Saturday, May 17, 2014

What Would McGyver Do?

So, I got a new phone a bit ago.  A better smart phone -- a Galaxy S3.  I know, I'm two models behind. But our plan is a "buy your own phone" plan, and I have a set budget.  And the S3 is a great phone.

I wanted it mainly for the superior camera.  The screen size doesn't hurt given my 50 year old eyes are suffering from 50-year-old disease.

At any rate, the original battery just wasn't cutting it.  It'd typically drop 10% in the first hour, and that's with no GPS and no Bluetooth.  I like a phone with a good 24 hours time on it before I think it needs recharging (this one would give me about 12 or 14 before it was getting down close to half empty ... sometimes emptier.)

I want to be able to use it -- use the features -- and not really worry about being a battery miser and calculate when and where I could get my next charge.  So I started hunting around for a better battery.  They make them... but not MUCH better... unless you want to go bigger.

And you can.  There are double capacity batteries.  And there are triple+ capacity batteries.

Turns out the way ZeroLemon does the triple capacity battery means the phone won't be thicker than with a double-capacity, and so I went with that one.  It's thick.  The phone was originally about 1/4" thick.  With this battery it's just about 5/8" thick.  So it's a bit of a brick.  Almost 3 times as thick and probably about three times as heavy -- I even changed the startup sound to the intro-flute riff to Jethro Tull's "Thick As A Brick".

BUT ... I had also installed a Qi wireless charging card in the phone and bought a base for home and one for work ... because of the battery life issues I had with the original.  Don't want that investment wasted.  But the new battery is basically a big battery that covers most of the inside of the phone piggy backed on a battery the size of the original  (it has to to fit in the well and hit the contacts ... but this means not only will the contact tab on the wireless charging receiver card not reach the contacts on the phone, I actually have battery in the way.

So What Would McGyver Do????  (WWMD?)

I went to Westlake's Hardware and bought a packet of brass shim stock.  There were varying thicknesses.  One was almost foil  ... so I picked the next thicker. I marked the side of the battery to show the position of the two contacts it covered, and  I cut two strips of that shim stock and used double-sided tape to tape it to the battery.  Two parallel strips.

Before I taped them and cut them to size, I rolled up one end of each so that they would stick down into the holes where the contacts were for Qi charging.  Ended up cutting about a 1/8" strip of foam to attach to the bottom of the battery to push them down into the contact wells.

I then filed down the contacts on the Qi receiver card to about 1/32 of an inch to keep it from bulging the silicon back too much, taped it down with some packing tape, and put the back on.

Wireless charging works like a charm.

I used the phone rather more than I typically do after a full charge ... as a test, and after 64 hours it was down to 50%.  I don't like getting lower than say about 25% ... and with a lesser capacity battery, probably more like 40%.

I charged it fully last night, and this morning I turned both bluetooth and GPS on and I've used it to play music in the car and otherwise used the phone as I normally would.

12 hours later it's at 89%.

This is what I want.

I want to be able to use the darned phone however I feel like using it and not have the battery so low I worry about conserving it so I can make or receive a phone call if I need to.

So I'll charge it up every night, and just use it.  That's the ticket.

1 comment:

  1. Looking at the brass used you would also have the option of using copper shim stock. Also available in a foil type material right up to 0.8mm (Fairly thick) Copper is also easily manageable.