If you need general kit help, then please post on my forum as the help and issues may benefit others over time. Also other users may be able to help you with issues.
If you need to contact me then please go back to my homepage and scroll to the bottom other contact me page.
I keep getting asked these questions over and over, so here is why
postage costs are the price they are.
Q) Can you send cheaper post ?
Q) Can't you offer free postage ?
So if you buy a switch which costs £1 from my store, and £2.50 to post, why on earth would I sell the item as it would cost me £1.50 each sale. So free postage on the £1 item would have to become £3.50 in order to not make me lose money on the sale. So now if you order 2 switches, it now costs you £7! Paying for postage for 2 switches would be £2+£4.50 = 6.50. So you actually just saved 50p! Order 10 switches and its £10 + £4.50 postage, so £14.50. If free postage was done, the cost would be £3.50 x 10 = £30.50!! Nobody is going to post a £1 which costs them £2 or more to post. RoyalMail do not post items for free do they ? If they posted everyone's items for free, they would go bankrupt in a few days. Same with the sellers, the buyer ALWAYS pays for postage regardless of "window dressing".
Anyone who buys multiple items with "free postage" is actually being ripped off. This is all to common on popular online stores who are only interested in ripping off their customers for maximum profit. I am not in the trade of ripping off people, All the prices I list have been very carefully worked out to give the buyer the best overall value.
Q) How much does it cost to post to my country?
Q) How fast do you dispatch items ?
Q) Do I get a order confirmation ?
Please note, a lot of people who have a tracking email, either do not read it, or never see it due to it being identified as spam. So PLEASE check your spam folders for tracking information. Then you can check the progress of your package yourself.
Also note that you should check your emails at least once a week and check your tracking as a lot of times packages are not delivered due to the customs being "not at home". If tracking is not checked and your package is not delivered, then after 2 weeks of being "unclaimed" the package will be returned to myself and you will have to pay again for return shipping. So PLEASE keep a eye on your tracking information.
Q) My Package hasn't arrived yet ?
Unclaimed packages if not collected within 2 weeks will bounce back to me and then you will have to have your order re-shipped to you. So check your tracking at least once a week to be sure. I always send out tracking emails and it is up to you, the customer, to keep check on the status of your package. If you have not had your tracking email, likely it is in your spam box so you must check!
Please wait 2-3 weeks before bringing packages to my attention. Before that, keep checking your tracking URL sent to you. I can't give you anymore information that what is on that page. It also gets annoying when people ask "where is my package" after I have gone to the trouble to email them a tracking email in the first place!
I never understood why people take the time to email me asking where their package is, when they already have the tracking email and only have to click the link! This just creates the buyer more work in actually sending me a email, and creates me more work as I then have to tell them information they already have. Even more bizarre is people asking how long their package will take to arrive, I don't have any more information than the tracking link provided by the courier and I don't have a crystal ball either! If you want to moan at someone, moan at Royal Mail, as I do not work for them! https://personal.help.royalmail.com/app/contact
Q) Are your kits assembled or not ?
Q) Can you assemble and fit kits to my motherboard
Q) Do your sales profits really go back into more
kits developments ?
Q) Can't you sell items cheaper or give me a discount?
People need to realise this is not mass produced hardware which costs £1 to make and sells for £65! Looking the the "big picture" I have £2,000 worth of stock in those 4MB kits alone. I need to sell over 30 of them to actually break even with what I paid to have them built! Multiply that by every other kit I designed and built and you can soon realise how these costs spiral out of control. All money I am probably never going to get back.
I am also tired of competing with junk sold around the Internet. Those sellers are in it for profit only and selling untested items mostly. Unfortunately a lot of buyers go for the cheaper option which is just another nail in the coffin of hardware development and basically another kick in the teeth for me. Then when people can't get the items to work, It is often me who ends up trying to help them fix their junk. I can spend several hours a day replying to emails for people. While I don't mind helping people in general, Its getting tiresome helping people who didn't even buy something from my store in the first place. If people buy cheap junk, then they should deal with the consequences and not drop all the problems on my door step! I'm sorry if this offends some people, though I am only one person and have a day job and bills just like everyone else, and my time is limited.
Q) Can you repair my machine ?
Repairs for STE machines, again depends on what is possibly wrong. In general the PSU needs updating which is the main cause of problems. Similar to the STFM series. If the PSU is bad, you get all kinds of odd problems. Because of SMT parts in the STE, they may not be worth spending time on fixing. Similar with STFM, while I may change/test some basic parts, some machines end up with really crazy issues which are normally very time consuming to diagnose. In which case there is little use in spending £100 to diagnose a fault when you could buy a new motherboard for less.
Normally what I suggest is users send me their motherboard for a quick test to see if it is something worth attempting to fix. I can do that for just £15 plus return postage (though please note if you send me your complete machine then it gets time consuming removing 100's of screws and involves testing the floppydrive, PSU, and keyboard etc so the cost goes up to £35). Generally with used motherboards being available for less than £50 it may be cheaper to get a new board. Though if your PSU is bad , then changing the motherboard will likely not help.
There is no easy answer to it all unfortumatly. Most faults I am aware of are bad PSU, floppy drive, keyboard/mouse, DMA problems. Normally easy things to fix with a bit of time. Problems with suspect faulty RAM can be time consuming as each RAM chip (STFM ) would need to be removed and tested. Which is very time consuming. So it would probably be cheaper to get a used motherboard than attempt to repair one. I sell upgraded PSUs and kits in my store, so I would suggest trying that before considering sending me a board or machine to repair.
Q) Can you help me fix my machine ?
Unfortunately I do not have the time to get into deep diagnostics on peoples machines. Anyone possibly needing in-depth help should post for help over at the atari-forum where more people may have time to help diagnose your machine.
A lot of people lately seem to give up after a few emails, which makes it generally pointless myself replying to requests for help. A lot of people if they can't fix it at basically no cost and no effort give up. This does nothing but wastes my time so more and more I am reluctant to get involved with such conversations.
Q) My card was declined ?
Stripe can only can accept payments from card brands like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Stripe currently doesn't accept debit cards or Maestro cards.
Common error messages are listed here.. https://stripe.com/docs/declines/codes
Q) Do you take paypal ?
Q) Do you sell on ebay ?
Q) CAN YOU TAKE IBAN / BANK TRANSFERS?
If people really can't make payments outside of bank transfers and paypal, then John Cove of Jays Retro computer sales can take IBAN payments and payments via ebay & paypal.
I understand a lot of people do not have credit cards, I'm afraid you will have to find a friend or family member who can help you out As I cannot take payments via any other method the my web store sorry!
Q) DO YOU OFFER WARRANTY?
It is a huge problem to offer warranty in a lot of cases because most of my kits the customer assembles and fits themselves which is beyond my control. Also machines are generally 30 years old and can fail at any time anyway.
If the customer is convinced the item is faulty, they are welcome to send it back retest. If this found faulty due to something I have done, and of course it will be replaced. However if it is found faulty at the customers hand, the item will not be replaced and be subject to repair and return postage costs.
I always try to help people when they have issues and I do that for free anyway. If the user builds something and think it isn't working, then they are welcome to post it to me and I will test it out for generally for free. I always try to be fair with people, but also people have to understand I am not some huge multimillion pound company who has the resources to cope with every problem under the sun. I do this work in my free time as a hobby and make no money from it. I am just one guy in a bedroom with a soldering iron!
(i) buttons will take you to the install page of that product (if appliciable)
(#) Buttons will copy the current item link into the clipboard (pasting it in will scroll direct to that product on page load). You can also copy the main section headers such as BOOSTERS, ROM, RAM etc. If the link is used once the page is already loaded the screen will not scroll.
(^) buttons will take you to the top of the store page.
Buying items is done buy entering a quantity (such as 1) into the box and clicking the BUY button. This item will be added into your basket. Out of stock items are not purchasable (not even for back order).
VIEW BASKET will load your basket contents and show the checkout button. You will have a pop up to take your card payment. After payment your order will be placed and you will receive a email of your order as confimation. You will get a email when your order ships (typically within 1 week) with your tracking code.
CLEAR BASKET will clear your basket contents.
NOTE - Your basket is saved into a cookie on your PC, if you have cookies disabled then you will lose your basket contents when you close the browser.
CLEARING ITEMS FORM BASKET
Simply put 0 in the quantity box and click buy. This will "buy zero" and thus remove it from your basket.
REFRESH BUTTON ON BASKET PAGE
You should always refresh your basket before checkout. This updates the stock levels and will adjust your basket and inform you of changes before you checkout.
There are 2 options on checkout, place order on out of stock items, or cancel order on out of stock items. While refreshing the basket before checkout should be fine, there is no guarantee that someone else has ordered the same item and the same time. In which case the system works on a "first come first served" basis.
Because items can go out of stock by the time in takes to complete the order, the 2 options are a backup measure. For example, if user A ordered 10 items and there are 10 items in stock, all is fine. But, if user B orders 1 of those 10 items and enters credit card and checkout information faster than user A, then at that point in time there are now only 9 items in stock that user A can purchase. So a choice has to be made before checkout what the action should be for such scenarios.
It is unlikely with such low "sales traffic" to the store that it will become a problem. Though as it takes a huge amount of time to build items for my store, its possible only 1 or 2 items may be in stock. Should several people order the same items, then "first come first served" will take affect. In light of such issues, All customers can chose to continue orders on out of stock items, or abort the order.
CAN I PLACE ITEMS ON BACK ORDER
While I used to do this, I am no longer taking orders for out of stock items. Problem is, with my time so limited I can't say when/if out of stock items will be produced again.
It can often take a few weeks to a few months to complete such orders otherwise and it just causes to much confusion when I have a lot of orders which I cannot complete fully. Then it causes issues as I have to keep notes of what has sent, what hasn't sent, and then several people start emailing asking "when will it be sent", I simply don't know! Over all it causes to much "work overhead" for orders so I simply had to stop doing it.
As mentioned above in ordering options, buyers can opt to ship in stock items, or cancel the order. If you are unsure, select cancel order option.
WHEN WILL OUT OF STOCK ITEMS BE BACK IN STOCK?
I really cannot say. I try to replace stocks as quick as possible, but my free time is limited. There are over 60 items in my store and that in itself is a full time job to keep stock levels. Add ontop of that I normally have a back-log of repairs to do, get countless emails to reply to each day, trying to design several new products.. it means I don't always have any time at all to work on stock levels.
I am only one person, so if I am doing repairs for people for a few weeks, then I won't have any time to work on stock levels until repairs are completed. If I am working on a new product, then repairs and stock levels simply have to wait. This also all assumes I have some free time from my normal day job. During busy times (I have bills to pay aswell!) I simply might not have any time at all to work on Atari related items.
Generally "kits" are quicker to put together as its mostly only "bagging" parts up. Items which need a GAL programming and testing for example, or the PSU's or V2 booster kits are likely going to take the longest as they are a LOT of work to build and test. Generally I try and stock up on several smaller kits than one more complicated one. This also relates to the topic above about placing items on back order.
In general if a item is out of stock, check back about once a week and see if it comes back in stock. Generally once stock levels get low, I will try and make it a priority to put together more of those kits.
If something has been out of stock for a while then you can email and check if all else fails. Some items I may not produce often due to lack of demand for that item. I may be unaware people are waiting for items which are out of stock for a long time.
END OF LIFE & DISCONTINUED PRODUCTS
Items such as the PSU and V2 STFM booster (at the time of writing) are already at "end of production" and will become discountinued when stocks are exhausted and will not be produced again. While there are always plans to update the design, my time for testing new items is practically non-exsistant recently. I have easily 10+ PCB's stacked up under my desk which need building and debugging and testing, some have been sat there for over 12 months.
Items which have been slow to sell over the years are likely not going to be produced again. I have limited funds and time, so What I build and sell varies. This year I could make PSU's a priority, but next year may be the Boosters or something else. If I spend a month building PSU's, simply no time left for anything else. If I have repairs to do, then the PSU's would have to wait. Unfortunatly I cannot keep up with every item I stock anymore, so when a new item is produced, something else will simpley not get produced again.
So if anyone is thinking of buying a item, then they should do as soon as possible as I cannot make any guarantee's when/if a item will be back in stock. Smaller kits are likely to be back in stock the fastest as the cost of producing smaller PCB's is much lower than larger multi-layer PCBs for example. Generally I have a lot of smaller PCBs in stock even if they are not on sale as full kits yet.
I am trying my best to increase my stock levels of all items as much as possible, though this will likely take several months to activate. I am also looking for options to speed up assembly of some kits though again this will take time to complete.
CAN I CHANGE MY ORDER AFTER PAYMENT ?
Unfortunately not. Items ordered are paid for and sending me emails saying "can I add this or that" just creates to much confusion. I do not ship any orders personally, my girlfriend does. So when I start getting emails about changing orders, it causes to much confusion about what is supposed to be shipped and what shouldn't be shipped. Then I have take additional payments which becomes a "bodged order note" and it just creates to much work to keep track of it all. Not only that, I am not at home a lot of the time due to work so I may not even read the email until a day or 2 later. Meanwhile my girlfriend has already packed the order and its gone (I don't live with her she lives 40 miles away!)
So if you forgot to order a item, then you will have to place a new order for it. Or just make sure you don't miss any items off in the first place :)
SITE IS NOT TRUSTED
As long as "https" is in the URL (not just "http")
then the store is secure. Unfortunately some browsers go into panic mode
if there isn't a valid certificate in the "general database".
While my site has one, it expires every couple of months and I have to
renew ( long story, will fix eventually) when the certificate expires,
it will fall back to a "self assigned" certificate which is
generated from my server. Unfortunately some browsers will see my own
certificate as fake and go into melt down. Really its just "Red tape
BS" which I have to jump though. The store should always redirect
to a https connection anyway and you should never use a HTTP connection
if it says so in the URL bar, only checkout with HTTPS.
DO YOU STORE MY CREDIT CARD DETAILS?
Nope! In fact your card details don't even "touch" my own server (exxoshost). The stripe payment system is very clever and the pop up payment box is loaded direct from stripe servers which then take your details and verify your card payments. So while it "appears" you are entering your card details on my site, you are actually not.
The only details I store on my server are passed over a secure connection. There is a much higher chance of you own email account being hacked to obtain information than my server being hacked. Even so, credit card information is not stored and never touches my own servers.
IS YOUR SITE SECURE?
As mentioned above, all credit card information never touches my server. Even so, my site uses HTTPS Secure protocol as outlined in the Stripe documents. exxoshost server gets the highest "A" grade for security rating. The only information I collect is shipping address, which is needed for obvious reasons as stated above also. My site and server is secure as can be and passes Stripes security checklists.
POSTAGE LOCATION SAYS UNITED STATES WHEN I'M NOT THERE?!
Default shipping is USA. When you checkout you will be asked to input your country. When you do, the postage information will update on the top of the page. So if USA postage is £15, and you select UK for shipping, then the postage will likely change to £5 and state UK instead of USA at the top of the page.
I did have a script to auto detect USA, EU, UK automatically. While this seemed to work, it caused confusion on checkout as if a user wants to ship to somewhere where they are not, then the auto detection would not be correct. I saw it would add to much confusion to what was happening, so postage is only updated when you manually select the shipping country on checkout.
CHECKOUT & BASKET OPTIONS VANISH CHANGING PAGES
If you leave the "basket page" then any information you entered will be lost if you go back to the main store page.
Similar with any notes you make on the items. The MMU kit has 3 options to chose from, the options are not currently saved and must be entered in the shopping basket again before checkout.
I may fix those issue at some point, but with so many people bugging me to get my store online, it will just have to wait. Its not a "bug" it just simply hasn't been programmed yet. As this isn't a huge issue, its unlikely to get solved anytime soon.
WHAT IS THE BROWSER SUPPORT FOR THE STORE ?
According to my site logs 80% of traffic uses Chrome, So my webstore was created using it. I have however done some limited testing with Opera 40, FireFox 43 (on nope its 48 now, seesh!) , Internet Exploder 11.
I can't predict how other browsers will work, and likely vastly lesser versions of browsers will most likely fail.
I GET COOKIE CORRUPTION SOMETIMES ?
Cookies are used to store your order basket. If your browsers corrupts or doesn't store cookies then you will get a warning and the store will re-load and try to create a new cookie. The store will not function without cookies enabled.
Also cookie corruption may happen after a store update. Sometimes I may need to tweak the cookie scripts so old cookies (which are old basket contents) will become in effect corrupted. The store tries to check for errors and will create a new cookie and warn you of the problem. In general this is nothing to worry about anyway.