Testing’s done!

Good news! We just received confirmation that the Raspberry Pi has passed EMC testing without requiring any hardware modifications.

As you may know, we’ve had periods booked in a testing chamber at Panasonic’s facility in South Wales for the whole week. Jimmy, Craig and Gareth from Gainspeed, our EMC consultants (with assistance from Phil the EMC lab manager, occasional assistance/hampering from Eben and the aid of many Asda sausage sandwiches), have been working into the evenings, and lost their Good Friday holiday to get all the testing finished. There is still a mountain of paperwork for us to sign, and that then has to be looked over by RS Components and element14/Premier Farnell; but that’s a piece of cake compared to what we’ve been doing all week. Given that we’ve had the chamber for the whole week, we’ve used the time to make sure that alongside the CE requirements, the Raspberry Pi also complies with FCC regulations (USA) as well as CTick (Australia) and what we’ve been calling “that Canadian thing”.

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.

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.

Finally, there’s small change to the legal gubbins. I know some of you felt like I did about the paragraph in our trademark rules which said that in products and websites, the words “Raspberry Pi” should only be used as an adjective to avoid genericisation – namely that it was a bloody stupid idea. This thing’s called a Raspberry Pi, not a Raspberry Pi computer. We at the Foundation call the computer a Raspberry Pi in conversation. So does everybody we’ve spoken to about it. We don’t abbreviate it to Raspicomp, but to Raspi or RP; none of the mountains of press coverage we’ve had have used Raspberry Pi adjectivally. So we had a chat about it; reminded ourselves that advice we get from our legal team is just that: advice, not binding instruction; and we’ve removed the paragraph from the trademark rules.