We have all heard horror stories of vape batteries exploding in people's pockets, but do you know what causes this?
What causes a vape battery to "explode"?
So the correct term for a battery exploding is venting. This occurs when the battery molecules essentially get stressed and the battery will create internal pressure and all that pressure has to be released, hence the term "venting.".
What causes the battery to become stressed?
There are a few reasons this can happen; most of the stories you hear about vape batteries going pop in someone's pocket are due to them carrying spare batteries loose with their change or keys. The objects can create a circuit when they touch both the positive and the negative and cause a short.
Another cause of battery malfunction is incorrect charging.
Most vape devices that have a built-in battery will take a USB charge, and not using the correct charger can cause damage to your device and battery (for example, using your iPhone or Samsung phone charger to charge your vape). These types of chargers are designed to charge as fast as possible to minimise the downtime between charges, but vape devices cannot handle this type of charging. So as a general rule, always use the supplied USB lead included with your vape kit and plug into your PC, laptop, TV, games console, etc. to give the best charge to your device. Remember, just because it fits doesn't mean you should put it in.
In regards to rebuildable vapes, this explanation gets a little more technical, so we will make it as simple as possible.
All batteries have limitations, and these must not be exceeded when building your coils in your rebuildable tank or dripper. Before we explain these limitations, we must understand the main four components, also known as Ohm's Law. These are:
Resistance, voltage, current, and wattage
- Current: The current is measured in amperes (A), which is the rate of flow of electricity through a circuit. It is easier to think of it as the ‘speed’ of electricity running through your device.
- Voltage: Voltage is measured in volts (V), which is the amount of electricity in a circuit. When you push a coil into your device and press the fire button, the voltage in your battery is what causes the metal coil to heat up and vaporise your e-liquid.
- Wattage: Wattage is measured in watts (W), and this is a combination of the current and the voltage (current x voltage = wattage).
- Resistance: When energy is converted into heat, the process is known as resistance or ohms ().
Coils fall into two categories: high and low resistance.
- High resistance coil
An atomizer head with a resistance above 1.0 ohm. Generally used at a lower power, they are more suited for "regular" vapour production.
- Smaller clouds of vapour
- uses less e-liquid
- Suited to most e-cigs
- Low resistance coil
An atomizer head with a resistance less than 1.0 ohm. Commonly referred to as "sub-ohm". Generally, it requires higher powers.
- Larger clouds of vapour
- uses more e-liquid
- Not suitable for all e-cigs
With all this in mind, the limitations of a battery are its amps. For example, the AW 25T 18650 battery has an amp range of 20–35A, which is stated on the battery wrap. Now that we know how to identify what our battery amp is, we can now find out if our build is safe for the battery using an Ohms law calculator such as SteamEngine.
If we measure our coils using a regulated device or an ohmmeter, we input the figures into the calculator.
Voltage is 4.2 for a fully charged battery.
Next, we will input our resistance for this purpose, which will be 0.2 ohms.
After we put in this data, the other 2 fields will automatically be filled, and in this example, we get an amp rating of 21 amps, which is perfectly safe on the AW 25T as it has an amp limit of 35 amps.
Exceeding the amp rating of a battery puts you at a huge risk of malfunction, and if you are not confident, please refer to a specialist vape shop for advice and guidance.
Signs your vape battery could be venting
If you notice a considerable change in battery temperature, we suggest placing your device outside, but do not attempt to remove the battery due to the increased heat the battery can experience. Just leave it sit outside until it cools. Once you are confident that nothing else is happening, remove the battery, wrap it in tape, and throw it in a battery recycling bin.
Always make battery safety your main priority, and always seek help and guidance from vape professionals if you are unsure of anything regarding battery safety. Always carry loose batteries in a battery case and not loose in your pocket or bag, and finally, only use the supplied charger that comes with your device.