Stop Making These 6 E-Cigarette Safety Mistakes Right Now
Guest post by Electronic-Cigarette.info
If you keep an eye on the news, you’ve probably noticed that e-cigarette battery problems have led to several injuries and house fires over the years. While it’s true that the number of e-cigarette safety incidents pale in comparison to those caused by tobacco use, the fact is that we shouldn’t have to worry about e-cigarette battery explosions at all. Fires and explosions do happen, though, most often because people don’t understand that a lithium-ion 18650 battery is not the same as a AA alkaline battery. The 18650 battery in your e-cigarette is incredibly powerful. Most electric car battery packs use 18650 cells. E-cigarette battery safety is no joke. If you’re making any of these surprisingly common safety mistakes, please stop now.
Using a Mechanical Mod
It saddens us to say this – because the mechanical mod is such an important part of the history of vaping – but it is probably time for mechanical mods to go away. Mechanical mods were fine when we didn’t ask much of our batteries. Before long, though, people started stacking batteries in their mods for double the voltage – and a few mods blew up. That should have been the first sign that we were going too far. Today, though, mechanical mods are still incredibly popular – and the fact that we used to call a 1.5-ohm coil “low resistance” has become laughable. Today, many people build or buy coils that test at 0.1 ohms and even lower. If you’re going to put a 37-amp load on your battery, you’d better have some safety features in place to ensure that your device won’t explode in your face. A dual-battery regulated mod can handle a higher load than a single-battery mechanical mod, and it can handle that load more safely. Unless you have the tools necessary to rigorously text your vaping hardware, you should be using a regulated mod. No exceptions.
Using a Hybrid Mechanical Mod With an Incompatible Attachment
If mechanical mods are dangerous, hybrid mods are even worse. A hybrid mod doesn’t have a standard 510 connection. Instead, the center pin of the atomizer or tank directly touches the top of the battery. The benefit of a hybrid mod is that there’s less metal between the tank and the battery – so more of the battery’s voltage reaches the heating coil. The drawback is that the tank must have a center pin that protrudes from the threading. If you connect a tank with a floating center pin to a hybrid mod, you could have a situation in which the pin and threading touch the battery simultaneously. That’s a short circuit – and it could cause the battery to explode. Misuse of hybrid mods is one of the most common reasons why e-cigarettes explode during use.
Failing to Check Atomizer Resistance
Do you build your own atomizer coils? If you do, you know that a simple mistake – such as failing to trim a lead – can result in a short circuit. If you use a mechanical mod and connect an atomizer with a short, you’d better hope that your battery can tolerate the short gracefully. You’re better off if you have a regulated mod, which should display an error message and not attempt to fire the coil. Even if that’s the case, though, do you really want to trust your safety to a circuit that probably cost its Chinese manufacturer pennies to make? Every time you rebuild your atomizer, you should be testing it with a resistance meter. Ensuring your safety with a rebuildable coil only adds a few extra seconds to the building process.
Using Batteries With Visible Damage
Vaping batteries can get pretty beat up over time. If your device has a tight battery compartment – or you drop your batteries once in a while – your batteries’ outer wrappers may start to show signs of damage. If you can see metal through a tear in a battery’s wrapper, you’ve got a serious problem on your hands. The entire metal enclosure of a battery is conductive. If part of the enclosure is exposed – and your device’s battery compartment has a tight fit – a damaged battery wrapper could potentially lead to a short circuit. If you have a battery with a damaged wrapper, you should remove the wrapper and re-wrap the battery to avoid a potential short circuit. If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of re-wrapping a battery, you should recycle the battery. You should also recycle batteries with other signs of damage such as bulges and dents.
Carrying Batteries in Your Pocket
In a tube-shaped lithium-ion battery, the button or plate at the top is the positive pole. The rest of the battery’s metal enclosure is the negative pole. That’s why batteries have wrappers – the bottom side of the battery is the only part that you want to use as the negative pole when completing a circuit. The wrapper prevents metal from touching the rest of the battery. Suppose, though, that you have a battery with some damage to the wrapper. Now imagine that you’re carrying the battery in your pocket along with your keys and some loose change. There’s serious potential for metal-on-metal contact, and if something touches the battery’s positive and negative poles simultaneously, you’ll have a short circuit – and a fire in your pocket. Carrying batteries in a pocket with other metal objects is inherently dangerous. If you must transport batteries, carry them in a dedicated case that protects them from damage and contact with metal.
Charging With a Mobile Phone Charger
For maximum safety and longevity, it’s best to charge a lithium-ion battery slowly. An e-cigarette battery typically expects a charging current of 0.5-1.0 amps. At a 0.5-amp charging rate, you can expect a high-capacity 18650 battery to be ready for use in a bit over three hours. That’s fine if you have another battery to use while one battery charges. Most smartphone owners, however, don’t find slow charging speeds acceptable. You probably don’t have another smartphone to use while your iPhone spends hours connected to the charger. To meet consumer demands, many mobile phone makers have begun including fast-charging wall adapters with their phones. The makers test their batteries thoroughly to confirm that they can handle the faster charging rates. An inexpensive e-cigarette with a built-in battery, on the other hand, doesn’t undergo that same testing. A fast-charging adapter can, in fact, cause an e-cigarette battery to overheat and start a fire. You should never charge an e-cigarette with the wall adapter for a smartphone or tablet.
About the Author
Gary Sharma is the author of Electronic Cigarette Info, a blog dedicated to sharing knowledge that can help improve the vaping experience for every e-cigarette user. Electronic Cigarette Info uses no affiliate links and no advertisements. Electronic Cigarette Info maintains the Internet’s most comprehensive article about eGo e-cigarette history.