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wifi + files



norns and shield are both capable of connecting to existing WIFI networks, or hosting their own as a hotspot.

shield has its own WIFI antenna built in, thanks to the Raspberry Pi. Stock norns has a “compute module” version of Pi, which doesn’t have WIFI built in, so you will need to use a USB WIFI antenna. Stock norns come with one, but if you need replacements please see replacement parts.

The first few minutes of this video walks through how to host a hotspot from norns and how to connect norns to a known WIFI network:

figure 1: wifi + maiden access video

To connect norns to your local network router:

  • navigate to SYSTEM > WIFI
  • select ADD
  • choose your network from the list displayed
  • enter the password (E2 toggles between top and bottom row, E3 scrolls character, K3 selects character)
  • select OK when complete
  • with success, you should be assigned an IP address shortly after

After a network is added, norns remembers the credentials. Known networks are stored under CONNECT. You can remove known networks under DEL.

If you do not have access to a router, you can also turn the norns into a WIFI hotspot. This will create a new network which you can then connect to with your computer.
network name / SSID: norns
default password: nnnnnnnn


Once norns is connected to a network, you can access system updates which fix bugs, add new features, and improve the overall experience.

figure 2: update process

To check for and install updates:

  • connect to a WIFI network (updates cannot be performed via norns-powered hotspot)
  • navigate to SYSTEM > UPDATE and press K3
  • norns will check for available updates
  • if norns finds an update, press K3 to confirm installation
  • after installation, press any key to safely shut norns down

To re-run an update, navigate to SYSTEM > UPDATE, then hold K1 and press K3


In play, we loaded loops and recorded our own audio using the TAPE. All of the files that you interact with (audio, scripts, presets, etc), live inside of a special folder in norns called dust.

Here’s the dust file tree:

  audio/          -- audio files
    tape/             -- tape recordings
  code/           -- contains scripts and engines
  data/           -- contains user data created by scripts
    awake/            -- for example, pset data

dust management is best achieved via samba, a protocol that allows you to directly connect your computer’s file browser to norns. If you haven’t already, please connect your norns and your computer to the same WIFI network.


Open Finder and hit CMD/Apple-K or navigate to Go > Connect to Server.

In the top IP address bar, enter: smb://norns.local and click Connect:

figure 3: samba connect address

You may see an “Unsecured Connection” warning, but you can safely ignore it and click Connect.

Login as a Registered User with the following credentials:

  • Name: we
  • Password: sleep

…and click Connect one last time!

figure 4: samba connect dialogue

Once connected, you can freely navigate through files on norns:

figure 5: norns as connected network drive


To use SMB network sharing on Windows 10, navigate to Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off, and turn on the SMB features.

Then, reboot.

The norns.local file tree should be available at \\norns.local

If \\norns.local does not resolve, please try using File Explorer to navigate to \\IP-ADDRESS-OF-YOUR-NORNS, eg. \\

transferring audio

You can use samba to share audio files between norns and your computer. On norns, these files are stored under dust/audio – depending on which scripts you have installed, you may see many folders under audio or just a few.

Recordings made on norns will be stored under dust/audio/tape.

You’ll also find an index.txt file which logs the TAPE index – if you wish to reset the auto-generated counter, edit this file to start back at 0.

figure 6: tape folder path

Feel free to make folders inside audio to store various samples, field recordings, single cycle waveforms, etc. Each of those folders can also store subfolders, but please note that you cannot nest more than ten folder layers.

norns records 48khz stereo WAV files
please only import uncompressed 48kHz files (bit-depth irrelevant)


If you want to make a backup of your scripts, psets or other data simply make a copy of the dust folder found in /home/we via samba (as described above) or if that method is inaccessible, try Cyberduck.

Restoring from this backup is as simple as copying the contents of the dust folder from your computer back to the /home/we/dust directory on norns.

norns shield: on Windows + MacOS, the norns partition on your SD card is unfortunately not accessible by simply inserting it into an SD card reader. For the adventurous, here are steps to surface the ext4 filesystem: Windows and MacOS

advanced access

Sometimes, it might be necessary to interface with more of the bare-metal components of the norns software stack.


When connected via WIFI you can SSH into norns from another computer on the same network at the IP address shown in SYSTEM.

  • open a Terminal on a Mac/Win/Linux computer
  • execute ssh we@norns.local or ssh we@<IP_ADDRESS_SHOWN_IN_SYSTEM>
  • password: sleep


Without WIFI, you can connect to norns via serial / USB-UART by connecting the power cable to your computer.

Serial / USB-UART connection is only applicable to stock norns, not shield


  • open Terminal
  • type screen /dev/tty.usb
  • then, press TAB to autocomplete your serial number
  • then type 115200

You’ll end up with something similar to: screen /dev/tty.usbserial-A9053JEX 115200

If you see a blank screen, press ENTER.

You’ll be asked for login credentials. Login is the same as SSH above.


  • dmesg to see what enumeration number your system gave norns
  • you’ll get something like this: FTDI USB Serial Device converter now attached to ttyUSB0
  • then, type: screen /dev/ttyUSB0 (or whatever enumeration number was given)
  • then type 115200

You’ll end up with something similar to: screen /dev/ttyUSB0 115200

If you see a blank screen, press ENTER.

You’ll be asked for login credentials. Login is the same as SSH above.

where to next?

Now that you know how to get connected to WIFI, your norns is up to date, and you’ve got some fresh new audio to mangle, let’s find some new community scripts through maiden!