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]

28 thoughts on “Ideas Based On Photo Frame Clock

  1. 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.

  2. 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 (:

  3. “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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. ¿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.

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