DIY: norns shield

Hi all, I am noticing a bit of noise on the shield, where should I look first for “things that may cause noise”?

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I ended up ordering a few CS4270 from eBay, to play the numbers game.

I received two from e-best_trade that have the Cirrus Logic logo in the wrong font, so I’m going to assume that they’re fake.

I ordered one from domoki1988, installed it, and it works fine. Shipping took just under two weeks.

Most likely culprit is dirty power, or too many devices on one power strip.

I will say: I am no expert and do not own a shield, but I have seen this asked many times (and experienced it myself with the factory Norns!), and it is most often resolved by plugging it in to a different power source from the rest of your system (I have most of my stuff on a single power strip, but keep Norns charging plugged in at the wall).

Give this a shot and report back – knowing if something else is up might encourage a more powerful wizard to chime in :sparkles:

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Yea I’ve tried different power, battery back, different cables, no joy :frowning:

Hey, just to say I’m also experiencing noise on my shield too - on some scripts more than others (Bounds is a particular culprit as it’s record enabled from launch and magnifies it). I’m going to try some stuff this week and will report back if I find a way to eliminate the noise. Will keep an eye here for any suggestions.

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My experience from building Shield in EU.

  1. JLCPCB is good, you can order SMD mount - takes care of 90% of tiny caps and resistors, so you only have to SMD-solder the codec and the crystal. Not super fast, but worth waiting imho.
  2. EaseEDA is a great app to convert and prepare Eagle PCB source for JLCPCB. Also good for viewing and navigating the board.
  3. Ordered all parts from Digikey, very happy. You have to pay tax on arrival, so it is not known upfront (but predictable). If you want certainty, use Moser - same good, but you pay tax upfront.
  4. Yellow OLED is awesome.
  5. Clean the board after soldering! This was the source of strange noises on my board. Clean-clean-clean with flux removal or contact cleaner. Happy board - happy life.
  6. Power supply is important - use official RPi
  7. More fun with Grid - check DIY Neotrellis grid tread for another project. Affordable, easy to build and great fun with Norns. Grid is much easier to build than Shield. DIY monome compatible grid w/ Adafruit NeoTrellis
  8. For enclosures (both Norns and Grid) - cheap and user friendly laser cutting service in NL -
  9. This thread is gold

I’m also running into an odd noise issue. I haven’t noticed it too much when playing (admittedly I don’t do a ton of recording, just noodling about). But with no apps running, no input/outpus connected, and no USB devices the VU meters for Out and In will bounce around a bit. They’re in sync with each other and sort of bounce up to 10-15% and back down on seemingly random interval. I have tried multiple power cables and outlets as well as a battery bank.

(I’ve also had difficulty getting usable audio in levels with apps like MLR, not sure if it is related or PEBKAC)

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Hello everyone!

First post here, although I’ve been lurking, and recognize many familiars good names :slight_smile:
Thanks a lot for all the great info in this thread.
I just wanted to chime in as I ordered CS4270s from this Aliexpress seller. It worked perfectly on my shield build, and took about 2 week to ship to Canada.
I have a few extra, if anybody inthe Pacific Northwest needs one, I’ll be happy to ship them out.
Now, time to find the proper spacers as I forgot to include them in my first order…


thanks for all this info, will definitely give it a shot!

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down for one or two of the codecs if they end up arriving! am also in London. thx!

Update: my extra CS4270-CZZ chips have arrived. I’ve contacted people who mentioned wanting one, but I have two left: if you’d like one, send me a message with your postal address. (I’m in London so probably Europe only - there’s no point sending anything further with the current postal situation.)

All gone!


Hello! I purchased a “new” pre-assembled Norns Shield. When I plug it in, it “sparkles” for a bit and then freezes. Nothing much happens beyond the frozen screen. Sometimes it gets to the main screen, and then it would freeze there. Nothing looks out of sorts or broken. The outer box looks fine. The card is in place. Nothing looks visually out of sorts. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated. thanks!

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Hi there!
Where did you purchase the shield?
Was it all ready to go with an included flashed SD card?
Which power supply are you using for it?

20 questions I know :clown_face: helps narrow it down

I love questions! It means help is on it’s way! I purchased the shield from a seller on Reverb. Here is the description of the shield I purchased:

  • Shield daughter board built and tested
  • White OLED display
  • Raspberry Pi 3b+
  • Official 2.5 Amp power supply (US)
  • 32 GB Sandisk Ultra SD card preloaded with latest stock Shield image.
    But when I plug it in, it freezes. Any help is appreciated! THANKS!
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Did you recently purchase it?
Did it work before and now is having issues?

If it had issues right out of the box I would say it is an issue with the Shield image flashed on to the SD card. Making a software assumption as it is hard to diagnose a potential hardware issue from here.

If you have a micro SD adapter around the house, with a little elbow grease you can reflash the card yourself. Instructions are at the bottom of this page. Simple!

I’d reach out to the Reverb seller as well, see how they want to remedy the issue and give them a heads up regarding the QC.

Plenty of people around here that are happy to help. Keep us posted!

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As the shield was sold as a complete package, I think it’s worth checking with the seller that he’s actually tested the specific unit to be fully functional during a decent period of time. Even it’s originally a DIY project, it sounds like you purchased it from someone who sold it as fully functioning complete unit.

That doesn’t mean people here wouldn’t want to help - we do - or that you couldn’t get it working on your own. Just that I suppose in cases like this the seller definitely should be expected to act quickly and take responsibility for troubleshooting or replacing the unit as well.

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Try flashing a new card that is 16gb or smaller. i’ve had issues with 32GB SD card in the past. that might have also been because of the brand i used but worth a shot. good luck!

All great suggestions! Thank you! I’ve never owned a shield so I wasn’t sure if I was overlooking something, but I’m pretty sure there’s something off about it. Unfortunately I don’t have another SD card or adapter to test it. I reached back out to the Reverb seller as suggested, and he was very cool about it. He asked me to ship it back so he could re-evaluate it. Hopefully it just needs a simple fix and it will be back. Thank you all for the speedy advice! Much appreciated! I look forward to owning my first shield. Thanks!

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that is good to hear.

and i truly hope you did not pay nearly $500 to that particularly brazen seller on Reverb.

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Ha! Thank goodness, no, I did not pay $500. I paid $300, which I thought was worth it since I don’t even own a soldering gun. But lets just hope the seller on Reverb fixes it and returns it. Fingers crossed! I really can’t wait to experiment with it! Thanks!

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