Free Trials

Download a free trial to find out which Altium software best suits your needs

How to Buy

Contact your local sales office to get started on improving your design environment

Downloads

Download the latest in PCB design and EDA software

  • PCB DESIGN SOFTWARE
  • Altium Designer

    Complete Environment for Schematic + Layout

  • CircuitStudio

    Entry Level, Professional PCB Design Tool

  • CircuitMaker

    Community Based PCB Design Tool

  • NEXUS

    Agile PCB Design For Teams

  • CLOUD PLATFORM
  • Altium 365

    Connecting PCB Design to the Manufacturing Floor

  • COMPONENT MANAGEMENT
  • Altium Concord Pro

    Complete Solution for Library Management

  • Octopart

    Extensive, Easy-to-Use Component Database

  • PRODUCT EXTENSIONS
  • PDN Analyzer

    Natural and Effortless Power Distribution Network Analysis

  • See All Extensions
  • EMBEDDED
  • TASKING

    World-Renowned Technology for Embedded Systems Development

  • TRAININGS
  • Live Courses

    Learn best practices with instructional training available worldwide

  • On-Demand Courses

    Gain comprehensive knowledge without leaving your home or office

  • ONLINE VIEWER
  • Altium 365 Viewer

    View & Share electronic designs in your browser

  • Altium Designer 20

    The most powerful, modern and easy-to-use PCB design tool for professional use

    ALTIUMLIVE

    Annual PCB Design Summit

    • Forum

      Where Altium users and enthusiasts can interact with each other

    • Blog

      Our blog about things that interest us and hopefully you too

    • Ideas

      Submit ideas and vote for new features you want in Altium tools

    • Bug Crunch

      Help make the software better by submitting bugs and voting on what's important

    • Wall

      A stream of events on AltiumLive you follow by participating in or subscribing to

    • Beta Program

      Information about participating in our Beta program and getting early access to Altium tools

    All Resources

    Explore the latest content from blog posts to social media and technical white papers gathered together for your convenience

    Downloads

    Take a look at what download options are available to best suit your needs

    How to Buy

    Contact your local sales office to get started improving your design environment

    • Documentation

      The documentation area is where you can find extensive, versioned information about our software online, for free.

    • Training & Events

      View the schedule and register for training events all around the world and online

    • Design Content

      Browse our vast library of free design content including components, templates and reference designs

    • Webinars

      Attend a live webinar online or get instant access to our on demand series of webinars

    • Support

      Get your questions answered with our variety of direct support and self-service options

    • Technical Papers

      Stay up to date with the latest technology and industry trends with our complete collection of technical white papers.

    • Video Library

      Quick and to-the-point video tutorials to get you started with Altium Designer

    How to use Schematic CAD Drawings for Cable Assemblies: Part 1

    Sainesh Solanki
    |  February 21, 2017
    The need for computer-aided cable assembly drawings often falls to the electronics design team, but for many the use of high-cost dedicated cabling design software is simply out of reach and overkill. The solution? Use the Schematic Editor! 

    Most electronic engineers work on products that require Printed Circuit Board designs to be interconnected by cable assemblies. As you might have already noticed, some dedicated tools that primarily focus on designing cable assemblies, while powerful, are quite expensive and beyond the scope of just creating a simple cable design process. Most of the industries they are focusing on are automotive, HVAC, and aerospace firms. So you inquire yourself, what is the best alternative? The answer is simply in front of you, utilize your ECAD tool to create the cable assembly!

    When working in Altium Designer®, I acknowledge all I can do within the tool; I can create my schematic layouts and Printed Circuit Board layouts, I can manage libraries in many ways, and I can control document sources through Version Control. But there are often other questions that come to mind:

    • What if I wanted to create a design that will determine what the routing connections are going to be like through a cable?
    • How can I trace where signals are going, through a designed cable, in an automated way -  and how can the design software and documentation help?
    • How can I quickly and effectively generate a detailed cable assembly drawing for the shop floor? 

    The answer is, use the Altium Designer schematic editor! You can generate very detailed cable drawings and wiring harness manufacturing systems with the assistance of importing DXF/DWG files. For example, you can import mechanical drawings of connector heads or crimps that are will be needed for assembly. This way, the assembler can have the life-like drawing to refer to while building the cable. Below is a sample of such a cable drawing:

    A cable assembly drawing

    Figure 1. Example Cable Assembly Drawing.

    As an example here (see Figure 1), we have a scaled length mechanical cable drawing, with two 1:1 sized connectors, one at each end. Below the mechanical drawing is the schematic representation of it using schematic symbols for the connectors, joined with wires. Within this schematic symbol diagram, you can see that net labels are linked to each connection. The bubbles with arrows (leader notes) represent a line item that you can refer to within the Bill of Materials. Once you have written your assembly notes, you can then send the ready drawing to the assembly house that makes your cables.

    Through my own real-world experience, and in collaboration with other work friends, we came up with a robust and powerful methodology for cable design components in Altium Designer schematics that takes care of these needs. So, throughout this blog series, I want to share with you:

    1. How to generate the layout as the building blocks of the cable assembly.
    2. How to use the layout to generate a complete and well drawn cable assembly.
    3. How to prep and finalize the cable drawing to create your labels and generate outputs to hand-off to the wire-harness manufacturer. 

    The first step is how can I get my placed as shown in the wiring diagram? The simple answer is to create a multi-part layout. What the will encompass is the cables, connector heads, crimps, and any other mechanical drawing along with the schematic symbol. This will be further discussed in my next installment (part 2) of the Cable Assembly Blog Series.  

    Check out Altium Designer in action...

    MCAD Integration

    About Author

    About Author

    Biography

    most recent articles

    Back to Home