Do you accept credit cards?
Yes we do, via Paypal.
When you get to "Payment Information", select "Paypal IPN", and you can use your credit card to make a Paypal payment.
How much time does it take to build these kits?
It depends on two things. The number of connections to solder, and your experience level. The Atom (aka Atomic MuseCon) takes 30 minutes. The other beginner kits, such as the 6 LED Circle, take 45 minutes for a beginner, with the other kits taking an hour. With a little bit of experience, the time to build is cut in half.
This is an average. We've seen beginners solder a board in half the expected time, and we've seen experienced folks take twice the time as they try to make each solder connection a perfect work of art. The goal here is to take your time and *enjoy*.
How much time does it take to build the 4x4x4 RGB Cube?
At MuseCon 2, where it was introduced, seven people built the cube, taking 4-5 hours each. One person had never soldered before, and after building the Atomic MuseCon and the Rocket blinkies, she built the cube and completed it after 5 hours. She was happy, and we were also happy as it validated our "easy-to-build" design goal.
My kit is missing parts!
Sorry about that, we sort and bag the parts by hand - no outsourcing here! Send us an email and we will make it right!
I destroyed a part while building the kit. What can I do?
It happens. You're not the first (or second, or fiftieth). Send us email, and well see what we can do. We have no problem selling just the parts you need to get it working.
- I just finished and it does not work!
Most problems are bad (cold) solder joints and solder bridges. We and fellow blinkie techs have helped others build thousands of the kits at many conventions, and have seen most (if not all) the possible problems. Send us email describing the problem and we will be able to tell you what to check for. If all else fails, we can work out some deal were you mail it to us for repair.
- I noticed the battery holders have had their legs straightened out, what's the deal?
Yes, it's a parts problem we would love to solve in a more graceful manner! We would love to find battery holders that fit LR44 batteries without modifications. After the circuit board and PIC chips, the battery holders are the most expensive part, and yet they are just stamped metal. If you know of any places that makes a LR44 holder we can use (in quantities less than ten thousand), let us know!
We did find a solution. For all newly designed blinkies (Atomic MuseCon, Rocket, 4x4 RGB Square, etc), we will use the new batteries holders. For the existing designs, we will continue to unbend the legs on the LR44 batteries holders.
My kit did not come with instructions!
They are available electronically. If you go to the products page, you can download the instructions. We found that a printed manual substantially outweighs the kit, increasing the shipping cost. We can add in a printed manual for additional cost.
Why is there a label on the chip?
The PIC chips are programmed by us. The label is how we track what chips have been programmed with what software.
I saw your boards at a Convention/Demo cheaper, whats the deal?
A number of people, in addition to us, donate their time every year to assemble the parts into a kit (and solder on the battery clips), and often a third party will subsidize the kits.
I want to order a lot of kits. Whats the best way?
Send us an email. Although we may list a couple dozen in inventory, we usually have parts for a couple hundred on hand for each kit type. If more than several hundred are needed, additional lead time will be needed six weeks. We can shrink the time down, but we would need to pass along the expedite fees the board manufacturers charge us.
- Would you do a custom board?
Absolutely. We can accommodate almost any project, from your basic blinkie, to an arbitrarily complex blinkie, to special purpose boards, to sensor boards, and to custom controllers. We also speak various sorts of communication protocols. The NIU Stemfest blinkie is an excellent example of custom board run.
- So really, are you doing this just for fun?
Yes, we really do like designing the boards and seeing the pleasure people get from learning how to build them. Plus what's not to like about blinking lights?
- Yeah, so we get the fun part, but what about the money?
At a Convention/Demo, no, we don't make any money; we have day jobs. We actually lose several hundred when we figure in travel costs and hotel rooms - and that's exclusive of the value of our time. We do this because this is our contribution to making life a little more interesting and fun for all.
- I'd like you to come and do a blinkie building workshop for my organization.
Send us an email and tell us about what your organization does, and how you think this will further your mission/vision/etc. We'll probably be interested, but it will depend on how full our schedule is.
Here are some of the most common questions we get. If you don't see the answer to your question here, send us an email.