Building the Denki Oto Norns shieldXL

I got an email notification earlier this month from a company that kinda sounded familiar but I couldn’t quite place what they sold. Turns out, I signed up months ago to get notified when a DIY synth kit for an expanded version of the Monome Norns Shield was in stock at this shop. From some research, everyone raved that this expanded version, the Denki Oto shieldXL was the way to go, but the shop was sold out at the time. I added my email to their website and quickly forgot about it.

Fast forward to the end of March and I’ve built it. Anyone that knows me, knows that I enjoy building these types of projects, but as I stated earlier, the world of synths is pretty new to me. It’s been fun to dive into something new, learn and experiment with new sounds.

Here’s the process of building one of these really cool kits.


The Denki Oto kit (PCB, encoders, keys, case, smoke gray acrylic top panel, nylon bottom case, etc.) came with everything but the Raspberry Pi4B and a microSD card.


This is the main PCB with input and output jacks soldered on.


shieldXL PCB fully populated with LCD, encoders, Choc Red Switches.


Bottom of the PCB with the Pi header and LCD ribbon installed.


The Raspberry Pi 4B ready for installation.


Raspberry Pi 4B installed on the PCB with standoffs.


Getting ready to install the PCB into case.


Bottom view of the case with microSD card installed.


The completed shieldXL kit.


One of the fun scripts running on the shield XL.