Topic: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

To those hoping to find a "tablet" that'll do what a Chum-Dash does - best of luck to you. I wasted close to $100 trying ... Now that my 4 Dashes are back in place the tablet is gathering dust. It never did a tenth of what Duane and Co. have given me back.

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

madunning wrote:

To those hoping to find a "tablet" that'll do what a Chum-Dash does - best of luck to you. I wasted close to $100 trying ... Now that my 4 Dashes are back in place the tablet is gathering dust. It never did a tenth of what Duane and Co. have given me back.

Would you mind sharing your experience?  If Duane has no objection, of course.

I've been working on my own "tablet as bedside clock" project for a while now.  It runs right next to my Chumdash on my nightstand.  Well, not really next to it...there's no room!  I place one unit behind the other (with a hardcover book to raise up the rear unit) and rotate them every so often.

So far as I'm concerned, the jury's still out on the success of my own project, but to be fair, I've spent very little money.  While I don't really think of it as a competition...I just enjoy the tinkering and challenges...each unit certainly has its pros and cons.  While I don't mean to have a full-blown Chumdash vs. tablet comparison here, I must admit, I am curious about a couple of things.  For example, does your tablet use IOS, Android, or some other OS?  Can you share anything about the functionality, in terms of why you felt it offered less than 10% of what you're getting from your Chumdash units?  Thanks in advance!

Mods, please feel free to move or even to delete as appropriate.

"You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred" - Superchicken

3 (edited by jhonryan 2017-08-20 09:28:58)

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

CtCarl wrote:
madunning wrote:

To those hoping to find a "tablet" that'll do what a Chum-Dash does - best of luck to you. I wasted close to $100 trying ... Now that my 4 Dashes are back in place the tablet is gathering dust. It never did a tenth of what Duane and Co. have given me back.

Would you mind sharing your experience?  If Duane has no objection, of course.

Ive tried it.  Android, linux and IOS.  The problem is that those devices are designed to be TABLETS, not clocks.  They can run clock apps and sound alarms (good), but they are prone to easily being tipped over and it's a PITA to hit "snooze".  Linux was on a Pi -- but I'm horrible at case design.

I think the reason why there's some hard-core sony dash users is that we've found (either by spending the $300+ original price or the low 'firesale price of around $50) that this is designed to be a clock that has SMART features rather than a TABLET that clock features.

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

While waiting for the chumdash software I was using an HP Touchpad as my alarm
I am much happier since the restoration of the dash

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

Here is one option that can in some cases replace your Dash.  Android product with a lot more capability with the Google Play Store.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WR3W2TA/

I bought one, it's in my workshop and I love it. It's a great music player with remote.  Since you can install countless apps on it there's a lot of options here.

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

1 GB of RAM, quad core (probably Mediatek) processor, 8 GB storage, KitKat? Maybe if you didn't want to rotate through apps, but with hardware/OS that old and underpowered for an Android device, I am not sure I would want to invest in one. Glad it works for you though.

Tar, feathers, congress. Some assembly required.

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

BoloMKXXVIII wrote:

1 GB of RAM, quad core (probably Mediatek) processor, 8 GB storage, KitKat? Maybe if you didn't want to rotate through apps, but with hardware/OS that old and underpowered for an Android device, I am not sure I would want to invest in one. Glad it works for you though.

In fairness, the Dash is about 8 years out of date itself now.  I'm impressed it has played pretty much all the video files I've tossed at it.  The PLAYER sucks (no fast forward, no skipping) but it plays.

The problem I have with it is the width -- it's almost twice as wide as the dash.  It's less a "clocK" and more a "sound bar" with a screen.   Also, the screen is kind of small.   

The overall shape of the thing isn't bad, but that price tag is just too much for what it is for me.  I'd rather pay $3/mo for 5 years for my dash than $130 outright for this widget -- but that's me.

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

flyfoam wrote:

Here is one option that can in some cases replace your Dash.  Android product with a lot more capability with the Google Play Store.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WR3W2TA/

I bought one, it's in my workshop and I love it. It's a great music player with remote.  Since you can install countless apps on it there's a lot of options here.

I bought one of those and had to return it. It was a great alternative but I have my Dash on my night stand and the screen bleed was horrible. I tried to use some dimming apps but they don't work well unless your screen is OLED. The screen on the unit is cheap and the lowest brightness setting is still too bright for a dark bedroom. That is one of the reasons the Dash is still an excellent alarm clock.

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

The Dash won't do Pandora or Spotify which the Zettaly can.  The Dash is 10 years and old and has a fraction of the apps that Kitkat can run from the Google Play Store.  And the Zettaly has a decent sound, I never liked how the Dash audio sounded.  I also have a micro-sd in my Zettaly with PowerAmp installed and can play many different formats of music. 

I bought the Zettaly when the Dash went dark I guess over a year ago.  Then Sony had that USB download patch to get the Dash's back up and running.  So my Dash survived in my bedroom.  But in my workshop I much prefer the Zettaly.   

For weather I resurrected my old iPad 2 and installed WeatherLive.  It's a really nice visual looking app. Buy a tablet stand for $5 and you have a better weather station than what the AccuWeather did on the Dash.

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

flyfoam wrote:

The Dash won't do Pandora or Spotify which the Zettaly can.  The Dash is 10 years and old and has a fraction of the apps that Kitkat can run from the Google Play Store.  And the Zettaly has a decent sound, I never liked how the Dash audio sounded.  I also have a micro-sd in my Zettaly with PowerAmp installed and can play many different formats of music. 

I bought the Zettaly when the Dash went dark I guess over a year ago.  Then Sony had that USB download patch to get the Dash's back up and running.  So my Dash survived in my bedroom.  But in my workshop I much prefer the Zettaly.   

For weather I resurrected my old iPad 2 and installed WeatherLive.  It's a really nice visual looking app. Buy a tablet stand for $5 and you have a better weather station than what the AccuWeather did on the Dash.

Yeah and I agree with you which is why I said it is a great alternative. Since you have it in your workshop, I am assuming you don't sleep near it.  Just letting people know that if you want to replace your Dash with something with more features, the screen on this may annoy you at night being too bright.

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

thrasher086 wrote:

Yeah and I agree with you which is why I said it is a great alternative. Since you have it in your workshop, I am assuming you don't sleep near it.  Just letting people know that if you want to replace your Dash with something with more features, the screen on this may annoy you at night being too bright.

And a tablet even with a tablet stand isn't shaped like a clock.  Snooze is going to be a PITA. 

I don't think anyone is trying to say the other widget is terrible.  I just don't see it replacing my bed-side clock.  For my purposes it's too wide and the screen is too small.  Before the shutdown notification from Sony, I hadn't used Netflix, pandora, spotify or almost anything else in over 5+ years even though I could.  It was operating as a simple clock with a few widgets I liked.  Weather, christmas count down, simple news clips.  Screen is large enough to read everything from bed without effort.   That other screen is so small, I doubt I'd be able to read it even if there was an app to cycle rss feeds.  Also scheduled dim vs. bright would likewise be a problem.

For Flyfoam's stated purpose -- in a workshop -- it's probably an awesome addition.   For my desk/workarea I have a Dot.  "Alexa, play Louis Prima on Pandora" and I'm good to go. 

Flyfoam:  It's a cool device.  Just not for me.  Thanks for the heads up, though!

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

In windows OS try sense weather, a mis of an alarm clorck and weather

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

sjspitalli wrote:

During the Dash downtime, I bought a 7" tablet to work like the Dash. I use the Gentle Alarm app and two Marco automation apps to launch the app at a specific time and launch the home screen at a specific time where I have a weather widget. Also, I use an app that will automate and mimic screen taps to automatically launch night mode within the Gentle Alarm app. Night mode on the app is almost exact to the Dash. You can wake to radio streams, adjust the screen brightness on wake and the volume. The snooze and off button are large and even have an option to make them bigger. There is a widget for the home screen as well that shows next alarm time and a tap will launch the app. I searched and searched until I found a suitable match. My resurrected Dash now sits near the TV with the old Sony color screen theme. It's perfect for its new use. The Dash did it all. With a tablet you can get the same functions with some work around. I agree however, that the physical shape of the Dash is superior to a tablet on a stand.

Sounds cool! Which Macro automation apps did you use?

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

I love my dash, and I'm very thankful that Duane has resurrected it (after also resurrecting my Chumby!), but to be honest, replacing the Dash wouldn't be all that difficult. A tablet is obviously the first thing that comes to mind, since the Dash is really just a simple tablet. You can get a decent tablet for $50, so it's not really a big ticket item!

Getting a tablet to do the kind of stuff a Dash does out of the box can be a pain, though, which I guess is the point of this thread. I have a recent iPad, several Amazon Fire tablets, and a B&N android tablet. None of them are set up as Dash replacements, but they all do some of the stuff you'd do with a Dash.

So what did I replace my Dash with? An Amazon Echo Dot, and a pair of Amazon Echos. A Dot is the same price as a cheap tablet, it does alarms and timers, it does radio and Spotify and audible.com audiobooks, and it's voice-activated! The sound quality ain't great, but it's certainly as good as the Dash- you can always improve it by adding an audio-in speaker.

My Dash has always sat in the kitchen, where it's handy to consult for time, weather and news. If I need an alarm clock, I have my smartphone (also voice activated, of course), or the bedroom Dot.

I would like it if someone would eventually come up with a Dash emulator app I could run on an android tablet, but for now I have my Chumby/Dash, and my Dots and Echos.

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

bsheehan wrote:

A Dot is the same price as a cheap tablet, it does alarms and timers

If only it would play music as the alarm...

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

bsheehan wrote:

A Dot is the same price as a cheap tablet, it does alarms and timers.

Unfortunately it does not have a display.

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

Hi CtCarl! Here's what I tried:

- Amazon Kindle Fire - about $50 (Running the Amazon Android OS)
- Cables to power the thing w/o the cord sticking straight out the side - $15
- Tablet stand - $5
- Every clock app known to man - $15-$20 total (I bought a lot of them - one was about $9!)
- Other assorted bits I had laying (lying?) around ... $0 now, but I bought them at some point

My main concern: NONE of the clocks worked as well as the Dash - and would occasionally fail. The app would freeze or turn the tablet off even tho' it was connected to power. More than once the alarm went off - even tho' I'd turned it off. (My Bride was NOT pleased ...)

2nd Concern - the display was WAY too bright. I just couldn't find a clock that could dim enough and the ones that got close didn't have decent functionality.

I've always used the Kindle App on my iPad to read at night ... and I use it's alarm when I travel, but  I much prefer to have my trusty Dash on my night stand. (And in the Kitchen and in my office and in the Garage ...)

And now that I've found a "Gregorian" station on ShoutCast Radio - life is good! Next: Connect the speaker Sony sent me to my Dash to amp up the sound quality ... There's some irony for you!

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

The single hardest thing to replicate in another platform -- and I've been through tablets, Raspberry Pi, and the Amazon Echo Show -- is the screen.  My Dash sits on my nightstand, and it's still the best alarm clock I've ever owned.  With a little "fi_inspection" tweak, you can set the minimum brightness on the Dash screen low enough that it doesn't light up the entire room, and bright enough that you can still roll over and read it after sunrise.  The backlit displays in all of the tablets I tried, and the Echo, were just too bright.

The best alternative I've found is a Raspberry Pi with the official touchscreen and an Enviro-pHAT.  With a little bit of Python and math, I have the display adjusting properly to the ambient light level.  And with a little node.js and HTML, I have a nice little console with time/date and weather...and NASA APOD when I want it.

I'm not a real programmer by any means, so it's pretty basic.  I think someone with even modest skills and a bit of time could build a really slick Chumby/Dash replacement package.  By virtue of the fact that I got as far as I did with it, clearly it's not that difficult!  smile

Re: Replace your Dash with a tablet?

TerpEE93 wrote:

The best alternative I've found is a Raspberry Pi with the official touchscreen and an Enviro-pHAT.  With a little bit of Python and math, I have the display adjusting properly to the ambient light level.  And with a little node.js and HTML, I have a nice little console with time/date and weather...and NASA APOD when I want it.

I'm not a real programmer by any means, so it's pretty basic.  I think someone with even modest skills and a bit of time could build a really slick Chumby/Dash replacement package.  By virtue of the fact that I got as far as I did with it, clearly it's not that difficult!  smile

I probably won't modify my Dash, but I did see there are kits that would allow hooking up a Pi to the Dash LCD (Innolux AT070TN92), so it had crossed my mind to replace the Dash motherboard with a Pi.  Would there be any way to get the Dash touch panel working with the Pi?  I have no idea what kind of touch panel is used in the Dash.

I picked up a Grandstream GXV3275 IP phone for the office, but I got to thinking its form factor would work well as a bedside clock since it has an adjustable stand.  It's an old business phone with a 7" LCD touchscreen running ancient Android Kitkat.  I paid $75 (before Samsung Pay 10% off gift card discount for a total of $67.50) .  That's kind of a lot for an old Kitkat device, but a lot cheaper than a used Zettaly Avy and a lot more common as well.  Could be someone with more patience waiting for deals could get a better price on one.