Dramatic e-cig explosion in New York

Canuke

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This one has video from multiple angles, and really makes clear how much kaboom there can be in lithium ion cells.

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/loca...nts-NYC-grand-central-station--402686205.html

You can see that the unit blew into pieces right off - one piece hits the floor and rolls away, leaving a carbonized streak on the floor (visible in the first camera angle, second video linked) while the remainder of the unit in the guys pocket still has a ton of firepower of its own. Wow.

Almost certainly one of the big multicelled mods. I've got a colleague with one of those, I'll be showing him this vid on Monday.
 

Gauss163

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Sadly vaping Li-ion accidents are becoming increasingly frequent as vaping becomes more widespread. In another case in April a 14 year-old boy was left completely blinded in one eye and partially blinded in the other eye when a mall vape shop worker plugged an e-cig into the wrong battery. He also suffered severe burns on both hands. Beware that the linked article has graphic photos of the injuries.

This is an example of the sort of human errors that can occur when the end user is expected to correctly assemble the components of Li-ion devices that have inadequate safety design (here lacking mechanisms that prevent unsafe connections).
 
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Illum

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Given how many people I see with cellphones that are nearly dead [<5%] 90% of the time, its no surprise unsafe charge cycles in a multi-cell assembly may end up producing consequences as such.
 

Capolini

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Wow,,,scary stuff. A positive is that if it was in a shirt pocket he could be blind and have serious facial injuries.

Every time I see something like this I am grateful that I quit smoking cigarettes 20 years ago and NEVER had the desire for e-cigs.
 

LeanBurn

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:ironic: anything vape should come with similar warnings on the package like unto tobacco cigs....seriously...it is that common now that anyone picking up the habit should be made aware from the the get-go.
 

SyntaxNero

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I wonder if they are all using the same MFG for the batteries... I had a 18650 that came with a solar powered LED security light (from china) that popped and caught on fire. Replaced them all with another 18650 MFG and haven't had an issue.
 

Dr. Mario

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I kind of figured out why when I asked a FDA representative over the phone - even though we still can buy Lithium-ion batteries off the counter (Lithium : Iron Phosphate cells moreso due to their safety features like persistent refusal to enter thermal runway), there are a lot that are on the e-cigarette vaper makers whose responsibilities in making sure the vapers should shut down if the microcontroller detect that there's something wrong with the cells, long before disaster strikes (that's what multi-factored battery protection in many smart devices are for - and IMO, I think all vapers with removable batteries should have software-defined battery protection, that way it's harder to make a mistake as the batteries are individually checked before the buck switchmode power supply in heater coil circuit is even allowed to draw current). There are most of the vapers which DO NOT have appropriate protection circuit at all. And I opened up a vaper that was sold me - no individual cell check, only multicell total voltage check. That's it.

And, some vapers use 26650, even so, some folks just beat the living crap outta the 26650 cells. It's even worse than 18650 in term of explosive power, even more than a 18650 cell with a defective vent, potentially approaching a hand grenade's level because there's so much materials in there. A 26650 cell(s), BTW, is bit like a "C" cell on steroids. If I notice that they're misusing 26650 cells, I'll run away as if it's a hot potato (grenade) as I have seen how much punches they can hold once something gives.
 
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Lexel

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The problem with multi cell devices is when one cell gets overcarged or overdischarged.

It looks like a cell that were damaged by overdischarge and then the insulation failed later after he recharged the cell again
 

degarb

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This one has video from multiple angles, and really makes clear how much kaboom there can be in lithium ion cells.

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/loca...nts-NYC-grand-central-station--402686205.html

You can see that the unit blew into pieces right off - one piece hits the floor and rolls away, leaving a carbonized streak on the floor (visible in the first camera angle, second video linked) while the remainder of the unit in the guys pocket still has a ton of firepower of its own. Wow.

Almost certainly one of the big multicelled mods. I've got a colleague with one of those, I'll be showing him this vid on Monday.

Is there a slow motion version? . This is more interesting than other explosion videos, since against skin.

Need myth buster guys to explode some on plucked chicken, or pork. . Then Shield meat with aluminum on side touching skin, the with silicone sheets of various thickness. . We know how to build in protection in cells, in chargers, in the appliance. We know. How to dmm cells off charger. . Still, not sure how to Shield the user. . This is needed for the lipo/liion 3000 ma cell battery I carry in my pocket each day. . And zebra on brow. Etc.
 

degarb

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Also, ecigs are necessary high drain, so the ecig users I meet won't consider protected cells. . For a flashlight user most people want runtime, especially since now days you can have a 12k candela 330 lumens light go for 8 hours flat brightness. . People here that inflict upon themselves short runtime, unsafe current draw, are actually a minority of the market. . Unfortunately too, the majority go into buying a light with zero knowledge, so they just go for the light with the biggest lumen number. . And we here, know package runtime is meaningless, unless it is Fenix and a few other constant current brands
 

degarb

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I kind of figured out why when I asked a FDA representative over the phone - even though we still can buy Lithium-ion batteries off the counter (Lithium : Iron Phosphate cells moreso due to their safety features like persistent refusal to enter thermal runway), there are a lot that are on the e-cigarette vaper makers whose responsibilities in making sure the vapers should shut down if the microcontroller detect that there's something wrong with the cells, long before disaster strikes (that's what multi-factored battery protection in many smart devices are for - and IMO, I think all vapers with removable batteries should have software-defined battery protection, that way it's harder to make a mistake as the batteries are individually checked before the buck switchmode power supply in heater coil circuit is even allowed to draw current). There are most of the vapers which DO NOT have appropriate protection circuit at all. And I opened up a vaper that was sold me - no individual cell check, only multicell total voltage check. That's it.

And, some vapers use 26650, even so, some folks just beat the living crap outta the 26650 cells. It's even worse than 18650 in term of explosive power, even more than a 18650 cell with a defective vent, potentially approaching a hand grenade's level because there's so much materials in there. A 26650 cell(s), BTW, is bit like a "C" cell on steroids. If I notice that they're misusing 26650 cells, I'll run away as if it's a hot potato (grenade) as I have seen how much punches they can hold once something gives.

I need to brush up on how to tell when a cell is ready to be recycled. And best way to recycle. .
 

degarb

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The shrapnel issue makes no sense to me. . Either a cell flaw, or device flaw. . Who is not fixing/addressing/preventing this shrapnel? .

Has any member tested and fixed this shrapnel issue? . Really a no-brainer.
 

Dr. Mario

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Sharpnel issue is not cell's fault - it's usually the vaper you put them in that is sealing all the vent pressure that cause it to be turned into pipe bomb.

How so? Try cut a end of the fire cracker off and light it up. It won't explode because now the hot gas have elsewhere to go out without even causing pressure to go up. That's also why 18650 cells have vent cap under the Anode cap - take your flashlight and look into the positive end of the Lithium-ion battery, you would see machined scores in the vent cap. It is so it gets torn off when the battery is catastrophically expiring, that way it don't blow up like an incendiary grenade - it works the same way as the soda can, if you look at it that way.

Vapers also don't really have much in multi-celled setup protection - the vaper must and should shut down if one cell become unbalanced under load, that way it prevent the risky incident from being more likely (accident can still happen, however BMS make that less likely because it have to monitor several parameter and trip if necessary).

Vape shop owner I have talked to admitted that ignorant customers are usually the problem because they're the one holding proverbial match to the dynamite. Education and the knowledge in using the Lithium-ion cell is very important because they contain a lot energy in a small package.
 

TinderBox (UK)

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Well they should be forced to sell ecigs with lifepo4 cells they dont need pcb protection, though they have half the capacity so you carry a couple more battery`s it`s not a big deal.

John.
 

Dr. Mario

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I do agree with that notion, however as of now, Li : FePO4 cells have rather poor runtime (up to 1.5 Amps hour capacity in the 18650 cell - A123 yellow 18650 cells I have is rated for 1.1 Ah), but they can withstand very abusive vaping as they are especially popular in the power tools which subject up to 60 Amps peak current consumption onto the Li : FePO4 battery pack.

I am hoping the Li : FePO4 cells will improve in similar fashion as its INR / IMR counterpart which is slowly getting to 3.8 Amps hour capacity in the 18650 cells. Right now, I just use the A123 18650 Li : FePO4 cells to test the freshly assembled LED flashlight and some powerful handheld diode lasers (520nm green diode laser is one of my favorite, BTW).
 
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degarb

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Last three replies are interesting. However, I need clarification. Firstly, what is BMS, and without protection,how do you (without removing cells) monitor individual cells in series?....then, I thought inr and imr was nickel added to lithiun manganese which could take overcharge without explosion, but couldn't take dead short. I am guessing,protected lithium cobalt cells lack amp draw that limn can do without explosion. Lifepo4 had lower voltage but great amp, so are great for 12volt car. Neither chemistry fit my needs like a name brand protected cell,so I researched but don't remember much irrelevant info after a few weeks, much less as more time goes by. Please, sum up in a succinct paragraph for the vape man on the street and the non vaping person, like myself. Maybe, I got it right?
 
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Dr. Mario

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It is not as simple, however. But I will try my best.

IMR - Magnesium oxide / INR - Nickel : Magnesium oxide

INR cells occasionally have some Cobalt added to it for longer runtime (extra capacity) like LG INR and Sanyo / Panasonic NCR cells. As for Lithium Cobalt Oxide cells, you can't draw them hard, they heat up (and 90 °C is usually when things turn ugly) while Lithium Nickel Magnesium Cobalt Oxide cells can resist short circuit to a point making them okay for low drain pocket rockets (powerful flashlight).

Brand name is a must if you value your property and yourself (meaning you must avoid Trustfire cells, they're literally flaming plagues).

BMS is a battery manager (battery management system) which may have either microcontroller chip (hence managed by software flashed thereon) or simple finite state machine in cheaper Lithium-ion cell protection chip. Since microcontroller is now cheaper than the simpler Lithium-ion cell protection chip, it's now used pretty often in larger battery pack.

As for protection, it is absolutely required because there are a lot of unknowns such as load voltage during usage of either flashlight and vaper which you are NOT even supposed to go under 3 Volts (2.5 Volts as an absolute minimum you can discharge before you destroy the cells) - as for balancing, it's done by microcontroller chip within the battery pack, and for individual cells you load into the flashlight / vaper, you have to use digital multimeter to ensure they're within 1 - 10% of each other basing off what the datasheets for the particular cells says.

If I still don't explain clearly enough, someone may explain a bit better than I do.
 
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