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Simulation / Analysis
Browse our library of resources to learn more about pcb design and ways to improve debugging and design testing of circuit boards with circuit simulation and analysis.
Stripline vs. Microstrip Width for Desired Impedance: Are They the Same?
Stripline vs. microstrip width values are quite different; they can’t simply be interchanged. Let’s break down why and what you can expect from your PCBs.
Modeling PCB Interconnects as Causal Systems
Real PCB interconnects are causal systems and must be modeled with the correct time-dependent behavior.
Spotting DDR4 Impedance Violations in High Speed PCB Design
DDR4 is one of many high speed interfaces that requires impedance control during routing. If you can spot impedance discontinuities, you can prevent excess insertion/return losses in leading to your DDR4 memory modules.
The Basics of Signal Integrity Analysis in Your PCB
The basics of signal integrity analysis in your PCB can be anything but basic. Simulation tools are great for calculating the behavior of signals in different nets during schematic and layout design, but you’ll still need to take some steps to interpret the results. As advanced as some signal integrity and EM simulation tools can get, they simply can’t compare to the information you can glean from measurements. Whichever method you use to examine
Identifying Near-field EMI in a PCB's Power Distribution Network
Near-field EMI on the PDN in a PCB can be identified when you use a 3D field solver to examine your PCB layout. Here’s how Ansys SIwave integrates with Altium Designer for a powerful simulation workflow.
What is a Schematic Netlist for Your PCB?
If you’ve created your next great schematic, there is a lot going on behind the scenes in your design software. The connectivity between components in your schematic can be reduced to a small number of logical and electrical identifiers. The schematic may provide a graphical picture showing connections between different components and pins, but to really understand everything about your design, you’ll need an important document. A schematic
High Voltage SMPS PCB Layout to Minimize Heat and Noise
Whether you are performing AC-DC conversion or DC-DC conversion, switching power supply layouts are common in high voltage design and must be constructed carefully. Although this system is quite common, it will easily radiate EMI due to the fast changes in voltage and current during switching. Designers can rarely adapt existing designs into new systems as a minor change in one area can create an EMI problem that is difficult to diagnose. With
How to Select an Inductor for a Buck Converter
An SMPS is one of those quiet (yet electrically noisy) devices that makes your favorite electronics run smoothly. They sit in the background quietly doing their duty, yet your board wouldn’t operate without them. As part of DC-DC converter design for power-hungry applications, component selection is quite important for ensuring stable power delivery to a load with high efficiency. Among the numerous DC-DC converter topologies, a buck converter
Debugging Power Supply Noise to Reduce Signal and Clock Jitter
Low level components need ultra-stable power, and high speed digital signals need to have repeatable edge transition times. The two aspects of digital signalling are related, and you’ll need to suppress all aspects of power supply noise to reduce jitter in a digital system. During a design debug, you’ll need to gather measurements throughout your board if you want to isolate and eliminate sources of power supply noise. Here’s how you can isolate
Amplifier Stability at High Frequencies and Stray Capacitance
Amplifiers are one of those critical components that make modern life possible. From wireless communication to power electronics, amplifiers need to run stably and predictably for these products to work properly. Stability analysis is one of my favorite topics in physics and engineering, and it always tends to crop up in places you would least expect. One of these places is in amplifiers. Any time-dependent physical system with feedback and gain
Near-field vs. Far-field EMI: What's Causing Noise Problems in My PCB?
If you’re an antenna designer, then you’re likely familiar with all aspects of near-field vs. far-field radiation. Given the litany of radiated EMI problems that cause noise within and outside of an electronic device, one might suddenly realize their new product is acting like a strong antenna. To understand how EMI affects your circuits, it helps to understand exactly how near-field vs. far-field radiation from your PCB affects your ability to
Antenna Impedance Matching Network Simulation in Altium Designer
Need to simulate an antenna impedance matching network? The SPICE tools in Altium Designer can help.
Analog Signal Bandwidth and its Relation to Power Integrity
Here’s how your analog signal bandwidth interacts with your PDN, and how it affects power integrity.
Designing for Antenna Isolation in Your Wireless System
Antenna isolation is designed to prevent interference between antennas and ensure diversity in wireless systems.
How the Fiber Weave Effect Influences High Frequency Signal Integrity
The fiber weave effect can wreak havoc in networking equipment for copper and fiber When you look at any material under the microscope, it can feel like looking into another world. I spent many long hours on SEMs and TEMs comparing different materials and examining changes in optical and optoelectronic devices during operation. With new devices running at ever higher data rates, designs on rigid substrates need to accommodate one inconvenient
Some Pre-layout Power Spectrum Analysis Tips in Altium Designer
Take advantage of your simulation tools before test and measurement. Here I want to expand a bit on the power spectrum analysis features in Altium Designer®. In a previous post, we looked at working with simulations involving a frequency modulated signal fed into a nonlinear component (an NPN transistor). In this simulation, we ended with the Fourier spectrum at the load resistor for various values of base voltage/current. In the time-domain
Open Source Software - A Moving Target
Open Source Software (OSS) is an attractive alternative to proprietary software platforms. There’s a lot to love about OSS. Lower cost is a primary decision driver for many companies. Others want to enjoy the freedom and flexibility to modify the software to their particular application requirements. Some companies don’t want to be at the mercy of the direction—or lack of direction—of proprietary software roadmaps. There’s also a lot to fret over