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How to Handle a Failed Battery

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Lately, there’s been a lot of discussion about batteries going haywire and how to prevent batteries from failing. I’ve talked about precautions and safety measures vapers should always take prior to using their electronic cigarette. However, I realized that I’ve failed to mention what to do if and when the battery does fail and start to vent. Let’s take a moment and cover that now.

So how do you know for sure if your battery is failing?

  1. Your battery is hot to the touch. If your battery is above room temperature and the past just a little bit warm. It’s time to put down the e-cig for a bit. If your battery is scorching got, abandon ship! The battery should not be used any longer.
  2. If you have scorch marks on the ends of the batteries. This is normally a sign of a short that has happened, but the battery hasn’t vented yet. Replace the battery as soon as possible.
  3. If the battery reads below 2.5 volts, the battery needs to be replaced. When the battery goes below 2.5 volts, it means the battery has been over-discharged (yes there is such a thing). When the battery is over-discharged, it is unsafe to charge it again.
  4. After every charge, an 18650 battery (your standard personal vaporizer battery) should be outputting 4.2 volts. If it is outputting severely below 4.2 volts (like 3.9 volts for example), the battery is at the end of its life and it’s time for a new one.
  5. Dents on the batteries from falls or over tightening the e-cig means it’s time for a new battery. Compromising the housing of the battery should never be done.
  6. Get rid of wet batteries. This is a no brainer but still, it needed to be said.
  7. In the case of a venting battery, the battery releases a gas and at times may ignite depending on the severity of the failure. In this case, do not touch the battery as it can get extremely hot. Let the battery run its course and allow the venting to happen. Make sure the area is properly ventilated, open the windows, and turn on the fan as the venting process does release a poisonous gas. I know it sounds scary, but the batteries were designed to do this in the case of severe failure.

Now that you’ve identified the batteries, what is the proper way of getting rid of them? Before you throw them out, submerge the bad battery in a container full of salt water for about a week. Seems weird doesn’t it? This method is actually what should be done with all high current batteries and not just those for e-cigs. That’s right this applies to laptops, smartphones, battery backups, etc. By submerging the battery in salt water, the battery is actually discharging its remaining power slowly in salt water pool. I can’t say for certain how long this process will take, but several days to a week should suffice.

After the battery is fully discharged, take it to a battery recycling center rather than throwing it in the trash can. These batteries need to be properly handled once they go bad rather than being processed at your local waste management plant. Instead, visit an office supply or a large chain electronic store as these stores have battery recycling bins which dispose of batteries safely. Please keep in mind the chance of a battery failing is very slim, but knowing how to handle the situation is very important.

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