About Us

Who We Are

Our Quality Policy

NED’s definition of “quality” is:

Products and services that result
in Complete Customer Satisfaction.

We are dedicated to manufacturing Competitively Priced,
Quality Products delivered on time and professionally serviced.

We define Excellence as surpassing our customers’ expectations.

Our challenge is to Achieve Excellence
in everything we do, including:

Design
Manufacturing
Order Fulfillment
Customer Service

We recognize that customer satisfaction
results in Referrals and Repeat Business.

What Do We Do?

Novel Electronic Designs, Inc. — or NED — has been creating, manufacturing, and marketing electronic products since 1994.

This website promotes our quiz-lockout systems — products used to identify player responses during quiz competitions (for uses in games like Jeopardy ® or College Bowl ® or other popular Game Shows).

Our products are used by schools, churches, clubs, and businesses across the USA and around the world.

What Are Our Products?

Our primary product is a wide range of buzzer lockout systems.
We make a wide range of products to suit a wide range of quiz game formats. We make equipment for small competitions (like Family Feud or Jeopardy!), to larger systems suitable for 16 or more players.

Our secondary products are custom-designed electronic circuits.
Need a buzzer-lockout system for a tournament with a special format? Give us a call!

Quiz Timers
We make two popular quiz timers that work best when connected to our lockout systems.

Hand-Held Buttons
We are proud of our custom-designed, Hand-held Button. Durable and Comfortable … these buttons have found uses in a wide variety of applications (outside of quiz games).

Why Did We Start Making Buzzer Systems?

In 1994, a quiz-bowl coach asked us to repair her school’s buzzer system. Her system had required service often and she was unhappy with its reliability. A quick inspection of the system revealed that even after her system was repaired, it would break soon.

Rather than repair her old system, we designed and built a system to her specifications. We asked her to describe her ideal system… we listened to her requirements and designed a buzzer system having these characteristics: durable, dependable, accurate, intuitive to use, and easy to set-up & take down.

Two months later — at the prototype’s debut — the new system was very popular and we received several orders that same day. The enthusiasm those coaches had for our new product gave us confidence to begin manufacturing.

 What’s Special About Our Products?

Experienced coaches recognize how well our systems are designed. Our systems have the features they need. We’ve been told by many coaches that our systems are “the best they’ve ever seen.”

Many coaches have been repeat customers — they know other systems are available but they come back to NED.

NED’s continued role* as the exclusive supplier to the Illinois High School Association’s (IHSA) Scholastic Bowl state finals tournament is a testament to the quality of our product. The IHSA won’t tolerate anything less than the best — our lockout systems provide the reliability they demand.

*NED has supplied systems to the state-level IHSA (Illinois High School) tournament every year since 1996.

How Are We Different Than Other Buzzer System Companies?

We specialize in one type of product: buzzer systems.
We design and manufacture the best equipment we can. Unlike other vendors, we don’t market scoreboards, megaphones, or question sets.

We design and manufacture our own products.
We control all aspects of our products, from design to manufacturing to final testing. Our engineering staff is focused on quiz game buzzer systems, and as a result, our products and service are first class.

The customer comes first!
As noted above in our Quality Policy, our top priority is your continued satisfaction. We are committed to meeting or exceeding the needs of our customers… past and present.

About Our Company:

Novel Electronic Designs, Inc. (NED) is a growing company located in scenic Chillicothe, Illinois, a community of 6000 located in central Illinois, twenty minutes north of Peoria.

NED is classified as a small business, but we’re growing fast! In 2007, we  tripled our manufacturing space to make room for increased demand and three new products.

NED’s founder and president has a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and is committed to using that experience and insight to create rock-solid designs. These designs – and our dedication to customer service – set us apart. The dedicated folks who build and and test our products also contribute to the superior quality of the products we offer.

If you’re ever in the area, feel free to stop by! It’s always a pleasure to meet our customers. We’d be glad to give you a tour of our facilities and demonstrate our latest products.

The front entrance to the facility we opened in 2007.

FAQ

FAQ > Selecting A Systemthings to consider

Why do you have so many different types of systems? How do I pick a system?

There are many different quiz competition formats across the country — there is no “one size fits all.” Therefore, we’ve developed several generic formats to satisfy the differing needs of our customers.

When picking a new system, we recommend considering these questions:

“What types of systems are being used by teams you’ll be competing with?”
Participants do better when they’re competing with equipment they’ve practiced with – check and see what equipment others in your conference are using.

“What type of activator does the player press to ring-in?”
We have two options – hand-held buttons, and buttons mounted on boxes. (see various options on our home page)

“Where is the player’s light?”
We have systems where the lights are in front of the players, lights are on a central console, and also on a team box. (see various options on our home)

“How visible do the player lights need to be?
Are you using your system in a classroom? A meeting room? Or do you need more visibility (e.g., in an auditorium)? Many of our systems are well-suited for a classroom, but we offer higher visibility lights with some of our systems.

“How many players? And how are the teams arranged?”
Each of our systems has varying player capacity.
Our systems were designed for varying layouts … for example,

  • our 10-Player system was designed for teams sitting across from one another at a conference table;
  • our Line-Up System was designed for teams of players sitting at a table, but the teams are seated on different sides of the room.
You’re equipment is recommended by National Science Bowl.  Which system should I pick  for my science bowl team?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a common system that’s used by our Science Bowl customers.  Each one of our tournament-sized systems is used by different event coordinators and coaches across the country.

If you’re just starting a Science Bowl team, we recommend that you consider our “Traditional” lockout system for 8 players, with the hand-held button option.  The price of this system is $379.  This option is attractive since
* it puts a light in front of each player, and
* it gives players the option to ring-in with a hand-held button or the button on the box.

Also, check with event coordinators to see what systems are common in your region.

What are the options for the players to buzz in?
We have two options – hand-held buttons, slap pads, and buttons mounted on boxes. (see various options on our product page)

Does your system make a sound?
Our systems make an electronically-generated “beep” sound. Each system has slightly different characteristics. You can get an idea of how the system sounds by watching the product videos.
Do your systems lock out other players when someone buzzes in?

We are asked this question often – all of our systems accurately identify the first player who rings in.  All other players are locked out.  Ties are impossible.

An exception is two of our systems that detect the order that players ring in. Those are the Who’s Next system, and the 1st-per-Team system.

FAQ > Placing An Order

I have an event tomorrow afternoon.   Can my order be delivered in time?

Updated August 2020: We are hesitant to do expedited shipping since UPS and the Post Office have suspended their delivery guarantees. Those carriers still charge for the service whether the package is delivered on-time. Over-night shipping charges for our smallest systems is almost $80, and our larger systems are over $100 just for shipping. We feel that that is a great deal of money to risk. Again – the carriers will not refund shipping if they were unable to provide the expedited service.

If you are in a pinch and need equipment very soon, please give us a call. We can evaluate options and weigh the risks.

If I order today, how long will it take for my order to arrive?

Please allow 1-2 days for your order to be processed, then add the number of days for your order to be in-transit (please see map to see how many days your order will be in-transit, click here).  Transit times can range from 1 to 5 days.

This map shows the shipping time for our free shipping.  If you have an up-coming event where the arrival of your order is critical, we recommend that you contact us to see if expedited delivery is recommended.

We process orders as quickly as we can; however, we do not guarantee shipping or order-processing time with our free shipping offer.

Is product in-stock?  When does it ship?

Please refer to the “availability” notice in the product’s information banner. We strive to keep our products in-stock. Please call if you need to confirm availability.

Can I use a purchase order?

Absolutely!   Upon arrival of institution’s purchase order, we will process your order, ship it, and mail a copy of our invoice to your institution’s business office. Our terms are “net 30”  (30 days to pay).
Purchase orders can be emailed (orders @ BuzzerSystems.com), faxed, or mailed to us.

Can I place an order on the phone?

Yes, we can accept credit card orders over the phone. This is a good option if y

Can I order using PayPal?
Absolutely!   Use your PayPal account to safely place your order.  Select the PAYPAL option when you’re completing your order.

FAQ > Special System Features

Do you have a wireless system?

Today’s technology doesn’t allow us to offer a wireless system that is economicalaccurate, and convenient to use.  There have been several attempts by other manufacturers during the past twenty years to implement a wireless quiz lockout, but the results have been disappointing.

Wireless Systems are sometimes slow to respond, require battery replacements, they’re often susceptible to interference, and they sometimes require the use of a PC to show who rang in.  Wireless systems that have overcome some of those short comings tend to be considerably more expensive than our wired sets.

We are continuing to investigate wireless options. When a rock-solid (and economical) wireless design is available, we’ll proudly include it as one of our products.

I need a system that finds the order that players ring-in after the first player rings in. Do you have a system that will do that?

We have a system that detect the order that players ring in. We call it the Who’s Next system. To learn more, Click Here.

Does the system automatically reset?

Our systems do not automatically reset.  The player’s light comes on and stays on until the system is cleared for the next question.

If it is essential that your system automatically reset after a pre-determined amount of time, please let us know – we can easily include an auto-reset feature in your system (with little or no extra fee).

Our competition format uses a 3-second light to show us when 3 seconds has elapsed since the player buzzed in. Do your systems have that feature?

A 3-second light is an option with our “traditional” system.  Please visit this link and look for the 3-Second Light under “Options” on that page.

If your format needs a similar light but with a different duration, we can customize a controller for you.

Is there a way to stop players from buzzing in until after the question is read?

The Line-Up and Team-Box system have a rocker switch that disables the system.

Other systems can use an accessory called the “Remote Pause” switch (which prevents players from buzzing in until they’re allowed).  For information about the remote pause switch, click here.

I have a special requirement for my competition – can you customize a system for me?

Absolutely!!  We have designed and manufactured custom-made systems for a wide range of customers, ranging from television stations to competitions at large trade shows.  No project is too big or too small.  Our engineering fees are very competitive.

Our custom-design service emphasizes thorough communication with you to ensure our proposal has the functionality you need. We leverage off of our existing designs and our wide-range of other custom designs to create your system — we promise your custom-made system will be cost effective, it works the first time, and is completed on schedule.

Call or email with questions! We’ll assign an experienced engineer to your project.

FAQ > More Questions

Can I get a discount since I’m a school, church, or non-profit?

We really wish we could … schools and churches certainly deserve a discount.

However, we realized many years ago that a vast majority of our customers are schools and churches, so we keep our prices as absolutely low as we can for them. So the price you see is the very best price we can offer.

Do you offer quantity discounts?

Many years ago, we offered a quantity discount; but at some point we decided to price our products at the discount price so that all of our customers could benefit from the lower price.

We are the manufacturer and distributor of our products, so there is no “middle man”. Our prices are honestly as low as we set them.

However, there are times where we can negotiate prices for a large number of systems (e.g., for a school district)… in these instances, there are savings associated with processing and shipping a large order to a customer (and we pass those savings on to that customer).

I’ve shopped around – why are your systems so much less expensive than equipment we’ve been using?

(Note: this was a question we recently received from a coach with over 35 years of experience)

It’s true, our products are priced lower than other company’s products…

* we are the manufacturer and we sell directly to the customer — there’s no middleman
* we advocate for lower prices – we don’t automatically pass along our higher operating costs
* we do not have automatic annual price increases

Our prices are proof that we are sincerely committed to keeping our prices low for our customers (who are primarily schools and churches).

Do you ship internationally? To APOs?

Yes, we ship internationally, and we ship to APOs.

If you are outside the USA, please contact us by email –
let us know:
* which product and accessories you’re interested in, and
* your shipping location
and we will reply with a shipping quotation.

Please remember, international shipping usually incurs fees above and beyond the price of our product (we do not collect taxes or customs, or brokerage fees – those are collected by the carrier upon arrival).

15-day Evaluation?

We want our new customers to be comfortable when they order a quiz-lockout system from us – especially if they’ve never used one of our systems before.

We don’t want you to be stuck with a product that doesn’t meet your needs. Here’s a link to our policy page.

If your new system doesn’t meet your expectations, return it within 15 days. No questions asked, no penalty, and no fees. If you pre-paid for the system, your refund will be issued promptly as soon as the return is received.  This policy applies to new customers only!

Do you service equipment made by other companies?

Unfortunately, we only have facilities and parts to service our own equipment. If you have equipment from a different manufacturer and you’re unable to locate them, please let us know. We may be able to help find them (and on occasion, we might be able to repair your equipment).

If you you’re having trouble getting service, call us. We may be able to help.

How do I order parts for my lockout system?

Please find your system under the “Replacement Parts Shop” tab (beneath the banner at top of the page).

Can I add players to my system?
If you have fewer player boxes for the capacity of your system, those components are available. Check the Replacement Parts Shop for prices and availability.

Please call or email if you have any questions.
I have an older system that needs some minor repairs. What are my options?

We service all products we have ever made – no exceptions.
We can repair parts that have worn out – but your best option (especially for an older system) is to return it for an overhaul.  During the overhaul, we replace worn parts, fully inspect all the assemblies, and do minor repairs — all for the cost of the overhaul.

We take pride in our service and overhauls. We strive to give you economical service where we enhance the value of the investment you have in your equipment.