The Basics of Ohm's Law & How it Applies to Vaping
Right now it is agreed that vaping is an excellent alternative to smoking cigarettes. However, since vaping involves that use of batteries, it’s super important to make sure that you are vaping with safety in mind.
Have you heard of Ohm's Law? It’s fairly simple and one of the first things that you will probably learn about in an electronics class.
The relationship between Voltage, Current and Resistance in any DC electrical circuit was discovered by the German physicist, Georg Ohm. He discovered that, at a constant temperature, the electrical current flowing through a fixed linear resistance is directly proportional to the voltage applied across it, and also inversely proportional to the resistance. This relationship between the Voltage, Current and Resistance forms the bases of Ohm’s Law.
It’s is basically a circle cut into three pie pieces as follows:
- V = Voltage (battery voltage)
- I = Current (amperage drawn by the coil)
- R = Resistance (resistance, in ohms, of the coil)
Here's the breakdown:
- V = I x R or Voltage = Current x Resistance so Volts = Amps x Ohms
- I = V ÷ R or Current = Voltage / Resistance so Amps = Volts / Ohms
- R = V ÷ I or Resistance = Voltage / Current so Ohms = Volts / Amps
For power (watts) there is another pie chart to calculate wattage.
In the electronic world, you'll frequently see the omega symbol Ω to represent ohms. Coils are rated by their resistance in ohms so you'll see something like .6Ω, or 1.0Ω. Making things easy, let's say you have a 6-volt battery with a maximum 8 amp discharge rate and you want to know how much current is drawn using a 1Ω coil.
6V ÷ 1Ω = 6 amps
You are within the safe discharge range of your 8 amp rated battery. Now let's say a fellow vapers puts you onto big voluminous clouds and is raving about the wonders of sub-ohm vaping with Velvet Cloud 100% VG e-liquids. Can you use a .6Ω coil and jump into sub-ohm vaping with the same battery?
6V ÷ .6Ω = 10 amps
STOP. You're 2 amps higher than the maximum discharge rating of that particular 6V battery. How about that same sub-ohm coil with a 4.2V battery and an 8 amp rating?
4.2V ÷ .6Ω = 7 amps
You are good to go! You're 1 amp under, well within the 8 amp safety range. But will the battery need to be recharged more frequently? Let's see how much power we're using with the various mod configurations we've been trying by using the Ohm's Law PIE formulas. Once again if we know any 2 of the 3 variables we can always find the third.
- P = I x E or Power = Current x Voltage meaning Watts = Amps x Volts
- I = P ÷ E or Current = Power ÷ Voltage meaning Amps = Watts ÷ Volts
- E = P ÷ I or Voltage = Power ÷ Current meaning Volts = Watts ÷ Amps
So we have a 6V battery with a 1Ω coil drawing 8 amps. How many watts are we using?
8 amps x 6V = 48 watts
With the .6Ω coil drawing 10 amps?
10 amps x 6V = 60 watts
We're into light-bulb power territory right there. But you can see how Ohm's Law can help prevent hazardous situations before they occur.
With the knowledge of this, you are able to figure out the combination and the force of each. And how does that affect vaping? While, if you know that force of each one you are able to calculate the output and to tweak the amount of power at your coil to help you achieve your best vaping experience.
These concepts are extremely important to understand when using a mechanical device, or "Mech Mod." Mech Mods have become a common way to vape sub-ohm coils with high-drain cells to attain the highest possible volume of vapor. People will commonly push the limits of their batteries too far and cause catastrophic failures. If you are ever to venture into the "cloud chasing" side of vaping using Mech Mods; a general rule of thumb is not to build below 0.15 Ohms on a single battery Mech Mod, and not to build below 0.40 Ohms on a series device.
When vaping a thorough knowledge of how rechargeable batteries work is the best way to ensure your safety. Understanding that exceeding the maximum ampere capacity of a cell is dangerous can save you a lot of unpleasantness.
Vaping is totally safe as long as it is done correctly and the user takes advantage of common sense. That’s where the use of Ohm’s Law is helpful.
Once you have a basic learning of this fundamental but simple electrical principle you can make informed decisions about sub-ohm vaping, cloud chasing, and all-day vaping hardware configurations that are safe and best-suited to fit your vaping budget and preferences.
Let’s talk about Regulated Mods.
First of all, what are they? It is a regulated vaping device that has all the work removed by having the battery electric current being controlled by a chip. This makes it completely and accurately controlled and most of the danger taken out, as it has a built-in safety feature to protect users, like the battery being turned off if it is discharging current for too long.
So why not always go with a regulated mod, if it’s so much safer? Many people have likened it to the difference of using an automatic or manual transmission. You either like it, or you don’t. One thing is for sure, the user preference seems to vary widely, and while regular mods are more popular there is still a strong fan and user base for Mech Mods.
All that said, if your e-cig does have adjustable power settings, Ohm's Law takes out the guesswork so there is less trial and error as you experiment with settings to figure out the best vaping experience for you. Ohm's Law is algebra in its simplest form, and you definitely don’t have to be a math genius to be able to understand and make it work for you.