Re-wrapping vape batteries. It’s more common today than ever before, but when is it necessary? Should you re-wrap new cells? Today, we look to clear the confusion behind the battery wrap, and guide you through the process step-by-step.
There’s nothing more important than battery safety. Please do not attempt to re-wrap your cells unless you are 100% comfortable with batteries, and fully aware of the possible dangers!
Let’s cut right to the chase and answer a few of the commonly asked questions I’ve encountered over the past few years. Some of the questions do not pertain directly to re-wrapping — but all involve batteries.
How can I tell when my batteries need to be replaced?
- When the positive/negative terminals have been damaged or compromised in any way.
- If the batteries become hot during normal vaping (they should never get to this point).
- When the cycle maximum cycle life has been reached (80% of original capacity).
What counts as one battery cycle?
- When a cell has been fully charged, and discharged one time.
NOTE: As a general rule of thumb, unless you are aware of specific battery ratings, do not continue to discharge your 18650 cells below 3.0V’s.
How many cycles should I expect out of a new 18650?
- Anywhere from 300-500 cycles in normal drain situations.
- 200 cycles in high drain situations,
- 50 if you continue to exceed the maximum discharge limit.
How can I tell if my battery needs to be re-wrapped?
- The stock wrap has been nicked, scratched, dinged, or ripped.
- The stock wrap has become discolored.
Note: I always check the wraps on my cells — before and after every use. It’s a good habit to get into!
Do new batteries ‘need’ to be re-wrapped?
- If you’ve purchased authentic batteries directly from one of the major manufacturers (Sony, Samsung, LG), then no.
- If you received re-wrapped batteries from a third party source (not recommended…), then no.
- If neither of the above is true, it’s best to re-wrap.
Can I re-wrap batteries multiple times?
- Yes, but I would not recommend it. You must maintain a certain level of awareness in relation to the age of you batteries and cycle life.
NOTE: Re-wrapping your batteries is a purpose driven task. Wrapping cells without a purpose is both time consuming, and pointless.
Now that we’ve answered a few of the more common questions, let’s take a look at the a few of the details.
How are battery wraps damaged in the first place?
The protective material used to protect your cells is meant to outlive the cycle life of the battery in normal use conditions. However, vaping puts abnormally high level of stress on the wraps; this is mostly due to the continuous installation and removal of batteries. In turn, this can create a need to re-wrap before the units have reached the end of their lifespan.
Where the majority of electronic devices can be charged without removing the battery, it’s highly recommended that vapers remove their cells from their device, and place them into an external charging bay. So where someone may only take a battery out of a flashlight to replace it once a year, the batteries in a mod may get removed and re-installed multiple times a day.
How long does it take to re-wrap a single battery?
This process normally takes anywhere from 3-5 minutes depending on certain factors. A few basic tools are needed to accomplish the task, and a re-wrap can be performed with ease (as long as you’re comfortable with battery safety).
Can I use a batteries beyond the cycle life?
You can definitely find use for batteries beyond the listed cycle life. However, it is not safe to continue using your vape cells in the same vaping conditions (sub-ohm build, high wattage setting). Using high cycle units in low power conditions is technically not unsafe, but reducing the power restrictions placed on said batteries will not reverse the cycle life.
When should I replace them?
In an effort to avoid confusion, I label all of my plastic battery containers with the DD/MM/YY. That way I never lose track of how old the cells are, and based on personal vaping habits, I can get a good idea how many times each cell has been cycled. There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question unfortunately, but my advice if you’re unsure is to always replace them.
For me, older batteries that have reached the midway point in their cycle life get moved into a MID category. And batteries that 100 or less cycles away from their life, are labelled LOW. Classifying cells in this fashion is not really necessary, but can help when selecting a power source for your mod. For instance, batteries labelled MID are never to be used with a build/coil head reading lower than .5ohms, and batteries labelled LOW are never to be used for sub-ohm vaping, period.
Try not to over-complicate the whole re-wrap situation. By carefully inspecting your wraps at least once every use, you will ensure that everything stays safe. That way, when the need to re-wrap does arise, you won’t miss it!
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