hacking Apple Watch to a cuff bracelet custom watch

OK, so here’s the problem.  I think the Apple Watch is too small (but it’s weight is “just right”!) and I dislike the bands.  In fact, I never wear “normal” watches anymore — I greatly prefer nice and wide uniform width leather cuffs.

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finished product

So I found (and ordered) this cute cheapie < $20 adapter (which as I thought, comes direct from China).  The black can chip/flake a little (it’s not anodized into the metal well), which they know/cop to — but it’s so cheap so who cares?  😉

Next I ordered a few different bands from my *favorite* watch (and fun!  also cheap!) store (I’ve rocked their watches for years now, and have fun getting different styles.  Their website is a bit slow, but they have great selection).   I settled on this (crazy cheap clearance!) item black tattoo-like watch cuff band (which nicely didn’t come with a watch I didn’t need).

My thinking was to get something at least as wide as the watch (1.5″ wide band) but would set off/partially incognito the black aluminum 42mm watch casing.  The other two bands were an even wider brown one (but it just was a bit more plain than I’d hope for, less “me”) and a 3″+ *really* wide black one (but it looked a little too S&M or something — again not really “me”).  Thankfully Nemesis was great about letting me return them in exchange for another band and watch I wanted (since I was about two weeks past the return deadline!)

So you:

  • center the watch (charger is easiest) on the back of the band (those rivets you see below hold the “snap parts” for this particular cuff — that’s a more ideal setup than a looped kind of other way to secure the watch w/ a single snap underneath — because we’re going to need to cut out a hole so the watch can touch (and basically “see” your skin)
  • trace the charger with a pen
  • cut the circle out with an xacto knife or similar
  • slide out the old watch band
  • assemble the new watch adapter (you can see it in pictures below slid and locked into the watch)
  • snap in in!

Now you can charge it through the hole nicely, and it should make good skin contact and thus stay unlocked once it’s on.

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pretty simple, trace charger with pen, then cut carefully w/ xacto knife
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showing the new hole and where the watch will snap in. you can see more closely the watch adapter very small pieces and bars locked into the watch
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charging happily through the back and new circle hole through the leather band

 

[ I happen to like also wearing the watch on my left wrist, but face on my underside of the wrist (also makes the watch more innocuous / disappears — and more of a “surprise” when you “wrist up and twist” to others 8-).  So I made my settings say the watch was on my right wrist (since the “bend up arm and twist” motion is more like the other side when you wear the watch this way. ]

made my own heat duct “reducer” today — for $25 in only two hours!

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custom heat duct reducer

 

Using a 24″ x 36″ sheet of (intended for ducting) sheet metal (~$10) and rivet tool + rivets (~$15) I was able to take a 14″ x 8″ opening and create a 4″ deep reducer down to a 14″ x 4″ opening.

This way, this can be an insert into an existing duct and “boot”/box that takes an 8″ pipe of heat into a 4″ deep 14″ x 8″ box.  It can then exhale the heat into a 14″ x 4” vent.

Why the insert you ask?  Hint: house was built in 1960.  Guess what the most common way to insulate ductwork *and* boxes/registers/boots was back then?   ASBESTOS, YAY!

So while we don’t know it is for sure, it sure looks like it (inspectors clued us in, t00).   So we not gonna mess w/ the box/ductwork that is in relatively good shape and not cut it, etc.

This is all part of a Bigger Project of redecoration we are doing at the bunny fort…

 

 

today I did my first oil and oil filter change, ever! (Honda CB400A “decaf”)

Russ and I changed our motorcycle’s oil and oil filters today.  This was the first time I’ve ever changed oil in a vehicle — I guess it sort of was a life goal I figured I’d never get around to — part of understanding cars/bikes more!   So it was a nice way to kick off the start of our 3-day holiday weekend.

The actual work on my bike was quite simple:

  • 1 ratchet-able bolt as the drain plug to release most of the used oil into oil drip pan
  • 1 ratchet-able bolt underneath to release the bike’s oil pan and oil filter section

 Russ helped figure out those bolts which I could confirm with a shop manual PDF.  Harder was sorting out what oil and filter to get/use and getting them.  I went with:

  • Valvoline SAE 10W-40 Motorcycle oil (for 4-strokes; non-synthetic; ideal for wet clutches) (AutoZone/Walmart)
  • K&N KN-111 oil filter (local motorcycle shop)

Putting everything back couldn’t be easier — slipped on new filter to bolt/cover, ratchet-ed the two bolts back in, and poured in ~3 quarts of oil.  I was happy parts were all in good shape and aside from some relatively dirty oil, no badness or surprises for my 35 year old bike.  Phew!

my first oil change
my first oil change
removing bottom bolt and filter
removing bottom bolt and filter
garage work overview
garage work overview

honda CB400A — fixing turn signal and neutral LEDs (to new speedometer)

Whups, my new speedo’s turn indicator LED was only going on when left signal was running.

Thankfully, found this post on hondatwins that mentioned the orange and light blue bike lines were actually active lines for when left or right turn signal was on — not that they were positive and negative general lines. It also mentioned a (cheap/simple, yay!) fix to use two 3-amp diodes and tie them in together. A quick putt-putt to Radioshack and $2 later…

Success!

I focus mainly on that in this image, but also some other related notes.

annotated picture of wiring behind headlight

 

I also have my new speedo’s neutral LED light now turning on when bike is on (but not running) — will see tomorrow if it *also* properly goes *off* when shift up when bike is running.

decaf! Honda CB400A automatic cafe racer. I’ve been a bad girl today….

Today Hunter helped me inspect, test-drive, buy, and drive 100+ miles home from a mom-n-pop custom bike modifier in California’s central valley.

We avoided the 5 and all freeways and started out with about an hour of “country roads” and farm roads that were mostly straight and flat. Next we nearly ran out of gas but recovered thanks to the “reserve switch” to fillup in Tracy. Finally, we started the fun curvy and up-and-down stuff through the northwest backside of Mt. Diablo and had a late lunch in Clayton. We wrapped it up through Moraga, and then our favorite twisty mountain pass up Pinehurst to Skyline Blvd and home

What an wild day!

I’ve named her “decaf” since she’s an automatic (with just “lo” and “hi” gears, no clutch) *and* a cafe racer style modified bike. I’m really pleased she did so well on the first ambitious ride all the way home.

Here’s some bike porn / pix!

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