How can I contact HackerBoxes?
All common questions, and many uncommon ones, are address in this FAQ. If you have any other questions or need some help, please email email@example.com.
What are the HackerBox Monthly Subscriptions?
Subscribers receive a new HackerBox or HackerBox Byte Size each month for the discounted subscription price. The subscription concept works much like a traditional magazine subscription. All active HackerBox and HackerBox Byte Size subscriptions are automatically renewed each month for the new batch of monthly boxes shipping that month.
What does it mean that HackerBoxes is a surprise discovery box?
The contents of each monthly HackerBox is a surprise. Receiving each HackerBox is an opportunity to discover new items that have been curated for the entire membership to experience together. We all benefit as a group from buying/negotiating power and we leverage our combined efforts in sharing resources, solutions, and new ideas.
What will be inside my HackerBox?
While the exact contents of each monthly HackerBox is a surprise, you can browse prior boxes and their online box guides for a feeling of what to expect. A lot of hard work goes into planning, designing, and sourcing the contents for each HackerBox to make them as fun and as challenging as possible. There is always something exciting in the works for upcoming HackerBoxes.
What is the HackerBox Mission, Ethos, and Code of Conduct?
HackerBoxes deliver interesting and exciting gear for exploring and learning electronics and computer technology. HackerBox Hackers are electronics hobbyists, makers, hackers, and computer enthusiasts. We are the dreamers of dreams. We connect through social media to create a community of experience, support, and new ideas.
The central ethos of the hacker culture embraces any intellectual challenge to creatively overcoming limitations of systems to achieve novel and clever outcomes. The act of engaging in activities (such as hardware hacking, programming, or making) in a spirit of playfulness and exploration is termed "hacking". The defining characteristic of a hacker is not the activities performed themselves, but the manner in which they are done and whether they are exciting, enlightening, or meaningful.
Because there is an online community component to the HackerBoxes experience, we expect that all members comply with a basic code of conduct. Members will respect each other, our staff, and the mission. HackerBoxes, and its social media spaces, should be treated like a classroom learning environment. Any behavior that would be unacceptable for a college classroom or martial arts studio is equally unacceptable here. Certainly, any disrespect associated with culture, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or robotic augmentation will not be tolerated. Offending behavior may result in removal from the community and cancelation of membership. The HackerBoxes community seeks to welcome all who are called so long as they exhibit professionalism, respect, and an attitude that is helpful and positive.
Why are HackerBoxes discounted for subscribers?
HackerBoxes delivered as part of a subscription are handled in automated bulk batches. Economies of scale afford considerable savings for such batch processes. Traditional "pick and pack" economies come into play for individual one-time orders. Please consider these bulk handling considerations prior to requesting any manual intervention for a subscription order. Individual, one-time purchases afford individual handling, while subscriptions are batch processed and should expected to "go with the flow" in exchange for a significant discount.
Why do past boxes sell out?
Each month, the new HackerBoxes are introduced and immediately ship to subscribers. Any additional units are made available as one-time "Past Boxes" while supplies last. These one-time purchases are available to both subscribers and non-subscribers alike. Each batch of numbered monthly boxes is only manufactured one time, so once a past box is shown as "sold out" it is gone forever. Yes, really.
Can a past box be selected for a subscription?
HackerBoxes delivered as part of a subscription are automatically-allocated surprise boxes. There is no mechanism for obtaining specific deliveries as part of a subscription. Please also see the question about why HackerBoxes are discounted for subscribers.
What are HackerBox Workshops?
HackerBox Workshops are larger, themed boxes available for one-time purchase. Workshops are separate from the monthly subscription service and they are available to monthly subscribers and non-subscribers alike.
Who makes HackerBoxes?
HackerBoxes is a product of CrateCrew, LLC of Florida. CrateCrew was founded by former university faculty members who are passionate about hands-on education and enrichment. CrateCrew curates products for exploring creativity, science, and technology in the pursuit of happiness.
HackerBox, HackerBoxes, the Skull Logos associated therewith, and Hack Life are Trademarks of CrateCrew, LLC of Florida.
How do I get technical support for items in my HackerBoxes?
HackerBoxes technical staff will always try to answer any technical question submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is vital to provide as much context and detail as possible when requesting technical support. It is also helpful to post questions to the online forums where other members often share their discoveries and everyone can benefit from the discussion. Since direct, hands-on assistance is often quite beneficial, keep in mind that there is likely a wealth of electronics experience to tap right in your own community at hackerspaces, maker groups, and amateur radio clubs all around the world.
What ages are HackerBoxes for?
HackerBoxes are generally intended for adult hobbyists. Byte Size HackerBoxes and the HackerBox Basics Workshop may be more accessible to earlier ages (with adult supervision). These classifications are more about skill and grit than specific age. Required skill levels may be ascertained by browsing online box guides from past boxes. If the numbered monthly boxes seem a bit overwhelming, take a look at Byte Size HackerBoxes or the Basics Workshop.
Monthly HackerBoxes generally require skills like working with code, loading code into microcontrollers (such as Arduinos), reading simple schematic diagrams, prototyping with modules, and wiring breadboards. Accordingly, these are the skills addressed in the Basics and Core Workshops. HackerBoxes often require basic to intermediate soldering skills, which can be developed working through the HackerBoxes Soldering Workshop.
Byte Size HackerBoxes are accessible prior to (or in parallel with) working the Basics and Soldering Workshops.
What tools do I need?
You don’t need much. Whenever soldering or cutting wires or leads, safety glasses must be worn. Completing the monthly HackerBoxes generally requires a computer (not just a tablet), wire cutters, small screwdrivers, and a set of basic soldering tools. HackerBox Byte Size boxes often require a computer, but usually nothing more. The Soldering Workshop includes soldering tools, just bring your own safety glasses.
Take a look at the Soldering Workshop and the Core Workshop for many of the basic tools and supplies useful when getting started in the exciting hobby of DIY electronics. A lighted magnifier might be useful at times. Other tools may be acquired as participation in the hobby evolves. Usually one knows when and why they will benefit from additional, or improved, tools.
Can a HackerBox be returned?
Due to the surprise nature of HackerBoxes, returns are not accepted once they leave the warehouse.
What if I mess up a project or don’t like a box?
The goal is progress, not perfection. You’d better plan on messing some things up. We all do it. The more components that you burn up, short out, or otherwise mutilate, the more you are learning. The path to expertise in electronics is beset with smoking heaps of gear and dreadful tangles of spaghetti code and cables. If such frustrations might tempt you to take up hateful words against, or place blame upon, your humble kit vendor, perhaps a less demanding hobby should be on your horizon.
We certainly hope you like your HackerBoxes. Of course, anyone is going to like some months more than other months according to their personal tastes. This should be quite an obviously aspect of receiving a surprise box. If such uncertainty is likely to cause you consternation, then the surprise box model is probably not for you. Instead, past (known) boxes are also available for purchase. We are pleased to offer both models to suit your needs.
We recommend that you review the contents and box guides from several past months before starting a subscription. This should reduce the likelihood that you are disappointed. If you are, however, you are always free to unsubscribe at any time right through this website - no questions asked - no need to take to the streets in protest. HackerBoxes is an educational offering, not a tricky gym membership. If you are unhappy for any reason, you can cancel any time.
What is the billing cycle for HackerBox subscriptions?
HackerBox subscriptions are renewed and billed on the first day of each month. HackerBox Byte Size subscriptions are renewed and billed on the tenth day of each month.
Renewal causes an order to be queued into the monthly subscription batch that will be shipped later that same month. The monthly subscription batches are shipped to all members on the same day.
When is my first billing and my first renewal?
A subscription is billed for its first shipment immediately upon creation of the subscription. The first renewal (second billing) is processed on the next renewal date. If the next renewal date is too close to the subscription creation date, then the first renewal (second billing) will be processed a month later.
This process is completely automatic and does not afford or require any manual intervention. By the second month, subscriptions billing cycles sync up with all other members and will make perfect sense. If timing of the billing cycle seems confusing in your first month, we appreciate your patience and understanding while your subscription synchronizes up with all of the others.
Subscriptions are for surprise boxes and they go with the flow. If you have strong expectations about which boxes you receive and when you will get them, we suggest that you purchase specific past boxes by number.
How do I change automatic renewals of my subscription?
The Renewal Schedule on your subscription management portal lists the renewal dates for upcoming months. Each month shows a skip button for you to elect to skip that month.
Subscriptions can be canceled at any time. Please note that skipping or canceling can only impact future subscription renewals. Skipping or canceling does not undo or refund past renewals - even ones that have not yet shipped.
If I cancel or pause my subscription, will I still get the next box?
If your subscription has already renewed for the next month, you can cancel now and you will still receive that next box. Canceling only stops future renewals. Canceling does not undo or refund past renewals. Special requests to refund a renewal that has recently occurred must be submitted via email. Such requests will generally be accommodated without question as long as the request is made at least 72 hours before the associated box ships.
When do HackerBox subscription boxes ship?
Subscription HackerBoxes are shipped around the end of each month. Byte Size subscriptions are are shipped around the 15th of each month.
Each type of subscription box is shipped out all at once in one enormous bulk batch. Notification emails with tracking information are generated whenever a box ships.
When will a new subscription start shipping?
The first box of a new subscription will ship with the next monthly shipping batch along with the boxes for all other subscribers. If the next monthly shipping date is too close to the subscription creation date, then the first box will ship with the next monthly shipping batch. "Too close" is generally less than three days.
Please also see the question about "first billing" and "first renewal" under the BILLING heading above.
How will my HackerBox be shipped?
HackerBox Subscription Boxes are usually shipped through the U.S. Postal System. They are typically delivered in 2-5 business days. You will receive a notification email with tracking information when your box ships.
Which box number will a new subscription start with?
Generally, the first box of a new subscription will be the most recent, or current, HackerBox. Allocation of the first box to a new subscription is completely automated. There is no selection process for surprise subscription boxes. No manual intervention is required or possible. After the first month of a subscription, the shipped box will be from the bulk batch and will be the same box received by all other established subscribers that month.
When do one-time (non-subscription) items ship?
Non-subscription purchases generally ship within 2-5 days.
Can I get HackerBoxes outside the United States?
Definitely! There are many international HackerBox customers all around the world. We only require that you arrange and pay for your own international shipping. The best option is to use a forwarding service such as USgoBuy, Stackry, or TransExpress. A Google search will provide several other options as well. Such companies generally have relationships with multiple international carriers along with expertise in export and international shipping. Accordingly, they can get the job done faster and cheaper than we ever could.
When you sign up with a forwarding service, they will provide a U.S. address to use when setting up your HackerBox order. For subscriptions, this leverages our free domestic shipping, so you only have to pay for the international leg of the voyage. Please understand that HackerBoxes is not party to your arrangement with any forwarding service, including those listed above. We cannot address any details associated with whichever third-party service you select.