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The batteries: operation and characteristics

From the vaper’s memory, the batteries have long remained a mystery, an essential component of equipment with a “non-integrated” battery, but whose characteristics have long remained unclear. 

What does all this information mean? How does a battery work? Where does the danger we hear about come from?

These questions, you have to ask yourself at least once to make sure you vape in a safe and controlled way. Some things about batteries are good to know, others are crucial. In both cases, a little remedial course is always welcome to “put the cart behind the horse”!

How does a battery work?

How does a battery (or battery) deliver current?

Let’s simplify the mechanism a bit:

A battery consists of two separate parts, a positive pole (“anode”) and a negative pole (cathode). The + pole is the end of the battery which protrudes very slightly, surrounded by a small ring, often white or black. The – pole is the completely flat side. 

The electrical charge is not evenly distributed throughout the battery. Indeed, the + pole contains very little electrical charge, unlike the – pole which is teeming with electrons. This gap creates a kind of pressure between the two poles, which naturally want to share the electricity equally. The greater the difference between + and –, the greater the pressure. This “pressure” is Tension !

This voltage is measured in volts, it is symbolized by the letter U and each source of electric current has a voltage that can be measured. By pressing the Fire button on your vaper, you then give an opportunity for the electric current from the – pole to “join” the less charged + pole, then passing through the entire circuit to reach it.

Obviously, the higher the voltage, the more current will be pushed through the circuit. If one observes the amount of current flowing through the circuit for a certain period of time, then said one calculates its Intensity . The intensity of the current is measured in Amperes and is symbolized by the letter I. 

On its way to the positive pole, the current may encounter an obstacle which restricts its circulation before it reaches its goal. This obstacle is the famous  Resistance , symbolized by the letter R and calculated in Ohms. The resistance has a value going from 0 (no resistance, the current flows straight), to infinity. By activating your electronic cigarette, the current meets the resistance installed in your atomizer. By compressing the current to make it slow down, the resistance will heat up and therefore cause the vaporization of the e-liquid. All this in the space of a puff!

Gradually, the voltage in the battery will decrease. It will quickly go from its maximum voltage of 4.2V to its nominal (“cruise voltage”) of 3.7V. At the end of the charge, it will approach the critical threshold of 3.2V, below which the voltage is no longer strong enough to drive the current.

Why are we telling you all this? Simply because understanding this mechanism and these elements (volts, amps, ohms) makes it possible to clearly understand what most of the characteristics that are displayed on the batteries mean.

Everything is clear ? Good! The autopsy of the batteries can begin!

How to read a battery?

The first essential information to know about a battery is simply its size. In the same way that a remote control imposes a precise battery size on you, your battery-powered electronic cigarette will impose a certain format on you. Get the battery size wrong, and your vape will simply be unusable. The size of a battery is an essential element to know to choosing the right one!

The formats of the batteries used by electronic cigarettes are evolving. The majority of boxes today require 18650 batteries, but some require larger formats (20700 or 21700 for example). Having a battery adapted to your vaper is essential, which is why you will always find this information on our product sheets. 

What are the differences between the battery formats?

There is no absolute answer. Even if, in general, a larger battery is also more “efficient”, its capacities do not depend only on its size and it is necessary to collect more information to know what a battery is capable of. But hey, for now you have a battery that fits in your box, and that’s already a good start. Let’s see what other information we can find!

Identify the capacity of a battery

Unless you are a “warrior” vaper who is only looking for firepower, the autonomy of your battery is certainly your N°1 criterion! Whatever you buy as an electronic device, you will always be told that the autonomy of such and such a product is exceptional. But thanks to the following, you will finally be able to judge for yourself the autonomy of your energy source!

Whether it’s a battery or equipment with an integrated battery, all of them will tell you about the autonomy. Look up the number of mAh and you will know how much one battery is worth compared to another in terms of capacity. 

Capacities vary greatly, and their values ​​must be related to the powers required. For example, a capacity of 1000mAh will be very low for powerful hardware, but very good for “budget” hardware! 

In general, larger batteries are naturally capable of greater capacity, but again there are exceptions. This is why it is better to inquire before choosing blindly. 

Now let’s talk about a feature that is more difficult to grasp, but essential if you want to indulge in the “super-sub-ohm-super-powerful” vape in complete safety!

Why a faucet? Because like a running tap, the discharge capacity we are going to talk about now represents the flow of electricity that a battery can discharge. Without encountering resistance in the short of its circuit, the current can flow at an anarchic pace. Too intense a current due to a short circuit or too low a resistance endangers the battery, risking a chain reaction and immediate degassing.

It is to avoid these accidents that each battery announces a Discharge Current.

How to find the right battery?

If you’ve been paying attention, you know how a battery works and the electricity it contains. You also know how to understand the different essential information to assess what he is capable of. 

Today, the internal chemistry of batteries is almost always the same. IMR or INR, both guarantee good stability and potentially high performance. You will then have to make your choice according to the other characteristics that we have seen. 

1: Choose the right size

Are you buying a box requiring one or more batteries? Choose the appropriate format so you don’t end up with batteries that are too big or too small for your box. As a general rule, a larger battery will perform better in terms of battery life and discharge current, but remember: this is not always the case!

Also, a large battery is bulky, heavier, and is compatible with a reduced number of boxes.

So start preferably with a box using one or more 18650 batteries, a standard, intermediate format and just as capable of good performance.

2: Choose a battery with a high discharge current

It will not be difficult for you to find a battery with a sufficiently high CDC (20-30A) to function correctly on the most powerful electronic kits. The discharge current cap not to be exceeded is crucial for “mechanical” vaping experts, but electronically regulated equipment will be more permissive. With very low resistances like on some modern clearomisers, just remember to respect the recommended powers.

Remember: just because a box can go up to 220W doesn’t mean you have to reach them!

3: Aim for autonomy

Finding a battery with a high discharge current is simple these days, all you have to do is orient your choice according to its autonomy (its “Capacity”).

Some batteries offer a very large capacity but have a very limited discharge current, others do the opposite, and some choose a good balance between capacity and discharge current. Rather “long-term autonomy” or rather “overpowered vape”, it’s up to you to make your choice!

Given that the current kits are often aimed at high powers, it is preferable in case of doubt to choose a battery balanced between capacity and current. When your tastes are more precise, you can adapt your new equipment and your new batteries to lean towards one of the two extremes.