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PCB prototyping is seamless with powerful and unified board layout software.
TOPICS IN THIS SOLUTION
A strong PCB design tool capable of taking your design through to production.
Months or years of research are spent wiring leading-edge components into concept circuits on breadboards. Or maybe perfboard was used. Either way, early hardware concepts are all done by hand followed by PCB prototyping. Circuit designers use leading-edge components on breadboards to proof design ideas. Design ideas proofed in the lab become ready to prototype on PCBs.
Going into PCB prototype is necessary for the next phase of discovery. High-speed aspects of the concept necessitate impedance analysis. Impedance analysis necessitates material selection and discussions with fabrication houses to confirm viability. Consideration of layer count and use of buried or blind vias must be determined. Simulations incorporate concept discoveries to validate and refine decisions before moving into PCB prototype. Working the process to success requires powerful board layout software. Without it, implementing reliable boards that can be assembled results in a guessing game.
Breadboarding solidifies ideas for PCB prototyping
Guesswork is significantly reduced with powerful PCB board layout software. Such software provides dynamic libraries constantly populating and updating every component. Unified libraries contain complete models of every part available on the world’s market. Important ideas flushed out in the breadboarded concept are captured with schematic rules that propagate to the PCB layout. Every detail of the design is captured into digital containers for output into final design documentation. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when each stage of the design process is captured and usable throughout the software tools.
Designing electrical circuits is a process that involves analysis and validation. The circuit is breadboarded with sample parts to proof the idea. Power is applied and results are noted. Ideas are refined and pencil drawings updated. When concept becomes hardware design, schematics are drawn. Concept moves into PCB prototype.
Move to PCB prototype with complete component models
Breadboarding moves into design capture when circuits are drawn and parts are sourced. Flexibility with tools requires easy substitution to flush out design ideas. Analysis includes bench work alongside simulation tools where parts may be interchanged for discovery. You need options to keep creative juices flowing.
Design capture moves the concept into PCB prototype and you need board layout software that keeps your idea moving forward. This is where you need tools that share data among editors so information propagates without the need for manual tracking. You need libraries that contain more than symbols. With libraries holding footprints, simulation models, and 3D dimensioning, the information seen on the breadboard is present within the software.
Edit vias on the fly with powerful PCB prototype board layout software
Going into PCB prototype works best with software tools that do the heavy lifting for you. Moving into layout requires selection of materials. Material selection informs layer stack arrangement. Weights of copper and location on inner or outer layers becomes important. Will net placement cause the board to warp? Have buried vias been stacked rather than overlaid? Is your fabrication house in agreement with choices and can you assemble the prototype?
Altium Designer unifies tools that capture and use every detail discovered throughout the prototype process. There is no need to reinvent the wheel nor to painstakingly keep meticulous notes for inclusion later. Schematics and PCB layout tools are unified with editors easily able to specify materials, layer thicknesses, via placement, critical trace placement, and symmetrical stackups. Not only that but libraries used while drawing the circuit are the same libraries used for PCB board layout. There is no need to transfer datasheet details into empty part symbols. Altium’s ActiveBOM contains a world-wide database of parts. ActiveBOM dynamically updates with footprint information in addition to sourcing and costing information.
Prototype your grounding strategy with PCB board layout software
Altium’s unified environment keeps you focused on idea development by remembering every discovery from concept through prototyping and into manufacture. You won’t have to use translators to move schematics into PCB prototype board layout, as they are already linked. Parts you pushed into your breadboard are instantly available in shared libraries. Libraries hold more than symbols. Prototypes can be proofed and validated. Layer stacks may be designed on the fly and updated dynamically. Early manufacturability constraints may be built into the prototype for early discovery. Discussions with fabrication houses can be facilitated early to ensure successful assembly of your prototype.
Bringing design concepts from the lab into PCB prototyping is painless when you have powerful board layout software. Altium is that software, unifying schematics and output documentation with PCB layout tools. You won’t lose your carefully developed concepts or be weighed down when moving into your cube when Altium is at your fingertips. Altium is the best board layout software for your prototypes and for your production boards. Prototypes may use Altium’s unification platform to suss out concepts and change every little detail of the design on the fly. Your prototype efforts remain focused on the hardware, leaving the board layout software to document and represent your idea.