The Best PCB Design Software Features a Trace Impedance Calculator
Altium Designer’s controlled trace impedance calculator will configure your design rules with the correct trace width values for you.
TOPICS IN THIS SOLUTION
Modern PCB design tool for signal integrity and impedance control.
PCB design used to involve an army of engineers to develop a circuit board, and each member of the design team would be responsible for different aspects of the project. Usually, there was someone who would handle the board layer stack configurations and calculate trace widths and spacing for controlled impedance routing. With shorter development schedules and reduced budgets, the days of “throwing” your design over the wall for this part of the job has passed and all of those different responsibilities are now on your shoulders. Fortunately for you, Altium Designer has some advance built-in capabilities to help you out.
When it comes to calculating your trace widths and spacing for controlled impedance routing, Altium Designer has the solution you need. With its enhanced layer stack manager, Altium Designer supplies you with a library of board materials to choose from to build your PCB layer stackup. It then takes the data from the layer stack, and uses that in the impedance calculator to determine your controlled impedance routing trace widths. This saves you the time of finding your own calculator and running the numbers yourself. With Altium Designer, you’ve got one of the most powerful PCB design systems on the market today that is continually being enhanced to help you with this and many other design tasks.
When it comes to controlled impedance routing, precision is very important. With older lower frequency designs, trace routing on your PCB wasn’t so critical. That has changed though with today’s high speed designs. It has been said that whether you need controlled impedance or not, you should always design your board as if it is controlled impedance. This is because as the parts used in future builds of the board change over time getting faster and faster, you don’t want to have to completely redesign the board to accommodate these changes. Here is some information on controlled impedance routing that may be beneficial to you as you consider your next design.
Know the Facts Before You Route the Traces
Managing characteristic impedance and differential impedance can be difficult. Controlled impedance routing is greatly helped with the advanced tools and functionality in your design tools, but don’t forget that your understanding of the topic is just as important.
- The PCB routing layer, the physical characteristics of the trace, and the characteristics of the dielectric all need to be calculated together to get the correct impedance value.
- How you configure your PCB layer stackup will affect the impedance values of your design.
- Take a deeper look into the details of working with complex controlled impedance routing.
Altium Designer’s layer stack manager allows you to calculate impedance
Coming up with the right values for your trace width and spacing is the key for controlled impedance routing. Traditionally these numbers would be calculated from industry standard formulas, and then entered into your CAD system’s rules and constraints. Altium Designer removes the manual part of this process by plugging its impedance calculator directly into the rest of the layout tools through the unified design environment. Once you’ve entered the board materials and their thicknesses into the layer stack manager, the impedance calculator will take the industry standard formulas for calculating stripline and microstrip routing widths and plug those numbers into the design rules for you. Once you input your desired impedance values into your impedance profiles, the design rules will automatically update with the correct routing widths and you are ready to route.
Altium Designer’s Embedded Impedance Calculator Does the Work for You
Put your scratch pad, pencil and calculator away, Altium Designer will do that part of the job for you.
- Altium Designer’s layer stack manager gives you the ability to set up a wide range of impedance profiles for your design.
- Take a look at how to use the layer stack manager in Altium Designer to calculate your trace width impedance values.
- As designs become more complex, so does the need to manage multiple layer stacks.
Let Altium Designer configure your high speed design rules so you can get on with the routing
Setting up your controlled impedance trace routing rules is just one aspect of high speed design. You still need to capture the schematic, setup your high speed design rules, and then place and route the board. Never fear, just as Altium Designer leverages the most advanced design technology to provide you with the embedded impedance calculator, the rest of the design tools are also just as powerful.
Altium Designer’s advanced schematic capture editor will give you the tools you need for finding and placing components, and then wiring them up. Whether your project is a small single sheet schematic or a large multi-channel hierarchical design, Altium Designer is the best choice for schematic creation. To lay out a high speed design you need the best high speed design tools you can get, and again Altium Designer has what you need. You will be able to configure measured lines, differential pairs, routing topologies, and even signal paths with Altium Designer’s high speed rules and constraints. Then when it comes time to place and route the board, Altium Designer’s powerful features will really come into play. With a multitude of functionality you will place and route your board in no time at all. Altium Designer’s vast array of intelligent routing tools will give you every advantage whether you are interactively, auto-interactively, or auto routing your board.
Get the Job Done Quickly and Precisely with Altium Designer
Altium Designer is a complete PCB design package with all the tools you need to take your design from schematic to manufacturing output files.
- High speed designs often mean complex schematics, and Altium Designer has the schematic functionality you need.
- Altium Designer gives you the high speed design rules and constraints you need to set up measured lines, differential pairs, routing topologies, and signal paths.
- You have the routing features you need most with Altium Designer, which will enable you to finish your routing quickly and efficiently.
There’s a lot on your shoulders as a PCB designer. Let Altium Designer lift some of that load off of you with its embedded trace impedance calculator to configure your design for controlled impedance routing.