Haupz Blog

... still a totally disordered mix


2022-06-25 — Michael Haupt

As you may know, I love tinkering with electronics, and I like looking into crowdfunding projects that bring new tech on the table.

Some time ago, I assembled a Watchy. This is a wrist-watch with an e-paper display, sporting an Arduino-compatible open-source hardware and software platform. Here goes.

I ordered the Watchy kit, and the aluminium case (I like the metal more than the plastic case). The box with the main kit is neatly arranged and has visual instructions for the plastic case assembly. The ones for the aluminium case were easy enough to find. Since the display is an e-paper one, it came "stuck" in the last state from testing it was in (I like this about e-paper: it consumes energy only when it's updated, and then just stays that way).

The unboxing proceeded. Laying out all the parts in front of me, I got ready for the adventure. The first task was to connect the display to the logic board. The flat cable is a bit tender, so that required attention, but it worked just fine in the end.

Next, the battery had to be connected, and then there was a minute of anxiety waiting for the display to update from 00:00 to 00:01 - and it worked! I also tested the four buttons to see if they worked properly: I entered the system menu, navigated around in it a bit, and left it again. So much for the first-stage integration testing.

The next step was to mount the electronics in the aluminium case. I taped the battery to the bottom, which was really helpful because it would slide out and get in the way of the cable and logic board.

I then discovered that the logic board didn't fit neatly into the case, because there were some edges that protruded from it (remnants of production). I filed those off carefully, and gave the plastic buttons a similar treatment so that all parts had the smooth edges they needed for the case to be closeable.

Closing the case was rather finicky because the buttons kept moving about, but I got it done eventually.

The next discovery was that the four screws must not be tightened too much because otherwise the buttons will get stuck when pushed. That was an unpleasant discovery. I ended up tightening them only ever so lightly beyond the point where I can turn them with a fingertip. The top of the case sits firmly on the bottom, and nothing wobbles, but it's not a very safe feeling either. The parts don't fit too neatly overall. That's fine and tolerable for a crowdfunded hacking project.

Of course, the final step of assembly was to attach the straps, which have a nice mechanism for that.

Done. Next, I might write some software for this thing, and will probably adapt my nerdy Pebble watchface.

Tags: the-nerdy-bit