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(9) Battery Basics for Mods: IMR or Protected ICR?

Rating: 23 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 08-27-2013 at 01:20 PM (106838 Views)
As mod users, we depend heavily upon batteries. To assist novices to choose which battery to use in their mod I have written this guide. Our choices are Lithium IMR, protected ICR Li-Ion, and a new class of Hybrid batteries.

High quality IMRs are currently recommended in place of protected ICR Li-Ion for all applications. reference - Rechargeable Batteries

IMR (Li-Mn) are the safest batteries available for vaping. They use safer chemistry, so they don't require a built-in protective circuit like ICRs do. They have higher tolerence to stress, and although they may vent during failure it is less likely to be as dramatic as a ICR. Should protective circuits fail in ICRs they can vent violently in flames and possibly explode. ICR battery explosion

High Quality, Brand Name Batteries. Batteries are not created equal. I recommend buying only the batteries from the list below, paying attention to model numbers:

18650 2000mah 10Amp
18650 1600mah 24A
18490 1100mah 16.5A
18350 ​700mah 6A
18650 2200mah 20A
18490 1200mah 18A
18350 800 mah 12A

18650HE22500mah 20A

18650 1500mah ​20A
3500mah 20A

Panasonic ​or Orbtronic hybrid
CGR18650CH (IMR/hybrid) 2250mAh 10A
NCR18650BD 3200mAh 10A
NCR18650PF (LiNiCOMnO2) 2900mAh 10A
NCR18650PD (LiNiCoAl) 2900mAh 10A
Orbtronic 18650 SX22 2000mAh 22A
Orbtronic 18650 2500mAh 21A
Orbtronic 18650 SX30 2100mAh ​30A
Panasonic 26650 CGR2650A 2650mAh 50A

Samsung hybrid
INR18650-20R 2000mah 22A
INR18650-25R 2500mAh 20A

Sony hybrid
18650VTC4 2100mAh 30A
18650VTC5 2600mAh 30A
26650 2600mAh ​26A

Efest IMR
18650 2250mAh 10A
18650 2000mAh 10A
18650 1600mAh 30A
18490 1100mah 8.8A
18350 800mah 6.4A
purple 18650 2500mAh 35A* (rebranded LG18650HE2 2500mAh 20 amp*)
purple 18650 2100mAh 30A (rebranded Sony 18650VTC4)
purple 18500 1000mAh 15A
purple 18350 700mAh 10.5A

  • Lower Quality Brand-Name Batteries. Trustfire, Ultrafire, and Surefire are a lower-tier name brand battery in terms of quality and safety. Not recommended.

  • ​Generic Batteries. ​Not recommended. Seen at Amazon & EBay at cheap prices or thrown in for free in a kit when you purchase a mod from China. These are unknown batteries of unknown quality by an unknown manufacturer, and not worth the risk using in your mod. Never assume because they were included with your mod that they are safe or the correct battery to use.

  • If uncertain about the quality or type of a battery, don't buy or use it. Do not use over-the-counter batteries like those from Radio Shack, etc. Buy only from trusted e-cig vendors such as RTD Vapor AW Batteries. Use the type of battery that your mod calls for. For example, Provape recommends using only AW IMR button top batteries in the Provari; using magnets on flat top batteries will void the warranty because this is an unsafe battery practice.

  • Battery Chargers. Get the best charger that you can reasonably afford. Statistically most battery incidents occur while charging. Pila, Xtar, and Nitecore Intellicharger ​are the most recommended brands.

  • Always use safe battery practices and common sense with all batteries. Even the safest battery available to us can fail. IMR battery failure Most common user error battery failures are the result of rapid discharge, either from the fire button inadvertantly pushed for too long, or the battery being shorted from metal objects (keys, change, etc) completing the circuit when carrying a battery in a pocket or purse. Use Battery Cases. Do not stack batteries.

  • If you are using sub-ohm coils in an RBA/RDA, it is extremely important to use the highest quality IMR battery. Coils < 0.6 ohm require an IMR battery that has a maximum continuous discharge rate over 10 amps, preferably with a 30 amps continuous​ discharge rate. Sub-Ohm Battery Chart

PROTECTED or IMR BATTERY: ​Which Lithium battery is best for your application?

IMR Li-Mn. Lithium manganese batteries. Also called "high drain", "safe chemistry", "unprotected".

  • These are used in regulated mods that use buck boost circuitry to achieve variable voltage-wattage, but they are now also recommended for single voltage mechanical mods as a safer alternative to protected Li-Ion batteries.

  • This class will have less capacity in mAh rating compared to protected batteries, but are superior when maximum load current is required, such as in regulated mods, mechanical mods using a Kick, or using an RBA. Why High Drain Batteries?

​IMR/Hybrid batteries.

  • New mixed chemistry batteries that are both safe chemistry/high drain and extended capacity in one. A good choice for applications that demand both maximum load current and longer battery time. Can be used for either mechanical or regulated mods. Some of these have 20 or more amps continuous discharge ideal for sub-ohm.

Protected ICR Li Ion. Lithium ion class batteries, also called "protected batteries".

  • These batteries are now considered obsolete for mod use because of their potential for flames & explosion.


Mods, Batteries, & Safer Vaping

PBusardo's Mod Battery Information Guide

IMR Battery Specification Comparison

Deeper Understanding of Mod Batteries

What does IMR mean

Sub-Ohm Vaping: Discussion, Safety, Battery Info, Warnings

Battery Data | Deus Ex Vaporis

What does a battery's C Rating mean?

Battery Specifications and Online Calculators
V8inDamma, Vapiana, jcco and 98 others like this.

Updated 02-20-2015 at 04:58 PM by Baditude



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  1. Baditude's Avatar
    Lebertine89, your understanding is solid. The safer chemistry IMR & IMR/hybrid batteries do not require protection. Just be sure to stay within the batteries specifications for amp limits (continuous discharge rating).
  2. Libertine89's Avatar
    Cheers buddy, its also worth mentioning that one of the main reason i think people have choosen Li-ion/Li-Mn batteries over others is because they dont have a memory like old style batteries and can be partially discharged then recharged without loss of capcity.
  3. Pinggolfer's Avatar
    I just purchased my first Provari and ordered 2 (AW IMR 8650 2000mah) from RTD Vapor and a Xtar charger from them. Should I be confident in my purchase? Seems like RTD sells real AW batteries.
  4. Baditude's Avatar
    Speedracer, that is the only battery that Provape recommends for the Provari. RTD is the best choice of vendor to buy AW batteries because they are an authorized AW vendor and you can be certain not to get a counterfeit AW battery because they buy directly from Andrew Wan (AW).
  5. Pinggolfer's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Baditude
    Speedracer, that is the only battery that Provape recommends for the Provari. RTD is the best choice of vendor to buy AW batteries because they are an authorized AW vendor and you can be certain not to get a counterfeit AW battery because they buy directly from Andrew Wan (AW).
    Thank you so much. Reading your blog on batteries should scare a lot of people and get them thinking about cheap bargain batteries. I had no idea how some companies can sell fake or used batteries as the real thing.

    If you have time to answer I noticed the charger has several charging switches. Should I be using the trickle charge on the batteries? I should have my Provari and batteries by this weekend. I'm excited.
  6. derekspencet48's Avatar
    thank you so much for taking the time do do this rite up on battery's i perched the INR18650-25R 2500mAh 20A and it hits soooo much harder than my efest 1865o i am using it on a k101 with a keyfun plus v2 with a 1.0 ohm 26 g coil love the dense vapor it creates thanks.
  7. Fictitious Character's Avatar

    Nicely written and very helpful on the question I was wondering about on the difference between L-ion and LiMn batteries.

    Are there an older version of vtc's that are Li-ion? I was just wondering because I almost ordered 4 of the Xstar re branded vtc4 from Battery Junction but noticed that they are Li-ion. Are these types more just flashlight batteries with the same vtc4 name? Or are they old stock?

    Needing to pick up another 4 vtc's for a IVP3 dual battery regulated box mod that I am waiting on. I currently use vtc 4's because they did not have the 5's when I needed them and then I just kind of stuck with them.

    Wife uses the panasonic 3100 3.7 18650 but I am not finding clear specs on them and I am considering replacing them as they are Li-ion as well. She uses them in a VTR a regulated 15 watt box mod. Any info on the panasonics?

    We use a 4 bay nitecore intelcharger. I unplug it when not in use to just to be safe.

    Anyways thanks again for taking the time to write this.
  8. Baditude's Avatar
    @ Fictitious Character. Battery classification and labels are very loosely thrown around by vendors and consumers alike. Technically, all lithium batteries are Li-ion, including Li-Mn (IMR) and all of the IMR/hybrid batteries which includes NCR (Panasonic hybrid) and INR (Samsung hybrid) batteries. It's admittedly confusing, and I'm often not sure at times under what sub-classification a battery falls under.

    The Panasonic NCR18650A 3100mah battery is an IMR/hybrid battery, with a 6.8 amp continuous discharge rating. Like the NCR18650B 3400 mah battery, it is not considered a high drain battery, but it is a safe chemistry battery. Their mixed chemistry is heavily weighted to the ICR side, and performance-wise they should be considered more of a low-drain ICR battery than an high drain IMR battery. These batteries were designed for flashlights. To be blunt, there are better batteries than these for a regulated mod.
  9. fishj's Avatar
    Baditude, thanks for your work. My question is why won't my XTAR 18650 batteries that are claimed to be Sony VTC4's fit my Vamo but are a bit too long to fit my Innokin VTR, which is why I bought them? I purchased four of them from the Xtar web site. Thanks.
  10. NicM's Avatar
    Baditude I looking for some advice.
    I've sort of done things abit backwards...I purchased my batteries my new mod before reading this thread and I'm abit worried I've got cheap nasty batteries. So I kinda want your opinion cos you sound like you know what your talking about.
    I purchased them from my local ecig shop and he talked me into buying the 18650 instead of the smaller ones. After reading your post it looks like mine are the unbranded type, its just a grey battery with stamped black writing, no make or anything and the box says lithium-ion battery.....do you think i should I be concerned? Any help would be great, thanx
  11. heyjohn's Avatar
    First: thanks, Baditude, for a highly informative page. Second: how does this information apply to mods that take *two* 18650 batteries? I have a Siglei 100W box, and a Dovpo E-Mech. They claim to be able to handle 0.1 ohm and 0.5 ohm, respectively; each one takes two 18650 batteries. Right now, I'm using twin Samsung pink batteries ("eVic compatible"), but I'm also using commercial coils of 1.6+ ohms. However, I have a few RBAs ready to build, and will probably create some 0.5-1.0 ohm coils. I know that 20A of battery would get me to 0.8 ohm -- but I've no idea how the dual battery setup affects things. Any advice?
  12. Tedjameson's Avatar
    Really helpful! Thanks alot for all the info Baditude!
  13. Baditude's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by heyjohn
    Right now, I'm using twin Samsung pink batteries ("eVic compatible"), but I'm also using commercial coils of 1.6+ ohms. However, I have a few RBAs ready to build, and will probably create some 0.5-1.0 ohm coils. I know that 20A of battery would get me to 0.8 ohm -- but I've no idea how the dual battery setup affects things. Any advice?
    First of all, I'm pretty sure that those pink Samsungs are ICR batteries (not high drain or safe chemistry), and will have only 3 - 4 amps continuous discharge (not enough amperage for safe sub-ohm use). You'll need at least a 20 amp continuous IMR battery for sub-ohms.

    The light blue Samsung 25R are IMR chemistry, high drain, safe chemistry, and 20 amps continuous discharge.

    Stacking batteries only doubles the voltage output, not the mAh or amperage output.
  14. bittermelon's Avatar
    Hi Bad,

    what's the amp limit for my AW IMR 14500 3.7V 600mAh? Using for powering my REO Mini (original). Thanks.
  15. Baditude's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by bittermelon
    Hi Bad,

    what's the amp limit for my AW IMR 14500 3.7V 600mAh? Using for powering my REO Mini (original). Thanks.
    The "new" AW IMR14500 650mAh batteries claim a 9 amp continuous discharge rate.

    The older AW IMR14500 600mAh batteries were only a 4 amp continuous.
  16. RayofLight62's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Baditude
    And who made you a mod battery expert? What percentage of mod batteries used today are NiMH? Only a fraction if any.

    Our ECF forum manager Rolygate is a reknown battery expert and wrote this blog about mod batteries and battery safety. RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES

    He states that IMR batteries are indeed the safest batteries for mod usage. I took much of the information for my blog from his data and from other sources listed as references at the bottom of the page. No where have I read that NiMH batteries are the safest. Regardless of this, NiMH batteries are a non-factor for the general vaping community. But thanks for your opinion.
    I was conducting a research about the max amp of some cells, and Google for some reasons directed me to this post.
    By reading it, it almost pulled the ink off my pen (well, not literally) and provide a reply.
    Other than a vaper, I believe to know a thing or two about batteries. I did my stuff a lifetime ago into another world (the flashlights community) at the onset of lithium technology; in another virtual space, in year 2003-2004 we developed the first protected rechargeable Li-Ion 123 (the entire operation went bust since the FarEast manufacturer started selling the thing on its own).
    The first Li-Ions using lithium cobaltite 18650 were developed in US (well, Canada) with a laptop in mind. Long runtime, long cycle life. Safety was addressed, first time in battery history, with protective circuitry (SMD power MOSFET just developed) and a dedicated data bus. Double protection (in the charger and battery) were (and still are) the norm in all western design using Li-Ion. This because lithium cobaltite, the ion-storage material, has the bad habit to self-combust in absence of oxygen at temperature above 160 Celsius, with pyrotechnique results, and is unestinguishable. To this day, Li-Ion batteries are not sellable to general public for this very liability. Use of bare Li-Ion batteries still require special training and certifications.
    For years we used Ni-Cd and Ni-MH for all our portable power. Ni-Cd of good quality have unlimited cycle life and do not suffer high drains; Ni-MH (which are the only positive outcome of researches on cold fusion) have limited cycle life and cannot stand high drain, but they took over because are totally "green" as they doesn't contain the cadmium, a toxic heavy metal, and allowed later the "hybrid" technology or ... (low self-discharge). So they became the battery of choice for moderate drain, non-professional use.
    Now, what pointed my intervention is the statement that Ni-MH are most suited for e-cig use. Wrong statement, in all possible shape and forms. It was in year 2008 that built a vape mod by modifying a 3xAA flashlight to test it; I got 30 cycles from Ni-MH and 350 cycles from Ni-Cd AA cells; fully in accordance with know data.
    Also, when shorted out, Ni-MH vent hydrogen gas, while Ni-CD vent oxygen. Ni-MH are prohybited use in sealed underwater lights, where only Ni-Cd are allowed.
    Ni-Cd didn't win the favours of the e-cig market for three reasons. First they are much bulkier than Li-Ions. Second, green laws have phased out Cadmium from consumer market, limiting its use to professional use where long cyclelife coupled with high drain are a must.
    Third reason, lithium minerals are mined in a couple of places on Earth, South America and Far East. China had the technology already developed and free access to the mineral, and they, as inventors of e-cig, set the standard on lithium.
    We developed Li-Mn and later,hybrid cathode battery to overcome the 1C current limit of Li-Co (ICR) cells, so they can be used in power tools. Less repeatibility (IMR do not balance well) but also less of a firework attitude. E-cig mod world found the Li-MN and hybrid batteries readily available for use. Some unattentive persons uses ICR in mods, but all of the battage on safety hopefully will increase knowledge to the point ICR will be sold with the marking "Do not use in e-cig". Hopefully. They are designed for computer battery packs. But make no mistake: all built-in mod batteries (the MVPs, the iSticks, virtually all non-replaceable battery box mods) do not use IMR (Li-MN) batteries inside: they use exclusively Li-Poly batteries. Now, Li-Poly (which uses hybrid cathodes) were designed with high surface exposure to provide very high currents, they are the batteries of choice in RC world. The chemicals are spread in very thin plastic films, they are built without a case or a metal container, just a foil bag. Thus they can set on fire, but not explode. The protective circuitry is mandatory but it is included in the mod box. Not having a container, they are very cheap to produce, and doesn't require expensive manufacturing equipment: this is why any e-cig, from cheap ego batteries to the most expensive Solara DNA mod box, contains lithium polymer batteries. Cheap, good, pretty safe (they make a big fire but no explosions). So, per manufacturer decisions, Li-Poly, to this date, are the most suitable batteries in e-cigs. But.
    Only for manufacturers. End user can't install Li-Poly in mod boxes (or tubes), because they need to be soldered. To be installed by end user, they should be encased, and this would transform them into a liability. End user can only install IMR batteries originally designed for power drills and high power flashlights. The real deal is off-limits per say of the lawyers.
    In reality, the most suitable battery for e-cigs are the LFP type. They could be easily and legally handed by end users, but there are two problems.
    The LFP battery is a Li-FePO4 (iron-phosphor-oxygen) battery where the cathode materials are made of multi-layered microspheres, built with semiconductor-like machinery, where the inner part of the sphere contains the energy, and its surface distribute this energy to the external electrodes.
    This is the state of the art in lithium batteries, 20 years calendar life and 2000 full cycles. But they are 3.2 Volt instead of 3.7 volt, and a 18650 is ten dollars versus 50 cents of a Li-poly 18650 (used in the 20W iStick). They do not fire up nor explode, accept overcharge and are not damaged by overdischarge. They are on sale for specialised uses and, having bought a 12V 10Ah to replace a lead acid battery, I can only confirm that they would be a vaper dream come true if used in a mod. But, again, chinese only manufacture them on licence, the LPF technology is very hard to crack and copy. They are the most suitable batteries for a e-cig mod.
    Regards to all
  17. Acer50's Avatar
    I was having a great deal of trouble finding the right batteries for my Sub Ohming needs. Thank you so much for this article I have shared it with some of my so called "knowlegable" suppliers who have been had by unscrupulous wholesalers in China just as I have been had. There is so much cloned and rebranded rubnish getting around you never know what the ......... you are going to get in the mail.
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