Not bad. Not bad at all…
What are you looking at?
Im sure if you’ve been vaping long enough or have an active interest in battery performance you’ve likely seen these graphs before. The Vapcell (Sony VTC6A re-wrap) claims to be a 25A, 3000mAh cell. As we are the only people we know of in the UK with these (confirmed by Vapcell as the only buyer right now) we wanted to carry out a little more than the usual due diligence before placing them on the market. The initial blog post is here.
How did it do?
The initial 10A discharge maintained a strong 2500mAh. Not quite enough for me to call it a true 3000mAh cell, but Sony rate their cells on discharges at half of this, and its still 200mAh above what is widely recognised for the VTC5A at this load.
At 15A we start to see cell temperature rise to 37’c. This is still unbelievably low. So low that i started questioning the ordinarily well respected test equipment we have (more on that later).
At 20A temperature rose to 48.8’C and the cell maintained 2400mAh. This is still a very low temperature for a 20A continuous discharge.
At 25A temperature rose to 61.8’C, and managed 2200mAh. This is still strong going given we’re now at the rating given by Vapcell.
At 30A, temperature seconds before the end of test was 74.5’C. This is pretty hot, but still under the 80’C maximum working temperature limit Sony set for all of their cells. It also still managed to provide 2000mAh. Vapcell may have been a little conservative with their rating, which is always far better than being wildly (and dangerously) optimistic.
A further run at 35A (not shown) just for the sake of science gave a reading of 86.8’C. This is over Sony’s recommendations, and over that which would be safe in individual cell use outside of a battery pack that doesn’t have an integrated cooling system.
The thing that sticks out for me against the VTC5A and the VTC6 which people are hoping this will be a hybrid of, is the sag. Its considerably more than both of them. I’m investigating if some of this is in our equipment although previous tests against others peoples results have been near identical. I hope to do a shootout between all 3 soon.
We use a West Mountain Radio Computer Battery Analyser IV Pro. Its a small but very capable unit, and until recently was being used by a very well known cell tester and still in use with other cell vendors. Cost vs performance is fantastic and not out of the scope of companies selling a reasonably large number of cells to help with cell testing/verification. We dont normally release this stuff but as this is a brand new cell with barely any available information, it felt like the right thing to do.
In the interest of transparency, i got a reading of just 15’C @ 10A and 24’C @ 15A on the initial tests. This was obviously far too low to be correct, it was traced to a faulty temperature sensor on the unit. Its a little magnetic sensor that sends a temperature signature to the software. Speaking to another cell vendor and user of this system this appears to be a common thing, so to rule out the errors and get even more accurate figures i’ve switched to a standalone laser/infra red temperature sensor. All readings above were taken with this new, fully calibrated equipment.
That’s all. If you have any questions or need any further information, drop us a message or send us an email
Another new Vapcell 18650…
They’re getting pretty good at this. Here is the new Vapcell 18650 25A 3000mAh cell…
If only i had beaten them…
As normal, this is a re-wrap. This time, we know exactly what it is (more on this below). Its a re-wrapped Sony VTC6A. Its one of Sonys new generation cells primarily aimed at the EV market, much like some of the new Samsung cells (which i wont reveal just yet). I was aware of these batteries in around August last year. The first of them started popping up around November, and ive been on the hunt for a large number of them ever since. I even practically begged my contact at Vapcell to ship me a couple of thousand without re-wrapping, but obviously with supplies being short, they wanted to capitalise. I dont even think they had that many to begin with.
Whats so special?
25A and 3000mAh are two figures you dont normally find together, but technology is moving quickly. Some of the cells i source for electric vehicle clients are pushing over 100A (not 18650, but not much bigger either). Granted, the lifespan is too poor to be considered for vaping but it goes to show that lithium cell technology is advancing quicker than ever. Manufacturers are fighting one-another for contracts with major vehicle manufacturers. With competition comes diversity, and development. Im hoping for the same with the VTC6A
When can you get them?
Soon. We have 400 of these but as with any brand new to market cell, i need to do some testing first. Initial inspection shows that they 99% likely are the Sony VTC6A re-wrap i was promised. Having pulled the wraps off of a few, there are clear signs that Vapcell have tried to remove the original Sony markings from the can, mostly likely with an acetone wipe or similar. It’ll cause no harm to the cell, it just removes ink. That said, under the right light, you can still just about see the “DO NOT USE OUTSIDE OF BATTERY PACK” on one side which Sony prints on almost all cells now, along with the normal Sony markings on the otherside, complete with the VTC6A model code. The positive cap looks good, as does the can insulator, positive crimp tooling marks and it looks like the original non-adhesive insulator has been reused. With the physical aspects covered, i hope to begin load testing on these against the manufacturer specs in the next few days.
Ill keep customers updated via mailshot and Facebook as soon as I’m happy for them to be released!
A new look for 18650 UK cells
Take a good look…
…you’re going to be seeing a lot more of this!
Covered in my recent blog post about battery compliance laws in the UK and EU ( You can read it here ) these markings are the first of their kind on the market in the UK. Fully compliant, manufacturer branded cells. No re-wraps. No laughable ratings. Honest cells, with the markings they should have always had. (Polarity markings are missing from this photo, but are present on shipped cells)
What do they mean?
The first line will be obvious to almost all users. The first part is the model code (a VTC5A in this instance), the second part is the mAh rating, and the third part is the manufacturer stated discharge rating. We have used this for continuity and on manufacturer branded cells (Sony, Samsung, etc) these are generally concurrent with those of community respected cell testers. We will of course never overstate a cell.
The second line contains information currently only important to us. The first part is a date code, the following 5 digits will be a serial number for that cell, on that day. There is also a chemistry marker.
The third line is subject to change. For cells sold via our retail website, they will all have “Supplied by 18650.UK” marked on them. There is scope further down the line for batteries sold to our wholesale customers to have their company name on them.
The manufacturer markings will remain, on the reverse side of the cell.
In the future…
We have some plans for the second line of data on the cells. We have bought several domains and will be deciding in the coming weeks what route to take however the plan is to launch another website where anyone who has bought a battery originating with 18650 UK can check the serial number against our database of marked cells. If it was initially bought from us, it will show the originator as 18650 UK. Where they have opted in to the service (which will be free of charge for our clients) batteries bought in stores/businesses across the UK that we have sold to can also be checked, and the site will display the name of the company we sold them to. Pretty neat huh?
We accept that any new marking on cells make people nervous. If you happen to see anyone worrying about counterfeiting having seen these markings, please do refer them to this blog post to set their mind at ease. We have invested a very large amount of time and money into this process, and its for the benefit and protection of the interests of all of our customers, retail and wholesale new and old.
That’s all 🙂