Sparkfun Free Day Recap

It looks like the dust has finally settled with sparkfun’s free day. They managed to give away $150,541 to users and $22,988 to charity.  The general idea is you could ether take $10/year you’ve been a sparkfun customer, or take a 10 question quiz and earn $10/correct answer plus some money for charity. It looks like some technical difficulties prevented people from taking the quiz until free day had been under way for a couple of hours. Once they managed to fix the problem the money went pretty fast, eating up the last $40,000 in about 5 minutes. So did anyone manage to get anything good? Be sure to checkout sparkfun’s recap video after the break for more details.


38 thoughts on “Sparkfun Free Day Recap

  1. @ZeUs this isn’t just a site for hacks, it is also for news in the community of electronics and other cool/interesting projects. I am getting kind of sick of the “not a hack, wtf” posts. If you are that 1337, go start your own IRC channel with all of your other too-good-for-HaD people and have fun.

    @everyone else who will probably start complaining about not getting any FREE money on SF, IT WAS FREE, YOU WEREN’T OWED ANYTHING SO STOP ACTING LIKE IT!

  2. lol, I was just saying the types of people that are all anti HaD because it doesn’t have “hacks” strike me as the same people that think it is more leet or less mainstream (therefore better) to spread info old school with IRC or NewsGroups. But I might be the only one that thinks that way…

  3. I managed to pick up $60 from the Free Day quiz, ended up buying a soldering station with it. The stupid thing doesn’t work (doesn’t heat up) and still haven’t gotten any reply from them. It looks like a nice soldering iron just mine must have a bad heating element.

  4. I wasn’t able to log in to do anything. About the time I walked into work that day the server hamsters woke up and started running. I was kinda hoping to answer the quiz questions and make out with an easy $100 but I think I saw the front page all of once.. there would have been no way to get through a quiz.

  5. @jakezilla: Actually, HAD is for hacks, in case you didn’t know. Just read the nifty blurb in the upper-right of the site, which you’ve probably never bothered to glance at:

    “Hack a Day serves up fresh hacks each day, every day from around the web and a special How-To hack each week.”

    This is not Gawker – they don’t do “Top X ____” lists (with the exception of the one flamebait twitter client post). They don’t do “In the news” posts…they do HACKS.

    This post is nifty, it HELPS people hack, but it is – in fact – not a hack. The only saving grace is that there is no arduino involved.

    Regarding Free Day, they made it so convoluted and hard to get in on that I’m sure there were a few click-spammers that got what they wanted, and the rest just got shafted by net/timing/errors as has happened with SF Free Day in the past.

    It’s a neat idea, but they SERIOUSLY need to fix their methods. The quiz was an atrocious idea for a time-sensitive event.

  6. @M4CGYV3R


    @everyone else who keeps saying this is not a hack.

    they post 4-5 things a day – almost always involves someones project, of which are mostly hacks.

    so why can’t they post other links and news every once in a while? spark fun helps a lot of people hack – and a lot of those people wouldn’t be hacking as easily and affordably if it wasn’t for spark fun.

    so leave sfe alone bra

  7. Last year wasn’t free day. It was work day. We worked at sitting on our terminals to give them free advertising for something that none of us could receive. Let me remind you we got nothing for that.

  8. geez its not like your losing a hack post because of this. this is added on top of them. if you dont like it why do you read it. i dont like mushrooms so i dont eat them, i dont eat them and say “man i hate mushrooms” then take another bite and complain to the grocery store that there selling something i dont like

  9. @slipp

    Yeah, it’s the SparkFun-branded Atten 936b. I’ve used an Atten station before (school robotics lab) and it works well, just the SparkFun unit didn’t seem to work. I scoped the output and it did seem to output 24 volts so I think the heater is bad. The LED came on and never went off (supposed to flash when it reaches the set temperature).

  10. @Chuckt
    Last year i sat for 3 hours pressing the enter key but it paid off and i got a arduino starter kit. I remember a number of other people getting stuff too. Sux i missed it this year though :(

  11. @FDP

    I second you. Didn’t even bother with it this year after the disaster that was last year. I’ve been using Sparkfun since like 2007 when they saved my senior design project with overnight shipping. :-)

  12. It would have been more fair for Sparkfun to say, “We want some advertising but we can’t realistically give prizes to everyone. Can we USE you to sit at a keyboard and create a frenzy to give us free advertising?” That would have been honest to let the customer know that they can’t get free shipping for their orders because they don’t respect us as customers but instead they used us and lead us on to give them something for free while the rest of us got nothing. After all, it isn’t like the paying customers deserved anything for being a customer because there isn’t a relationship when you disrespect your customers.

  13. I couldn’t even log in. I was going to go for the money I was supposed to have in my account from being a member for several years.

    But I couldn’t even get a “log in OK”, I’d refresh, or press the log in, but it would just hang up. I’d have to go back one page and try again.

    I’m guessing, unless you have some software to automate this in some way, or just happen to be VERY lucky, you’re not getting anything.

  14. I used tcp tuned to be a little more aggressive and a script to load pages. I could load pages somewhat fast (~10 seconds per page). Got all questions right. No luck last year. Doing this manually is not possible I think.

    Their servers suck doh.

  15. I was there from the time it started (I had logged in days before, and it didn’t log me out) to the time it ended. I had to try to log back in around 3 times and I only saw the first question 3 times and had trouble submitting, so I didn’t get anything for a 2nd year in a row. However if they do it next year, I’ll be there again most likely! 3rd time is a charm right?

    As for the people whinging, seriously, calm down, it’s not like they have to do this at all. It’s also not a case of them intentionally causing problems, there were bugs and issues that they didn’t expect, bugs they’ve now fixed. I can understand disappointment, I was disappointed too, but life moves on and there will probably be more chances later.

  16. I answered the first question correctly. Three times. And got nothing. Every time I submitted it, I got no response from the server. Oh well, it was fun to try… next year I’ll just take the free money. :) Thanks to SparkFun for doing it, and for making the charitable donations.

  17. I think I was trolling a little. It’s just that everytime something that feels so “community” posts commercial stuff something insides me cringes (a little).

    On the other hand sparkfun is properbly the only company to directly assist DIY electronic engineering. Which is somehow also different from hacks, since it’s regular engineering! However that is great fun and often feels like abusing nature’s laws to do our bidding.

    I just think that the name “hack a day” doesn’t really cut it anymore and I would like the see the site owners define the name properly.

  18. I too forgot about this event until the story was posted here. Ah well.

    I was annoyed, obviously, but last time I simply bought what I wanted free anyway out of my own pocket, having decided I wanted them that much.

    9 luxeon 3w LEDs, of which 2 still work since last january, having botched all of my soldering :D

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