Raspberry Pi shipping end of March

Customers will start receiving Raspberry Pi computers “towards the end of March,” said RS Components, one of the two distributors (along with Element 14) that is licensed to sell them.

“The first batch of boards is due to arrive into RS warehouses towards the end of March and will be despatched to customers on a first-come, first-served basis in line with customer registrations,” said RS. “Due to the huge demand, orders will be restricted initially to one board per customer.”

“Those who ordered units will get them in March and April,” Element 14 spokesman Ken Leitch told Electronics Weekly. “We will be shipping the next batch May/June.”

Raspberry Pi Foundation initially ordered 10,000 boards, a small proportion of which it will keep back. The remainder has been split equally between the two distributors.

RS and Element 14 offered their allocations of Raspberry Pi boards for sale at 6am on February 29th.

From the first second, interest was huge, with websites getting more hits than either company had experience before.

“We sold out in under half an hour,” said Leitch of Element 14. “Tens of thousands of people ordered in a couple of days.” The firm now has a long waiting list.

“RS has received more than 200,000 registrations of interest on its websites across the globe,” said RS. “All customers who have registered an expression of interest will be notified when they can place an order for Raspberry Pi via the dedicated RS Raspberry Pi webshop.”

“The level of demand has really taken us by surprise,” said Liz Upton for the Raspberry Pi Foundation. “We’ve every confidence that our chosen distributors are doing everything possible to satisfy the amazing demand for our first product.

Both companies are selling the bare board for close to £22 plus shipping and VAT.

RS will be accepting PayPal and Visa or MasterCard credit and debit cards.

Element 14 will be accepting credit and debit cards, over the web or by phone, and payment will not be taken until the boards are ready to ship form the warehouse.

Raspberry Pi users will require at lease a power supply (5V micro USB), an HDMI (or analogue) monitor cable, and an SD flash card.

“Where customers order these or other accessories at the same time from us, the same total shipping charge will apply,” said RS.

Initially selling the bare board, Element 14 is planning to sell bundles including the accessories later.

Yesterday, the Foundation announced that the first boards out of the Chinese factory had the wrong Ethernet connector fitted, and have been sent back for re-work.

“Happily, it’s a very minor problem to fix, and the factory is nearly done working on replacing them on the first set of boards. This means that the first tranche of boards should still go out to customers as we were expecting,” said Upton. “There may now be a slight delay in later batches if there’s a problem sourcing enough replacement connector.”

Both distributors already commission the manufacture of other products, and will take over ordering future Raspberry Pi batches.

Leitch said Element 14 has already ordered more, initially from the same manufacturer.

The Raspberry Pi concept was created by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charity based in Cambridge, UK, and was conceived to encourage and enable children to learn and apply computer programming.

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