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Showing posts with label wireless charging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wireless charging. Show all posts

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Qi: Wirelessly Charge Your Wireless Device

Qi Wireless Charging

Samsung's Qi Fast Wireless Charging Transmitter Stand/Dock
I purchased Samsung's Qi Fast Wireless Charging Transmitter Dock (seen above) when I got my Note 7. When Samsung made me give it back, I kept the charger. I knew I would want it for my next phone. I'm glad I kept it, it's a wonderful charging dock that charges my Pixel XL real fast.

You have seen the wireless chargers that are out, now. Samsung makes a couple of good wireless chargers. But this technology has actually been around a while. WR has developed the Qi wireless charging standard, and this is the technology that allows wireless charging as a standard platform.

There are often options to buy Qi wireless charging kits as well as Qi receiver coils and Qi wireless charger pads/stands available at Amazon, Geek & MiniInTheBox.

Many older phones can easily accommodate a Qi wireless charging receiver coil.  Only very recent modern phones that were made in the past couple years should utilize the Fast Charge versions though, as they have batteries that are capable of withstanding a fast charge repeatedly.

Setting Up Qi Charging Capabilities

Even if you don't see your phone here, this is a good general quide on how to setup Qi wireless charging on many phones.

Below is a pictorial guide to adding Qi wireless charging capabilities to three phones, an old Samsung Galaxy Note 3, an even older Samsung Galaxy S3, and adding wireless fast charging to a brand new Pixel XL (the new "phone by Google").  Resource Links will point directly to where I purchased any of the additional Qi capable products and other stuff shown, so that you won't get the wrong thing (though it's perfectly fine if you want to shop around for a better product or price).

I also review some of the Qi wireless charger pads and stands that are available out there, show-off an external battery charger for the Note 3, as well as discuss how well a couple cases work with the USB-C plug Qi charging receiver coil module card on my Pixel XL (as they do double duty in hiding the Qi card).

Adding Qi Wireless Charging Capabilities to a Note 3:

Here, I add a Qi receiving coil that I purchased through Amazon, to an old S3 (Samsung Galaxy S3):

What you need to add Qi wireless charging capabilities to your phone.  This example shows a Note 3, receiving coil & some household tape.
This photo shows what you need to add wireless charging to your Galaxy Note 3: the phone (cover removed, simply snap it off slowly) equipped with a good battery, the Qi compliant receiver coil, and  I highly recommend a bit of household tape to secure the coil to the battery (not electrical tape, that may make things too warm inside).
If you decide to purchase a Qi compliant wireless charging receiver coil, I highly recommend one that supports NFC (Near Field Communications), like the one I grabbed from Amazon...
Qi compliant wireless charging receiving coil card with NFC support for the Galaxy Note 3
This wireless charging card contains a receiver coil and supports Near Field Communications (NFC). Photo credit: This is a promotional image lifted from
Resource Link:
Qi Wireless Receiver Card for Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Price: $9.95 -I have seen them for a little less, I paid $8.99 at Amazon.

The wireless receiver has 5 raised contact points on the underside of the card.
The Raised Contact Points on the Underside of the Wireless Charger Receiver Card for the Galaxy Note 3
These raised contact points correspond directly to contact points in the phone, at the top and left of the battery compartment. Photo credit: This is a promotional image lifted from 
These raised contact points on the card fit directly into contact points on the Note 3 device, itself.
The contact points on the Note 3 are next to the top left corner of the battery compartment, two above it and three to the left.
The contact points on the Note 3 are next to the top left corner of the battery compartment, 2 are above it and 3 are just to the left of it.
Press the raised titties of the card contact points into the holes provided, pictured above, at the top and to the left of the top left corner of the battery compartment, where they will settle in and rest on those phone contacts.

The Qi compatible wireless charging receiver coil card, positioned correctly.
The wireless receiver card, positioned correctly.
The receiver module has 5 raised contacts that settle in and touch the phone contacts. 
The edge of the Qi receiver coil card is outlined within the phone.  There is often (not always) a sticky tape that is protected by a strip of wax paper on the underside of the receiver card.  If it is there, you can peel the waxy paper protection away when you are ready to make a good fit to help stick it to the battery and keep it there.  You do not have to stick it there and you do not have to tape it down, the back cover will hold it in place if you don't plan on removing the back cover.

I tape the bottom of the card to the battery, while holding down the receiver card at the contact points.
It's sort of a funny photo, because I am using the camera in the other hand, but I tape the bottom of the card to the battery, while holding down the receiver card at the contact points, so it won't move and the card makes good contact there. 
However, I have and use an extra battery, so I prefer to tape a receiver coil card to each battery, because I will remove the back cover when swapping batteries, and that will likely upset the charging receiver module.  So I tape the receiving coil down to the battery.  Be sure to use household tape, though. Electrical tape can have insulating properties, and we want heat to dissipate.  Which is why some prefer not to use any tape at all.  The call is yours, I made mine in the sake of convenience and take no responsibility for yours.

I am holding the contacts down as I tape the right edge of the Qi coil receiver module card down.
Another funny photo because I am taking this picture with my left hand.  Here, I am holding the contacts down as I tape the right edge of the Qi coil receiver module card down to the battery with household tape.
Remember, I often change-out batteries, if you don't, taping the card down may be overkill as the battery cover will hold the receiver coil in place once it is on securely.

An Extra (External) Battery Charger 

But if you do tape the receiver to your battery because you demand a lot from your device (using it constantly, possibly while listening to device dependent playlists) and therefore you have an extra battery that you swap-out when you need to, the following handy dandy external battery wall charger for Note 3 batteries is a pretty darn good deal...

Underside of the Note 3 External Battery Charger with Retractable Plug.
The Note 3 External Battery Charger, Electrical Outlet Plug Prongs Extended
Note 3 spare battery wall travel charger from Amazon. USB 2 port side.
Note 3 spare battery charger from 
Resource Link:
External Battery Wall Travel Charger For Galaxy Note 3
Price: $2.90 & FREE Shipping (I paid a little more on Amazon).
I have seen this charger bundled with a spare battery for $6.90
(to see it, scroll down the resulting page to check out bundles).

The Note 3 wireless charging receiver coil card taped to the back of the Note 3 extra battery, which is being charged by the external battery charger, plugged into an electrical socket.
The Note 3 charging coil receiver module card taped to the extra battery that is charging in the external battery wall charger. 
The external battery charger does not interfere with the wireless receiver coil card taped to the spare battery.
The surface deck of the battery is above the external charger walls, so that the card is never interfered with, and if something accidentally hit the overhanging card, I have it taped on the other ends, so there will be enough give.  This allows the card to work every time I pop in the spare battery because the back cover of the Note 3 will actually hold it in place.  
I grabbed that extra battery wall charger and keep it around for the extra battery in case I don't use the spare battery for a while. The spare battery travel charger I have (shown in the 5 photos above) doesn't interfere with the receiver coil module that is taped to it. That way, if I go 3 weeks or a month without using it, I will pop it in to the spare battery charger so that it will continue to be active and hold a charge.  This way the spare battery won't go bad on me if I'm not using the Note 3 much now that I have the Pixel XL.

Other older Samsung phones often have similar spare battery chargers available.  I know there is one for my S3 for only a couple of bucks on  So if you can open your rear cover and exchange out the battery, there is a good chance that there is such a unit for your phone, as well.

Resource Link:
External Battery Wall Charger with USB for Samsung Galaxy S3
(Fits OEM, Standard Size Replacment Battery, Extended Battery and 7000mAH Battery)
Price: $2.03
If shows you a bundle, make sure you can't get the S3 battery cheaper by itself.  The bundle they showed me was around $12.00 and it's only a $6 battery elsewhere on the website.

Adding Qi Wireless Charging Capabilities to a Samsung Galaxy S3

Samsung Galaxy S3 (front).Samsung Galaxy S3 (back).

The Galaxy S3 was actually a pretty good old phone and makes an exceptional second phone, or business line, for those that need such an affordable solution.

I purchased a Qi Wireless charging kit for an old Galaxy S3 which I plan to use for work as a delivery driver because my new Tracfone just isn't powerful enough to quickly retrieve GPS data when I am on the go and unfamiliar with a particular address.  So there is a case for good, older smartphones.

And of course, I want the convenience of wireless Qi charging.

What's included:

Qi Compatible Wireless Charger Pad & Galaxy S3 Receiver Coil Card Kit.

The kit includes the wireless charging pad, a charging coil receiver for the Galaxy S3, and an incredibly short microUSB male to USB male cable, so you will have to use your phone's original A/C power adapter if you decided to get this kit, but as I write this, it is out of stock.  I did buy another one (I accidentally forgot about the other one), but that one (Resource Link listed below) came without a box.

Resource Link:
Qi Wireless Charger Pad + Receiver Kit for Samsung Galaxy S3/S4/S5 Note 3/4
(Selected: Kit for Samsung Galaxy S3 in Black)
Price: $7.91

Samsung Galaxy S3 Qi compatible wireless charging acceptance (receiving) coil card module.
Galaxy S3 Wireless Charging Acceptance Card
The Qi wireless charging receiver coil module is a small card that makes contact with the phone's wireless charging connections in order to give it wireless charging capabilities when used with a Qi compatible wireless transmitter pad/stand/dock.

It houses some finely coiled wires that pick-up on the transmitted magnetic/electrical field from the base stand/dock/pad/puck.

Kit instructions are in Chinese and English
The instructions that came with the kit are in Chinese and English.
The kit has instructions which show an A/C adapter, but there is none included.  Neither of the S3 kits that I purchased came with an A/C adapter.

Let's get Started:

The notch at the center of the top of your S3 is where to start prying the back cover of your S3 off with, just slide your fingernail in and down the edge in each direction, eventually down the sides, too.The Samsung Galaxy S3 with the back cover starting to pry off.

Remove any case you might have guarding the S3 and open up the back cover by poking your thumbnail or fingernail in the gap at the top center of the S3, just next to the audio jack.  Run your nail in each direction and around the corners to loosen the cover from the S3.  Eventually the cover will loose enough so that you can pry it off completely.  It snaps right back on without any tools, so there are no worries.

The wireless charging receiver card module, positioned and taped in place onto the battery.
Here is a shot of the wireless charger receiver card taped into place on the battery.
Unless you take the back cover off of your S3 to exchange microSD cards or change out batteries in the middle of the day because you use it a lot, you don't have to tape the charging receiver coil card to the back of the battery.  I did simply because it is a small battery and I have never seen it get hot.  What you do is, of course, your call, and I have no responsibility for your decision.

The Qi wireless receiver card module, taped to the back of the Galaxy S3 battery.
Once the wireless charging card has been taped to the battery, it can easily be removed, if you decide to do that.
Amazon has a cheap wall charger for external Galaxy S3 batteries that won't affect the card, too (only $2).  
Then, just snap the case back on by pressing firmly down each edge...

Check your work and make sure the edge seam of the Galaxy S3 back cover looks good.
The back cover snaps right back on with a little pressure along each edge.  Double check your work at each seam. Look good?
Snap the back cover on and check it. If it looks good, put it back in its case (whichever one you use to protect the phone).  You will want to stick it on the charger and make sure it works...

The Qi compatible charging pad comes with a plastic film on the underside to protect it. Remove this film before use.
The Qi compatible charging pad comes with a plastic film on the underside to protect it in shipping from scuffing. Remove this film before use.
A look at the upside-down microUSB port on the charging pad included in the S3 Qi wireless charging kit. The pad is shown with a plastic protective film on the underside that needs to be removed.
A look at the upside-down MicroUSB port on the Charging Pad included in the S3 Qi Kit.
Peel off the plastic protective film from the underside of the charging pad.  You can use the included extremely short USB to microUSB cable to plug the pad into your USB equipped PC or Mac, but then your device won't actually charge unless your computer is left on.  I prefer to get out my original Samsung Galaxy S3 USB to microUSB charging cable and power adapter.  It's just more convenient for me.

The included wireless charging pad produces a slow charge, but is great for small battery phones.
The charging pad.  Remember that you will have to use your phone's original A/C adapter and USB cable.  It's not real powerful, and it is a bit slippery, but good for great battery phones that require a slow charge, and will still charge newer phones (slowly), such as it does my Pixel XL.   
The charging pad that was a part of this kit has a red LED power light.  When it is charging a device, that LED goees out and a blue LED lights up, unless the wireless charging connection is askew, then it will reciprocate between the red LED and the blue one.  If it does that, then reposition your device so the coil lies directly across the wireless charger icon, but a bit toward the LED lights. Experimenting a bit will help you decide what is the optimal placement.

The S3 or other device can lie along the pad lengthwise, or across the middle.
The device can lie lengthwise along the pad, or as above, across it as long as the receiving coil card covers the pad icon.  
Your Galaxy S3 can lie along the pad, or across it. As long as its on, you see this message pop up on your screen, and the blue LED light is on solid (not blinking), then you have done well and your S3 and the Qi receiver card should be working for you.

I have noticed that if I just get the blue light solid, I might move it a few hairs more over, because I had just entered the border/limit of optimal range, and I want to place it in the center of optimum charging.

You can wrap a rubber band around each end of the pad to keep it, and your phone, from slipping around.
The Red LED is on, indicating that the pad has power.  You can wrap a rubber band around each end of the pad to keep it, and your phone, from slipping around.  The rubber bands also help hold the upper & lower halves of the plastic pad body together.
If your pad is too slippery to stay in one place, or your phone vibrates right off of it, you can use a couple of rubber bands to prevent it from slipping around.

If the pad is too slippery for you, ad some rubber bands to each end to help grab the table/device.
You can even use silicon scrunchies around each end of the pad to keep it, and your phone, from slipping around, but scrunchies are thick, so then I would use them to mark my optimal charging are as I lay the phone across it, and then the scrunchies sort of grasp the phone on each edge, if I outlined the placement of the phone for optimal charging.  
Above, I am using silicone scrunchies, but they are too thick if you want to lay your phone along it lengthwise.  But I honestly think that you really do need to use something (rubber bands, scrunchies, or some vinyl tape) wrapped around each end not just to reduce slipperiness, but also to ensure that the pad upper and lower stay together as a unit.  But I'm not really complaining, I mean, I only paid $7.91 for the thing one time,  and $11.91 another time.

My son has a Galaxy S6 in a semi-heavy-duty case.  The S6 already has built-in Qi wireless charging support and so he has been using this charger, but it takes a long time because its more of a trickle charge with his case on, and he hasn't been positioning the device over the icon correctly.  So we are still testing it, but it does work well for my S3 in a speck* case, as well as for my Pixel XL naked or in my Spigen case.

It doesn't work on my Note 3 or my Pixel XL if they are wearing the Otter Box Defender case, when I use the power adapter that was original to the Samsung Galaxy S3.  But as just mentioned, it does work on them when they are naked or are wearing a thin case, and I will try it experimenting with this pad by using some newer Samsung phone AC to DC power adapters on this charging pad to see if there is any improvement in the near future.  Then, I'll report my findings back here.

One thing I have noticed about Chinese products is that they often turn the ports around, and in this case, the microUSB power port for this charging pad is no exception.

Motorola Droid X in a charging dock with microUSB port oriented correctly (broader edge down), according to practices in the USA.
Example Droid X charging cradle with correctly oriented microUSB.
Chinese wireless charging pad with microUSB port oriented upside-down according to familiar US practices.
The Galaxy S3 wireless charging kit uses a pad with a microUSB port that is oriented upside-down.
You may be asking yourself why this is an issue?  All it has to do with is familiarity.  We are familiar with plugging a microUSB male end cable into a female microUSB port in a certain way, and our microUSB male ends have a USB network icon that is intended to face-up when plugging into a female port.  If you follow common practice and try to plug your microUSB cable plug into this pad with the icon facing up, you will likely destroy the cable plug, the pad port, or more likely both, unless you take a good look and re-orient the plug.

You may also notice that the included USB to microUSB charging cable that is included with the kit does not sport that familiar USB icon that we are all familiar with, perhaps because of this type of thing.  The new USB-C ports and plugs will eliminate all these plug orientation issues as they start making their way to the new generation of phones, because you can't plug them in upside down.

But in its state as it is, it isn't as powerful of a charger as the Samsung Mini Wireless Charging Pad that I review below...

The Samsung Qi Wireless Charging Mini Pad

Another alternative to adding Qi capability to the Galaxy S3 is to purchase the Qi receiver card separately and grab a little mini charger... 

Samsung Mini Wireless Charger PadThe Samsung Mini Charger Pad wirelessly charging the Galaxy S3.
The Samsung Mini Charger Pad is good for older, smaller devices like the S3, and it doesn't cost too much.

Resource Link:
Price: $18.00 (I got a real deal on Black Friday that won't be matched).

If you don't have a large device and don't need fast charging, the Samsung mini charger pad works wonderfully if you make certain that your device lines up with it properly (the blue LED lights up and is solid, not blinking).  If the blue LED light is blinking, reposition the device.  If you have a larger phone (a Note, a phablet or other XL/Plus sized phone), it is likely that your device will hang over so much that you won't see the LED.  Also, even though the Galaxy S3 pictured above is wearing a case (as I believe that all phones should have some sort of case for protection), it isn't a heavy case.  This charger may not be able charge devices in heavy duty cases, like the Otter Box Defender.  At least, my devices won't charge on it if they are wearing a Defender, or other heavy duty case.   

But, this Samsung mini charging pad is not only great for small Qi compatible devices with smaller batteries, my Pixel XL reports that the Samsung mini wireless charging pad actually does a better job than the pad that was included with the Qi kit for the S3, mentioned above.

That should not be surprising, the mini pad came with a newer AC to DC power adapter, and I was using the original power adapter for the S3 on the Qi kit pad for the S3.

The Samsung mini pad is a bit more expensive, but does include a power supply that makes it work well, even on my Pixel XL.

Adding Qi Wireless Charging Capabilities to the Pixel XL, phone by Google

Finally, the Pixel XL 'phone by Google' arrived this past week, and I was happy to see it, finally.  One of the first things I did was add a fast Qi charging receiver coil via the bottom USB-C port.  Then I tucked that away under the case.

A USB-C plug-in Qi fast charger receiving coil card module. The Qi Receiver in Place on My Pixel XL
I love the fact that it says Qi right on it. And obviously, it's fast charging.

Resource Link:
USB Type C Plug-in Wireless Fast Charging Receiver Coil Film Card Module
Price: $12.99

I have the "silver" Pixel XL, but don't anyone kid you, it's ivory with silver trim.  You don't take the back off of these new phones, so you plug the fast Qi charging coil card into the USB-C port.  Of course, that means you will always want to have a case on the phone, to protect that card as well as the device, but you really should anyway, right?

The version I have won't fit on a regular 5" Pixel without interfering with the fingerprint scanner, unless you fold up the line that runs down to the USB-C port, and I wouldn't do that. But there are others, and they will probably pop-up as similar items on the same page.

Silver Pixel XL in an Otter Box Defender Case, Charging on a Samsung Fast Charger.
'Silver' Google Pixel XL in an Otter Box Defender Case, Charging on a Samsung Fast Charging Stand.
This one supports fast charging, so I can use that Samsung fast charging stand that I originally bought for my old Note 7.

I have 2 cases for it.  I grabbed a Spigen case when I purchased the USB-C plugin Qi receiving coil card from Amazon.  I also had a gift card, so I also bought the Otter Box Defender for the Pixel XL after it came.

The Otter Box Defender Case for the Pixel XL (Phone by Google)

Otter Box Defender Pixel XL case - the USB-C Flap Sticks out a Bit Otter Box Defender Pixel XL Case - Black - Front View Otter Box Defender Pixel XL Case - Black - Back Rightside View
The Otterbox Defender (it's actually black, these are bad pics).

Resource Link:
Otter Box Defender Case for the 5.5" Google Pixel XL
Price: $44.99

But the Otterbox Defender has a a flap over the USB-C port that sticks open a bit, because the Qi receiving coil is plugged into it.  You have to pay attention when you line it up on the fast charger stand, as you not only have to center it, you also have to make sure it is straight up and down, not half cocked in one direction or the other, because you are balancing it on that loose flap.  And its too nice of a case for me to cut the flap off, but I am thinking about it.

The Otterbox Defender is also a struggle when trying to get that case on and off the phone.  But it sure is a heavy-duty case.  I will use this when I am out and about bicycling, doing other activities, playing frisbee and sports.  It really is a heavy-duty case.

The Spigen Rugged Armor Case for the Google Pixel XL (Phone by Google)

Spigen Rugged Armor Case for the Google Pixel XL - Back View. Notice that the USB-C plug for the Qi Receiver Card is Barely Noticeable? Spigen Rugged Armor Case for the Google Pixel XL - Face & Left Edge Spigen Rugged Armor Case for the Google Pixel XL - Face & Right Edge
The spigen 'Rugged Armor' case is very thin, and again, black, not gray.  As you can see, the USB-C plug only protrudes a little bit and the spigen case actually conforms to it because it is so pliable and resilient. 

Resource Link:
Spigen Rugged Armor Case with Resilient Shock Absorption and Carbon Fiber Design for Google Pixel XL 2016 - Black
Price: $11.99

In the meantime, the Spigen I bought from Amazon works pretty damn good, too.  While not the heavy-duty case that the Defender is, it looks really good with the Qi charger plugged into the USB-C port, because it has enough give to conform around it, and no flap over the port hole.  My photos don't do it justice, it is a nice black, but I took those photos with my Note 3 and haven't photoshopped them to be more accurate.

All photos, unless otherwise credited, were taken by me (Doug Peters) with my new Google Pixel XL and are Copyright Doug Peters, 2016.