Can we use LiFePO4 batteries for vaping, like the ones made by A123?
Those are lithium-ferrous-phosphate batteries, or "LFP". They are also called IFR. They are a different type of Li-Ion chemistry than the ones we use most often when vaping, often called IMR, INR, and ICR.
The continuous discharge current specifications for these batteries seem to be perfect for vaping; 30A for the 18650 and 70A for the 26650. But there are a few things to consider before using them in a mod...
There is one very important advantage to these LFP batteries though: they are the safest Li-Ion chemistry we can use. The temperature at which they go into thermal runaway is higher than IMR, INR, or ICR batteries. If they do go into thermal runaway the reaction is much less violent than with other chemistries. There are usually no flames and the temperature of the reaction is much lower.
- The A123 18650 is only 1100mAh. The A123 26650 is only 2300mAh.
- LFP batteries have a lower nominal voltage than the IMR/INR/ICR batteries we normally use, 3.3V. While you can compensate for this lower voltage in an unregulated/mechanical mod it means that regulated mods will stop firing and show a weak/low battery message much sooner than normal.
- LFP batteries need a 3.6V charger. They cannot be charged to 4.2V!
Does this increased safety, and the high current ratings, make LFP batteries worth using in our mods? In my opinion, no. Being limited to unregulated/mech mod use, modifying the build resistances, and buying another charger is a lot to do just to use a low capacity battery. Even if it is safer when short-circuited.
The A123 26650 battery might be worth the trouble and low capacity since it has a current rating far above any other 26650. But is it that much better than two 30A IMR or INR 18650's? Not really. Is it safer? Yes, a bit. But if you don't abuse your 18650's and maintain their wraps the extra safety is never needed.
So, can we use LiFePO4 batteries for vaping? Yes.
I don't feel they're worth the compromises though. But if safety is your top priority perhaps they might be worth it for you.
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