Master Your PCB Design Workflow with Online Design Rule Checking

November 22, 2016 Steve Tran

rule-checking

The ever-increasing complexity of boards has made it nearly impossible to carry out the design rule verification process manually. Fortunately there are PCB design software tools that make the job considerably easier. Read on to learn more.

Using Rule Checking to Master Your Design Workflow

PCB designers begin with a set of physical requirements and specifications regarding the board layout. Certain factors such as the clearance between components and other primitives, establishment of electrical connection, size requirements of traces and vias, are just a few of the requirements that must be followed when designing a PCB. The ever-increasing complexity of boards has made it nearly impossible to carry out this verification manually. Fortunately there are PCB design software tools that make the job considerably easier.

Automating Your DRC Process

The most common way to execute a physical verification is to use design rule checking (DRC). A DRC verifies a set of design rules that were set down prior to any design work. The software scans the entire design, or a portion of it, and checks that the design rules are not violated. When finished, the tool reports no violations, or identifies areas that have violated the rules for correction.

Managing these rule checks manually is a nightmare. Not only that, but involving human beings always introduces the possibility of error. Within Altium Designer is an automated design rule checker. This tool allows for the user to automate the process, from the whole set of rules to specific categories of rules.

 

defining-pcb-rules-and-constraints
Defining PCB Rules and Constraints in Altium Designer

PCB Design Rule Checker

The design rule checker is a powerful tool that automates checking both logical and physical specifications on your board. The tool allows you to check the design against any or all enabled design rules. Any errors in the design are noted in a report as well as listed in the messages panel. The design rule checker can be run at any time during the design (as well as at completion). In addition, certain rules can be enabled to examine a particular area of the board.

 

configuring-rule-checking-in-altium-designer
Configuring Design Rules to Check in Altium Designer

Mastering the Final Stage of Your Workflow

With the complexity of designs increasing, it becomes more important for a designer to be able to confirm that the primitives on the board follow a specific set of guidelines. These rules for the board allow you to have complete control over what physical requirements the board needs to meet. Using DRC, you quickly determine where rule violations occur and resolve them easily.

Learn how to master the process of configuring and running your online design rule checks in Altium Designer by downloading a free white paper.

 

About the Author

Steve currently serves as an Application Engineer for Altium and is responsible for post sales support, customer training, and technical writing. He holds a B.S. in Engineering with an emphasis in Computer Engineering from Wentworth Institute of Technology.

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