Approaching - DIY norns shield

Yeah I’ve been surprise how hot the usb and Ethernet jacks get!
I wonder if there will ever be enough demand in the rPI to start getting ‘silent’ cases ( which have large external metal fins on back for heat sinks)
These would be ideal for this kind of application.

But like you @ngwese, whilst I see it as something to be aware of, it doesn’t really seem a big issue - esp since there is so much CPU headroom , to potentially under throttle if required.

I do suppose some (insane?) software overhaul would be needed to use the rpi A/V out as a headphone jack, but it would certainly be handy

The real magic in the raspi 1/8" jack is that it’s a 4 pin TRRS connector that breaks out composite video on one of the pins, to use yr nornslite / fates for heck of video synthesis~


easy enough-- i can add the headphone amp, no problem. minor BOM increase. but very hard to hand-solder for beginners (hand-solder-ability was one of the goals of the design). but the section can be fully left off without ill effect.

of course with a populated SMD board it’s no issue.


This would be awesome. I like @andrew’s idea of using all the jacks available, but I think using the built in audio out would mean streaming to two devices at different sample & bit rates, which seems bad-ish, or at least not ideal.

On the other hand, if we’re going to use every part of the animal, what should the Ethernet port be for…?

You can connect directly to the Pi over ethernet instead of wifi - so its super easy to get a terminal going (if your other computer has ethernet).

Or just general superfast wired network connection stuff (audio upload/downloads, etc)

multi norns cyber network …?


Norns Beowulf cluster!


that would be so great! (that said I appreciate the attention to hand-solder-ability too)

So long as it runs Doom, I’m satisfied.


definitely interested in this project, I already have most of the components, except maybe the codec and the screen (why a newhaven instead of a cheaper option? )

I’m looking at the difference from a regular norns…ok for batteries and audio out but what the “FTDI serial converter” is for?

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Because they look so good :slight_smile:


I think the ftdi is for a serial console ‘if all else fails’
But this is not really required with a rPI since you can always resort to an hdmi monitor + usb keyboard, if both WiFi and Ethernet fail.

( ok for really low level boot loader stuff this might not work - but that’s not needed for end users imho)

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As mentioned above - I believe this is used to get a serial connection and maybe to flash the storage on the CM3 on norns.

On rpi you can just remove the sd card to reflash.

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On cheaper screen options, I can see all the graphics are drawn using libCario and drawn to the screen via linux/fb frame buffer, I’m guessing this fbtft? Does this mean any fbtft supported screen with the correct resolution and frame rate should work with unmodified matron / norns? Any hints on minimum frame rates and/or screen selection?

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yes it is.


First up you’ve got to consider pinout compatibility with the pcb - or you need to make your own carrier pcb to get the correct pinout.

Next you’d need to be sure the display in question is supported and the driver is part of the linux kernel being used. Monome is compiling that ssd1322 driver into their kernel

Then you’d need to change the dtoverlay for the display and Bob’s yer uncle.

I did this way back when with a wee ssh1106 display and it worked just fine. (but I had to recompile the fbtft driver and then the linux kernel numerous times :exploding_head: ) But, the ssh1106 was also monochrome so it didnt work great with the grayscale needs of norns.


Thanks, I had completely overlooked the grayscale aspect of the screen. I was trying to figure out the difference between the ssd1322 and ssd1309 displays and I’ll bet that’s the deciding difference.

Been working on a 3 encoder form of Orac for DIY Norns (or 3 enc Fates).

its not quite as ‘immediate’ as the 4 encoder version (for parameter changing), but it will be fully featured!


My diy norns is using an ili9341 screen, which is working fine’ish.
I’ve had to hack around the cairo render Target to compensate for the fact that I have way more pixels. The other thing is that the oled has much better contrast ratio than the cheapo lcd I have. My planned solution for that is to remap the palette to use all the rgb color space - it will mean that scripts won’t look exactly the same, but at least I will be able to read them.