December 05, 2013

Phone charging.

My phone is an HTC Android "DNA" (AKA "Butterfly") from Verizon. It's a very nice phone which was absolutely the latest thing when I got it a year ago, and now Verizon doesn't sell it any more. I guess "new" gets old pretty quickly in this market. (Worse than when I was a phone designer.)

It only has one connector on it, a micro-USB. (The EU issued a regulation requiring all phones and similar devices to use that from now on. I generally am no fan of EU "design from the top by bureaucrats" regulations but this one made sense, with the idea being that it was stupid for every device to have to have its own charger, with a different unique connecter. So the charger that came with my first Kindle Fire works to charge the second one, and also works to charge my phone.

Part of why I bought a second Fire was that the connector on the first one broke, and it won't charge any more. And since I have had to plug my phone in twice a week, I've been afraid of the same thing happening to it.

A few days ago I heard someone referring to "wireless recharging" and it occurred to me that although such a thing is pretty new, maybe my phone is new enough to do it.

Well, it turns out it can. The keyword turned out to be "Qi" and it's a standard for wireless chargers. I just put in an order for one from NewEgg and it should arrive sometime next week. Once I have it, I should be able to charge my phone just by leaving it sitting on the charger pad.

One thing I'll be curious about: when I plug the phone in, there's an LED that turns amber while it charges, and turns green when it's finished. Will the same thing happen with a wireless charge? My guess is "yes".

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 05:53 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
Post contains 325 words, total size 2 kb.

1 My new Nexus 7 suddenly refused to charge one day - unless, I found after some experimentation, I shut it down first.  After a few days it decided to behave again.  (Asus say that a static charge can prevent the USB controller from going into charge mode, and that it will fix itself in due course.  Since it did fix itself, that may well have been the cause.)

Anyway, I can get data on and off the thing via USB, WiFi, mobile network or Bluetooth, and if any one of those components fails, it would be a nuisance rather than a disaster.  But if the USB charging fails...  Actually, it turns out that it's Qi-compatible too.  I might have to pick up one of those chargers.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 06, 2013 12:10 AM (PiXy!)

2 My Kindle's USB port is starting to get a little loose (and I've had it less than a year, and haven't had to charge it much) so I'm getting a bit worried as well.

Posted by: Mauser at December 06, 2013 02:38 AM (TJ7ih)

3 If you are willing to open the Fire, you just need to push the charging connector back in place and it should be fine.  Because of issues with my hands, I can't do this and found a local repair shop that was willing to epoxy it in to place for a small fee. 

(My concerns about opening the backplate are due to plastic clips along the sides.  I just can't seem to work something in there gently enough to click them open, and I don't want to break them.)

Posted by: Tom Tjarks at December 06, 2013 06:59 AM (76G0j)

4 I lost my old Fire too quickly for a lose connector to become a problem, and Fire HD seems to hold well to use.

By the way, for a small bit of irony, the USB Consorcium is mulling the so-called "C" connector: the ultimate USB connector that will replace the old "A" and "B" (and mini-B and micro-B). It is going to be orientation-independent, so you can plug it in any side up. It supports USB 3.0 gigabit speeds and potentially faster clocks. All around superior connector.... But the Europe has already ordered micro-B as the standard. Oops.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at December 06, 2013 07:04 AM (RqRa5)

5 The C connector sounds great, particularly next to the horrible USB 3 micro-B connector.  10Gbit speeds, up to 60W power (I think), and no Spin-½ problem.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 06, 2013 07:41 AM (PiXy!)

6 The EU directive was stupid both for the reason Pete mentioned, which was something that they should have foreseen, and also because Europe and the US had already begun widely transitioning to the micro B connector.

Posted by: RickC at December 06, 2013 08:09 AM (A9FNw)

7 I use a Nexus 4 phone, and I charge it on a Qi charger every night– an Energizer branded two-position pad. (My fiancée's Motorola Droid X goes on the other position.) Our phones do light up their little "charging" lights while on the charge pad, so I would imagine your phone will do the same.

Posted by: Boviate at December 06, 2013 08:42 PM (CeQ+R)


I can't charge my phone at night because it has to sit on the bed next to my pillow, just in case I have another stroke while asleep. (Which is how it happened last time.) If I wake up and have a hard time moving, I'm going to need it and it won't do me any good if it's across the room sitting on a charger.

So I charge it during the day while I'm using my computer, and that will continue to be the case.

My phone is always within reach, no matter where I am or what I'm doing. Fortunately, I haven't needed it. But when that time comes (I hope never) I'll need it badly to call 911.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 06, 2013 09:04 PM (+rSRq)

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