The SparkFun 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.
Note: Due to the requirements of shipping the battery in this kit, orders may take longer to process and therefore do not qualify for same-day shipping. Additionally, these batteries can not be shipped via Ground or Economy methods to Alaska or Hawaii. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.
Skill Level: Rookie - The number of pins increases, and you will have to determine polarity of components and some of the components might be a bit trickier or close together. You might need solder wick or flux.
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Whether it's for assembling a kit, hacking an enclosure, or creating your own parts; the DIY skill is all about knowing how to use tools and the techniques associated with them.
Skill Level: Noob - Basic assembly is required. You may need to provide your own basic tools like a screwdriver, hammer or scissors. Power tools or custom parts are not required. Instructions will be included and easy to follow. Sewing may be required, but only with included patterns.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 4 ratings:
My son likes watches and he gained much satisfaction from soldering this small kit together. We weren’t able to program the chip after soldering on a 6-pin header and attempting to upload the TV-B-Gone code with the Adafruit 3.3V FTDI cable. Also we probably have to drill a hold in the face in order to fit the 5mm IR LED. Need debugging help!
Me being an 8 grader, this was a piece of cake to do. Only issue I ever encountered was when I thought I lost the “clicker” because it was so small, and when the AtMega leads and the 8-segment display leads were too tall and required trimming. Also, while soldering, I was careless enough to fill the FTDI header with solder globs. Only complaints there, but most of them were my problem.
A year or so ago, I bought 2 Simon kits and a Big Time Watch kit for a couple of grandkids. The watch was a hit for the 12 year old. The 9 year olds liked Simon, but this year a 10 year old and a 7 year old asked for the Watch. So last week we built them. I’m happy to report that everything worked the first time. The 7 year old now has a watch that’s almost as big as her hand! No hacking yet, but they know it’s possible. Now they’re busy with their dad building an underwater robot…. Watch out Aqua-Man!
I had a lot of fun doing it, and also I wear it daily, actually I would like to have much more choices of this gradually increasing the complexity, to start a serious project from my own, great idea, I love it!!!