A 18650 battery is a rechargeable type of lithium-ion technology that is characterized by a slightly larger size than the popular AA batteries. The cells contain a voltage of around 3.7V with a capacity of up to 3500 mAh. This gives the batteries large capacity and discharge rates and thus making them suitable for conventional user devices such as flashlights, laptops, and other high-drain machines.
The 18650 batteries exist in both protected and unprotected cells. The protected types consist of an electronic circuit that is embedded in the battery packaging which prevents cases of overheating, overcharging or, over-discharging. On the other hand, unprotected 18650 cells are much more affordable than the protected versions. It is advised to only use these unprotected 18650 batteries in cases whether the load/draw and charging are highly supervised. During disposal, since 18650 cells are just like any other type of lithium-ion type, they should be recycled or disposed of appropriately.
The best 18650 batteries for mods also depend on a few of the following factors:
Size of the battery
Most of the mods may only accommodate the right sized battery of which it is intended for. It is therefore strongly advised that you use the intended 28650 battery specified for your electronic device. In other cases, several smaller cells are stacked to fit into a standard device and should be avoided. This is because stacking increases the voltage of the cells and thus causes them or the device itself to fail.
Brand or manufacturer
Using an authentic 18650 battery from a reputable brand gives you faith and better performance for your batteries during its operations. Using low-quality batteries from rogue or unknown receipts can potentially damage your device while also causing injury.
What factors affect a 18650-battery performance?
Temperature variations widely affect the performance of a 18650 because it is also a type of lithium-ion technology whose performance is also greatly influenced by temperature. During high temperatures, the level of chemical reactions within the cells is higher as compared to lower temperature conditions. These high reaction rates can be hazardous as 18650 cells are manufactures using corrosive materials which can cause overheating of the cells. When subjected to high temperatures, the battery's cyclic life would reduce significantly. In freezing temperatures, the battery would be unable to function properly as it would lose more of its charge capacity during charging and discharging periods.
Depth of discharge (DoD)
When you discharge a 18650 battery, the amount of charge drained will determine the depth of discharge. This is thus, the measure of how deeply a battery is discharged. For instance, a standard battery of capacity 100kWhand which discharges around 30kW in 1 hour, will have a DoD of (30x 1)/100 = 30%. Depending on which type of 18650 battery you choose, the number of cycles varies based on its depth of discharge. When a 18650 battery is over-discharged, it is prone to damage within the cells and also causes overheating.
The recharge voltage rate
One should note that a 18650 battery is only capable of storing a specific amount of electricity in a stable form of energy. As the cells get closer to being fully charged, the need for slower charging is required. A standard lithium-ion battery such as the 18650 one would generally be charged up to 90% of the total charge capacity and in 60% of the total charging time expected. The 10% of capacity left uncharged would then take up to 40% of the overall charging time used. In this case, you are advised to get a charge controller to regulate the relevant voltage and charge rate when charging a 18650-battery pack.
18650 batteries are commonly used in laptop battery packs. For instance, if you're laptop is plugged in for most of the time, then it would be advisable to remove the battery and only use the A/C adapter to power the device. After a while, you can put back your battery for the laptop to use without being connected to a load. This will help increase the performance of a 18650 battery significantly and also lower the amount of heat exerted.
How do you protect a 18650 battery for mods during using?
Lithium-ion batteries and including 18650 cells are measured and rated using their voltage, storage capacity or even amperage. The amperage rating determines the maximum consistent discharge rate of the cells. The storage capacity is usually measured using mAh. The mAh of a 18650 typically indicates the maximum charge capacity it is capable of holding. The higher the mAh on a device, the longer it will tend to last. All batteries have fixed limits of which should not be exceeded for the safety of the user and environment at large.
18650 batteries have volatile chemistry like many lithium-ion batteries and can be catastrophic when overheated or used on extremely high voltages. That is the reason why you are advised to pick the 18650 batteries that have protection circuity which will prevent the battery from extraordinarily high and low variations in the voltage and also prevent dead shorts. Using an unprotected 18650 battery for mods can be risky because these types of cells are unstable. If you would like to protect your 18650 battery for modes during using, you should ensure that it incorporated a protection circuity and has no flaws in its physical design whatsoever.
There may be many 18650 batteries in the market but only a few would be suitable for specific modes. The batteries are considered an essential part of your device. This makes you responsible for ensuring that they are not subjected to harmful conditions that could damage them. When the cells are handled carefully, they can be an efficient and well responsive process. 18650 batteries have a broad application of battery technologies, making them suitable for use in devices. Hopefully, this guide will help you find out the various applications for the rest of your journey using 18650 cells.