Why a Vape Pen Explodes (and how to avoid it)

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Chances are we have all seen a video where a vape pen explodes or read the handful of reports stating that some users have experienced their vape battery exploding almost out of nowhere. The latest report of a vape exploding comes from Gizmodo and is quite graphic. In this instance the vape exploded knocking out several teeth, leaving the victim with 2nd degree burns and damaging the bathroom as well. This is quite frightening and while the victim claims he was using the device as intended, there are some things we would like to bring to light about why this might be happening and what users can do to try and prevent it.

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1) The Battery/Mod

It is not the actual vape that explodes but rather the internal battery that fails and causes the explosion. The mod you are using can have a huge impact on the safety of the overall device. Newer mods (2016 models and older) now actually have short circuit protection in built into the mods hardware which will prevent a battery from ever shorting out and exploding.

There is a good chance most users who have had their units explode on them were older models or basic pen units and did not have any type of short circuit protection. The Coolfire IV 100W is a perfect example of unit that features short circuit protection.

Your choice of battery is also important, we always recommend going with an official battery like the LG HE22 22A 2500Mah or Z-Fuel for the Thunder 2 and not a cheap Chinese branded battery which will have a higher chance to fail.

battery-mod

Also batteries with larger capacities and a more aggressive discharge can also put a lot of strain on the themselves. So while we know people like to get the largest possible battery, for your own safety you may want to stick to something smaller.

Be sure to always keep your battery contacts clean,  this is especially true for pen-shaped units which have a tendency to leak e-juice from the atomizer onto the battery contact. If the liquid is allowed to pool and slowly works its way into the battery it can cause the battery to fail.

If your vape has just finished charging we do not recommend using it right away. First feel the unit before using it, if the device feels warm from the charge cycle the battery is already stressed. Vaping right away will put more stress on an already warm battery which could cause it to fail. The gentlemen in the video mentioned he was vaping in the morning, perhaps he just pulled it off the charger?

This also goes for charging a vape while it is still warm. If your unit died while you were mid-session, we highly recommend allowing the unit too down before plugging it into a power source. If you charge the device while it is still warm it has the potential to put further strain on the battery which may cause it to fail over time.

2) Vaping Habits

How you interact with your unit can also affect the stress you put on the battery. This is especially true for people who like to have long vape sessions lasting longer than 5 minutes. If you are a vape user who has had a longer than normal session then you will know just how warm the vape can get.

vaping-habits

The heat generated from constantly engaging the atomizer causes the entire device to slowly heat up as trapped heat tries to escape in any direction possible. If you vape for long enough that heat can easily reach the battery bay, especially if you have a pen-style unit or a mod that has the battery installed directly below the heating element. Heat can easily start to travel towars the batteries in contacts. This is why we strongly recommend units like the E-Leaf iStick Pico, which off-sets the battery so it is not directly below the heat source.

3) Temperature & Wattage Settings

If you are a person who likes to chase clouds and push your unit to the extreme you may be at the highest risk. When you want to maximize vapor production you are bumping up the wattage which delivers power to the atomizer.

temperature-wattage

This increase in wattage will make the entire device operate at a higher temperature as the atomizer is getting hotter than normal. This means that the heat will travel more quickly to the surrounding vape, mod and battery, which in turn will put strain on the battery.

Chasing clouds is not necessarily a bad thing, but you have to understand you are putting your vape under more stress by increasing the wattage of your device.

4) Rebuildable Coils

The gentlemen in the Gizmodo article was using what is known as an RDA or Rebuild-able deck (coil) on his unit. Building your own coils has become a big part of the vaping community, however when building your own coils you are taking a bit of a risk.

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Most vapers who use rebuild-able coils do so in-order to maximize power output and vapor production. However building your own coils can put you at a higher risk on the device failing due to improper wiring or short circuiting.

5) Battery Storage

How you store your spare batteries can greatly increase or decrease your risk of failure. In another Gizmodo article featuring exploding batteries, the victim states that he was keeping a spare battery unprotected in his pocket.

Carrying a battery in your pocket unprotected is not smart with any type of battery. If it comes into contact with your keys or change, mixed with your body heat, there is a very high chance that any battery can fail.

Furthermore we recommend against leaving vapes or spare batteries in a car or near a heat source for long amounts of time. Just like VHS’ in the 90s you do not want your vape or batteries exposed to the high heat of a car during a summer day. The excess heat will already put the battery under stress

We always recommend carrying spare batteries in a case like the ZEUS Armor Vape Case and also ensure the battery contacts are not in contact with anything metallic or other batteries.

Final Thoughts

These cases where a a vape pen explodes is concerning to say the least but there are millions of people who use vapes every day who have never run into issues with their unit. Furthermore vapes are not the only electronic devices that suffer from this issue. Most recently was the flurry of reports of the Galaxy Note exploding while in users’ pockets which forced Samsung to recall all of the devices. We have also read reports of laptop batteries failing in a similar manner as well.

If you are seriously concerned about your vape just follow these short steps to ensure proper use:

  1. Never use the device while charging
  2. Never use the vape when it is still warm from charging
  3. Do not “chain vape” for long periods of time.
  4. Try to avoid using re-buildable coils.
  5. Make sure you are using a new model with short circuit protection.
  6. Stay away from units that have the battery below heating element.
  7. Never use cheap Chinese branded batteries.
  8. Keep batteries stored properly.

Please know this guide by no means gaurentees that batteries will not fail, but rather provide you with information and tips on how to properly use and store vapes and batteries. If you keep in mind all these tips than chances are you will continue to enjoy vaping and won’t become just another statistic. Stay Safe and Keep Vaping!

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