Altium Designer Schematic Capture
- Modern and powerful unified schematics capture editor
- Easy and simple automated design annotation
- Design and electrical rule checks helps verify and validate designs long before PCB layout even starts
- Hierarchical design to better manage large complex projects
- Multi-channel design capabilities provide a platform for an easy design reuse system
Schematic Capture Dashboard
Your PCB is an identical reflection of the design you captured in your schematics, so for it to function according to your design requirements, your schematic design must be correct. Whether you are starting from scratch or working on existing designs, Altium Designer schematic capture puts every tool you need to get the job done quickly at your fingertips. With today’s designs requiring much more than just building components or making them connect, the modern interface in Altium Designer makes every step of your capture journey intuitive so you can easily search, place, connect, filter, select, and organize every aspect of your design project.
While the core of Altium Designer schematic editor is its entry and editing capabilities, it’s intimately integrated with the PCB design software editor, mixed signals simulation tool, supply chain, 3D printed circuit board modeling, PDN analyzer, and your own library database. With access to all of these integrated tools, in addition to a vast amount of actionable data information such as component availability, pricing, lifecycle, where-used, and collaboration tools, you can make intelligent decisions to reduce project time and cost all while increasing your chances of getting the design right the first time.
Annotation is a routine task that you have to perform to detail your work and maintain synchronization between different parts of your design. Annotation is the process of making critical or explanatory notes for the purpose of clarifying details. The most critical form of annotation is the systematic and methodical process for ensuring that each component is uniquely identified. Based on a component’s designator, annotation is the primary means of referencing each component.
Annotation makes it possible to ensure that all the schematic components remain related to their physical PCB implementation. PCB layout changes can result in a reassignment of designators or re-annotation, and these changes must be passed back to the schematic environment.
Altium Designer automates how annotations are handled, tracked and verified to keep design data in sync. Design integrity is boosted with synchronization between designators on the schematic entry and PCB level, reducing errors.
Simple Design for Schematic Annotation Configuration
There are rules in PCB design that govern the board layout process and help you catch mistakes as you go (online design rule checking), however, verifying the design isn’t as cut and clear as in schematic capture software, and it demands much diligence on the part of the designer. Altium Designer electrical rule check (ERC) helps you verify your schematics to catch mistakes early in the design process when it’s easier and more cost-effective to mitigate. Only a correct schematic can produce a correct PCB, so it’s crucial to have tools at your disposal to ensure the verification of your schematic design before moving to board layout.
Altium Designer ERC allows you to define the reporting level for each of the possible violations that can exist on a source schematic document, such as the ones associated with buses, code symbols, components, harnesses, nets, parameters, documents, etc. With compilation being the cornerstone concept of the Altium Designer environment, when you compile and perform an ERC, many issues are checked in addition to these violations, such as duplicate designators, net labels not touching wires, and duplicate sheet numbers.
For additional peace of mind, you can define validation reports assigned to an output file to validate your designs as an integral part of the PCB board design release process. These validation checks ensure that the release will fail if any validation check is not passed successfully.
Options Dashboard for PCB Project Builds
Unfortunately, not every design is simple and flat in hierarchy, many are complex hierarchical designs. Luckily, Altium Designer provides a Hierarchical Design Environment, letting you create designs at a block diagram top-level, and allowing design projects to be split into manageable, logical chunks (eg. power supply, analog front-end, processor, IO, sensors, etc.) that can be saved as source files.
It’s not unusual for an electronic design to have the same circuit design repeated multiple times. This is more common for audio or data acquisition boards. Altium Designer easily supports this type of design through the multi-channel design feature. This feature saves designers a lot of time by capturing the repeated circuit once, then instructing the software to repeat it the needed number of times. This doesn’t just save you time on the schematic side, but also in the PCB side by allowing the circuit board layout and routing to be automatically duplicated for identical circuits. When a change is made, it can be made to the base logical chunk and the results will propagate through the design. Overall, your work and potential rework is minimized and design integrity increases by reusing blocks.
Hierarchical Design - Break Your Design Into any Depth Logical Modules, to Design More Efficiently
You can add design rule “directives” to the schematic — nets, wires, busses, harnesses, any component or sheet or document parameter. These are used to drive automated rules for correctly laying out the PCB to help get the board design right the first time.
Examples of this are differential pair definitions and length-matching rules for DDR memory routing. Defined design rules drive the routing and layout, saving time and also providing guidance from the schematic. You benefit by reducing the number of possible errors and helping identify existing errors, for example, collision errors with an enclosure. You will experience fewer errors and find them earlier in the design flow, reducing manufacturing and respin costs.
Looking for more information about easy and simple automated design annotation for schematic capture? Reach out to our support team, or call our toll free phone number at 1-800-488-0681 today.