I needed to charge an iPad, but I couldn’t do it the “normal” way because it was stuck in a wall! I had mounted 2 iPads in walls at a customers house. I did this by cutting a big iPad sized hole in the wall, and then building a custom mounting dock for it. I also embedded an arduino bootloaded ATmega 328 in there along with a MAX3232 (RS232 to TTL) chip for controlling the iPad via RS232. Now all I had to do was keep it charged. I found Ladyada’s mintyboost resources a huge help. She even has a video on Reverse engineering Apple’s secret charging methods. With her video and mintyboost page, I was able to build a working charging circuit that has worked perfect since December of 2010.
On a side note, you may ask yourself why would anyone put an iPad in a wall? Well, it serves as a lot of cool things, but the main one is to control the home automation systems I install. And an iPad is about the same price (with my dock) as a touchscreen the automation company sells. The automation system controls HVAC, lighting, security, audio (multi room/source), video, intercom, and also have close contact output as well as 5 RS232/485 ports, Ethernet, and telco connectivity. I’ll have to show off my automation system one day, it’s really an amazingly flexible system.
Why not just use the stock iPad charger? Because I don’t do cheesy. Apple chargers are cheesy? No, of course not. I will not tolerate any wires in plain sight at a customer installation. Ever. And I have seen a number of on wall (not in wall) iPad docks that have a wire going down to an outlet. Let’s just say, that’s not my style. NEC code does not allow for exposed high voltage inside a wall, like an outlet with an Apple charger sticking out. So the answer was to build my own solution with low voltage only. For power, I used 2 5v 2A power supplies from Adafruit.
Keep in mind that an iPad charger will charge an iPhone, but an iPhone charger will not charge an iPad. At least this is what Apple tells you. The truth be told, an iPhone charger will charge an iPad when it’s asleep, but that’s at a trickle rate that is painfully slow. I say all that to say this: I’m not clamming this is the only way to charge iDevices, it’s just the way I did it. This method will charge any device currently out right now including the iPad 2.
Here is a shot of the end result. The wow factor is there with authority.
Here is the schematic: