Damage AREF?

So if I use an external ref of 1V, then analogRead and it's getting 2V, does that damage the board? Or since these boards can handle 3-5V, would it be OK and just saturate the output so it would read max voltage?

The abs max for any analog input is the supply voltage for the chip, but you must call analogReference (EXTERNAL); before the first call to analogRead if AREF is driven externally.

would it be OK and just saturate the output so it would read max voltage?

Yes (1023 for standard Arduino).

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