DIY: norns shield

oh man, i took the plunge. newbie alert but eager to learn! should get everything to start my build by next week. I’ve been hovering in this conversation for the last day or so. I am confused what it means by no headphone driver.


The norns sheild has a single 1/8" trs stereo output, where the norns has 2 mono 1/4" outputs and a dedicated headphone output with a separate amp chip to “drive” headphones.

To paraphrase @tehn from somewhere previously: the trs output should be plenty hot to drive headphones.

1 Like

Thats what i had kinda thought but sometimes my thick brain needs a bit of over explanation

I’ve been eyeballing the Norns for a long time. It’s just been out of my price range unfortunately. Appreciative of this being supported as DIY for those who can’t drop a couple hundred on the official version. Cheers


Same thing.

I started installing the Norns software on a Pi ~one year ago with another display i had but didn’t finish troubleshooting some of the first tiny issues i encountered at the time. Hopefully this will make it a lot easier to get started so thanks a lot!

i still have to order the additional components, is Mouser the way to go when ordering from EU? I’ve never used Octopart nor Mouser to order components like that.

1 Like

Having just bought the necessary parts, the Octopart link is just a central BOM list that links to both Mouser and Digi-key for easy ordering. I’ve used both in the past and for this project, but can’t speak on the best option in the EU.

1 Like

Mouser doesn’t currently have the right encoders in stock unfortunately, digikey does though I believe!

edit; although saying that, the 12PPR encoders I have work fine 🤷

1 Like

I think a shim will work, good idea. Also I hadn’t pressed the switch caps on properly, so I think regular panel mount for pots, etc will just about work.

Last parts just arrived! 47u ceramic caps. Will hopefully get this finished next few days :slight_smile:

any tips on getting this to boot?
just getting to red LED on the Pi, no further
constant tone/noise coming from the output

you’re using the image linked above?

no green blinking?

does it green blink if the shield is not attached?

Maybe helpful:
Here’s a big page of info on Raspberry Pi LED status messages .
For trying figuring out which status message you’re getting (or not getting)

1 Like

Yes, just transferred using the etcher program


Yes it does

Thanks. Will run through this later

It’s just solid red forever.

I think I need a proper (2.5A?) power supply. Have been using USB from my old Mac or a phone charger… is the draw much higher with the shield on?

A couple troubleshooting tips:

  • remove the SD card from the pi and plug into power - then test voltages on the shield.
  • plug in an HDMI monitor/screen to watch boot up messages (or errors)

5V is here on the shield:

Screen Shot 2019-12-16 at 11.36.28 AM


Any thoughts/experiences on whether the Vishay-Dale 2.7" OLED displays on Mouser will work? Was hoping for a nerdy green display as opposed to yellow or white…

EDIT: Nvm, the dimensions are off… dang!

You could get the white OLED display and tack a thin piece of green plastic film, like the kind used for lighting gels


I’m getting an identical error. rpi 3b+, 2.5A dedicated rpi power supply, same image above, no obvious board shorts, just a steady red led. Something with the img not getting expanded properly maybe?

It’s late here, will have another look tomorrow when I’m not so tired…

i’ll try downloading and re-flashing the image tomorrow.

Dreary question: what size micro SD card is recommended?

How much tape storage do you want?

16GB - 64GB?

32GB seems like a good price/storage value.


repeated success just now:

  • downloaded image
  • unpacked (in macos) with Archive Utility (default)
  • flashed to 4gb card with etcher
  • inserted, powered up, booted fine

so the image is ok.


  • see if the pi green-lights w/o the shield plugged in
    • if yes, likely a solder bridge issue somewhere, short or voltage problem
    • if not, pi is possibly bad, in which case test the pi with a known-working disk image