From avoiding exploding batteries to maximising the life of your electronic cigarette battery, this guide covers everything most vapers need to know.
We’ve partially based this guide on dozens of customer questions we have received over the years, but if there is anything you want to know which is not covered in this guide just leave a question in the comments!
One area we don’t cover is unregulated mechanical or rebuildable mods. This area is well covered by niche websites, but as many of them warn, if you don’t know what you are doing they can be dangerous. If you are a modder, you will know where to find the information you need!
(I’m sure we’ll face criticism for that last statement 😉 Just to be clear, we are not saying don’t use mechanical mods, just don’t use them unless you know what you are doing! Since there are always some people who think they know what they are doing but actually don’t, we don’t sell them!)
You’ll find information here that all but the beginning vaper will know, as well as more advanced tips, so you may find it useful to use the menu below to navigate to the information you need rather than read the whole article.
Types of Battery
Battery Capacity v. Battery Voltage
What Kind of Battery Life Can You Expect
9 Ways to Maximise the Life Of Your Battery
Why Batteries Explode
5 Ways to Avoid Exploding Batteries
Troubleshooting Battery Issues
Travelling With Batteries
Types of Battery: Automatic v. Manual
Chances are that your first ecigarette will be a automatic battery. Most smokers choose these not because they are better (we find in our shops, when people can try both, most people prefer manual batteries) but because they tend to be used with electronic cigarettes which resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes.
You can see an example of our regular batteries here.
When you inhale on a cigalike with an automatic battery, a sensor detects the rush of air and activates the battery. However, with a manual battery you depress the button to activate the battery. (why do we need manual buttons)
Automatic Ecig Batteries
- Easy to Use
- Closely resembles a regular cigarette
- Usually requires a shorter charging time
- May experience a delay between puffing and inhaling the vapour
Manual ECig Batteries
- Usually has more power and offers a more vapour and a better ‘throat hit’
- Offers more control and usually a longer cut off period
- Requires more expertise (although it’s not exactly rocket science 😉 )
- Usually have a longer life than automatic batteries due to larger size
- Can usually be turned on or off by clicking the battery five times
- Usually carry a longer life than automatic batteries
For more information on the difference between cigalikes and refillable ecigs, see: Electronic Cigarette Face-off: Regular v. Refillable Electronic Cigarettes
Variable Voltage Batteries
Variable voltage batteries, such as the Smok VV Spinner, are the next step up from a manual battery. These allow you to increase or decrease the voltage provided by the battery, usually by pressing a button or by twisting the end of the battery.
This allows you to find the right voltage for:
- your ejuice
- your atomiser/clearomiser
- your personal preferences with regard to vapour and throat hit
When you use a variable voltage battery with a device like the Aspire Bottom Dual Coil Clearomiser, you can control the experience even further by changing the resistance of the atomiser used in your clearomiser. For more information see our Guide to Clearomisers.
The chart below also shows the best match between voltage and different resistance atomiser heads. (Click on the image for the full size chart.)
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Finally, if you like a bit of style, there’s no need to stick to a boring black or white battery. Batteries come in all sorts of styles and colours, and you can easily choose the bling to match your own personal style or clothing.
Battery Capacity v. Battery Voltage
One of the things that confuses many ecigarette users is the difference between battery capacity and voltage.
The battery capacity on electronic cigarette batteries is normally measured in milli amp hours (mAh). The higher the mAh rating, the higher the capacity of the battery and the longer it will last. Most non-adjustable electronic cigarette batteries output 3.7 volts. A battery with a capacity of 1100mAh will be able to output 3.7 volts for longer than a battery that has a capacity of 180mAh, but both can put out the same voltage.
What kind of battery life can you expect?
It is almost impossible to give accurate battery life because battery life depends on:
- how you use your device
- how you charge and maintain your device
- on individual battery sizes and makes
- the voltage you use (variable voltage batteries only)
- the atomiser you are using in your clearomiser
For example, a battery will last a lot longer for someone who takes short drags than for someone who takes very long drags.
That said, several readers been asked for information on battery life, so here are some very rough guidelines to some of the ecig batteries we sell:
Smoker’s Halo Automatic Battery (Regular): 120-150 drags
Smoker’s Halo Automatic Battery (King Size): 180 – 225 drags
Ultra Tank Battery 300 mAh: 300 puffs
Ultra Tank Battery 650 mAh: 500 puffs
Ultra Tank Battery 1100 mAh: 900 puffs
Smok VV Battery 1300 mAh: 800-1000 puffs depending on the voltage used
Nine Ways To Maximise the Life Of Your Battery
1. Initial Charge: Give a good first charge when you receive your battery. Most ecig batteries are lithium ion batteries and can not be overcharged. However, a good initial charge conditions the battery and will help ensure a longer life.
2. Storage: Store in a cool, dark place, especially if storing for a long period of time. If you do plan to store the battery for a lengthy period, try to make sure it has at least a 40% charge. This allows for some discharge while ensuring enough power is retained to keep the protection circuit alive. Some sites recommend fully charging batteries before storing.
3. Use Regularly: Most ecigarette batteries are designed to be used daily.
4. Charge Before Fully Drained: Battery University argues that a partial discharge stresses the battery less than a full discharge.
6. Take Care of your Battery: See maintenance tips below
7. Turn off when not using: Especially important if you are carrying the battery in a bag or in your pocket, as sitting on it can cause the ecigarette to fizzle away.
8. Keep out of high temperatures and direct sunlight.
9. Use a case to protect your battery: Batteries can get banged around and pick up fluff in pockets. For the best possible care, carry your battery in an electronic cigarette case. You can see examples of carry cases here for manual batteries on our e-cig accessories page..
Why Batteries Explode
Lithium ion batteries are highly effective at producing power despite their small size. Unfortunately, the properties and chemicals used in a Lithium ion battery also mean that any lithium ion battery has the potential to explode.
Contained within a lithium batteries are lithium, sodium, potassium and other highly flamable and voluble elements. If you tossed these into water on their own you would get an explosion. When a cell does heat, it can lead to a chain reaction which can cause either battery swelling or explosions.
Fortunately, modern design means that explosions are very rare (an estimated one in ten million according to Battery University). However, explosions can be caused when a battery overheats. This can be caused by a defect, such as a short circuit or improper insulation between the cells of the battery or by mishandling.
Most standard lithium ion electronic cigarette batteries have been designed with overcharge protection. This senses when too much voltage is being pushed into the battery and then stops the battery from accepting any more charge. To test whether a battery has overcharge protection, we charge them using a voltage exceeding what the battery is designed to take. (For safety reasons, we do this in a fire-safe environment.) All HALO chargers come with overcharge protection.
As additional protection, there is a fusing system built into the battery which is designed to blow should a battery overdischarge, and a circuit behind buttons limiting the amount of time the battery can be activated at any one time.
5 Ways To Avoid Exploding ECigarette Batteries
i. Don’t mix and match
Only charge a battery with the charger that was provided with the battery, or which has been specifically supplied for that battery. While chargers may look similar, the voltage output can be different.
Charge a battery from one supplier with a charger from another supplier and you could cause problems. In fact, as the fire service has pointed out, this has caused most of the problems so far.
ii. Buy From A Reputable Source
One battery explosion occurred in the US when a vaper bought cheap batteries online to use with his ecigarette kit. Always buy your batteries from a reputable source. In the UK many companies are certified by ECITA, which require companies to test their products – while these are not the only reputable companies out there, the ECITA logo is a mark of quality.
The danger is illustrated in this Clueless Colin Video by Electrical Safety First:
iii. ROHS Certification (and where it has come from)
All batteries should come with ROHS certification, which proves that it has been tested.
Unfortunately, some certification from China can’t been trusted – we’ve seen examples of certificates which have been photoshopped. At ecigarettedirect, we have our batteries UK ROHS certified.
iv. Safe Charging
Don’t charge your battery over night or when you are out of house. For safety, charge your battery on a non-combustible surface.
If you have a manual battery, switch it off before charging.
v. Overcharge Protection
Check with your supplier to make sure your battery has overcharge protection. Our batteries come with overcharge protection, and we also individually test batteries from each battery to ensure overcharge protection is working.
Clean Battery Terminals – nothing complicated here, simply screw up some tissue paper and give the terminals a rub. A cotton bud can be used if harder cleaning is required. For the most effective cleaning, use cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol to clean the terminal. Allow the battery a few seconds to dry before using.
Keep Batteries Charged – as explained above, keeping some charge in your battery can extend the life of your battery, especially if you go some time without using it.
- Switch the battery off when not in use.
- Disconnect from clearomisers/cartridges.
- Avoid a full discharge before storage.
- Store batteries at low temperatures.
Battery Doesn’t Produce Vapour
1. Check the cartridge or clearomiser is not empty. If you are using a clearomiser you can easily see the level of eliquid, if not, you may need to try another cartridge to be absolutely sure.
2. Ensure battery terminal is clean.
3. Ensure clearomiser/cartridge thread is clean.
4. Ensure battery terminal is connecting with the clearomiser/cartridge.
5. Test the battery with another clearomiser to make sure that the issue is with the battery, and not with the clearomiser. If the clearomiser has an issue, try cleaning the clearomiser (see the Ultimate Guide to Clearomisers or Are you making these 9 common clearomiser mistakes for more information.)
6. If using a clearomiser such as the Aspire BDC, try changing the head of the clearomiser.
Battery Light Stays On
1. Gently tap the led side of the battery on a wooden surface.
2. Remove battery from the clearomiser/cartridge and inhale and exhale from the battery.
3. Blow gently at the LED light.
4. Allow battery to completely discharge and then recharge. This should be the last step as allowing the battery to discharge completely is not good for the battery life.
If all troubleshooting steps fail, you may need a new battery. If your battery is relatively new, check your warranty, as most batteries come with a guarantee.
Battery is Dead
Assuming the battery has recently been charged, try leaving the battery for 24 hours at room temperature, and then recharging it. You should also make sure the battery terminal is clean and free from fluff – if not, give it a rub with a piece of tissue, a cotton bud or an alcohol wipe.
Travelling with Batteries
As with storing batteries, you should disconnect batteries from the cartridges/clearomisers and turn off manual batteries. Some airlines do not allow you to carry lithium ion batteries in your hold luggage, so you may need to place your batteries in your carry on luggage. If unsure, check with your airline. (Also see Travelling With ECigarettes: Essential Need to Know.)
What have we missed? If you have any suggestions or unanswered questions, please leave a comment below and we’ll update the article with your suggestions!
For more guides, videos and tutorials, check out ECigarette Academy.
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Thank you 😉