Inductive Charging Going Mainstream

The recent announcement of Psyclone’s TouchCharge kit has us moderately excited. Though inductive charging has been used in electric toothbrushes for ages, we have yet to see it infiltrate the rest of our lives. The kit is a bit pricey at the moment, but it is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, you have to have an adapter for your specific product and their selection is pretty limited right now. Why not make your own to power your devices?  Warning: it is written from the perspective of [Arnold Schwarzanegger].

Update: Is the TouchCharge kit inductive? It appears to require contacts to touch the base.

31 thoughts on “Inductive Charging Going Mainstream

  1. Why is inductive so much better? Why not just have mini-B USB ports on everything? Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the de-facto standard already. I have about a dozen ways of getting USB power; the cables are cheap and the connector is fairly small, and fairly robust. Plus, it can’t fry your watch/demagnetize your credit card/stop your pacemaker.

  2. A properly designed inductive charger will not fry your watch or demagnetize your credit card.

    The issue is convenience. Being able to casually throw your device onto a surface and having it charge is a lot more fun than looking around for the other end of a USB cable, making sure it’s plugged in, then plugging in your device, then dealing with the ugly mess of wires that 5 other wired devices creates.

    I mean why have wireless internet when wired internet works perfectly fine? It’s the convenience of not having to screw around with cables all the time.

  3. in response to coderer:

    From what I’ve seen in a lot of writeup about these things is that they are hoping to use some sort of identifier to trigger the charger:

    ex. an rfid tag in your cellphone would tell the table to supply 4.5V to a 3×4″ area around the location of the tag.

    This would prevent the table from not only wasting energy, but from frying unsuspecting objects (credit cards, etc).

  4. usb ports? you realize that inductive charging passes energy from the charging dock to the device wirelessly right? you could maybe plug a charging dock into a usb port, but inductive charging is attractive because it is wireless. just set your mouse on top of the dock and it charges itself. ready to use it? just pick it up, no wires, no fuss.

  5. That pad with the metal strips is NOT inductive.
    So either:
    1. Remove the link to it.
    2. Change the title.

    I will not live with this lie.

    anyone that can prove to me that that metal pad is inductive I will buy you one.

  6. Yes, as people have been saying in the Engadget comments, this is not inductive charging. It’s simply rows of conductors that charge the device through cleverly-arranged contacts on the outside of the case.

  7. I agree with arthur92710, the touchcharge is a conductive pad (you can see metal stripes on the pad itself and the contacts on the box side).

    Any way, the Afrotech stuff imho simply sucks. No serious design, poor coupling, secondary coil is unbalanced… that guy is wasting so much “powah”! A separate power supply only to keep the mouse charged? “The only prahblem is that the pad coil got so haht it melted de glue and stuck to de floor” LOL

    I think inductive charging is interesting but have to be well-designed to get an acceptable efficiency.

    As a final consideration i don’t like the idea to charge by induction a wireless mouse…

  8. Yeah, where’s the inductive charging? all I see is a bunch of metal strips, an idea I’ve seen somewhere in the reigon of 20 years ago on a UK tv show called “Tomorrows World”.
    The implimentation was for shop window lighting, strips of contuctive metal (aluminium foil or something) stuck to the back of some thin carpet-like material, the lights had 3 prongs on them that would pierce through the material and make contact with the metal strips, no matter what angle or where you put the lights they’d always light up.

  9. Well, if they would just use a good li-ion or li-po battery with a weeks worth of run time this wouldn’t even be a problem.

    As for “wireless mice” I agree with coderer that you might as well just use USB to charge, if you need it cordless just unplug it (95% of the time it doesn’t leave the desk, so let it charge and work wired with USB mini until you need it wireless)

    As for “game-pads”, use an internal li-ion, and for extended play sessions charge and play with a 4x AA NiMH pack on a leash, no problems with friends pulling over the console because the cord goes to the battery pack in your lap.

    Not to mention that it could charge itself from you using it (make the main button or stick/d-pad a piezo electric device, and add a counterweight like the self-charging watches).

    I don’t like this technology, it seems stupid and pointless, save the energy to design self powered and li-ion controllers. (when not using the controller you need to put it somewhere anyway, so why not have a plug-in spot for them? Is it really any harder than laying them on a “charge pad”)

  10. Heh, just thought of something, if this guy put enough rare-earth magnets in that mouse pad would it charge that mouse?

    Now do a mod to reduce the power used by the light, and reduce the transmit power by putting the receiver in the mouse pad. Use Li-Ion batteries to better store the power, and you have something worthy of a hackaday post.

    I would love to see something that leveraged the power of rare-earth magnets :).

  11. I swear, that afrotech website just needs its own hotlink on this page, seems like every time someone out there does something off the wall and crazy that has no real purpose, afroman already did it three years back lol

  12. Right now I’m listening to music on my Sony wireless headphones. They charge inductively when in their stand. Works like a charm, and way easier than the previous model. The older ones used contacts that it could take several attempts to engage properly.

    I like the technology, and if it were more generic it could have lots of uses. Put your cellphone, laptop, mouse, TV remote, etc. on the table, it automatically starts charging.

  13. most wireless mice are very efficient. batteries last for many months. i bet if you made the mouse translucent, and put in a quality solar cell, you could harvest enough power just from stray sunlight and lighting fixtures in the room. unfortunately wont work for the 30 yr. old virgins playing warcraft all day in their parents basement with the lights out. and thats like 40% of the market for these things.

  14. From the pics, it seems that primary (transmitting, pad) and secondary (receiving, mouse) inductive coils are perpendicular, which is the worst arrangement for transfer of energy. He’s lucky he’s getting any current in the secondary winding. Coil in the mouse should have its axis vertical!

    Second, the primary coil is biased with too low frequency for its inductance. It is apparent from high current (wire getting too hot) in the circuit.

    Third, not using full wave rectification in the mouse is another waste of energy.

  15. @arthur92710: I think I can prove it’s inductive; any practical conductor (as opposed to theoretical, perfect conductors) has some parasitic inductance. It wouldn’t help charging the battery though.

    I wonder how hard it would be to take a couple of triple-A batteries, wrap a coil around one, add a capacitor for a matched circuit, 4 diodes for rectification, and 2 resistors and a zener to prevent overcharging, and fit the whole lot in a space meant for two double-A batteries.

  16. This is not inductive charging. There is an adapter that fits into the device to be charged, connecting to where the battery is, the adapter has little metal nubs that contact the pad when the device is placed on it and the power is transferred through there. This isn’t “wireless” or anything of the sort. It’s just a new and rather improved use of widely available technology.

  17. I’ve always wanted a low-power inductive system to power sci-fi models with their own lights or sound effects. I just think it would be cool to not have to hide the wires, or have concealed sockets in models for power connectors.

    Does anyone have a link for efficient working schematics?

  18. @supernova_hq

    Why not wind the secondary for the proper voltage and forget all that other garbage.

    Also, if this french fries your credit cards, they have crappy stripes, it’s not that much gauss (there is no iron core)

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