Wireless Charging for the Model 3

We all like to think we have patience but I know that often times I do not.  This is one of those times were patience paid off.   What do I mean?  I mean that when I purchased my first Model 3 in February of 2018 I was interested in having some sort of wireless charging solution for my phone.  ( I have Samsung, my kids have Apple, both have the ability)   I looked around and found a few solutions but most were cobbled together by the usual Model 3 aftermarket suppliers that were trying to come up with something.  Some solutions involved cutting plastics, or removing parts of the Model 3 and replacing them with “not as nice” parts or pads, etc.   I also thought some of the early solutions were overpriced at $150+ in some instances.  Especially when you can buy a charging puck off Amazon for under $10, but I understand there are development costs, etc.  So I waited.  I continued to plug my phone into the little cable extension even though sometimes that was less than ideal while driving, and I don’t mean that I was texting and driving, I mean that sometimes I’d have my phone in my pocket and realize that the battery was low and simply want to charge it until I reached my destination.   Now that I have a wireless charging solution, life is just that much easier.

Last month I stumbled across a new wireless solution for the Model 3 that I had not seen before from a brand called Suparee.   I reached out to them to get more info and they assured me that if I tried their solution and it didn’t work or I didn’t like it that I could return it no questions asked.  Considering that I could also get it through Amazon using my Prime membership in under 2 days (remember that patience part? 🙂 ) I figured why not, so I ordered one.   Before I get into the installation, I thought I should mention my prior article where I ran a high powered USB connection from my lighter socket in the rear console of the Model 3 to the front console of the Model 3 since that plays a part in the wireless charging solution.  Here is a link to that prior article: High Speed Phone Charging in the Model 3

Let’s get started with the installation of the Suparee Wireless charging pad for the Model 3.  On a difficulty level this is probably a 1, if you can plug and unplug USB wires and slide a plastic piece, you can do this install, it is really that easy.   Here is what came in the package from Suparee:

There is the main pad, instructions in multiple languages and a contact card for how to reach Suparee support and connect with them on social media.   Removing the pad from the box I looked it over.

Two wires out of the back that end in your standard USB plug ends.

The front has a nice rubberized feel to the material that is designed to keep the phone from sliding around.  There is also a ledge at the bottom for your phone to rest on and a center divider to keep multiple phones positioned.   Note the 2 LED lights at the bottom.   Those glow amber when your phone is charging and they glow white when your phone is fully charged.

To start the installation in the car you first need to remove the cross bar piece at the bottom of the charging pad area.  Mine happens to be covered in a white carbon look vinyl, stock pieces are just shiny black.  To remove simply slide to the left.

This reveals the wired cables normally used for charging phones.

The next step is to unsnap those wires from the clips that hold them in, remove the rubberized factory pad and pull the cables through the plastic housing and unplug them from the USB port(s) you have them plugged into in the front portion of the center console.  I wanted to show a picture of my setup next, simply to give you an idea of my routing.   In my case the left side cable for charging my Samsung phone was plugged into the high speed USB line that I ran from the rear console up to the front console (See prior article linked above for details).  This provided high speed charging for the Samsung phone.   This also freed up the left side USB port to contain a USB thumb drive for music and recording dash cam video.  (Blue usb stick shown)  The right side was simply plugged into the USB port and provided normal speed charging, in my case to any Apple phone that my kids or a guest might want to charge.

I removed my two wired charging cables to leave the plastic hinged piece that the cable pass through open for new cables and of course removed the factory rubber pad that the phones rested on.

Installation of the Suparee wireless charging pad was easy, simply feed the 2 wires coming out of the back of pad through the 2 holes shown above that the prior wired charging cables went through.  The Suparee pad lays flat over the hinged plastic piece providing a nice finished look, in my opinion much nicer than some of those early wireless charging pad attempts from other providers.  The Suparee piece is solid and not going anywhere.

Once the new pad is in place you simply need to attach the two USB cables to whatever ports you want to attach them to.  For most people that would be the 2 front USB ports, for me that was one port and the high speed cable coming from the rear console area.  Once the Suparee pad is in place and the wires attached then attach the crossbar piece at the bottom by sliding it back into place and you are done.  Here is a photo of my wiring setup:

Virtually identical to what I had previously but this time with the wireless charging pad.

So this should be the end of the story right? Plop the phone on the wireless charging pad and charge away.  Well, Yes and No.   Yes, if you don’t have the most recent software update from Tesla, you can charge away and everything works fine.   However, if you are like me and have one of the recent updates then there is an issue.   Thankfully, an issue that Suparee has already addressed so let me explain.   In my case what was happening was that the phone on the left side was charging just fine, but whatever phone I placed on the right side would charge for a few seconds and stop, then start, then stop, then start, etc. with the LED light coming on and going off.   Something wasn’t right.

It turns out that both of the front USB ports are a combo of both power and data and that a recent software update from Tesla (probably for Sentry mode) changed the way the USB ports are handled and power delivered.   I contacted Suparee about what was happening and they already knew about it and were just starting to ship out their solution.   They shipped me the following free of charge and I am told that these will be included with future wireless charging pads as standard so that owners with the software update won’t have the same issue.

These are the USB splitters sent to me that will alleviate the data bus problem with the recent Model 3 software update.   Notice that the cables that come out of the plug are 2 different thicknesses.  This is important as you must wire up the charging pad using the thinner of the two.  Here is the wiring diagram that Suparee sent me:

Not only does this solution allow you to charge without interruption with the new software enabled, but it also provides the ability to still plug in a USB thumb drive for music, dash cam, etc.  In other words you don’t have to give up your 2 front USB ports for wireless charging only, you still have 2 ports they are just now at the end of the adapter cables.  Sweet!   Here is how I ended up wiring up mine, I only used the adapter on the right side because the left side I still wanted to be high speed.

Now I have high speed wireless charging on the left side of my pad (powered by cable from rear lighter socket high speed adapter form previous article) and regular speed wireless charging on the right side of my pad powered by the front USB port via the adapter cable.  I have my USB drive plugged into the left side front port and technically an “open” spot at the end of the other adapter cable where I could plug in another USB device.   In the last couple of weeks that I’ve been using this solution it has worked flawlessly for my phone, my children’s phones and a couple of phones from friends.

In my case my Samsung phone charges through my phone case while on the pad without issue.   My daughter has 2 different cases for her iPhone.  One of them it charges through just fine, the other she had to remove before charging.   My son has a pop-socket on the back of his phone case so he had to remove his to charge as the pop-socket got in the way, but that was true even for the wired solution previously.

I have reached out to Suparee to see if they will provide some sort of discount or incentive for our Tesla Owners Club members to receive a discount on their products.

Good News! They have agreed to give our members an additional 15% discount using the code: 15TSLKC1

You can order this from the following link: Click Here to Order from Amazon

 

 

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