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Routing traces on your Printed Circuit Board is that critical step during layout that can make or break your device. It can also be time consuming if your design software doesn’t contain the right routing tools. Your PCB design software should include high precision routing tools that are designed to automate many portions of the routing process. Advanced PCBs require the best automated routing tools, and your automated routing tools should improve your workflow and help you design PCBs for any application.
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A PCB design software package with the best automatic routing tools.
One activity that is easy to perform but difficult to master is trace routing on a PCB. It seems like a rather simple task: connect a copper line from point A to point B. In a real PCB, you’ll be connecting tens or hundreds of these lines between components, and fitting all of these traces on your board is a difficult task. Automated routing tools can save you a huge amount of time on this critical task.
Turning your PCB into a living, breathing electronic device takes high quality routing tools and ultra-accurate CAD tools. These two tools join forces to give you a PCB layout that can be used in simulations, for manufacturing, and design validation. Automated routing tools that integrate with your layout and other tools help you quickly layout your board and ensure that your device meets all of your performance specifications.
The best routing strategy to use in your PCB may not always be obvious when you are designing your schematic capture. A great PCB design software package with top-notch routing tools makes it easy to define connections between components and automatically place connections in your layout. This process can be easily automated, saving your time during layout and ensuring that your design is best suited for your particular application.
Working with high speed devices, components with high pin density, multi-layer boards, and high density interconnect PCBs all require high precision and versatile PCB routing tools. Routing for these these applications can be time-consuming, and versatile routing tools can automate the routing process. Features like differential pairs require special care as the pair of traces must be parallel and length matched, especially in high speed circuits.
Automated routing tools allow you to route signal nets extremely quickly while still ensuring that your device obeys critical design rules. Your autorouting tools should make it easy to work with any combination of features on your circuit board, including routing through vias, across multiple boards, and with nets of differential pairs. Your automated routing tools should make pin swapping and part swapping simple while still preserving your differential pairs and conforming to your design rules.
Auto-interactive routing in Altium Designer
If you start routing directly in the layout editor, traces are placed using predefined design rules. High speed design requires meeting specific trace length tolerance rules, and high density pin components require pin swapping capabilities that are powerful, yet intuitive. Differential pairs need to be routed in near-perfect harmony across your PCB file. These design tools should work together and synchronize with your predefined design rules.
You can save a huge amount of time when you work with automated routing tools. Automating the routing of each signal net ensures that your layout meets your design rules and gives you a precise trace arrangement. Just because you use automated routing tool doesn’t mean the results are set in stone. Powerful automated routing tools make it easy to adjust your layout if you ever need to swap parts, add new parts, or rearrange elements on your circuit board.
Designers working with advanced PCB applications need routing tools that beautifully integrate with other design tools. More advanced designs require routing that meets specific design rules while still allowing flexibility. Since no one can anticipate every routing situation during schematic design and when planning their initial layout, your routing tools should make complex procedures like pin swapping and part swapping quick and easy. Working in these situations becomes so much easier when you use the best automated routing tools.
Differential pair routing with length tuning in Altium Designer
Low-end design packages can create common routing problems due to conflicting rules settings. Not only does poor design software route traces and differential pairs incorrectly, you won’t even be provided with the routing features unless you purchase them as add-ons. Who wants to route every single trace by hand, check length tolerances by eye, and manually insert meanders manually?
Working in a unified design environment means that your design rules, routing tools, and a host of other features are synchronized throughout your board. This goes farther than just including all the tools you need in one program. These tools communicate with each other using a unified design model. This improves your workflow, catches design errors and rule violations quickly, and allows features to access information from each other.
Routing differential pairs, defining nets, matching length tolerances, and interlayer routing are time-consuming activities, and your design software should include interactive features that speed up the entire process. Automated routing tools that synchronize with your design rules and net definitions improve your workflow and make it easy to modify your routing.
If working with piecemeal PCB design software is hampering your routing strategy, you should try working in a unified design environment. Altium Designer integrates your schematic design, routing, and rules checking in a single interface. You can rest easy knowing your PCB design tools will synchronize properly, and you’ll have the flexibility to implement the routing strategy that fits your PCB file editor application.
Forget about routing all your traces by hand. A great PCB design software package like Altium Designer and the ActiveRoute package makes it easy to define your signal nets and quickly route traces between components. You’ll have access to the best design, routing, rules checking, and simulation tools, and all of this is accessible within a single design environment.