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  1. #1
    Advanced Mentor Anonymous's Avatar
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    All about Lithium Batteries.

    Every forum has a reference guide for batteries. I figured its time we had one.

    *****Disclaimer*****
    Lithium Batteries, like all batteries have the potential for explosion or fire. Use caution when handling and proper protective equipment.
    *******************

    Allright. Let's begin. Lithium batteries power most modern devices these days. High recharge cycles, long life, and the ability to draw a lot of power are all benefits of their chemistry when compared to NiMH and NiCD batteries of yesteryear. But the lithium battery has a known issue. It holds a ton of power. And when they get angry, this power is unleashed rapidly with bad results.

    But all is not lost, when used safely and correctly for the respective applications, catastrophic failure (Venting) rarely occurs.

    How to Identify A Battery

    90% of lithium batteries today are labeled on thier sides in some fashion. Some use fancy labels, some do not. As an example I have a battery here from a laptop. The data on the side will reveal the data relevant to us vapers. This is an example. Some batteries offer more information, and some less.

    + INR18650 3.7V .9A/H -


    + Means postive. Might seem stupid, but this particular battery is a flat top.
    INR18650 Is a code. Lets break it down

    INR 18 650

    INR tells me what the battery is made of inside. The guts. Ill get to that.
    18 tells me this battery is 18mm wide.
    650 tells me the battery is 65mm long. Adding a deicimal point before the zero. There are some batteries that have very specific measurements.
    3.7V is the working voltage. (That too. We'll get to it, chill)

    .9A/h is the capacity. (Actually the potential for work, related to one hour) This is measured in a few scales. You may see this, but more commonly you will see it as mAh (MilliAmp Hours). If you see whats written on my battery, add two zeroes and flick the decimal point out to give you mAh. This battery has 900mAh.

    - Means negative.

    Battery Chemistry

    Last time I checked, there are over 40 individual lithium battery chemistry combination. What's that? Thats what the actual battery is made up of. Why so many combinations? Each combination makes the battery behave differently. Remember the IMR, INR, ICR combinations? They can break down even further. Lets get into it.

    INR - This is what my demo battery is made up of it. It stands for

    I N R
    | | ^--- Round. Yes. the battery is a cylinder, therefore round. And thats all this means.
    | +--------- Nickel/manganese oxide (The cathode is anyway)
    +--------------Lithium

    So that tells us that the battery is round. Its made of lithium and nickel/manganese. Sometimes they are called LiNIMNCoO2, but commonly, INR.

    INR batteries are a decent battery. They don't have a lot of capacity. The resistance inside the battery is also fairly high. They also have a really low thermal runaway (or vent tempurature) then all the other batteries. These are usually designed to as part of a pack that monitors thermal issues. its highly ill advised to use these in any vaping device. Now you know. Because these are all over eBay like skunks in a garbage dump. And because N and M are so close, mistakes happen. These will catch fire/vent/explode with medium devastation if shorted. But with the right management system, they offer a decent life, low cost, and decent reliable power. Which is why you find them in laptop batteries.

    IMR - IMR is a close cousin to the INR. The big difference is that the IMR has no nickle. It displays from a lower energy density then ICR, but because of their mundane and meh chemistry, they dont vent or explode nearly as bad as INR batteries, and generally absorb a lot of abuse and shorting before getting angry, which tends to result in a small vent and a cell death. This is why they are often seen as a safer battery and often forgo protection circuitry in single cell systems. (Like your mod, for example)

    IFR - Lithium but with an iron phosphate cathode. Depending on who makes it, it can have a slightly higher capacity then a IMR, but are even less reactive. You could probably play hockey with it. The problem is they require a very specific charger. The good part is they have excellent thermal stability, and have a fantastic cell life. Lots of charges out of this guy. Its also one of the most stable voltage curves going. Its pretty much 3.2v from full to empty. Its why you see them in precision intruments and yep. Cars. Also known as LiFePo4.

    NMR - The most common mod battery.. lithium cobalt oxide is what you will find in it. Simple constuction despite the high cost of cobalt offers you the most power out of most of the lithium battery family. Which great power comes.... the potential for massive damage. These guys are violent when they go off and have a low failure point when it comes to chemistry. Needless to say, if you screw with this guy it will take you behind the bar and sort you out badly.

    Now not is all lost. These things when handled properly pose no issue. In fact there are protected batteries and unprotected battery. Packs have a lot of protection, even for overvolting and undervolt, bad tempurature, etc. But when they are individual 18650's or the like, you loose that. Unless you have a protected battery.

    Protected batteries typically have a shut-down seperator. If it gets too hot inside, it seperates and removes the ability to charge. The battery goes click and its done. (you wont hear it click) Also there is a small tab inside that if the battery begins to expand, it rips another tab, shutting the charge down. There is also a thermal interupt that goes when its way too hot. And lastly, they have a specifically designed vent to purge (think of a kettle going off) the gasses made in a less explosive fashion. The downside to this? Well. It takes up a bit of space, so you loose a little capacity. Of course, its not 100% fool proof and sometimes can add failures to the battery, but its cheap insurance if you ask me. I'd rather have a protected battery die with a little wisp of smoke then have a catastrophic failure.

    Unprotected batteries forgo the protection in favor of more capacity. They are usually designed to be part of a group of batteries that monitor all this separately. If you choose to use this type of battery (or any other, I'd reccomend using a fuse, just in case)

    So now you know whats inside, and you know what kind you probably want by now. Let's go over the worst case.

    The end - Catastrophic Failure

    Let's play a scenario. Your using a mod, with an unprotected NMR 18650. Puffing away when you hand indicates to you that this battery is getting hot. Real hot. Something is wrong. What should you do?

    First things first. Get it out of your hand. Dont waste time trying to eject your battery, get it the hell away from you safely. If your outdoors, toss it on the pavement and stand back, pray you were wise enough to purchase a mod that has vent holes. If you did, you will probably see a steam like substance pouring out of the non vaping end. This is the battery "venting" which means all the pressurised gas is exiting the battery in a hurry. This gas has cobalt and lithium. The bad part of lithium- it reacts VIOLENTLY with water. Even the moisture in the air is enough to ignite it. A fireball will likely follow it.

    All the energy in that battery is going up in a damn hurry. By comparison, a typical battery can let go of around 125 kJ per amp hour. So if your NMR had 200mAh, your now looking at around 225kJ having a mardi-gras party on speed. To put 225kJ into perspective, one joule of energy is the energy of a tennisball moving at 23km/h. Or an apple being thrown 3ft in the air. Not scared. Now times that by 225,000.

    If your mod is not vented, its now potentially a pipe bomb. Most mods are built with inherit weak points and it will most likely vent out, but don't get near it. At all. Wait for the fireworks to end. If something nearby it like grass has lit up, call the fire department and tell them that it is a LITHIUM battery that started it. Firemen use water. Lithium hates water.

    If your indoors, do your best to get it outdoors. pitch it out a window, door, whatever. If your wise, you have a dry chemical fire extinguisher. Use it wisely, they don't last long at all. If it gets too much to handle, get the hell out of the house, and use a neighbors phone to call the fire department, again, tell them it was initiated by a lithium battery.

    Ok. Back to the non-scary stuff.

    Working Voltage

    All batteries have a certain way of discharging themselves. There are tons of graphs that give the "curve" showing the voltage the battery provides under load over a set period of time, typically the batteries life span. Lithium is well known for being consistent. Typically the voltage can be up too 4.2 when it comes off the charger, drops to 3.7 (depending on its chemistry) discharge at 3.7 for a long time then quickly drop to 3.3-3.5v until the battery is depleted. So the trick is, how much voltage do you want and how long to you want it for? This is where the chemistry above also plays into it. For example the NMR doesnt hold its voltage as long as say a IFR, But the IFR cant hold the voltage at 3.7 for a long time at all. But it DOES hold voltage at 3.3-4 V for a long time. Depending on how you built your mod and what voltage you want to run at is going to be important. And even if you have variable voltage, you may want to pick a battery that suits the range. A IFR battery does you no good if you choose to vape in the 3.80-4v range.

    mAh, Amps? Capacity explained easily.

    All batteries typically show their potential for work in amps. Normally you'll see consumer electronics listed as mAh. Or MiliAmp-hours. Basically its a metric scale. You have Amps (1A for example) Killiamps (Rarely used at all) and Miliamps. (1/1000th of an amp). mAh or A is what the battery can produce at a specific voltage for one hour.

    In easier terms its a scale of measure of how much a battery can give out before there isn't anymore left to give. If you have an eGo battery you might see anywhere from 500-1100mAh. In mods I have seen anywhere from 350mAh all the way up to 2200mAh.

    So as another example, say you have a 500mAh battery. It goes dead after 5 hours of vaping and you would like to double that, using the same voltage and coil. If you buy a 1000mAh battery, you will probably get around 10hours. If your a mod user with the same coil and cram a 2200mAh battery, expect around 22 hours. MVP users have a 26 hour lifespan typically or a couple of days. Not bad eh.

    So why do they measure the capacity of the battery this way in the first place. The reason is the shape of the battery and what its made of. An 18650 NMR and a 18650 INR are both the same physical size. But you will see a lot more capacity of the NMR. Even in the same brand, you will see a multitude of capacities, but the batteries are physically the exact same size. When it comes to batteries, a physically larger battery doesn't necessarily mean a more powerful battery.

    Now thats a real simple estimate. There are tons of factors that modify that. For example, assuming your drawing 100mAh and hour out of it, and your not sleeping, the battery has a perfect curve, the coil's resistance never changes, etc.. you get the picture. But basically the higher the mAh the more energy the battery has, the longer you vape for between charges.

    Why coil selection is important to your battery.

    The coil is the business end of the device. It works by the coil of wire being more resistant then the rest of the material its circuit is made of. So your battery has a positive end. And a negative end. When you put negative and positive electrons together, they can do work as they try to meet one another and neutralise themselves out in a power orgy of sorts. When they meet, usually the energy changes. The little power orgy the positive and negative electrons have usually releases the energy. There is many different forms you can use this for, but the one we use is HEAT.

    Electricity is lazy. It takes the path of least resistance to meet its opposite. So you have a positive and a negative that want to go on a date and run away together. This is where the resistance comes into play.

    Resistance is a measure usually seen as an ohm. Everything out there will resist to a certain degree. So your device has a wire that connects it to negative source, and a switch to open the floodgates or close it. When you flick the switch, positive electrons flow towards the negative. When they meet up, this results in heat. So how does the device control where that heat is generated? The coil.

    Coils are usually made of a resistive metal that is more resistant to electricity then the copper wire it flows through. So think of it as a row of linebackers in the wire. The electrons are scrambling to meet and you just gave them something that slows them down. So thats where they meet. When they hit each other, the heat generated escapes the coil, warming up your delicious juice and giving you all sorts of goodness. Think of it as a thank you for joining the positive and negative together cupid.

    Ok. So whats resistance all about. If the voltage stays the same, then the only thing that can change is the resistance of the coil. The lower the resistance of the coil, the more electrons can get through it in the same time, generally speaking, the more heat your going to generate and more power is used. The higher the resistance, the electrons will have a harder time getting through to meet and less power is consumed, and less heat is generated.

    So low resistance coils, think of it as a single bouncer at a bar. Easy to get through if your in a crowd, but will still slow the crowd down. When your thinking of a higher resistance, your thinking of a football team all lined up and waiting to go. Thats going to slow the crowd down a lot. Less meeting will happen.

    So what does this all have to do with batteries?

    Depending on your mod, what you top it with may influence your battery life. If you have 1.5ohm coil at.. oh.. say 3.7V your going to suck about 2460mAh amps out of that battery if you ran it constantly for one hour. That alone will drop a 2200mAh battery to submission in one hour.

    Drop your coil to .8, and you will drag 4260mAh out of it killing it in about 20-30 minutes. By the contrary a 2.2ohm coil draws out 1681 mAh, so your 2200mAh battery will last an hour and a bit. Thankfully we as vapers only use the fire button for 5-20 seconds at a time so its not as much of an issue.

    So this is where another battery factor comes into play.

    C-Rating

    Say your an experienced vaper. And you want to built the godfather of sub ohms. You built yourself a 0.25ohm coil and you have your 2200mAh battery ready to rip and your running it at 3.7V. That is a ton of power in a short period of time. Is it safe?

    That depends on the C-rating of the battery. It's a basic measurement that shows you how much power that battery can put out at its MAXIMUM.

    You might find a c rating on a battery like this:

    18650 2200mah C-10

    So whats that mean? That means that battery can safely dump 10 times its capacity. Instead of one hour, your gonna dump all that electricity in a short burst. Which is kind of what your doing. Let's see how much your mods going to rape out of that battery.

    3.7V @ 0.25ohms = 54W or, 14.8A.

    A c-10 battery can handle 10 times the rated capacity of the battery. So. 2200 mah becomes 2.2A * 10= 22A.

    So the battery can support a burst of 22a. Your Mod will suck 14.8. This is safe for the battery. Its not going to last long, but it can do it.

    Now if that battery only has say... C-0.5, like what we see in a lot of high power flashlights, things will not go well.

    2200mAh battery becomes 2.2A * 0.5= .11A

    That means your going to try and draw WAY more then what that battery can deliver. On the good side, the coil probably wont work well. Or at all. The battery isnt going to like you and its life will be dramatically be reduced. So matching your mod to the c-rating is important, but more for sub-ohm builds.

    Conclusion

    So in the end, I hope this helps to enlighten some to the wonderful world of lithium batteries. There are many different factors that influence these batteries, so this is really the basics and then some.

    Tempurature, wear level, condition, natural resistance in the mod or circuit all play into this. But this rough guide will likely help steer the confused noob, or even a more experienced mod vaper into the right and safe direction and save someone a few bucks buy starting with the right battery for their needs. If it helps someone out there, I am happy. Feel free to leave questions or submissions below!
    Last edited by Anonymous; 05-04-2014 at 05:19 PM.

  2. #2
    Mentor DWDawg's Avatar
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    Wow this info is right up my alley 1st mod comin tomorrow thanks howie

  3. #3
    Mentor DWDawg's Avatar
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    Mech mod I shd add fasttech nemesis

  4. #4
    Tutor vaper's Avatar
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    Now it's common used for mechanical mods,with PCB mostly ~~

  5. #5
    VIP Member Brian's Avatar
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    Great post Howie!
    Thanks for the contribution
    "See you in the Punjab!" - Walter Kronkite

  6. #6
    Guru Puff's Avatar
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    Howie, maybe you could put this in the wiki so it's a permanent thing. Thanks for doing this

    I use a nimh battery pack box mod and a 4.8v nimh in a silver bullet ( same size of a 18650) when I'm out kayaking. Just because of the whole "lithium likes to catch on fire in water" thing.

    Edit: ( always with the edit..) Didn't mean to sound alarming, realized I may have. I was talking about raw lithium being dropped in water, I'm a little nerdy and so like to watch odd youtube videos of lithium strips being dropped in water and burning :| I just like to be over safe and bring nimhs when I'm out.
    Last edited by Puff; 04-08-2014 at 03:57 AM.

  7. #7
    Advanced Mentor Anonymous's Avatar
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    @Puff Maybe a mod will sticky it in the battery section. And of course there is nothing wrong at all with a little extra safey. Or a really good mini pelican case.

  8. Likes Puff liked this post
  9. #8
    Mentor Donovan69's Avatar
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    Great post thanks !!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #9
    Guru Wolffy's Avatar
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    You hit that topic right out of the park Howie. Thank you! Now I'm less worried about wearing battery case metal on my face.

  11. #10
    Advanced Mentor VaEHp's Avatar
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    Awesome, thanks for the detailed info ! Your new avatar pic is he opposite of your last one though ! Whoa !
    Make the CHOICE ~ Make the SWITCH ~ You will be more than ECSTATIC that you did ! ~ VaEHp

 

 
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