Over the past 3 months, there's been a lot of work on electronics design HDL, both improving the core semantics (like through array ports) and refactoring the parts library (like separating out the power path for switching converters or creating a base microcontroller class) - you can even see all the recent pull requests on GitHub. But of course, the whole point of all this is to build boards, and that is one of the best demonstrations that all this works as claimed.

So, here's the example board that puts all of these recent features together: the BLE voltmeter. The idea behind this board is to have a very portable field instrument that is small (and can be easily carried along, instead of shoved into a toolbox or stowed in a backpack) yet powerful and customizable. BLE connectivity allows for a remote display, and much more functionality than would be possible with any onboard LCD and limited buttons (for example, possibly even a low-frequency oscilloscope), while single-AA operation makes the supply chain less obnoxious than 9v batteries. Anyways, we'll see how this all works once the boards get fabbed and assembled.

But technology-wise, this uses all of the recent additions to the core compiler and libraries:

  • Array ports for the n-ported resistor mux generator for the ranging circuits
  • Array connects to connect the control lines of the mux to the micro, without explicitly requiring redundant length calculations
  • Array ports and values for microcontroller pinning
  • Improved pin allocation support, supporting the nRF52840's low-frequency-only pins which can't be used for high-speed communications
  • Refactored power path on the boost converter
  • New infrastructural parts like test points and abstract connectors

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