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Description: The BigTime watch kit is a geekishly stylish digital watch with a NATO style watch-band and a slick acrylic enclosure. If it seems familiar, that's because it's essentially our open-source branch from the SpikenzieLabs' Solder:Time kit. The heart of the kit is the much venerated ATMega328 using a 32kHz clock-source to keep time. To check the time, just press the button on the side of the watch and it pops up on a 4-digit 7-segment LED display. Thanks to some low-level hackery, the ATMega is running at super low power and should get an estimated 2 years of run time on a single CR2032 coin cell!

The BigTime is a through-hole kit with a low parts-count, so it makes a great project for beginning solderers. After you've finished soldering together the PCB, simply stack the acrylic pieces around it and screw them together with the included screws. Once that's done, pop in the coin-cell battery and go show off your nerd bling!

Did we mention that the watch kit is super hackable? An FTDI header is broken out to the side of the board and the watch-firmware is running on top of a bootloader! This means that all you need to do to add your own code is to open up Arduino or Wiring and select "Arduino Pro or Pro Mini 3.3V/8MHz w/ ATmega328" as your board.

This version of the watch uses brass inserts for a more secure enclosure. It also uses a new NATO style strap.

Kit Includes:

Features:

  • Very hackable ATMega328-based kit with Arduino bootloader
  • All through-hole components
  • Estimated 2-year battery life
  • Laser-cut acrylic enclosure
  • Large, easy-to-read display
  • Adjustable NATO style watch-band

Documents:

Replaces: KIT-11178

Comments 13 comments

  • I just finished building the Big Time Watch with my granddaughter and the Simon game with my grandson (11 and 9, respectively). My approach to the soldering part was to show them how by soldering one joint, then watching as they soldered all the rest. The girl is now proficient with soldering, and the boy is nearly as proficient. Both projects worked immediately on completion, and now two grandsons want the watch! Thank you for a couple of excellent through-hole soldering kits. We may soon try reprogramming the Simon. The boy has a fiendish idea for Simon reprogramming.

  • I may not have this kit, but i can say that it has inspired me to try and make own mobile electronic timepiece. Al tough instead of a simple 7 segment display i went the geekier route and designed a pocket watch variation that displayed in BCD like the binary clocks one can find on gadget stores(if you gonna go techy you might as well go all the way!). Got a design ready and sent to a batch PCB fabrication (bring on the purple!). Next stop a case and perfecting the code.

    Its exciting when you see a existing something like this and think of a way to make one of your very own yet unique in its own way. Thank you very much for the inspiration!

  • I have one of these, and just realized it is the perfect portable platform for sensors, with its battery and LED display. Could you please, please break out one or two of those unused analog pins in the next version?

  • Is this kit available in Red 7-Segment Display?

    • Sadly, no. You could hack in a red display but I’d recommend against it, as the low forward voltage of the LEDs would cause excessive current drain and kill the battery superfast.

      • I’ve put red displays into these with good results. The code has options to increase the blanking interval between scans for different color displays. Because there aren’t true resistors on the LEDs you’ll be overdriving a red display, but the blanking improves the battery life.

  • Help, please! Having problems with reprogramming using “FTDI basic”. Arduino IDE compiles the code and starts uploading, but fails after a couple of seconds with:

    avrdude: stk500_paged_load(): (a) protocol error, expect=0x10, resp=0x88

    What am I doing wrong? (I have one of the older versions of the kit, but it’s Atmega328p as well. I don’t remove the battery for reprogramming… should I? )

    • What board do you have selected in the Arduino IDE? You should have the “Pro/Pro Mini 3.3V w/Atmega328” option selected.

      Also, you definitely need the battery connected. The power supply from the FTDI connection isn’t connected on the board, to avoid accidentally shorting the battery to the USB supply.

      • Thanks for the reply, actually it did reprogram despite the error message. As I tried the original firmware I didn’t notice that. (I was testing the FTDI adapter.) And yet it gives me an error message each time I click “Upload”…

  • Went together with no problem. Looking at ways to re-program.

  • Fun kit I assembled at the NoCo maker faire. However I think the acrylic is a bit large, it would make for a better geeky watch if the casing was the same shape as the board I feel.

  • Very nice, easy to build. However the acrylic parts, especially the one with the cut for the “push-button” presser, is extremely weak. It lasted … 1 day ! Too weak in a place were it broke down easily. No particular stress. Everything is nice now but there is no anymore the possibility to press the pushbutton. I’m trying to glue it but I really think will not work. Two questions .. there is a way to have that part in another material stronger ? Like aluminum for example ? Or at least is possible to order a replacement ?

  • Oooooo. The band looks really nice now. Which, besides a few little things with the acrylic, is probably the only thing that bothered me with the previous versions. Thanks again all you smart people over in Colorado!


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