’s up to you to ensure that the device is safe to use. If you use a mechanical mod, it’s up to you to take responsibility for your own safety. You’ll need to check for short circuits and test the voltage of your own batteries to ensure that you can use a mechanical mod safely. Since few vapers have the qualifications to do those things, it’s far safer to avoid mechanical mods entirely.