Altium Designer Documentation

Working with a Power Port Object on a Schematic Sheet in Altium Designer

Modified by Susan Riege on Apr 10, 2021
All Contents

Parent page: Schematic Objects

A placed Power Port

Summary

A power port is an electrical design primitive. It is a special schematic object used to define a power or ground net. Power ports allow you to conveniently indicate a power net at any location in the design, which can then be connected to pins or wires. Power nets of the same name automatically connect throughout the design, except in the following two situations:

  • If a Power Port is specifically wired to a Port object, then that power net becomes local to that sheet - net connections beyond the sheet must then be defined by the wiring of the Port/Sheet Entry combination.
  • If the Net Identifier Scope is set to Strict Hierarchical. This sets all power nets to be local within each sheet. Refer to the Options tab of the Project Options dialog to learn more.

Availability

Power ports are available for placement in the Schematic Editor in the following ways:

  • Click Place » Power Port from the main menus.
  • Click the  button on the Wiring toolbar to place a bar-style power port, pre-assigned to the VCC net.
  • Click the  button on the Wiring toolbar to place a power ground style power port pre-assigned to the GND net.
  • Click the Harness Entry button () in the graphic objects drop-down on the Active Bar located at the top of the design space. Click and hold an Active Bar button to access other related commands. Once a command has been used, it will become the top-most item on that section of the Active Bar.
  • Click the  button on the Utilities toolbar to access a drop-down providing an array of power port commands, including the various styles and several net-pre-assigned power ports.
  • Right-click in the design space then choose Place » Power Port from the context menu.

Placement

After launching the command, the cursor will change to a cross-hair and you will enter power port placement mode. A power port symbol will appear floating on the cursor.

  1. Position the object then click or press Enter to effect placement.
  2. Continue placing further power ports or right-click or press Esc to exit placement mode.

Additional actions that can be performed during placement while the power port is still floating on the cursor are:

  • Press the Tab key to pause the placement and access the Power Port mode of the Properties panel from where its properties can be changed on the fly. Click the design space pause button overlay () to resume placement.
  • Press the Alt key to constrain the direction of movement to the horizontal or vertical axis depending on the initial direction of movement.
  • Press the Spacebar to rotate the power port counterclockwise or Shift+Spacebar for clockwise rotation. Rotation is in increments of 90°.
  • Press the X or Y keys to mirror the power port along the X-axis or Y-axis.
While attributes can be modified during placement (Tab to access the Properties panel), keep in mind that these will become the default settings for further placement unless the Permanent option on the Schematic - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog is enabled. When this option is enabled, changes made will affect only the object being placed and subsequent objects placed during the same placement session.

Graphical Editing

This method of editing allows you to select a placed power port object directly in the design space then change its location graphically. Power ports are fixed with respect to their size and shape. As such, editing handles are not available when the power port object is selected:

A selected Power Port

  • Click anywhere inside the dashed box then drag to reposition the power port as required. While dragging, the power port can be rotated (Spacebar/Shift+Spacebar) or mirrored (X or Y keys to flip along the X-axis or Y-axis).
  • The assigned net for a power port object can be edited in place by:
    1. Single-clicking the power port to select it.
    2. Single-clicking again (or pressing Enter) to enter the in-place editing mode. Sufficient time between each click should be given to ensure that the software does not interpret the two single-clicks as one double-click (which would open the Properties panel).
    3. To finish editing in-place text, press Enter or use the mouse to click away from the power port.
This feature is available only if the Enable In-Place Editing option is enabled on the Schematic – General page of the Preferences dialog.
If attempting to graphically modify an object that has its Locked property enabled, a dialog will appear asking for confirmation to proceed with the edit. If the Protect Locked Objects option is enabled on the Schematic – Graphical Editing page of the Preferences dialog, and the Locked option for that design object is enabled as well, then that object cannot be selected or graphically edited. Click the locked object to select it then disable the Locked property in the List panel or disable the Protect Locked Objects option to graphically edit the object. 

Non-Graphical Editing

The following methods of non-graphical editing are available:

Via the Power Port Dialog or Properties Panel

Properties page: Power Port Properties

This method of editing uses the associated Power Port dialog and the Properties panel mode to modify the properties of a power port object.

 The Power Port dialog, on the left, and the Power Port mode of the Properties panel on the right

After placement, the Power Port dialog can be accessed by:

  • Double-clicking on the placed power port object.
  • Placing the cursor over the power port object, right-clicking, then choosing Properties from the context menu.

During placement, the Power Port mode of the Properties panel can be accessed by pressing the Tab key. Once the power port is placed, all options appear.

After placement, the Power Port mode of the Properties panel can be accessed in one of the following ways:

  • If the Properties panel is already active, by selecting the power port object.
  • After selecting the power port object, select the Properties panel from the Panels button at the bottom right of the design space or select View » Panels » Properties.
If the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is disabled (default) on the Schematic - Graphical Editing page of the Preferences dialog, when the primitive is double-clicked or you right-click on a selected primitive then choose Properties, the dialog will open. When the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is enabled, the Properties panel will open. 
While the options are the same in the dialog and the panel, the order and placement of the options may differ slightly. 

The power port properties can be accessed prior to entering placement mode from the Schematic - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog. This allows the default properties for the power port object to be changed, which will be applied when placing subsequent power ports.

Editing Multiple objects

The Properties panel supports multiple object editing, where the property settings that are identical in all currently selected objects may be modified. When multiples of the same object type are selected manually, via the Find Similar Objects dialog or through a Filter or List panel, a Properties panel field entry that is not shown as an asterisk (*) can be edited for all selected objects.

Via the SCH List Panel

Panel pages: SCH List, SCH Filter

The SCH List panel allows you to display design objects from one or more documents in tabular format, enabling quick inspection and modification of object attributes. Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering - by using the SCH Filter panel, or the Find Similar Objects dialog - it enables the display of just those objects falling under the scope of the active filter – allowing you to target and edit multiple design objects with greater accuracy and efficiency.

Power Port Styles

The following graphical styles of power port are available and can be set by editing the object's Style property in the Properties panel.

The graphical symbol selected for a power port does not determine the net to which it is assigned. The net name must be explicitly set.

Arrow

Bar

Circle

Earth

GOST Arrow

GOST Bar

GOST Earth

GOST Power Ground

Power Ground

Signal Ground

Wave

The GOST-related styles allow you to comply with the regional standards (GOST) maintained by the Euro-Asian Council for Standardization, Metrology and Certification (EASC). These standards are adhered to by designers throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
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