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How To Calculate Ohm's Law For Safe Vaping

Vaping360 Team
January 24, 2019

If you are comfortable with your knowledge of vape battery safety, the next consideration is using some sort of calculator to make sure your coil builds are within that safe limits of your battery, and further, to allow you to tweak your coils to get the vaping experience you desire. There are tons of Ohm’s Law calculators, and sites like Steam Engine that will do the heavy lifting for you.

If you are happy with those, and wish to remain blissfully ignorant about what is actually behind the calculations, good for you. As long as you know how to apply the results, you will live a long, happy, and safe vaping life. But if you want see the inner workings of those calculators, read on.

There’s nothing mystical or magical about Ohm’s Law. It’s a few formulas, usually depicted inside of a triangle, and anyone can easily learn and use the formulas with any regular calculator.

The goal here is to show you the formulas behind Ohm’s Law and hopefully give you an understanding of the relationships between the different elements in a basic electronic circuit as related to vaping.

The Triangle

Ohms-law-triangle-vaping

Inside the triangle you can see the three main elements in any electrical circuit, represented by the letters V, I, and R. I would vocalize the triangle as “V over I times R” with “times” being multiplication. The hardest part of this will be remembering what the letters represent, and that’s easy:

  • V = Voltage (your battery voltage)
  • I = Current (the amperage drawn by your coil)
  • R = Resistance (the resistance, in ohms, of your coil)

So, how do we use the Ohm’s Law triangle? Again, simple – the triangle visually depicts the relationship between voltage, current, and resistance. In the following examples we’ll explore how to use the triangle and formulas to help you build coils targeting the current and wattage you desire.

Calculating current

Ohms-law-triangle-vaping

If you want to determine the current draw through a resistance (your coil) the formula is:

I = V ÷ R (or I = V/R)

How did we arrive at that? Look at the triangle and you will see that to solve for current (I) you must divide voltage (V) by resistance (R).

Let’s put the formula to work in a real life example. If you are using a mechanical mod, with a freshly charged battery you theoretically have 4.2 V available to power your coil. If your coil is 0.5Ω, you now have everything you need to determine current, in amps:

I = 4.2 V ÷ 0.5Ω (or 4.2/0.5)

I = 8.4 A

As you can see, with your 0.5-ohm coil and a freshly charged battery at 4.2 volts, the resulting max current draw will be 8.4 amps. If your battery has a 10-amp limit, you are well below the cap. Don’t forget that using a dual mechanical mod in series configuration will double your amp draw per battery, and you will have to build coils with twice as high resistance to be safe. Also note that as the battery depletes, the current will also tail off. For example, when the battery reaches 3.7 volts with the same load, current will drop to 7.4 amps (3.7 volts / 0.5 ohms)

Calculating power (wattage)

The next thing you will probably want to know is the power generated at the coil, or wattage. It’s not shown in the triangle, but the formula is simple. Just multiply the current in your circuit by the voltage applied:

P = V x I

In our original example, the formula would look like this:

P = 4.2 V x 8.4 A

P = 35.3 W

So that 0.5-ohm coil with a fully charged battery at 4.2 volts will pull a maximum of 8.4 amps and deliver 35.3 watts. You can see that as the resistance of your coil increases, current will drop and wattage will drop.

Calculating resistance

Ohms-law-triangle-vaping

The second Ohm’s Law formula that can be of use to us is calculating resistance. Let’s say that you have a battery with a 10-amp current limit and you want to determine the lowest coil resistance that you can safely run without exceeding the CDR of the battery.

To calculate, you would use the following formula:

R = V ÷ I

Since you know that the battery CDR is 10 amps, you might want to target 9 amps in your calculation, to give yourself 1 amp of headroom. You also know that your max voltage will be 4.2 volts on a single battery mod. So the calculation goes like this:

R = 4.2 V ÷ 9 A

R = 0.47Ω

The result tells you that your safe lower limit with the 10-amp battery is 0.47 ohms – anything lower and you risk exceeding the current limit of the battery. Of course, if you have a 25-amp battery, your low resistance drops to 0.17 ohms:

R = 4.2 V ÷ 25 A

R = 0.17Ω

Calculating voltage

Ohms-law-triangle-vaping

Finally, and probably not as useful to us, using the triangle you can solve for voltage in a circuit, as long as you know the values of the other two variables.

To solve for voltage when current and resistance is known, the formula looks like this:

V = I x R

What does it all mean?

Really, the most useful formulas for vapers, are the three that calculate current (I = V ÷ R) power (P = V x I) and resistance (R = V ÷ I). These will allow you to figure out the current your coil will draw and the wattage that will result. As you increase resistance, current and power will drop off. If you decrease resistance, current and power will increase. The resistance formula allows you to calculate a safe low resistance based on the CDR of your battery.

It’s all good information to help you stay within the safe limits of your batteries, and to tweak the amount of power at your coil to help you achieve your own vaping nirvana. There are other considerations like coil ramp time and the heat of your coil that are determined by wire gauge and mass. Ohm’s Law won’t figure any of that, and a site like Steam Engine can be helpful.

One final, and critical piece of advice: ALWAYS assume that your battery voltage is the equivalent of a fully charged battery: 4.2 volts for a single battery mod or parallel battery mod, or 8.4 volts for a dual series mod. People will argue that the coil will never see that actual battery voltage due to voltage drop within the mod, but to be safe ALWAYS use the full theoretical battery voltage (at full charge) in your calculations.

The Vaping360 team is a diverse group of experienced vaping contributors. We strive to bring you the finest content on all things vaping. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more!
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henrique
henrique
3 years ago

and if im not using a mechanical mod, do i need to make this math or i just need to be inside the limits of the resistence imposed by the manufacturer? thanks.

Gary Joseph
Gary Joseph
3 years ago
Reply to  henrique

With a regulated mod, you are correct – just stay within the limits stated by the maker and you should be OK.

In fact, with a regulated mod if you are too high or too low with the resistance of your coil, you will likely get an error message and the mod will not fire. It’s a safety feature common with regulated mods.

henrique
henrique
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Joseph

thank you for the help

rolan
rolan
1 year ago

If I use vtc4 for mech mods, using dual coil, what is the best coil appropriate to use? If i use 24g fuse clapton with 5 loops 33mm guide is that safe, can you explain it? Looking forward for your kind response. Thank you very much.

Spyros Papamichail
Staff
Spyros Papamichail
1 year ago
Reply to  rolan

Thanks for your comment rolan. As a rule of thumb, if you have to ask about the build you should use on a mech, then you shouldn’t be using a mech to begin with. Mechanical mods are meant to be used by hobbyists, and regulated mods are a much safer option. Before getting a mechanical mod and starting building for it, you should do very thorough research on battery safety and know the limits of your devices. To answer (part of) your question, you can consider the VTC4 a 20A battery (it is a bit higher than that but let’s… Read more »

Margarett
Margarett
1 year ago

I recently just put a new coil into my mod. For some odd reason it says ohms is low. (I’ve never had this happen in the 4 years I vaped). Any tips on how to fix it. Or anything

Jim McDonald
Staff
Jim McDonald
1 year ago
Reply to  Margarett

Have you tried putting the atomizer with the new coil on a different mod, or an ohm checker or multimeter? That’s how you would find out for sure what the resistance is on the problem coil. Most likely the resistance is too low for the mod you’re using it on, or the coil is shorting by touching metal somewhere in the atomizer when you assemble the atty.

Roy
Roy
1 year ago

So if I’m using a regulated mod box and a rda with a coil at 0.21 ohms what do you think the voltage should be at ? I’m doing my best to understand ohms law and it’s like trying to read Japanese i just can’t understand it. That’s why I went to a regulated mod box from the squank box I bought.

Jim McDonald
Staff
Jim McDonald
1 year ago
Reply to  Roy

Doesn’t your mod work in wattage mode? If so (and most do these days), the mod will set the voltage you need to produce the wattage you want. Start at a lower wattage (say 30), and increase it until you get the result you want.

It doesn’t take much voltage to produce high wattage with low resistance like 0.21 ohms. 4 volts at 0.21 ohms would create 76 watts — but there’s no real need to know what the voltage is on a regulated mod. Just figure out the wattage you like best.

Steven Adams
Steven Adams
1 year ago

Hi so this calculator is kind of confusing. I just want to know if its safe to run my single coil build at 40 Watts 6.84 volts and 1.17 ohm. I just want to know if I should be worried about it exploding or if I will be fine. I normally run duel coils but my other one looked like shit so Im running a single but want to be safe.

Spyros Papamichail
Staff
Spyros Papamichail
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Adams

Hi Steven. You are mentioning watts, so I guess you are referring to a regulated device. In that case, resistance is not relevant. If your mod can fire at 6.84 volts (most mods nowadays do), any battery that can safely supply 15 amps will be fine for vaping at around 40 watts.

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