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!
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.
sales tax must be charged for all shipments to California addresses.
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.
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
Public License (aka the GPL) or the
GNU Free Documentation License
The story of free software and the GNU Public License is a
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Spare Time Gizmos cannot replace uninsured orders that are lost or damaged
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.