Magic-Flight has shipped different battery chargers with our kits, click on your model below for specific charging instructions.
- Batteries used with the Launch Box® vaporizer must be AA NiMH rechargeable with 2000 mAh capacity or greater.
- Batteries must be peeled (labels removed) in order to work with the Launch Box®.
- Magic-Flight currently ships batteries rated at a minimum of 2000 mAh.
- Magic-Flight also recommends Maha Powerex 2700 mAh batteries for frequent/heavy use.
- Magic-Flight ships our own branded 4 hour smart "fast" charger (compact, simple and easy to use).
- The most recommended charger for high performance is the Maha MH-C9000 (expensive but full featured).
How many loads does a battery last for?
The simplest and easiest way is to figure that one battery supports (roughly) one load, and one load provides between 4 to 8 draws, depending on your usage/taste preferences. Some people are able to get more than this (2 or 3 loads) from one battery, or more draws per load (up to 12), but regardless, we recommend keeping more charged batteries on hand than you think you may need.
For example, let's say you are calculating how many batteries you need on a camping trip. A conservative estimate is to figure that one Box filling is sufficient for one person and that requires one charged battery. Therefore, if you have two people who want to use the same Box twice a day for two days, that is 8 Box loads and therefore 8 charged batteries.
How many times do the batteries recharge?
The provided batteries, if treated well (not overheated) are expected to support 500 recharge cycles. Therefore, even a heavy user who works the Box several times a day can expect the rechargeable batteries to last quite a long time (think months, if not years). Although we do not make the batteries, we find them to be very reliable over the long term.
Are batteries included with the Launch Box®?
The Magic-Flight Launch Box is shipped with two peeled AA rechargeable NiMH batteries (2000mAh or higher) and a compact battery charger. Additional stock batteries compatible with the Launch Box® may be purchased from the Online Store. We recommend that frequent users purchase extra stock batteries.
Warning: Alkaline or any other battery chemistry does not work with the Box. You MUST use NiMH type rechargeable batteries.
Rechargeable batteries must be fully charged before use (about 4 hours of charge time with our bundled charger). A single fully charged battery can be expected to provide enough power for 5 minutes of draw-able vapor. Do NOT store batteries in the charger unless they are actively being charged. Always be sure to cap batteries when not in use.
What must I know about the Magic-Flight batteries?
Batteries used with the Launch Box® vaporizer must be AA NiMH rechargeable with 2000 mAh capacity or greater.
Batteries must be peeled (labels removed) in order to work with the Launch Box®.
Magic-Flight currently ships Maha Powerex 2600 mAh batteries.
Magic-Flight also recommends Maha Powerex 2700 mAh batteries for frequent/heavy use.
Magic-Flight ships our own branded 4 hour smart "fast" charger (compact, simple, and easy to use).
The most recommended charger for high performance is the Maha MH-C9000 (expensive, but full featured).
What kind of batteries should I get? How do I choose between LSD (Low Self-Discharge) and standard batteries?
There are two types of NiMH batteries available: low self-discharge (LSD) and high self-discharge (HSD).
Have a shelf life measured in months.
Are usually marketed as "pre-charged" or "ready-to-use".
Have a lower capacity range (2000-2400 mAh).
Can be damaged if charged too quickly (faster than 60 minutes is not recommended).
Best for LB use: Maha Imedion 2400 mAh.
Have a shelf life measured in days, or weeks at best.
Have a higher capacity range (up to 2800 mAh).
Can be used in fast chargers (15 minutes).
Best for heavy/frequent use: Maha Powerex 2700 mAh.
Choosing between the batteries depends on your usage habits. HSD batteries only provide about 30% longer in-use time (say, six solid minutes of "burn" time), which may or may not be significant. They need to be "topped off" every three days or so, but they have the advantage that they can be put in a 15 minute charger.
LSD batteries, on the other hand, remain "ready for use" once they are fully charged for months at a time—people do not have to remember to put them back in the charger as frequently, or to keep them there to be usable. Unfortunately, LSD batteries do not handle 15 minute chargers as well—they need a slower, more accurate charger.
If you mix the two types and also have a fast charger, be sure to mark them so that you don't put LSD batteries through a fast charge cycle. Doing this doesn't destroy them, but it reduces their lifetime much more quickly.
How should I prepare and care for my vaporizer batteries?
You need to peel the label off the battery (exposing the metal casing) to use it with the Box. The coil in the Box needs to make electrical contact with the battery. Removing the battery label makes this possible. The battery does not work in the Box otherwise.
Please be careful if you use a sharp tool to cut the label—do not dent or cut through the metallic battery casing. Most battery labels simply peel off cleanly, but some manufacturers use a glue underneath the label (Sanyo). You can clean this off using a product such as Goo Gone. WD-40 also works—just spray on and rub the glue off with a paper towel to expose the metal battery casing.
Incidentally, the paper ring on the positive end of the battery does not matter much. Magic-Flight leaves them on only for cosmetic reasons and removes them if they ever come loose or get in the way.
Also, it is very important NOT to let the batteries get too hot. It is okay for them to get warm (when charging or in use), but hot is not good—it shortens the life of the battery. ("Hot" is when you would not want to hold the battery in your hand—hotter than hot coffee). Magic-Flight strongly recommends that Box users get into the habit of pulling the battery back after each draw. This keeps the battery cooler and prevents accidental loss of the load and the charge.
It is essential that you make sure that the tips of your peeled batteries do not come into contact with any metallic items—this can result in accidentally making a connection between the positive nipple and the negative casing. If such contact occurs, a charged battery will quickly overheat. Once you have peeled a battery, you must be careful to store and handle it properly. The rubber caps shipped with the Box can be used to prevent this problem. Storing batteries side-by-side in a case is fine. All charged batteries must be either in their case or have an end-cap on the nipple end to protect them from overheating (i.e., at all times when not in use in the Box).
Why don't my peeled batteries fit snugly?
There are small but significant diameter variations between various manufacturers. Because Magic-Flight has had to switch battery suppliers, the tension of the battery contact coil has been adjusted accordingly. The result is that it is difficult to know which batteries fit snugly in your particular Box. Batteries from some manufacturers can feel a little loose. This might be annoying but it doesn't interfere with use of the Box.
To operate properly, the battery needs only to contact the battery contact coil; a snug fit isn't necessary. To achieve this, some users find it helpful to twist the battery slightly after insertion. You can also look into the battery insertion hole while holding the end of the Box at right angles and see where the coil intrudes slightly into the opening. When the battery is inserted, you can gently pull the battery in the correct direction to make the best contact.
Can I leave part of the label on or wrap tape around the battery to make it fit snugly?
Yes. However, you must be sure that the battery casing is exposed to the battery contact coil when the battery is fully inserted into the Box. As long as the remaining label or tape does not interfere with that contact, the Box should work just fine.
Can the contact coil be safely bent or pushed to be a little tighter?
It is possible—but very difficult—for someone to adjust the coil. Magic-Flight uses a press with a special fixture to make the adjustment, and generally suggests that users treat this as a warranty issue. Magic-Flight is glad to recycle or re-adjust your existing units and/or send a replacement for a Box that is otherwise unusable (i.e., making no contact, regardless of battery used).
If you would like to attempt to make the adjustment, most often the best bet is to push the entire coil upwards from the bottom of the Box towards the lid side, with the lid open. Use a vice and a tool with a flat edge that can press with an even, gradually increasing pressure on the center of the bottom of the coil. The idea is to treat the entire coil as a unit, rather than to change the size/diameter of the coil itself. The main risk is to apply the adjustment force exactly perpendicular to the bottom of the Box at the center of the coil. If the coil moves at all forward or backward (rather than just up or down), the screen can be displaced and potentially damaged as the rod slides. Also, just the right level of force is necessary—too much and the coil either becomes too small or it is moved too far out of position—at which point, an opposite adjustment must be attempted. Above all else, please be safe—think about what you are doing before you do it.
If you have a Box that is not working due to this issue, and you attempt to make the adjustment and wind up further damaging the Box, please let Magic-Flight know so that we can send you a new Box.
What kind of batteries does Magic-Flight ship/recommend?
For many LB buyers, either the Eneloop or Maha Energy Imedions are good. They have the advantage of holding a charge for much longer than most batteries. This is good since it ensures that the batteries can be delivered to the purchaser charged, even if the Box happens to be sitting on a retail store shelf for awhile. Many people seem to use the Box on an occasional or infrequent basis, and for these people, having batteries hold their charge for months is especially advantageous. One downside of the Eneloop batteries is that they should not be charged in fast (15 minute) chargers, as this can decrease the life of the battery.
For people who generally use the Box every day, or multiple times every day, we also recommend the Maha Powerex batteries and the Energizer 15 minute charger. People who do this need to be very sure to keep track of which batteries are which—this is important. Otherwise, get a Maha charger—you cannot go wrong with that one (although it is pricey), or alternately, use the charger that ships bundled with the Box (which can also charge any NiMH battery—at no additional cost). For those people who simply want to use the Box and not worry about batteries, you can always purchase cells and chargers that are sure to work correctly with the Box from our Online Store.
Is it safe to use the peeled batteries for other devices?
It depends on the construction of the device, but in general it is a risk. The problem is that most devices use two batteries in series, usually packed right next to one another. In that case, one of the batteries can side short -- releasing A LOT of heat and potentially damaging the device. The labels DO have a safety function in that they make it much harder to accidentally short the battery, particularly when it is in a device. The best recommendation is to put tape over the battery so as to have the same coverage as the original label. Leave the two ends uncovered, but completely wrap the main body of the battery with exactly one layer of tape with no gaps.
IMPORTANT: Only peeled batteries should be used with the Box. If you want to use the batteries in other devices—make a new covering for the battery! Failure to do so can result in device and/or battery damage.
Depending on the details of the specific device, you might get away with it, but it is not recommended that you try the test without really understanding what is involved.
Does the voltage of the AA have any effect on how hot the Box gets?
Yes, it does. Higher voltage generally means hotter. The battery does not read the same voltage when it is in use as it does when in the charger, so the specifics of how much hotter, or even if the difference is noticeable, depends on the specifics of the battery and the sensitivity of your taste.
How many draws can I get from a battery?
Shipped 2000 mAh batteries should provide 5 minutes of vapor draw time. Assuming 15 second "standard" draws, people should get approximately 20 draws-worth per battery draws reliably, or if taking 12 draws per filling (completely cashed), somewhat more than 1 trench. This is only a rough guideline; the actual count depends on technique, condition of the load, and state of the battery. NiMH batteries deteriorate gradually with use, and more quickly if overheated. A smart charger that performs a conditioning cycle helps to prolong battery life.
What is the significance of the mAh of the battery? Does a 2700mAh battery just last longer than a 2000mAh?
Mostly, "mAh" describes how long the battery lasts. A battery with more charge storage capacity tends to hold a higher voltage for longer as well, so higher mAh tends to also mean somewhat hotter operation for somewhat longer, if the battery is fresh.
So, some batteries are more powerful?
Yes. For example, Powerex batteries operate the Box hotter as well as longer, and because of the significantly increased heat, the timing and breath control of the user must be proportionately more accurate to prevent overheating (changes taste). Magic-Flight strongly recommends that new users become skilled with the stock batteries before trying higher energy density batteries.
Whether you choose LSD or HSD batteries, Magic-Flight ships and recommends Maha batteries. Tests have shown them to be top performers. Comments in forums also show that they are popular with LB users who say that their superior performance more than justifies their slightly higher cost. Batteries have venting holes at the positive tip that are there to vent gases in case of shorting or overheating.
Is it possible for the battery to vent gases that can be inhaled through the herb chamber?
No. The chances of this being any sort of issue are effectively zero.
- It is important to distinguish between the events of charging the battery and discharging the battery. With improper charging (i.e., a cheap or malfunctioning battery charger) the battery can be made to vent (its not common, but it is possible), however, venting does not happen during discharging. The Box only uses the battery in discharge mode. Therefore, there is no risk.
- Assuming that somehow the battery did vent, in considering risk, it is also worthwhile to consider what kind of gases are involved and how much might be generated. From the chemistry, the gas would only be H2 (hydrogen) and the quantity is tiny (a few cm^3 at most). Both the kind and the amount are biologically harmless. Again, no risk. For people who work with batteries in general, these points are considered to be common knowledge.
- The hole in the back of the unit is a construction hole. It connects to the battery compartment but does not extend through to the vapor chamber. As such, it does not provide any form of direct coupling between the battery compartment and the vapor chamber. To ensure that there is no doubt of this, the seal on the connector rod is tested to 5 PSI. Therefore, even if the battery does vent (see 1) and 2) above), it will not be available for inhalation, but will instead go in the opposite direction away from the user. Again, no risk.
In the interests of safety, however, it must also be reported that some chargers do not do as good of a job detecting when a battery is already charged. If people put a mostly charged battery into a fast charger, and that fast charger is not smart enough to detect this condition, it can potentially overcharge the battery causing it to get hot, and in particularly bad cases, to vent, leaving a white residue (not the end of the world). For some chargers, it can also be rather bad to put the battery in backwards. (Don't try it!) High quality chargers generally handle both of these conditions gracefully.
How can I test my batteries?
Testing battery power tends to be problematic as the voltage remains high until the battery is nearly fully depleted—making most battery testers useless. Magic-Flight uses in-house custom built testers that draw a lot of current and check for changes in the voltage to determine the battery state. Otherwise, the easiest way to check a battery is to put it into the LB with the cover open (and trench empty) and bring the Box up close to your lips—not actually touching, about 1/2 of an inch away. You should be able to feel sufficient heat, and if not, the battery probably needs recharging. A little bit of experience with fresh batteries versus used ones quickly gives you a really good indication of what is going on.
Is it very important to drain the batteries completely before charging them again?
No, not at all. NiMH batteries do not have a "memory" effect. The charger picks up where the charge is at and adds what is necessary to "top off".
Slow charging versus fast charging versus smart charging; Does it matter what charger I use?
The overall consensus is that nearly all NiMH chargers can work with nearly all NiMH batteries, but that poorly built fast chargers are likely to diminish the overall longevity/life of the battery (the number of complete charge cycles).
There are two main issues associated with battery charger quality:
- The manner in which energy is delivered to the battery.
- The method used to determine when charging has been completed.
In regards to charge energy delivery, there are two approaches: "slow charging" and "fast charging".
In slow charging, energy is delivered at a low constant rate that does not require charge endpoint determination. These are also known as "trickle chargers". They are not the "best" chargers, but they are reliable, simple, and safe. Their main disadvantage is that they can take a very long time to charge a battery (8 to 12 hours). Slow trickle chargers can also diminish battery life if batteries are simply left in the charger indefinitely (i.e., more than a week at a time without also using the battery).
Fast chargers are much more complex (and thus more expensive) since they can deliver energy at a much greater rate than the battery can withstand. For a fast charger to be "good", it must perform two tasks:
- It must deliver charge current without surges, ripples, or spikes.
- It must reliably determine when the battery is full and shut off the charge current.
Failure to achieve either of these aspects can definitely shorten NiMH battery life (the number of recharge cycles and the max energy that can be stored per cycle). Specifically, the current delivered must be matched against the battery capacity. Also, if there are surges, ripples, or spikes, the battery discharge characteristics can be adversely affected. This in turn can result in a Box running either way too hot or way too cold, depending on the type of battery damage sustained. Furthermore, if the charge endpoint is not determined correctly, the battery can be overcharged, resulting in it getting very hot (too hot to touch) which can also permanently damage the battery. Such issues are more noticeable with LSD rechargeable batteries than with standard rechargeable.
Unfortunately, for fast charger manufacturers, determining when a NiMH battery is "full" is far from easy. The battery itself provides little indication of its internal state. There are three approaches generally taken:
- Use a timer to cut off current after a given interval.
- Look for a specific sequence of battery voltage changes.
- Check the battery temperature and stop charging when the battery is hot.
Each of these approaches has significant problems and are likely to fail if used exclusively. A good charger needs to test for at least two, if not all three, of these conditions to function reliably. It is in this respect that good chargers really stand out from their cheaper cousins—they preserve battery life by not accidentally over-charging the battery. Many fast chargers on the market simply do not test for charge endpoint conditions very well or very reliably.
Magic-Flight ships smart chargers bundled with the Box kit—not fast chargers. The primary reason for this choice is safety: anyone can use the bundled charger without having to understand specifics about the rechargeable batteries. These stock chargers are convenient insofar as they are compact (they fit in the tin) and are known to be a good reliable option, not because they are the fastest possible means for charging a battery.
What charger does Magic-Flight recommend?
Unfortunately, many charger manufacturers generally cut corners whenever possible in their product designs. Such chargers, even from well known brand name companies, can have issues with charge current regulation and endpoint determination. These things are not visible on the outside -- they are apparent only when carefully examining the internal electronics with controlled testing. Further, as there are hundreds of different chargers and batteries (with millions of possible test configurations), it is not really reasonable to expect anyone to have tested all batteries and all chargers. Recommendations are based on best available knowledge to date.
Also, in some cases, manufacturers put special features into their chargers particular to their batteries. For example, for the Sanyo batteries, the Sanyo charger is the "best" -- it has the most smarts tuned particularly for their specific battery brand. For those who want to have a set of "reserve" batteries which are sure to remain charged after sitting in your car for months, the Sanyo Eneloop batteries and chargers are very good in terms of quality, power, and long-term longevity.
Anyone looking for the fastest possible alternative charger which is known to be reliable should consider the Energizer 15-minute charger with the Maha Powerex 2700mAh batteries. This is the best combination for people who use the Box at least once every day and who are looking for optimum runtime performance. (The Energizer batteries themselves are not nearly as good -- take it or leave it.)
Note: Magic-Flight gains absolutely no benefit from recommendations or advice in this respect -- we have absolutely zero association with Energizer corp.
As an alternative configuration for people who use the Box less frequently (not every day), but are still interested in optimum performance, Magic-Flight recommends the Imedion batteries and the Maha MH-C9000 charger -- this is the best overall combination for both battery longevity and long vaping sessions. Be advised that this charger is somewhat more complex to use than most chargers and can be more expensive than most to purchase. Magic-Flight staff uses the Maha MH-C9000 internally and finds them to be excellent. They are a bit arcane for the average user, but for those who are into the advanced "tech" of rechargeable batteries, it is a great unit.
For nearly everyone else, (the other 90% of Magic-Flight Box users), we recommend the stock batteries and the stock charger, since they are known to have good performance in most circumstances.
Finally, for the record, Magic-Flight does not make the branded chargers that are bundled with the Box. They are provided as a convenience so that people can use the Box without having to worry about such details.
Will LSD (Low Self-Discharge) batteries charge in a fast charge?
LSD batteries (such as Eneloops or the Magic-Flight stock batteries) can be charged in fast chargers, as long as they are not too fast. Charging an LSD battery in anything less than an hour is probably too fast. A charger that charges them in about one or two hours is about ideal. Furthermore, the performance of a battery is defined largely by the quality of the charger
Low self-discharge (LSD) NiMH batteries have a chemistry and physical constitution that differs slightly from standard rechargeable batteries. As a result, LSD batteries are more sensitive to overheating than the standard NiMH. Overheating a LSD battery can have a more significant impact, in terms of the loss of battery life (number of charge cycles) and the amount of charge that the battery can retain.
Statistically speaking, ultra-fast chargers -- chargers that charge a battery in less than an hour -- present too high of a risk profile in that detecting charge endpoint conditions is not an exact process. LSD batteries do not tolerate overcharging mistakes as well as standard ones (i.e., putting an already charged battery into a fast 15 minute charger is bad). As such, it is really not a good idea to put the stock batteries in a 15 minute fast charger more than occasionally. Magic-Flight does not recommend combining any 15 minute charger with LSD batteries except on rare occasions and when in great need.
The charger that Magic-Flight provides is actually a very good fast (though not the fastest) charger. Its maximum charging time is about 4 hours, and is usually noticeably less.
Can I use a partially charged battery?
Yes. We recommend using fully charged batteries for performance reasons only -- so that people get the best possible experience with the Box, particularly on their first try when they are just learning how to use it. There are no problems with using partially charged batteries, as long as there is enough charge for them to be usable/useful.
There is also no issue with pulling a battery from the charger and using it before it has been fully charged (again, as long as enough of the charge is useful). However, it is recommended that you let the charger complete its charge cycle whenever possible, as the microprocessor in the charger may attempt to implement a conditioning cycle on the batteries. If it senses that the battery is low, it may discharge the battery before recharging it so as to extend the battery life. The charger that is being shipped is a smart charger and is designed to make the batteries last as long as possible.
The one thing that it IS necessary to watch for is putting an already fully charged battery back into the charger. Due to the nature of how the charger works, it is likely that the charger might be unable to determine that the battery is already fully charged, and might attempt to charge it again. This can potentially cause overheating in the battery and battery damage.