Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hacking my LG G3

A few months ago I bought a LG G3 and then a Zerolemon LG G3 9000mAh Extended Battery + Rugged Black Zero Shock Hybrid Protection Case ( which gives me on average about three days of battery life without having to charge. There are some disadvantages to this great battery life first and the most obvious is the battery itself is twice as heavy as the phone and sticks out of the phone but the rugged case encloses all of this and does give good protection again at the cost of making this slim smartphone into a small brick. I can live with the weight and size because I am hard on my electronic devices always throwing it in my bike bag along with tools, spare tubes and a grease covered rag. The second disadvantage which I didn't realize till a few months later was the loss of NFC capabilities this one I was not happy about and went about finding a solution. The solution I found was a Qi Wireless Charger Charging Pad + Receiver Sticker Support NFC for LG G3 which offered an additional feature of wireless charging but had some complications in that it was designed to work with the original back plate which I was no longer using.
Pictured above on the left the original back plate and battery in the center the current Zerolemon battery and case and on the right the wireless charging & NFC reciever sticker and charging pad. Obvious goal is to get the sticker in the current setup enabling NFC and wireless charging. So breakdown the current setup:
As you can see the back plate on the far left of the picture has no place to put the receiver sticker because it has to allow the 9000mAh battery to stick through. Also another complication:
The original back plate is flat and sits right up against the inside of the phone where as the Zerolemon back plate is raised up, here are two images showing close-up of the original and then Zerolemon back plate:

I would need to put something in to keep the pressure on the contacts. My landlord/roommate saw me working on things and he had something in his shop that he thought would work well. He did a quick run down to the shop and came back with some black spongy material and after cutting four rectangles and sticking them together I got this:

And this is how they fit into the Zerolemon back plate:
The next problem with the sticker was I had to secure it to the back of the phone with the connectors and pins in line so my solution:
A very thin line of Krazy Glue as far away from the connectors did the trick. To make sure I got things right I put the Zerolemon frame on and then the original battery in:
Then I put it on the charging pad:
Success! The sticker receiver was connecting to the pad. I have seen this 'Charging slowly..." message before and I'm sure whoever connected the phone to a USB cable where the other end is going to a computer or USB hub has seen it too. Anyway it was time to put the 9000mAh battery in the real problem here wasn't the sticker receiver but it is a known issue of bent pins after first use with the Zerolemon battery (the issue is known and is documented on the Zerolemon support website). It really wasn't that tough and the sticker receiver had no problem bending around the larger battery:
I did two tests before I put the rubberized casing on, first was connecting via a USB cable and verifying that the battery was properly connected then verifying the sticker receiver on the charging pad. Once those cleared the rubberized casing went back on and the end results:
I had let the battery drain the night before because I wanted to test how fast and effective the wireless charging was. Sad to report that the wireless charging is not fast or smooth. I had to use the LG charger and even the USB cable, it seemed to lose connection and reestablish connection which caused this annoying little chime sound and finally it is not fast (yes I said it is not fast again). After testing wireless charging I then had to check NFC by using some work access cards I have and the NFC Taginfo app available on Google Play. The reading of my work access cards worked like a charm and a back to back touch of the LG G3 to my Nexus 7 also was successful. I would say the whole process took less then a half hour and gave me one feature I had lost back and added a new feature.

Update 7/2/2015: I ordered the LG Electronics WCP-300 Qi Wireless Charging Pad off of Amazon thinking that it would maybe speed up the charging but when I tried it the phone would not go into charging mode so I then tried the other pad I had and again no charging mode. I also tried a Aukey Wireless Charging pad that a coworker had and the light on the pad would change from green to red but the phone itself would never show that it was charging. NFC is still working which was the real goal so I guess it is not all bad news.