Raspberry Pi is delayed again, due to lack of certification for sale in Europe and the US.
Raspberry Pi's makers have put everything on hold until the Linux-based computer gains the CE mark. Image credit: Raspberry Pi
The credit-card-sized £22 computer, which is intended to teach
students about programming, saw such demand on its launch a month ago
that it crashed
the sales sites of distributors RS Components and
element14/Premier Farnell. A component
mix-up in production then caused a delay earlier this month.
Now the delivery of the Raspberry Pis has been further set back, as
the distributors have refused to sell the device until it receives the
Conformité Européenne (CE) mark, which consumer products sold
in the European Economic Area need to bear.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation, which revealed the latest hitch in a
blog post on
Wednesday, said it did not believe the tiny, uncased computer should
have to have the mark. It noted that a similar, albeit more expensive,
product called the Beagleboard
is allowed to be sold without CE certification.
"As we've said before, we believe that the uncased Raspberry Pi is
not a 'finished end product', and may be distributed on the same terms
as Beagleboard and other non-CE-marked platforms," Foundation
spokeswoman Liz Upton wrote.
The problem comes down to the issue of electromagnetic emissions.
Products that are only intended for further development, where
those using them will be able to test and monitor the emissions, can
be sold without the CE mark — or, in the US, the FCC mark.
Products sold to end users without those facilities must first be
officially approved as being safe.
According to Upton, the Raspberry Pi should be able to gain
approval. She said it just needs the results of further
electromagnetic tests to do so, or the intervention of the Department
for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to confirm that the device
does not need the 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 wrote.
"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," Upton added.
However, BIS said on Thursday that the Raspberry Pi must undergo the certification process.
"We have advised the makers of Raspberry Pi that their product falls under the electromagnetic compatibility legislation and therefore needs to carry the CE marking," a BIS spokesman told ZDNet UK.
In the lengthy comments thread attached to the post, Foundation
trustee Eben Upton explained why this problem was not spotted before
it arose. He said it was "basically an oversight" that the Foundation
and its distributors did not cover the CE issue in the contractual
Several commenters also suggested that the Beagleboard team may be
wrong in marketing their product as a "development board", a tactic
that allows it to bypass the certification issue.
In a separate
post on Thursday, Upton also noted that a computer glitch with
distributor element14 had resulted in some customers being told their
delivery date was being pushed back to August.
"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," a note from the
distributor, quoted by Upton, read.
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