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  • vimes79 commented on sharlston's instructable Free electronic samples2 years ago
    Free electronic samples

    I used to enjoy getting samples for my work whilst running a non profit tech learning center. I used to be sent some awesome gear from Atmel, Microchip, Kycon, Maxim, National and Philips as well as others including various motor and gear manufacturers and Texas used to send us bundles of MSP430 dev kits and addon boards as well as tons of IC's and other gear (usually not the newest stuff but it helped alot!) all the companies I have listed helped us big style as they could see the work we were doing and how engaged our guys were in learning electronics on a level that their schools could not provide, we would allways keep a blog updated and mention companies by name and logo when posting about using their gear. It really helped us stay afloat and get new IC's, Cables, Connectors, motor...

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    I used to enjoy getting samples for my work whilst running a non profit tech learning center. I used to be sent some awesome gear from Atmel, Microchip, Kycon, Maxim, National and Philips as well as others including various motor and gear manufacturers and Texas used to send us bundles of MSP430 dev kits and addon boards as well as tons of IC's and other gear (usually not the newest stuff but it helped alot!) all the companies I have listed helped us big style as they could see the work we were doing and how engaged our guys were in learning electronics on a level that their schools could not provide, we would allways keep a blog updated and mention companies by name and logo when posting about using their gear. It really helped us stay afloat and get new IC's, Cables, Connectors, motors, mounts and LED's and just about anything except cheap parts like resistors, caps, diodes and trannies for building projects and for a couple of years it was great but suddenly we started noticing that we were not getting anything from all the companies that had always been so generous and kind (off of their backs in most cases, we never asked for much but when companies saw the work we were doing and the free advertising and good press they were getting in rteturn they started sending regular boxes of all kinds of awesome!We tentatively asked a few of the companies if we had done something wrong and they were really apologetic and sincere and told us that the number crunchers and supply managers had decided to reduce their samples limits for all requests (even legitimate ones like ours and also groups prototyping new designs on shoestring budgets that relied on the helping hands) and were winding their samples services right down due to the huge amount of private individuals posing as inventors and non-profits, schools and the like but requesting stupidly large amounts and never being heard from again after getting $200 of parts with $50 worth of worldwide Fedex shipping. They even reported that they were getting people calling up at least 3 or 4 times a day from all over the world asking "I want to get some free stuff, how do I get some?" when asked what they wanted and what for they would simply say to play with or just mess around with but they promise they will spread the word that xxxxx were a great company and it would boost their sales... (yeah right). It had become such a problem that they were loosing $1000'S a month and seeing no feedback except from operations like the genuine ones like ours and the huge volume of online and telephone requests without any explanation of the plans they were getting had jumped through the roof.A few of the IC makers kept helping us but without those parts we needed from the extreamly kind and generous services manufacturers were providing for education and non profit learning, our costs went right up to a point where we were having to use our own personal money (nothing to do with the project we were running) and badgering local businesses for finacial aid to sty afloat.Over about 6 months we were done . Those initial free samples that had all evolved to a mutual benefit for us and the suppliers were what was keeping us bobbing along and able to provide our youngsters with up to date unused and qualitly gear for building prototypes to enter national events and local shows and events.It was all wrecked by people (mostly young folk) who just saw the word "FREE" and took these companies for huge amounts with no follow up purchases or advertising. People aged 15 or 16 calling up Atmel and just saying "Hi I want to get some free chips and dev kits, how do I do that?" and others lying on sample request forms all destroyed what was once a fantastic service for small outfits like us and mutally benefitial. Only a few companies still offer samples and the numbers they will supply are tightly limited to very few pieces per item and only a few different models per request and you have to submit full plans and a website address to prove who you are.I know this post and ones like it did not meen to do so but because so many people found out about this little exploit they took as much as they could and finished it for teachers and studants who needed it. Thanks!

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