Raspberry Pi Computers Pass EMC Compliance Testing

Subject: General Tech, Systems | April 8, 2012 - 08:38 PM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, pcb, emc test, computer, compliance testing, arm

The highly anticipated Raspberry Pi ARM computer has run into several launch hiccups, the most recent being that the distributors -- RS and Farnell -- refused to sell and ship the devices without the Raspberry Pi passing the proper electromagnetic interference testing. While such certification is not required for Arduino or Beagle Boards, the companies stated that because the Raspberry Pi was (more) likely to be used as a final consumer product (and not a development board) it needed to obtain and pass EMC testing to ensure that it would not interfere with (or be interfered by) other electronic devices.

According to a recent blog post by the charity behind the ARM powered Linux computer, the Raspberry Pi has passed the EMC compliance testing with flying colors -- after a few hiccups with a network hub used to test the Raspberry Pi while it was being hit with an EM field were sorted out.

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The team has been working out of Panasonic’s facility in South Wales to test the Raspberry Pi. Due to having the lab area for a whole week, they managed to knock out consumer product inference testing for several other countries as well. Mainly, the Raspberry Pi is now compliant with the UK CE requirements, the United States’ FCC, Australia’s CTick, and Canada’s Technical Acceptance Certificate (TAC).

Assuming the paper work is properly filed and RS and Farnell accept the certifications, the Raspberry Pi units should begin winging their way to customers shortly. Are you still waiting on your Raspberry Pi, and if so have you decided what you intend to use it for yet?

If you are interested in the Raspberry Pi, be sure to check out some of our other coverage of the little ARM computer!

April 9, 2012 | 02:10 AM - Posted by Buyers

I'm fairly excited about these little Raspberry Pi's. Mainly because a few linux flavors have already been spun(Fedora and Arch) for it, as well as XBMC working, so it'll work as a nice little cheap-ass media device. Design a case that can mount it on the back of the TV on the VESA mounts and its completely out of sight.

Second, i'm thinking about talking to the technology office for my local high school about getting a few as a trial run for a few class rooms to replace the ancient slim Dell's that i think have Pentium 4's in them (that old!). The FAQ on the site says it'll compare to about a 300Mhz Pentium 2 though, so not setting any performance records, but maybe running a trimmed down version of Linux with OpenOffice and firefox/chrome would be enough for researching and writing reports. It would at least use a lot less power (3.5W), better than a few hundred idling P4's.

Would need to get the Pi's, a $3 HDMI->DVI converter (for existing classroom LCDs), maybe some acrylic/plexi to make a case to attach to VESA mounts, probably a small USB hub, the SD cards for the software, and a 5V usb power adapter. Soooo $60ish bucks depending on how the case turns out. Cheaper than upgrading all of the computers outright.

I need to play with one myself to see if they'd be feasible for a general use classroom computer. A fellow teacher liked the idea if performance is adequate.

April 9, 2012 | 02:52 AM - Posted by Buyers

A quick check on my spare linux box shows ~390MB RAM usage with Arch Linux, Gnome 3.2, terminal, Chrome with 4 tabs. Not looking too good given the Pi only has 256MB of RAM. I'll check with SLiM and a lighter weight DE tomorrow.

April 9, 2012 | 01:52 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Aren't both models coming with 512MB now? I distinctly remember the cheaper $25 board being bumped up to 512 like its $35 brother.

April 9, 2012 | 05:48 PM - Posted by Buyers

Originally the Model A was going to only have 128MB of RAM and the Model B having 256MB. They manage to get the Model A upgraded to 256MB also and fit within the desired price. From the FAQ page:

  • What’s the difference between Model A and Model B?
  • Model A has been redesigned to have 256Mb RAM, one USB port and no Ethernet (network connection). Model B has 256Mb RAM, 2 USB port and an Ethernet port.

    April 9, 2012 | 06:20 PM - Posted by Buyers

    Arch Linux, running SLiM and LXDE, with the terminal, system monitor, Firefox with 4 tabs (CNN/PCPer/HardOCP/Weather) and 2 extensions (AdBlock and FlashBlock) is using ~246MB. Right on the edge. Add LibreOffic Writer with a few paragraphs copy/pasted bumps it up to ~290MB. Looks like it'd be usable, but be careful with the number and complexity of web pages.

    LXDE desktop running just Firefox (and extensions) with just Wikipedia loaded up, and LibreOffice Writer with the same paragraphs copy/pasted is at ~185MB ram usage.

    LXDE +Firefox +720p youtube video is at ~225MB ram usage.

    Looks like 256MB of ram is adequate as long as web browsing is kept in check. Hopefully the processing power is up to the task.

    April 9, 2012 | 04:41 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

    Yeah, that would be a great use case for it. I might include the SD card and cable connections inside of the case such that they couldn't accidentally be removed by meddling kids ;). If they needed to plug in stuff, they could just use the provided hub.

    April 9, 2012 | 05:55 PM - Posted by Buyers

    Yeah, definitely design the case so that the entire system is enclosed, with only the free ends of the usb hub exposed for plugging in keyboard/mouse/usb drive. And probably a few ventilation holes of course. If high school kids found out there were 4GB+ SD cards in them, i'm sure they'd be trying to sneakily swipe 'em. The big problem with the cases is that the PCB doesn't have any screw holes, so you'll have to work in some kind of slot to slide it into, working around the various connections.

    April 9, 2012 | 07:12 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

    Yep, that's just what I was thinking: kids, ah, "borrowing" the SD cards :P

    That's a good point about there being no screw holes. Maybe some gorilla glue :)

    April 14, 2012 | 06:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

    I would like to buy some of these Raspberry's.