Configuring & Running an Electrical Rules Check (ERC) in CircuitMaker

Created: August 3, 2020 | Updated: March 3, 2022

The Output | Reports | Electrical Rules Check command in the schematic editor opens the Electrical Rules Check Setup dialog, which includes controls to configure the ERC. 

Electrical Rules Check Setup Dialog

The Electrical Rules Check Setup dialog contains three tabs, each of which are described on this page.

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The chosen settings can be stricter or more lenient than the settings defined in the Project Options dialog. You can reset the settings of your Electrical Rules Check to the same as your project options by clicking Set To Project Default.

Columns Tab

  • Validation - use the drop-down to define the maximum tolerated error level when using the ERC output generator as part of validation during the board design release process. 
  • Report Suppressed Errors - enable to report any suppressed errors.
  • Show Columns - choose which columns are to be displayed in the ERC report. As selections are made, the Preview region is updated to show column settings.
  • Preview - shows the current errors detected for the design based on validation using the error checking defined on the tabs within the dialog. Change a checking level and the design is re-validated dynamically and the preview region is updated. Use the options in the Show Columns region to toggle the display of the corresponding columns within the preview area.

Error Reporting Tab

This tab enables you to define the reporting levels for each of the possible violations that can exist on source schematic documents when validating the project. When the project is validated, these violation settings will be used in conjunction with the Connection Matrix tab to test the source documents for violations. Any violations that are found that have a report level of No ReportWarningError, or Fatal Error will be displayed in the Messages panel. In addition, if compiler errors and warnings are enabled for display on the schematic (enabled on the Schematic Compiler page of the System Preferences), an offending object will display a colored squiggle beneath it.

Violations Grid

This region presents all possible violations that can exist on the source documents of the project. Violations themselves are gathered into the following categories:

Tips

  • Use the Connection Matrix tab to specify reporting levels associated with electrical violations concerning pins, ports and sheet entries specifically.
  • There may be points in the design that you know will be flagged as electrical violations that you do not want to be flagged. To suppress these, place a No ERC schematic design directive object at those points.
  • Generally, it is better to first validate the design and examine the warnings with the default settings. For those warnings that are not an issue for the current design, the reporting level can be changed.

Connection Matrix Tab

This tab displays a matrix that provides a mechanism to establish connectivity rules between component pins and net identifiers, such as Ports and Sheet Entries. It defines the logical or electrical conditions that are to be reported as warnings or errors. For example, an output pin connected to another output pin would normally be regarded as an error condition, but two connected passive pins would not.

When the project is validated, these violation settings will be used in conjunction with the defined settings on the Error Reporting tab to test the source documents for violations. Any violations that are found and have a report level of No Report, Warning, Error, or Fatal Error will be displayed in the Messages panel. In addition, if compiler errors and warnings are enabled for display on the schematic (enabled on the Schematic Compiler page of the System Preferences), an offending object will display a colored squiggle beneath it.

Matrix

The matrix presents all possible wiring connection checks, between combinations of pins, ports, and sheet entries, as well as testing for unconnected entities. The matrix is read in an across/down fashion and the color of the matrix element at the row-column intersection specifies how the compiler will respond when testing for that particular condition.

To change the reporting mode for a violation check in the matrix, click on the colored square where the row and column of two entities intersect. Each time you click, the mode will move to the next report level.

Hover over a square to display text below the matrix that describes the violation and the reporting mode.

Tips

  • Use the Error Reporting tab to specify reporting levels associated with further electrical and drafting violations.
  • There may be points in the design that you know will be flagged as electrical violations that you do not want to be flagged. To suppress these, place a No ERC schematic design directive object at those points.
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