RPi Buying Guide

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Getting Started:

Buying Guide - for advice on buying the Raspberry Pi.

SD Card Setup - for information on how to prepare the SD Card used to boot your Raspberry Pi.

Basic Setup - for help with buying / selecting other hardware and setting it up.

Beginners Guide - you are up and running, now what can you do?

Latest RPi 4 Topics - Recent topics on Raspberry Pi 4 and the Pi OS

Advanced Setup - for more extensive information on setting up.

Trouble Shooting - some things to check if things don't work as expected.

Raspberry Pi has appointed Farnell and RS Components as its authorised manufacturing parners distributors.

As of July 16th 2012, both Premier Farnell and RS Components have removed their "one per customer" restriction. Both consumers and businesses alike should now be able to buy bulk stock of the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi's distributors will ship worldwide to the best of their ability (ie subject to origin export and local import laws).

Countries that are currently subject to UK (including EU and UN) export restrictions include North Korea, Iran, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Zimbabwe. A full list and further details are provided at [1]

Farnell have also been refusing to sell direct to some consumers in the EU, to the best of my knowlage they have not given full details of why.

There are three main options for buying a raspberry Pi, buying direct from the distributor, buying from a subsidary or sister company of the distributor or buying from a third party reseller which option is best will depend on the location of the customer, the number of Pis being purchased, and the urgency of the order.

All new orders from the main distributors should now be filled with 512MB rev 2 raspberry Pi's, however some third party resellers may still have stock of the older models.

Main distributors and subsidaries/sister companies


http://www.farnell.com/ Farnell are one of the two main distributors, as of 21-NOV-2012 their main european operation is out of stock and quoting a 3-week lead time. Reports from the forum are that farnell usually beat their delivery estimates.

For european customers, the customer is asked whether they are "consumer" or "buisness", if the customer selects buisness they are taken back to Farnell's regular website to order. If the customer selects consumer they are taken to a dedicated raspberry Pi site which only offers a small selection of Pi related products and gives no information on stock status. Farnell's site claims that consumers who do not have a previous account cannot use the "buisness" option but it is not clear if this is actually true for all countries. For some countries consumers are directed to third party resellers. The order code for the raspberry pi is 2191863.


http://www.element14.com The "Element14" brand is used by a number of different operations within the Premier Farnell group and is also used for the groups "social" operation. In the asia-pacific region the Element 14 brand has completely replaced the previous "Premier Electronics" brand for asia and the previous "Farnell" brand for australia and new-zealand. In Europe the Element14 brand is used in paralell with the Farnell brand. In North america the element14 brand is used in parallel with the Newark brand.


http://www.newark.com/ Newark is the main american branch of the Premier Farnell group (Farnell's parent company). As of 21-NOV-2012 they are out of stock of raspberry Pis but claim 1321 Expected to ship 26 Nov, 2012 and Further stock expected to ship 20 Dec, 2012.

Element14 AU/NZ

http://au.element14.com/ http://nz.element14.com/ On element14's australian operation (which also serves new zealand) as of 21-NOV-2012 availability is listed as "please call" and "supplier lead time" is listed as 30 days. The order code for the raspberry pi is 2191863.

Element 14 asia

http://cn.element14.com/ http://hk.element14.com/ http://in.element14.com/ http://cn.element14.com/ http://kr.element14.com/ http://my.element14.com/ http://ph.element14.com/ http://sg.element14.com/ http://tw.element14.com/ http://th.element14.com/ Element14 have warehouses in singapore and shanghi, it appears that some countries are served from both warehouses while others are served from only one or the other. UK stock is also listed on these sites. As of 21-NOV-2012 Element14's asian operation has 331 raspberry Pis in stock in shanghi and 617 raspberry Pis in stock in singapore. The order code for the raspberry pi is 2191863.


http://cpc.farnell.com/ CPC is a branch of the Premier Farnell group in the UK based in Preston. As of 21-NOV-2012 they have 3100 raspberry Pis in stock. The order code for the raspberry Pi is SC12590.


http://www.mcmelectronics.com/ MCM is a branch of the Premier Farnell group in the US based in Centerville, Ohio. As of 21-NOV-2012 they are out of stock and give an estimated ship date of december 7th.

RS components

http://rswww.com/ RS are the other main distributor. Like Farnell they have a consumer site and buisness option with the consumer option taking users to a dedicated Pi store while the buisness option takes them back to the regular RS site. They do not state whether consumers must use the consumer site or not. The order code for the raspberry Pi is 756-8308. As of 21-NOV-2012 the Pi is listed as "Temporarily out of stock - back order for despatch 21/12/2012"

RS have delayed existing orders on several occasions and are reported on the forum as being very difficult to communicate with.

Allied electronics

http://www.alliedelec.com/ Allied electronics is the US sister company of RS. The order code for the raspbery pi is 70229569. They website does not give a predicted dispatch date and state that "the estimated delivery time is uncertain and will likely take several months".

Reports from the forum are that Allied are easier to communicate with than RS but do not appear to be being kept will informed of the stock situation by RS.

Licensed Manufacture

The foundation has chosen to license manufacture of the RPi, which should provide several advantages including:

  1. The involvement of RS Components and Premier Farnell means that build volume can be increased much, much faster than would have been possible otherwise. Due to costs and working capital, the foundation would have been limited to batches of only 10k Raspberry Pis; the Raspberry Pi will now be being built to match demand.
  2. Both Premier Farnell and RS Components have worldwide distribution networks, so wherever you are in the world, you will be able to buy from a local distributor. It’s a much better way for you to buy than getting them all shipped from the Foundation in the UK.
  3. Both RS Components and Premier Farnell will be taking preorders, something which the foundation would otherwise be unable to do.
  4. The foundation will still receive a percentage from the sale of every RPi sold, which will be put straight back into the charity.
  5. Primarily, by removing the focus on dealing with manufacture, distribution and sales, this frees up the limited resources of the foundation to focus on the original aims and goals of the project.

Additional detail is available in the video interview between Eben Upton and SlashDot here (28/02/12).

Unfortunately the switch to licensed manufacture has also resulted in a marked reduction in transparency of the process as Farnell and RS consider detailed information of what is going on to be confidential.

What You Get In The Box

1. Pre-Assembled Raspberry Pi board

2. A sheet containing a combination of regulatory information and some very brief instructions.


1. The board will be supplied assembled (since most of the components are not suitable for home builds, including the BGA[1]package mounted SoC[2] and PoP[3] memory). 2. The board has the GPIO header pins for the primary GPIO header (but not the secondary GPIO header added on the rev2 boards) populated. The SoC JTAG may or may not be present depening on when the board was manufactured and at which factory but aren't really of use to end users anyway due to the lack of broadcom documentation. The LAN JTAG header does not seem to be present on any boards. 3. All other connectors will be assembled in place.


To use the Pi a user will typically require some accessories. All of the Pi vendors listed above sell some accessories but the exact range varies. Accessories you should consider include.

  • USB Power Supply (UK/EU/US Compatible)[4]
  • SD-Card, most distributors are selling pre-prepared SD cards which are usually 4GB. Software is available to prepare your own SD cards.
  • There is a wide choice of cases, most distributors will have some but shopping around for one you like is suggested.
  • There are a variety of AddOn/Expansion Boards now available, see that page for more details.

See Typical Hardware You Will Need for details about other items you may require.


The price is $35USD before shipping, duty, and tax, about $60 after.

Although the foundation is UK based, the guide price of the units are in USD since the RPi components are sourced in USD$.

The price is $25USD (~£16GBP) for model A(not yet avalable), and $35USD (~£23GBP) for model B.

Items will be subject to local Tax (i.e. UK will have 20% VAT added) and shipping cost is not included.

See the following update on RS Components and Farnell global pricing (13th March 2012).

Clones & Copies

The foundation plans to release all the required schematics and plans to reproduce the RPi hardware, so clones and copies will be welcome.

However, since the unit is built around the Broadcom SoC, the interested party will require suitable sized orders to obtain them. The foundation were fortunate enough to be supported in this aspect by Broadcom to enable the project to be feasible.

Historic information

  1. The foundation have built an initial run of 10,000 Model-B units.
  2. Due to extreme demand, the units wer NOT sold directly from the shop (see #Licensed Manufacture below).
  3. You may buy a Raspberry Pi from Farnell or from RS Components
  4. A limit of one unit per person was applied for the first batch and some time afterwards
* There were reports that several people ordered multiple units at launch,
  however it appears that Farnell removed any excess items when they reviewed
  and confirmed the order for shipping dates.
  This has also appears to apply for the pre-orders they have taken.
  Many customers also ordered from both Farnell and RS.

1st Batch Order FAQ

NOTE: While every attempt has been made to provide accurate information,
      this FAQ is not official and is based on what information is available at the time of writing.

Press Releases


Post-Launch FAQ by Farnell, see their attached docx file for details.

RS Components:

Post-Launch statement by RS Components

Raspberry Pi, Your Questions Answered by RS Components

Q: Couldn't this have been handled better, I couldn't get on the site to order and they sold too quickly?

Both distributors were indeed unprepared for the volume of traffic the launch generated (they were warned by the foundation before hand).

Chances are if the foundation had gone with their original plan of selling through their own shop, the situation would have been far worse, with no option of pre-order either.

The distributors only have 5,000 units each to sell, reports have estimated the registered interest/pre-orders totalling over 2 million (no official figures available yet). Even if it is half of that, it means the number of available units was less than 1% of the demand.

Q: If interest was obviously so high...why only build 10,000 units?

There is a big risk involved with building a large batch of units and selling them, and 10,000 units would take well over $250,000 in capital investment. For a very small charity, that is a massive task in itself. Much of that funding came from the Foundation Trustees' own personal investment.

Thankfully, the massive bonus of licensing out manufacture, is that the build rate is no longer limited by the foundation's own funding, which means there will be many more units available much sooner.

Q: I've been unable to register an account with the distributor, as I am not a company?

There have been several reported problems with individuals placing orders (i.e. not having company accounts or details).

Both distributors "should" take orders from individuals, however it appears each of the different localised sites may have different requirements so this will be investigated to ensure that this is corrected if needed.

Often, many of the company related fields on application are optional, if in doubt contact their sales team for help.

Q: Worldwide launch? It was not available here!

The distributors decided to make the units only available from selected locations, it appears the foundation were not made aware of this beforehand.

Considering the small number of available units, it would have been unlikely to have improved the situation.

Worldwide availability will be monitored, it is expected that they will be made available as soon as possible.

Q: The price for the RPi from Farnell verses the price from RS Components is different, why?

Please see the following page for details about RS Components and Farnell global pricing (13 March 2012).

Q: I've only been able to register my interest, what now?

Be patient, both distributors have said they will contact people when they have more details (alternatively keep an eye on their sites for news).

RS Components, in particular have only taken people's details, and according to the above press-release will wait until they receive their allocated 5,000 units.

Q: I registered on the Raspberry Pi Site's Mailing List but I didn't get an email

Unfortunately, the mail server had problems with sending out the 100K+ emails in time, it is believed the email was often marked as spam by a lot of email systems so was rejected or returned on-mass, or sent to Junk folders. Yes, this system should have been tested, but the foundation were keen not to send unnecessary emails to people prior to launch.

The email contained the same information about the announcement as was publicly posted on the website (28th Feb 2012) before launch day, no additional or extra information was given through the email.