Norns: alternative grids

Hello all!

I’m already getting a bit confused… should I get the APC Mini or a Launchpad?
Which one offers better compatibility at the moment/near future as a Grid?

At the moment I’m inclined towards the APC because of the faders (even if they aren’t useful with Norns, they could be with other gear).

Help please! Thanks

Faders are useful for Norns scripts that have MIDI mapping enabled.


Yes, for sure. My concern is optimized compatibility with Midigrid. All else being equal, I guess I’ll go with the APC because of the faders. Thanks!

Note: APC Mini and LP Mini mk2 are limited to 3 colours, red, green, and yellow - so cannot represent the 15 brightness levels of the vari-bright grid.

LP Mini mk3 has rgb configurable colours, and many colour presets, so can represent 15 levels with different hues/brightness.


Tbh, alt grid setup is a compromise any which way you look at it. I went with the launchpad mk2 because I’d already brought one and buying a second one S/h was easy and cheap. It does have the advantage of square buttons similar to the monome grid.

I suspect there is a bug in the launchpad mk2 Linux driver, I have no proof though but I’ve ruled almost everything else out. It causes some minor glitches / mid lights, which annoying but not a show stopper.

I haven’t used the apc or the MK3 (prices on the MK3 are a lot steeper and scarce around here in New Zealand)

Hope that helps in some way?

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Hi Everyone,

I am a new Norns Shield user who is very excited to try using my Launchpad Mk2 and Launchpad Mk2 Mini with Midigrid. Is there a very dumbed-down, centralized step-by-step list of instructions available regarding what scripts I need to install on the Norns and how to get the Launchpads up and running as a poor-man’s Grid?

Thanks in advance for your help!


Hey! Thanks for helping. Sorry for replying so late. I ended up getting a Launchpad MK3 mini instead of the APC (got an OK deal used). This was yesterday night, will probably only be able to try it out this weekend. Cheers!

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I’m using a pair of mini Mk3s in place of a 128 grid with more or less success, so feel free to ask if you need any assistance (hopefully it will just work…)


Hey! Taking you up on your offer to help. So, how do I actually proceed? into Norns dust folder? Or another folder? What are the steps? I’m kind of lost actually… Thanks!


The one insanely tempting grid script is arcologies - does this setup work well with that app?

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Let me check back with what steps I had to take to get everything working.

Yes! It does and is responsive and eminently playable.


Awesome! Thanks. I’m really confused. No programmnig skills whatsoever…

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I have few myself; it’s mostly a matter of making sure that a few key names of midi devices (in this case the Launchpad Mini Mk3[s]) are in place in the midigrid libs, and then pasting the right line that calls midigrid into any script you want to use it.

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Still more than I can manage to figure out by myself. Usually I do well digging up the info I need for these kinds of things, but the Norns environment is still so new to me that I’m at a bit of a loss… Thanks!

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I was wondering if you could give a little more specific advice on getting arcologies to work with this: I added the lines

“local grid = include(‘midigrid/lib/mg_128’)
local g = grid.connect()”

into the _grid.lua file, which is where I figured it needed to happen. Now it crashes on init when I try to load it.

Any insight you might have would be much appreciated.

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Please bear with me (also @Chico) as I have had to reinstall Linux on my desktop computer recently and am rebuilding folders etc including my Norns Shield backups.

Update: logged in to Dust to have a look at how I set up Arcologies and found the following:

Is correct except you should have ("midigrid/lib/mg_128") with double rather than single quotes in there, I think.

Second update:

I’ve had a look back through my /dust folder and what I downloaded, and it seems that as far as I can tell I installed the midigrid script from @JaggedNZ’s Github into /dust/code and I recall that the Mini Mk3s worked with no further configuration of the script itself (it’s possible I’m wrong about this, but it looks unchanged to me from a quick check).

Adding the line local grid = include("midigrid/lib/mg_128") before local g = grid.connect() is how you get it working with each script you want to use with the Launchpads. You can do this using Maiden in your web browser to edit, test (and save!) each script if you find this easier than using say FTP to work on the code over wifi.

Awake is a good script to test midigrid with as it is simple to add the line noted above and to see it working when everything hopefully goes right.


Thanks so much for your feedback.

I did make that change and verified the placement in the _grid file, but for some reason its still crashing the script. If I change the code back to the original it runs fine.

If you can think of anything else you had to do, I would love to try it out. I’m definitely going to keep poking around, but I’m also aware I’m in a bit over my head.

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Hmm, OK, that’s interesting; I will have a look for any other midigrid code changes I might have made in Arcologies in that case.

That would be great. I’ll also try some things and see if anything works.

Edit: Also happy to send you the error if its that kind of party.

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OK, so I checked and this is what my _grid.lua actually starts with:

_grid = {}
local grid = include(“midigrid/lib/mg_128”)
_grid.device = grid.connect()

See if that helps, making sure local g = grid.connect() is cut out.

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