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Make Your Own Smartwatch From An Old Cell Phone (Part 1)

Make Your Own Smartwatch From An Old Cell Phone (Part 1)

Why hello, Mr. Smartphone! Have you met
Mr. Dumbphone before? Monochrome screen, physical keypad, the size of a brick…but unapologetically retro! A lot of you may have some of these laying around in a junk drawer somewhere collecting dust. As do I. So in my efforts to find out how
to repurpose it I did what any reasonable person would
do. I decided to turn it into a SmartWatch! By the way, I’m a nerd. OK so what’s the
plan here? Well, to meet my definition for a smart watch it has to meet a few
qualifications first. It has to: 1) Tell time. 2) Connect wirelessly to a
smartphone. 3) Notify you when you’re receiving a call.
And 4) Notify you when you’re receiving a text. Other than that it’s a pretty loose
interpretation, because I’m not expecting it to look pretty, and let’s just assume
it’ll probably be bulky. But that’s not really why I’m making it. Alright, now on to
the tougher question: How can I transform this into this? Let’s start tinkering. I have here a Nokia
1100 and the good thing about these older phones is that they’re easier to
take apart and scavenge parts from. So removing the battery and prying it
open, you can see all the different internal components. And the first
scavenge-able one is obvious: the LCD screen. You can’t really tell, but it even
has its own backlight. This little protective plastic cover also might come
in handy. Digging around, the only other useful components I could find were a
vibrating motor and a small speaker. Don’t know if these will be used yet, but
they may come in handy. Basically what’s going to make or break
this project as if i can get this LCD screen working. I decided to use an
Arduino to drive it because Arduino Uno is large enough for prototyping an
Arduino mini is the perfect size for a SmartWatch. Digging up and schematic
online, I found that this specific LCD is a PCF8814. So be sure that you know what type of
screen you have before continuing. For mine, I was able to find out what each of
these pins represent. And if you have a different screen, your pins will probably be different. To connect it to an
Arduino I had to make each of these pins longer, so i soldered a ribbon cable to
each one. All right, to make the size smaller I
then use some sharp shears to cut off the excess plastic around the LCD. No going back now. Now i can connect it
to the breadboard, but before jumping it off to the Arduino, I added some
resistors to avoid burning it out. You can connect it to the Arduino like
you see here. This would be a good time to point out that, if you need
more details or help, you can visit the project page at this link. OK, now let’s write some code to test
this thing out. In order to use the LCD with Arduino, we’re going to need to
install a code library to make it easier to connect to. There are a couple of libraries out
there for the PCF8814, but I went with this one because it
allows you to display bitmap images. I just downloaded and unzipped it to my Arduino library folder and wrote some simple code that imported the library,
set the LCD specific variables, and then used the library to write some initial
text, and then looped through a few more lines of text as a shameless plug. All right, now I’m going to connect the
Arduino and upload the code. This is the make-or-break moment. And we
have success! I am now one step closer to making my own smartwatch! Next time,
the plan is to add a motor, a Bluetooth connection, phone notifications, and try
to cram it all into a case. If you want to see more my smartwatch series,
I’ve created a playlist so that you can stay updated whenever they become
available. What ideas would you like to see next?
Submit or vote for your favorites at Click here to watch more videos like
this, and if you’d like to support my show, please feel free to like, subscribe,
comment, or donate at All right that’s it for this
tutorial, for more go to!

100 thoughts on “Make Your Own Smartwatch From An Old Cell Phone (Part 1)”

  1. Is there any way to add a feature to this that you can view the title of the song that's currently playing without taking the phone out of the backpack?That would be great!

  2. here is a smartwatch for Arduino:


  4. Hey, nice tutorial, I'm interested to do it for my own fun, but I have a question , from where did u get the arduino libraries ,in the tutorial u have them already in ur pc, can u be more explicit, please? 🙂

  5. hey, nice work. I have Nokia E72 (with GPS etc). Is it possible to convert it into a smart watch with GPS ? it would be amazing

  6. Your project is nice but is not good in our wallets try to buy nothing and lower the cost if any chemicals that can turn old pcb to bind and flexible to make round shape and try a jelly case material to his covering that attaches sticky.

  7. +Tinkernut My standard of a smartwatch is: (1) It must have at least 7 apps including a web browser. (2) It must have an app store. (3) All of the criteria that you brought up.

  8. I am trying to do something similar but I can't find the schematic for the LCD screen that I am using, where should I look? I am using an lg440g LCD

  9. i have a fairly old flipphone with a color lcd is it possoble for me to use that and take advantage of the color and suftware for that?

  10. how can I buy Cell Phone parts to Create my own Samsung Galaxy or other Phones. without Traveling to Japan.

  11. Is there any way I can input my own very simple c++ programs in this? I mostly want this for a prototype presentation. I just need to add simple introduction to c++ code, stuff that is more simple than this, is it possible?

  12. Your the best Tinkernut but would you make avideo on how to make a watch from a touchscreen phone, i have samsung young . Please can you make avideo on same.

  13. Can u show me how to do it with scosche transmiter the black scare thing I got mod on it I want see them can u help send a github of this transmiter 1 through9 88 through 197

  14. But a Nokia 1100 is not really a smartphone,it is in the category of cell phones,but not the smaller category of smartphones.Anyone agree?Just reply if you agree,no need to like,I'm not wanting to ask for likes.

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