The Right Software Tools Will Help with Your Layer Stackup in PCB Design
To create the best layer stackup in PCB design you need the best layer stack manager tools that are found in Altium Designer.
TOPICS IN THIS SOLUTION
PCB design tool intended to manage any number of layers for multilayer PCB design.
Designing a layer stackup used to be the responsibility of someone other than the PCB layout designer. The team laying out the board would be told what layers they could route traces on, they would enter that information into the CAD system, and that was as much as they needed to know. With today’s high-speed and other advanced technology designs however, those days are long gone. Today’s layout designers need to create the layer stackup of the board as the first step in the layout process.
To do this, layout designers need to understand the circuits that they will be working with as well as the materials and construction of the final finished board. They need to be part of the decision process on how the layers are configured in order to correctly route impedance controlled high speed transmission lines. And most importantly, layout designers need PCB design tools that will enable them to calculate and create the layer stackups within their CAD tools. What PCB layout designers need today is Altium Designer.
Your printed circuit will have outer layers, ground planes, a power plane, thickness to keep track of, and vias alongside a number of other factors. Although your CAD tools will create the layer stackup that you configure it for, there’s more to creating a working stackup than pushing a few buttons. There are specific materials and layer configuration considerations for high speed design and managing impedance that you need to understand.
Whether it’s an HDI PCB or if you’re working through blind and buried vias, you’ll want to be sure in your board thickness and copper placement. One of the best resources available to you when creating a stackup is to work with your PCB manufacturer to find out what their recommendations are. They have been doing this for a long time and understand what is needed for the designs that you are creating.
Understanding What Goes Into Creating a PCB Layer Stackup
We’ve assembled some information for you here to help with your understanding of what goes into creating the best layer stackup configuration for the PCB that you are designing.
- With the requirements of microstrip and stripline routing in high speed designs, you need to understand the board layer configurations that will best serve your needs.
- Here are some simple strategies that will help your impedance management when working with the stackups of high speed or high frequency designs.
- Get the most out of working with your manufacturer when planning your layer stackup for your PCB design.
Creating a multi-layer board layer stack in Altium Designer
When it comes time to create your PCB layer stackup, the layer stack manager in Altium Designer is an extremely effective and helpful tool. You can specify layer names, whether they are signal or plane layers, define dielectric and core layers, and configure what order that they will all be in. But that is only the beginning. You can also specify the board materials and their thicknesses that you want, and you can use the Altium Designer’s stackup materials library to help you. Additionally you can specify drill pairs, back drill information and plan sub layer stacks for different board regions.
There’s more to the layer stack manager than just configuring the board though, it is also connected with the rest of the layout tools in Altium Designer. The materials and their thicknesses that you have inputted will be used by Altium Designer’s impedance calculator to automatically input impedance controlled trace widths into the design rules. When you create your trace width routing rules, you can let the calculator define the trace widths for you. And finally when you are finished configuring your layers, you can easily see the results in the layer stack manger’s 3D preview.
See How Altium Designer Can Help You to Create a PCB Layer Stackup
The layer stack manager in Altium Designer is a powerful tool that allows you to interactively design your PCB layer stackup the way that you need it to be.
- See what the new enhanced layer stack manager in Altium Designer offers you when creating your PCB layer stackups.
- Altium Designer is always being enhanced with ways to help you, like with the stackup materials library to pull materials from when building your PCB layer stackup.
- Take a look at what you can do with the layer stack manager and impedance calculator in this brief tutorial.
Today’s complex high speed designs are easily handled by Altium Designer
You’ve planned the configuration of your PCB layer stack, and you’ve built it in Altium Designer’s layer stack manager. Now you’ve got to design the PCB and you’re wondering how Altium Designer will handle the rest of the job. Grab on to something and hang on, because you are going to be amazed at what you will be able to do with these PCB design tools.
Altium Designer is built on the powerful platform of a 64-bit multi-threading system. With its signature unified design environment at its core, Altium Designer easily blends together all of its different tools with common user interfaces and data sharing capabilities. Altium Designer’s schematic capture application is both easy to learn and use, and yet has the power to handle your most complex multi-channel hierarchical designs.
In layout, you will be amazed at the different features and capabilities for component placement and trace routing. And when you are ready to send the design out, Altium Designer is still right there with you with functionality to auto-generate manufacturing drawings and final output files. Altium Designer is the best PCB design solution that you will find for your entire circuit board design process.
After You Create the Layer Stackup, You Still Need to Design the Board
In-circuit test utilization, thickness measurement, copper placement, understanding the workings of your ground layer and managing signal integrity are all integral for your board on top of the layer stackup. Make sure your PCB design tool has what you need to be confident in your power and ground planes. Altium Designer has the power and versatility that you need to take your design from schematic creation all the way through to manufacturing output files.
- Schematic capture in Altium Designer is both easy to learn and use, and yet it is also powerful enough to handle your most challenging designs.
- Trace routing in layout is handled with a variety of different interactive, auto-interactive, and auto routing tools in Altium Designer.
- There’s no need to worry about the quality of your output files, Altium Designer is fully equipped with a number of automated features to output your drawings and other manufacturing files.
Getting your design through to PCB fabrication is more than just knowing where your blind vias and buried vias are; a printed circuit should be designed with software that makes it easy for you to be secure in your multilayer PCB thickness, vias and micro vias, as well as copper placement. Altium Designer’s advanced layer stack manager will ensure that you start your PCB design the way it needs to be created, while its powerful tools will finish your design correctly and on time.