Man seriously hurt from exploding 18650 - how a vape shop can prevent this from happening October 27 2015, 11 Comments

The lithium ion battery inside this man’s electronic cigarette exploded, causing him very serious injuries.

His device was a mechanical mod, not a regulated mod. If you do not clearly understand the difference, please take a few minutes to get these points down.

What’s the difference between a mechanical mod and a regulated mod?

A mechanical mod is as simple as it gets, and is dangerous for newbies

  • No internal electronic circuitry or wiring whatsoever.
    • The top cap of the mod connects with the positive end of the battery, and the bottom cap connects with the negative end of the battery.
    • Most mechanical mods have a locking mechanism, which separates the bottom cap from the negative terminal. To complete the circuit you must unlock and press a button.

    So when does it get dangerous?

    Since there is no protection circuitry, a user can easily stress the battery in terms of:

    • over-voltage
    • over-discharge
    • over-amperage
    • over-temperature

    All of which, can cause a battery to smoke, fire, or explode.

    A regulated mod is more complicated, and much safer for newbies

    • If it is not a mechanical mod, it is almost certainly a regulated mod
    • They have internal circuitry to shut down the device in case of most battery problems


    This is the actual mod from the incident, captured by WINK news

    What happened in this particular explosion?

    A man in Naples Florida was burned both externally and internally by an exploding battery. The lithium-ion 18650 battery was inside of his mechanical mod. He was vaping as normal - when it exploded.

    His sister found him not breathing, with a badly burned neck and face. The mouthpiece of the device possibly shot down his throat and exploded again (however this is not confirmed, just a possibility at this point.)

    This particular mod did not have any protective circuitry that could have prevented an accident like this.

    How can a vape shop teach about battery safety to prevent accidents?

    First, before selling a device the vape shop owner must clearly assess the level of expertise the end-user has. An unregulated device should only be sold to expert level users.

    A vape shop owner must use their own discretion when assessing the ability of and end-user. Some helpful questions to ask are:

    • How long have you been vaping?
    • Do you know the difference between a mechanical mod and a regulated mod?
    • What are some things that cause a battery to malfunction?
    • Do you know how serious a battery malfunction can be?

    After assessing the ability of the end-user, the vape owner should spend several minutes going over the details of battery safety. Spare no expense. This will not scare off your customers, it will do the opposite - create trust and a sense of authority for your shop. Preventing accidents should be any vape shop’s number one priority, always.

    You may also ask Battery Bro about our safety booklets. If your shop would like to start add battery-safety as part of your customer experience we would love to send you 50 free safety booklets.