Reseller Reputations

Hey all!

Being a bit new to all of this, I’ve been perusing the internet looking at goodies that I could buy. I’ve purchased a number of items from Sparkfun. They arrived quickly and in order -but- there were a few items I was looking at from other vendors. Does anyone know if these vendors are legit? What are their reputations like? I was thinking of buying some things from FundamentalLogic, Futurlec and Modern Device. Can anyone give me a review of these businesses? I’d appreciate any input you could provide!

If you search the forum there are lots of discussions about various resellers.

The futurlec one in particular is quite long. They seem to be cheap, but slow in postage. This seems to be unacceptable to some, but a fair trade-off for others (including me).

Never heard anything but praise for the other shops you mention.

I had positive experiences with FundamentalLogic and Futurlec (and with Sparkfun).

The boards I got from Futurlec needed other components to be useful, so make sure you understand logic level conversion (5v <-> 3V3) and other parts of a complete circuit that you may have to implement off-board with some of their products. Quality has been fine, though. I would do business with them again (see Note 1 below).

I must have gotten lucky with my order from Futurlec since it only took 2 weeks or so to receive the shipment. I predict you will get other feedback on shipping from them in this thread.

I only have the StickDuino from FundamentalLogic. I needed to shim its USB connector with duct tape (ah, the wonders of duct tape!) to build up the thickness of the PCB so it would fit snugly in the USB port. Their web site predicted that, so I was neither surprised nor dismayed by that. It was the innovative design that drew me to that board since it solved a problem for me. Quality is fine from them too. I would do business with them again (see Note 1 below).

You didn’t have them in your list, but I can also report good dealings with Adafruit in NYC and Oak Micros in Austin, TX. Oak Micros solved my space problem with the om328p even better than the StickDuino did, and I am still very happy with that stellar product.

Note 1: FundamentalLogic is in Canada, and Futurlec was billed from Australia and shipped from Thailand. My credit card company recently started charging a completely unexpected “Foreign Transaction Fee” (different than a currency conversion fee) for transactions from Canada (I live in the US but I maintain a couple of web sites hosted by in Canada). The annual renewal fees were billed, invoiced and paid in US$, so no currency conversion was applied, but the approx. US$2 fee on a US$70 invoice was a complete surprise. I have not placed an order with FundamentalLogic or Futurlec since this fee was established, but I would expect it to appear on the credit card statement after the next order from them. It’s not even one of the things you can understand in the credit card company’s “fine print” but you sure understand it when it appears at the end of the month on your statement.

Of course, the fee was not the fault of either FundamentalLogic or Futurlec, but it will make me think twice about ordering from them again. I’m just “providing input” as you requested.

Sorry for rambling on, but you did ask.

No need to apologize for rambling. I did after all ask, so you’re giving me exactly what I asked for. Thank you!

I’m not a total newb to electonics, but I am a bit of a newb to arduinos and microcontrollers in general. I have played with Basic Stamps, then happened on PicAxes and Arduinos. So I do understand the need for level conversion.

I have one gripe about Fundamental Logic: they don’t keep their stock levels up. Both times I ordered from them, I had to wait for the items I wanted to come in.

But their prices and products are great, and the service is excellent and speedy when the items are on hand. Two thumbs up (with a barely-audible grumble about the wait).

Modern Device is a cheapskate’s delight: top quality, low prices. I really like their RBBB for projects that don’t use a shield.

Futurlec is great if you’re patient: as you’ll see if you search the forum, shipping is a crapshoot. My theory is that their local post office has a shipping container parked out back for bargain-rate packages going to the US, and they put it on a ship when it fills up. So delivery can take anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks. But the savings are worth it.


Speaking of modern devices, anyone use their “Jeenode” yet?

I ended up canceling an order with Futurlec just recently after waiting 6 weeks for “stock to fill up”.

All items for this order were advertized as “In Stock” at the time of placing the order (and remained so all along when I checked their web), but it turned out that few (if any) actually were. They did respond timely to my weekly inquiries with an updated shortlist of " … unfortunately these items have still not arrived at our warehouse." After 6 weeks however I gave up and asked them to cancel and refund which they agreed to.

To me it is unacceptable to advertize items as “In Stock” when they’re not. It is also unacceptable to me that they collect payment before items are ready for shipment. Also on their web I see articles tagged with “New …”, “Newly arrived …” and “Just released” with no reference to actual dates. Some of these articles have been up there for more than a year. To me this is in sum “deceptive marketing” and it appears to be a deliberate chosen policy.

Keep in mind also that this is prior to additional frustrations that may come from late shipping as pointed out by others.

I will not place an order with Futurlec ever again.

I have used various shops/resellers and to sum it up:

Futurlec: Perfect. Fast, cheap and the support mailed me the day after i ordered that one item in my list was out of stock but could be in again in x weeks. I was to choose to cancel the thing or to wait or even to get the item when it was available again.

Adafruit: Good shop, nice support. Its ok, yet not cheap for europeans if i remember right

Nuelectronics: Well, i cant say something negative about that shop - i got all my stuff, but i had to send something to someone else from my parcel as they ‘swapped’ two orders. Shit happens, wasnt much of a problem.

Seeedstudio: Same as adafruit.

Soarkfun: Only ordered there once, it took almost three weeks to be received, which is a week more than most other world wide shops. Dont know if it was the customs’ fault though.

NKCElectronics: My personal all time favorite. Fast, great support (nice contact) and NKC does even accept suggestions (as for writing ‘Sample’ on the parcel to let it pass customs more easily). If one ever needs something, i would recommend that shop.

I’ve bought at least one or more items from each of the listed vendors and have had no problems with any of them. I buy common parts mostly on E-bay looking for bargains in bulk or surplus items. Have tried several Chinese sellers and have had very good luck so far.

Don’t you just love the cute little red boxes that SparkFun sends their items in. :wink: