Ideas based on photo frame clock

[Mahto] bought a digital picture frame but the image quality turned out to be terrible. He decided to turn it into a clock in a unique way. He loaded up 720 images, one for each minute in a twelve hour period. He then used an Arduino to simulate a button once a minute, cycling to the next image.

This is a simple solution and it works. Visions of hardcore hacks danced through our head when we first looked at this. We’re wondering if there is a way to inject image data into the frame’s memory? How about rewriting the SD card location where the image file that’s currently being displayed is stored, then having the frame reload the picture? Those are projects for a snowy weekend, but we’re sure that [Mahto] finished this hack long before we would have because he kept it simple.

Sooner or later we’re going to need a category for all of these clock hacks.

[Thanks Drone]

Comments

  1. r10pez10 says:

    and then, of course, he could use the photos from http://humanclock.com/

  2. Gregg says:

    The Meta Nixi Clock http://waaronw.com/blog/uncategorized/meta-nixie-clock/ was derived from the above project, also so very cool.

  3. Nemo says:

    Seems like he could have just tapped into an analog clock controller for the 1Hz pulses and then used a relay to simulate the button press.

    Wasting so much processing power makes me cringe.

  4. laube says:

    @Nemo
    furthermore the clock controller would be much more accurate (and cheaper!) than the arduino..

  5. grovenstien says:

    Yeah normally i wouldn’t slate the use of an arduino in most projects but this is an exception. Im with nemo on this one. There are loads of other ways to hack together stable timer circuits that use less components and are much cheaper.

    On the other hand i love the idea! Very simple but effective way to make a clock. Perhaps its possible to do one a second. ie have same image for hours, minutes then a different one each second, minute and so on.

    Thats if the frame is capable of changing a photo every second.

  6. CRJEEA says:

    yes i agree was just thinking that that perticular chip that people seem to love so much (i dont by the way) is very much over kill
    a small bistable or even 555 timer with a couple of transistors making a darlington and job done nothing clever (keep it simple and stupid) plus cheeper to fix (:

  7. medix says:

    “We’re wondering if there is a way to inject image data into the frame’s memory? How about rewriting the SD card location where the image file that’s currently being displayed is stored, then having the frame reload the picture?”

    Microchip’s application libraries have source code for the 24 and 32 series PICs for image manipulation and basic FAT file system.

    I rather like the 720 image implementation. Simple, yet effective.

  8. Hubble Trouble says:

    I would use neither microcontrollers nor semiconductors of any kind. A simple cardboard tube and optics pointed at the town’s clocktower would suffice.

  9. googfan says:

    ^^^ that just made my day

  10. Hirudinea says:

    Clock a Day anyone?

  11. robomonkey says:

    What’s next, using Big Blue to turn on a light switch?

    I’m not one to judge though, if you ever see one of my hacks hit this site, you’d call me Dr. Frankenstein, or Rube Goldberg…hey, they’re messy, but they work.

  12. CalcProgrammer1 says:

    Why not just set up a slideshow with 1 minute intervals? Most of these picture frames have slideshow mode, just set the slideshow to play in order and set the delay for each picture to 1 minute, no hardware modding needed.

  13. therian says:

    Arduino is not good choice for time keeping, but I like this out of the box thinking which simplify project a lot

  14. Th3_uN1Qu3 says:

    Overkill indeed. What, is the Arduino the new 555? Besides, a 555 doesn’t need programming, it just runs on its own.

    And i think i’ve seen the same thing (timekeeping with one image per minute) sometime last year.

  15. tim says:

    an 8 pin ATtiny 45 is the cost of 2 555s, and it could do the job just fine, without the optocoupler.
    it could also count the months and the leap years.
    Harder to do with 555 !

  16. GSV Ethics Gradient says:

    @therian
    True, at a guess I would say it will loose a few seconds a day, which is really no good for a clock.

  17. nubie says:

    Don’t worry about losing a minute a day, the clocks at my junior high sometimes lost 3 minutes between 8 AM and 3 PM.

    I literally had to compensate for 5-10 seconds gain per session bell throughout the day!

    @ Arduino: and the monkey presses the button?

    I thought the picture frame was neat, but an ardui-clone just to push a button? I suppose later on it could wave a flag via a servo, black for night and white for day, but this is honestly just a little silly.

    @Haters, instead of complaining about the arduino think of what you could do with it instead, maybe a servo-based clock? Or maybe see how you could use an arduino to build an accurate clock?

  18. Abbott says:

    All I can say is what the heck? This is an absolutely terrible implementation of an Arduino. It’s a little better that he switched to a more bare bones version, but as tim said, an ATtiny45, with perhaps a couple hours of playing with code would me so much more cost effective.

    @nubie: The reason alot of us despise the use of Ardunio’s is that they remove so much of the challenge of learning to code for a micro-controller architecture. And it’s fairly easy to make an accurate clock… all you really need is a 32.768 KHz crystal with a simple and very cheap micro, be it PIC or AVR.

  19. Sacah says:

    I have also thought about injecting images directly into these picture frames, but it’s been 2years since I started thinking about it, I also don’t think I’ll get there anytime soon.
    Was going to hook it up to my media pc and use it to display information/interface prompts.

  20. fizzit says:

    This is ridiculous. A picaxe 08M could do the job for $3 and be much easier to work with. Or even a 555. Either way, that’s really a waste if he keeps the Arduino there.

  21. does it make me old that I would do this with a 555 timer instead of an arduino? analog too. but if I had extra arduinos lying around, like if I kept a stock of them like I have 555s, then I wouldn’t be talking. I’ll use whatever I have and that’s cool.

    I am fully copying this idea regardless. way clever!

  22. MS3FGX says:

    First thing I thought of when I saw this was a 555. This is a nice concept, but its execution is the sort of thing that gives the Arduino a bad name.

  23. error404 says:

    Wouldn’t a 555 be far too inaccurate and temp-dependent for timekeeping purposes? I can’t imagine it’s accurate to 1%, let alone the several ppm required for reasonably accurate timekeeping.

  24. AO says:

    Diggin’ the photoframe hack.

  25. Zim_256 says:

    ¿What about modifying the firmware and playing movies?, you can even implement a software clock and add a RTC. That Photo frame uses a Zoran Vaddis SoC, that is found on many cheap DVD players, It can surely play MPEG1/2. I don’t know for sure but it maybe can also play FAMICOM games like the Sunplus/SAMSUNG chipset of other DVD’s.
    C’mon, the flash is just there!
    And the VADDIS has a lot of GPIO and interfaces, like a USB host, SD, etc.

  26. Laminar says:

    Comic Sans MS? Really?

  27. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally,
    it seems as though you relied on the video to make
    your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  28. Buford says:

    Quick tip…. more images and videos in future posts. Massive
    blocks of text injure my eyes and I hate it, haha.
    Walls of text hits for 4500 damage…. haha.

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