Northwest Vaper’s Quick Guide on Looking After Your 18650 Battery

Without batteries, we aren’t vaping. Looking after your Li-Ion battery to ensure that it operates safely, lasts as long as possible, and is operating at the top of its performance is vital for enjoying the best possible experience with vaping. In the following quick entry level guide, we’ll take a minute to learn a little bit more about one of the key components to the vape world and discuss some important battery etiquette and tips to ensure that you get the most out of your 18650 batteries! This is a short introductory guide that is nowhere near a full detailed guide on all of the in’s and out’s of battery safety. If you plan on using advanced vape equipment and techniques such as rebuildable coils and sub-ohm cloud chasing do yourself and the community a huge favor by doing extensive battery research such as studying Ohm’s Law.

Battery safety should be every vaper's top priority. Like what we mentioned in a previous article most adults have at least heard of one or two horror stories in the media about vape devices "exploding". Well 99.98% of the time the reason a vaper's device goes haywire, possibly causing damage to itself or to the user, is because of operator error or poor quality merchandise

Most operator errors can be easily avoided by just following some simple guidelines. One of the most common and easy to do ways to accidentally damage a battery, possibly causing it to vent, is by not taking care of small rips or tears in the 18650's insulation skin, commonly known as a "wrap" or "sleeve". The skin covers the full outer plating of batteries minus the positive and negative contacts. What some new vapers are dangerously unaware of is the fact that the exposed plating of an unwrapped battery will act as a negative terminal – just like the battery bottom negative contact. What that means is if you use a battery that has exposed metal via a damaged wrap (even from a tiny rip), which comes into contact with something conductive, like the inside of an unregulated vape device or mech mod, that connection to the exposed battery can easily cause issues such as misfires, draining, overheating, and even venting, possibly exploding. Luckily most local quality vape shops are equipped to re-wrap batteries that have damaged sleeves for a buck or two, or you can buy heat shrink wraps online if you have the tools to apply them. DO NOT use any batteries with damaged wraps until they have been rewrapped.

Another one of the biggest things that will destroy the life of your battery quickly is excessive heat. Heat is the enemy! High temperature, especially with prolonged exposure, is going to permanently damage the battery, causing it to lose its charge quickly and could even damage it to the point in which it becomes dangerous to use. Most experts agree that if your battery is getting hotter than 45°C or 113°F; it will begin to rapidly age. The more frequently they get hot and cold, the faster they’ll wear out.

If you want your batteries to last longer than your e-liquid, you want to always pay attention to it's energy reserves and charge them before they get fully drained. If avoidable, don’t run your 18650 batteries below approximately 20%-30%. By staying above 2.5V, you’re going to avoid the possibility of the metal plating inside your battery becoming damaged. This can then lead to poor battery life and even the possibility of a short circuit inside the battery, which could cause venting.

We know, now you’re missing out on a lot of vaping time, but think about it this way. If you run additional batteries in rotation, keeping them each above the 30% mark, you’re going to save a lot of money replacing retired batteries. Using multiple batteries also has the added effect of lowering the overall wear and tear on each battery.  If, in a pinch, you run your 18650 battery down below the 30% mark, charge it on the lowest charge cycle you can until you get it up above 30%. Once you reach the 30%, you can switch back up to your regular charge mode. Li-Ion batteries don’t have a memory so don’t need to be discharged all the way to the bottom.

With a little bit of care and attention, you’ll start getting a lot longer out of your batteries.

Here're some quick facts about Li-Ion battery care:
  • Let warm batteries cool to room temperature before using them.

  • Don’t overcharge them; 4.27V is the magic number.

  • Invest in a quality charger that offers overcharge protection, adjustable charge cycles, and easy to read displays. Avoid the use of rapid chargers, they significantly lower vape performance and can kill the overall life of the battery.

  • If the casing or wrap of the battery looks damaged, don’t use it until you can get it rewrapped!

  • If a battery has noticeable dents or scorch marks, leaks fluid, or shows other signs of damage including melted labeling or missing insulators, don’t use it! It is always better to be cautious and not risk damaging your devices or yourself!

  • Never store or transport batteries in an environment where they could come in contact with metallic or conductive devices

  • Buy quality name brand batteries. All batteries carry a safety risk, and battery makers are obligated to meet safety requirements; less reputable firms are knowns to make shortcuts and it’s “buyer beware!”

  • Do your research about the batteries you use, and never exceed the amps of your battery. This is a very important of battery safety, especially for advanced vapers using unregulated devices or sub-ohm and rebuildable atomizers. Ohm’s Law is your friend. Take the discharge rate (the amps) of your battery, then divide your voltage level by coil resistance (ohms) and make sure you never exceed your battery’s amp rating.

Again, we want to say this quick and dirty guide is only meant to be a VERY BRIEF crash course into simple & basic battery safety. You can find much more detailed information on vape battery safety in your local vape shops and online like E-Cigarette-Forum Ultimate Battery Safety Guide & Vaping360's Vaping Battery Safety Guide


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