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Distributors refuse to send Raspberry Pi to customers

Raspberry Pi

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 29 Mar 2012 at 09:42

The first shipment of 2,000 Raspberry Pi boards has arrived in the UK - but the company's distributors are refusing to send them to customers.

A small, low-cost computer designed to encourage children to get into programming, the first 11,000 Raspberry Pi devices sold out quickly after going on sale.

Distributors Element 14 and RS Components told the group behind the low-cost computer that they won't distribute the device until it receives the CE mark, a certification that shows it meets EU regulations for consumer products.

While Raspberry Pi says it "respects" the viewpoint that the CE mark is required, it sees the devices not as finished products, but similar to other computing boards, such as the BeagleBoard, a similar hardware project.

We expect emissions from the uncased product to meet category A requirements comfortably without modification

The group is working on getting the Raspberry Pis that are in the country certified "as soon as is humanly possible", said spokeswoman Liz Upton in a post on the Raspberry Pi blog.

At issue is the device's electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), specifically the electromagnetic noise it creates. That must be tested before it can be given a CE mark.

"On the basis of preliminary measurements, we expect emissions from the uncased product to meet category A requirements comfortably without modification, and possibly to meet the more stringent category B requirements which we had originally expected would require a metalised case," she said.

Government support

"We’re also talking to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), to better understand the terms under which devices like Beagleboard are permitted to ship to domestic end users in the UK, and to obtain a definitive statement as to whether we can distribute on the same terms," said Upton.

Upton said the Government has been "incredibly supportive", and is urgently looking into the matter, so she expects to post update soon - "with graphs in. We know you guys love graphs."

Delivery dates have not yet been set. Element 14 told users not to worry about an automated email sent out saying deliveries had been pushed back to August, as it expected them to start shipping much sooner.

Earlier this month, shipments were delayed because the wrong type of jack was used in manufacturing.

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User comments

As with a lot of start ups , they are finding out about a few extra hurdles to jump.It's just that with the popularity of this product it's happening in the full glare of publicity.

By Jaberwocky on 29 Mar 2012

Distributors refuse to send Raspberry Pi to customers

perhaps every one involved should get their money back, after all most likely they have waited more than 30 days--My tower PC has a clear side panel, might that allow all sorts of dangerous emissions

By invalidscreenname on 29 Mar 2012

Mid May for me

Element 14 told me in an email "congratulations, you'll get your Pi in Mid May". Didn't specify which year.
It's ironic because these companies aren't just distributors, they were also, as I understand it, involved in the development of the device in the first place. I suspect a lawyer has put the wind up them.

By KevPartner on 29 Mar 2012

money back

As far as I'm aware no money has been taken. I'm looking forward to the day mine is.
My interest was registered with RS who send me the same 'we will tell you more next week' email every week.

By dubiou on 30 Mar 2012

The CE mark is a legal requirement

The distributors don't have a choice in this. When you sell a product it has to comply with the relevant regulations even if it is a component. Manufacturers have to CE mark pretty much everything from capacitors upwards.

By tirons1 on 30 Mar 2012


Yes, true, but its not like Farnell / RS didn't know right from the get go that the RPi needed a CE mark, why have they only just gotten round to certifying it now?
Its not like they've never done this sort of thing before either, its their business!
Just useless.

By Heliosphan on 30 Mar 2012

Never did find out....

....why they need a magnet to make the RJ45 socket work (see previous article mentioned at the bottom of this one).....
Any ideas anyone?

By Hamster on 1 Apr 2012


@Heliosphan, I think the suppliers were under the (mis)apprehension the Pi did not have to meet class A emissions etc to get a CE mark as it didn't count as a finished product.
Rather they had assumed it could be sold as a building block for incorporation into 'home brewed' projects like the Beagle.
Unfortunately, it appears the demographic of the probable purchaser has sparked a ruling that the Pi does need to meet regulations as if it were a finished product.
I suppose you could argue the distributors should have done some homework first but they probably saw the Beagle as their example and have genuinely been caught out by this turn of events.

By Hamster on 1 Apr 2012

possible reason for magnet

The magnet is not to make the RJ45 socket work it more likely a filter to reduce feed back emissions Lots of your power supply monitor cables have a magnet wrapped round them for the same reason. Which is one reason why PI should be confident it will pass the CE marks..

By curiousclive on 7 Apr 2012

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