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2014 Mazda5 Sport: Say Hello To Tom's Hardware's Project Car

Dismantling A Qi Wireless Charger

Ever since wireless charging debuted a couple of years ago, I thought it'd be the perfect application for in-car use. Toyota thought so too; it includes Qi wireless charging in the optional $1950 Technology Package when you buy a top-rung Avalon Limited. For those of you unfamiliar with Qi, it's the interface standard for inductive electrical power transfer from a transmission pad to a device with a compatible receiver. The phone I currently use, Google's Nexus 5, does in fact support Qi. 

As you might imagine, every car is different, so finding the perfect spot for a wireless charger varies on a case by case basis. Many vehicles come with pockets and cubbies capable of accommodating your phone, so a suitable spot should exist. When we bought the Mazda5, we noticed that the little slot below the shifter fit my Nexus 5 perfectly.

Naturally, my first choice of wireless charger to dismantle and install was Google's official offering, since it integrates little magnets to help keep the phone in place. After completely dismantling it and getting it ready for the car, I ran into a problem. The Google Qi charger is too thick; it would have required removing the USB port and auxiliary input, leaving a giant hole in the panel.

Alright, so I'd need something slimmer. Adata stepped up and sent its Elite CE700 wireless charging stand, which sells for $50. There are less expensive options available on eBay, but this wasn't a job I wanted to go cheap on.

The CE700 receives power through a micro-USB port, so it became necessary to hard-wire a connector for the stand. That's where EDO Tech Supply comes into play. The company is the only one I could find with a micro-USB adapter. Its current rating is 1.2 A, which comes close to the CE700's 1 A output.

Here's where the fun begins. You have to completely dismantle the CE700 to get its charging coil. I ran a flat-head screwdriver along charger's seam. Since the chassis gets tossed out anyway, there's no real need to be gentle with it. You won't find any screws holding the case together; rather, it's secured by plastic snaps. With the cover off, you'll see that the coil is held into place with glue. Gently pry the charging coil off (the metal back area) and toss out the casing.

At this point, you'll need to remove the panel or cubby in the car where you want to install the wireless charger. I can't really walk you through that part, unfortunately. Depending on your vehicle and where you're installing the hardware, the process is going to vary. At least in my Mazda5, I was able to pry panels off with a purpose-built tool fairly easily.