Power Analyzer by Keysight

Created: August 18, 2022 | Updated: November 30, 2022

To deliver today's high-performance products, engineers must evaluate their designs to detect and resolve any potential signal integrity (SI) and power integrity (PI) issues during the design stage. 

Power Integrity analysis, also called Power Delivery Network (PDN) analysis, can be performed in both the DC and the AC domains. Altium Designer supports DC analysis of a power delivery network using the Power Analyzer by Keysight, enabled by Keysight Technologies.

DC Power Integrity analysis helps the engineer answers critical design questions, including:

  • Identify and resolve DC voltage and current density issues
  • Calculate multi-network and return path interactions
  • Visualize the voltage and current density distribution and identify hotspots in the PCB editor
  • Examine the voltage, current density, and via current at any location on the board
  • Generate an HTML report of the analysis simulation results

Rather than relying on simple cross-sectional area calculations to determine the current carrying capacity of the power network, the Power Analyzer first accurately models the copper structures, and then calculates the power delivery voltages and currents across the PCB. With results presented in both visual and tabular form, the engineer can use this feedback and quickly adjust the track widths, copper thicknesses, and via properties to ensure they achieve the integrity of DC power delivery required for their design. 

To perform a Power Integrity analysis in Altium, the engineer first creates a hierarchical network of the entire power delivery system, identifying each power and return net, the sources and loads, as well as any series elements present in each section of the power network. Once the network and configuration settings have been defined, the Power Analyzer can examine the entire network.

The Power Analyzer by Keysight extension is supported for use in Altium Designer 22.10 and later.

Configuring the Power Network

The Power Analyzer examines the flow of energy through the copper pathways in the power network. The power network is defined by identifying and configuring the various network elements, including: the net, the source, any series components, and the loads. To define the power network:

Javascript
Add an Analysis document to the Project

Analysis is configured and run from a Power Analyzer by Keysight document (<ProjectName>.pdnaK).

Configure the Board Properties

The Power Analyzer needs to know the physical properties of the board, such as the allowable current density, the type of copper, the working temperature, and so on. Confirm that the default values defined in the Configuration section of the analyzer document are suitable for your design.

Automatic Power Net Identification

The Power Analyzer can attempt to identify the power nets automatically. To do this, it needs to know how to identify circuit elements such as voltage regulators, connectors, and series components. As well as using clues such as component designator prefixes, you can also add parameters to certain components to enhance the automatic detection process. Learn more about Configuring the Auto-Define Settings.

Choose the Power Net(s)

Click  for automatic power net identification, or click  to manually select the power net(s). Learn more about defining the Power Nets.

Extend the Net(s)

If the power net passes through a series component such as a fuse, extend the net and identify the series components and chained nets. Learn more about extending a net.

Identify and Configure the Source

Each power net starts from a Source, such as a connector. Enable the source in the Add Source dialog, then click the Gear icon to configure that source. Learn more about identifying and configuring the Source.

Identify the Loads

Start with the major current consumers, including the Voltage Regulator Modules (VRMs). Learn more about identifying the Loads.

Configure the Loads and VRMs

Click the gear icon to open the Load Properties dialog, and configure each load. When a device is configured as a Voltage Regulator Module (VRM), a child power network is automatically created in the hierarchy with that VRM as the source.

Identify the Loads in the Child Power Nets

Ensure that the major load components are included in every power net.

Confirm the Power Network

Click the button to confirm that the power network is ready to test.

Ready for Analysis

Once you've confirmed that the power network is complete, you're ready to and examine the results.

Show the Results on the PCB

Click the button to examine the simulation results, overlaid on the PCB in either 2D or 3D.

Analyze the Simulation Results

Use the Power Analyzer by Keysight panel to explore the simulation results, including placing Probes at specific location on the board. As well as browsing violations, the Heatmap tab of the panel can be used to configure if the Heatmap is showing Current Density or Voltage Drop.

 

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