As with any battery-powered electronic devices, there is a definite possibility of bad accidents if you use your vaporizer improperly. We’ve all heard about smart phones that have exploded because the owner used an incompatible charger with it.
The horror stories about vaporiser battery explosions have been sensationalized by the media and has struck fear to the masses. Graphic pictures of battery remains litter the internet from just a single search.
The thing is, all these scary tales of explosions and things getting caught on fire have nothing to do with vaporizers. The real culprit is the lithium-ion batteries that is commonly used in e-cigarettes — the same batteries that are used in laptops and mobile phones.
These are more likely to cause problems when used incorrectly, or with incompatible devices.
In this article, we’re going to dive down into some specific reasons why the battery inside a vaporizer tends to explode and how we can prevent it.
First, let’s understand the common types of batteries used inside vaporizers. Bear with me here as a this might get a bit technical. Head scratching is accepted.
These batteries come in the shape and length of an analog cigarette and is the usual start up kit for newbie vapers. You might still see a few of these disposable e-cigarettes at your local convenience store or a highway stop over shop.
There is not too much a newbie vaper can do to mutilate these batteries as they only can use the generic atomizer that came with the cigalike kit, there are no options of pushing this battery to its limits because it only works with its stock setting. Battery life comes at a meagre 2 – 4 hours of continuous vaping.
eGO-type and midsized batteries
The majority of vapers today started with an e-cigarette of this size. These come with a 510 threaded connection that allowed vapers to swap atomizers and clearomizers with lower resistances down to 1.5 ohms.
eGo e-cigarette kits usually come in 650mAH and would keep a reasonably longer charge than the cigalikes. We saw all sorts of bells and whistles from these devices such as blinking lights, menu screens and voltage adjustment capabilities. They also incorporated safety features such a 10-second timer and blinking LED lights if the ohm resistance of your atomizer is too low to fire.
Unfortunately, most of the battery explosions and accidents happen with this battery type. It can be attributed to the low quality of e-cigarettes that can be bought a dime a dozen.
Original and genuine eGo type e-cigarettes were very unlikely to get into problems with their batteries simply because they didn’t cut corners in producing their devices.
In the case of eGO type vaporizers, explosions are usually due to the use of clones, or subpar chargers.
Mods – Mechanical
As vapers grew more curious about how they could produce more vapor from their e-cigarettes, we all started tinkering with rebuildable atomizers, kanthal wires and silica.
A mechanical mod will deliver raw power to your atomizer as long as it can fire it within its limits. Regulated mods at this time ware unable to fire coils below 1.5 ohm and would show an error message.
To get over this handicap and fire sub-ohm coils, vapers got their hands on mechanical mods that house a 18650 battery. Tube type mechanical mods and box mods even took two batteries for more awesome, raw, in-your-face power. These large batteries get longer battery life and was interchangeable with fresh ones in a snap.
Well, these mechanical mods scared newbies away as vapers spurted out ohms, kanthal and atomizer lingo that was confusing as a Rubik’s cube. These mechanical mods were usually heavy and uncomfortable to carry around too.
Accidents happen when there is an obvious lack of basic knowledge on technical things like Ohms Law and when vapers push their batteries limits too much.
It is common to see batteries venting out and leaking due to improper use. Vapers today that use mechanical mods utilize testing setups for their atomizer’s ohms and use higher quality batteries.
Mods – Regulated
Vaping technology has evolved tremendously and vapers today can begin their vaping journey with these easy to use regulated mods. These mods still use large 18650 batteries but have a lot of features that cater to safety for its users.
These features include:
- Reverse battery protection: Your device will not work if the battery is not installed correctly.
- Cut-off timer: You can only draw from your device no more than 10 seconds. If you carry your device in your pocket, it protects you from burns from your atomizer.
- Thermal protection: A device will not fire if it detects that it is too hot.
Recent Incidents of Vaporizer Batteries Exploding
In October 2015, a 21-year-old man from Naples spent a week in the hospital when his e-cigarette exploded in his face, burning his face, neck, and hands.
A more recent incident last February was even caught on video when a vaporizer battery exploded in a man’s pocket while he was paying for snacks in a local gas station on Owensboro, Kentucky.
The explosion caused 2nd degree burns in the man’s thigh and as expected caused much pain and discomfort.
While the media often blows up (pun not intended) these stories, they tend to leave out details of the device used.
In the first case, there was no description of what type of vaporizer he was using at the time of the incident. Pictures on the site only show the poor guy lying on a hospital bed.
In the latter case, again, the battery type, as well as vaporizer type and model were not mentioned. This raises all sorts of red flags in my head and I am now seriously beginning to question why these facts were intentionally left out.
Tips to Reduce Risks When Using Your Vaporizer
Being smarter is better when it comes to safety in using your device. These tips are very important to add on to the knowledge you have about vaping safely with powerful batteries. You can thank me later for these tips, I’m just a vaper helping out fellow vapers.
Don’t hesitate to buy the best quality batteries you possibly can. These batteries use a safer combination of chemicals inside it and will simply vent out rather than going off in a bang. Only buy from reputable sources and well-known brands. Getting a counterfeit battery is a very common issue today.
Check for vent holes on your mod. These are the holes on the battery compartment that allow gases to escape when your battery vents. If your mod doesn’t have them, and you have the expertise to do so, you can drill and make several holes for this.
Turn off your device when you are carrying it in your pocket. Some mechanical mods don’t have this feature and will continuously fire as long as the power button is pressed. Pretty scary right? The lack of a simple on and off switch has burned a lot of pockets and thighs for unwary vapers.
Use a smart quality charger. Unbranded chargers will not stop charging your battery even though the battery is fully charged. I’ve had an incident where my 18650 battery vented when I left it in the charger overnight. These smart chargers are more expensive but is well worth the price.
Buy a fire-resistant bag. These bags give you extra peace of mind as you charge your batteries. If your batteries ever decide they want to quit, it won’t take the whole house down with it.
Use a battery cradle when carrying a battery inside your pocket. Batteries will short out when it comes in contact with loose change or even car keys. A plastic cradle prevents your battery wrap from getting scuffed.
Don’t hesitate to toss out bad batteries. Batteries that have warps or bulges should immediately be tossed out and disposed off properly based on your current city disposal rules. Don’t attempt to repair or bother with them altogether, please buy a new pair.
Lastly, keep your vaping gear clean. A visual inspection while cleaning your device and battery will show you obvious defects.
Our human instincts automatically kick in in the event our batteries vent. Don’t do the opposite, keep it away from your face and hands.
Happy vaping everyone and stay safe!
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