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

    Practice Makes Perfect: How to Test Electronic Components during PCB Design

    Altium Designer
    |  February 6, 2018

    Basketball and hoop on sky background

    When I was younger, well much younger, I had dreams of one day being a pro athlete. I wanted to be the guy who scored the winning touchdown, knocked in the winning run or hit the buzzer-beater. Although I never made to the professional level, I did have some success and I learned a lot. The most important thing was the results you achieved were strictly tied to your preparation. In other words, if I wanted to do well in the game I had to test myself by practicing.

    I’m still using those skills, though: in order for your PCB to function as intended, you need to test your design. By testing the electronic components of your board before manufacturing you can be sure that it will perform as you intended with your design.

    The most successful teams that I played on had coaches who stressed the importance of practicing as if you were playing in an actual game. It is one thing to shoot baskets alone, but it is something else to make them when you are being defended. The same difference exists between simulating your circuit board's schematic without the physical and material restrictions of the actual board and testing PCB components.

    Is Testing PCB Components During Design Necessary?

    Although this is a very important design step, schematic simulation does not guarantee the functionality, reliability or even manufacturability of your design. Applying good design for manufacturing (DFM) practices will help you ensure that your design can be manufactured. However, there are additional steps you can take to test functionality and reliability during design.

    The reasons for performing a schematic simulation of your circuit are to:

    Determine Component Parameters: Primarily voltages, currents, and impedances.

    Verify Circuit/System Operation: Check inputs/outputs, and signal levels.

    Make Changes and Correct Errors: Replace , or make design changes.

    Save Costs: By not having to buy components or materials for testing.

    But what if you knew that one of your board's electronic components would fail at some point once it is in the field? You would either replace the component or change your design to remove the source of the failure before manufacturing the board. A design tool like a power distribution network (PDNA) allows you to evaluate parameters of your PCB as if you were using electronics testing equipment on the actual board.

     PCB with multimeter
    You can condense your design rule checking into a smooth operation within your layout software.

    Performing tests on your PCB electronic components during design will not only make sure that your boards will function properly and be reliable but also save costs if changes have to be made.

    How to Test PCB Components During Design

    The use of a PDNA provides a united design and analysis environment for your PCB design. You can perform power distribution analysis over the entire board or only specify predefined areas. Additionally, voltage gradient overlays give the power to look at voltage drops on the ends of all traces; including vias. You can also look at current density on your traces to make sure there are no potential undercurrent/overcurrent issues.

    This ability to look at a component’s incoming and outgoing traces can be used to determine the component’s specific parameters. Employing these capabilities during design is akin to a successful practice where you can follow it up by moving to fabrication and assembly confident that your board will perform as designed.

    boy and coach high-fiving
    Successfully practice your PCB design without ever leaving your layout software.

    The ability to gather thermal, signal, and power integrity, current density, and trace impedances during design is a significant benefit to the Printed Circuit Board design process. Not only are you able to perform design for manufacturing (DFM) checks, but you can also test the board’s electronic components, both of which can save development time. With the right PCB design software such as Altium Designer® , PDNA and other smooth design methodologies are available to you.

    For more information and tips on testing electronic components during PCB design and how to make corrections that will avoid post manufacturing problems, contact an Altium PCB design expert.

    About Author

    About Author

    PCB Design Tools for Electronics Design and DFM. Information for EDA Leaders.

    most recent articles

    Back to Home