[logo: three Life Game glider patterns surrounding the text "Spare Time Gizmos"]

Ordering
Our Mission
Intellectual Property
Pricing Policy
Construction
Quality
Orders and Payment
Returns and Refunds

Ordering

If you would prefer to pay by cash, check or money order, please contact us with your order and we'll be happy to send you an invoice and payment instructions.

International customers (except Canada) please inquire about shipping charges and insurance before ordering.  Shipping charges shown are for USA customers only!

Unless otherwise specified shipping will be by USPS Priority Mail or International Airmail.  Insurance is automatically added and included in the shipping costs for all items over $100.  Spare Time Gizmos will not be responsible for damage to or loss of uninsured shipments.

California sales tax must be charged for all shipments to California addresses.

Our Mission

The Spare Time Gizmos Store exists to sell parts and kits so that you can build one of our Gizmos for yourself. We had fun building them; we think they're fun to have around, and we hope you'll feel the same.

Intellectual Property

The documentation, schematics, software (both source and binary), GAL programming, PC board layouts and more information for most of our Gizmos are available for download from our web site. These files are copyrighted by Spare Time Gizmos and are NOT public domain. You'll need to read the documentation that accompanies each Gizmo for specific details, but in general these files are usually released under the terms of either the GNU General Public License (aka the GPL) or the GNU Free Documentation License (aka the FDL).

The story of free software and the GNU Public License is a long one, but the short version is that you are free to use any of our files covered under the GPL and/or FDL to build your own Gizmo. If you make any improvements to our Gizmos, you are free and encouraged to share that work with others.  This also means that you are not required to purchase anything from us in order to build your own Gizmo. All the information you need is there; if you have the skills and tools required, you can build one on your own and never need talk to us again.

A few of our Gizmos, such as the Life Game or the TU58 Emulator, contain IP that Spare Time Gizmos does not own and/or have commercial contracts associated with them. In those cases some of the IP associated with the Gizmo remains a proprietary to Spare Time Gizmos and we cannot release it. We're sorry about that.

Pricing Policy

Most of the parts used in our Gizmos are readily available and, as a rule, for each part our parts list even recommends a source where you can go to buy that particular item. However there are always exceptions. Some parts, such as PC boards, are custom manufactured and cannot be economically purchased in single pieces. A few parts, such as the HD1-6120-9 CPU chip, are rare, difficult to find, and generally can be purchased only in quantities of 50 or 100 when you do find them. Other parts, such as GALs or EPROMs, are easy to get but require special equipment to program.

It's problems like these that keep people from building the Gizmos that they want. We know - the same problems have kept us from building plenty of Gizmos too! The main focus of the Spare Time Gizmos Store is to buy in quantity these hard to get parts and sell them to you, individually, so that you can build a Gizmo.

Unfortunately we can't do this for free. Running a store means that we have to spend time and money buying accounting software, keeping books for the tax man, negotiating deals to buy those hard to find parts, stuffing little bags with parts, taking boxes over to the post office, and a thousand other things that it takes to run a business. And most of all, while we're doing these things it means we're not having fun building new Gizmos!

And even for the parts that are easy to obtain, we also recognize that some people just don't enjoy spending their time buying dozens of little parts here and there. We can understand that - we don't enjoy it either! For those people we offer full kits that include every single part, and even fully assembled versions, for some of our Gizmos.

However, we do charge a premium for that. There's no way Spare Time Gizmos can be successful selling resistors, capacitors and garden variety integrated circuits and we don't want to be in that business. As a rule you'll find that our price mark ups are the largest on the common place parts that you can get anywhere, and our markup is the smallest on the parts that you cannot get anywhere except from Spare Time Gizmos.

That may seem backwards, but we think it is perfectly in line with the mission of the Spare Time Gizmos Store.

Construction

Remember that our Gizmos are kits. Depending on which kit you bought you may have to buy the remaining parts your self, and in all cases you will have to build them! You'll need to know how to identify parts, read resistor color codes and those cryptic numbers printed on capacitors, how to figure out which IC pin is pin 1 or which capacitor lead is positive, and, most important of all, you need to know for which parts you need to worry about which lead is which, and for which parts it doesn't matter!

You'll also need to know how to solder. Most of our PC boards are done with "7 and 7" design rules, which means that the traces are 7 mils (that's 0.007 inches!) wide and the air gaps (i.e. the space between adjacent traces) are also 7 mils. This is pretty small, and you'll need a magnifier, 0.031" solder, a temperature controlled soldering iron, and a steady hand to do it. We rarely use SMT parts in our Gizmos; we have too much trouble soldering them too!

In short, our kits are not hard to assemble, but they are not for beginners. If you have never built anything like this before, or if you don't understand what those last three paragraphs were talking about, then our kits are not for you. Perhaps you can find someone else more experienced to help you put it together, or send us an email and ask about purchasing a fully assembled Gizmo.

Quality

Where ever possible, we use the best quality parts available. For example, the FP6120 uses sealed toggle switches instead of slide switches. Our full kits always include sockets for every IC and the sockets used are the machined pin variety, which are much more reliable than the spring contact type. Unfortunately, the best quality parts also cost the most, but in our experience the money you save on an inferior part isn't worth the time it takes to debug the Gizmo when that part fails.

All programmed parts and all specialty ICs (e.g. 6120 CPU chips!) are completely tested by Spare Time Gizmos before the parts are shipped. If the pins on the IC you receive look like they've already been inserted in a socket, that's because they were when we tested it.  Simpler parts, such as resistors, capacitors, diodes, common place ICs, etc are tested by the manufacturer before Spare Time Gizmos buys them and we don't bother to test them again. If one of these parts turns out to be defective, we apologize. Send it back to us and we'll be happy to replace it.

Orders and Payment

We accept payment by personal check or money order. We'll also take cash if you meet us in person, but don't send cash thru the mail! We accept international orders too, but payment must be made in US funds.

We'll ship your order as soon as we receive payment. As a rule we don't wait for personal check to clear before shipping.

We don't accept payment for things we don't have. If the parts you ordered are not in stock, we won't deposit your check until they are.

We ship all orders via United States Postal Service Priority Mail.  Insurance is automatically included in the shipping costs for all items over $100.  Spare Time Gizmos cannot replace uninsured orders that are lost or damaged in transit.

Returns and Refunds

You can return any part or kit for a full refund, less the shipping charges, for a full refund provided that it is unopened and unused.  Unless defective, parts and kits cannot be returned once construction is started. Look it over carefully and be sure it's what you want before you start soldering.

If any part we ship you is defective, we'll replace it provided that you return it with in 90 days of purchase. This doesn't cover parts that are damaged by your mistake, so if you put that IC in backwards and blow it up, please don't send it back to us! All the expensive and hard to get ICs are 100% tested by Spare Time Gizmos before they are shipped, and we know those are OK when they leave our door. If one of the other parts doesn't work and you don't think it's your fault, then we'll take your word for it and replace it for you.

We're sorry, but our warranty does not extend to parts that are damaged by poor construction techniques, especially bad soldering, or ICs damaged by static electricity.

Created and managed with Microsoft Front Page 2000Click to join the Spare Time Gizmos Yahoo! Group.Copyright 2000-2006 by Spare Time Gizmos.  All rights reserved.  Last modified July 31, 2006.
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