Hackaday Prize Entry: Neopixel Pocket Watch

A timepiece is rather a rite of passage in the world of hardware hacking, and we never cease to be enthralled by the creativity of our community in coming up with new ones.

Today’s example comes from [Joshua Snyder], who has made a pocket watch. Not just any pocket watch, he’s taken the shell of a clockwork watch and inserted a ring of Neopixels, which he drives  from an ESP8266 module. Power comes from a small LiPo battery, and he’s cleverly engineered a small push-button switch so that it can be actuated by the knob from the original watch. Different colour LEDs traverse the ring to simulate the hands of a traditional timepiece, and the whole nestles behind the perforated cover of the watch shell for something of a steampunk feel.

He admits the battery life is not very good at the moment, probably because for now the WiFi is always enabled so he can reach its web interface for debugging. Sadly he appears to have not yet posted the software, but he does tell us it uses NTP to update its time, and that it supports over-the-air updating for new versions. He suggests a future version might dispense with the ESP and use an ATtiny or similar with a real-time clock giving better battery life.

We’ve covered a lot of LED timepieces over the years, including quite a few watches. Only a small selection are this PIC LED ring in a pocket watch case, another LED ring this time powered by an ATMega645, and this very stylish OLED wristwatch.

10 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: Neopixel Pocket Watch

  1. I think this is more reasonable as a pocket watch. I wouldn’t want a giant wristwatch. One could even keep a larger battery in the vest, and connect it to the pocket watch via the “chain”.

    I might use my grandfather’s pocket watch if I didn’t worry that the glass would break, it has no cover to pop open when you want to check the time, which is probably an important aspect of a pocket watch. If you’re checking the time as a pause to think out your thoughts, having a cover to open gives you even more time. With a pocket watch you can’t glance at it.


        1. Yeah, you would…

          Or: You could hack together something by tapping into the WS2812 data line through a resistor (so as not to drag it down) through a diode (to not back-feed) into a capacitor (to hold the high signal for >few msec) into the ‘FET, and refresh the display to maintain the FET on state via the data.
          Once data flow stops, the cap would discharge and turn the fet off

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