Distributors refuse to send Raspberry Pi to customers

Low-cost computer hit by further delays as distributors ask for certification

29 Mar 2012

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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