Altium PCB Autorouter Fixes Flaws from Automatic Routing Tools
Routing traces on your PCB 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. 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.
Choosing the Right Routing Parameters
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.
- High quality design software doesn’t just place differential pairs, it ensures they obey design rules and can ensure signal integrity.
Learn more about how strong design software aids differential pair routing.
- Powerful routing software gives you the power to route interconnects with any geometry.
Learn more about choosing the right interconnect configuration and geometry.
- Powerful design software will allow you to perform pin swapping and part swapping while preserving your differential pair routing.
Learn more about working with differential pairs during pin and part swapping.
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. 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.
Advanced PCBs Need Advanced Routing Features
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.
- High speed routing requires precise length tolerance matching of traces in your PCB. Defining length tolerances and quickly inserting meanders in your signal nets helps you synchronize your high speed signals.
Learn more about inserting meanders for length tolerance matching.
- Working with high pin density components like FPGAs and memories inevitably requires pin swapping features.
Learn more about automated pin swapping for your PCB components.
- Design rules for differential pairs should be easy to define and edit. Your automated differential pair routing tool should make it easy to place accurate pairs with extreme accuracy.
Learn more about defining and editing differential pair specifications and design rules.
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.
Altium Designer Has the Best Routing Features
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 you’re tired of routing everything by hand, you need a design package that can quickly route your traces according to your design rules.
Get a sneak preview of the ActiveRoute module in Altium Designer.
- Your unrouted PCB might look like a rat’s nest at first, but Altium Designer makes it easy to clean up your layout with powerful routing tools.
Learn more about different routing modes in Altium Designer.
- Moving between your schematic and your layout requires routing that follows the pin mapping you’ve defined for your components. Routing in your schematic will easily translate into your layout, and automated routing makes it easy to finish your layout.
Learn more about pin mapping in Altium Designer.
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 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.