Hiding an inductive charging station inside furniture


[Tony] wanted to clean up his bedside table by getting rid of the cables used for charging his devices. He accomplished his goal by integrating an inductive charging station inside his furniture.

He chose to go with a product called Powermat. The base station for the device includes two inductive charging areas. [Tony] started by using a router to make a pocket in the underside of this shelf. He mentions that the remaining wood is only 2mm thick to allow for proper transmission. Before gluing the PCB in place he relocated the power jack so that it is still easy to get to. As you can see in the clip after the break, the system works just fine this way.

One note on the forums hosting this content. We must have loaded the thread three or four times when writing the feature and ended up locked out unless we registered. You can get around this by loading the link in a private/incognito browser.


  1. ... says:

    Looks like a nice build!

    It will be interesting to see how the Wireless Power Consortium’s Qi standard vs Power Matters Alliance’s PMA standard wireless charging battle ends up, so far it seems like the main contender in the Qi side is the Energizer Qi (about $50), and on the PMA side the Duracell Powermat is on top ($35, can be cheaper if you can find one of the pre Duracell branded ones on closeout)

    I have been woefully unimpressed with the wireless charging world, the Qi standard has been out for what 2 years now, and it is still almost impossible to find information about it. Half of the website pages don’t even specify what standard their charger support, which leads to a lot of negative ‘it won’t charge’ comments…

    I am torn in the battle, on the one hand we have Qi which is open and pricier (but much more capable, ex the standard can provide up to 100w for charging laptops as well!), and much more established (many existing phones have it built in), on the other hand Duracell seems to be really pushing their cheaper/closed standard…

  2. Hirudinea says:

    Really nice, just one suggestion, put some kind of design on the top to show where the inductive charging area is.

  3. Travis says:

    Oh yeah…. We did something similar with our own home-grown inductive charger to power up a swarm of robots!


  4. I wanna do this but I have no real use for it…

  5. Bogdan says:

    I really don’t get the wireless charging needs…. i really don’t.
    I charge my phone in two situations: 1. When i sleep, at which time i don’t mind plugging it in (it’s not really an effort)
    2. At some point during the day, when im in need for a charge as fast as possible.
    Suppose i have some wireless charger and the phone will sit on it. But every time I get a call or a text (this will happen 10-20 times in 2 hours) i’ll have to remove it from there and use it. Because you know, the mat isn’t stuck to my head. This has the following negative consequences:
    -the phone will not charge while i’m using it, it will discharge which will bring the total charging time up.
    -the battery will keep changing between charge and discharge which will shorten it’s life.

    So where’s the advantage? that instead of plugging a cable i have to put it on a special surface? Maybe someone can explain it to me. Seems like an extra feature of devices when the manufacturers cannot come up with anything new. (BTW i have a physics book from the 80s what explains the possibility of charging/powering stuff like this).
    The only thing i want is a 2 meter cable, which today’s phones don’t have so i had to buy one.

    • ??? says:

      It’s more to make it look clean, futuristic, modern.etc…

    • defaultex says:

      It’s short sighted to claim there are no benefits over wired chargers. Although it wouldn’t at all be short sighted to say there are no benefits if corporations keep trying to stick to proprietary bullshit instead of embracing an open standard anyone could implement.

      Technology-Economics 101: affordability and ease of production increase with continued consumption of a given technology.

      During the 60s if you said we’d have desk with computers built right into them, the other person would probably sarcastically respond “big desk”. However today there are lots of people building desk to do exactly that, both mass produced or DIY. They’ve become so affordable that I seen such a desk at Walmart of all placed, not a good design, but a design that actually works.

      Much the same sort of thing would happen with wireless chargers, likely a lot faster than it took for computers to become integrated into computer desks. It would be really nice to walk into the store and buy a nightstand, computer desk, or coffee table that has a wireless charger embedded into the surface. Imagine watching TV, you set your remote down on the short table in front of your couch and it charges the remote batteries, incredibly convenient.

      • Bogdan says:

        If you are seeing wireless charging as universal, that would be good.

        But, a while ago most phone manufacturers said they will all start using micro usb as a standard connector. Most are doing it. All the people I know who use smartphones (except apple) have micro usb connector, so the chargers are universal.

        Let’s not forget that the technology to make these short range is old and maybe manufacturers are turning to it just because there’s nothing much new to bring in a phone.

    • NPN says:

      “10-20 times in 2 hours” take a Bluetooth-Headphone …

  6. James says:

    Off topic to the hack but on the subject of forums since the editor comments on the problems.

    I tried to register on the HaD forums.

    Not only would it not let me choose a password that *I* wanted, instead enforcing some *ridiculous* rules “Password must be between 6 and 100 characters long, must contain letters in mixed case and must contain numbers.” that I am never going to remember, (oblig XKCD: http://xkcd.com/936/ ), but it also requires all signups to be activated manually by the administrator.

    I signed up days ago, still waiting for account activation.

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