Success delays Raspberry Pi as CE-marking becomes essential

Run-away popularity amongst consumers has forced Raspberry Pi suppliers Element 14 and RS Components to delay its introduction while qualification for CE-marking is undertaken.

Success delays Raspberry Pi as CE-marking becomes essential

Raspberry Pi is the £25 educational computer designed by Cambridge entrepreneurs and academics to improve computer science knowledge amongst school-leavers.

The initial plan of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the charity behind the computer, was to release 10,000 un-cased Raspberry Pi Model B as development boards aimed at application developers and enthusiasts.

Later, it would released a globally-qualified (CE, FCC, RoHS…) cased version called the Model A for educational use.

Before all this could happen, hundreds of thousands of consumers ordered the un-cased Model B.

“It was always the intention to have the units certified before they were put into the educational environment,” Element 14 spokeswoman Jenny Peters told Electronics Weekly. “It was assumed that the un-cased Model Bs would be going to professionals as engineering samples. No one expected the level of demand that we have seen. Hundreds of thousands of Raspberry Pis are going to consumers and kids, and it would be wrong to put these on to the market without proper testing. All boards need to meet consumer standards.”

This decision, according to Peters, has the agreement of Foundation trustee and Raspberry Pi hardware designer Pete Lomas, and has inspired unprecedented collaboration between business rivals Element 14 and RS Components.

“Now we are selling direct to the consumer, the requirements are more stringent,” RS Components’ head of compliance Alan Lund told Electronics Weekly. “This is a stand-alone single-board computer. You connect a keyboard, power supply and screen and you have a fully functional machine.”

Postings on the forums of the Foundation, Element 14 and RS, have challenged the idea that the board needs to be qualified.

“The thoughts of the two distributors are aligned,” said Lund. “We are both global distributors with years of experience and we do this day-in and day-out. This is a single-board computer that you can use with no specialist knowledge.”

Gary Nevison is Alan Lund’s counterpart, he heads Element 14′s compliance group.

 

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