The first step to understanding battery safety is know what type of battery you should be using. If you own or have ever used a device with removable batteries, you may have realized that there are so many options that it’s hard to know which to choose.
In an effort to make this decision a little easier to figure out, we’re going to take a look at the types of batteries that are offered for e-cigarettes. There are several types of batteries; IMR, ICR, “Protected”, IFR, the list goes on, but the main two used for ecigs are IMR and ICR.
First, deciphering what “IMR” and “ICR” means. The first letter tells you the basic chemistry of the battery, “I” in this case meaning that it is a Lithium Ion style battery. The second letter tells you the material the battery is composed of. “C” being cobalt, and “M” being manganese. The last letter stands for the shape of the battery, “R” for round.
With that out of the way, now we can talk about why you would want one style over the other. It gets pretty complex and involves some knowledge of chemistry so if you’re interested in learning more there are lots of good sources out there. If you don’t have any interesting in mentally revisiting high school chemistry, don’t fret, I’ll explain the important bits.
The ICR batteries have a higher energy density which translates into a higher mAh (milliamp hour) rating. Milliamp hour ratings are a general way of telling how much use you can get out of a battery before it you need to charge it again. With ICR batteries, they typically can’t handle as high of an output, and they do have a higher internal resistance than IMRs. The higher internal resistance means that you’re going to lose some of that extra juice from the high mAh to resistance.
A true IMR battery is designed to be safer, with a lower energy density (less compressed chemical energy means less of a destructive force should anything go catastrophically wrong) and the inability to be overcharged. Now, before you get excited about not being able to overcharge the battery, keep in mind I said a true IMR. IMR batteries have some shortcomings in the world of energy storage, namely, poor cycle life (that is, the amount of times it can be charged and depleted while still performing “like new”). Still no reason to worry, as adding some nickle to the mix increases the cycle life of an IMR battery. However, nickle can be overcharged, so you still have to use a quality charger (like an Nitecore Intellicharger) that will stop charging a battery when it is full.
A footnote on “protected” batteries, most are ICR batteries with circuitry added. This added circuitry makes the battery larger than non-protected ones, and they may not fit in a mod. If there are any issues and you end up with the battery shorting out, they still have all of the potential energy of an ICR. Think of them more as a “usually protected” battery than a “protected” battery. The circuitry is small, and not infallible.
One of the most important things to keep in mind no matter what type of battery you go for, is that the amps need to be able to handle the resistance of the coil. The lower the resistance, the higher amps you need. Using ohm’s law, you can figure out the exact amperage you need.
Battery Volts / Ohms of the Coil = Discharge.
Whatever you get for your discharge should be lower than the amps your battery can output.
Overall, the IMR is still a better choice for most mods, and if you’re unsure of which you should be using go with an IMR.
Battery safety is important if you like your fingers as they are.