Fates - a DIY norns DAC board for Raspberry Pi


Fates is a pcb add-on board for Raspberry PI 3 Model B+ and Raspberrry Pi 4 Model B that provides a stereo audio codec with headphone driver, 3 (or 4) encoders, 3 buttons, and a grayscale OLED display. It’s compatible with norns software and monome hardware (gird, arc).

Reminder - This is DIY

This is a Do It Yourself project and is not supported by monome. Please keep Fates related support questions in this thread.

status

Available for purchase as a DIY project - pcb-only, smd-assembled pcb or full kit of electronic parts. See below.

norns compatibility

Fates is now using a forked version of the norns codebase.
https://github.com/fates-project/norns/

The norns code is only modified for minor hardware differences and update compatibility.

Scripts/engines written for norns should be fully compatible

updates

See this post for updating to the most recent version

If you are on an older version of norns - prior to the update linked above (update 200218) - Do not use the SYSTEM > UPDATE from the norns menu to update. The update will break the Raspberry Pi kernel used on Fates and render the device inoperable (if this happens, you will need to reinstall from disk image).

ORAC

ORAC 2.0 can also be easily installed. A system called Sidekick allows Fates users to switch between norns and ORAC 2.0. This is in BETA now.

github

For BOM, build info and disk images please see: https://github.com/okyeron/fates

See also https://github.com/fates-project/norns/

Unfortunately PCB board files or gerbers will not be made available.

background

Work on this project began with hacking a Terminal Tedium pcb and adding encoders and a display. Since then a number of prototypes have been built and I’ve used those to work on norns scripts and to contribute to the norns codebase.

While this is aimed at running norns and ORAC, I expect this board will also be of use to anyone who might want a nice audio + controls solution for Raspberry Pi.

Specs:

WM8731 codec with headphone driver
NHD-2.7-12864WDW3 128x64 grayscale display (available separately)
3 buttons
3 encoders (optional 4th encoder for Orac or other software)
2x 1/8in inputs
2x 1/8in outputs
1/8in stereo headphone out

Fates was designed for Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. It’s not been performance tested with earlier Raspberry PI models.

how to get one

The following options are available:

  • bare pcbs
  • pcbs with surface mount components pre-soldered
  • kits (with all electronic parts)
  • acrylic case kits

Please see the Fates Commerce Thread for more info on purchasing PCBs and Kits.

More images and whatnot of prototypes on my instagram:

Important

As of 12-30-2019 DO NOT run the on device SYSTEM > UPDATE from the norns menu.

this includes updates 191230 and 200106 and later

133 Likes

Incredible work! I’ve been following your work closely and am very excited to see how this turns out. I read in the SPC thread that there is a monome norns-shield coming as well. I’m interested to see how the 2 approaches differ.

I noticed in the image, that there is some empty space to the right of the screen. I wonder if it would be possible to add a small perf section for potential DIY add-ons?

1 Like

uh oh. looks like a great excuse to get a 2nd norns to sequence my norns

5 Likes

I’m gonna try and get my own up and running, but holy smokes this is great. Really looking forward to it.

1 Like

Kinda yeah. Although that pic is from a previous version of the pcb. There is now an i2c header over there now for possible expansion.

4 Likes

20 characters of excitement! :grin:

Just a bump for an A+++ builder.

1 Like

good luck with squashing those final little gremlins.

out of curiosity - why ‘fates’ ? :slight_smile:

definitely, looking forward to this…
be really nice to have an all-in-one solution for Orac for the rPI.


btw: for a ‘cheap’ enclosure solution, I know a few people are using (blank) pcb boards as a kind of sandwich top an bottom (held in place by standard pcb spacers).
its not a perfect look, but I do quite like its ‘minimal’ look, and apparently they are very cheap to buy/get made. (of course, now for the life of me, I cannot find an example :slight_smile: )

for a “supplier”, they are quite good as

  • cheap = less stock cost!
  • completely flat/rugged/same dimension as main pcb,
    so can be shipped in same package as the main pcb.

disadvantage - your fixing a form factor, e.g. which screen to use, and a pain to have variants e.g. option 4th encoder. (though I guess, 4th hole could just be marked, and drilled by user)

my experience with axoloti is whilst many really like to create/order their own enclosures, some find it a little daunting, as there are not in the ‘maker scene’, so don’t really know where to get 3d printing, or laser cutting done - that said, the more DIY it is, I guess the less of an issue.

3 Likes
8 Likes

just the thing to go with diy varibright upgrade for old grids - this community is amazing.

3 Likes

but norns create/control fate, but this controls norns… is that not cyclical ?
(ok, im stretching things too far for fun… thanks for the link :slight_smile: )

3 Likes

Is this the same open source shield that @tehn mentioned, or are there multiple parallel efforts going on here?

Is this based on the terminal tedium? Seems to use the same dac. If so it would be nice to combine them… E.g., a eurorack norns with extra CV ins/outs…

Anyway, I’d be interested in a bare pcb, as well as the design files so I could extend/hack it for my own needs.

1 Like

So yeah - this is a different parallel effort to what @tehn is working on.

And also yes - it was initially based on a terminal tedium pcb (picture of the first prototype below). I’ve since redesigned my own pcb (a few times). I initially had the idea to make the same pcb work in both a ‘desktop’ and ‘eurorack’ format, but that got a little too complicated so I focused on the desktop format for now.

With regards to CV specifically, i could add hardware i/o for that, but it would require a custom fork of norns to make that happen from the software side - which is a bit above my pay grade.

27 Likes

Ultra rad, killing the game man.

1 Like

This looks utterly stunning! Way to go!

1 Like

Im so in! Hopefully soon :smile:

1 Like

ah this is very slick! I love the 1/8in jacks.

Tagging this with interest! Go Fates Go!

Edit: What is the audio like in terms of quality? I am suspicious of minijacks on little boards like this. RME has spoiled me. :slight_smile:

I’m not sure I understand the question. Audio quality is great. On par or better (I think) than some eurorack modular audio devices. The newest revision as of last week has fixed my previous noise issues.

FWIW - I went with minijacks since I have a bunch of modular stuff and was planning on using then all together at some point, and that the 1/4in jacks take up so much real estate on the pcb.

2 Likes

Need a beta tester :wink: ?