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United Kingdom Hardware

Raspberry Pi Passes EU Electromagnetic Compatibility Testing 137

Posted by timothy
from the red-tape-dissolved-by-logic dept.
A week ago, we posted news of the delay that the Raspberry Pi Foundation faced because of a requirement that their boards be tested to comply with EU regulations. Now, the word is in, and the Raspberry Pi passed those tests without needing any modifications. From their post describing the ordeal: "The Raspberry Pi had to pass radiated and conducted emissions and immunity tests in a variety of configurations (a single run can take hours), and was subjected to electrostatic discharge (ESD) testing to establish its robustness to being rubbed on a cat. It’s a long process, involving a scary padded room full of blue cones, turntables that rise and fall on demand, and a thing that looks a lot like a television aerial crossed with Cthulhu."
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Raspberry Pi Passes EU Electromagnetic Compatibility Testing

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  • by mr_lizard13 (882373) on Friday April 06, 2012 @07:36PM (#39603203)
    Thank goodness it passed the cat rubbing test. We Europeans love rubbing electronic devices on our cats.
  • Pics? (Score:3, Funny)

    by walkerp1 (523460) on Friday April 06, 2012 @07:38PM (#39603213)
    Am I the only one that desperately wants to see pictures of the Cthulhu antenna?
  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday April 06, 2012 @07:49PM (#39603289)

    Bad kitty! That's my Pot Pi! No! You're a bad kitty!

  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday April 06, 2012 @07:50PM (#39603291) Homepage

    full of blue cones, turntables that rise and fall on demand, and a thing that looks a lot like a television aerial crossed with Cthulhu.

    Also, cats.

  • Scary???? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by pe1rxq (141710)

    Am I the only one scared by these guys?????
    They think they can design a PCB yet are scared of some simple measuring equipment. (I have been involved with and designed several products which had to go through CE testing and that stuff is NOT scary if you known what they are doing).
    I really hope the summary is just joking about the antennna.... if not: stay away from Raspberry Pi: it is designed by clueless idiots.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It was written by the PR person, not the engineers.

    • Re:Scary???? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Psychotria (953670) on Friday April 06, 2012 @07:56PM (#39603363)

      I actually thought the comment was tongue-in-cheek, so, no I am not scared by them.

    • by chispito (1870390) on Friday April 06, 2012 @07:57PM (#39603369)
      The PR person is a food blogger who does this for free in her spare time because she is married to one of the foundation Trustees. Cut her a little slack.
    • I'm terrified by people who use multiple punctuation marks. Mostly because it indicates that they're probably a 13-year-old girl, an incredibly dangerous group of people to be talking to on the internet.

      • I'm terrified by people who use multiple punctuation marks. Mostly because it indicates that they're probably a 13-year-old girl, an incredibly dangerous group of people to be talking to on the internet.

        That's not a troll, it's true (as well as being funny) because you never know when one of those thirteen-year-olds will turn out to be a 57-year-old FBI agent.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, but they had already built 10000 of the things and their distributors were refusing to sell them until they passed CE. So if there was _one_ mistake that required hardware modification then the entire batch of 10000 had to be repaired (again, since they already had to replace the ethernet port) or scrapped. Not to mention the angry community members who have *already* paid for their pi.

      So maybe you dont need to be a "clueless idiot" to feel a little nervous.

    • by Zapotek (1032314)
      Irrispective of who wrote it I think that it was meant as a joke, which I personally found funny and lol'ed a bit. My my so touchy....
    • by KreAture (105311)
      The interesting thing is they were forced to do this at all.
      Farnell in Norway does NOT sell to end users, only companys and developers, and as such the boards are not supposed to be forced to adhere to this testing.
      It smells like some competitors have gotten their will here, and it's nice to see that they didn't win. Now the sales will be even better from the get-go.
      I already know of several projects that may use the pi as a base-platform now that it passed the tests.
      • by makomk (752139)

        Farnell in Norway does not sell devices other than the Raspberry Pi [raspberrypi.org] to end users. There was a big PR campaign by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to market the device to ordinary end users, then a big backlash when they changed their distribution plan and only businesses would be able to order it in many countries, so they managed to convince Farnell and RS Electronics to start selling to ordinary consumers in countries where they normally don't.

      • Farnell in Norway does NOT sell to end users, only companys and developers

        They are making an exception for the Pi. Anyway just because farnell refuse to sell to end users in your country doesn't mean they do that everywhere.

        It smells like some competitors have gotten their will here

        I find it far more likely that someone in legal simply got worried when the saw the massive volumes stacking up and realised that the vast majority of those sales were almost certainly going to people who were not going to use it as a development board.

  • by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Friday April 06, 2012 @07:58PM (#39603375) Homepage

    Doesn't every product, everywhere, pass this test?

    So, this is worthy of the front page why?

    • by Psychotria (953670) on Friday April 06, 2012 @08:00PM (#39603393)

      I'm sure that not every product passes this test, otherwise the test wouldn't be necessary :p

      • by andersh (229403) on Friday April 06, 2012 @08:44PM (#39603665)

        All electronics that are going to be sold, as finished products, in the European economic area (EEA) have to be tested and comply with European standards. It's the short answer, and I'm skipping a lot of details.

        The problem the Raspberry-foundation faced was that it was initially not a "finished" product, more of a DIY kit. Once it became clear it was more of a "consumer" product it had to comply and be tested.

        The same applies in the US where the FCC has the same role, but labs do the actual testing in both jurisdictions.

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          It's still a bogus requirement for this devices by any means. It's an open circuit board. The emitted radiation thus depends entirely on the end use. Many electronics wouldn't pass without a metal case surrounding them. Not to mention that none of the other development platforms which are sold in a similar way (Beagle board, Arduino, STK500 etc) require this certification.

          • by gl4ss (559668)

            It's still a bogus requirement for this devices by any means. It's an open circuit board. The emitted radiation thus depends entirely on the end use. Many electronics wouldn't pass without a metal case surrounding them. Not to mention that none of the other development platforms which are sold in a similar way (Beagle board, Arduino, STK500 etc) require this certification.

            I guess. but they're dodging taxes by it being a finished product? at least that's what was used as one reason for skipping production in eu. something about there being import tax on components but not on finished products. you can't exactly claim it's a finished product in one form and that it's an unfinished project board in another form...

    • This slashdot posting is part of the 'Raspberry Pi Trainwreck-Launch' series. Collect 'em all!

    • Doesn't every product, everywhere, pass this test?

      Not always, unless you design a PCB with the test in mind there's a good chance that it will emit or be sensitive to RF noise. Most electronics simply deal with it by ignoring RF in the design and sticking offending electronics in a shielded enclosure, which isn't an option for a bare-bones PCB.

      A good experiment is to put AM radio set next some of your cheaper electronics and see if you can 'hear' them while powered up.

    • Doesn't every product, everywhere, pass this test?

      So, this is worthy of the front page why?

      No, they don't. A buddy worked for the Norwegian testing agency NEMKO (he mostly tested phones and monitors), and prototypes frequently fail this kind of testing. These products are from the largest electronics manufacturers in the world. Manufacturers would frequently fly in technicians who were able to modify the prototypes onsite with a pretty basic toolkit. Some are rejected anyway, others pass after modifications, but even some of the best engineers in the world apparently can't get it right on the fir

  • Pictures of the cat or it didn't happen.

  • Could someone enlighten me on why the testing would include ESD sensitivity?

    Devices that don't die when you pick them up on a non-humid day certainly are nice; but(outside of safety-critical medical and controls applications) dropping dead if handled without ESD precautions doesn't seem like a safety risk, or a greater RF emissions violation than the spark doing the killing, or otherwise troublesome in a regulatory sort of way. Likely to annoy customers, quite possibly; but not likely to do much harm in
    • To quote a source on the web:

      "If a product is not susceptible to ESD and fast transients, for instance, it will not fail as readily during normal use. This is not only important from a performance standpoint, but from a safety and legal liability standpoint as well. Therefore, it is useful to use interference generators in the product design and development stage, as well as in the CE mark certification process. "

      http://www.conformity.com/artman/publish/printer_166.shtml [conformity.com]

    • Basically some useless bureaucratic hoops that the EU, but almost no one else in the world, sees fit to make manufacturers large and small jump through.

      I don't understand why this board needed certification at all, frankly. Since it's sold as a PC board, why don't they just market and sell it as a component, rather than a system? Then it would only be subject to RoHS and WEEE legislation, not EMC.

      • by Bing Tsher E (943915) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @01:01AM (#39604625) Journal

        The issue is with the distributors, not the RaspPi people.

        Farnell and RS got nervous when they realized how many of the boards they would be shipping. There is not the same requirement for low volume eval boards they sell as engineering prototypes.

        The Foundation always planned on obtaining the CE mark for the Raspberry Pi boards during the main launch, which will come in the future when schools have their curricula worked out and huge numbers of the finished devices (in enclosures mostly) will be going out to schoolchildren. Right now the boards are seen as a preliminary release. The Foundation had CE certification on the schedule. Just not this soon.

        • by pmontra (738736)
          I misclicked the options when moderating. I wanted to mod you as informative but clicked troll and Slashdot doesn't let me change it. The only way to undo moderation is posting a comment so I do. Sorry for that.
          I'd wish I could file a bug or a feature request.
        • by boley1 (2001576)
          To give people who haven't been following closely or paid too much attention to the trolls, what is the difference between engineering prototype for developers and the finished product? The finished product is for school kids and comes in a plastic case, yet to be designed (or at least produced). The plan was to certify the finished package, which may or may not have required the plastic to include a conductive coating on the inside.
          All of the first 10,000 Rpi's were just PCB's intended for developers fo
      • by itsdapead (734413)

        Basically some useless bureaucratic hoops that the EU, but almost no one else in the world, sees fit to make manufacturers large and small jump through.

        Really? Try selling an electronic product in the USA without complying with FCC regs about EM interference.

        Back in the "good old days" of the 80s, before the CE requirements were imposed in the UK, you could forget listening to FM radio within 100' of your BBC Micro or Sinclair ZX81. Those products had to have their cases re-designed with extra shielding before they could pass FCC regs and be sold in the USA. Seemed silly at the time, but with the number of computing devices present in the modern home or

        • Really? Try selling an electronic product in the USA without complying with FCC regs about EM interference.

          The topic is ESD immunity, not EMI; do try to keep up.

    • by s-gen (890660)
      The sensitive device will annoy customers of the emitting device too though. So a highly *successful* sensitive device could impose a de facto RF emissions limit in its market that was lower than the regulatory one.
    • Is it not a worthwhile effort to save consumers from losing money on devices that drop dead under normal use? I can see the argument about whether the Raspberry Pi counts as a "finished product", but if we were talking about, say, a television remote, it would be unacceptable to have to take ESD precautions just to change the channel.

  • by cookd (72933) <douglascookNO@SPAMjuno.com> on Friday April 06, 2012 @08:37PM (#39603625) Journal

    After the testing you will be baked and then there will be cake.

  • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Friday April 06, 2012 @08:46PM (#39603681)

    From TFA:

    A cute story. Radiated immunity testing involves hitting the Raspberry Pi hard with narrow-band EM radiation, while checking (amongst many other things) that the device is still able to send Ethernet frames to a hub. The first time the team did this, the light on the hub stopped blinking: no frames were making it through. They did it again: still nothing. Finally, they discovered that the hub (which, I should point out, gave every appearance of being CE marked, so it should have been able to get through these tests itself) was being knocked out every time somebody pressed the button. Jimmy used a longer cable, put the hub outside the field, and found that the Raspberry Pi got through its immunity tests with no problems at all.

    Too bad their CE certified ethernet hub failed the CE testing.... remember kids, this is what you get when you buy cheap stuff from cheap manufacturing countries.... oh wait!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      CE stands for China Export doesn't it?

    • Just for curiosity's sake, I have to wonder if the hub itself was flawed and fraudulently labelled(also, was it a real, live, hub? those must be getting hard to come by...) or if it was one of the 'qualification tests with a decent wall-wart adapter, ship with the cheapest piece of shit that doesn't catch fire when plugged in' jobs that could be compliant with the right swapping...
    • sometimes the CE is fake and its thought to be, instead, 'china export'.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Placing a CE mark on something that doesn't pass CE tests can be done, but it makes you liable for any damage it might cause. With the CE mark you say "I swear it passes CE tests", if it doesn't, and people find out, you can get into serious trouble.

    • Actually both CE and FCC certify a single device at a time. That hub (or more likely switch these days) may have survived the EM interference when connected to something else.

      A computer with all its accessories connected will typically not pass the CE / FCC tests even if each part individually would pass. Even more, not all possible configurations are tested.

      In a test session the manufacturer will usually connect a non-standalone device to a product known to have best EMI immunity and low emissions. T
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm going to use these to make internet connected disposable pirate radio base stations. :D

    • I have wondered... if you could set up, say, ten of these in a dispersed area, and switch from one to the next every tenth of a second or so... time it right and the recievers shouldn't notice, but it'll really screw with anyone trying to use a tracker.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If you're suggesting FM broadcast, you're dealing with a step phase shift every tenth of a second. Yes, you can "time it right" for one point (say, equidistant from all ten) but at other points it will vary considerably. I'd have to run the math (which I can't be arsed to do) to put numbers to it, but I'm pretty sure you'd get audible buzz at some multiple of 10 Hz on some receivers.

        More importantly, note that a lot of cheap FM receivers have pretty poor AM rejection, thus the volume will "throb" through te

  • Spiky chamber photos (Score:3, Interesting)

    by midgetpoker (1148901) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @03:47AM (#39605051)
    In case anyone's interested, the chamber referred to is fairly similar to this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ethicsgradient/sets/72157606434322104/ [flickr.com] which is the EM anechoic chamber at my old job. No cthulhu antenna but all the spikes you can eat.
  • When you build an ARM device like the Raspberry Pi, PandaBoard, does it include a BIOS or similar low level firmware?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It contains a bootloader. Usually "u-boot".

    • by Anonymous Coward

      U-boot is the typical bootloader found on many ARM devices and the code that is first executed when the CPU starts up from power-up. However, in the case of the Raspberry Pi, the GPU contains proprietary code that loads the Linux kernel into memory from a FAT partition on the SD card and boots the ARM device. U-boot could be made a secondary bootloader, but the RPi is capable of booting Linux up from a properly configured SD card without a bootloader running on the ARM device first.

    • The details vary but ultimately there does have to be some firmware located in a place that is non-volatile and directly accessible to kick off the boot process.

      Older devices used paralell flash directly on the data bus. The bootloader was then executed directly from this flash and went on to load the kernel.

      Most recent arm devices have a very small boot program on the chip itself. This chip then reads a bootloader from somewhere (usually NAND flash or SD card) which in turn loads the kernel.

      The Pi is a bit

    • Re:R-Pi question (Score:4, Informative)

      by spatular (2474044) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @06:12AM (#39605435)

      Generally there is a small ROM embedded in CPU that loads another bootloader from NAND, SD card, SPI Flash, etc. On Atmel ARM chips that bootloader must be small enough to fit into embedded SRAM. Than bootloader initializes SDRAM and fetches U-Boot into it. U-Boot in turn may initialize wider range of devices and then load Linux kernel.

      All boot process is very SoC- and board-specific. Bootloaders must be compiled for selected CPU and board components, and Linux kernel should also have board description down to what types of chips are installed as autodetection is usually very limited.

  • who? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    cares? wft is up with all these 'Raspberry Pi' stories?

  • Their site http://www.raspberrypi.com/ [raspberrypi.com] has had the same "Down for Maintenance" message for at least a month. Is it actually possible to purchase one of these (in the US)?

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