One of the burdens that every gadgeteer must bear is the burden of gadget charging. You know what I mean, almost every gadget that we own runs on battery power. Mobile phones, audio players, video players, etc. Even though many of our devices can be charged via USB, which is a convenience, that can have its own challenges, such as running out of ports. Fortunately, the age of wireless charging is dawning and I’m going to tell you about one such solution today. It’s the Duracell myGrid Charging Pad. Let’s take a look.
Wireless charging really isn’t a new idea. I remember having that feature 5 years ago with the SPOT watches back in 2004. Some of them had a special cradle that you placed the watch on for charging. I thought that feature was the coolest thing ever and thought it would usher in a trend that would show up in new devices from that point further. Unfortunately, it didn’t. We had to wait almost half a decade before the next wireless charging feature was sighted. This time it was with the Palm Pre’s Touchstone charge. And now we have the Duracell myGrid.
Max Number of Devices: 5 (15W max)
Dimensions: 6.75 in. W x 8.5 in. L x 0.75 in. H
Power input: 100 – 240 VAC, 0.4 Amps, 50 – 60 Hz
Power output: 15 Watts max
Weight: 4.0 oz.
Certifications: UL, FCC, ETL
myGrid Charging Pad
Power Clip Adapter
Power Clip tips compatible with: BlackBerry Pearl 8100 series, Curve 8300 series, 8800 Series, Bold Series, Motorola RAZR series, RAZR V3 Series, MOTOQ Series, W385, W370, Nokia E71 Series, #2610, #6085, #6061
(The three cases shown in the image above are sold separately for $34.99 each)
The charging pad has a hard plastic base with flat chrome metal slats on top. I think it looks attractive and doesn’t look out of place on a desk.
The starter kit comes with a Power Clip Adapter and three Power Clip tips.
The tips are adjustable. The connector part can slide up and down to accommodate the thickness of the device that you need to charge.
The adapter is made to stick to the back of the device you want to charge. It has an adhesive sticker on the back.
The smaller end of the adapter is magnetic and is designed to connect to the bottom of the Power clip.
To use a Power Clip, you insert the appropriate tip into the charging port of a compatible device. Here is the mini USB tip inserted into the charging port of my Slacker G2 Radio.
Then the Power adapter attaches magnetically to the bottom of the tip. You’ll notice 4 contacts poking out of the back of the adapter. These contacts touch the metal slats on the myGrid to charge the device.
At this point, the Slacker G2 should be charging. You can see that there is a small Blue LED on the myGrid. When that LED is lit, it means that there is contact with an adapter. Unfortunately, I had almost no luck using the adapter tips with the devices I tested them with. The Slacker G2 would show that it was charging only every so often like there might have been a bad connection. I also tried one of the mini USB tips with the Sandisk Sansa Clip. I had 0 luck with this device as well and didn’t get it to charge at all. I also tried the USB tips (both of them) with a couple different Motorola phones that I have laying around. No luck with them either. I don’t know if I can really complain about tips not working because the devices that I tested them with are not listed as being compatible with the myGrid. That said, they all are using mini USB connectors to charge and they charge fine with my computer. So go figure…
So the tips didn’t work. But the sleeve did! I was sent two BlackBerry sleeves and an iPhone sleeve (which isn’t available yet). I don’t have a Blackberry phone, so the iPhone sleeve is the only one that I was able to test. These are flexible Black rubber type sleeves with a built in connection to the charging pins on the phone. You can see the iPhone sleeve above on the Right. It has a stand dock connector built into it.
The back of the sleeves have the same spring-loaded contacts as the Power adapter that stick out and touch the myGrid charging pad surface.
The iPhone sleeve fit my iPhone 3GS just fine. The only down side is the somewhat ugly lump on the bottom that houses the built-in dock connector. Another down side that you’ll want to consider is that you’ll need to remove the iPhone from the sleeve in order to sync with iTunes on your computer.
I like that you don’t have to even think about how you place the device on the myGrid. The orientation doesn’t matter. As soon as I dropped my iPhone on the base, it began charging. Simple! Charging seemed just as fast as when using a USB docking cable with my computer.
An advantage of the myGrid is that you can charge up to 5 devices at one time. You might have a hard time fitting them all on the base though.
I see the Duracell myGrid as a definite step in the right direction as far as wireless charging is concerned. I hope that we’ll soon see devices that have been designed so that special sleeves and adapter tips aren’t required in order to charge wirelessly. But until that happens, the myGrid is a cool alternative (if the adapter tips work).