We’ve got to admit to being a bit of a Casio G-Shock watch geek. The big, chunky watches were every day carry items that survived everything we dished out, right up until the smartphone made wearing one seem redundant. But others continue to use and abuse G-Shocks, and some brave souls even hack them.
Replacing the standard quartz crystal with a temperature-compensated MEMS oscillator is one hack that [Alex] tried, and it appears to have worked out well. His project write-up doesn’t specify which MEMS oscillator was used, but we suspect it’s the SiT1552 TCXO. With its extremely small size, stability over a wide range of temperatures, and ultra-low power requirements, the chip is a natural choice to upgrade the stock 32.768-kHz quartz crystal of the watch. Trouble is, the tiny 1.5 mm x 0.8 mm chip-scale package (CSP) device presented some handling problems. After overcooking a few chips in the reflow oven, [Alex] was able to get one mounted to a tiny breakout board, which went into the space formerly occupied by the watch’s quartz crystal. He stole power for the TCXO from a decoupling capacitor, sealed the watch back up, and it’s back in service with better stability and longer battery life to boot. The video below shows the TCXO undergoing tests alongside the original quartz crystal and a comparatively huge DS3231 RTC module, just for fun.
[Alex]’s MEMS transplant seems a long way to go and a lot of fussy work for marginal gains, but who are we to judge? And it does make the watch susceptible to punking with a little helium, which might make things interesting.
Continue reading “Casio Watch Gets a MEMS Oscillator Upgrade”
The Pebble Smartwatch has been around for years, and the introduction of the Apple Watch has everyone looking at wrist-mounted computing as the newest gadget consumers can glom onto. There was never any doubt the 2015 Hackaday Prize would have more than a few smartwatches.
[Ramon]’s Zerowatch gets its name from the Arduino Zero, as this watch is based off of and completely compatible with the Arduino Zero. With a 48 MHz ARM Cortex M0+, a three-axis accelrometer, a microSD card slot, and a bright OLED display, this is an extremely capable wrist-mounted computer. As with all wearable electronics, the enclosure makes or breaks the entire device, and [Ramon] has a very slick 3D printed case for this watch.
Connectivity is important for smartwatches, and that’s something [Montassar]’s Open Source Smart Watch doesn’t skimp out on. He’s using an STM32F4 as the main controller and a 1.44″ TFT, and adding the standard Bluetooth module — an HC-05 — to the mix. [Montasar]’s project is also tackling connectivity by working on a few Android apps that connect directly to this phone. He’s using the MIT App Inventor to speed up development for these phone apps, and makes custom smartwatch apps a breeze.
Both are great projects, and thanks to free, open source, and easy to use tool chains, both projects are excellent examples of open hardware development and a great entry to The Hackaday Prize.
Sometimes you have to bust out the wayback machine to find a good hack. Back in 2008, [Brian] performed this awesome negative display hack on his classic Casio G-Shock watch. The G-Shock, like most digital watches, uses a twisted nematic LCD. All Liquid Crystal Displays are made up of a layer cake of polarizers, glass, and liquid crystal. In non touchscreen displays, the top layer is a sheet of polarizing film glued down with an optical quality adhesive.
[Brian] disassembled his watch to reveal the LCD panel. Removing the glued down polarizing film can be a difficult task. Pull too hard and the thin glass layers will crack, rendering the display useless. After some patient work with an X-acto knife [Brian] was able to remove the film.
Much like the privacy monitor hack, the naked watch appeared to be off. Holding a sheet of linear polarizing film between the watch and the viewer reveals the time. If the film is rotated 90 degrees, the entire screen is color inverted. [Brian] liked the aesthetics of the inverted screen, so he glued down his polarizing film in the offset position. After reassembly, [Brian’s] “customized” watch was ready to wear.
[Via Hacker News]
Creating wearable electronics that are functional and not overly bulky is very, very hard. [Zak], though, makes it look easy. He started his DIY digital wrist watch to see how much he could cram into a watch-sized device. The finished product is really incredible, and one of the most amazing DIY watches we’ve ever seen.
The electronics for the watch include an ATMega328p, a DS3231M Real Time Clock, a Microchip battery charger, and a few resistors and caps. The display is an OLED, 1.3″ wide and only 1.5 mm thick, contributing to the crazy 10mm overall thickness of the watch.
The software is where this watch really shines. Along with the standard time and date functions, [Zak] included everything and more a wrist watch should have. There is an interface to set up to ten alarms on different days of the week, a Breakout and ‘Car Dodge’ game, a flashlight with integrated ‘rave’ mode, and a stopwatch. On top of this, [Zak] included some great animations very similar to the CRT-like animations found in Android.
It’s a fabulous piece of kit, and if any project were deserving of being made into an actual product, this is it.
You can check out [Zak]’s demo of all the functions of his watch below.
Continue reading “How Much Can You Cram Into a Wristwatch”
Since [th3badwolf] realized a wrist watch is the ultimate men’s fashion accessory, he’s been trolling around eBay looking for a nice looking, but still inexpensive wearable chronometer. The Fauxlex brand isn’t normally regarded for accurate time keeping, so he decided measure the accuracy of his off-brand watches in a really clever way.
[th3badwolf] had a camera with a built-in intervalometer lying around and figured if the camera was set to take one picture a minute, the second hand would stay still while the minute and hour hands moved. An hour-long test confirmed his theory and he pointed his cameras towards his knock-off watches.
In the resulting time-lapse video available after the break, [th3badwolf] calculated that the first and third watches lose about 24 seconds a day. He attributes this fact to the watches having the same clockworks. The second watch gains nearly three minutes a day, and he’s trying to send that one back to the supplier. We’re not sure how that will end up, but at least [th3badwolf] has two reasonably accurate watches now.
Continue reading “Checking the accuracy of fake watches”
[rgbphil] has done a great job detailing how he built his Microdot wristwatch.This project is a lot more approachable than the pong watch we saw last month. If you’ve made a few printed circuit boards, but haven’t yet tried working with surface mount component, this is a great way to give it a try.
The parts count is pretty low, a few switches, resistors, capacitors, LEDs, a watch crystal, and a PIC 16F88 microcontroller.[rgbphil] is using a charlieplex so that a separate shift register is not needed to drive all of the LEDs. He goes into detail about the process of laying out the circuit. Some of the problems he encounters include how to manage all of the charlieplex connections in a simple way, how to program the chip once it’s on the board, and how to layout the controls for the device.
The display looks great in the video we’ve embedded after the break. We’re going to add these components to our next parts order and make this project part of the plan for getting us through the long cold winter ahead.
Continue reading “Build your own wristwatch”