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Raspberry Pi delayed for compliance testing

Raspberry Pi delayed for compliance testing

The Raspberry Pi has hit another delay, as distributors insist on compliance testing for the $35 ARM-based microcomputer.

The Raspberry Pi $35 has hit a (hopefully) final delay before eager customers start receiving their parcels, following distributors' demands for compliance testing.

This latest delay follows the earlier discovery of a manufacturing mistake, specifically the use of plain Ethernet ports when units with integrated magnetics (MagJacks) were required by the design. As a result, even those customers who were lucky enough to place an order in the brief window of opportunity are still waiting on their deliveries.

This time around, the delay is reportedly caused by distributors Element14 (trading in the UK as Farnell) and RS Components insisting that the device receives a CE mark to indicate compliance with electronic emissions guidelines. It's a standard requirement of consumer electronics, but one which the Raspberry Pi Foundation had hoped to avoid until the larger-scale 'retail' launch later this year.

Previously, Raspberry Pi had been operating on the understanding that prototype or engineering sample products could be sold in the UK without a CE mark. That's a fair understanding: the rival ARM-based Beagleboard development kit is sold under the same terms without a CE mark, as are the majority of similar prototyping platforms.

The Raspberry Pi has something its rivals are missing, however: wide-spread appeal. With pre-orders estimated to be in the high tens of thousands, unlike the few thousand units rival units ship, Raspberry Pi's commercial partners have started to get antsy about the potential for profit-draining lawsuits.

As a result, Element14 and RS have both demanded that the Raspberry Pi undergo compliance testing before they're willing to ship boards to customers. It's a blow for those waiting for their boards, but a task which would have to happen anyway before the release of the educational bundle aimed at schools, colleges and universities later this year.

'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 metallised case,' the foundation's publicist Liz Upton explains.

The release may not have to wait until official certification is granted, however. '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,' Liz adds.

For now, it's a race between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the electromagnetic interference tests as to which provides the green light for shipments first.

19 Comments

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r3loaded 29th March 2012, 13:28 Quote
Well, Farnell already told me a couple weeks back that I'd have to wait until May for my R-Pi so I'm not too fussed. My exams are also coming up then, so I suppose not having a new toy to play with is a good thing. :p
Teelzebub 29th March 2012, 13:53 Quote
Yea I had a email from them last week saying it had been delayed
Vo0Ds 29th March 2012, 14:19 Quote
Ditto :-)
PaulC2K 29th March 2012, 17:39 Quote
You guys have?? I've heard nothing from them since the initial order was placed and due 17 days ago.

What annoys me is THEY keep changing their stance it seems. If they wanted to do compliance tests, then why did they not account for that delay when they started taking orders? Why suddenly make that decision weeks after taking peoples orders and telling them when we should receive it, only to decide afterwards its not fit for sale. They know the market well enough, so why has this only just been decided??
I also read at the weekend that both distributors want to hold back stock and wait for a larger release. So despite having told customers we'd get them ~12/03 (first batch), they now want to keep them in stock despite orders being placed for them, and wait for more stock to come in and do a larger release. Whether the RPF lets them do that i dont know, they dont seem to have much say in matters atm.
Teelzebub 29th March 2012, 18:00 Quote
There was problem a while back and I got this email on the 15/3/2011

Hello to all our Raspberry Pi followers - UPDATE ALERT!

Firstly, we are very grateful for all the patience you have shown as we deal with the tremendous interest in the Raspberry Pi - it has been phenomenal and it is fantastic that there is so much enthusiasm for it out there.

We know how keen you all are to get your hands on the product and get programming, however Raspberry Pi has made us aware of a ‘manufacturing hiccup’ with the initial batch that came to light following additional testing. Fortunately the problem is only minor and Raspberry Pi is working to correct it. A full explanation can be found on the Raspberry Pi website We’re continuing to work closely with the Raspberry Pi foundation to minimise any delay in getting the Raspberry Pi to you and hope that you will bear with us a little longer. We’ll keep updating our FAQs to give you information as we receive it.

A lot of you have also asked about how we are managing our queue, and when you’ll be invited to place your order for a Raspberry Pi. We’re going to be receiving the boards in batches, so as we receive confirmation that the batches are ready, we’ll be inviting people in on a first-come, first served basis, from time of original registration, to place orders on our new Raspberry Pi online store. The invitations will be sent to groups that match the number of boards we have available, to ensure that if you place an order, we’re able to take it and tell you when we can ship your Raspberry Pi.

Thanks again for your patience, and we’ll be in touch again next week for a further update.




RS Components Ltd

Then this one on the 23rd

Welcome to the latest Raspberry Pi update from RS Components!

Much has been happening behind the scenes since you received our last update, not least the start of compliance testing on the Raspberry Pi.

Why are we doing this? Compliance testing is an essential part of bringing any electronic product to market. The Raspberry Pi is being tested to make sure it conforms to all the regulations that apply to electronic devices around the world. This means that we can be sure the Raspberry Pi we deliver to you meets the correct standards and is as safe as you would expect any electronic device you purchase to be.

We’re working with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to manage the testing process as quickly as possible, while ensuring all tests are carried out to guarantee safety. More information is being posted on the Raspberry Pi website , as well as on our own FAQ pages rswww.com or DesignSpark. We’re also regularly tweeting updates on progress. Follow @RSElectronics on twitter to catch the latest news.

Alongside this, we’ve also been contacting the first group of people who registered for a Raspberry Pi from RS, to help us plan delivery of the initial batch of boards. In next week’s update, we’ll provide more information on how we’re managing the queue and the order process.
GravitySmacked 29th March 2012, 19:39 Quote
I can wait. In the mean time I've ordered one of these bad boys

http://www.modmypi.com/products.php
Bazz 29th March 2012, 19:54 Quote
Hype aside I was up for a few of these, for development work for home and at my place of work.
Now however, both Raspberry Pi Foundation, RS and Farnell have shown I need to stay clear of these.

Ordered one through work 3 weeks ago, they now they 'think' it could be August before I get it, order is being cancelled, I and work are now looking at more expensive mature products now.

Though I understand the original concept for these, everyone involved has underestimated its 'want appeal' and use, and to make mistakes how they have, have put the idea of teaching programming out of touch with who it was originally aimed for.

I for one would be ashamed if I was in the business of anything to do with these. Now of course using RS and Farnell means they will have to take the brunt of end users problems etc. (though both RS and Farnell are not the eaiest companies to deal with).

Moral of the story from my point? Look for other suitable products that fits the needs, and don't wait for Cinderella, it'll be a long time yet.
Hopelessness 30th March 2012, 02:10 Quote
@Bazz, if your workplace is as professional as you think Raspberry Pi should be, maybe you shouldn't have considered a development board designed by a small group of people in their own spare time, that has been designed to teach programming. That's a big a judgement error as unexpected mass demand causing legal discrepancies in my book.

I think the RPi team are doing a fantastic job with the extremely limited resources they have available; and they take the criticism they get from forum trolls VERY well.

Also, how many mistakes have the RPi foundation made? The difference between the RPi team and any other company is how open they've been about the mistakes they have made. Nobody other company I know of is as willing to own up to their mistakes, and for that I wholeheartedly applaud them.
Bazz 30th March 2012, 02:47 Quote
@Hopelessness
Whatever you say.
If you read what I wrote you would see there are 2 other companies they are in bed with, try reading before 'trolling' other peoples posts on their own thoughts.
My main problem is with RS & Farnell, such large companies aren't able to market research this before hand?
I deal with these companies all the time, I would have preferred RPi to deal with someone else, but hey, obviously I don't know what I am talking about? RPi should also have looked into this as well, as far as I am concerned they had so much info from their own web site and the whole developing community, who have been screaming out for this for well over a year.

Oh yeah, one reason for looking at the board = COST, and yes it was a original concept for teaching, but read what I wrote again, the developing community has taken hold of this, not for teaching but for developing, which is why I considered it in the first place.
If they wanted it for teaching, they should have had a business model for this, which they didn't.
Blackshark 30th March 2012, 09:33 Quote
Its been dreadful. And I am sorry to say that the RPF must take some of the responcibility.

The launch day was nothing of the sort. We are what 4 weeks after that and not a single RPi is in the hands of the lucky 10,000. Neither Farnell or RS have said how many they are making, but seemingly if you add up the preorders from Farnell and interest from RS, you get to almost 500k orders (single units).

There has been no indiciation as to when any other units will be mare, there is no indication as to numbers for these batches. As with others, I am starting to look else where and in the case of wanting to custom build a HTArmBox, just buy a new modern stand alone unit.

Could have been somethign special. Has turned out to be one let down after another. And all this rubbish about compliance testing.... Leave it up to the customers buying it to make that choice. Its just another excuse not to live up to the contract Farnell and RS signed.
faugusztin 30th March 2012, 09:40 Quote
You were waiting for months, and you can't wait one or two more ? Sure, go for alternatives, which are 100€ and more...
Gareth Halfacree 30th March 2012, 10:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackshark
And all this rubbish about compliance testing.... Leave it up to the customers buying it to make that choice. Its just another excuse not to live up to the contract Farnell and RS signed.
That's a bit disingenuous: companies aren't *allowed*, by *law*, to "leave it up to the customers." They are required to display a CE certificate for all consumer goods sold in the UK, or they will be fined *serious* cash.

Development systems sold in small quantities to professionals can skirt the rules - as the Beagleboard does - but RS and Farnell have, quite reasonably, raised the point that when you're taking a rumoured half-million pre-orders for a product it's quite likely the powers that be will consider that a commercial release and require the CE certification.

The choice the Foundation was given was simple: get a letter from the Department for BSI saying that compliance testing isn't required until the 'real' commercial release, or get CE certification. To speed things up, they're doing both simultaneously: if the letter from BSI comes first, they Pis will be sent to customers sans-CE certification; if the certification comes first, they'll be sent to customers with all the relevant testing finished.

Farnell and RS's only mistake here was underestimating demand. Had they realised how much interest there was going to be - which, to be fair, they probably should have given the amount of publicity the project has had world-wide - they would have demanded CE testing *before* opening the order books.

As others have said: if you don't want to wait, buy a Beagleboard or a Dragonboard or A. N. Other ARM-based development board. There are plenty out there. You'll be paying £170 instead of £30, but you'll get it in your sweaty hands tomorrow guaranteed. If, on the other hand, you can't afford to drop £170 on an already-released development board, have a little (more) patience and wait for things to get sorted.

At the end of the day, the Foundation is a non-profit charity run by people who also have full-time jobs. Eben in particular has been burning the candle at both ends over the last couple of weeks - I'm talking eighteen-hour-plus days - trying to get things sorted and the Pis sent to customers. Remember: he's not getting paid for this. He's not going to get rich from this. He's doing this out of a love for the project, and out of hope that it will help reinvigorate computing education both in the UK and world-wide.
fluxtatic 30th March 2012, 10:48 Quote
Meh, I've got plenty to keep me busy until I can get my hands on one or two. Yes, I'm quite excited by the prospect, but I wasn't fighting to be one of the first 10k for exactly this sort of thing - duking it out to be part of the first, hoping it didn't get delayed (and then again, and...)

I'm content to let the dust settle and get down to it once they've had a retail launch (and hopefully a deal with a US distributor - shipping and handling from the UK was a bit too on the rapey side for my taste.)

For everyone bitching like the RPF kicked your puppy - grow the **** up. You should get on your knees and thank god you've even got a chance at this kind of hardware for this price in the first place, not act like they just ruined the secret of Santa Claus.
GravitySmacked 30th March 2012, 11:23 Quote
I've just received this update:

Quote:
In recent days you may have heard various reports on the Web about Raspberry Pi, the need for compliance testing and possible further delivery delays.

We recognise the impact on our customers of the constantly changing delivery dates, and we apologise for the frustration and disappointment this is causing. We will supply you with accurate delivery dates just as soon as we can, as the Boards undergo compliance testing.

It is clear that many of our customers will be using the Raspberry Pi as a finished product, not just an engineering development board. As such, we see it as the most responsible approach to ensure that all Pis meet the required standards for finished products in all territories.

We are therefore going through a much accelerated compliance process, working closely with the Raspberry Pi Foundation and RS Components. We take our commitment and responsibility in this area very seriously and believe the short-term delays, whilst frustrating, will be worthwhile to ensure our customers receive a fully compliant product.

The exact situation at the present time is as follows:

2000 Raspberry Pi’s are now in the UK.You can see pictures of them leaving the factory in China here; http://www.raspberrypi.org/
The compliance teams of element14, RS and Raspberry Pi are working round the clock with the testing houses to assess the product now. Any issues that are identified (hardware or software) will then need to be rectified and we will ensure this happens as quickly as is humanly possible.
There are different compliance standards around the globe. We are focused on meeting all of those as quickly as possible. Some may take longer than others.
As soon as these initial 2000 Boards are compliant to at least one set of required standards, we will receive our share of this first batch from Raspberry Pi and ship these to customers in the locations where the compliance standards have been met on a strictly first come, first served basis. Those who ordered first in those countries will receive the product first.
Regrettably we cannot give any firm delivery commitments on Raspberry Pis until this testing is complete. Please be assured we will provide this information as soon as we can.
Once the product is fully compliant our manufacturing partners have the necessary stocks of components to ramp up production very quickly. So, despite these frustrating, initial delays we are confident the picture will improve and lead times for new orders will reduce.
We will email you individually to confirm your personal delivery date as soon as we are able to. We will continue to share generic information, but recognise that it is the detailed specific information to your order that is most important to you.
We will continue to post news and updates on our element14 community. Next week, on April 4th, Raspberry Pi founder, Eben Upton will give a 40-minute webinar on programming the Raspberry Pi as part of our element14 Design Flow series.
To join the 2000+ Pi fans who have already registered to attend and learn more Click here

Once again we apologise to all of our customers for this delay in providing the hotly awaited Raspberry Pi. Despite these initial teething troubles, we're certain you'll be delighted with the end result.

HOT OFF THE PRESS UPDATE FROM EBEN UPTON OF RASPBERRY PI:

“We have spoken with BIS this morning, and have been told that, given the volumes involved and the demographic mix of likely users, the development board exemption is not applicable to us; as a result, even the first uncased developer units of Raspberry Pi will require a CE mark prior to distribution in the EU...... ....we are working with RS Components and element14/Premier Farnell to bring Raspberry Pi into a compliant state as soon as is humanly possible.”


From Farnell element14
BLC 30th March 2012, 11:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazz
Hype aside I was up for a few of these, for development work for home and at my place of work.
Now however, both Raspberry Pi Foundation, RS and Farnell have shown I need to stay clear of these.

Ordered one through work 3 weeks ago, they now they 'think' it could be August before I get it, order is being cancelled, I and work are now looking at more expensive mature products now.

There was an update on the rPi website about delivery dates being changed to August. This was a cockup on Farnell's part, which they are working to correct. Pretty sure I read that Farnell are also in the process of contacting people to advise this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
That's a bit disingenuous: companies aren't *allowed*, by *law*, to "leave it up to the customers." They are required to display a CE certificate for all consumer goods sold in the UK, or they will be fined *serious* cash.

Development systems sold in small quantities to professionals can skirt the rules - as the Beagleboard does - but RS and Farnell have, quite reasonably, raised the point that when you're taking a rumoured half-million pre-orders for a product it's quite likely the powers that be will consider that a commercial release and require the CE certification.

The choice the Foundation was given was simple: get a letter from the Department for BSI saying that compliance testing isn't required until the 'real' commercial release, or get CE certification. To speed things up, they're doing both simultaneously: if the letter from BSI comes first, they Pis will be sent to customers sans-CE certification; if the certification comes first, they'll be sent to customers with all the relevant testing finished.

Precisely. I do think that both distributors seriously underestimated the demand and could have potentially handled this better; and perhaps the foundation could have anticipated this and potentially put some kind of contingency plan in place. They may well have, but I haven't read about it.

The UK Gov't haven't exactly helped matters when it comes to launching these products either. Granted their stance on IT education has changed, but the manufacturing arrangements are daft. Originally the foundation planned to have Raspberry Pi units manufactured in Britain; i.e. supporting the British IT/programming industry and univerisities/schools with a product assembled/manufactured in Britain using a British workforce, etc. However because of the import duties, it is cheaper to import a completed product from abroad than it is to import the individual components and assemble them here - this is without even considering the labour costs. If they had tried to import the components and assemble the boards in the UK, there was no chance of hitting the $35 price tag.

EDIT: Found the article from earlier this year describing the import duty...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liz Upton, http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/509
I’d like to draw attention to one cost in particular that really created problems for us in Britain. Simply put, if we build the Raspberry Pi in Britain, we have to pay a lot more tax. If a British company imports components, it has to pay tax on those (and most components are not made in the UK). If, however, a completed device is made abroad and imported into the UK – with all of those components soldered onto it – it does not attract any import duty at all. This means that it’s really, really tax inefficient for an electronics company to do its manufacturing in Britain, and it’s one of the reasons that so much of our manufacturing goes overseas. Right now, the way things stand means that a company doing its manufacturing abroad, depriving the UK economy, gets a tax break. It’s an absolutely mad way for the Inland Revenue to be running things, and it’s an issue we’ve taken up with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

So we have had to make the pragmatic decision and look to Taiwan and China for our manufacturing, at least for this first batch. We are still working hard on investigating UK possibilities; at the moment, we’re investigating an option which would mean that all the Model As (whose demand we expect to be much lower than that of the Model Bs) will be built in the UK, and at the moment that’s looking quite do-able, although it’s not as efficient economically as doing it in Asia. I’ll fill you in on how that goes later on.
Bazz 30th March 2012, 12:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC


There was an update on the rPi website about delivery dates being changed to August. This was a cockup on Farnell's part, which they are working to correct. Pretty sure I read that Farnell are also in the process of contacting people to advise this.

Nope, mine is advised for August, I double checked.
BLC 30th March 2012, 13:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazz
Nope, mine is advised for August, I double checked.

I think I misrepresented their position; they're not "working to correct it", but it was still a cockup that moved the shipping date to August:
Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/913

We got this mail late last night from the guys at element14′s head office – it’s of relevance to those of you who got a very discouraging delivery update yesterday from Newark.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newark element14

We’d like to apologise to all customers who placed orders with Newark element14 and have seen their acknowledged delivery date suddenly change on our website’s order backlog to August 2012.

At present, as already communicated by Raspberry Pi, all deliveries are on hold awaiting the outcome of the compliance testing currently taking place.

To avoid misleading people while the compliance testing takes place, our system auto-generated the August date, which has clearly caused confusion. We’re sorry!

We can absolutely commit that our orders will be shipped in the order they were originally received and that no-one has lost their place in the ‘queue’ as a result of this latest change.

Once the compliance testing is complete we will then have a clearer idea about our future deliveries and we will confirm accurate delivery dates to our many thousands of customers.

Apologies again for any confusion this action has caused. We firmly believe delivery will be much sooner than August.

Newark element14
Blackshark 30th March 2012, 14:53 Quote
BAH! Facts are facts. We are where we are. It was not me that signed the contracts on behalf of RPF with the two crapocompanies. Yes, Ill end up waiting, thats like writing the sun wont wink out of existance. Doesnt mean writing reality makes that reality right all the time.

Lets be clear. Liz stated clearly that once the initial batch of 10k were sold (not delivered, sold) there would be more batches being made and they would appear every 2 to 3 weeks. That is what was written. Where are we now, actually no further than we were in January! All I want is a clear message as to what is going on.

OK, small correction, there are 2000 on a pallet in the UK somewhere, that cant be sold..... Hmmm.....

The emails I am getting from both RS and Farnell are dreadful. They say the same thing, 20 times over. Thats not an update. And the one thing they say is not infomation, its hot air. The email I was hoping to receive a day or two after the launch would have been:

Dear X, We at Farnell thank you for your order. As you may know, only 10,000 units have been produced but we are making many more for you and all our customers. Having the number of orders to date, we are manufacturing approx. 50k units which we expect 10k every week from next week. You are No. 34,252 in the queue. We therefore believe your unit will be despatched no later than XXXXX'

That is infomation. That is 'informing'. How much marketing, non promises, non commital sentances do they need to write before you realise???
Gareth Halfacree 30th March 2012, 14:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackshark
Yes, Ill end up waiting, thats like writing the sun wont wink out of existance. Doesnt mean writing reality makes that reality right all the time.
I have literally no idea what that last sentence means.
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