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Qi Wireless Charging Sport Dash


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After having my '17 VLX for only a short time, I started wishing the phone holder on the sport dash offered wireless charging.  I was using the usb port under the bracket to charge my iPhone X.  No issues with that except for the cable dangling down.  If the phone is plugged in and I want to grab it to film something or take a picture, you go through the process of unplugging the cable, then plugging it back in.  Worse is snagging the cable with something when you move and yanking it out.  Yes I know, all minor details and first world problems.  However, winter comes around and you don't really have anything to do on your new boat, why not start a project?  :)  Maybe it will work, maybe it won't.....that is part of the fun.  So that is what lead me to start this journey about a month or so ago.

I am still a couple weeks away from hopefully posting a complete project, but decided to start a thread to contain the topic as I started some back and forth with @The Hulk on another kinda off topic post about this.  I wanted to make sure all this ends up in one place as this may be of benefit to somebody else in the future.

@The Hulk You mentioned the concern of charging times of wireless over a wired fast charger.  For me, my charging habits/sequence in the boat are totally different than in a car or building.  When in a car and traveling somewhere other than work, I usually end up at a place where I want as much charge on that phone as I can get because I may not know for sure when the next time I will charge it.  This lends itself to wanting the fastest charge possible before you exit that vehicle.  How many times is this the case on your boat?  I would say never for me.  On a weekend, I could be on the boat for 5+ hours at a time.  On a weeknight, I will be out for at least a couple hours.  I tow to the lake so I am coming from a vehicle where my phone could be wire charging, and when I leave the lake I am back in a vehicle I can wire charge.  My #1 goal while on the boat is for the battery percentage to not drop, anything above that is icing on the cake.  Therefore, for me, wireless charging is the ticket while boating.  If I am in a car traveling to a sports stadium and my phone is sitting at 20% battery, I want that thing as close to 100% as fast as possible before I exit my car because it could be 5+ hours before I get back to a charger....two scenarios with different requirements for me.  The only time I currently use wireless charging is when I am at my desk doing something.  The aspects of wireless charging are much more valuable in your boat compared to your car also due to moving around the cockpit.  When you get into your car for a 4 hour haul, how many times do you move out of your seat?   Hopefully none.  You get in your car, plug your phone up and away you go and you don't mess with that cord for 4 hours.  What do you do in your boat?  If you have multiple drivers, lounging time, pictures to take, videos to record, moving around in seats, you may unplug/plug your phone multiple times.  If you got a charge cord hanging down next to your left knee, how many times do you swivel in your drivers seat and near that cable with your leg/hand?  The aspects of charging a phone in my boat are totally different than sitting in a car or at a desk.  Placing a phone in the phone holder and doing nothing else would be very nice, everything automatic...again first world problems.  Another thing is micro usb cables vs lightning cables.  My brother is a driver in my boat very often.  He has a Samsung.  If he switches to driver seat and wants his phone in the holder and charging, another cable swap is in store.

You mentioned putting one of the larger charging pads under the drivers right pocket.  That would work and be by FAR the simpler and cheaper setup.  Those larger pads usually have a coil array and the charging circuit decides which coil is best coupled and charges through it.  Most can charge more than one device at a time if coupled correctly.    My goal was to keep the phone up on the sport dash though.  I like where it sits.  You can see it easy at all times, even use it without taking it out of the holder.  It works well for me, just needs charging ability.  So I usually go the harder route and not the easiest or even the cheapest.  :)

You also mentioned the charging wattage.  Apple devices only support up to 7.5 watts according to Apple.  The charging wattage is determined on the receiver side, not the transmitter side.   If your transmitter can do 20 watts, but the phone only allows 7.5 watts or 15 watts(Samsung), that will be all you get.  I don't have a power meter I can hook up to check what it is pulling, but I need to grab one for testing.  So no matter what transmitter(pad) you have, you are only going to charge at a max of 7.5w on Apple and as far as I know 15w on Samsung devices.  With that said, I am using a development board that uses a Semtech TS8000 controller IC.  This setup is capable of up to 20 watts, but again it all depends on the receiving device.

I let my iPhone X run down some today and did a test.  Battery percentage was at 24%.  After 1 hour it climbed to 53%(+29% gain).  After 2 hours it was at 78%(+54% gain).  After 3 hours it was at 94%(+70% gain).  3 hrs 26min to hit 99%(+75% gain).  It took 3hr 39mins to reach that final 100%(+76% gain).  It seemed to slow down some as got over 90% and approached 100%.  That is plenty fast enough for me on a lazy day on the lake.  As said above, an iPhone X is supposed to only charge at a max of 7.5 watts so all else being equal with battery size, etc., a Samsung charging at 15 watt(if that is achievable) would be twice that fast.

As for distance from the coil, with the setup I have you need 4mm(0.157") minimum from coil.  On my iPhone X, I have a Spigen Ultra Hybrid case with Air Cushion which is fairly thin, but does provide some shock absorbing.  I have dropped the phone more than once on concrete with no damage yet.  With that said, depth of the case and mounting of coil is extremely important for good results.  Too thick of a case or metal case and it won't work at all.  I am placing something over the coil to limit the depth from coil to phone back to greater than 4mm.  There is possibility of damage if you get receiver coil too close to transmitter coil so want that protected automatically.

@The Hulk Can you tell me what the outside dimensions are of your Otterbox case for your S8+?  I see an Otterbox Symmetry case that they say is the 'slim' model, but the dimensions I see seem wrong.  Mainly interested in the height of the outside of case from top to bottom.  I think a coil could be placed where it would charge the phone, but I don't know anybody personally with a + phone that would be charging on my boat so I stuck with the shorter phones for my design.  I need to think about adding vertical adjustment of the coil.  There are ways to do it, but need to think about that some more and best way to do it.  First prototype is being done with a non adjustable single coil that is offset .050" to the left and 0.100" up from the center of where my iPhone X sets in the phone holder brackets to potentially allow coupling of slightly larger phones or thicker cases.  I felt this was the most aesthetically pleasing design so far.  As I said on the other post, I want this to look like the factory could of done it or it was a waste of my effort.  I could go to Amazon and buy a plastic Qi Charger and superglue it somewhere.   That was not my goal here. :)       I also could look into doing it with a two coil array.  One coil to grab the iPhone X size phones and another offset slightly more left and up to grab the iPhone + and Samsung + phones.  Again, will need to look at some datasheets for coils on that type of setup for dimensions. 

You also mentioned Malibu should make the front part bolt on so it could be made to fit a thicker phone.  You do know the two arms that hold the phone are just held on by 3 screws on each arm?  They could be removed and spaced out further.  You just would have an air gap under those two arms by however much you space the arms out.  I think if you got cases that thick, a Qi charger is totally out of the question.  My phone with case would have to be 0.250+ thicker to not fit depth wise in the OEM holder.  You really run into a problem with cases not fitting in the holder depth wise?  I guess I could see it if it had a battery pack case or something.  Maybe I need to look at the bulky version of the Otterbox cases, they may be that thick?

For others who didn't see the other thread, I will post pictures ASAP.  My goal is for this all to come together in around two more weeks.  I have a few more parts to acquire and something else to machine before a fully assembled test can occur.

Also, for the first person to post the link to Amazon where you can buy a Qi charger for $20 and buy more beer with the money saved, I will go ahead and give that post a reply because I know it is coming.  :)  That is not the point of this project.  If cost and simplicity was the goal here, you win.  But that is not the goal....an attempt at an OEM type look with great functionality trumps all in this project.  This is an opportunity for myself to tinker with something I enjoy(boats, mechanical design, electronic design, CAD modeling, CNC machining, etc).  Doing something new and pushing yourself to do cool projects is always more valuable than buying a cheap piece of China plastic on Amazon.  I also could of went to Bass Pro Shops and bought a $1000 Jon boat and saved almost $100,000 if this was about saving money.  So save yourself the $200+ dollars and head on over to Amazon.com  :thumbup:

Okay, with that long @*(& post out of the way.  Stay tuned for updates and pictures as I hopefully finish and assemble components very soon.


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my otter box on s8+


aprox dimensions 3-3/16" wide x 6-9/16" tall and just under 1/2" thick

note Curved edge displays now have thinner cases because no more side protection...which is where of course you will break your samsung device as you drop it there will just so happen to be a tiny pebble that hits only on the edge...errrrr... 

some of the cases help this by having the corners bubble up a hair on front side edges. 

NOTE 7 was an issue if i recall fitting, the s8+ is easier but the case i have is also thinner than the note 7 was... man i mss the note 7.... anyhow onward... 

Samsung fast charger the desktop upright angled one from a year ago: the phone sits up slightly higher than center and is touchy barely works, if you turn horizontally no problem. 

my current case is arpox 3mm thick, so you need to add whatever thickness material will be between the qi charger + standard case up to say 3-mil thick... which i'm sure will impact charging. 

I agree with you on trying to just maintain while in the boat... works fine when using pandora, may or may not keep up while youtubing (unless you pay for YT-Red) where you dont have to stream the video as well.. 

I may go the pocket route, seems when we are crising especially in chop its hard to keep hand steady and hit the phone or change things while mounted to dash, but i DO like it there. i may try to get something like this and see if it fits in or "under the pocket https://www.amazon.com/YICHUMY-Wireless-Charger-Charging-Aadapter/dp/B078LQ8VPL/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1519050907&sr=8-5&keywords=large+qi+charging+pad

i would def BUY your OEM-look alike option though... but not sure i have the time to go about like you!. good luck! wish i could put my boat in the garage at home and work on it at night... currently its at work so hard to tell the wife i'm staying late to work on the boat... she'll be like you spent $$$$ and you need to work on it??? ha

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It's nice to see that Apple finally decided to catch up from a few years ago and add wireless charging.

Just get a fast wireless charging dock.  We pretty much only use wireless charging in the house (wife and I each have one for our Galaxy phones), and we each have a fast wireless charger at our offices.  Still not as fast as hardwired, but fast enough.  I also have a fast wireless charger dock in my truck.  I'd have the same thing in the boat, except I already hardwire the aux cable so it seems kind of pointless when I could just hardwire the charger as well.

Fast charger is the only way to go.  I kill it in my truck on long trips, running Waze, Spotify or Sirius, WiFI Hotspot for the kid and the brightness turned up...it struggles to keep up with the demand.  I'd be screwed with a regular wireless charger.  

My favorite charger is this one (though I only paid $15):https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MUCZX6E/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It looks like cheap junk but it is a really good charger.  It isn't picky at all on how you slap the phone up there, the angle is good and it just works without any fuss.  I may replace my home charger with one as well.

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1 hour ago, Nitrousbird said:

Fast charger is the only way to go.  I kill it in my truck on long trips, running Waze, Spotify or Sirius, WiFI Hotspot for the kid and the brightness turned up...it struggles to keep up with the demand.  I'd be screwed with a regular wireless charger.


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  • 1 month later...

i just measured my S8+ on a samsung FAST charger, the one thats desk mount.

i used a yellow notepad to test, at aprox 1/8" i can get it to work, any tiny bit over 1/8" gap between phone and charger it wont work or you have to press very hard to get it to charge.

NOW that being said i DO have a case on my phone (otter) box which is probably about another1/8" thick at back judging by the thickness opening near camera. 

No case with best Qi charger and you "might" have 1/4" TOPS depending on material your passing through as i tried with a paper notepad


anyhow thought you might like the info

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Sorry for the delay.  Work got really hectic the past few weeks.  We had one employee quit and another out with a serious illness.  Long hours and short on free time lately.  Temperatures are warming up and will probably be on the water in the next couple weeks so it was time to wrap up this first attempt at this.  I went to the boat storage today and installed the new modified dash.  Everything turned out pretty much as I hoped.  The only thing was the custom Seadek was not done out of the exact material I asked for so the Seadek pad is thicker than I was expecting.  Functionality is not hurt at all, just isn't a single color 5mm pad so there is a tiny bit of black showing just at the edge of the recess where the pad is stuck and is .040" thicker than I was expecting.  More on pad thickness in the buildup post.

So here it is installed.  No more wires for the captains phone anymore!!  :thumbup:   So far it has only been tested with an iPhone X, but should without a doubt work with any 'standard' size phone model.  I think it may work with + size phones, but not positive yet.  I do know of a fix for that that I will discuss in another post as I post build pictures if + size phones will not work.  There is a different coil that is available.  I know everybody likes pictures so attached pictures of it installed and the phone charging with no wires.  I will do another post or two with pictures of the buildup following this one.





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On 3/29/2018 at 9:41 AM, The Hulk said:

i just measured my S8+ on a samsung FAST charger, the one thats desk mount.

i used a yellow notepad to test, at aprox 1/8" i can get it to work, any tiny bit over 1/8" gap between phone and charger it wont work or you have to press very hard to get it to charge.

NOW that being said i DO have a case on my phone (otter) box which is probably about another1/8" thick at back judging by the thickness opening near camera. 

No case with best Qi charger and you "might" have 1/4" TOPS depending on material your passing through as i tried with a paper notepad


anyhow thought you might like the info

Just FYI, I imagine there is a gap built into that charger of atleast 3-4mm from the coil surface to the outside plastic surface you are laying the phone on.   It could be even more.  I have not seen a Samsung charger teardown, but will head to youtube to find one.   So your 0.125” notepad test also should add the ‘built-in’ gap...so your phone is actually around .300” + from the face of the coil with your .125” of notepad.  My prototype places the face of the coil 6mm(0.236”) from back of the phone/case.  The thickness of the Seadek sets this spacing.  5mm Seadek would place it 0.197” from phone.  I don’t think thickness is a huge issue unless a REALLY thick case is used and that can be overcome with a case change.  The main possible concern is the ‘centering’ of the two coils.  A + size phone will have its coil sitting higher in the phone holder since the phone location is registered off the bottom surface.  I cheated my coil location off center(up and left) from an iPhone X center so it may grab the + size phone coil and charge.  

My brother has a standard size Samsung so as soon as I can get him to leave his phone on my charger for a hour or so I will check the Fast Charging(15w) of this charger.  I may have to wait a couple weeks until we are on the water and have him test his phone then.  Still working on finding a + phone to test...didn’t realize nobody I know uses a + phone until I started paying attention.

Edited by D_Turner
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On 4/1/2018 at 7:34 PM, Nitrousbird said:

I sure hope you are selling those, because EVERYONE with that dash should be buying one without excuse/exception.  Well done!

Not really sure what I am going to do just yet.  The current maximum market is approx. 11,000(3800 x 3 years of the boats with this exact dash).  Out of that 11,000 how many would pay $300+ for a phone charger(1%? 5%?)?  Does Malibu redesign the dash for 2019?  If they do a redesign does it incorporate a Qi charger and is it a drop in replacement for 2016-2018?  It would be nice to know how long they plan to stick with the current Sport Dash with no changes.

I am contemplating making a new dash housing(the big piece of aluminum).  For the first setup I did above, I purchased a complete dash to modify from Malibu so it was a direct swap out by just removing 4 nuts.  That adds $110 to the cost though.  Also, Malibu had no problem selling me 2 of these, but what if I order 10, 20, 50, 100.  That might start to screw up their production line.  If I can match the coating Malibu does on their aluminum parts(which I imagine is an anodizing) and depending on what they do for 2019 model year, I may try to draw up something.  Doing this could lower the cost $50 or more especially if you reused the 'jaws' from the stock dash.

The Seadek would have to lose the M logo as well I am sure.  I would imagine Malibu would not like their logo on a part being sold they did not design or sell.  I got 5 as pictured above as that was as few as the Seadek guys wanted to do on such a small piece of material to make it worth their time.

If I go no further with it, I would probably be willing to help out some here on the forum with machining the pieces if they want to assemble the electronics/wiring.  The assembly is the time consuming part currently and makes it hard to do it cheaply.  Investigating other ways to improve this as well.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I've been trying to track him down from here to WakeGarage but no luck hahah!   He's disappeared on us!   



Thinking to take the plunge at buy the 19 and try to retrofit it 

Edited by Raffit78
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21 minutes ago, Raffit78 said:

I've been trying to track him down from here to WakeGarage but no luck hahah!   He's disappeared on us!   



Thinking to take the plunge at buy the 19 and try to retrofit it 

If you are trying to get the OP's attention, tag him: @D_Turner.  He just might answer you. 

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