One of the main improvements was bulletproofing the solenoid drivers and the switch matrix. You can literally dead short a solenoid and it won't blow the driver. The chipset can even tell you which solenoid is shorted. It's got several other types of fault detection built in as well.
It's got built in voltage monitoring and dynamic adjustment. For example, if your line voltage sags, like at a pinball show, it will automatically adjust the pulse sent to the solenoids to account for it. If the voltages still fall outside of an acceptable range (think 5V, 12V, etc...), it can throw an error condition on that as well.
Quoted from shimoda:
Regarding Gerry's comments, I think he is overall correct - even if there are situations where someone can do the engineering.
As I said at the end of my post, the best route for most people is to just buy hardware. I happen to have an ace up my sleeve in the form of a former exec from Maxim semiconductor. He did a lot of the heavy lifting when it came to bulletproofing the design. His career has been in industrial/automotive design where there can't be any catastrophic failures, or someone dies.
The good news is, I'm giving away this design for free once the PCB is done and I've tested it all. If Aaron or Gerry want to take aspects of the design to enhance their own product, I have no problem with that. I'm not looking for any compensation or even a "special thanks". I'm here because I enjoy it. You won't ever hear from me again when I don't.
Quoted from shimoda:
If I went back in time I would go into engineering as it is just 'in my blood' but I don't have that training. I've been learning over a long arc and many dozens of small projects.
I'll be honest, I don't care about what format training/education people have for the most part. If you are smart, you are smart. Schooling won't change that.
There are also some degrees that I take with a grain of salt. Computer science degrees are largely a joke nowadays. I've met a lot of graduates that don't really understand basic concepts like polymorphism.
I say, if you enjoy something like electronics, go for it! Don't let things like not having a degree in EE convince you that you can't be good at it. Just know that even when I reflect on myself, there is always someone better and smarter out there.