Batteries are the most rudimen- tary part of any ecigarette. It is the life force which drives the entire industry. With the initial eciga- rettes, the consumer didn’t have to worry about the type of bat- tery their ecigarette contained, only that it was safe and you screwed it into a charger when it was empty. With the explosion of the mod market,(no pun in- tended), and the rise of low re- sistance atomizers, the need for a more educated consumer has grown considerably.
Batteries: I take your ICR and raise it one IMR - By Timothy Braun - My friend wrote this amazing article on Batt Safety - article taken from HOtwire - wanted to share
In the following article, I am going to cover what all the mystical numbers mean and how they affect your vaping experience. I will attempt to keep it as simple as possible
without getting too sciency and putting everyone to sleep...
What do all those numbers and letters really mean?
This entire
sequence can be broken down as such:
the first letter indicates the basic chemi- cal makeup of the battery. The second, and most important letter indicates the mate-
Battery identification can be one of the rial used to manufacture the cathode, also most difficult aspects of battery pur- referred to as the positive electrode, and chases when you account for the hodge- the third letter will be present when it’s podge of seemingly random letters and rechargeable.Considering lithium ion bat- numbers. All batteries are not created teries are designed to be rechargeable, the I
equal and just because two batteries are and R go hand in hand. labeled IMR18650, does not mean they Duty Cycle
have the same capabilities, characteris- tics and safety features.
The batteries we use in ecigarettes generally follow an industry defined identification scheme
consisting of 3 letters followed by 5 numbers, ie. IMR18650, ICR14500, NCR18650 etc.
The first three letters indicate the batter- ies basic construction and capabilities. The following
series of numbers indicate the batteries approximate physical size and shape.
A batteries duty cycle refers to the ap- proximate number of recharges it can be “cycled” through before the battery will no longer hold a charge. In the early days of lithium ion batteries, a duty cycle of 200250 charges was considered high. Now, with
the advance in chemical composition, duty cycles are closer to 500 charges but will vary depending on the core battery composition.
It should be noted that while a lithium ion battery does not have “battery memory”, the capacity of the battery will diminish over time as you progress to the end of it’s life expectancy. This means you do not have to fully discharge the battery before charging it like you do with many other
rechargeable battery types. You can also use it from the get go without first taking it home and
throwing it on the charger, assuming it has a charge left when you receive it.
Stealthy Statistics
The battery identifier described above tells a basic story on what the battery can handle, but for
an ecigarette,and
more notably mod-
ders, one of the most
important ratings is
the maximum
discharge rate. The
maximum discharge
rate became more
prevalent when va-
pers started design-
ing their own coils in
the comfort of their
own home. With the
natural progression
of things, our ex-
treme inner drive to produce more vapor, and subohm
(< 1.0 ohm) resistance
coils, we are dancing dangerously close to the physical limitations of lithium ion batteries.
The maximum discharge rate is generally measured in C and indicates how much cur- rent you
can draw from the battery without causing physical harm to the battery and yourself. Pull more
than the maximum discharge rating and the battery becomes unstable, goes into a state of
thermal runaway and can exhaust hot gas- ses, large flames or explode. Quite often,
a devices features will include terms like “battery vent holes”.
These holes are in place to safely guide hot gasses and flames away from your face in the case of most battery failures.
The C measurement unit can be a bit hard to understand. The C measurement indicates a current value relative to the batteries overall capacity. For instance, a 2,600 mAh battery with a maximum dis-
charge rating of 1C can handle a maximum current draw of 2.6 amperes or 2,600
mA; pretty simple. Change the rating to 2C and the maximum discharge rate is 5.2 amperes, 3C is 7.8 amperes, so on and so forth.
Discharge rate can also have a great affect on the batteries available capacity. The rat- ings listed
on the label of a battery are calculated at
a much lower rate than the batteries maxi- mum discharge rate, quite often around 0.2C. This means a 2,600 mAh battery was tested at a current draw of 0.52 amperes. As you raise the rate of discharge, the avail- able battery capacity becomes smaller and smaller.
Battery Types
IMR, or Manganese cathode batteries are modders preferred battery type. IMR batteries originally used a simple manganese cathode which provided for much higher discharge rates than its ICR counterpart. This was not with- out a loss though. With the manganese high drain cathode, IMR batteries had a much smaller duty cycle and
overall battery capacity was nearly half of the ICR.
Over time, manufacturers started mix- ing manganese with nickel to improve the duty cycle and capacity of the bat- tery with only a slight reduction to the maximum discharge rate
IMR batteries have a safer basic chemis- try than ICR batteries as they can sustain higher internal temperatures before be- coming unstable. The manganese cathode has a much lower internal resistance as well, which is the driving force behind the higher drain ratings because resis- tance has a direct correlation to heat gen- eration. It should be noted that an IMR battery which does not specifically have the “high drain” designation can not, and should not, handle high current draw. The design of the electrodes themselves has a large effect on the maximum drain rating of a battery. IMR batteries can have maxi- mum discharge ratings as high as 78C
but most on the market today have a safe zone up until about 10 amps. This is like- ly due to the balance of higher
capacity and high drain of todays bat- teries. It is critical never to assume the maximum discharge rating though. If in doubt, Google can be used to quickly and easily find your batteries datasheet which will clearly state the safety zones.
ICR, or Cobalt electrode batteries were the original form of lithium ion batteries. ICR batteries are known for their higher capacities and are perfectly suitable for the average vapors device. Typically ca- pable of a maximum current draw
of 23C,with some newer batteries capable of10 amps, these batteries can handle mostatomizers we buy over the counter today.
IMR Battery
ICR Battery
NCR Battery
Using Ohm’s law, described briefly below, running a device at 4.0V with a 1.8 ohm coil will draw approximately 1.6 amps from the battery. This is far below the 2.65.2
amp rating of your average 2600mAh ICR18650 battery. You would have to con- firm the maximum current draw of your ICR18350 battery though.
NCR batteries are a new type of bat- tery manufactured by Panasonic. NCR batteries use a Cobalt cathode like ICR batteries but have the same hybrid makeup with nickel which IMR batteries have. This provides for higher drain capabilities while also having
higher overall battery capacity.
The downfall of NCR batteries for eciga- rettes comes from how their capacity rating is calculated. NCR batteries are capable of a much lower minimum discharge voltage be- fore causing physical damage to the battery. The battery is capable of being discharged to 2.5V whereas IMR/ICR batteries have a cutoff around 3.6V.
Considering most devices, including inline devices like the Evolv Kick, have builtin over discharge features which cutoff
around 3.23.6V, you never get to experience the full stated capacity of an NCR battery. This is ignoring the fact most devices would have a hard time raising the voltage to your liking when the battery voltage is below 3.6V.
NCR batteries also have a feature called HRL or Heat Resistant Layer. HRL is an extra layer of material around the cathode that prevents the battery from overheat- ing even during internal short
conditions. This makes it one of the saf- est batteries on the market but you lose 20 to 30% of the battery capacity due to general voltage range limitations men- tioned previously.
Protected vs. Unprotected
There is a common misnomer in the com- munity that a protected battery is safer to use than an unprotected battery. There is a belief that a protected battery will pre- vent you from over drawing your battery and causing it to explode or outgas. I’m not certain where this belief has started, but it needs clarification.
A battery labeled as “protected” does
not always prevent you from applying a higher current draw than it’s capable of handling. The protetion circuits in batter- ies vary from manufacturer to manufac- turer but primarily prevent you from over discharging (using the battery past it’s minimum charge rating) or over charging the battery. The “protection” moniker is not all inclusive either. Some will pro- vide just over discharge protection, others have over charge protection, and
in some batteries, over current protection. You will have to hunt down the datasheet from the battery manufacturer to find exactly which protections are provided or hope that your merchant
has this listed online.
Protected batteries are quite often longer in length than their unprotected coun- terpart. This is due to the additional cir- cuitry that is embedded in the battery. You should confirm measurements before you commit to purchasing.
Now, this said, lithium ion batteries have what’s called a PTC or Positive Tempera- ture Coefficient circuit. This is built into the battery just above the positive terminal and is present regardless of any “protect- ed” labels. The PTC is designed to raise the resistance of the battery as the tem- perature of the battery rises. The theory behind PTC is that as the resistance goes up, the current draw from the battery goes down, ohms law. This helps prevent most accidents from becoming catastrophic, but it should not be relied on. The PTC is de- signed to be unobtrusive and you can still over draw the battery if you aren’t paying attention.
PTC circuits can also fail if exposed to static electricity or from a faulty charger. When a PTC fails, it often fails in a posi- tion which allows you to continue using the battery without fault. I am currently unaware of any testing methods for the PTC outside of complex tests from spe- cifically designed machinery. If you be- lieve your PTC may have been impaired, it’s better to be safe than sorry and replace your battery. Some manufacturers will provide a CID, or Current Interrupt De- vice, instead of or alongside a
PTC. The CID is very similar in function but will cut the connection to the battery
when signs of failure arise.
Ohm’s Law 101
Ohm’s law defines the relationship be- tween Voltage, Resistance and Current or: I= E / R
I = Voltage (V)
E = Current (A)
R = Resistance (ohms)
If you are building your own coils, you should make yourself familiar with Ohm’s Law. This will allow you to calculate the draw on your battery before you fire it up for the first time and potentially push the battery past it’s limits.
Basically, if I build a coil that has a resis- tance of 1.5 ohms, and I apply 4.0V across it:
4.0V / 1.5ohm = 2.6 Amps
This means you will have a 2.6 amp cur- rent draw on your battery. If I was using an ICR18350, I would be pushing the limits of the battery while an IMR18350 would accept it with ease.
What exactly is an AW anyway?
Anybody who owns a Provari knows about AW from Provape’s nice little warning about voiding the warranty if a non AW battery is used. AW is the initials of a man Andrew Wan, who owns a China based company which purchases batteries from the big boys (Samsung, Panasonic, etc) and performs a quality test. Once the bat- tery passes the quality test, they slap on a
sexy, shiny red wrapper and add their AW label to it.
The reality is that internally, a battery labeled AW and a battery labeled Sam- sung, Panasonic, etc. are the same exact thing. AW has just run it through a foray of tests. Does it make the battery safer? not really. Does it help ease the mind? Absolutely.
Tread carefully though, as the explosion in the ecigarette market has spawned an array of AW clones which look exactly like the original. If you are purchasing AW batteries, confirm with your vendor that they were purchased direct and are authentic.
Inline Fuses
Inline fuses are becoming more popular as more people venture into the market
of rebuildable atomizers. Inline fuses are small, disk shaped components which you place inside your device above the posi- tive terminal on your battery. An inline fuse, commonly rated at 7 amps, will prevent you from accidentally pulling too much current from your battery either from device failure or low atomizer resis- tance. Inline fuses are fairly inexpensive but do add small space requirements to the battery compartment of your device. If you are using a mechanical mod and you can fit an inline fuse alongside your battery, I would suggest you add one or two to your collection. If you are
using one of the digital mods like a Vamo, ZMax, Provari, etc., an inline fuse is prob- ably overkill as this protection is already built into your devices circuitry. An inline fuse in a digital mod can protect you from physical device failures, but these are quite uncommon. Both Smok and VapeSafe offer inexpensive inline fuses which are specifi- cally designed for ecigarettes.
Stacked or unstacked?
In some devices, you can fit two 18350’s when the device is configured for an 18650. This boosts the voltage output from 3.6V to 7.2V which means more vapor. Yay. BUT, you should never do this... ever. Unless you are familiar with matching batteries, you are only endangering yourself and others.
You may think, “Well, shucks, laptops have multiple batteries in them, why can’t my ecig?” Laptop batteries are specifically de- signed for stacking and are paired for use at the factory. When using unmatched batter- ies, they will discharge and provide current at different rates. This means one battery will continuously take more of the stress than the other. You may not notice
any trouble at the start, but as the batteries age the problem will become more severe. Push thebatteries a bit further and now you’ve entered the realm of thermal run- away. Downside being that one battery en- tering thermal runaway will push the other battery into thermal runaway. Now
you have two small, flaming explosives only inches from your face.
Save your teeth, don’t stack batteries.
Choose your batteries wisely. If in question, go with IMR High Drain batteries. If you are buildingyour own coils, make sure you test first before firing for the first time. If you ques- tion your ability to test the resistance of your coil, invest in an inline fuse. This will prevent you from drawing over a specified amperage by accident.
Also, never assume that since your configura- tion worked once, then it is safe to use continu- ously and repeatedly.
And I can not express this enough, if you are building your own coils, double check your batteries safety specifications. Datasheets, datasheets, datasheets.
To learn more about batteries and what all the various ratings mean, http://batteryuniversity. com/
is a great free resource with many well orga- nized articles on the specifics of batteries and you.
Vape Smart my friends.
Timothy Braun is the Co-Owner of Quantum Vapor, Mastermind behind Quantum Flux, Full blown geek from birth, and now lives eats and sleeps vaping.
Very good info! Thanks for sharing!
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Does any body know what is the chemistry of LG chem 18650 MG1 2900 Ah battery? What does MG1 stands for?
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Anything over 2000mAh in an 18650 is no longer IMR (lithium manganese). To go over that threshold in the mAh, you have to go hybrid chemistry (lithium manganese & lithium ion) to still maintain the high drain output that IMR has. As such I would guess that the LG's are hybrids if they're high drain, this also means they have a protection circuit as lithium ion chemistry cells have to have said circuit as that chemistry can vent with flame (IMR chemistry can't vent with flame, only gas). I wouldn't personally use such a cell in a mechanical but people do it all the time, I merely caution that people should understand their cells and as such, make an informed choice about what they use and how they use it.
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