Over the weekend I got the new power monitior system put down on a breadboard. I am using one Arduino and one ADE7763 on a “motherboard”. On small daughter boards I am putting down a small PIC processor and an analog mux. Since the mux needs a negative voltage rail, I am also putting down a small charge pump voltage negater. The idea behind the daugther board was to allow me to add as many or as few as I wanted. They would plug into a stacked header (like¬†Arduino shields)¬†and bus over power ground the differential analog current signals and the clock and data lines that allow me to perform board selects using the PIC.

Everything was working when I noticed a small cloud of smoke. After shutting down power, I carefully checked everything and then started testing sections of the circuit one at a time. When I got to the PIC it was not working and would not respond to the programmer. No visible damage but the chip is dead. So what caused the problem? Do I have a design flaw? Did I nail the chip with ESD? Did I cause an inadvertant short?

Well, its off to buy a few replacement chips and do further testing before I commit this design to a board.

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