Raspberry Pi delivery delays leave buyers hungry (and angry)

Raspberry Pi delivery delays leave buyers hungry (and angry)

Summary: Many RS Components customers who purchased the credit card-sized computer in the summer are still waiting for their Raspberry Pi to arrive, with some facing waits of up to six months.


Customers eager to get their first taste of the Raspberry Pi have been left angry and disappointed by distributor RS Components, which is failing to cope with demand.

The Oxford-based company has admitted to falling behind in sending out orders for the £25 Linux mini-computer, leading buyers on Raspberry Pi forums and elsewhere to complain of delays of up to six months.

"This is ridiculous," said TheToothBrushMan on the Raspberry Pi forum on 1 October. "I registered with RS back in 25th MAY! And still no sign of the pi! I am being told that the 17+ weeks is due to difficulty in the supplier providing."


Demand for the Raspberry Pi has been fierce, and RS Components said it has received 250,000 global orders for the Model B — suggesting that hundreds, if not thousands, of buyers might have been hit by the delay. The device has proved popular with hobbyists despite being conceived as a tool for teaching kids to program.

"We were originally expecting to sell between one and 10,000 units," Raspberry Pi creator Eben Upton explained.

RS Components, which works with Chinese manufacturing partners to build its Raspberry Pis, is warning new customers that the device won't be dispatched for six weeks. It puts the hold-up down to problems getting hold of the Broadcom BCM2835 chip at the heart of the credit card-sized computer, as well as the levels of demand.

"While we have put every effort into getting the complete manufacturing and customer service systems in place as fast as possible, there have been ongoing supply problems of the core processor from the sole manufacturer, Broadcom," said Glenn Jarrett, global head of product marketing at RS Components.

"Unfortunately, our demand for volume orders was not satisfied. We've had to wait for delivery of the next production run of Pi processors, which has delayed the fulfilment of Raspberry Pi orders to our customers," he added.

The Broadcom delay added six weeks to existing lead times for devices ordered this summer, according to RS Components.

An unhappy RS Components customer took to Twitter to vent his anger

By contrast, the second main Raspberry Pi distributor, Element 14/Premier Farnell, promises delivery two weeks after ordering. This is in part because it does its manufacturing in a Sony facility in Pencoed, South Wales, rather than China, the company said.

"There's a physical proximity to the product, which helps when the main market for the Raspberry Pi is Europe," said Mike Buffham, global head of electronics design engineering at Element 14/Premier Farnell. "There's obviously reduced shipping costs and transit times."

Raspberry Pi Foundation's Upton suggested that Farnell also predicted the market more accurately, meaning it was better prepared for demand.

"My perception is the two companies made a different judgement on what volume was going to do in the third quarter and where the market was going," he said. "Farnell's judgement turned out to be slightly more accurate than RS's."

RS Components said it received 40,000 Raspberry Pis in September and is expecting additional deliveries through October. It has promised daily deliveries as chip availability improves from November onwards, which should let it clear all outstanding orders.

Topics: Hardware, Linux, Open Source, PCs

Sam Shead

About Sam Shead

Sam is generally at his happiest with a new piece of technology in his hands or nailing down an exclusive story. In the past he's written for The Engineer and the Daily Mail. These days, Sam is particularly interested in emerging technology, datacentres, cloud, storage and web start-ups.

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  • Heh, I wonder how they would feel...

    ...when hearing mine got tossed into the trash less than two days before I got it. Apparently its small size doesn't mesh well with compulsive cleaners in the house.
    • Really torture them -

      Claim that you've already received your replacement one.
  • waiting ... waiting ... waiting ...

    waiting ... waiting ... waiting ... waiting ... waiting ... waiting ... waiting ... still waiting ...
  • Hate to torture people but

    I got two by accident (double click on "hung" order page kind of thing)
  • Frustrated, perhaps.

    But if you're angry.

    You REALLY need to find other things in life.
  • ..

    rasberry pi's in short supply, apparently so is patience.
    Scarface Claw
  • Get 'em from Farnell...!!

    As the article says just cancel an order with RS and get one from Element 14/Farnell instead!

    I bought 2 in the summer and both arrived within days (I'm in the UK). And they're even better as the units shipping now have 512MB RAM, up form the original 256MB.

    That reminds me I need to order some more...
    Lord Minty
    • Ditto!

      I ordered a couple RPis from Farnell/Element14 about a month ago - instead of immediate delivery, they delayed fulfillment until the updated 512MB model was announced.

      I'll admit to initially being disappointed by their expected delivery date of November 1, but that feeling was replaced by joy when they notified me that I had been "upgraded" to the 512MB model, and that they shipped my order 2 weeks earlier than they promised.

      Farnell/Element14 has been consistently more reliable/responsive than RS, based on my past experience - ordered one from each company upon the RPi's initial release. Farnell/Element 14 order arrived quickly, while the RS took months to ship. By the time the RS package hit my doorstep, I had forgotten that I had ordered it...