Altium Designer Webinar: June 19th
In case you missed our Altium Designer 18 live webinar, no worries. You can catch up here with the video recording and presentation slides. If you’re not a fan of videos I’ll try my best to summarize in the webinar notes bellow. Most of the key takeaways will be the same as the may webinar but do take a look at the questions as they’ll be different. For future webinars if there’s something you’d like to see add it to the comments.
Multithreading allows Altium Designer to parse out different tasks to different cores making it much quicker. Multi-threading is used for tasks that can be run in parallel. Its Great for things like polygon pours, gerber generation and DRC checks, things that do not have to be calculated sequentially. Its to be noted that smaller, simple designs will probably not notice a difference in performance but users that work with larger, more complex designs will.
Now that Altium Designer is 64 bit its able to utilize much more memory than its predecessors, giving the user a faster and smoother design experience.
Certain tasks in the software have been completely rewritten to be much more efficient. Examples of this would be gerber generation and net building. Our R&D team went through and reduced the amount of calculations Altium needed to do to complete a task without losing any data. They’re pretty clever.
New User Improvements
The interactive properties panel provides universal editing access to the properties of documents and objects in design editors. The panel changes its content based on the document or object that is currently selected and presents specific properties and settings that relate to that document/object. For example if you click on a component in the schematic the properties panel will show the designator, description as well as parameters and pin information. And when in the PCB the properties panel will show similar information just slightly geared for PCB. The properties panel is a work in progress and will continue to improve.
View Configuration Panel
The view configuration panel is used to configure what is currently displayed in the workspace and how it is displayed. This includes layer visibility and color, object visibility and transparency, masking and dimming levels, the current single layer mode, and a number of additional workspace display features, such as the display of net names on pads, vias and tracks. This is a work in progress and will continue to improve.
Altium Designer 18 introduces true system-level design that connects both logical system design and the physical board assembly. In the Multi-board schematic environment is where one is able to logically connect the seperate board modules together. Once connected use the connection manager to manage the connectivity across designs.
Within the multiboard assembly environment one is able to physically connect the separate PCBs in 3D space. The multi-board environment also has 3D collision checking to make sure everything fits perfectly. And if a change needs to be make to a components placement, changes can be pushed to the child PCB.
The BOM document is an important document that should be an integral part of the design process, not an afterthought. ActiveBOM supplies designers with information so that they can make informed decisions when it comes to choosing suppliers and components. The BOM document in Altium Designer displays realtime supplier and part information, the ability to rank suppliers and also checks to help make sure that the BOM document is accurate and ready to be sent out.
Q: Can the view configuration panel be shown on both the schematic and PCB editor at the same time?
A: No, the view configuration panel was created for the new 3D engine in Altium Designer and only works with the PCB layout workspace.
Q: Can our team work with Altium Designer 18 and an older version of Altium Designer on the same project?
A: Yes, but Altium Designer 18 specific functionality such as multiboard are not available in Altium Designer 17.
Q: Does the sectional view work on non multiboard projects?
A: No. The sectional view only works with multi-board but if you want to make sure an enclosure accurately fits your board. Altium Designer comes equipped with collision checking.
Q: Can the ActiveBOM part choices be set up once in the Vault instead of having to set them up individually for each PCB?
A: Once part choices are assigned to managed components in the vault it doesn’t matter what design they’re used in, they will retain their part choice.
Q: Is Altium Designer backwards compatible with older versions?
A: Yes. Altium Designer 18 is able to open and work with file formats of previous versions.
About the Author
Alexsander joined Altium as a Technical Marketing Engineer and brings years of engineering expertise to the team. His passion for electronics design combined with his practical business experience provides a unique perspective to the marketing team at Altium. Alexsander graduated from one of the top 20 universities in the world at UCSD where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.More Content by Alexsander Tamari