Schematic Capture in Altium Designer
Circuit schematic software for design, simulation, and board planning
Any printed circuit board starts in the schematic editor, and your board won’t become a reality until you finish circuit design in your PCB design software. Your schematic capture software is used to create a new printed circuit board, but you shouldn’t have to access it in an external program. Altium Designer is the world’s best PCB design software application for creating a powerful new circuit board and preparing it for manufacturing.
TOPICS IN THIS SOLUTION
For your advanced designs, you need the most advanced up-to-date circuit simulator and schematic capture software.
Simple stand-alone schematic capture tools may have been enough many years ago, but today’s advanced designs need more. For complex designs, you need the best electronics design software and circuit simulator that can handle hierarchical schematics. Your schematic capture software doesn’t need to exist as a separate program, it should quickly create a new circuit board layout within a single application. You need layout software that will allow you to design flex circuitry, integrate 3D models from a library, and work with multiple designs in the same session. To accomplish this, you need the most advanced set of PCB design tools you can get. You need Altium Designer.
FEATURES AND BENEFITS
- Modern and powerful schematic editor
- Easy and simple automated design annotation
- Electrical rule checks help verify and validate designs before circuit board layout
- Hierarchical design helps you manage complex projects
- Multi-channel design capabilities provide an easy design reuse system
Before your board can hit the fabrication line, it starts as a set of circuit design diagrams. To get your circuit design to the point where you can create a real printed circuit board layout, you need circuit schematic software and circuit simulation tools to take your designs to the next level. Any software tool you use should include an integrated schematic capture utility to create a new PCB layout. With Altium Designer, you’ll have access to all these features in a single design software application, and you’ll have everything you need to manufacture your board at scale.
Your schematic editor is where circuit design and circuit simulation begins. Without this important tool, you’ll be left on your own to create your designs and begin a powerful layout. Your circuit design features need to incorporate components from each library in your PCB design software, giving you a single platform to create a new circuit board.
High-performance circuit schematic software in Altium Designer
The core of Altium Designer’s PCB design software andschematic editoris its rules-driven design engine, which is intimately integrated with your layout and routing features. Your board will be instantly checked against design rules as it’s created. The underlying engine in this design software allows your simulation tools, supply chain data, 3D printed circuit board modeling, a PDN analyzer, and your library database to be accessed in a single program. With access to all of these integrated tools, you can make intelligent design decisions and remain productive. Here are some of the important circuit design tasks that are easy in Altium Designers’ schematic editor and circuit design software tools.
Electrical Rule Checks
Electrical rules in your PCB design software govern the circuit board layout process and help you catch mistakes as you create your layout. This type of online design rule checking helps you verify your schematics to catch mistakes early in the design process. Only a correct circuit schematic can produce a correct printed circuit board, so it’s crucial to have tools at your disposal to ensure the verification of your schematic design before moving to circuit 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 capture datasheet document. You can also add design rule “directives” to the schematic, including nets, wires, busses, harnesses, and any component or document parameter. These are used to drive automated rules for correctly laying out the printed circuit board.
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. Examples of this are differential pair definitions and length-matching rules for high speed signals.
Rules-checking options in your PCB design software give you full control over your design environment.
Annotation is a routine task that must be performed 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 in the circuit design and schematic. Annotation makes it possible to ensure that all components in the schematic remain related to their placement on the corresponding circuit board.
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 allows you to select your annotation settings, which automates how annotations are handled, tracked and verified to keep design data in sync. Synchronization between designators on the schematic entry and PCB design level catches and eliminates errors that are common in other design software applications.
Schematic annotation in Altium Designer’s circuit schematic software tools.
Hierarchical & Multi-channel Design
Unfortunately, not every design is simple and flat in hierarchy, many are complex hierarchical circuit schematics. Luckily, Altium Designer provides a hierarchical design environment in the schematic editor.You can create designs as a block diagram at the toplevel, and your circuit design projects can be split into manageable, logical chunks (e.g., power supply, analog front-end, processor, I/O, sensors, etc.) that can be saved as source files.
It’s not unusual for a circuit board design to have the same set of circuits repeated multiple times. 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 as needed multiple times. This doesn’t just save you time on the schematic side, but also in the printed circuit board layout 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 are minimized.
Hierarchical circuit schematic design breaks your design into logical modules.
Circuit design may start with the schematic, but the schematic starts with selection of PCB components. Altium Designer is ready to help you with its integrated libraries and the Manufacturer Part Search panel. With a powerful schematic editor, you can create your circuit designs from verified components and use the integrated rules checking features in hierarchical schematic sheets.
Integrated libraries have long been a great way to help reduce design time as they allow multiple schematics, component symbols, PCB footprints, and other documents to be bundled into individual packages and shared across your design team. You can pack up these different pieces of information in one design and quickly import them into another design. You can also quickly use a schematic capture tool to create a new layout from an old design, and this new PCB layout will contain the associated data held in your libraries.
Import Components Directly Into Your Circuit Schematic Software
Once you have your schematic and circuit board data compiled into an integrated library, you can unpack this data in a new project and begin easily reusing this design data. Grouping all of your design data in a single location allows you to quickly import this data into a new project, share selected bits of data within your design team, and design new products with this data.
- The best way to make sure your component data remains current is to work with a managed data service that automatically updates your component libraries.
- In addition to your component libraries, your managed data service should apply the same updates to your designs and project libraries.
- Data management and schematic design processes don’t need to be fragmented. Circuit design is much more productive when your component libraries are integrated with your schematic editor.
Updating data in your circuit schematic software before schematic capture.
Altium Designer is equipped with powerful circuit design features and an easily accessible schematic capture system. Once you use schematic capture to create an initial board, the powerful layout tools help you finish your printed circuit board. The schematic editor and PCB editor integrate with a powerful simulation engine. You’ll have a SPICE-based circuit simulator to aid circuit design and an integrated field solver for post-layout simulations and analysis.
Try the Powerful Circuit Design Features in Altium Designer
Your board isn’t finished until it passes basic and advanced rules checks, and Altium Designer is built on a rules-driven design engine for this very purpose. With the pressure to get complete circuit design and PCB layout complete ahead of schedule and under budget, the printed circuit board design features in Altium Designer help you stay productive and get the job done according to specification.
- With Altium Designer, you can define circuit design rules in the schematic editor and layout rules in the PCB editor. The design features in Altium Designer will check your layout against your design rules as you create your printed circuit board.
- The schematic editor and schematic capture software in Altium Designer are accessible alongside a world-class circuit simulator and component library management tools.
- With Altium Designer’s multi-assembly capabilities built into the schematic editor, you can connect all your system’s boards together with hierarchical schematics and automate project outputs in a single program.
Altium is the great radical innovator in the PCB design industry, and you’ll have the resources you need to keep up with advances in new design technology. When you use Altium Designer, you’ll have access to the AltiumLive forum, webinars and podcasts with industry experts, an extensive knowledge base with plenty of design tips, and plenty of design tutorials. No other PCB design software company is this invested in your success.
Have you found that your designs are growing faster than your old circuit schematic software can keep up with? If so then you need the advanced circuit design tools in Altium Designer.
Altium Designer on Altium 365 delivers an unprecedented amount of integration to the electronics industry until now relegated to the world of software development, allowing designers to work from home and reach unprecedented levels of efficiency.
We have only scratched the surface of what is possible to do with Altium Designer on Altium 365. You can check the product page for a more in-depth feature description or one of the On-Demand Webinars.