norns shield 2022

will make a vid first thing tomorrow!

though it should fit even if it looks a bit weird

Got my kit in today and am in the process of assembling it. I noticed that the acrylic is slightly misaligned to the case. It’s barely noticeable, but the bottom case screws don’t align.

Is this (presumably) user error? The acrylic is evenly aligned with the knobs & encoders, so I’m unsure what’s happening.


I’m worried about damaging the case bc the way it fits over, some of the screws are at a substantial angle, and usb ports recessed from outer edge. For mine anyway it looks like both cutting and some filing/sanding might be necessary. Anyhow thanks for the quick reply! Will wait on the final screws for now

Got my kit today with the Pi4 and also had some trouble with the case. The instructions said to insert the SD card before putting the case on. When I did that, it made it a super tight fit and I ended up splitting the SD card down the middle. Also looks like a cracked the acrylic in one corner too. Ha so, I’m off to a rocky start. :grimacing:

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Ordered my shield today. Hopefully these fit issues with the case can get sorted out. Seeing several comments in a row is a little concerning.

FWIW, I put mine together today and didn’t have any issues and the fit seems alright to me for a 3d printed case. It does not look quite as far off like the picture shown above. SD card is accessible as well. I got the RPi 3 version since I am upgrading from the first shield.

Are those of you having case issues all using the RPi4 version?

i apologize: definitely do not insert the SD card prior to assembly— i did not realize that was in the instructions and i will correct it. there is a slot in the case for easy insertion of the SD card after full assembly.

regarding fit issues:

  • pi 3 should fit perfectly, as that is what the case was designed for
  • pi 4 should fit well, but may require some finessing. i believe good alignment can be achieved with a particular order of tightening, which i will explore and post details about tomorrow, along with a case modification tutorial.

the backstory on this ordeal is related to the semiconductor shortages. shields were to be unavailable due to the codec vanishing— so we redesigned for a new codec. during this time the pi 3 became unavailable, with no restock in sight— so we were stuck with newly designed shields (and ordered 3d printed cases) but no pi’s to slot them into. we pre-ordered a heap of pi 4 in order to ensure some supply, got to work on the kernel updates, and decided that even though the case was fiddly with the pi 4 it fit quite well— and with the case modification it was visually totally great. but in the end, i apologize for the fiddliness.


Does this mean that a Pi4 will work with the first version of the shield due to the kernel updates or is the hardware incompatible?

EDIT: I see ‘pre-2022 shield with raspberry pi 4’ on the firmware page, so I assume it will work.

Also, are there any heat concerns with Pi4?

Good to hear—I’ve no big problems with slight fiddliness given the circumstances. (My Norns pictured above is indeed using pi 4.) I was mainly concerned with cracking either the acrylic or putting stress on the components, and I’m glad I didn’t hastily try to tighten things up just yet.

just chiming in, recieved my norns shield today with pi4,
put it together and everything almost fits, fiddled a little to get the sides to line up.

only complaint, when i plug headphone out. i need to have it sort of 3/4s in to get sound on both channles, and occasionally i get these crackling sounds.

need a little more time with is to properly asses the issue.

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If you mean the headphone jack on the Pi, you’re not supposed to use it. Use the output on the Shield instead.

no sir, the out on the shield,when assembled, i don’t belive theres access to the headphone out port

Oh that’s a shame.
Sounds like there may be anissue with the jack, then. Were the jacks presoldered? I assume so.

I had a similar issue. When I booted it up for the first time and ran Awake, the left channel was really distorted. To fix it I had to go into LEVELS and turn the input levels down (even though nothing was plugged into the inputs). Does that help your situation?

For some reason in LEVELS, when I turn up the inputs (with nothing plugged into the input jack) the left input channel shoots up, while the right stays at the bottom. That seems strange.

I had the same issue and turning down input level to about 75% helped. But when sending audio to the input, only the right channel is audible. Only when I plug the headphone in about 1/2 way, like @supadubz did, were both channels of the input audible.


was anybodys anti static shield bag seal broken on arrival?

static bags will all be opened on arrival. we inspect the shields between the assembly house and shipping them out.

plugging should work full-in. i’m wondering if something may be getting shorted due to screw overtightening: on the pi4, extreme overtightening could short part of the circuit against the USB ports, though i believe the case would probably crack ahead of this so it’s unlikely. this part of the circuit is covered by a sticker as to be nonconductive.

but the other more frustrating possibility is a circuit defect during manufacturing: these are QA tested at the assembly house, but at points in the past we have seen failures during inspection. we can of course set up a replacement if this is the case.

so, for debugging:

  • try loosening the bottom screws, perhaps even test without the bottom case attached
  • examine the circuit underneath the white sticker area and ensure nothing has been cracked due to overtightening
  • send a photo to of the bottom of the circuit, so that we might spot any circuit errors visually. we can then also deal with potential replacements from there

Thank you for the reply!
i will take a look at the shield today.
i deliberately strayed from tightening any of the screws after reading all the cracking posts.
thanks again!

I’m happy to say that loosening the back screws worked for me! The input jack is working (left and right channels) and isn’t distorting the output.

I see you’ve updated the assembly instructions about when to insert the SD card (thanks for that) but now the note about attaching the shield to the Pi is at the end too, after the case is on.


corrected! thank you for the helpful note! :slight_smile:

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