Hidden Wireless Charging in my Desk

After getting a set of AirPods this year I thought it would be nice to have wireless charging at my desk. I like using the touch pad on my MacBook pro, so this mouse pad drawer doesn’t get used and I got the idea to embed a charger in it.

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I bought a cheap $10 wireless charger.

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It won’t charge very quick, but it doesn’t have to when I’m sitting there working most of the day. I figured it would be a fun project and the worst that could happen is I fail and I’m out $10. I opened up the case and there wasn’t much to it.

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Then there was only one small screw to remove and the electronics were free.

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I forgot to take any other pictures until I had put everything back together. After pulling up the top of the mouse pad, there was some foam underneath. I traced the electronics and USB cable to make a cut out in the foam. Then I used a chisel to carve out the particle board until there was a deep enough recess. I drilled a few holes for wires and the LED. I had cut the LED off of the circuit board so I could route it to the front of the drawer. I soldered on some wires to connect the LED back to the board, hot glued everything in place, and then used super glue to put the mouse pad top back on. Overall it was an ugly hack job. Over to the right is a picture of the holes and wiring underneath.

Check out this short video of the charging in action.

BTW, the mouse pad drawer has two identical halves, so if I ever decide to use a mouse again (it’s been at least 5 years since I had one), I’m good to go.

Charging Upgrade

I drove up to Rogers City for the weekend to work on the charging situation before it gets too cold outside. Last night I plugged into a standard outlet (NEMA 5-15), which should only be able to charge at a speed of 3-4 miles of range per hour, according to Tesla’s home charging documentation. Somehow I was getting 5, which is still really slow.

I brought wire and a new NEMA 6-20 outlet with me, which is the same thing I have in my garage. So this morning we ran a line and installed the outlet. The box in my parents’ garage already had a free 240 volt 20 amp breaker, which made installation a breeze. It took 20-30 minutes for the charge speed to ramp up, which could be due to the colder weather, but I’m getting the same 14 miles/hour I get at home. Much better!

Solar Power

I saw last week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge was “Shadow”. We don’t get much sun in the winter, so I decided to flip the challenge on it’s head. A shadow is the enemy of solar power, right? A couple of months ago I had bought a bunch of electronics for a solar powered project idea. I don’t know when I’ll get to the actual project or if my idea will even work, so I finally spent some time yesterday soldering and assembling the pieces.

Everything worked great. I can use this little circuit to charge devices over USB (like an iPhone) until I make time to integrate into an actual project. What you see here is a 6V 2W solar panel feeding into a USB/Solar Lithium Ion Polymer Battery charger. It’s charging a 3.7V 2,000mAh Lithium Ion battery. Also connected to the charger is a MintyBoost kit, which takes the 3.7V from the battery and boosts it up to 5V.