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Save your face: A forever important must-read on exploding batteries and how you can be vape safe. Part I – Mods.

Posted by TasteMaster Umba on

From time to time, the internet gets slightly broken by a mania over exploding e-cigs, with images of half-blown-up mouths, lips, cheeks, hands, and pants

It's terrifying, just look at this ish.

Google exploding e-cigarettes, I dare you!

The terror is spread by misinformation and fake news. To the point that your Mom is calling you up being all like, "Stevie, you know you're smoking a bomb with that thing, raaaight! It's going to explode, my boy, I saw it on the internet."

Your mom has every right to worry, if you don't handle your device properly, bad things can happen. However, you can rest assured knowing that your vape is not a pipe-bomb, after all.  

In fact, the consensus finding is that it is actually the electronic cigarette batteries that explode. Not the e-cig itself. 

At this point, I gotta ask: Feeling nervous? Battery getting warmer? You're probably chain-vaping - we've got something for that (Umba Vape's incredible WTA e-liquid).

Stay calm. We, at Umba Vape, present to you the most logical and sensible ways to prevent your batteries from exploding. Be it in your face, or in your pocket.

Part I is all about some general pointers regarding safe battery use for Mods.

This blog article is nowhere near in-depth enough for you to consider as a stand-alone guide for Sub-Ohm vaping! Rather, this is a summary of the safest way to treat your removable batteries for your Mod.

Also, we want you to be able to give an informed opinion on the topic of exploding e-cigs, regardless of what kind of device you use.

We also want to encourage you to look into your battery safety habits in order to make sure you’re following best practice in order to prevent a battery catastrophe.

Sub Ohm vapers generally know what they're doing, but it’s always good to refresh, right?

Sub Ohm Vaper or into Mods? Be fussy about your 18650 batteries – being cheap could cost you more than you expect

Sure, vaping can work out to be more expensive than what you anticipated when you first got into it. This is especially if you’ve got high standards when it comes to your vape experience (that's obviously how you found Umba e-liquid).

While we aren’t going to get into the technical science of Mods or Sub Ohming, what we can tell you is this: When it comes to batteries, you should be extremely fussy.

Before we move on, the key points to 18650 batteries

Most mods still use 18650 batteries, even though other sizes are available.

Remember, these batteries are super powerful! A lot more powerful, and a lot more dangerous, than AAAs.

Lindsay Fox states the most important thing to remember 
“any given battery can only put out so much current, and if you ask for too much from it, you can have a very bad time”.

Lee Johnson over at E-Cigarette Reviewed makes this great summary of the main points:

  • Ohm’s law says that current = voltage / resistance, and your battery can only provide so much current.
  • The maximum current allowable for a given battery is listed in amps as the maximum continuous discharge rating, or calculated from the “C rating” multiplied by the battery’s capacity. …
  • For maximum safety, choose a larger battery and keep any coils you build over 0.8 Ω, unless you’re willing to do the math and understand the risk of battery failure (but lower resistances are rarely needed).
  • VV/VW devices have protection built in, so if you’re using a mechanical e-cig mod, the best advice is to fit a safety fuse and ensure you know the batteries limits.

Now that we've reminded you of the hard truth, that your batteries have limits that you must not push. On to some tips for best battery practice for your 18650s.

1. Never buy re-wrapped batteries for your vape device

First of all, never buy re-wraps! It’s best to stick with either Sony, Samsung or LG batteries.

Maybe that other battery is way more expensive and has super impressive specs, but it may all be lies.

Maybe that other battery has better specs and is much cheaper than the others, but don’t give in to the temptation.

According to Vaping 360, “rewrapped batteries can be lower grade batteries rejected by the Big 3 as not meeting the ratings during testing”.

It’s also important to buy your batteries from reputable vendors. This is so that you can be confident that your batteries are the real deal, not some counterfeit junk.

Battery wrappers are really cheap and wrapping batteries is super easy to do. Anybody could do it, and therein lies the problem.

2. Never use any battery that has any kind of damage or defect

A battery that is never okay to use for anything at all is one that has no wrapper! Don’t put it near conductive materials, do dispose of it, responsibly and immediately.

A battery that is not fine to use for vaping is one that has a dirty wrapper. Clean that wrapper. Any kind of perforation, rust, tear, hole, bulge, or knick to the battery wrapper is a big NO.

A battery that is fine to use is one that is in pristine condition. No scratches, knicks or holes. Of course, you need to make sure it’s the right size and amp rating for your vaping needs.

If the battery gets too hot, stop using it. Same goes if it’s giving off any smell.

3. Be a conscientious charger of your e-cigarette batteries 

It is preferable for you to use a great quality charger. It might be difficult to remember, but even if you have to set a reminder on your phone, avoid over-charging your e-cigarette battery.

Sure, it’s convenient for you to keep a set of e-cig batteries charging through the day so that they’re ready and waiting. However, manufacturer's didn't design these batteries to do that. Respect the limits of your vape batteries.

That said, leaving your batteries to charge unattended while you’re away is a very risky habit. Even riskier is leaving your electronic cigarette batteries to charge overnight while you sleep. Especially if they’re charging on your nightstand. You can imagine why.

4. Use cases to protect your e-cig batteries.

It’s such an easy thing to do, just throwing your spare batteries in your pocket or into your bag.

Besides damaging your Mod batteries, if you’re knocking loose batteries around with metallic objects – like change or keys – you could easily end up starting a fire as a result of a short-circuit. Wow! Instantly combusting pants!

It’s best for you to store your batteries separately from other objects, and separately from one another, in a case that is made from a non-conductive material. You know, plastic, fabric, wood. Just not metal.

We think the Munkees Water-resistant Outdoors "Pill" Case (pictured above) is pretty sick.

5. Don’t rush into advanced vaping

Unless you really know what you’re doing – not just think you might know, maybe – stick with regulated mods.

Manufacturers fit regulated mods with a safety mechanism that is missing from the purist’s mechanical mod.

According to Vaping.com
Today’s regulated devices (sometimes referred to as Advanced Personal Vaporizers, or APVs) ensure that the batteries are not overstressed, will not continue to operate if there’s a short-fuse event, and are in the main affordable and widely available. Some of these devices have eye-watering performance characteristics, far exceeding what can be safely achieved with mechanical devices.

Always steer away from hybrid mechanical mods, because you can never be sure of what’s really going on there.

If your mod doesn’t have holes for gasses to dissipate: Just. Put. It. Down. It will blow up as a result of a build-up of pressure. Duh.

6. Use the right battery for your vaping needs

Unlike vape pens, the right battery for your e-cigarette device is dependent on your personal vaping preferences.

For Sub OhmingVaping Vanity makes a point of how important it is to use a multimeter to check your coils, “you’ll also get better performance since you won’t be guessing any more.”

What is the best 18650 out there? It all depends on what you need, which is why it’s so important to look at your needs, rather than blindly going with whatever battery your friend/shop assistant/Reddit thread recommends.

That said, in the interest of avoiding overheating, it’s always best to go with a battery that has a bigger amp limit than what you need.

So far this year there have been a few round-ups of the best 18650 batteries for Sub Ohm vaping. Here’s the top 3 across the board.

The consensus on the best 18650 batteries

We compared the top rankings and reviews from E-Cigarette ReviewedVaporizerViewsVaping360 and Vaping Insider. We trust these folks opinions since we’re not experts in batteries. We'll stick to crafting incredible e-liquid, thanks.

Remember, make sure you’ve got authentic batteries from a reputable vendor! Counterfeiters love to copy these. Vendors also often sell out of these e-cigarette batteries, probably because vapers regard them so highly.

18650 batteries with up to 20A

Samsung 25R: 20A – 2500mAh

Vaping360 declare the Samsung 25R as the standard to which we can compare every 20A battery.

18650 batteries with up to 30A

 

Sony VTC4: 30A – 2100mAh

This is pretty much an unbeatable choice in this category. Pretty much everyone rates the VTC4 as the best 20A – 30A battery

18650 batteries with more than 30A

LG HB6: 30+A – 1500mAh

The LG HB6 has an impressively cool operating temperature. Vaping Insider reminds us that “A cooler temperature is a result of increased efficiency, so in other words, you will get longer battery life.”

Final thought on removable battery safety

Do the specific requirements of batteries for Sub Ohm vaping and Mods seem way too complicated?

If you think it’s all way too much of a hassle, it would be much safer to rather stick to quality eGo devices that have protection built into every detail. There's no point for you to try to look cool if you've blown half your face off.

If vape pens are your thing, check out Part II (coming soon).

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