TimeDock SmartStrap Hacking
WARNING! The following information is purely for educational purposes. TimeDock is sold as a charging dock only, with no implied secondary functions. Opening the charging module of the TimeDock will void any warranty, and we are not responsible for any damage caused to the charging module, or any other devices, including but not limited to the Pebble Time and your computer. Proceed at your own risk.
Happy Easter Egg!
There’s an easter egg inside the TimeDock Pebble Time Charger! Unlike the charging cable that comes with the Pebble, which has +5V on both spring pins, the circuit board inside the charging module has a dedicated Data Port pin. The pin is routed to a pad to which you can solder a wire. By soldering 3 wires to the PCB, you can have a stable development platform for testing Smart Strap software and hardware.
Tools and Materials You Will Need
- 1.5mm hex wrench
- Soldering Iron
- Drill and 3/16 in drill bit
- 3 or 4 Wire lead with connector
Accessing the TimeDock PCB
The first step to accessing the Pebble Time SmartStrap Data port is to unplug the microUSB cable from the TimeDock charging module, and then remove the cable from the strain relief slot.
Using a 1.5mm hex driver, remove the 2 screws on the back of the charging module.
Use your thumb to carefully push the snout of the charging module into the front faceplate, until the charging module pops out the back.
Making the Connection
At the top left, you will see 2 pads, labeled Data and Gnd. Data is the Pebble Time SmartStrap Data Port. Gnd is Ground [duh].
The +5V connection can be made at the F1A pad, which has 2 solder pads. The pad on the left is connected directly to the Pebble, and has a over current protection from the +5V supply coming from the microUSB connection. The pad on the right has over current protection from the Pebble Time power port and is connected directly to the microUSB port.
- Data = Data
- +V = F1A
- Ground = Gnd
Carefully solder wires to the data, ground and +V pads.
OPTION: If you carefully de-soldered the current fuse, F1, and soldered another wire to the right side of pad F1A, then you could seperate the microUSB power from the Pebble Time power. The Pebble Time can provide 3.3V to a smart strap accessory.
Routing the Wires
The wires can be passed through the case in 2 ways. A small hole can be drilled through the case, and the wires feed through, or a notch can be made at the edge of the case, big enough for the wires to pass through.
Bend the cables around inside to create a small loop, so as not to stress the solder joints. Prepare to put the charging module back into the back cover.
Place the charging module and back cover into the rear opening of the TimeDock Plinth.
Place the aluminum front over the front opening of the plinth. If everything is properly lined up, it will snap into place.
Insert and re-tighten the screws.
Congrats! You now have a SmartStrap enabled TimeDock!
If you did not remove the F1 fuse, then you can still charge via microUSB cable. Do not use both the microUSB cable and data port connections at the same time. Use one or the other.
There are all kinds of things that you can do with the SmartStrap data port enabled TimeDock. It makes development of smartstrap related apps and hardware much easier, because you don’t have to hack a fragile charging cable, and you have a stable connection during development and prototyping, which is critical for not loosing data packets during serial communication.
Here’s what the Engineerable team did with the SmartStrap enabled TimeDock at the Pebble Rocks Boulder Hackathon. The Pebble Time does not have a speaker, so we added audio to it with the Sleepeasy, a talking clock/watch powered by the Pebble Time.
Team HackDads at the Pebble Hackathon said the TimeDock helped them get to the final 8 and win for Best Pebble Integration. Check out their project, the Pebble Altimeter Smartstrap. https://www.hackster.io/team-hack-dads/pebble-altimeter-smart-strap-aa01b9
There are many other excellent examples of SmartStrap related applications here: https://www.hackster.io/hackathons/pebble-rocks-boulder/a-pebble-hackathon/projects
Some of these projects have even spun off into actual products, like the Pagare by FitPay.
Discount for Pebble Developers!
Use code PEBBLEDEV to get $10 off a TimeDock at TTYL
TimeDock is also available on Amazon.