DIY - Add Qi-wireless charging to your AT&T Lumia 1520 with these replacement shells

[Update 1/21/14 - Unfortunately, the method detailed below does not work. At least not directly. However, users are urged to head to our forums where there are more detailed instructions.]

The Lumia 1520 is arguably one of the more intriguing devices released in 2013 for Windows Phone. While the size isn’t for everyone, the specs are certainly eye catching. There is just one problem though: AT&T.

In their infinite wisdom, AT&T requested that Nokia gimp their Lumia 1520 with only 16 GB of storage and that they remove Qi wireless charging. True, you can add a backcover to get that function back, but even there, people are left high and dry. That’s because the only case that’s available that supports wireless charging is the PMA variant, the competitor to Qi. So throw out all of those Qi chargers because they are now worthless.

AT&T will be adding a 32 GB SKU for the Lumia 1520 in the future, but Qi wireless is not coming back. That is, unless you want to take matters into your own hands…

In the Windows Phone Central forums, a discussion started by Benny Vallejo has broken out over replacement shells/covers for the Lumia 1520. A seller on eBay is offering official Lumia 1520 replacement backs, but they are the ones for the international version of the phablet. That means that they have the coveted Qi coil built in. It also means you now have a choice.

Granted, removing and replacing the whole shell/case from the Lumia 1520 is probably not trivial, although there is a nice video (posted above) that walks you through the process. The cases come in all four colors, including glossy red, black, white and even yellow. In theory, you can now also swap colors, if you so choose.

The parts run for $55-$62 with shipping worldwide and the seller has a 99.6% positive feedback rating, so you can feel confident in your order.

Should you go for it? That’s a tough question, though it’s common for people to replace their cases and shattered displays (our own Seth Brodeur has done so, documented here). But let’s be very clear: this will void your warranty, if you care about such things.

Tell you what: we’ve already ordered our matte-white replacement cover, so we’re going to give this a go. Stay tuned in the coming weeks if you want to know our results (we’ll be documenting the process).

Ready to jump on board, regardless? Simply do a search on eBay for the Lumia 1520, then whittle it down to ‘Replacement Parts & Tools’. There you should see the listings from seller ‘original_parts_mobile_99’ located in Spain.

Via: Windows Phone Central Lumia 1520 Forums

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Hmmm
  • I know, AT&T makes you have to work to stay a customer. All because some PMA guys bought hookers for the AT&T CTO, or some other such nonsense. Maybe its kickbacks or something, who knows. Regardless, they are too willing to piss off customers on a whim. Just don't buy PMA chargers, because that could get made illegal at AT&T next month.
  • Att has got its hooks in he government too. The only reason my family stays with it is that my dad gets a 15% discount for being a state employee.
  • Nearly every tel-co does this. I work for the state and they all have anywhere from 15-25% off for state employees.
  • They have discounts for private sector employees as well. I have 22% as an Allstate insurance employee.
  • 20% discount for being a WalMart or Sam's Club employee also ;)
  • Here is one: Why people don't want to take action to protect their God-Given consumer rights. He is the petition I signed earlier this week via change I signed this petition earlier this week, just to make some desperate noises! Join the others and make some noises. This is also to protect the others too - AT&T simply says PMA only what this means is NO to Qi-Wireless (even from Samsung, Apple's iPhone and HTC...etc) but AT&T is also saying NO to these exciting wireless power standards A4WP, Cota by Ossia and WiTricity...etc Please take the time to Google and learn about them. If you don't like what AT&T is doing, then take an action and letting your feeling KNOWN.....Sign the petition.
  • We should create petition against AT&T PMA only restriction.
  • I have always believed they (ATT) have a vested untrest in the PMA /Duracell market and are trying to edge our QI for their own benefit . To heck with the customers who think they are getting wireless charging . They did the Same thing to the LG G3 and then cripiled it with Lolliopo . They finally had an update that fixed the problem . I expect they were gettig tired of getting phones returned because Wireless charging was not working. I for one am getting tired of ATT decieving customers . The excuse they use is PMA is in Starbucks and in Airports....who cares ATT , get on board with QI and quit purtting the screws to people !
  • Anyone try popping it open and installing the coil?
  • By this I mean just ordering a coil.
  • There is no vendor selling just the coil.  I asked the ebay dealer selling the polycarbonate shells that question.  However, more to your point, I wonder if it would be easier to remove the qi charging qoil from the new case and pop it in the existing.  I imagine that would require the least amount of work.
  • yessss! just may get it now. take that at&t!
  • Lol you're still paying them
  • It's better to pay a prostitute for giving you an orgasm, not paying a prostitute to give her an orgasm.
  • ...
  • LOL.
  • What if giving her an orgasm is the thing that leads to you getting one? :P
  • Would not be doing this. I am fairly tech savvy, and even when replacing my 920's shattered screen, I saw how intricate everything was in there. This would involve more than just swapping the case. The camera assembly, mics, ear piece, all buttons, and much more will need swapped. I can just imagine ending up with a phone that is creaky and feels cheap, and possibly things that dont function and the buttons are loose feeling or non functional. On the warranty issue, I have never owned a phone where I actually needed a warranty replacement. I either dopped the phone and cracked the screen, or moved on to another one.   Still pissed at ATT for removing Qi and actual storage. Give us options. Every other major flagship device has options for storage with price tiers. If they raised the price proportional to how much the extra storage actually cost, it would be like $15 more for 32GB version, and $60 more for a 64GB version. Cant believe companies still get away with $100 more for each tier of storage.
  • I dunno. Seth replaced his case and the display on his Lumia 920 with no issues. He's smart, but fiddling with electronics on the hardware level is not his specialty either and he had no problems.
  • @Daniel shout out to me for posting the thread? Also you may want to inform people that if they order a different color than the one they have originally, they will also have to purchase a SIM tray and microSD tray to match. They do not come with the back plates. The seller does have some posted as well...
  • Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh (happy now?)
  • haha...a little bit...good one mab664
  • Sorry Benny, early morning post. Shout out added.
  • Thank you. :)
  • I think if you can do a screen, you can do a case. It's less involved. I've done 2 digitizers on 2 different 920s. Pretty straight forward.
  • Agree the 920 is straight forward. However there are no screws on the 1520. Unless there is a "spine" like that on the 900.
  • The long spine on the 900 was certainly cool. Even easier than the screws on the 920
  • I have done one and am not happy with the results. I think it is a faulty digitizer though, but the keyboard sucks now, multitouch doesn't work at all on the screen, the keys at the bottom (such as Bing search) are flaky, and the lighting is different where one can see three bright LEDs at the bottom of the screen. Messing with that adhesive that holds the screen down to the phone is a pain in the butt too.
  • Because they can.
  • if you actually look at the auction listing there's a gutshot, and everything is in place already.  the camera assembly is integrated into the motherboard side, and all the shell-side components look to come pre-mounted to the new back.  judging from the video it might be a little more touch and go on disassembly than the 92x series, but it should be plug and play from there.
  • I just hope Microsoft doesn't play along with AT$T in the future and gets the phones out there that we actually want.
  • Yeah, same with blackberry, att still charges double for data cuz they label it a "business" phone
  • Curse At&t... I don't want this phone, but I am worried for the next batch. If they don't stop this nonsense I think I am going to have to switch, but I don't know where to. I hate how Verizon sucks out every bit of color and messes with the design. Sigh.
  • Trust me. You want Verizon over AT@T.
    95% of people in my area have Verizon. Most of them have switch from T-Mobile, AT@T, or Sprint.
    Verizon might limit how "cool" a phone looks, but they are miles ahead every other category. They give options, tons of plans to choose from, and there are even a lot of exclusive WP store apps from Verizon.
    Sorry for my rant, but everyone I know, including myself and my family, absolutely love Verizon.
    (we switched from AT@T about six years ago...)
  • No way, no cdma carrier for me. I want the freedom of buying an unlocked phone and using it on my network of choice, which rules out Verizon and Sprint.
  • Verizon is definitely not miles ahead of every other carrier.  I know Verizon loves to brag about their LTE network, but what they don't tell you, is that when you move outside of an LTE area (basically outside of metro areas) you fall back to their garbage CDMA / EVDO network.  Seriosuly, it's complete trash and is built on technology from the 80s.  The data is horrendous...don't get used to the speeds on LTE becuase their EVDO network will run at around 800kbps (yes, that's 0.6 - 0.8 Mbps)
  • In the past 12 years or so, I've had Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T.  My wife currently has T-Mobile (thorugh work).  We live in the Chicago suburbs.  Obviously evaluating reception is very area specific. Originally had Verizon.  No problems with service, though data was slow (but this was long before LTE, and maybe even 3G? About five years ago went to Sprint.  Worked great for a year.  Then their local tower went down maybe 4 years ago.  They have never fixed it.  One day I woke up and couldn't get a signal in my home office, or could only make literally a five second call before being disconnected.  My wife's work at the time (500+ lines) had the same issue.  Incredibly poor signal.  Sprint went back and forth with them for a year, promising they would fix the tower, but then finally told them they weren't going to fix it.  As for me, about a week into the outage, I didn't like the sound of what they were saying, paid the ETF, and left for Verizon.  Have to have a working line in my office, to the point where a few hundred is meaningless in comparison to no service. Had no signal complaints with Verizon (just as before).  Plans were more expensive but not by much and that's not my highest priority anyway.  Probelm is there was no Windows Phone selection.  I had the Trophy (which was a pretty great phone imo, but no LTE of course), but when the 920 came out I had to go AT&T because I just didn't like the 8x that much and saved enough with a family plan to cover the ETF. Been very happy with AT&T, with the one exception that I can't get a signal worth a damn at Disney World in Florida.  Why the hell wouldn't they cover Disney World???  Bizarre.  All three AT&T phones in my family were pretty much worthless.  So was wife's T-Mobile.  The in-laws Verizon phones worked fine. T-Mobile frequently seems spotty for my wife around home too.  She often asks for my phone, not because hers isn't nice (Galaxy S4), but because she can't get a signal.  So basically, we have (a) AT&T who gets all the great phones, but moderate coverage and has started crippling features that are very important to me (Qi and storage)  (b) Verizon who has very limited phone selection usually offered much later than AT&T, doesn't cripple features, but compeltely ruins the Nokia design and doesn't offer any colors, but has great reception (c) Sprint which is completely worthless here and carries no Nokia phones, and (d) T-Mobile with fair coverage but very poor phone selection. AT&T was the clear choice before this PMA nonsense... I can only hope they reverse their position before the WP8.1 phones come out.  Not sure what I'll do if they don't wise up.  I guess see if Verizon wakes up and offers the designs I want in a more timely manner.  The delay over the 929 is so typical... they seem to have an attitude that they are God's gift to cell phones and everyone should just bow at their feet and be thankful for whatever scraps they throw them.
  • I just got back from Disney World in Florida and didn't have any problems. I didn't look to see how many bars I had, but when I called others, it worked just fine. I have a 920 and would like to upgrade and I am not willing to go CDMA, so I will stick with AT&T.
  • Interesting... I was there this past January.  I'm actually going to be there again this coming January... hopefully they have done something to improve things and I will have the same results you had.
  • You def don't want Verizon as you can't buy an unlocked device of your choice and use it on their network. E.g. if you want a device they don't carry you're SOL and if they carry a device you don't like, same thing. Much better to look at prepaid carriers and buy your phone outright, same service, less cost b
  • Mama Mia..
  • Called it! Look on the old "att removes qi" article and you'll see my comment about shell replacement going to pop up :)
  • This is good to know. I hate that my Qi charger sits on my table with no use other than my 920 that I pretty much use now as a media player. I'll wait to see how this goes first and then decide on it. I love this phone but I wouldn't mind the Qi be revived in it. The 16GB I'm okay with.
  • Does anyone know if the replacement case adds thickness or weight?
  • Just weight, not thickness added.
  • What about mods for the 1020?
  • Replace the duo core with the quad core snapdragon ^^
  • We won't see Microsoft being able to make demands when it comes to Qi Wireless and Storage with carriers until we are firmly in second place or at least very close. They still see Microsoft as needing the carriers when it should be the other way respect :(
  • Cool beans.
  • I'm new to wireless charging...will it work through one of the amzer gel cases?
  • Yes, it typically works through most cases, even slightly thick ones.
  • I'm sure its been brought up, and I know this is a forum related to the 1520, but is there anything like this for the 1020?
  • Not that I've seen. Difference here is that 1520 has wireless charging inbuilt for the int'l model and its just a matter of swapping out the plate. 1020 omitted wireless charging in all models to fit camera module and keep device thin and light, so there's no easy swap. Any mod would be more involved and would include placing a new coil and assy from another device
  • DIY solutions aside, I've been curious since the launch of the device about how Nokia and AT&T have been able to get away with not providing an official Nokia wireless charging case. I tweeted to Nokia and AT&T last night and they just replied saying they are "unable to comment on the availability of the accessory." Seriously??
  • Nah I'm good.
  • This would be interesting if I could actually get the 1520 I ordered on 11/22/13.  I tipped you guys off about AT&T still being out of stock 2 weeks after your original article about delays.  Now almost another 2 weeks later people are still waiting Called AT&T again today after 23 DAYS of waiting and was told Nokia has pulled the 1520 from them??? What is going on? PLEASE WPCENTRAL!!! HELP GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS!!! I know things are all peachy in the UK but we want our 1520's in the US too, and PEOPLE LISTEN TO YOU!!
  • Nokia has "pulled" the 1520 from AT&T? What's going on...
  • If they let you, you should cancel your order and get it from the MS store. Plus you get $50 app card with the 1520 from the MS store.
  • UPDATE- So the AT&T rep told me he was going to call a company store to see if they could fulfill my order and call me back.  When he called back he told me it was available again and wanted me to cancel and then reorder the phone.  When I asked about him telling me Nokia had pulled the phone he said he talked to someone whoe was a "higher pay grade" and their screen showed it in stock. Now I'm back to being told the same thing as when I reodered it 19 days ago.  My new expected ship date? 12/19/13 - 12/23/13. Awesome! Only a month after I ordered it and was told I'd have it in 2 days.  Still more to this story that I wish WPCentral would get to the bottom of.  I've spent probably 6 hours on the phone over the past month trying to figure out what is going.  Feel sorry for everyone else posting on that link I left.
  • Cool, but not worth the price for me to get wireless charging. 
  • That looks absolutely terrifying!!! O_O However, removing the main shell seemed quite easy. Would certainly make it easier to spray coat it in cyan... The main reason I've not ditched my current contract and jumped on a 1520 (or even a 1020) was the lack of a cyan model. Still, I'm not sure I'd ever dare though. If anything went wrong it's not like Nokia would replace it and I couldn't afford another one. :/ A shame Colorware don't do Lumias...
  • Just watched the video. Way too involved! I chatted with Nokia and they did not have an ETA on the official charging cover.
  • Haha ha I love this guy "...spray coat it in cyan,"
    Such drastic measures ;)
  • I was disturbed when they left the qi charging out but bought one anyways. Since the 1520 has very good battery life I do not miss the wireless charging. I go a day and a half without charging versus half a day with the 920.
  • Yeah, me too. Amazing battery life on this device.
  • I guess I don't understand these things sufficiently but I am not hung up on Qi or PMA, so long as either-or came built into the case without adding thickness.  You would think that there'd be some push on ATT, since they are the ones attempting to impose their standard, to get a case out to market quickly.   I could see why the third party accessory manufacturers take their time, to see if the 1520 was going to sell, before they committed to putting a model version out (like Proclips car holder).  But even the direct sellers, ATT and Nokia-MS seem to be caught flat-footed by demand and have these long back-orders.  Sometimes this might be contrived to generate buzz, but its as if these companies are incapable of planning for success. 
  • At 1:35, it shows the two halves of the phone. The left one is the back panel. There isn't much stuff stuck to it.... might not be that bad. I found the eBay ad, and the inside picture of the panel looks largely like the one in the video..... as long as the phone snaps together reasonably well so it's not loose, it looks pretty easy to do. I'm super torqued about the whole Qi/PMA thing.
  • This video is for the whole disassembly process. How much do you need to disassemble to install the Qi coil case? Do you just pop the original case off and then put the electronics into the new case? If so that looks very easy, just one screw and pull the screen out.
  • Yeah it looks like it is just one screw and the replacement has all the electronics included (minus the SIM tray and SD card tray). Might want to keep the original just in case you need to exchange the phone.
  • Bought a 32g unlocked Lumia for $645 off eBay. Yes wireless charging built in.
    Att wants $550 plus taxes =$600
    16g, locked and no wireless charging. No thanks
    HSPA+ speeds on tmobile paying $50 less per month for an unlimited plan.
  • Yeah except now you don't get LTE.
  • I think it could be worth it. Hspa+ is still pretty good especially if you aren't tethering.
  • I would like to know why Nokia can't just sell a charging shell either on their website or at the Microsoft Store. That makes too much sense I guess.
  • Maybe just wait for Goldfinger, but that might be 2Q14 at the earliest. Maybe I'll get a 1520 to play with afterwards. I really want that big screen for Nokia Drive.
  • Love my new 1520 with the pma case I bought from amazon. Doesn't add any bulk to the phone
  • I have Lumia 925 with external shell for Qi-Wireless charging and it sucks… Shell charging performance went down just over month and the second month it completely stopped working. Just piece advice for you, if the shell you starts losing its effectiveness returned it and get your refund while you can, ASAP, because it is not going to get better – believe me! The other hand my old Lumia 920 which had with integrated Qi-Wireless (out–of-box) is still working perfect while in protective-case – But it is too bad I gave it to son and he loves it. Nokia made deal with devil. Also, PMA is really an inferior standard (read about it) and I think the A4WP’s Rezence standard is going to be next big thing (for wireless charging technology) – but it seems AT&T reached PMA only decision  - so, I don’t see this standard coming to smartphones anytime soon because no-OEM/Device/Smartphone maker that can afford messing with AT&T. What AT&T says goes! Best-of-Luck!
  • Thanks for the heads up on the PMA device i will keep my eye on it. As you said i also had a 920 and the integrated wireless charging worked great. That was the main reason i bought the PMA shell case for my 1520 i had gotten so use to and enjoyed the the integrated charging of the 920. at&t really were not thinking about their customers on this one. But time will tell.  
  • For the lumia 925 that my wife has, I took apart the external shell and internalized the wireless charging and it hasn't given me a single issue.  I put her phone in a case as well (incipo shell) and she absolute loves it.  Making the phone like the 920 really has changed the phone as it really is super sleak and wireless charging works absolutely perfect. Mod wasn't that me about an hour as I was taking my time and watching the youtube video at the same time.
  • Funny - nobody in here is talking about whether this swap discussed in the article will actually work.  In the forums on this site, discussing this topic, somebody received this new case back and found that it would no work with his ATT 1520....
  • Agreed.  The people working on this issue in the forum still haven't gotten it to work.
  • Might be willing to void my warranty if they had a cyan version of this.
  • For those of you still haunting this thread, we've found a reasonable hack to add Qi-wireless charging back to the AT&T variant of the Lumia 1520.  You cannot, however, use the international back shell to simply re-add the antenna as the 1520 hardware's also considerably different. Read more about this by searching for "Qi Charging on a LUMIA 1520 AT&T phone (Solution)" on Windows Phone Central. SonarTech
  • Its sad people are getting bent outta shape over this in Canada ive yet to see any shops carry qi only touchstoned & powermatte ive seen