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First Thoughts

A project log for TTGO T-Watch review

Thoughts and tips about the TTGO T-Watch

Chris LowChris Low 08/27/2019 at 23:420 Comments

Note: LilyGo sent me one T-Watch to test, and I bought one additional one to try and test range for the Lora module.

The plastic actually feels pretty good. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the molding. I was a bit disappointed because I requested they send black, but they sent me white cases, which personally I don't care for. I bought the board with the GPS+Lora board. It came pre-assembled with the standard module included in the box. The only really cheap feeling part of the hardware was the watch strap, which feels pretty cheap. I would love to see more of a silicon strap.

The form factor is pretty strange to me. I don't normally wear a watch, so a watch feels a bit  strange anyways, but this thing pushes the size of what I would consider a watch. Primarily it is supper think. They have left room inside for different module options, but I think the case could have been thinner which would have been nice. Specifically I think changing the way the strap integrates into the case could have significantly improved the feel. I 3d printed a clip, and am looking at the device more like a pager than a watch. I am sure there are people that would be into a watch of this size, but I couldn't use it as a daily wear. Other than the size the hardware is pretty awesome for a hacker. Having an ESP32 with a variety of additional hardware means there are a lot of possibilities for projects. 

The screen is quite nice. The resolution is 240x240. With LittlevGL you can really make a nice looking GUI. The nicest feature of this platform in my opinion is the capacitive touch screen. In my opinion that sets this product apart. It have such a nicer feel than a resistive touch screen. Interacting with the screen is easy and responsive.

The hardware in my opinion is awesome, and I don't really know of anything out there similar. That is the good side. The bad side is that the documentation is almost non-existent. To be fair I knew what I was in for because I had used other TTGO products and the documentation was often wrong or non-existent. Unfortunately there are a lot of components inside this watch, and there is essentially no information provided about how to use them. When I first got the watch there wasn't even any example code available. It took me days just to get to the point of uploading any code via the Arduino IDE. For those who can't see the T-Beam in board manager these are the steps I figured out. 

What you need to do is in Arduino preferences change the additional board manager urls from: https://dl.espressif.com/dl/package_esp32_index.json to https://dl.espressif.com/dl/package_esp32_dev_index.json This gives you the Development release link which has the T-watch.

Under Board managers select esp32 version 1.0.3-rc2

You should be able to select T-Watch.

Here is the thing that is super basic information needed just to get started, but it is nowhere to be found. the main github for the T-watch: https://github.com/Xinyuan-LilyGO/TTGO-T-Watch has no updates since launch 3 months ago. I finally found an set of examples here https://github.com/Xinyuan-LilyGO/TTGO_TWatch_Library. But I had to stumble on this github because it isn't linked. Every step has been a challenge because I had to find the most basic information out for myself because it is not documented. The libraries available for many of the components are also very basic at best. Getting information for some of the components is also very difficult. For example the GPS/Lora is handled by an Acsip S76G chip. Which is a pretty cool SIP, but I have yet to find an english datasheet for the point to point lora commands. This is a uart chip so the Arduino Lora libraries won't work with it. I wish they had used the sx1276 chip they use in all their other boards to maintain code compatibility. Better yet I wish they would make a module using the newer sx1262 chip.

I think this is an awesome hardware set so I am really hoping they can develop a community around this project that can fill in the gaps in documentation. I can envision some cool projects. Like pairing with a Bluetooth multi meter for a wrist mounted HUD. Right now however developing on the T-Watch is not for the faint of heart. 

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