Altium NEXUS Documentation

Working with the Routing Via Style Design Rule on a PCB in Altium NEXUS

Created: March 22, 2017 | Updated: June 8, 2021
All Contents

Rule category: Routing

Rule classification: Unary

Summary

This rule specifies the style of vias that can be used when routing. You have the option to define specific Min/Max/Preferred values for the via's diameter and hole size - defined as part of the rule's constraints - or use via templates available to the board design.

The Routing Via Style design rule defines the X-Y properties of the via. The layers that each via spans in the Z-plane are configured in the Via Types tab of the Layer Stack Manager. Learn more about Defining the Via Types.
All design rules are created and managed within the PCB Rules and Constraints Editor dialog. For a high-level view of working with the design rules system, see Constraining the Design - Design Rules. For detailed information regarding how to target the objects that you want a design rule to apply to, see Scoping Design Rules.

Constraints

Default constraints for the Routing Via Style rule. Roll the mouse over the image to compare the two modes available. 

  • Mode - use the drop-down to choose from the following two modes:
    • Min/Max preferred - choose this mode to set the permissible values (Minimum/Maximum/Preferred) for the via's diameter and hole size as part of the rule itself.
    • Template preferred - choose this mode to be able to use via styles defined through via templates available to the board.

Mode = Min/Max preferred

When this mode is chosen, the constraints region changes to present the following options:

  • Via Diameter - specifies constraint range values to be adhered to with respect to the diameters of vias placed when routing the board. The following individual values are definable:
    • Minimum - the minimum permissible value for the via diameter.
    • Maximum - the maximum permissible value for the via diameter.
    • Preferred - the preferred value for the via diameter.
  • Via Hole Size - specifies constraint range values to be adhered to with respect to the hole sizes of vias placed when routing the board. The following individual values are definable:
    • Minimum - the minimum permissible value for the via hole size.
    • Maximum - the maximum permissible value for the via hole size.
    • Preferred - the preferred value for the via hole size.

Mode = Template preferred

When this mode is chosen, the constraints region changes to present the following options:

  • Templates List - lists the available via templates that can be used with the rule. These are via templates (local or defined in Pad Via Template Libraries) that are made available to the board design as part of the Local Pad & Via Library (accessed through the PCB Pad Via Templates panel). For each available template the following information is presented:
    • Template Name - the read-only name of the template. For a local template, auto-generated naming is used, in compliance with IPC standards, For a template sourced from a PvLib, this naming can be customized as part of template configuration within that library.
    • Description - the read-only description written for the template.
    • Library - the library from which the template is sourced. This can be <Local> (where the via is defined and saved with the PCB document) or the name of the external Pad Via Template Library (<LibraryName>.PvLib) which has been made available to the PCB document.
    • Enabled - enable this option to have the template made available for via placement during Interactive Routing.

Via templates can be local (for vias that are saved with the PCB design file), or can be sourced from one or more Pad Via Template Libraries (*.PvLib), installed as part of the available libraries set.

How Duplicate Rule Contentions are Resolved

All rules are resolved by the priority setting. The system goes through the rules from highest to lowest priority and picks the first one whose scope expression matches the object(s) being checked.

Rule Application

Online DRC, Batch DRC, during autorouting, during interactive routing.

When the mode of the rule is set to Min/Max preferred, the following considerations apply:

  • The Preferred via attributes are used by the Autorouter.
  • The Minimum and Maximum via attributes are obeyed by the Online DRC and Batch DRC.
  • The Maximum and Minimum via attributes also determine the range of permissible values that can be used during interactive routing - when you press the + (or *) key on the numeric keypad to toggle routing signal layers and drop a via, press the / key on the numeric keypad to place a fanout via, or press the 2 shortcut key to place a via without changing layer.
  • When a routing via is about to be placed during interactive routing, you can cycle through the Minimum / Preferred / Maximum / User Choice via definition by pressing the 4 key. The currently selected state is displayed in the Heads-Up Display, and on the Status bar. You can also press the Tab key while routing to access the Properties panel, from where you can edit the via properties within the Min/Max rule range. If a value is entered outside of its range, it will automatically be clipped.
  • If there are multiple Via Types defined in the Layer Stack Manager, for example, thruhole and blind/buried vias, it can be possible for different Via Types to be used for the current layer transition. In this situation, press the 6 key to cycle through allowed Via Types. The selected Via Type is displayed in the Heads-Up Display, and on the Status bar. Alternatively, press the 8 key to display a pop-up menu of allowed Via Types, and click on the required one.

User Choice means the last-used via settings, or template chosen. To change the current User Choice values, press Shift+V during interactive routing when there is a via floating on the cursor. The Choose Via Sizes dialog will open, select a Via Template or enter the required values (within the Min/Max rule range).

When the mode of the rule is set to Template preferred, the following considerations apply:

  • When a routing via is about to be placed during interactive routing, you can cycle through the enabled via templates by pressing the 4 key. The selected template is displayed in the Heads-Up Display, and on the Status bar. You can also press the Tab key while routing to access the Properties panel, from where you can change the via template currently applied.
  • If there are multiple Via Types defined in the Layer Stack Manager, for example, thruhole and blind/buried vias, it can be possible for different Via Types to be used for the current layer transition. In this situation, press the 6 key to cycle through allowed Via Types. The selected Via Type is displayed in the Heads-Up Display, and on the Status bar. Alternatively, press the 8 key to display a pop-up menu of allowed Via Types, and click on the required one.

Tips

  1. In order to control the size of blind and buried vias, individual rules can be set up targeting the different layer pairs. For example, to control the via size for blind vias between the top layer and mid layer 1, the following scope (Full Query) can be used:

(StartLayer = 'Top Layer') and (StopLayer = 'Mid-Layer1')

To control the via size for buried vias between mid layer 2 and mid layer 3, the following scope would be used:

(StartLayer = 'Mid-Layer2') and (StopLayer = 'Mid-Layer3')

Alternatively, instead of creating individual rules, you can expand the one rule query using ORs as follows:

((StartLayer = 'Top Layer') and (StopLayer = 'Mid-Layer1')) or((StartLayer = ' Mid-Layer2') and (StopLayer = 'Mid-Layer3'))

Where the named layer, for example Top Layer or Mid-Layer1, is the exact Name defined for that layer in the Layer Stack Manager.

 

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