The Design Rule Checker dialog allows you to configure design rule checking for the board. Design Rule Checking (DRC) is a powerful automated feature that checks both the logical and physical integrity of a design. Checks are made against any or all enabled design rules and can be made online, during design, or as a batch process (with an optional report). This feature should be used on every routed board to confirm that minimum clearance rules have been maintained and that there are no other design violations. It is particularly recommended that a batch mode design rule check always be performed prior to generating final artwork.
The dialog is accessed from the PCB Editor by clicking Tools » Design Rule Check from the main menus.
The dialog's functionality is essentially divided into two areas:
These areas are reflected by, and accessed through, the folder-like entries in the left-hand pane.
Clicking on the Report Options folder loads the right-hand side of the dialog with additional options that are available when running a Batch DRC.
Create Report File - enable this option to have a report generated after running a Batch DRC for the board.
Create Violations - enable this option to have violations highlighted in the design space in accordance with defined violation display settings. This option is also required to have violations appear listed in the Violations region of the PCB Rules And Violations panel.
Sub-Net Details - if an Un-Routed Net rule has been defined, enable this option to include sub-net details in the DRC report.
Report Drilled SMT Pads - enable this option to include any SMT (Surface Mount Technology) pads that have been erroneously drilled in the DRC Report.
500). Limiting the number of violations that are reported is a key strategy in keeping the checking process manageable.
Report Broken Planes - enable this option to have the batch rule checking process look for and report broken planes. Broken planes occur when an area of a plane that has connectivity to a net becomes electrically disconnected from the rest of the plane. An example of where this may occur is a connector placed across a split plane but not connected to it. The voids around the pins join to completely cut through the plane copper, effectively breaking it into two parts.
Report Dead Copper larger than - enable this option to have the batch rule checking process look for, and report, dead copper regions larger than the specified area. Dead copper refers to sections of copper that have no connectivity to a net, and which also become electrically disconnected from the original parent plane. An example of where this may occur is a connector (not connected to the plane) with closely spaced pins, in which the voids around the pins join to isolate areas of plane copper from the rest of the plane. Use the associated field to specify a value for the minimum permissible area of dead copper, beyond which is considered a rule breach (default =
100 sq. mils).
Run Design Rule Check - click this button to perform a Batch DRC in accordance with rules enabled for Batch checking and additional options defined for this type of checking.
Clicking on the Rules To Check folder loads the right-hand side of the dialog with a list of all checkable rule types. Alternatively, click on a specific category (below the folder) to list only those design rule types associated to that category.
For each rule type, the following information is presented;
Enable each rule type for Online and/or Batch checking as required.
To give further flexibility when displaying rule violations in the design space, the two violation display types – violation details (custom violation graphics) and violation overlay – have separate associated system colors. This allows you to differentiate between the two using different, distinct colors. Color assignment is performed in the View Configuration panel: