I'm very new to the Arduino scene, although I've been designing, building, and fabricating MCU projects for nearly 20 years now.
I like the Due, my Arduino-of-choice, very much. However, there are a few suggestions I'd like to see implemented that would make my life as a designer a LOT easier! In no particular order, these are :
1) More low-impedance digital and analogue ground points, please! 2 0.1" sockets isn't near enough when you're designing the Arduino as the core module of a complex system - and even just on the bench! If we connect more than two external devices, we're straightaway into piggy-back grounding, which is dangerous, and there's just no simple VCC/GND connector that would help tremendously!
2) Level shifters for ALL 3V3-only pins. THis takes a 2 or 3-cent fet, and would allow anyone to connect anything to the Due, without worrying about a poofteenth of a microsecond contact blowing up the ARM! Been there, done that, got the smoke to prove it (luckily, not the Due, that died of something else...)
3) Headers for all analogue, digital port blocks, etc, would be a great convenience. For example, a micro-spaced 9-or10-pin SIL or DIL header per port block (PORTA, PORTB, etc) would be a huge convenience when connecting stuff like LCDs, etc. Plus, they run faster.
4) Switchable indicators.
5) Additional switchable indicators, such as LED arrays (8x1) with built-in resistors, so that we don't have to string LEDs all over the place. Plus, it would be a great debugging tool. Unless there's already something out there?
I realise some of these could be (or already are) addressed by shields, but as a completely novice Arduino person, the single two most frustrating things were finding connection points for good grounds for scope probes, logic probes, and so on, and the 5V AutoDestruct port pins. There is so little 3V3 support equipment out there, it's a huge disadvantage to have to check every possible pin, etc. Obviously, this is good for maybe pushing developers to meet the 3V3 hobbyist demand, but that will take months to years. In the meantime, a few convenient, though admittedly quite complicated to fit, additions could make the Arduino from a bit of a toy platform (in terms of test equipment attachability!) to a good engineering-grade platform. And everyone would benefit, not just engineers (I'm not one, by the way!).
THanks for the opportunity to provide some feedback on this great little platform. And of course, if these have already been suggested and knocked back, my apologies for doubling down.
Pete the Builder.
The lack of a usable number of ground and power pins is nothing new to the Due board. Those clever Asian came up with a neat solution for Uno type boards that maybe someone will emulate for a Due to cover more then basic 328p I/O pins.
Anyway the 'sensor shield' breaks out all the digital pins to standard 3 pin servo compatible male pins so the number of grounds and +5volt take off is great. It's pretty much a totally passive board, only adding a pin 13 led and a reset switch.
That's a great shield! Probably overkill for my needs (I'll be designing the Arduino right into the production PCB), but as an experimenter's tool, it's fantastic. And cheap too!
Thanks for the suggestion.