Welcome! Have you ever wanted to ask Google a question while driving without opening your phone? Google Assistant is a great app with cool features, but it requires you to have your phone unlocked and have the app open, or hold down your home button. Wouldn't it be great to have a Google Home in your car that would automatically turn on? Well, now you can have one. Today I will teach you how to build the coolest wireless charging car phone mount. It is lasered from plywood, and is a DIY Google Home, wireless charger, DNS server, and most importantly, a phone mount! This idea actually came when I got Wi-Fi in my car, and my friend got a Google Pixel 2. He was using the squeeze feature on his Pixel while driving, and he made a comment on it being really cool if he could mount his phone and ask question hands-free. Huzzah! A great idea was born. (Ok, maybe not the greatest. But it was really fun to build!)
This project is separated into 5 sections:
1. Dual Charger
2. Wireless Charger
3. DIY Google Home and DNS Server
4. Wooden Case
5. OPTIONAL: Solar!
*A couple quick notes: I did want to make this entirely DIY, but a DIY wireless coil isn't as effective. Check out some of the other entries for that, I always want to support my fellow Instructables writer people. Another thing is that I will be honest about something. I do NOT have pictures of the solar section because a part I really needed (A 5.1 V Zener diode) is not available in any stores near me and will arrive after the Wireless Contest. I might try to update this once I get it. The solar section will have a diagram though, don't worry! Final note, I UNDERSTAND that the Google Pixel 2 does not support wireless charging, my friend uses a Qi receiver.
Step 1: Supplies, Parts, and Tools
- Main Project
- Wireless Charger Or Qi Circuit (I bought a cheap charger from Five Below and opened it, try to get the same one as me for size reasons, but you could get one that is smaller)
- OPTIONAL: A Qi Reciever (Since the Google Pixel 2 doesn't have wireless charging support, and for those of us who can't afford iPhone X's:)
- A Wireless Charging Allowing Not Important Phone Case (So that you can modify the case and still charge)
- 1/8 inch Plywood
- Another Random Piece of Wood Your Vent Clip Can Fit Around
- A Hot Glue Gun (With the glue)
- Car Vent Clip
- 3 x USB Power Cable (Make sure you are okay with sacrificing them)
- Raspberry Pi Zero W
- Pimoroni Speaker PHAT
- USB OTG Cable (Any will do, I bought mine from China)
- USB Microphone (Anything works, just buy a small one)
- Micro SD Card (8GB is what I would use)
- HDMI Cable
- HDMI to HDMI Mini Adapter
- 2 x 20 Header Pins (Your Speaker PHAT should come with them, this is just in case)
- Magnet Tape (Or strong magnets)
- USB Battery Bank
- Car Double USB Charger (As shown, anyone is fine)
- Helping Hands (Not necessary but super useful)
- Dremel (Depending on the size of your USB cables, you may want to widen the holes on the file)
- Optional: Solar!
- 26 AWG Wire
- Solar Panel (Larger is better, remember it will be on a dashboard)
- Soldering Iron (Any is fine, my stationary one is in my workshop)
- Another USB Cable ('Cause we love them! :)
Step 2: Rip Apart the Car Charger
Woo-hoo! Am I the only one excited about tearing stuff apart? (Probably) Anyway, our first step here is to take the car charger of our choice and tear it apart. Some car chargers have a cap that unscrews easily, but of course, mine had to be the kind that didn't. So, I had to crush it very carefully! Our goal is to keep the circuit in pristine condition and not break it. If you have a choice, opt for the screwable kind. I didn't, and after an hour of fighting with it, my charger did split in half. Once you have it opened and removed from the plastic, it'll look a little something like my pictures. My friend (Who inspired this project) thought it was stupid for me to crack open the charger since this was a car phone mount, but I wanted this to be versatile, so I could use this in my workshop as well! It can now be plugged into any USB wall charger. The first step is to be very attentive. Listening? Good, let's begin. The real first step is to look at the spring side of your charger (Use the picture as a reference, if yours is too different, comment on this and I'll try to help you.) Take one of the black wires, (If you have one, then ignore this step), and bend it back. We do not need it. Now, look at your other wire. Strip it, and tin it, by taking solder and applying a small "coat". This will help keep the wire together. Next, (The pain in the butt part) take some solder and try to get it to stay to the spring. Keep trying, you might get it on your first try, you might get it on your millionth try. (Just think of kittens and puppies, they will motivate you). Eventually, you'll get a blob of solder on there. Next, put a blob of solder on your black wire. Now you have to take one of your USB cables and sacrifice it. Cut off the goes-in-the-electronic-device-GoPro-Phone-thingy side (A very technical term - Micro USB, Lightning, Etc.) and cut off the green and white wires. They are useless (Used for data, which we don't need) and can be shortened for easier stripping. Strip the black and red wires, and tin them. Solder the black wire on the USB cable to the other black wire and then solder on the red USB wire to the spring. (Somewhat difficult, take your time, took me a couple tries to get it to stick to the spring and the solder) Our next job is to use electrical tape to tape the wires so they don't touch and short circuit. (Yes you could just use heat shrink, but I only thought of that after I was done) At this point, you can test your dual charger. Voila! Your double USB part of the project is done!
Step 3: The Wireless Charger Dismantling
Yay! More destruction! (No I am not mental, I just like disassembling things) The wireless charger, which is probably way too bulky to be crammed into a wooden box, needs to be dismantled to continue. I have provided pictures above to show what my charger looked like (Bought from Five Below) though yours may look different. It is the same idea no matter what charger, so you can get the idea from the above pictures. My charger was overly simple to disassemble. There were 4 grippy pads on the bottom, and when pried off, which was surprisingly easy, there were 4 screws. (What a shocker, 4 screws, 4 pads!) Once unscrewed, the only thing left was to take off the rubber grippy on the top. After that, the whole thing just fell open. Try to strip it down as far as possible, but mine started to sound like it was breaking, so I stopped. This segment is complete!
Step 4: DNS Server and DIY Google Home
This section is mostly a video, though I do have a rough transcription of the video. Its a lot of words, so don't freak out at me. Try to watch the video if you can.
First, we will start by downloading PuTTY and VNC Viewer. Search PuTTY in Google and one of the first results will be putty.org. Click on that and you will see something here that says download putty here. Click that and you will be taken to THIS site. If you have a 64-bit computer, most new ones, then click on the 64-bit installer. If you have an older computer, you most likely need the 32, though I would get both just in case. It’ll download. Next, open it once it's finished and you will have to go through the installation process. Next, search VNC Viewer in Google and your first result should say download VNC Viewer. Open that link and you will see a choice for your OS. Choose Windows, if you're on Windows, and click download VNC Viewer. It will download, and open it once it’s finished, and say run. Next, open both Putty and VNC Viewer. Leave the programs open and navigate to raspberrypi.org. Once there you will see a download tab. Click that and you will be taken to a screen that says NOOBS and Raspbian at the top. Click on NOOBS. Now choose Download Zip next to NOOBS. Once it finishes downloading,unzip it, and copy it to your SD card. It’ll take a while, but once done remove your SD card from your SD card reader, and insert it into your Pi. Our next step is to get a keyboard, mouse, HDMI cable with HDMI mini adapter, USB Cable, Speaker PHAT, USB Microphone, and USB OTG cable. You want to connect the mini HDMI adapter to your Pi and your HDMI source (TV, Monitor, etc.) and also attach the USB OTG cable to the MIDDLE USB port. Make sure you plug it into the middle one. Next, plug in your peripherals like your keyboard and mouse. Finally, connect the USB cable to a power source and plug it into the end USB port. A green light will blink and your pi will boot. You will know if your Pi worked successfully if the light is blinking! You will see a booting sequence and then a screen that says choose your OS or something along those lines. Click on the box next to Raspbian and let it install. This takes a while so go get a cup of coffee or tea and sit back and wait. Once it finishes, you will need to click okay on the prompt and you will be greeted with a desktop. Before you do anything else there are a couple of things we need to do. The first is to select your WiFi, and after that click on the berry at the top and go to System Preferences. Choose Raspberry Pi Configuration from the menu. A box will appear and you need to do some important things. Click on interfaces. Where it says SSH, choose enable, as well as VNC. Click OK, and it will most likely say that it needs to reboot. Do that. Now, once your Pi boots, you will see a symbol next to your Bluetooth symbol. Click on it and it will tell you your IP address. Write that down, and go back to VNC Viewer. In the search bar at the top type in your IP address. It will say some sort of warning, say ok to it, and you will see a thing that says username and password. By default the username on a Pi is pi, and the password is Raspberry with a capital “R”. You should see your Pi’s desktop in the box. Congrats, you have VNC’ed into your Pi! Now you can unplug the HDMI cable from the pi. VNC is mostly better for the Pi if you need the graphical interface. If you need to SSH, just to do terminal commands, the process is very similar. Click on PuTTY, and you will see a bar that says hostname. Type in your IP address. You will most likely be prompted for a user, type Pi, and a password, Raspberry, same as before. Whazam, you have now SSH’ed into your Pi. For this video, stick to VNC. Our first job is to get our Pi Hole DNS Server! Go to the terminal and type in this: (Shown on Screen). Once you type that in the Pi Hole will start to install. This will take quite a while, around 20 minutes. Go hang out and do something while waiting! When done you will see a grey box. It will say something along the lines of Select Upstream DNS Provider. Choose Google by using your arrow keys and confirm using enter. Next select IPv4. If you need IPv6 you’ll know what it is and choose that if that is your case. The installer will automatically set up and choose your dynamic IP address. This works well, but if you need to you can configure a custom IP address. The web interface is cool, and since we are going headless choose on for this. It’ll keep installing so just hold tight. When finished you’ll get a final config screen. Copy and paste that password somewhere safe, you’ll definitely need it. On your desktop or mobile device type in this: http://YourIPAddress/admin/ into your search bar. Now, go on your phone, tablet, computer, whatever you have, and set up your DNS server. On an iPhone simply go to wifi, tap the “I” and you will see DNS. Type in your IP address for your Pi and you’re good! You might have to restart your browser. Woo-hoo, DNS Server complete! Next we will make the DIY Google Home. The first step for this is to go to this link and read the steps: https://developers.google.com/assistant/sdk/devel... Ignore step 4, its super confusing. The JSON file you downloaded needs to be copied to your Pi. Copy it to /home/pi directory and rename it to assistant.json. Next, open a terminal on the Pi and run these commands.
git clone https://github.com/google/aiyprojects-raspbian.gi...~/voice-recognizer-raspi
cp src/assistant_library_with_local_commands_demo.py src/main.py
sudo systemctl enable voice-recognizer.service
The last two commands set up the voice recognizer service, which runs Google Assistant when the Pi boots. If you are using a USB microphone, which you should be if making the instructable, some audio settings on the Pi must be changed for it to work with the Google Assistant. Follow steps 3 and 3 here to fix it: https://developers.google.com/assistant/sdk/devel...
The (Card number, device number) values that you want will likely be 1, 0 for the mic and 0, 0 for the speaker. Now open a terminal window and run these commands:
If there is a web link in the terminal, click it to grant the necessary permissions to your Google account. Now you should be able to say “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” and have a conversation with your Pi. Try rebooting your Pi (Saying “Ok Or Hey Google reboot” should do this), and test that Google Assistant still works after booting without having to manually start it. Boom, you now have a fully operational Google Home and DNS Server Pi! If you are making the Instructable when choosing your wifi, either select your phone as a hotspot, or your car's built-in WiFi. Now for those using Linux and Mac OS X. Simply click on this link: For Mac: https://www.dexterindustries.com/BrickPi/brickpi-... and for Linux: https://www.dexterindustries.com/BrickPi/brickpi-... and it will be the best explanation for you guys. I don’t have a way to show this to you so use the other source, trust me. Thanks for reading!
Step 5: The Wood Enclosure
The wood enclosure here is made of 1/8 inch plywood that was sanded down and lasered with a 90-watt machine. There are a couple of things that need to be done with the enclosure before assembling it. The first is you need to find out where your wireless charger ends up sitting in the enclosure and sanding that section down as much as possible. We want a closer connection to the wireless charger for optimized charging. Because everybody's wireless charger is different, search for a living hinge box file with your dimensions on Google. Once you have that, simply use your laser machine (or borrow someones) and cut out the file. If you do not have or know anyone with a laser, search for a laser cutting service near you. You will also need to use a Dremel or something similar to cut out ports for your USB cables. Everybody's cables may vary, so try to have the cable in hand before trying this. If worst comes to worst, you can use any enclosure and cut a hole for the coil.
Step 6: Assembly and Final Result
The first assembly related thing is to take all of your components (charger and Pi) and stack them so all the ports come out on the same side. I have pictures above for a visual reference. Once all of them are stacked you can either hot glue them carefully in the box or I simply pushed them in there and that worked wonderfully! (I try to find the easiest methods of doing things) Take the car vent clip and widen it to hold the random piece of wood. Hot glue (or whatever you want) the random piece of wood to the box. Find some extra space to stick your magnets or magnet tape in the case, and then take your not important phone case and tape/glue/attach your magnets or magnet tape on. Your last step is to seal the box, either permanently (Hot glue) or have it be accessible (Using a latch or something of that nature). For demonstration purposes, I have taped the box with clear tape (or held it down with my finger in the pictures). Plug in your two USB cables into our dual USB charger. Now you are done with the main project! Now you can charge your phone wirelessly, destroy pesky ads, ask your Google Home a question, and have a stand for your car! If you want to solarfy (Another technical term) this project, so you can solar power, continue to the next step. If not, then thank you so much for reading this instructable, recommend it to a friend, and enjoy! Comment if you have any questions!
* Quick Note: It looks like the phone is plugged in, but in reality, there are two plugs for two things, the Pi, and the wireless charger. What is plugged in is the Qi receiver.
Step 7: OPTIONAL: SOLAR!
As stated in the notes area, I do not have all the parts available as of submitting this to the contest, because the Zener diode won't arrive until February :(. Above I have a diagram to explain how this would work. The zener diode would be put ACROSS the solar panel, the striped side attached to the positive side, the other to the negative. This part of the project would be better for someone with more knowledge, for this is really hard to explain. You would now need to strip and tin two wires and attach them to the car charger just like in the first step, but connect them to each side of the diode instead of a USB cable. In the end, you would have a steady supply of energy coming out of the solar panel as long as there is sunlight. I would also hook up a battery so you could store the energy when not in use. I would love for someone smarter than me to comment a way to do this, though I know the diode way works. Once again thank you for reading!