Jack: the Only Arcade That Fits on Your Wrist




Introduction: Jack: the Only Arcade That Fits on Your Wrist

Welcome to my first Instructable. It may be long, wordy, and contain parts that aren't even necessary, but if you can sacrifice about $100.00 and 3 hours of your time, then we can make a portable, boredom slaying, weather telling gadget. If you happen to like it, then vote for it in the First Time Author Contest.

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Step 1: "Stay Awhile and Listen"

Now whether you stumbled upon this particular Instructable because you wanted an easy build to impress your friends with, or you wanted a way to relieve the endless boredom brought to you by school or work, I'm glad you chose this one. Through this Instructable I'm going to take you through the steps of building Jack, or a mini arcade that can be worn on the wrist.

Yeah, yeah. Who needs an introduction. Let's get to building the cool stuff already!

But seriously, I really am just going to use this to say a couple of things about this project. Things like:

  • My documentation may not be the best, I don't exactly do this often.
  • This project is NOT for those who are unfamiliar with Arduino or electronics in general.
  • I don't like it when people lecture me, so I won't lecture you. Let's make this as interesting as possible.
  • All the parts look old, scratched and reused because they are. This is actually the second version of the device. The first was clunky, unappealing and had no easy way for me to fix it if need be. This should solve all this.
  • I called it Jack because of the phrase "Jack of all trades, Master of none." Feel free to name yours whatever you want.

So without further ado, let's get to work!

Step 2: "It's Dangerous to Build Alone, Use This!"

Ah yes, one of the most important parts of any build, the parts list. What to use and buy in a project. Unfortunately, this list happens to be a bit costly. As I said before, I had all these parts, but they can be bought from any online electronics retailer (excluding the MicroView and the PowerBoost). From first to last picture, the parts are:

  • Pcb (I just found this lying around. I'll get to why it's cut later.)
  • A Lithium Ion Battery (I used one from an old mini drone. I wouldn't use one that small, since the PowerBoost says it requires at least 500mA of capacity, but I used a 240mA one and it turned out fine.) https://www.adafruit.com/products/1578
  • Some Velcro (No idea where to find it. I just took it off some old gloves.)
    • An Arduino Uno (Yes the ATmega chip is removed. I'll get to that later as well.)
    • A programming cable. (For the Arduino Uno as you may have guessed.)

    But what good is this list of parts without an estimate?

    (Excluding the Arduino uno and breadboard.)

    MicroView --------- 39.95

    PowerBoost ------ 14.95

    Jumper Wires ---- 1.95

    2 Pushbuttons ---- .70

    Battery -------------- 7.95

    DHT11 --------------- 5.00

    So altogether the price comes out to...


    Eesh. Not great. But not terrible. Also not exact. But that's why it's an estimate.

    There are also some things that I'll just assume you have. Things like:

    • A soldering iron
    • Soldering skill
    • Pliers
    • Wire cutters/strippers
    • Solder
    • A comfortable work area
    • Hot glue or some other adhesion method.

    Step 3: "With Great Parts Comes Lots of Testing."

    Now lots of testing is a bit of an overstep, since only the MicroView and the DHT needs to be tested. Just visit microview.io for everything you could want to know about your new MicroView.

    Programming the MicroView

    Now unless you opted to buy the FTDI programmer for the MicroView, chances are you're going to need to program it.

    Just use this Instructable, Program Arduino Pro Mini Using Arduino Uno, but substitute the Pro Mini for the MicroView.

    Note: When uploading to the Microview select Arduino Uno instead of pro mini in the board menu.

    Step 4: "I Find Your Lack of Pieces Disturbing."

    Man, I love Fritzing. But it never seems to have the parts that I need in a bin.

    But with that aside, here is a very (very) rudimentary picture of the wiring. As you can see, Fritzing diagramming is not my strong suit. The 5 wires are the wires that we will be using to program it. If you didn't read that Instuctable, then please refer back to it. I linked to it in the last step.

    P.S: I won't be building this on a breadboard. If you would like to, please, go ahead. Better to be safe than sorry.

    Step 5: "We're Going to Need a Bigger Step."

    The assembly step. How to put everything together. It's going to take a while, so let's pause the quotes for a bit.

    Putting it on a pcb

    If you would like to build it on a solderless breadboard, upload the code and then solder it all together, go ahead. That's probably what I should've done anyways. As for the MicroView, I put it at one end of the pcb, so I can cut down the size in order to make it more watch-size. Once it's in, solder it all together.

    Step 6: Adding the Programming Wires

    If you can remember back to that mediocre Fritzing diagram, you can remember that we're going to have 5 wires hanging off in order to program it. If my pictures aren't clear enough, just refer back to the MicroView diagram. I labeled TX and RX for our convenience. As you can see, with the wires plugged into the Arduino Uno, everything works fine!

    Step 7: Trimming It Down to Size

    I'm using the cutting and sanding wheel on my dremel to slim the pcb down, but any sharp cutting instrument + sandpaper combo will do. If you prefer wider wrist watches, then keep it the original size. It's your project.

    Step 8: Making the Ground and 5v Rails

    This step is fairly straightforward. Take a small jumper wire (Or use a big blob of solder on the underside) to connect the ground pin and 5v pin to the rails on opposite sides of the boards. I marked each side with a sharpie to tell the difference.

    Step 9: Putting in the Potentiometer

    After soldering jumper wires to the potentiometer, solder the wiper (the middle pin) to A0, which is right next to ground. The other two pins will go to ground and 5V, doesn't matter which goes where. After those are in, hot glue it to the right side of the MicroView.

    Note: This is intended to be worn as a watch, so wire placement will get more jumbled as we continue in order to save space. If you get confused by the pictures, you can always refer back to the diagrams. Plus, I use hot glue on most of the exposed leads as insulation. Just to make sure.

    Step 10: Adding the Temp. and Humidity Sensor

    Note: Once again, I got this sensor from Ebay instead of Adafruit. It may look different, but it should function the same. If you don't even want a thermometer in this project, then this step can be omitted.

    After soldering the wires to the sensor (Mine is Red=Data, White=5V and Black=Ground), Put them on the pcb. Red goes to A1, Black to ground, and White to 5V. Then hot glue it on the left side of the MicroView.

    Step 11: Placing the Pushbuttons

    Solder some wires to the pushbuttons, then solder one end to pin 2 and the other to ground. After that, hot glue it to the front of the MicroView. Repeat for the second button, except put it on pin 3 instead of pin 2.

    Step 12: Applying Power

    In case you didn't know, you can make an on/off switch for your PowerBoost by putting a slide switch between EN and Ground. When EN is tied to ground, all power output turns off.

    So after making the on/off switch, solder wires to the 5V and ground pins. The PowerBoost's ground goes to the Microview's ground, and the PowerBoost's 5V goes to the MicroView's VIN pin (It's right beside the 5V pin). And with that, plug in the battery, turn it on and wallah! Your new gadget should turn on. But we're not quite done yet.

    Step 13: "Bring Us the Code and Wipe Away the Debt!"

    Let me start this off by saying that I am not one for coding. My strong suit falls in hardware, not software. With that being said, I didn't really make this code. The file labeled "Jack_Code" is just me combining a couple of other pre-made codes (I've included those codes as well). Those are:

    • The 4 way button
    • The DHT tester
    • SparkFun's Microview demo cube
    • Manuel Sagra's MicroView Games

    But if you're not interested in all of that, then just plug in and upload Jack_Code to your device.

    After that's done, then we can continue to the final stretch.

    Step 14: "Would You Kindly Finish the Instructable?"

    Time to finish things up. The device looks great, and hopefully the code works fine, but it's still not wearable. So time to make a band to put it on. I decided to use duct tape, but if you have a better and more comfortable material, feel free to use that instead. But if you decide to use duct tape, the first thing you'll need to do is cut out a long strip, and then fold it back on itself to form the band. If there's any sticky overhang, just trim that off. Next you're going to need those Velcro strips. Once you've measured out the band to the length that you want it to be, place one of the strips on one end of the band, flip it over, and place the other strip on the other end. Once that's done, put it on your wrist and make sure it fits.

    Step 15: Gluing It All Together

    Once, you've gotten the band all nice and comfy, you'll need to decide where you want everything to go on the band. After that, I just hot glued everything to the duct tape. I took another doubled-over piece of duct tape and placed it over the battery and and PowerBoost so it doesn't have to be seen. As for the programming wires, don't cut them off, because you never know what kind of upgrades you'll make. I just bundled them up and put them under some duct tape at the top. Once that's done, put it on and wear it proudly.

    Note: Hot glue may not stick to your duct tape very well. I recommend giving it a light sanding before you glue anything to it.

    Step 16: Final Thoughts

    Well, I hope you not only enjoyed the final result, but the building of it as well. Operation is as follows:

    Click the right button: MicroBird Game

    Double Click the right button: MicroPong Game

    Hold the right button: Temperature

    Click the left button: Humidity

    Now this is in no way the only thing you can do to this. If you happen to have a 3D printer, you can print a nice little case for it. If you happen to be more adept at wearble technology, then you can sew it into a shirt sleeve. Find more games, make more and better versions. There's no need to stop.

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      7 Discussions


      3 years ago

      anoche mafia good

      Sound Guy
      Sound Guy

      4 years ago

      Killer project all the way around. Very engaging writing and well laid out steps.


      4 years ago

      One of my favorite parts of your instructable (along with how awesome the concept is) is the pop culture references for the titles for your steps. Also, as a weather geek, I appreciate that it not only plays games but also displays the relative humidity!


      4 years ago

      I love your writing style and the suave opening shot. Nice work!

      I also want to see a video of it in action. You should add one when you get a chance. :)

      Akin Yildiz
      Akin Yildiz

      4 years ago

      great stuff, i will vote for you once you upload a video of it.!!


      4 years ago

      WOW! I have been here, surfing Instructables, for years and this particular one is, by a long shot, ONE OF THE BEST WRITTEN 'IBLES I have had the privilege of reading. Nice job! It is really nice to see young people use their brain. Informative, complete, a bit funny. GOT MY VOTE AND RESPECT.