the sheep that never sleeps
May 5, 2010 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Can I disconnect/modify the timer on my baby's Sleep Sheep so that it plays indefinitely?

The sheep has a little removable sound box that plays nature sounds. There are four buttons for the sounds, a volume knob, and a switch that controls a timer. The timer is always on by default, with a range of 23 - 45 mins, but I would really like it if it would play until I turn it off.

I opened the sound box and looked at the guts. There are two wires coming off the timer switch to a control board. Would cutting one or both of these wires disable the timer? Or would it just break the whole thing?
posted by gnutron to Technology (9 answers total)
From one of the product photos in the page you linked to, it really looks like the timer switch is just a simple switch (and not an actual timer mechanism). So all it can be doing is, in one position it connects the two wires together, and in the other position it doesn't. If you cut one or both of the wires, it'll just act like the switch is stuck in one position.

You'd most likely have to figure out how the control board works to be able to change or defeat the timing circuit, to which this switch is just an input. Can you see the control board's components and wiring, and post a picture?
posted by FishBike at 11:43 AM on May 5, 2010

Disconnecting the timer switch would probably just make it get stuck in one of the two modes (23min or 45min). Do you know what happens if you change the timer switch, say, 15 minutes after starting? Does the count reset?
posted by caaaaaam at 11:44 AM on May 5, 2010

See if you can wedge one of the buttons in the on position - if this causes the sheep to play longer than the regular time, you should be able to take the switch assembly apart and connect the contacts of one of the time switches.
posted by davey_darling at 12:11 PM on May 5, 2010

We have a Sleep Sheep at home. I'll take it apart when I get home tonight and report back with results. It's possible that there's a pad on the circuit board for a 'run indefinitely' setting that they didn't hook up to the switch.
posted by zsazsa at 1:21 PM on May 5, 2010

Wow, I have a sleep sheep for my kids and have always wished for the same mod! I have never figured out how you change the timer length, but I can answer caaaaaam and say that pressing the on/timer button does seem to reset the timer. Possibly that button is just toggling between 23 and 45 minutes? I have never timed it out.
posted by Joh at 1:24 PM on May 5, 2010

Yeah, a picture would definitely be very helpful, but I have a feeling almost everything is done by some monolithic integrated circuit.

Further investigation of the circuit would be necessary, but if that's the case (and if I understood Joh correctly) it's possible you could just hook the output of a low-frequency 555 timer to whatever pin of the IC is reading the timer setting switch and it would just keep resetting it over and over. What sort of tools do we have to work with here?

I guess it's also worth asking the OP: do you care if the mod makes it so that only one of the sounds works, or do you want to be able to switch between them?

Baa baa.
posted by caaaaaam at 5:58 PM on May 5, 2010

Just took it apart, and it doesn't really look hackable. 90% of the inside of the sound box is empty space. The circuit board is tiny and has a single little chip-on-board under a black epoxy blob, a few resistors, and two capacitors.
posted by zsazsa at 9:46 PM on May 5, 2010

Thanks for the report, zsazsa.

If there's that much free space, it might be easiest to just stick a cheap MP3 player in there that's set to loop, and hook its output up to the existing speaker. (Though then you'd have to worry about how to turn it on and off.)

The alternative would really only be to create some sort of parasitic device, like I mentioned above, that automatically re-triggers the sound module-- entirely doable, but not without a bit of gumption (and some proper tools).

Let me know if you're interested in pursuing either of these routes; we can dig further.

(Really, I think the lesson here is that the Sleep Sheep needs its sleep too.)
posted by caaaaaam at 10:55 PM on May 5, 2010

thanks everyone for your thoughts. i am gonna chalk this one up as not worth worrying about. the sleep sheep will get it's sleep. next week's question: do sleep sheep dream of electric sheep?
posted by gnutron at 9:52 AM on May 6, 2010

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