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  1. Here are the links to each of my blog entries. This index will be updated as new entries are added.

    Links to All My Tests and My Recommended Batteries
    Complete list and links for all my battery and charger tests

    Mooch's Recommended Batteries

    Test Results, Ratings, and Performance Tables
    18350/18500 Safety Grades and Performance Table

    18650 Battery Ratings - Picking a Safe Battery To Vape With

    26650 Safety Grades and Performance Table

    Lithium-Ion Charger Safety and Durability Test Results

    General News
    Mooch articles and test results are now available on Phil Bisardo's TasteYourJuice site

    Assorted Battery Stuff
    Is there a good alternative to the Sony VTC4?

    Can we use LiFePO4 batteries for vaping, like the ones made by A123?

    Be careful when using high-capacity 18650 batteries!

    Li-Ion battery theory, aging, and failure mechanism papers

    How can we extend the life of our batteries?

    When should you replace a battery?

    What is battery internal resistance?

    Li-Ion Battery Chemistries - What are the differences in their safety?

    Calculating battery current draw for a regulated mod (device)

    Battery pulse ratings are useless!

    There are no 18650's with a genuine current rating over 30A!

    Rice doesn't help dry anything!

    Is it safe to use a charger's "recovery" feature to bring back an overdischarged battery?

    My Background, Equipment and Testing Methods
    Who the hell am I to tell you what a battery's rating is?

    Why do I say "In my opinion..." when rating a battery?

    Why bother with testing cell temperature?

    My cell testing equipment and setup

    What's done for each cell test?

    Why do I sometimes rate a cell lower than other testers do?

    Where is all that GoFundMe and PayPal money going?
  2. This blog entry will list all items I purchased with the incredible donations the vaping community made to help me buy batteries for testing and to build a dedicated vaping battery test area.

    Total Remaining = TBD

    Equipment Fund Withdrawals:
    • GoFundMe fees = TBD
    • Federal, State, and Local taxes = TBD (GoFundMe states they send out a 1099 in some circumstances. I'll get more info about this but all the purchases are deductible so there probably won't be any donations held aside for taxes).
    • 9/27/16 — $44 — Two high pressure replacement fans for the electronic loads.
    • 10/5/16 — $489 — iCharger 4010 Duo charger, PowerLog 6S meter, connecters, and cable for high power battery cycle life testing and marrying/rotating testing.
    • 10/5/16 — $489 — Three 30V/5A adjustable and one 30V/24A adjustable power supplies to replace the five supplies that were trashed by an electrical surge.
    • 10/6/16 — $264 — Datalogging thermocouple thermometer to replace failing unit.
    • 10/8/16 — $65 — Ten port USB hub (3 for charge, 7 for USB devices).
    • 10/13/16 — $58 — Five laptop power bricks and power cords to power the chargers.
    • 10/14/16 — $TBD — Tektronix TBS2102 oscilloscope for PWM mod and charger battery testing.
    Battery Fund Withdrawals:
    • GoFundMe fees = TBD
    • Federal, State, and Local taxes = TBD (GoFundMe states they send out a 1099 in some circumstances. I'll get more info about this but all the purchases are deductible so there probably won't be any donations held aside for taxes).
    • 9/27/16 — $30— Two AWT 50A cells.
    • 9/27/16 — TBD — Three sets of MXJO batteries.
    • 9/28/16 — $108 — Twelve high capacity Samsung/Panasonic/LG batteries, 26650 boxes, ring insulators.
    • 10/7/16 — $60 — Eight additional high capacity batteries.
    • 10/7/16 — $34 — Two HB7's and Two 3500mAh MXJO 26650's.
    • 10/13/16 — $75 — Fourteen Kdest battery samples.
    My contributions of equipment for the vaping battery test setup:
    • Fluke 87 handheld meter
    • Fluke 8846A desktop meter
    • iCharger 106b charger (for married-battery cycling)
    • Three 0-30V/0-5A power supplies (for charging and powering other chargers)
    • Two LUC V4 chargers.
    • West Mountain Radio CBA IV Pro battery analyzer w/extended software license.
    • Three CamLight Systems CC-400 400W/150A electronic loads (for increasing the battery analyzer's power handling).
    • Waye Giles ESR Meter (for measuring battery internal resistance).
    • Two Acer netbooks for running the battery analyzer and recording data from the other devices.
    Katya, ridemywave, cats5365 and 9 others like this.
  3. It's time to put this myth to rest. Using rice to help dry batteries or a mod that got wet doesn't help at all. In fact, it slows down evaporation of any water that is inside.

    I set up a 24 hour test using paper towel sheets with enough water added to bring their weight to 18 gms. I then put these wet folded paper towels in four places; a slightly ventilated box in rice, a slightly ventilated box 3 feet in front of a fan on low, a bare folded paper towel in still air, and a bare folded paper towel 3 feet in front of a fan on low. The complete results are in the table but two are presented here...
    • Amount of water that evaporated from the box in the rice after 24 hours = 2 gms
    • Amount of water that evaporated from the box in front of the fan after 24 hours = 10 gms
    Five times more water evaporated from the box that was in front of the fan. It's clear that burying anything in rice just slows down the evaporation of any water that's present. This makes sense though. Rice can't vacuum up water. It can only absorb any water that evaporates and touches the surface of the rice. Even then though rice is a lousy absorber of atmospheric water.

    Since the device that is wet is buried in rice, with no air movement, the humidity level quicky rises up to 100% next to any water that is present inside the device. This significantly slows down any evaporation that could take place.

    Adding air movement blows away the layer of very humid air above any water, allowing the water to evaporate much faster.

    Some of you might have tried using rice and found that you could turn on your mod a day or two later and it worked. But did you open up your mod to see if the water had actually evaporated? How can we know that the rice did anything?

    Bottom Line: If you have a mod that got wet, do not turn it on. Remove the batteries (if possible), shake out any water you can, and then place it in front of a fan. Rotate it every couple of hours to try to get any blowing air into any seams or ventilation holes. It should be pretty dry internally in 24 hours.

    Please don't bury it in rice!

    [edit] I'm sure there will be those who feel this test was invalid for one reason or another. It's backed up by every good test like this I found online but I strongly encourage anyone who feels I erred to do their own tests. I would love to see the results!

    [edit] For those who are concerned that the paper towels "lock in" the water, keeping it from evaporating:

    Pictures of the setups:

    Attached Files:

  4. Some chargers, like the Efest LUC V4, can be used to charge batteries that have dropped to very low voltages, below 2.5V. While this is tempting there is a risk when doing this.

    When a Li-Ion battery drops below 2.0V or so the copper electrode inside of it literally starts to dissolve. When the battery is recharged this dissolved metal is plated back onto parts of the battery that should not be conductive. This can cause an internal short-circuit which can lead to overheating, venting, or even bursting of the battery. Even if it still works after charging that battery might be damaged and wouldn't be married to the other batteries you used with it anymore.

    It's impossible to say though whether any over-discharging of a battery is unsafe or not since the battery damage is cumulative. The more time it spends at around 2.0V, and the lower the voltage, the more damage is done and the riskier it is to use that battery. If the battery is recharged quickly then the damage is minimal. If the battery slowly self-discharged over months of storage then the damage is greater and the risk is a lot higher.

    I'll always recommend just replacing an over-discharged battery if you weren't able to recharge it right away. If you do decide to use it though I recommend the following...

    - Recharge it as soon as possible.

    - Recharge it at the lowest current setting possible.

    - Stay nearby! You want to be able to stop the discharge immediately if the battery starts overheating or there is some other problem.

    So while the recovery feature can help bring back a battery that was overdischarged you need to weigh the risks versus replacing the battery. Remember, even if you recover the battery it might be damaged and no longer married to its partner(s). Keep an eye on the battery voltages and temperatures for a while to make sure the recovery went well.
  5. CAUTION: You are responsible for your own safety! This table is only meant as a first step for you to use in narrowing down the best choices. Do not use it as the only source of information when picking a charger to use! The conclusions and recommendations I make here are only my personal opinion. Carefully research any charger you are considering using before purchasing and never leave a charging battery unattended! I am not responsible for any damage or injury sustained by anyone using this table to select a charger.


    Click the above thumbnail to open up the full-sized table​
  6. PBusardo was kind enough to offer me a page on his web site and I jumped at the chance. The first article is up. Thank you for this opportunity Phil!
  7. Even though the Sony VTC4 is still in production and genuine ones are available there are vapers who are uncomfortable taking a chance at buying counterfeit Sony batteries. Could the 22A-25A rated LG HD2, HD2C, and HD4 be as good as the Sony VTC4? Let's find out.

    In the graphs below I discharged all four batteries at 10A-20A-30A continuous and 30A pulsed. In the constant current graph all of them ran at about the same voltage at 10A continuous but the HD2C lasted a bit longer. At 20A and 30A continuous the HD2C ran at a higher voltage (hit harder) than the others and still lasted longer. The VTC4 didn't beat the HD2C but it performed a bit better than the HD2 and HD4.

    In the 30A pulse current graph the HD2C lasted a bit longer than the rest with the VTC4 and HD4 about tied for second place. While the HD2C ran at a slightly higher voltage than the others when pulsed they were all very close in performance and I don't think you'd see a difference in actual use.

    So, is there a good alternative to the VTC4?

    Yes, the LG HD2C.
    It not only runs at a slightly higher voltage but lasts a bit longer too. The LG HD4 is a close second in these tests and is roughly equivalent to the VTC4 for vaping at up to about 25A-30A/100W.

    image.png image.png image.png
  8. 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...
    • 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!
    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.

    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.

    image.jpeg image.jpeg
  9. It's tempting to use very high capacity batteries, over 3000mAh, to try to get more vaping time before needing to recharge. But there aren't any 18650 batteries with a capacity over 3000mAh that have a rating above 10A!

    Batteries like the Panasonic 3200mAh NCR18650B look like a great way to get more vaping time but they're only rated at 4.9A. And the Efest, Imren, and other Chinese-company high-capacity batteries are just rewraps of 10A Panasonic and LG batteries.

    If you vape at under 20W (per battery) or so then you can use the 3200mAh Panasonic NCR18650B.

    If you vape at under 35W (per battery) or so then you can use the over-3000mAh Efest's, Imren's, etc. But Panasonic/Sanyo NCR18650GA, LG MJ1, and LG MH1 batteries are less expensive and possibly a higher grade.

    Can you vape at higher power levels with these 4.9A and 10A batteries? Of course! The batteries won't explode and your face won't melt off if you do.

    But the voltage sag is so severe that at over about 5A-7A you can actually get more vaping time from the 3000mAh LG HG2 and Samsung 30Q. This is because their internal resistance is lower than the over-3000mAh batteries. This allows them to run more efficiently, with less voltage sag, and that means they run for longer before your mod says low/weak battery.

    So, know your batteries and vape safe.
  10. If you want to start going beyond what covers here are a few of the more interesting papers I've read on Li-Ion batteries. They are quite technical though!

    Thermal runaway caused fire and explosion of lithium ion battery:

    Thermal runaway in Li-Ion — getting the missing data: Runaway in Li-ion Article Best Tech Magazine.pdf

    Theory of SEI Formation in Rechargeable Batteries:

    Advanced Technology Development Program for Lithium-Ion Batteries, Thermal Abuse Performance of 18650 Li-Ion Cells:

    Are Lithium Ion Cells Intrinsically Safe?:

    Understanding Lithium-Ion Technology:

    Mechanism of intercalation and deintercalation of lithium ions in graphene nanosheets:
    Mechanism of intercalation and deintercalation of lithium ions in graphene nanosheets | SpringerLink

    In-operando high-speed tomography of lithium-ion batteries during thermal runaway:

    Some thermal runaway and Li-Ion abuse papers: Runaway in Li-ion Article Best Tech Magazine.pdf Ponchaut Paper 2015.pdf

    Aging Mechanisms in Li-ion Batteries:

    Degradation Mechanisms and Lifetime Prediction for Lithium- Ion Batteries – A Control Perspective:
  11. Do I have the qualifications to be doing stuff like this? Some say that I don't.

    You be the judge.

    Since 1992 I have been designing and building electronic devices for a large number of clients. My first products were camera remote-control systems for sports photographers. As these systems, and other devices, transitioned from wired to wireless the performance of the batteries they used was very important as there was no way to replace them during use. This led to me doing more and more battery testing and developing the electronics to charge, test, and protect them.

    As battery technology advanced, from NiCd to NiMH to Li-Ion and now ultracapacitor/Li-Ion hybrids, the devices I built and the battery testing I did advanced along with them. I started specializing in power management electronics; battery chargers, energy harvesters (for charging from heat, light, or vibration/movement), power supplies, battery analyzers, electronic loads for battery discharging, and battery management/protection systems. This is the work I still do today.

    My clients have included the US Army, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Eastman Kodak Company, and hundreds of other companies from large to small. Part of the work I've done for a lot of my clients has been battery testing. Sometimes they want to recommend a good battery to their customers. Other times they're batteries I have chosen to combine with my electronics to form a complete, protected power source for them to incorporate into their products.

    Depending on my client's requirements this testing can take up to several weeks to complete. I use a subset of these tests when evaluating the batteries we use when vaping. This includes continuous-current tests to establish the battery's true (and safe) ratings. They also help to determine if there's any risk of venting if one of our mods autofires or a mechanical mod's button is accidentally pressed. The pulse-current tests measure the degree of voltage sag we would see when vaping at different current levels. Both types of tests are done the same way for every set of batteries I test, over 110 different ones to date (almost 400 batteries total).

    This consistency in the testing allows for direct comparison of the performance of different batteries even if the pulse discharging I do doesn't match the way you vape.

    Safety is my number one priority. While I often test at discharge current levels that can result in unsafe battery temperatures, this is the only way to figure out what a battery's true and safe ratings are. No battery is totally safe but we can certainly avoid taking unnecessary risks.

    This is critical.

    There is a huge difference between a battery's rating and a capability of the battery. You might be able to vape with a battery at 40A but that doesn't make 40A the battery's rating. It's just something the battery can do without venting. You still don't how the battery performs compared to others, how much the battery is being damaged, or what the safe limits are.

    A rating is different from a capability because it uses a set of important criteria to establish the rating. Things like temperature, voltage when discharging, cycle life (how many times it can be charged/discharged) are defined and limits are set. This allows for direct comparison of the performance of different batteries and is how I test. The tests determine not only the safety limits of the battery but also the performance limits when vaping.

    In my blog at ECF I have listed the equipment I use and the steps I follow when testing. This allows anyone to replicate my tests if they want to:

    My cell testing equipment and setup | E-Cigarette Forum

    What's done for each cell test? | E-Cigarette Forum

    Does all this make me some kind of battery expert? Hell no. But I do feel I am qualified to do this testing. My results offer you a resource you can use when choosing a battery that will not only be safe for the way you vape but will also give you great performance.

    If there's something you don't like about the testing or the ratings/performance tables, let me know! I'd be happy to read what you have to say and discuss it with you. Over the past few months the feedback I've gotten has resulted in some good changes to the tables to make them less confusing and easier to read.

    Each of us has to decide which battery tester's results we will use. Different testers use different criteria when setting a rating or when comparing batteries. Find out how they test, compare their results, and pick the tester you trust the most with the batteries you use.

    Thanks for your time!
    Katya, Microzod, KS_Referee and 19 others like this.
  12. Because there are no absolutes when it comes to battery testing and battery ratings. The same "20A" battery, using the exact same test data, could be rated at anywhere from below 10A to above 40A. No one can look at the test data and give you "the" one and only battery rating.

    If a company thinks that its batteries should last 2,000 cycles then that "20A" battery could be rated at only 10A. If they don't care how long the battery lasts and just want the highest performance from it they might rate it at 40A. All those ratings use the same test data. But each tester or company has their own opinion of what's important.

    I base my methods of setting a rating on those used by Samsung, Sony, LG, and Panasonic/Sanyo. This allows for easy comparison of the batteries I test against batteries from these companies.

    To help prevent confusion though I am removing "In my opinion..." from the Bottom Line section of all future test reports. In each test report's disclaimer I state that my ratings are my opinion so it was redundant to say that elsewhere too.

    Because the same battery can be given a wide range of ratings it's important to find a tester you trust. Look at their test results, ask questions! Do they test each battery the same way? Do they tell you what criteria they use when setting ratings? Do they measure temperature? All these are critical for determining a battery's rating.
    RPadTV, anjelvape77, Baditude and 9 others like this.
  13. I'm often asked what batteries I would recommend. Here's the entire list. :)

    It does not mean I think your batteries are bad if you use ones not on this list!
    These are merely my personal recommendations for consistent performing and reliable batteries that can be purchased at a reasonable price.

    Note: The non-Samsung/Sony/LG/Panasonic/Sanyo batteries can change what is used under the wrap at any time.

    Katya, VikingQueen, Brybach and 76 others like this.
  14. There are several things you can do to help your Li-Ion batteries last as long as possible before needing to replace them. Some are easy, some are quite inconvenient. Some have a big effect, some very little. But doing any of them can help slow down the aging and degradation of your batteries.

    • Don't overheat them. High temperatures are the biggest cause of battery damage and reduced battery life. Anything over about 45°C/113°F, what most would call warm, and your batteries start aging faster. The more time they spend being warm or hot, and the hotter they get, the more damage you're causing.
    • Don't use them when they're very cold, below -20°C/-4°F. The chemical reactions in a battery are a lot less efficient at low temperatures leading to poor performance. The sudden heating of the battery if used when cold can cause localized internal heating, possibly damaging the battery.

    • After using your battery, let it cool to room temperature before charging it.
    • Don't overdischarge them. Our batteries are rated down to 2.5V or lower but you can extend their life by staying above 2.8V-3.0V***. Going below 2.0V or so leads to metal being plated inside different parts of the battery, eventually causing an internal short circuit and possible bursting of the battery.
    • If you accidentally overdischarge your battery below 2.0V immediately recharge it at the slowest rate your charger supports. Once the battery rises up over 3.0V or so you can switch to your normal charge rate.
    • If battery has been at 2.0V for a while then it's probably damaged. It's not worth trying to use the "recovery" mode of your charger (if it has it) because the damage can lead to an internal short circuit later.
    • Li-Ion batteries do not need to be discharged occasionally all the way down in order to keep them in top condition. Li-Ion batteries do not suffer from "memory". This is only needed for NiCd (nickel-cadmium) or NiMH (nickel metal hydride) batteries.
    • Partial discharging and recharging multiple times is better for long battery life than discharging all the way down to where the mod indicates "low battery" and then recharging.

    • After charging, let your battery cool to room temperature before using it.
    • Don't charge a battery that is below 0°C/32°F. It causes metal to be plated inside the battery eventually leading to an internal short circuit and possibly bursting of the battery.
    • Where possible, setting your charger to 4.1V will reduce stress on the battery and extend its life. But you will lose 10%-15% of the capacity of the battery.
    • Make sure the charger you use turns off once the charge is complete. Check the instructions for the charger you want to use.
    • Never use a trickle charger with Li-Ion batteries! The continuous holding of the battery at the trickle charge voltage damages it.
    • Don't overcharge them. To get the longest running possible time from a battery some chargers go up to as high as 4.27V. While this does result in a bit more vaping time before needing to recharge, it damages the battery. Most of the batteries we use are rated at up to 4.25V but even this is quite high. It's not dangerous until we're approaching 5V but battery damage starts occurring way below this.
    • Without a separate meter monitoring the battery's highest voltage before the charger stops it's hard to know what our batteries are actually being charged to. Our best option is to have our batteries spend as little time as possible fully charged and charge them just before using them. This usually isn't very convenient but it does extend battery life.
    • Charging at a slower rate is better, to a point. Most of our 18650 batteries have a "standard" charge rate of 1.0A-1.5A and a "rapid" charge rate of up to 4A. Charging at 0.5A might help extend the life of your batteries a bit but if the batteries are not getting warm at 1.0A then that's a good compromise between battery life and convenience. Going down to 0.375A or 0.25A won't help much versus charging at 0.5A.
    • Charge 18350's at 0.5A until you know that they aren't getting more than a bit warm.
    • Charge 26650's at 1.0A until you know that they aren't getting more than a bit warm. The better 26650's can be charged at up 2.0A without adversely affecting battery life.

    • Storing batteries in the refrigerator doesn't make much of a difference in battery life unless you live in an area with high temperatures year around. It's not dangerous to refrigerate them but be sure to let them come to room temperature before opening whatever airtight wrapping/container you have them in.
    • If a battery wrap becomes damaged, replace it immediately. Replace the top insulator ring if it's also damaged.
    • Every time you buy batteries also buy battery boxes or sleeves, wraps, and top insulator rings. You...will...need...them.

    Additional Information

    ***This is the resting voltage, NOT the voltage "under load" that the battery drops to when being used. If your mod stops firing when the battery drops to 3.2V the battery can rise back to to 3.5V or even higher after resting for a while. This "resting voltage" is the important voltage, the one to be used when determining how low you are really discharging your batteries.

    While stopping at 3.4V, 3.6V, or even higher might extend battery life a bit you are missing out on a lot of additional vaping time that you could use before needing to recharge. That additional vaping time can be enjoyed every day for, at most, just the cost of one extra set of batteries a year. Stopping at these higher voltages won't hurt the battery though. Just let the batteries sit for an hour before charging to see what their true resting voltage is when deciding how low you want their voltage to go in your mod.
    Katya, KS_Referee, Elwin and 18 others like this.
    • When you start getting earlier and more frequent "low battery" alerts from your regulated mod even though you haven't increased the power.
    • When you notice that your mechanical/unregulated mod doesn't hit as hard, or for as long, as it used to (before needing to recharge your battery).
    • If your battery starts getting warmer during use or charging even though you haven't changed power settings or your coil resistance.
    • If your charger will no longer get to 4.20V before stopping. Make sure the charger is functioning properly and try switching charger bays before replacing the battery though.
    • If you see physical damage to the metal top or can of the battery. Things like dents and deep scrapes should not be ignored! A damaged wrap and top insulator ring can be replaced without needing to replace the battery.
    • If the battery vents and leaks fluid, even the smallest amount. Continuing to use a battery after it has vented can lead to the battery overheating and possibly going into thermal runaway and bursting.
    • If the battery has rusted badly. You don't need to worry about a few small spots but if they are pushing the wrap up or growing larger then replace the battery.
    • If the battery discharged down below 2.0V for a long period of time. Accidentally discharging down below that for a short period of time is ok. But if you left a battery unused for a long period of time and it's now dropped below 2.0V, replace it. You might be able to "recover" the battery with certain chargers but it's probably damaged and it's just not worth it.
    • There's no need to replace a battery on a fixed schedule, e.g., once a year. Those who use their batteries at high power levels might have to replace them every few months, or even sooner. Low power vapers can easily get a couple years of use out of their batteries.
    • Never throw your battery in the trash! Please recycle it. Many electronics or home improvement stores and vape shops will accept your batteries for recycling. First give the battery a couple of wraps in whatever tape you have to insulate it from any metal it might touch.
    • You do not need to replace a battery if you dropped it but there's no physical damage