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Free Day is January 7th, 2010!

Pocket $100 worth of free stuff! No really. It's coming on January 7th. We're opening up our doors and letting anyone take $100 worth of free goodies. Also, a reminder that SparkFun will be closed at the end of this week!

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You can blame it on Chris Anderson's book Free. After reading his book, I started kicking around the idea of what we can do that's 'free'. Sure, we have free bits (open-source hardware designs, available code, etc.), but we don't have free physical widgets. Now combine that with our love of creating shear havoc (AVC, C&D letter, Portable Rotary Phone), and you get Free Day.

Nobody gives away a free physical thing. There's always a catch. So up front: you have to pay shipping. Other than that, it's open season.

  • $100 max per household
  • You pay shipping
  • Limit of $100,000 in giveaways for the day
  • Starts 9AM MST January 7th, 2010
  • Ends 11PM MST January 7th, 2010 (or when we hit $100k, whichever comes first)
  • Rainchecks for popular items will be allowed

Why are we doing this? It's not that I want to create hell for the shipping, production, and the IT teams at SparkFun. There's a multitude of reasons.

First and foremost, we want to give back. We've had a stellar year in 2009, and it's all because of you. So please, have a beer (or a Stepper Motor Driver) on us.

Second: We wish we could sponsor more groups but we don't have a sound way of selecting appropriate projects. Because we can't afford to say yes to everyone, we have to say no to everyone. It pains us every time we have to do it. So this is a way for us to evenly enable all the students and great minds of the world to pickup a $100 worth of free gear. Go for it!

Third: Free Day will possibly create a maelstrom of site traffic, the likes of which our servers have not seen. At the beginning of December, 2009, SparkFun will be graduating out of its high-chair and moving into a server cluster. We are excited to have the breathing room, and Free Day will help us evaluate just how much breathing room we're getting. We'll do everything in our power to keep the site up but please understand that the site may go down.

Fourth: We turn 7 years old! SparkFun is now over 70 employees and is the ripe old age of 49 (in business and dog years). We'd like to celebrate our birthday with a party.

More nitty gritty details:

  • There is no special code to type in. But you get only one order on Free Day, so spend it well!
  • Only one $100 credit per household. We ask that you respect this limit and don't try to abuse this gift.
  • There is no minimum or maximum order. You can spend more than $100, the balance of which will be charged to your method of payment.
  • Only Credit Card and Paypal orders will be eligible for the $100 credit. We don't want to have people tying up inventory with POs, wire transfers, checks in the mail, or lost faxes.
  • You will see whether or not your order qualifies for a credit in the checkout process.
  • Free Day does not apply to our distributors. Sorry!
  • Gift Cards cannot be bought on Free Day.
  • Any returns from Free Day will be exchanged for the same item.
  • Every order isn't going to ship on Free Day, or for a few days after. We've got extra tape guns on hand, but please be patient and give us some time to catch up!
  • We are ratcheting up inventory for Free Day, but backorders (a.k.a. rainchecks) are allowed on most items (some items we simply can't get anymore). We'll get you your goodies just as soon as we can get them back in stock.

As we usually do things here at SparkFun, these rules are open for revision. We may need to tweak them as our astute users point out how silly we are. If we have to make any changes to the rules, we'll let you all know here on our homepage. So mark January 7th, 2010 on your calendars - it's Free Day!

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On another less exciting note, we want to remind everyone that SparkFun offices will be closed Thursday, November 26th and Friday, November 27th in observance of Thanksgiving! We will not be shipping any orders these days, but you can place orders as usual. Happy holiday season to all of our customers and for those of you traveling this week, be safe! Cheers!

Comments 306 comments

  • I'm in the same boat as Max, there. $100 is a nice freebie, but I can afford it so I'll leave it for someone who can't.
    I am really impressed with Sparkfun for doing this, though. I normally get my electronic bits and bobs through a different distributor, but I think I'll start shopping here, instead.

  • Jeez, it is very hard to resist such an offer, but hey, it will be available only to 1000 lucky duckies, and in hopes that it will promote interest of high school and college students to the 21st century DIY, I will not use this offer because I can afford spending 100$ for myself.
    I highly encourage everyone here to leave this offer to the ones who really cannot afford to get such toys.

  • Here's an idea:
    Why don't those of us planning on ordering on free day limit ourselves to $75, or even $50. If we don't go over $75, we can still get great stuff, and over 300 more people have a lucky day. If we keep it under $50, 1000 more people can have $50 of free electronics goodness!
    So I ask you for this: please consider sacrificing that extra GPS module so that more people can share the joy of Free Day. It's a simple proposal. Think about it!

  • what i'm wondering, is if anyone else has noticed free day is only good for the first 1,000 orders after 9 am GMT-7?

    • Please no complaining!

    • I'm not sure what you mean by "only." That's $100,000 in potential giveaways - I'm pretty sure SparkFun doesn't want to go under while giving away free stuff because they set zero restrictions. Also, if people don't order for the full $100, it will obviously mean that there will be more money left over for others.
      I'm not quite sure I understand how anybody can really complain. How many times have you been to a store that will just give away $100 without asking for anything in return? I know I haven't.

  • First thought: Yesss! I can get that graphic LCD screen I want, and some XBee gear, and ... and ...
    Second thought: Y'know, I have a good job and I can afford to buy my own SparkFun gear. I think I'll leave the free stuff for the people who'll appreciate it even more than I would.
    Third thought, carrying #2 a step further: Nate, if you wanna make a product code that costs $100 and sponsors another seat in the giveaway (obviously not tax deductible for the contributor), heck yeah, I'll buy one. I expect it would add complications you don't care to deal with, but it's worth offering.

    • I'm with you, Keith. I'd like $100 worth of stuff free, but I can afford to pay for it. When I think of how desperately I wanted something like that when I was a high school kid, or even in college, I think I'd be a lot happier leaving my share to those folks.

    • Very kind of you :).
      Can be taken a step further and have a product of $1 value per quantity (54 quantity is $54). Then, either give a fixed amount, or random amount, to individuals who enter a specific listing (those who to participate in receiving).

    • That is a pretty fantastic offer. Even though it's still a month out, I'm already worrying about whether or not I'll be able to participate, and your generosity is inspiring.
      That being said, I'd be happy to give you my address and a wish list under $100 if you want to make my Christmas so much better than any of my luddite relatives ever could :D. Then I wouldn't have to worry about being up at 9:00am during winter vacation.

    • I don't think we can add any more features before Free Day unless I promise IT a free trip to Vegas and a years supply of whiskey. But wow - that's pretty amazing philanthropy. Thanks for all the offers! You guys continue to amaze us here at SFE.

      • Honestly, this makes me think of how fast my heart would have been beating if something like this had happened when I was a kid and had no hope of ever getting my hands on these kinds of cool things. $100 worth free? It would have been the highlight of my youth.
        Maybe you guys could have a sort of "roundup for education" program where we round our order totals up to the nearest $1 or $5 and you put the difference into a pot that goes to provide kids (high school age?) with some of your stuff.

      • Make it two years and we'll talk.

  • I was just wondering, can we order gift certificates with the $100? =P

  • As a student this really blows my mind. All I really want is some stuff for my Arduino like cables and sensors. Or maybe I could FINALLY justify getting an USB logic analyzer...
    HOWEVER: I am SURE the 1000 orders will disappear in a matter of seconds. This is a fantastic gesture, but it would have been much more fair at 10$ for the first 10000 orders.

  • Seeing as there are only 1000 packages, it will all be sold out within seconds... I foresee many unhappy people.

  • $.1K Spark fun rocks...I will will spend an extra .1k of my own just because. Thanks SparkFun

  • This is really great, though you might consider restricting it to high school students or setting up fund for high school students. Like some of the other posters, I feel guilty taking money away from the kids.

  • I can't beleive some people are complaining at all!!
    this is such a great thing, if you don't get to "win" oh well, Nothing lost.
    Great job SparkFun!!

  • I'd assume this is 100 US dollars, not 100 of our local currency?

  • This is an astounding gift. In the spirit in which it was presented, I pledge to not attempt to take part. This hasn't been the best year ever but I'm doing okay; leave the freebies for the folks who would truly benefit from it. (And the greedy who just see FREE FREE FREE)

  • OK, I figured out what I will do to help you celebrate this day.
    I will work for free that day at no cost to my client.
    I will donate the earnings I would have made that day to you guys.
    What I ask from you, is that you use the money to support your enthusiastic customers. Especially the newbies and collage students. I might even be able to talk some people I know to do the same thing. That would be cool.
    I have lived with geek passion all of my life. It has served me well. It is time to share it around.
    I challenge all of our community to join you.

  • Free sample programs used to be pretty common & they used to cover shipping. Used to get $100 of PICs & MOSFETs all the time. Still, it just shows there's always a party somewhere even when all those stock brokers complain about being poor. If only your government invested in widget stimulus packages instead of building more condominiums no-one wants.

  • ??With my last order, I've humbly asked the person reading the note, to draw sth really small on the box. can't really justify why, i guess I thought it would be exciting to receive sth more personal and humane than a breakout board from the other end of the world (usa-turkey). Well, it was far more exciting than I thought it would be, for "P.C." not only drawn a beautifully detailed mushroom (even the grass beneath it), he/she has also colored it. That was the most cute and joyous thing to ever come to my door.
    ??I probably wont be taking the chance for this free day ; but want to take this chance to thank to you all and to "P.C." especially, for being awesome. really very awesome...awesome (:

  • Holy cow, thanks! /mindblown
    Whoa, this is awesome. Wait, no, you're awesome.
    I spent the last two weeks deciding what to get, and finally placed an order last night. A months heads-up and a $100 credit will really spiff up my projects!
    Oh, and happy Turkey day. Cheers, SF.

  • 100bux!?! I feel like I just discovered free component samples for the first time.
    That's enough of a credit to do something really cool.

  • Forget Santa. You people rock. Full stop.

  • That's cooooll. A 100$ gift.
    Is this really true....?! or some of sort laygh and gags play out there from SFE...8-0
    Could we place our orders to one of ur distributors and still get the free day offer or should it be done exclusively on ur website.

  • As above comments, policy on preloaded cart? :) Also time limit to pay? I say 5 mins from confirmation you got lucky, otherwise cancel order and forfit the user form making another entry. Can't have the bot tying up funds if it can't figure out it got lucky ;) (jokes)

  • I'm guessing that there were >1000 people with items already in their basket, ready to go, at 9am. Unless its just some timing/server problem (which I doubt) then Free Day was probably over in the first ~45sec.

  • January 7th... Not December 7th.

  • Me too -- has anyone gotten it to work? Anyone?

  • FYI:
    Almost 8:15 PST and no discount is showing.
    I keep backing up to the Cart and then running up to confirmation but nothing changes.

  • It doesn't seem to be working. I've been going through the purchase cycle since 9:58, and going back/restarting for the last 10 minutes. I have not seen the discount. :-(

  • Free day is from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. But in what time zone ?

  • Seriously, I know you guys work on weekdays but if so many people are going to be deprived of this because of work or school, then why do it anyway?

  • Alright, so I'm thinking of making some auto clicker using a 555 timer IC or I'll hack a clock, and when it hits 11 o'clock, it activates a relay, and while my mouse is pointed over the confirm order button, it'll click and get me my stuff while I'm at this pointless middle school. I WILL need some extra info, like how many pages will we have to go through to completely confirm the order? When we click "order", does it bring you to another page and make you click again? I really need to know or else I'll be missing out on something really great. Thanks!

    • You could make a Mouse Macro without going thru all of the trouble of making a 555 clicker. USB and PS/2 Mouse signals are extremely complex. It would involve using a uController for PS/2 signals or a powerful uConroller for a usb mouse.
      Hey SparkFun, how about 500 orders on the 7th and the rest on Saturday or Sunday, or something similar to that. It would allow those people who are students at school to be able to participate.

    SparkFun is the best company ever!

  • So if we order something, but happen to be a smidgen to late and the last order just went. What happens? Do we get informed of the tragedy before the charge?

  • Wow, $100! Thats awesome! However, I think it would be more prudent to put it on a weekend, since many people have school/work at 9:00 AM.

  • Holy crap! $100! For real!? You have no idea what that means to a guy with three kids to feed....
    I'm just floored that in this day and age a company would do that for its customers.

  • What a great news !!!!
    But it is also valid for people living outside the U.S. ?

  • I'm not sure my past Sparkfun orders even total $100, so I'll feel a bit guilty about accepting, but my mental cart has had about $200 worth of stuff in it for about six months. This promotion will definitely jumpstart some cool projects!
    Now, this is Sparkfun, not SPARC, right?
    Thank you Nate. You deserve every bit of your success. (byte?)


  • You guys suck! Big time! This is unacceptable!
    Your competitors

  • btw, anyone know what day of the week this'll be? I'd rather not have to cut class.

  • This is incredible, people in the hobby electronics world will talk about this for YEARS! You can't pay for advertisement this good.
    I think it's ok to come out with the truth now... You've teamed up with the north pole and Santa has promised to buy 40% of your stock when you go public in exchange for a free day.

  • I love you.

  • Truly remarkable. Sparkfun rocks so hard. <3

  • Pinch me... This can't be happenin'. SparkFun shines bright in my life! Thanks guys! You need to add some charity "products" to your inventory. Instead of getting $100, maybe some of us would like to "donate" to a geek based youth organization than serve ourselves. Of course, I might go for the 50/50 rule!

  • I <3 Sparkfun

  • You guys are brilliant! What a great way to give back to the maker community!

  • WOW! As a newbie this is really exciting! I've already asked for several sparkfun gifts for christmas (some tools and an arduino starter kit) but this could really get me on my way! Reason 4 for giving away 100 bux: make lifelong customers!!! I know I'll be one!!

  • Is it limited to items under $100, or will we get a $100 credit on orders that exceed that?
    For example, I've had my eye on one of these: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=9294 and I'm wondering if I can get the ~$180 supply for $80+S/H.

    • You can spend more than $100, and the credit will be deducted from your order total. So if your order totals $102, you will pay $2.

  • SparkFun is really one of a kind =)

  • O_o this deserves a letter.
    Dear SparkFun,
    First off, you are awesome. Secondly, I would like to thank you for giving me, a high school senior who just spent a ridiculous amount of money on applying to colleges a chance to satiate my electronics desires. Once again, here's a HUGE thank you to all of you who made this possible!

  • Lets try this again...D=
    <3 Sparkfun! I'm a extrem newbie and starting out....this offer is giving me all i need electronic-wise to get started! even though what i've brought many would consider OTT but its my 1st project and i'll make sure to get the Sparkfun logo somewhere on there 2! I would explain my project but then that would spoil it lol

  • i cant believe this is happening!! really?? how will sparkfun benefit from this. ofcourse traffic and popularity increases, but $100K giveaway?!? how will it workout for sparkfun? jus curious..
    if all goes well, jan 7 can then be celebrated as the "Electronics Hobbyist Day"!!!
    Cheers to SparkFun!! Hats off to u guys...

  • Wow, finally a chance to get that logic analyzer I've been needing for so many projects... Thank you for making it affordable, with a bit of luck.
    Unfortunately, I'll be in school when it starts, so I can only make it to a computer when lunch starts, 15 minutes in. Unless the server's internet hideously slows down (and all the people with stuff in their carts don't snipe), I'll almost definitely miss out :(
    SparkFun is definitely the best online electronics store - I just wish I had discovered them sooner!

    brb quad monitors.
    I'm going to need them with all the product tabs i'll have open.

  • That's cooooll. A 100$ gift.
    Is this really true....?! or some sort of laughs and gags play out there from SFE...8-0
    Could we place our orders to one of ur distributors and still get the free day offer or should it be done exclusively on ur website.

  • You are able to read aren't you?
    Gift Cards cannot be bought on Free Day.

  • thank you :)

  • Eastern orthodox christmas is jan7. You're giving us presents!!

  • I am probably going to end up spending about $150 or so to make the international fedex worth it.
    Xbees, AVR's (not arduino programmed since thats $1something I can save) resonators, and other random parts I cant get off ebay from HK. Will kickstart a couple of projects that have been awaiting more money.
    Gotta spend all the xmas cash on something better than socks and underwear ;)

  • Thanks so much! I <3 Sparkfun.

  • Hello Sparkfun, please can you confirm, will we be penalised / disqualified by having items in our checkout in advance, and then clicking "Checkout" at 09:00:01 on the day?
    Ps. Major Kudos for doing what you're doing btw, if you guys want a short term (for the event) UK mirror / CDN for SF's flat files you have my email on file ;)

  • Does Free Day apply to BatchPCB as well?

  • also, not clear at all if we get the discount in checkout. im afraid to order and get charged 100, when i only have 80 in my account. not good.

  • Sign me up for the doofus award too.

  • Well at least it shows that SFE customers are ahem quite keen! (or at least we love a bargain!!)
    See you all Jan 07!!

  • Ooops -- yes -- January :o)

  • I can't believe I'm such a toolbag, it's January 7th.

  • Not working for me either and have been trying since 9am - now 9.27 - any comment from SFE?

  • It's not working for me either I started trying at 9:00am Mountain, and used paypal

  • Banner now sais January 7'th ?

  • I'm noticing that the comments are about 17 minutes off of normal time. Maybe their server clock is off, and the discount starts now...

  • Did I miss it?

  • I don't see where it would tell me whether I got the discount...

  • How do we know if we get the discount???

  • red, mountain time. Sparkfun is in Boulder.

  • free day is from 9 to 11 a.m in what time zone ?

  • I hope I could be one of the thousand luckies, this would be the first time I get something for free, here in Colombia we don't have good tech stores like this.
    Congratulations, and thanks for sharing your good time.

    • Since I can afford to buy stuff, I guess I won't try to get something from Free Day, so that people like you get another chance at being one of the 1000. ;)

  • Wowwww. This is truly amazing.
    I was scrutinizing an order for a robot I am making with my friend, and everything we could get out of scrap we would, and I live in Sao Paulo Brazil so the customs really bothered me.
    Now I will be able to buy some stuff to play with, really cool.
    Thank you sparkfun, really thanks a lot, this will not be forgotten.
    I just have a quick question though, how will the information on the package be presented regarding the prices? I mean, will it say the real value of the order and a discount or will it say only the price of the shipment?
    That can save me from customs, they are incredibly 60% of the package price, but I believe in no time I will be ordering from you with no worries about it.
    Again, Thanks : )

  • This is an extraordinary! I'll use this credit towards my project to take photos of the earth at 100,000ft with a high altitude balloon.
    Sparkfun you're the best!

  • Hope the server will hold. I'm gonna get my share.

  • Wow, do you really have to do it on a weekday? I'm 13 and I'd gladly stay home from school to do this, but seriously, my parents won't let me. I was really looking forward to that Arduino and those stepper motors.

    • Have someone else push the button for you.

    • Yes, I think I might run into this problem too. To bad since I think this was geared for students. I think it is on the 7th because of their 7th anniversary.

  • 2 questions:
    If I place an order right after your 100 000 limit is blown, will I get notified in some way and possibly be able to change my mind?
    If some of my items are backordered, will you send two shipments and charge me for both of them, or will you wait and ship it together?
    Anyway, this is awesome!

    • If I place an order right after your 100 000 limit is blown, will I get notified in some way and possibly be able to change my mind?
      Yes, if you like you will be able to cancel the order, no problem.
      If some of my items are backordered, will you send two shipments and charge me for both of them, or will you wait and ship it together?
      If some of the items are backordered, then the items in stock are shipped right away and the back ordered items are shipped after they arrive at SparkFun. The Free Day credit applies to the entire order, and each shipment incurs it's own shipping cost.
      Anyway, this is awesome!

  • I will stab my self if i forget about this!

  • This is great. I am 15 and have built multiple robots and have bought hundreds of dollars worth of stuff from sparkfun. I worked so hard to get the money to buy things from this great website. I am so glad sparkfun is doing this. I have one question, will 9am MST be very accurate? I see things being gone in a matter of seconds. So if i click submit the second it turns 9am, then it will be accurate enough to not charge me?

  • Lets start a betting pool on how long it will take to reach the cap. 9:05 do we have any takers for 9:05?

  • Wow! What a great birthday present! :)

  • I love you sparkfun! Does that nintendo controller really work? I wanted to make one for halloween next year!

  • This is so nice! And it's my birthday too, so I'll receive some gifts from SparkFun.
    My cart have now $99.85.

  • Will the '50 Channel GS407 Helical GPS Receiver' eligible for backorder for the Free day ?
    thanks for the great gift !!! :) The server will explode !

    • We've got an order of GS407 Helical GPS receivers that are supposed to be getting here shortly. I hope that those won't be out of stock already by Free Day.

  • Great job guys! Even if I don't make the first 1000 orders I think it's an awesome idea and I'm glad to pay full price any other time of year in support.

  • Wow I've been waiting to try so manythings this yr has been a bad one 5 surgerys no job and have spent way to much time on hackaday and other sites. Wishing I had money to try something out have plenty o time! Before was spent on vehicals can't do it now. So thank you!!!! Hopefully I can get up since I'm sure it'll go quick

  • Amazing. Got it marked on my calendar. Can't wait, but I guess I'll have too... :-)

  • Leeann Rogers: "You will see whether or not your order qualifies for a credit in the checkout process."
    What exactly does this mean?

    I agree, it should be clear. Not that I finish the checkout process waiting to see if I was qualified or not and then I end up paying $100+ in "toys", as my family calls them.

  • I may have to consider taking off work early to get in on this action.
    Very cool though.

  • You guys rock. Thanks for your generosity and putting some pump in to all the fun/projects to be created!

  • Can I fill my cart before 9AM and just submit after, or do I have to start adding items after 9AM?
    You should also provide the reverse option, allow people to put money INTO the pool so the fun lasts a little longer.

    • Yeah this question keeps coming up as a matter of fairness and what not....
      I think that having everyone fill their cart at/after 9AM will cause people to order one pricey thing and then nothing else or something goofy like 20000 LED's... not saying I would :P
      However if us friendly hackers were given the opportunity to hand pick what we actually need to complete our long suffering projects in advance then it would be a lot more useful than getting whatever random crap we can click on in 30 seconds.
      Let us know Nate!

  • I am really grateful that this is happening and I can't thank SparkFun enough for this promotion. This gives us poor high school/college students a chance to get some items we been lusting after for months. :D

  • Wow. You guys are so much cooler than those di.cks at Sparc International.

  • oh my. that's awesomeness in a bottle.

  • You mentioned "Only one $100 credit per household". I live just 5 north of the Canadian border, so generally ship to a US receiving office and hand carry my items across the border (generally this leads to cheaper shipping and less duty). However the service I use is fairly popular and I imagine there are other people in my area that will try to ship to it. Is there any solution for us?

    • Just thought of something. Are you going to use the shipping address or the billing address to determine "household"? If you use billing address, there will not be any problems here.

  • This is awesome! Electronics are expensive for a student hobbyist, and this sounds like a great idea!! 1000 orders are going to go fast, but if I miss it, I am determined to place an order anyway, if only to show my support (and I need a few things. . .)

  • I have a question. A lot of people have hinted that you may have items in your cart before 9AM but still get the 100$ discount as long as you submit to buy after 9AM. Is this correct?

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! You guys are the greatest!

  • As a customer, this is really awesome, but the more I think about it, the more I think it might be ever so slightly off the mark. I'm thinking about "barrier to entry" here... which free-day will obviously obliviate for a lucky and quick wristed thousand!
    How many AVR's and PIC's and LED's would you have to sell to make back the money from a super cheap programmer and soldering iron combination? Is under $10-from-grandma's-Christmas-card possible? After those two items, the consumables are often in the "starbucks" price range, much easier to talk a parent into buying. What's the magic price point where suddenly microcontrollers can compete with nofriendo for geeky kid mindshare?
    Alternatively, how many chips would a 4-H club have to buy to get the programmer for free? Would that make an acceptable "group sponsorship" method?
    I think these could really let new people, particularly young people, get into the hobby.

  • NICE!!!!!

  • Great idea, and I am even going to try and place an order that day. However everyone needs to calm down a little and understand that this promotion is going to sell out very very quickly. The word will spread, people will have their shopping carts full and sitting on the check-out button counting down the seconds. A thousand orders will be done in under 5 mins, maybe well under at. So be prepaired to not be a winner in this promotion. It's cool, but it's not an automatic thing. Ever get involved with a popular E-bay auction item and see how the snippers operate, this will be as bad if not worst.

  • You should start betting poll how long will it take to get 1000 orders!
    The person who guest to the minute ( or second ) wins 100$ :P
    January 7th, I will be in a university competition... I will find time to TRY to order.

  • I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will wake up an hour early just to make sure my computer is on and ready. I have never loved Sparkfun more!
    (btw, you guys should do lots of mini promotions here and there, like Think Geek's Geek point system. You spend more money, and get little trinkets free with a purchase of $x or more.)

  • Wow now i can get that OLED TS i've been drooling over!! you guys are the best!

  • Wow, incredible. You may want to rent Google's data center to handle the traffic you get that day...

  • WOW. You guys are awesome. I think it may be prudent though to not let this apply to gift certs...Several "households" could send $100s to the one tinkerer in the extended family. Just looking out for everyone and you. It may also be prudent to find a way to insure your 1/household is upheld (more than just same address verification...i can't think of anything that's bullet-proof).

  • "Have you guys thought of running some sort of project competition for all the people who get in on the free schwag? Would be interesting to see what people plan on doing with their $100 of free booty."
    That sound like great plan, I have just re-arranged my day to get online at 4:00 GMT. Second christmas! :D


  • I'll be there with my finger on the trigger!
    Neat idea guys, hope some cool projects come of it.

  • Have you guys thought of running some sort of project competition for all the people who get in on the free schwag? Would be interesting to see what people plan on doing with their $100 of free booty.

    • We'd definitely like to see what people make with their Free Day stuff...beyond that, not sure. Do you have some sort of competition in mind?

  • You guys are awesome and I already have this day marked on a calender.
    Could we use the local pickup option for shipping and just set the pickup date a week or 2 out?

    • You can use the local pickup option on Free Day, but you make it sound like you're coming from out of town? We're always happy to give a tour if you want one - please just let us know ahead of time.

      • I am about 30 minutes away, I was thinking more along the lines of you may also want to put something up so that you do not have 300 people trying to pick up stuff on the 8th.

  • And now, news from the future:
    On January 7th, 2010, Sparkfun, the worlds premier geek supplier, performed auto-DDOS on themselves. By offering $100 of merchandise free to the first 1000 customers on that day, their internet presence totally vanished as the gears of industry ground to a halt. It is not known if they will ever be the same again.

  • TANSTAAFL is still totally true, but this is damned close! Thanks, SFE!!!

  • Note to monkeyslayer56, it starts at 9AM MST, not 12:01AM.

  • What made you choose January 7th as Free Day?

    • Partly because it's close to the anniversary of when SparkFun began in 2003.

      • Here is something crazier - that is the six month anniversary of the release of Andersen's Free. Thought there might be some tie-in there too.

  • well i guess the catch is that u will have to be quick(as in fill your kart ahead of time then when the times comes(12:01...) place the order...)
    now i can't wait :D
    u guys either 1)good at pretending to care
    2) you guys are ALSOME
    (i hope num2 :D)

  • Hi,
    are also international orders possible? I normally order my stuff at your german distributor, but for saving 100$ I will pay the german duty by myself. ;)
    kind regards

  • Are you kidding!? This is absolutely amazing! THANKYOU SPARKFUN! And good luck!

  • I have been using Sparkfun for a while but today i felt as if I had to creat a login to say put up a comment.
    Thank you sparkfun. I have never seen anything like that anywhere. You guys are awesome.

  • 1000 packages may seem a lot (100$ per pack). but to be honest, they'll probably fly before 9:30AM. Most likely, I wont be getting one of those packages.
    Nevertheless, this move is one more reason to become a SFE regular :)

  • Wow This is simply amazing, here on Venezuela we dont have that much of electronics store and less with that much hi-tech components! I'll look forward to Jan 7th!!! but... 100K means 100 ships? I think free day will only last for a few hours. :) hehe

  • This is amazing and awesome. I don't know what to say. My hobby fun-money is usually pretty slim. This will really enable me to realize some of my projects. My Christmas list is filled up with SparkFun products, but it's exciting to know that anything that gets missed could make it into a late stocking.
    Thank you for being such a generous company. I hope you continue to be successful.

  • sweet i drop a 100 here all the time. means my next project will be cheaper!
    you guys rock bu you better stock up

  • I already thought sparkfun was one of the best companies out there. This kind of attention to the customer just isn't found these days.
    Even if I spaz out on the critical day and miss out on the amazing bonus, you have my respect and sincere appreciation!

  • What a golden opportunity from Sparkfun Electronics. What will you guys come up with next? Getting $100 worth of free gear is almost too good to be true! What generosity.

  • I had my cart made up a couple of days in advanced. Had just a tad over $300 worth of stuff. Figured 30% off was not a bad deal.
    I got all the way to paypal confirmation. When it finally dropped me back to the order page to hit the final submit, it was all over.
    I'm not really complaining, but once I confirmed the order at paypal, it should have placed my order.
    Oh well.

  • man... I was trying constantly between 9:15 and 10:00 MST (my entire lunch period), got nothing but timeouts on two different ISP's (my phone and my school).
    Congratulations to those who got it, and at some point I'll be able to save up enough to actually buy what I was looking forward to. At least the rest of my day worked out for the better :)

  • Free Day is a great idea - I buty a lot through your Oz distributors. Problem I experienced was the site locking up 2 hours before the start, running through for another 3 hours after (Aussie times 1-5:30 am) I was trying to place an order for a GS407 GPS for the duration with no success - just frozen screens and http timeouts.
    Eventually gave up and came back on at 6:30am but its all over. Perhaps you can come up with a better approach maybe a random 5 minutes an hour over a week etc.
    Dissapointed but mice to see someone giving something back to their customers!

  • Thank you SparkFun Team :)
    Good luck with the handling & shipping of all this stuff !

  • Yeah! Bought $144 worth of kits before the discount! To all y'all who didn't make it, good luck next time! I had my basket made before and clicked clicked clicked for 90 minutes straight!

  • It was a hoax,
    Nothing more than great advertising
    Sure a few people got a free $100 Dollars off an inflated price.
    But in the end we all fell for it.

    • It was not a hoax, I know someone that did get in on the deal - I didn't, for which I shrug my shoulders. There must have been 10,000 people lined up for this, and only a 1000 were going to get it.
      All of you screaming bloody murder out there - The SF servers are only part of the equation. Your ISP and router path to SF play in this drama too. Do a trace route to see how many boxes you have to go through to get to Sparkfun, you'll be amazed. Your session can go bad at any one of those stops depending upon the traffic load.
      It'll be fun to see the traffic reports on the event!

  • So... how much of the free stuff from the promotion do you think will be on ebay withing two weeks?
    Not the best thought out promo if you ask me.

  • Can we get to view the stat of this day?

  • I didn't get anything but I still thought it was awesome. Way to go SFE! 4/10 top google searches for the day!

  • So did anyone actually get anything?...because not a single page would load for me...I even tried going through their IP direct...still nothing. I'm actually quite upset right now =(

  • Is this some kind of trick to pull the people in? I tried all my morning but to get only countless "Page cannot be found" error. The note above talks about "At the beginning of December, 2009, SparkFun will be graduating out of its high-chair". I believe the "high-chair" wasn't that "high" enough. Yeah, I am expressing my frustration :-)
    I don't see my comments that I posted before. In good faith, I am assuming there would have been some Server Issue rather than a human "check" at the sparkfun server side to ensure only POSITIVE comments get posted. Won't try again, if this doesn't show up (that will confirm to me that there is indeed a biased coverage of comments)

  • Is this some kind of trick to pull the people in? I tried all my morning but to get only countless "Page cannot be found" error. The note above talks about "At the beginning of December, 2009, SparkFun will be graduating out of its high-chair". I believe the "high-chair" wasn't that "high" enough. Yeah, I am expressing my frustration :-)

  • Wish that I could have participated. The site was down for 2 solid hours for me.

  • I also couldn't get into checkout in time, no worries though. When's the next one, great promo.
    Thanks Sparkfun.

  • I wasn't able to get my Arduino. :( But thanks for the opportunity, Sparkfun. I'll be purchasing from you in the future.

  • wow such a gay ass promo....2 hours of clicking and getting stupid busy error msgs prolly a scam

  • Thanks SparkFun for the free day even though I never did get in. Server was to busy refreshed for over an hour and buy the time the page came up it was all over...

  • I had stuff in the cart ready to check out before the promotion started. I hit check out right after the start and the page would never load.

  • Thank you. Just got confirmation of my order. I've been out of work for almost a year. This will help me learn a new technical skill and make my resume more marketable.

  • I wasted 2 hours of my time, it was imposible to finish even having the cart ready to buy!!

  • How will you keep people from making multiple orders with different addresses (home, work, relatives)? Can you (are you going to) restrict by $100 per username?

  • Hey! what about me? i've just registered and have never make an order! how could i know how much i must to pay?

  • wow, I normally ignore the banner ads. I'm so glad I clicked on this one!
    Best wishes for the future.

  • I see that international shipping are allowed, but do I have to pay the international taxes on the amount of 100$ or just on the shipping cost? In other words.. do you declare a price of 100 + shipping on the package? :D Thanks!

  • wow 8 hrs for the free day and the server is already overloaded that just says to me HURRY UP :)
    i love you spark fun this is a great opportunity for us to grow up of course i will buy the rest of my project from you :)

  • hehe - this place has been getting hammered all day and it just keeps getting thicker! i would LOVE to see the traffic statistics graphed over time! well, you asked for a stress test! :)
    kudos folks on your wonderfully altruistic endeavor. hope the new cluster stays up for the twenty-eight seconds required.

  • http://www.google.com.au/trends?q=%22free+day%22%2C++%22sparkfun%22&ctab=0&geo=all&date=mtd&sort=0
    Love Google Trend almost as much as Free Day at SparkFun
    Alarm is set for 2am ... can't wait

  • Is it just me or is SparkFun website slowing a bit at T -12h 49m to go before the big Slow down?
    Looking forward to seeing some stats afterwards.
    have a look at the blip on the graph, i wonder where that is coming from ...? :-)

  • This awesome site just got even more awesome! :D

  • Are sparkfun going to kill all images so that their servers don't explode? without images the staff will have time to get out of the building. ;-)

  • /me wonders if comment system clock is still off as indicated on another comment, and if that affects timing of free day.

  • Oh man, you guys! Crazy crazy!
    One question though: I live in an apartment. With 3 other engineers. Are we considered a "household?" Or does "household" translate to "postal address?"

    • Seriously? How would sparkfun even know if you all are related? Of course it must be through postal address.

  • Forgive my stupidity/noobidity, but is there only one atomic clock, or is that just a type of clock? basically, what I want to know, what website should I have my computer clock synced to?
    time.windows.com (probably not)
    or something else?

  • I hope to get the last major electronic components for my solar tracer.
    Namely the motor driver,ardunio(instead of a pure analog circuit).
    It will also allow me to put the LDRs at the corners and use 2 for each side of the comparison.

  • Great news, I just cant blv this, But you know what when I looked for the item i have to buy that says that it is not in stock,
    So will this $100 off will apply on that item also which are not in stock ??? the item cost is 150.

  • Great!
    trevor: Partly because it's close to the anniversary of when SparkFun began in 2003.
    It is close to my anniversary too :) Funny.
    But I have 2 questions:
    What about import taxes ? Do you also ship it as "free gift"?
    (I know I still have to pay shipping)
    trevor: The IT Department is currently working on the details of implementation but we will announce those details in plenty of time before Free Day. I can say that it will be very clear during checkout whether or not an order has received the Free Day credit, and for those who have missed the window of opportunity they can choose whether or not to continue with their order.
    If I understand correctly that is before payment?

  • So don't do it, silly.

  • First off all,
    Happy New year!!
    Second... totally flabberguested!

  • i am now only bying from sparkfun
    and am diving into the world of ,duino
    with a dumilanove

  • So, when does the actual qualification occur? When we Hit "Checkout", When we hit "Continue" to payment, or when we hit the second "continue" to submit order?
    or is there gonna be a fourth button, after the submit order, where it will say if it qualified or not and give the option to continue anyway or back out.

    • Yes. This is the burning question. After my cart is full, what button on what page must I wait to click at one second past 9am?
      Can we have an official answer please. I tried asking via the feedback box (right panel) but got no reply.

  • Only 1000 people get the free $100 stuff? Well... I'm getting up and 12:01am... :)
    Sam R.

  • Note: On peut r?gler l'heure de son PC a l'heure du site web, cela permet de s'inscrire et ainsi gagner du temps lors de la commande ;)

  • damn free day starts at 3am down under in australia, looks like its gonna be a looong night!
    anyone have any idea how long the frenzy will last?

  • If we start shopping before free day starts and then checkout when free day begins will we still get the discount?

  • Doctor Who: I must be missing something.
    Anything? Or do we have a preset spending limit? Obviously the site claims that we have (access)to "
    So I can select some of my favorite items, some of my probably expensive items, one or two say, and then I'll know?
    Point of fact I have selected about six.

    Anything. Buy as much as you'd like, you'll get $100 off. So, if you buy 2 $150 logic analyzers and a $60 soldering iron, you'd get charged $260 plus shipping.

  • I'm studying computer engineering at the university of nevada reno, and when i read this, it rocked my socks so hard they blew off my feet. This is soo cool! Am hoping the soldering irons are applicable, because I dearly, dearly need one. And with the money I saved on that, I will be much more inclined to buy an Arduino. Thanks!!

  • I must be missing something.
    Anything? Or do we have a preset spending limit? Obviously the site claims that we have (access)to "

    There is no special code to type in. But you get only one order on Free Day, so spend it well!

    Only one $100 credit per household. We ask that you respect this limit and don't try to abuse this gift.

    There is no minimum or maximum order. You can spend more than $100, the balance of which will be charged to your method of payment.

    Only Credit Card and Paypal orders will be eligible for the $100 credit. We don't want to have people tying up inventory with POs, wire transfers, checks in the mail, or lost faxes.

    You will see whether or not your order qualifies for a credit in the checkout process."

    So I can select some of my favorite items, some of my probably expensive items, one or two say, and then I'll know?
    Point of fact I have selected about six.

  • Woooow!
    It's amaziiing! I can't believe it!! :o

  • This is amazing for those of us who work in the magical non-profit realm, and have to do some projects at home (both because there is no budget for it at work, and because we want to be able to give it away for free).
    Whether or not I make the cut on the seventh, it's the thought that counts. Thanks, sparkfun!

  • it's really Christmas
    Can someone help?
    i don't get the thing about the time conversion
    i live in Greece
    The date is 7(or if there is big time difference will be , lets say 6 or 8 of January)
    And what time starts for me?
    Thnx a lot!!!

  • The best happy holiday season name is SPARKFUN:)

  • I just realized that I will be in class at 9am on Jan 7th. :( If I already have my cart full and credit card information entered in then when 9 am comes around and I just hit the submit button from my phone. It should still register and give me the discount correct?
    btw.. THANKS

  • WOW, Just WoW

  • Free day is on January 7th - so that's why it wouldn't be working. I'm glad I'm not the only one that for some reason put this in my calendar as December 7th for some odd reason - unless the date was changed after the initial post and I just didn't notice.

  • And to think: The servers lagged this much on the wrong day. I wonder how bad it will be on the real free day.
    I wonder if they upgraded to their new servers yet?

  • DUHHHH Thanks Dan! Now I know why my calandar reminder hasn't come up!!

  • what clock are you guys synced to? Atomic, I hope. Thats what I will use to tell when to click order...

    • WWVB is almost next door: http://tf.nist.gov/stations/wwvb.htm
      If they used an AM radio driving audio into a sound card, ntpd can sync probably within a millisecond of the correct time. But there's probably a ton of time geeks in the area with stratum-1 ntp servers, too.

  • what clock are you guys synced to? Atomic, I hope. Thats what I will use to tell when to click order...

  • Overwhelmed with joy! :)

  • The Free Day is an amazing, quite generous idea. Thank you very much!
    I'm wondering if you shouldn't try limiting by unique credit card number instead of per household (e.g. shipping address)... if that wasn't already the plan.
    It seems to me that it would be easier to abuse your generosity by having multiple friends receive packages, while it would be more difficult to locate/use multiple credit cards...
    I hope that your day goes over well (and that it doesn't attract "leechers"). Thanks again for being so great!

  • Judging by the comments looks like a lot of people will be ordering that day.
    I am excited to get some stuff, even if i miss it i need to start building stuff again.
    Thanks Sparkfunians!

  • Great idea, IMO. I came on the site, and rather than picking only $100 USD ended up finding ~$300 worth of stuff I want o.O

  • Yay!! Thanks, sparkfun!!

  • Awesome deal!
    I hate to say it, though, but there is potential to abuse this, especially if it hits the major news sites. Maybe it should be limited to existing customers?

  • What will happen when i place my order on the 7th and $100,000 has been used up? will i be charged for what i think im getting free? or will all other orders on the 7th that aren't free just be canceled?

  • That's awesome! I think you are really lucky for having this job!

  • I am confused, are you going to charge the regular $100 and then reimburse it, or are you going to not charge anything but shipping if the order is less than $100. I do not have $100 in my bank account so I would like to know.

    • Yes, robodude666 has it right. We don't charge then reimburse, it's just $100 credit off your balance, not including shipping. And of course the credit can't exceed what you bought. So if the total that you buy is $9, or $90, or $99.99, you'll only pay for shipping. If your total purchase is $109, you'll pay $9 + shipping.

    • From what I understand, all orders placed within that time period (while $100k wasn't reached) will automatically get a $100 credit, excluding Shipping. If your order is under $100 then you're still good. If it's over $100, you'll only be charged the difference (a $146 order will be charged $46 + shipping)... From what I understand.

  • Sparkfun is awesome! But why not use a lottery system and give away codes beforehand?

    • The whole idea of this exercise, besides giving away free stuff, is to test the new rack of servers to see how they'll handle it.

  • Awesome!! Thank you!!!!!!! :D:D:D

  • Wow.
    (Happy Holidays, to everyone at SparkFun.)

  • This is the kind of behavior that makes me a loyal customer, Nate & Co.
    I'm sure that I'm not the only one who will pay you guys back with as much business as possible.
    Please stock up on those DIY oscilloscope kits before Jan. ok? ;)

  • I had another thought skimming all these comments. Everyone is so focused on the $100 leading to an assumption that only 1000 people will get lucky. I'd like to point out that if many of orders were under that limit many more people could come out happy...
    I'm currently in the middle area between school and a "good" job...so I have some money to burn on this passion, but not a ton. So maybe I will try for one or two of the things I'd love to tinker with, but wouldn't normally purchase out of financial prudence. Or perhaps I'll just get some SparkFun merch (I could replace my old SF hoodie) and pay back Sparkfun's generosity by bringing them new customers via advertising.
    In any case this is a wonderfully accurate (even scientific) way to load test your new servers. That alone might be worth $100k to you (and your server's host).

    • p.s. I should like to see some stats from before and after d-day. That is, once you have gotten the servers back online :)

  • Wicked cool! A GPS and some sensors for my next weather balloon flight! SparkFun rocks (as always)!

  • I am so excited for this, finally getting that soldering iron I've been eying...

  • I wonder how long this will take to get slashdotted.
    It's already been hack-a-dayed.
    I don't think there's any server cluster, save google, that can survive a full onslaught slashdotting crowd hungry for $100 bucks of free geek lootz. I'm guessing the 1000 orders will be completed in about an hour, because there will be so much lag and people trying to DoS their way through the ordering page that it'll take that long for the first 1000 orders to actually complete.
    But my original statement holds true, this is the best 100k you can spend on advertising on the internet. There are comments on hack-a-day of people who are already to buy stuff from sparkfun when before they'd have never given it a second look.

  • Finally! it will be possible to get something from Sparkfun. Its been years and years or browsing and drooling.

  • Thank you so much! this is really needed. with $100 i could...
    1. Build a House-Wide network of uControllers
    2. Weather Station
    3. Twittering, Facebooking Smarthome
    and much more...
    "Partly because it's close to the anniversary of when SparkFun began in 2003." is that when you first when online or when the idea was created?
    @nate On the 7th, how about a live stream of the chaos/havoc? that might be fun to watch or even a live order counter?

    • Absolutely. But we probably won't be streaming it from our database servers ;)

    • It's close to the anniversary of when the SparkFun website went live and the first order was placed. The idea for SparkFun was a bit earlier, but you'll have to get that story from Nate.

  • Don't forget to save some cash for the SFE-70 trademark defense fund!!!!

  • It's a good thing you moved to a server cluster; you're going to need the extra capacity!

  • VERY NICE idea :-D thx sparcfun!
    long life to sparcfun!

  • Make sure your accounting people know that Boulder will charge Sparkfun sales tax on free giveaways as if they were sold at full price.
    Nate, I am impressed at your generosity and hard work. Sparkfun is THE industry leader in terms of getting products and knowledge to hobbyists. You've just turned a semi-loyal customer into a very loyal one.

  • One suggestion for the IT guys. By January 5th or 6th make a query from your databases of how many registered people have their cart not empty, just ready to click the button!
    I predict 90% or more

    • what do u mean by the 5th or 6th? mines already full :P (now to make sure i get in on the promotion... or i will ow my mom a lot...)

    • 'greed. You might clean out carts and have them re-enter items at the "start" of free-day, just to kill off some of the scripters and greedie freebie lovers. Make 'em browse the site with a mouse like everyone else.
      On woot the "bags of crap" usually go to those with the best scripts. It'd be nice if some protection was put in to prevent "cheaters".

  • Yeah! What an idea guys, you really rock!
    It is going to be tight, but I hope to get one of those fantastic $100 orders.
    Keep on going SFE, you are just a great company.

  • I can only say SPRKFUN ROX THIS WORLD.

  • wow this is cool

  • Ever think about running for President, Nate? This here is what a real stimulus package looks like!
    Sparkfun rocks. I just hope your shiny new servers don't melt down on the 7'th because of all the traffic this will generate.

  • This is great, but works both ways. Tell us what you want, what you are looking for, or just share your wish list with us. Your customers are great and will make "special" things happen.

    • YEAH! This is a great idea! Some of those people coming to you for support we can help! You've fired up your customer base, let them work for some of the same goals!

  • Thanks Sparkfun!
    You rock!

  • You guys are great!
    Will itens 'out of stock' (backorder) be in the game?

    • Out of stock items are eligible for the Free Day credit as long as they are backorderable.

  • This is fantastic!

  • SF galvanizes Colorado Pride!
    You guys and gals rock.

  • Sparkfun is possibly the best company in the whole world. I will be hovering over the submit button with a perfectly balanced cart.
    However, this does create a somewhat interesting problem in selecting the items. There are many possible solutions for $100, and determining the technical value of each item for future projects is difficult.
    Should I hook something up to the internet, add wireless ZigBee (did you see the 40 mi transmitter?), cell phone, huge lcd display (not as useful, but hey, pretty screen), get the SPI button for blinken lights( a necessary item for every major electronics project), get GPS, get some sweet sensors, RFID, Fingerprint Scanner, FPGA, etc.
    I have about 30 product tabs open right now, and I have no clue which will be finally selected. Yeah, gift cards immediately came to my head. Let me know if that's cheating or not, cause otherwise I'll probably just get one of them and wait until I know for sure what I want to do before getting anything.
    My hs senior engineering project is about to get amazing.

  • are you serious cause if this is a joke that is being very mean and evil . its just i cant beleive it someone is giving me like a 100 buck shopping spree my smind is about to blow up

  • Smokes!!
    This is why SFE is THE place to let your Geek shine.
    Muchas Gracias!
    see you all on RED Thursday!!!

  • "You will see whether or not your order qualifies for a credit in the checkout process."
    What exactly does this mean?

    • The IT Department is currently working on the details of implementation but we will announce those details in plenty of time before Free Day. I can say that it will be very clear during checkout whether or not an order has received the Free Day credit, and for those who have missed the window of opportunity they can choose whether or not to continue with their order.

  • My history teacher told me that all buisinesses are just out to make money and not to help the customer...
    He must not have every bought anything from you guys. THANK YOU SPARKFUN!!!!

  • So if we really want something that's getting low, we better get it before Jan 7th.
    OTOH, I live close enough to pick up in person and say thanks if I achieve shopping ninja and get in on the deal!
    (...and the bus pirate should arrive by then... a ninja with a pirate! Now I know how I want to start the year!)

  • So awesome! Thank you!

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