Battery Data Panasonic NCR18650PD

Battery Data

Specs

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Brand:  Panasonic
Model:  NCR18650PD
Chemistry:  NCR (LiNiCoAl)
Bare Cell:  Yes
Capacity:  2900mAh
Diameter:  18.1mm
Length:  65mm
Positive end:  Button top / Flat top
Lowest Discharge Voltage:  2.5v
Max Charging Current:  1.375A
Life Cycle:  >200 charge cycles
Maximum Continuous Discharge Rate (CDR):  10A
C Rating:  ~3.4C (calculated from CDR)
Source:  Here (this is the only data sheet I could find for the cell online)

Use

Regulated APV?: Yes
Mechanical APV?: No (I wouldn’t, but it will function)
Lowest Atomizer Resistance before damage?:  0.5Ω

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Battery Data: Panasonic CGR18650CH

Battery Data

Specs

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Brand:  Panasonic
Model:  CGR18650CH
Chemistry:  IMR
Bare Cell:  Yes
Capacity:  2250mAh
Diameter:  18.6mm
Length:  65.2mm
Positive end:   Button Top / Flat top
Lowest Discharge Voltage:  2.5v
Max Charging Current:  2.15A
Life Cycle:  >500 charge cycles
Maximum Continuous Discharge Rate (CDR):  10A
C Rating:  4.4C (calculated from CDR)
Source: Here

Use

Regulated APV?:  Yes
Mechanical APV?:  Yes
Lowest Atomizer Resistance before damage?:  0.5Ω

This battery is rebranded as several other batteries that can occasionally be found cheaper than the original.

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Battery Data: AW IMR 18350

Battery Data

Specs

AW IMR18350

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Brand:  AW
Model:  IMR 18350-700
Chemistry:  IMR (LiNiCoMn)
Bare Cell:   Unknown
Capacity:  700mAh
Diameter:  18.2mm
Length:  35.2mm
Positive end:  Button Top
Lowest Discharge Voltage:  2.5v
Max Charging Current:  2A
Life Cycle:  >500 charge cycles
Maximum Continuous Discharge Rate (CDR):  6A
C Rating:  8.5C (roughly, calculated from CDR)
Source:  Here (that is the manufacturer posting this information)

Use

Regulated APV?:  Yes
Mechanical APV?:  Yes
Lowest Atomizer Resistance before damage?:  0.7Ω

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Battery Data: AW IMR 18650 (2000mAh)

Battery Data

Specs

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Brand:  AW
Model:  IMR18650-2000
Chemistry:
  IMR (LiCoMn)
Bare Cell:  Unknown
Capacity:  1600mAh
Diameter: 18.2mm
Length: 65.9mm
Positive end:  Button Top
Lowest Discharge Voltage:  2.5v
Max Charging Current:  2A
Life Cycle: > 500 charge cycles
Maximum Continuous Discharge Rate (CDR): 10A
C Rating:  5C
Source:  Here (that is the manufacturer posting this information)

Use

Regulated APV?:  Yes
Mechanical APV?:  Yes
Lowest Atomizer Resistance before damage?:  0.5Ω

These batteries can certainly be run in mechanical mods, but you can see that the safety threshold for these is far below the AW IMR18650-1600 batteries.

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Battery Data: AW IMR 18650 (1600mAh)

Battery DataSpecs

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Brand:  AW
Model:  IMR18650-1600
Chemistry:
  IMR (LiNiCoMn)
Bare Cell:  Unknown
Capacity:  1600mAh
Diameter: 18.2mm
Length: 65.9mm
Positive end:  Button Top
Lowest Discharge Voltage:  2.5v
Max Charging Current:  4.5A
Life Cycle: > 500 charge cycles
Maximum Continuous Discharge Rate (CDR): 24A
C Rating:  15C
Source:  Here (that is the manufacturer posting this information)

Use

Regulated APV?:  Yes
Mechanical APV?:  Yes
Lowest Atomizer Resistance before damage?:  0.2Ω

AW IMR batteries are (generally speaking) the only batteries I use in my PVs.

I have charged these batteries in a Nitecore Intellicharger i4 and i2.

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How-To: Clean up after a catastrophic battery failure

Jimmy was dismayed that his fasttech special batteries torched not only his APV, but his laptop too

Dammit Jimmy, I told you not to buy those 18650 batteries from speedytech!

It’s rare, but every once in a while you hear about somebody who had a battery explode or catch fire.

The most common result of a catastrophic battery failure is that it vents gas, or maybe splatters a little bit of the electrolyte around (that’s acid, not what plants crave).

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As a side note, there are actual battery spill cleanup kits that you can buy that have everything in them you would need to properly clean up a catastrophic battery failure. The one in the picture above can be found here and retails for about $170. I’m not saying you need one of these, just a heads up.

First, if the battery is just hot and hasn’t actually failed yet, get it out of the house, and on or in something not flammable. I keep a large ceramic pot full of sand (stolen from Pismo Beach in an act of drunken idiocy no less) outside of my house for just this purpose (it used to be my ashtray when I smoked, but it’s always been ready to do double duty as a ‘battery in meltdown’ receptacle), with a small metal pail next to it to act as a cover. A small metal trashcan from Home Despot filled with sand would work just fine.

There are a number of things that the battery can do once it reaches volatile heat levels or begins a thermal reaction. Stay away from it until it is ambient temperature (one of those laser non contact thermometers is really handy for knowing when the reaction is done).

The most common is a gas vent. The battery case ruptures and vents noxious gas. If it happens in the house, open the windows and go outside to call 911. You don’t want to be breathing this stuff.

IMR batteries are most likely to fail in this way, which is why they are generally considered to be the safest for use in APVs.

How you react to a failed battery kinda depends on what kind of battery it is, and what it does.

Lithium will burn in a normal atmosphere and reacts explosively with water to form hydrogen. The presence of minute amounts of water may ignite the material and the hydrogen gas. Lithium fires can also throw off highly reactive molten lithium metal particles. Cells adjacent to any burning material could overheat causing a violent explosion.

If you are using a Lithium based cell, and it starts getting hot, smoking,  or ruptures, do not throw water on it, or throw it in water.

If you took high school chemistry you’ll probably remember acids and bases, and that they can neutralize each other. If a battery ruptures, leaks or pops, you should pour baking soda or soda ash (if you happen to have a swimming pool you may have some soda ash) on it to neutralize the acids in the battery.

Kitty litter absorbs this stuff pretty well too.

If you have a fire, there are two components that must be handled; the battery material (or the primary), and incidentals (plastic from the wrapper or charger, wood from cabinets, etc., or the secondary).

The primary should be handled by a Class D fire extinguisher ideally. Who the hell has a Class D extinguisher? You can buy them at places like Jorgensen’s, but unless you have a stockpile of the things it’s probably not necessary. Tossing a package of baking soda on it should suffice. If it does not, get out of the structure and call 911.

Secondaries can be handled with a standard Class C fire extinguisher. Most people have these in their homes (or at least the ABC variety. If you don’t you should stop reading this and go buy one. Seriously. Fire is no joke, and a small extinguisher could save you worlds of problems). I have a Class C in my bathroom (where I do all my battery charging because everything in there is tile), and an ABC in my kitchen. I also keep a box of baking soda in both places.

Once you have everything contained, call poison control and find out how to properly dispose of the waste. Don’t just toss this stuff in the garbage. It can be dangerous, it’s illegal, and it’s just kind of a dick move.

I’m not a hazardous waste expert. I am not offering risk management advice. I’m just sharing the information I have with you. If your house burns down because you listened to me, don’t try to sue me (at best you’d only get some used Metallica CDs anyway).

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POSSIBLE RECALL: Kanger EVOD *batteries*, maybe.

recall

This morning I’ve seen several reports of SZ Kanger issuing a recall on EVOD batteries that were purchased from them prior to June 24th 2013 (source here), and in some cases all batteries in the market at this time. That’s batteries, not EVOD clearomizers.

KangerTech had this to say on the subject in a news post on their website that appeared today titled “evod battery“:

kanger all evod battery add safeguard PCBA. so all evod battery quality no problem

Now If you poke around the KangerTech website you’ll notice that English is clearly not the first language of whomever is doing the copy writing. Plus you have to keep in mind that Chinese companies operate a bit different than American manufacturers. The likelihood of them coming out and admitting on their website that a massive shipment of batteries may randomly explode is about the same as Joe Biden giving good advice on firearms; less than zero. Couple that with the news release above, and it looks like this is a legit recall to me.

Apparently a mass email was sent out from the distributor Heaven Gifts that discussed the specific batteries:

The potential faulty EVOD batteries are as below:
All EVOD 650mAh batteries in matte black, yellow, blue. Rest colors we sent before June 24.
ALL EVOD 1000mAh batteries in yellow, green. Rest colors we sent before June 24.
All EVOD starter kits in yellow. Rest colors we sent before June 24.

– See more here

I’m guessing whoever wrote that isn’t a native English speaker either. My take on that mess is that all EVOD batteries sent from Kanger prior to June 24th, all 650mAh black, blue or yellow EVOD batteries period, all 1000mAh yellow or green EVOD batteries period, and all yellow EVOD starter kits period are included in this recall.

Supposedly the vendors who bought the batteries involved in the recall have been contacted by their distributors, and will be contacting customers who may have purchased these batteries to get them replaced at no charge.

I do not personally own any EVOD batteries but if I did, I would contact the vendor I purchased them from to find out what they know, and ask them to look into it. And I would immediately cease all use of the batteries that may be included in this recall (I’d probably put them in a non flammable container, something like a ceramic flower pot, and set them outside just to be safe as well).

If there are any further updates to this I will post those too.

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Getting Started: Battery Basics

Battery Basics

No matter what type of electronic cigarette or Advanced Personal Vaporizer (APV) you are using, you will have a battery to deal with (the only exception to this being passthroughs that allow you to connect directly to a wall outlet or a USB port, but we will ignore those in this post). The batteries used in APVs and electronic cigarettes are not like the typical alkaline batteries that you have in everything from your smoke alarms (9v cells) to your kids’ toys (AAA, AA, C, D cells).

The batteries used in vaping are generally rated by their mAh (milliAmp hour) rating, a measurement of how long the battery will run at a given current draw.

The mAh rating is important because it’s the easiest way to distinguish the strength or capacity of a battery. The higher the mAh, the longer the battery will last (a 900mAh battery will last longer than a 650mAh battery). Batteries with different mAh ratings are interchangeable (assuming they are of the same size and output).

A milliAmp Hour is 1/1000th of a Amp Hour, so a 1000mAh = 1.0Ah. 

The batteries used in vaping are typically Lithium Ion (Li-Ion), Lithium Poly (LiPo or LiPoly), or Lithium Manganese (LiMn or IMR batteries). The form that these batteries take is wide and varied (we’ll get to that in just a moment), but regardless of specific battery type there are some things you should keep in mind about these batteries:

  • Be aware that there are serious dangers of handling Li-Ion and LiMn batteries regardless of what you may have heard from others. It is your responsibility to learn the risks and proper battery handling precautions for your specific batteries.
  • Charge your batteries on a fire proof or flame retardant surface such as concrete, natural stone, or tile  (better yet also in a flame retardant battery charging bag) using only the corresponding charger that is set to the correct settings for your battery.
  • Store your batteries in a protective, non-conductive case away from all alkaline batteries, as some of the batteries are very similar in size and shape (AA cells and 14500 cells are the same size), but output radically different voltages and amperages.
  • Do not disassemble, modify, or tamper with the batteries in any way. Seriously, just don’t do it.
  • Discontinue use and dispose of batteries showing signs of wear, rips, tears, blisters, bulging, or other damage.
  • Do not throw batteries in the garbage. Dispose of discarded batteries through a battery recycling program. This is especially important, not in a ‘save the planet’ way, but because these are high drain batteries and have a tendency to explode and catch fire if shorted (like if one were to get smashed in a trash can with some aluminum foil for instance).
  • Do not intentionally short your batteries (see the previous statement).
  • Don’t leave batteries in a very hot or very cold car. Best case scenario, this can cause loss of capacity or usable charging cycles. Worst case scenario, you come back to find a towering inferno where your car used to be. These batteries can explode, catch fire, and vent noxious and poisonous gasses. Just take them with you.
  • Never leave charging batteries unattended. These are not Sanyo Eneloops (see the previous statement).

I’m not trying to scare you (well, not really trying per se), I just want to underscore that the batteries used in vaping are very different from the consumer batteries that you have been dealing with for your entire life.  A healthy respect for these batteries will go a long way in protecting you from catastrophic failures. Catastrophic battery failure is not something that is really common in the grand scheme of things, but in comparison to household alkaline batteries, these things are practically death traps. Statistically speaking catastrophic failures occur when several things are done:

  • You charged your batteries on the wrong charger. It is highly important that the charger you are using was designed specifically to charge the batteries you are using.
  • You left the batteries on the charger for hours after the charge was complete. Like overnight (never do this).
  • Your charger is overcharging the batteries (for real safety, you should check the voltage on your batteries with a multimeter immediately after charging to ensure the charger is not overcharging the batteries).

Some of the most common things reported in relation to catastrophic failure of batteries in vaping related equipment are:

  • The battery was put to use immediately off of the charger (you should let the batteries rest for an hour or so if possible after charging before putting them to use).
  • The battery failed immediately upon use. I always fire my APV a few times while pointed away from my face when using a battery that has been recently charged.
  • The battery failed because too much draw was placed on it (using sub ohm coils is not a safe thing to do. Cloud chasing has risks, and just shouldn’t be done if you are worried about battery failure).

Let’s face it, none of the batteries we are using here were specifically designed for the use we are putting them to (aside from the cigalike type batteries, and those just aren’t very high quality).

Ok, now that you are terrified let’s take a look at the different battery types commonly found in vaping.

Cigalikes

These are the electronic cigarettes that you find mostly in gas stations and on the internet. Things like Blu (made by Lorillard, the company that makes Newport cigarettes), NJoy (owned by R.J. Reynolds makers of Camel cigarettes), and others made by tobacco companies (and others), and mostly in China.

Some of the most popular cigalike batteries

Some of the most popular cigalike batteries

These differ mostly by their threading, but overall come in two categories; automatic and manual.

Automatic batteries will fire when the user inhales on the device. This is a selling point for many, but I find it to be a negative aspect. My first electronic cigarette was a Red Dragon, which was like the KR808D pictured above, and an automatic battery. I found that it would fire on it’s own frequently due to motion or air passing over it.

The manual batteries require you to depress a button to fire them.

Generally these come with a USB charger that the battery screws into, and then it can be attached to a wall wart to use house voltage for charging.

These batteries generally do not last very long (about two hours in my experience, maybe four with a larger battery), and tend to fail completely rather soon after their purchase.

I’m not judging, just stating my experience (anything vaping is better than analogs).

eGo Style

The mighty eGo. This is probably the most common and most basic electronic cigarette battery. They come in literally dozens of varieties, just google ‘eGo battery’ for an idea of the colors and styles.

eGo Style Batteries

eGo Style Batteries

These are the kind of batteries that many vapers start out with, and are a great way to get into vaping. These batteries are generally pretty hearty, and come in a large selection of styles and sizes.

Generally speaking eGo style batteries come with 510 threading and eGo style cone threads:

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These batteries most often screw onto a USB charger (much like with cigalike batteries), which can then be attached to a wall wart for charging via wall outlet.

Many of the eGo style batteries are lockable, meaning that if you depress the fire button five times rapidly (usually five times in under two seconds) the battery will turn off and will not fire when the button is depressed. This is a great improvement for those that are wont to throw their device in a pocket or a bag, where something may unintentionally depress the fire button. When locked, another five presses will unlock the battery.

The biggest advantage of the eGo battery over the cigalike batteries though is capacity. You can get these in standard sizes up to 1300mAh (I think the biggest I ever saw in a cigalike was 650mAh), and in oversize designs up to 2800mAh (that’s the largest I’ve ever seen).

Recently (well fairly recently) we have seen the rise of variable voltage eGo batteries. These batteries have a mechanism (a dial or digital buttons) which allows you to vary the output voltage of the eGo battery from the standard 3v up to as much as 6v. This allows you to control how much voltage is applied to the atomizer (whatever you have that actually vaporizes your liquid), to fine tune the vaping experience.

A variable voltage eGo style battery (eGo-C Twist type)

A variable voltage eGo style battery (eGo-C Twist type)

This is the type of battery I recommend for a new vaper (a variable voltage eGo type battery), as it gives you a good taste of what vaping can be, accepts a wide variety of attachments, and is relatively inexpensive.

Batteries for Regulated and Mechanical APV’s

Many examples of APVs - so jealous!

Many examples of APVs – so jealous!

These are very advanced vaping devices that are designed from the start to be variable voltage, variable wattage, or to draw directly on the battery with no electronics involved. Many of them are also very, very expensive. These devices generally give the best vaping experience, but require a bit more investment (both monetarily and in learning how to use and fine tune them) than a cigalike or an eGo type battery. Most of these devices are powered by replaceable batteries that looks something like this:

A standard AA battery next to an 18650

A standard AA battery next to an 18650

AW IMR series batteries 18650, 18490, 18350

AW IMR series batteries 18650, 18490, 18350

Generally these devices will use 10440, 14500, 18350, 18490, 18500, or 18650 batteries (though I have seen mods that use others). The vast majority will be powered by 18350, 18490 or 18650 batteries. The battery models can be a bit confusing.

The first 2 digits are the dimension measuring across the battery. The last 3 digits reference the length of the battery. Protected circuits will add between 2mm and 3mm to the length of the battery.

These batteries come in three basic types:

  • Protected cells
  • Unprotected cells
  • IMR/ICR cells

The primary difference between the protected and unprotected cells is that the protected cells have a small circuit board, typically on the bottom of the battery, that stops the charging or discharge of the battery in certain circumstances. Some of the circumstances in which the circuit activates are: overcharge, over discharge, short circuit, and (in some cases) overheating.

IMR/ICR cells are high drain batteries that can deliver much higher current discharge rates than other batteries commonly used in vaping.

IMR and ICR batteries are not the same. They have entirely different chemistries. Generally speaking when an IMR cell fails it vents hot gas. When an ICR battery fails, it tends to vent flames and they sometimes explode.

 

The picture above of the red batteries is of AW (a brand) IMR cells. These are the only batteries that I will use in APVs. I know that many others are usable (Panasonic makes some that are almost as safe), but the AW IMR cells are generally agreed to be the safest batteries for use in APV’s at this time.

Cheap batteries from an APV kit

These batteries will burn down your house and rob your grandma

Whatever batteries you choose to use in your device, it is important that you do some research on them to ensure that they work and are safe. A good rule of thumb is that if they look like the ones in the last picture, you should skip them. These will commonly be bundled with APV’s with a charger as a starter kit. The charger and batteries should be tossed.

I started using these type of batteries several years before I got into vaping because they are commonly used in some of the more advanced flashlights. I have a little rule here; if it has “fire” in the name, it is probably junk, and may very well cause one. I’ve had tons of these things fail. I’ve never had a problem with an AW battery. Doesn’t mean that it can’t happen, I just find that their quality control is a bit better.

I’ve heard good things about Efest batteries as well as some of the Panasonics.

I would urge you to do some research on any batteries you are thinking about using for vaping at an established internet forum, like /r/electronic_cigarette over at Reddit.

Chargers

I mentioned at the beginning of this post (that has turned into more of a manifesto) that using the correct charger was important.

It’s also important to use a good charger.

Chargers are a whole different post, but I’ll tell you that I use a Nitecore IntelliCharger i4 (which has four battery bays, the Nitecore i2 is a two bay version of the same charger), and I’ve heard nothing but good about the Efest LUC charger. Your charger is probably the single most important investment in battery safety you can make. The ~$30 for a decent charger is money well spent indeed.

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