The Arduino DCC interface shield (ARD-DCCSHIELD) was one of our oldest products still in production. The original design was from 2015, when we were still fairly new at this and trying to figure out how to make a product. While the design itself was solid, all the fiddly jumpers and such made it a pain to manufacture and test. As we’ve gained more experience as a company, we’ve learned how to optimize designs for better manufacturing.
It’s not just a benefit for us. As everyone knows, the cost of nearly everything is going up. One key way that we can hold the lid on prices (at least for a while) is to reduce our manufacturing costs, allowing us to eat some of the parts cost increases and still hold our margins rather than just passing the cost along to you.
Plus, the world has changed in the 7 years since it was designed. Our original attempt at a standard I2C peripheral connector – the RJ11 – has been long surpassed by the open Qwiic (Sparkfun) / STEMMA (Adafruit) 4-pin I2C connection standard. By including this connector on the shield, we allow you easily to integrate hundreds of different I2C peripherals made by dozens of different companies (including us).
The new board keeps all the great features of the old one while adding a few new ones, like easy DIP-switch configuration rather than moving jumpers around, and the Qwiic-compatible expansion connector. They should be in the store within a couple weeks.