Watch Winder; Help for a Beginner.

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by retske, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. retske

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 28, 2009
    As stated in title I am new to these projects. I am an engineering student and a life-time tinkerer, but I have yet to learn (or maybe I am to slow to) apply my learnings to this project.

    I am making an automatic watch winder, for automatic or self-winding watches. Look it up on google or I explain what I want soon, but here is the basics for my project:

    I have built a box; 9" wide x 8 length for the base, the height is different front and back, front is 3" and back is 7" and (if I remember correctly) the angle connecting is around 20 degrees.

    All that info is so you know the scope of the area I am working with. In other words a 22" x 20" x 13" controller might be a little large.

    Now in the angled face of the box is 2 holes (about 3" diameter) and I have 2 circular platforms for the watches to be attached to (don't worry how I have that worked out). The platforms will sit inside the box at the holes and rotate very slowly; 5-10 RPMs is optimal 20-30 RPMs is acceptable (I guess... :rolleyes: ).

    Here is the problem:
    I got few stepper motors for cheap (specs here, but I don't understand and have been unable to find much info (at least info I fully understand) about stepper motor controllers, drivers, and programmers.
    I am guessing I need a controller that will control at least 2 steppers, has internal memory, so once programmed it can run without a computer, and is small enough to fit in the box.

    My wants:
    I would like the platforms to rotate clockwise for 30 minutes, then rotate 30 minutes counter clockwise, stop for 2-3 hours, then repeat the steps indefinitely; unless powered off, but when powered back on it will go about the program. Approximates are ok. Also, the cheaper the better. Recommendations are always welcome, actually that is why I asked.

    What I have:
    I have a box, motors, wire, solder, variable dc power supply, a radio shack down the road, credit card for the internet purchases, various hardware, tools, and other parts from computers and random devices.

    If I can build the controller and programmer for cheap, that is fine I have plenty of time. Please do not assume I have anything; I know I need a programmer and maybe a controller and/or a driver. The real help I need is a better understanding of how to control stepper motors and what products I need and what those products do. Most info I have found assumes you already know how to much of this. I need a book like, "An idiot's guide for dummies that are stupid and slow... and look funny", maybe that is too niche of a book.

    Anything you can do that will shed light on this for me would be wonderful.

    If you might be able to help, even a little, please post. Also ask any questions if needed.

    I will post pictures and maybe video of completed project.
  2. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
  3. retske

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 28, 2009
    I have a couple of low RPM dc motors that do the job with no controller, just a lamp timer. I want to go more sophisticated and have a learning experience.
    I am guessing I can use a controller for standard dc motors and use the controller to set timers and rotation direction; is that correct?

    I will study the links you two sent me.
  4. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    You don't need to change directions. The mechanism of the watch includes a ratchet because the human wrist motion is not circular. But the weight inside the watch only needs to turn in the direction that winds the spring. It doesn't need to turn both ways.
  5. retske

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 28, 2009
    You are correct on the winding of the watch, but I have multiple automatic watches and some wind CW, other do CCW, and some I have no clue. I want this to work with any watch without any modding.
    I know that I am making this overly difficult but, I want to use this project to better understand how stepper motors, programmers, and controllers/drivers work.
  6. RiJoRI

    Well-Known Member

    Aug 15, 2007
    I'd suggest you look at Parallax's BASIC Stamp. They have a number of (free) educational downloads, including some info on Steppers. (Look at the Stamp Works manual and the Nuts & Volts articles.) Even if you don't purchase anything, their info may help you get a handle on steppers and how to control them