Adding wireless charging to any phone

The wireless charging options available on flagship phones is a great feature, but most of us aren’t rocking the latest and greatest cellphone. [Daniel] came up with a great mod that adds wireless charging to just about every cellphone ever, at a very low price and a few bits and bobs ordered off eBay.

[Daniel] used a Palm Touchstone inductive charger – available for a few bucks on eBay – along with an inductive charging circuit from a Palm Pixi. This charging circuit was designed to complement the Touchstone charger, and is simple enough to wire up; all [Dan] needed to do was put the coil and charging circuit near the charge, and it output 5 Volts to charge any phone.

To get the power from the charging circuit into his phone’s battery, [Daniel] simply wired the output of the coil’s circuit to the USB in on the phone. The space inside his S2 was pretty tight but he was able to come up with two ways to install the charging circuit, for use with either the stock back cover or a third-party case.

For anyone with a soldering iron, it’s a quick bit of work to add wireless charging to any phone. We’re loving [Dan]’s solution, as the Palm gear he used is so readily available on eBay and junk drawers the world over.

49 thoughts on “Adding wireless charging to any phone

  1. Now this is interesting because I am currently in the process of doing the same thing but for some tablets… However I purchased the palm Pre battery covers, which you can get with the touchstone dock on eBay for about ten bucks total. The circuitry is a little different, though….

    1. Note2 Already comes with the pin, all you need is to buy a Qi standard sticker (coil) and place it at the back of the phone (am using that for months, works great)

        1. No, Palm touchstone do not use Qi standard, so either get this coil from an older Palm cover and DIY, or go for some ready made Qi standard sticker and a Qi Charger..

      1. Be wary of quality, though. I bought an inexpensive coil off ebay and it was a piece of junk. I don’t know if it was the size or a short or what, but it would only charge when the coil was placed directly against the Qi charger, i.e., it wouldn’t even work with the stock plastic battery cover on, let alone my phone case.

  2. Does the palm use the Qi standard? Qi chargers are starting to show up under coffee shop counters and similar all over the place. Would be cool to be able to take advantage of this.

    1. This and the Qi standard were being developed at the same time. The Palm hardware came out 2 months before the standard was released. So, they weren’t deliberately ignoring it.

  3. You can also grab a powermat for an iPhone from amazon for $4.75 with free shipping. Take the case apart slap the pcb inside another case and you are good to go.

    1. The powermat technology uses a fairly thick ferrite disc, though, so it’s not nearly so easily fitted into another case (it isn’t stopping me from trying, though.) It’s also really, really easy to break the disc when disassembling, which makes the efficiency suffer.

  4. I did this to my Epic 4G a while back, unfortunately when I switched phones, my new mobile is too heavy for the magnets to grip.

  5. Since there are probably 50 people here who just did extensive searches on this here, i thought i would take advantage of your work.

    What is the cheapest inductive charging pair you found? I want one or two pairs for a project. Links please :P

      1. yeah, but it’s only cool if it’s inside the phone. you can buy inductive charging covers for many phones which don’t void your warranty.

        anyway, i just wanted some opinions which might prove me wrong :)

  6. Bah, my phone phone falls into the smaller category :( My battery cover is way too small and the rest of the back is aluminium (and I’m not buying some ugly case to cover it up).

  7. I don’t see how this (i.e. induction charging) is any better then a regular dock. I have a dock at my office desk, a dock at my home office desk, and a dock on my night stand. Drop the phone in the dock, it’s charging (just like setting the phone on the induction pad). So how is this any better? (clever yes, but better?)

    1. You don’t wear/stress the connectors out. As someone who is aware of the term ‘insertion cycles’ I’ll tell you that I no longer feel guilty tossing my phone(Galaxy S3) onto my repurposed Palm Touchstone just for the sake of topping off the charge.

      1. Except wouldn’t the engineers of the phone take that into consideration. Plus the number doesn’t seem all that high. Even on a busy day, lets say I “insert” (hehe) my phone into the dock 6 times. 6x365x2=4,380 Are the connectors that fragile that they can’t be plugged in and out less then 5000 times without breaking? Besides, parts failure from normal use is covered by the warranty.

        1. Covered by the warranty… that lasts for a year. Anyways, with less moving/interacting parts, the device overall will last longer. Why hassle with warranties, repairs, and fiddly plugs when you can just set it on something?

        2. Yes mate, They are. My Galaxy S2 connector wore out after 1 and a half years and it became a struggle to charge. Think of how tiny the connector is, Have you NEVER had a connector on a phone go bad? It goes through moisture, grease grime + more on the daily for most people. (Think clothes, dust, dirt etc.)

          So yes I will be buying a QI for my S4 now that I have remembered how much wear and tear it cops.

        3. Not every phone has a dock, and not every phone has convenient USB port location for after-market docks.

          btw, One thing I noticed on this mod is that some phone have an antenna for NFC, basically a coil to send power to cards or to receive data from card readers by emulating a card, which is quite similar to Qi coils. I guess it won’t be a problem for devices with off-set antenna like Galaxy Nexus or Nexus 7, but I believe older phones like Galaxy S 2 had it in battery, around battery or in back-panel above battery. I’m not sure if it just doesn’t do anything, or fry the NFC, or fry the entire phone(not likely), but I think it would be better to keep that in mind.

          1. Galaxy S2 does not comes with NFC (some model in some region claims they do, but I never personally sees one)

            I had Qi working with Note2LTE (N7015), the NFC coil is at the upper side of the phone, while the charging coil is at the back of the battery..

            I too did worry about the antenna issue, but have been using it for 2 months and luckily no problem (yet)

      2. Been using Qi charger from Panasonic for a while, not only connector issues, but the handy of simply placing the phone on the device and it charge itself, get it off and go really adding the value of wireless charging..

        I have 2 sets of charger at home and office, all I do is place the phone on it and I don’t care finding the cables / finding correct location of the dock…

        Someone post a nice review of the Panasonic charger.

      3. MicroUSB the standard connector on every non Apple phone is rated to >10000 insertion cycles. The engineers addressed this when microUSB was proposed as vendors had started using USB for power precisely because the miniUSB would wear out over time. In microUSB the cable side of the connector is what wears out and the plug has a better PCB mount footprint to absorb stresses.

        You won’t break your phone.

        1. Rated insertion cycles (in a lab) vs. Real-world insertion cycles (by a 6 year old) are completely different.. Have many co-workers with damaged USB charge ports after less than a year and have to hold the cable or sit it in the dock “just” right to get a connection. Not to mention the ones that I see full of lint or other goo.. Palm Touchstone mod was the first thing I did to my S3 after I bought it. Wouldn’t stick to the base with my case on so I printed a nice “dock” to hold it and match the angle of the Touchstone base and its been working great for a long time now. A dock is best with a usb socket for nice straight insertions, but most people I know don’t use a dock and are jamming a plug in there at night, blind. Very easy to try shoving it in upside-down and damage the plug or socket. Not a fan of any tiny usb connector personally.. Not an Apple fanboy, and don’t like that you are forced to buy new docks / adapters, but the lightning connector on the wife’s phone is great at least for ease of insertion..

    2. I’ve found docks to sometimes be incredibly fiddly, like I have some philips speaker/dock thing and it’s really tricky to get my nexus 4 on the stand at night, would have thought it’s the easiest thing in the world. Maybe it’s because the dock has a flexible part to fit different phone shapes, but anyway, bought a touchstone charger, thought they were more like 75 bucks last time I checked

        1. I am in the same boat, would have been different if I had come to this post before ordering. However, the guy I bought the brand new touchstone from had pointed me to a site where I got already customized Palm coil for Samsung S4, so after returning the Qi coil, I will have spent about US$15 for the whole set including shipping. My decision on going touchstone rather than returning it and get a more common Qi charger is based on the magnet design of touchstone and obvious build quality.

    3. i have usb connector on the top of the phone, so i can’t drop it into dock like you. Besides that, inserting into dock is much more stressful for PCBoard and usb connector, as it was intended to be. USB cable is flexible, dock isn’t. I think…

  8. WARNING: The Palm Touchstone kit has incrediblly poor range and won’t work through any cases or maybe even thick back covers. I bought one and haven’t wired it into my Droid Incredible because of the poor range. Also note the Touchstone won’t work with PowerMat or Wireless Qi. Get a PowerMat charger: it’s only a few dollars more and is much superior (better standards support, farther range, etc.). If you can afford it, Wireless Qi is just as good and is supported by most major manufacturers.

  9. Anyone done this hack with Qi? I’m making an attempt at it but i’m a bit of a noob and Qi doesn’t have straight positive and negative, it’s got 5v (i’m assuming positive) and GND which means…fuck knows

  10. I was thinking about a mod involving a (potentially homemade) dock; however instead of wireless charging, i was thinking of breaking out the internal wireless charging pins to some terminals fashioned to the back of the case (think of how a home cordless phone charges, where the phone has two terminals on the bottom or back and it is simply set on the base to charge). The dock would have matching terminals, wired to 5v. My theory was also to save on the wear and tear of the charging port.

    Any thoughts? Would it work? Is there an amp limit to those internal charging pins?

    1. @Jon: Did you succeed? I was thinking the same thing. My daughter had a g’zone Boulder that charged with large contacts on the back when placed in a cradle. I can’t believe micro-USB is used for charging, except that it makes people upgrade phones more often.

      1. This should work fine, just be sure to use some diodes inline if there’s always 5v on the pins. (measured my GS3, no voltage present when just sitting there so probably not needed..) I gave up and removed my wireless charging mod since the phone screen would turn on and wake me up by lighting up the room when it finished charging at 3am.. I’d have to dock it, then cover it with a towel which kind of defeats the convenience of just docking it.. I’ve been using the USB port (which is getting quite worn) and putting it face-down so it doesn’t wake me up. Didn’t notice if the new KitKat ATT just pushed onto my phone keeps the screen from lighting up or not; if so I’d love to get back to drop-it-in and charge mode rather than fumbling with a tiny USB plug in the dark.

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