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Is There an SPI Trace Impedance Requirement?

There is no SPI trace impedance requirement? The reality is that SPI lines only start to need impedance control when the length of the interconnect becomes very long. And because there is no specific impedance requirement in the bus, you have some freedom in channel design and termination. So what exactly qualifies as “very long” and when is some termination method needed? We’ll break it down in this article.

NEW
Embedded thumbnail for How to Remove Unused Pad Shapes
How-To's
How to Remove Unused Pad Shapes

Unused pad shapes can cause distortion among other problems so it is best to exclude them from your designs. This video shows how to remove unused pad shapes.

Embedded thumbnail for Stackup Presets and Templates
How to work with Layer Stack Manager
Stackup Presets and Templates

In this video, we will learn how to apply predefined layer stacks to the board, as well as how to save the layer stack file as a template.

The Skin Effect and EM Fields
Blog
The Skin Effect, Current Density, and the Electromagnetic Field

During this year's AltiumLive CONNECT event, I recall receiving an interesting question about the skin effect and the distribution of current due to the presence of ground in coplanar transmission lines. In this article, we'll look at the electric field around a transmission line carrying a signal, and how this might be impacted by the skin effect.

Embedded thumbnail for Creating a PCB Footprint Assembly Drawing
How to create a PCB Footprint
Creating a PCB Footprint Assembly Drawing

If you need to create an assembly drawing of your PCB Footprint for your outjob files we can show you how in Altium Designer. We’ll walk through all the different options for your assembly drawing in your Draftsman document, how to create your assembly drawing and assign it designators.

Packaging for your PCBAs
Blog
What You Need for PCB Packaging and Shipping

When you get your PCBA back from an assembler, you’ll notice the packaging materials used to pack and ship the PCBA. Those materials are specific to electronics, and if you build products on behalf of clients, it’s important to know the packaging materials used for packing and shipping electronics. In this article I’ll show the main set of materials and equipment used to package electronics assemblies.

Embedded thumbnail for Using the ActiveBOM
How-To's
Using the ActiveBOM

Using the ActiveBOM: The Bill of Materials (BOM) contains a list of all the components with their designators, part numbers, values, and other parameters. An ActiveBOM manages the mapping from the design component (part) to the part that is purchased. This video describes how to use the ActiveBOM document to create an up-to-date list of components needed for your project.

Embedded thumbnail for Using Back Drills in your Stackup
How to work with Layer Stack Manager
Using Back Drills in your Stackup

In this video, we will learn about Back Drilling technology, how to set up back drilling using the layer stack manager, and how to set up the Stub Length sizes for back drilling by specifying applicable nets using the Design Rules Editor.

PCB Output files
Blog
How to Make PCB Gerber Files in Altium Designer Step-by-Step

Once you've got your PCB layout finished and you're ready to start preparing for manufacturing, one of the critical steps is to create PCB Gerber files. When you're ready to create your Gerber files, you need the right set of CAM processor tools that can take data from your PCB layout. In this article, we'll guide you through this process of how to make PCB Gerber files and show some example tasks you might need to perform to generate them.

Component composition
On-Demand Webinar
Help Ensure The Best Designs With Component Management

There are many aspects to designing a PCB. One of the larger aspects has to do with managing your components. We all need components for our designs, but are those components in our library and designs up-to-date or even purchasable? These questions need to be answered before we can safely use them. Altium Designer® has several tools to help you manage the components in your libraries and designs.

Teardrops on Differential Pairs?
Blog
Should You Place Teardrops on Differential Pairs?

One of the major factors impacting reliability of a PCBA is the use of teardrops on traces in the PCB. Like many aspects of reliability, the considerations also span into the signal integrity domain, particularly as more high-reliability products require greater data handling capabilities and run at higher speeds. In this article, I’ll break down the issues present in teardrop usage on differential pairs and how these may affect impedance.

Embedded thumbnail for How to Customize The Properties Panel
How-To's
How to Customize The Properties Panel

How to Customize The Properties Panel: This video will go over how to customize the look and feel of the properties panel in Altium Designer. By being able to personalize your workspace you can greatly improve your efficiency

Embedded thumbnail for How to Create and Use Impedance Profiles
How to work with Layer Stack Manager
How to Create and Use Impedance Profiles

Using the Altium Designer Layer Stack Manager, we will show how to create impedance profiles for transmission lines and how to apply them to the circuit board using the PCB Rules and Constraints Editor.

Broken PCB
Blog
The High-Reliability PCBA Design and Test Challenge

High-reliability electronics must go through multiple rounds of testing and qualification to ensure they can withstand their intended operating environment. Designing to performance standards, whether the baseline IPC standards or more stringent industry standards, is the first step in ensuring a reliable circuit board. In this e-book, readers will gain a thorough look into PCB testing and analysis, starting from basic tests performed on bare boards and completed assemblies.

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How to create a PCB Footprint
Creating a PCB Footprint Courtyard

The courtyard is an essential piece when you want to create a PCB Footprint in Altium Designer. We’ll talk about what a courtyard is, how to create a courtyard, and how to format a courtyard correctly for your PCB footprint.

Where to place AC Caps on PCIe Lanes
Blog
AC Coupling Capacitors in PCIe Routing

Coupling capacitors find plenty of uses in analog applications and on differential protocols, acting essentially as high pass filters that remove DC bias carried seen on a signal. In the case of PCIe, there are a few reasons to place AC coupling capacitors on differential pairs beyond the fact that AC coupling capacitors are listed in the standard. In this article, we’ll look briefly at where to place coupling capacitors on PCIe links, as well as the reasons these are placed on PCIe links.

Embedded thumbnail for How to Edit Existing Tracks in Altium Designer
How-To's
How to Edit Existing Tracks in Altium Designer

This new design rule flags a violation when the creepage distance across non-conductive surface and edge regions of the board, between the targeted signals, is equal to or less than the specified Creepage distance.

Tuning dialog
Blog
Altium Designer 22.7 Update

We are happy to announce that the Altium Designer 22.7 update is now available. Altium Designer 22.7 continues to focus on improving the user experience, as well as performance and stability of the software, based on feedback from our users. Check out the key new features in the What's New section on the left side of this window!

Embedded thumbnail for Creating a PCB Footprint Silkscreen Overlay
How to create a PCB Footprint
Creating a PCB Footprint Silkscreen Overlay

When creating a PCB footprint in Altium Designer creating a silkscreen overlay is an important requirement. We’ll go over the standards for creating a silkscreen overlay for a footprint and the steps to creating one, such as constructing lines and measuring distance of objects and primitives.

The Positive Impact of Supply Chain Visibility on Design to Cost
Blog
The Positive Impact of Supply Chain Visibility on Design to Cost

Design to cost is a lofty idea that is only perfectly executed when supply and demand for components are in perfect harmony. Unfortunately, the current landscape for component sourcing makes design to cost more of a balancing act rather than an exercise in price reduction. To help designers in their efforts to balance cost, capabilities, and procurement, we created this ebook to help users understand how modern supply chain tools can help in these complex design problems.

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What Are the Main Skew Sources in a PCB?
Blog
Addressing Skew Sources in High Speed PCBs

If you compile a list of skew sources, you'll see that fiber weave-induced skew is only one entry on a long list of skew sources. We'll look at this list of possible skew sources below, and we'll see how they affect the operation of your PCB. From the list below, we'll see that some of these issues with skew are not simply solved by paying attention to the fiber weave construction in a PCB substrate.

Ground Below SMPS Inductors
Blog
Should Ground Be Placed Below Inductors in Switching Regulators?

We love answering questions from our readers and YouTube viewers, and one of the recent questions we received relates to EMI from switching elements in a switching regulator is "Should a cutout be placed below the inductor in a switching regulator circuit?". Despite the variations in inductors and their magnetic behavior, there are some general principles that can be used to judge the effects of placing ground near inductors in switching regulator circuits. We’ll look at some of these principles in this article

Alternative Pins
Blog
Altium Designer 22.6 Update

We are happy to announce that the Altium Designer 22.6 update is now available. Altium Designer 22.6 continues to focus on improving the user experience, as well as performance and stability of the software, based on feedback from our users. Check out the key new features in the What's New section on the left side of this window!

Top 5 Questions Regarding Stack Up
Blog
SAP (Semi-Additive PCB Process) – Top 5 Questions Regarding Stack Up

This Semi-Additive Process is an additional tool in the PCB fabricators' toolbox that enables them to provide feature sizes for trace width and spacing that are 25 microns, (1 mil) and below depending on the fabricators' imaging equipment. This provides much more flexibility to breakout out tight BGA areas and the ability to shrink overall circuit size and/ or reduce the number of circuit layers in the design. As the PCB design community embraces the benefits of this new printed circuit board fabrication technique, there are of course many questions to be answered.

Three ways to manage your BOM costs
Blog
Improving Supply Chain Success with BOM Management

It’s no secret that component shortages have become more frequent this year. In fact, countries around the world are losing billions in revenue due to supply issues. Having the right components on hand is more crucial than ever as availability, obsolescence, counterfeit products and environmental non-compliance risks continue to grow. Fortunately, many shortages can be avoided by introducing proactive supply chain practices.

Length Tuning Impedance
Blog
What is the Impedance of Length-Tuning Structures?

Do length-tuning structures create an impedance discontinuity? The answer is an unequivocal “yes”, but it might not matter in your design depending on several factors. Applying a length-tuning structure is equivalent to changing the distance between the traces while meandering. Therefore, you will have a change in the odd-mode impedance of a single trace. The question then becomes: does this deviation in trace impedance in a length tuning structure matter?

Designing the Next-Generation Electronics
Blog
A-SAP™ – What do you need to know?

The continued miniaturization of both packaging and component size in next-generation electronics is becoming harder and harder to work around and presents a significant challenge for both PCB designers and PCB fabricators. To effectively navigate the constraints of the traditional subtractive-etch PCB fabrication processes, PCB designs require advanced PCB fabrication capabilities while pushing the limits of finer feature size, higher layer counts, multiple levels of stacked micro vias and increased lamination cycles.

Pin-package and Via Delay Values
Blog
Pin-Package Delay and Via Delay in High Speed Length Tuning

Take a look at the inside of some integrated circuit packages, and you’ll find a number of wires bonded to the semiconductor die and the pads at the edge of the component's package. As a signal traverses makes its way along an interconnect and into a destination circuit, signals need to travel across these bond wires and pads before they are interpreted as a logic state. As you look around the edge of an IC, these bond wires can have different lengths, and they incur different levels of delay and contribute to total jitter.

6-Layer PCB Design
Blog
6-Layer PCB Design Guidelines

Once you’ve run out of room on your 4-layer PCB, it’s time to graduate to a 6-layer board. The additional layer can give you room for more signals, an additional plane pair, or a mix of conductors. How you use these extra layers is less important than how you arrange them in the PCB stackup, as well as how you route on a 6-layer PCB. If you’ve never used a 6-layer board before, or you’ve had EMI troubles with this stackup that are difficult to solve, keep reading to see some 6-layer PCB design guidelines and best practices.

Altium Designer Interface
Blog
Altium Designer 22.5 Update

We are happy to announce that the Altium Designer 22.5 update is now available. Altium Designer 22.5 continues to focus on improving the user experience, as well as performance and stability of the software, based on feedback from our users. Check out the key new features in the What's New section on the left side of this window!

Are Hybrid PCB Stackups Reliable?
Blog
How Reliable is Your Hybrid PCB Stackup?

PCB stackups often incorporate slightly dissimilar materials that could pose a reliability problem. Hybrid PCBs are one case where the PCB stackup will include different materials, typically a standard FR4 laminate and a PTFE laminate for RF PCBs. Designers who want to take the lead on material selection when designing their hybrid stackups should consider these factors that affect reliability. As with any PCB stackup, make sure you get your fabricator involved in the manufacturing process early to ensure reliability problems do not arise during production.

Monte Carlo vs Sensitivity Analysis
Blog
Monte Carlo Simulation vs. Sensitivity Analysis: What’s the Difference?

In a previous article about circuit simulation and reliability, I looked at how Monte Carlo analysis is commonly used to evaluate circuits that are subject to random variations in component values. Sensitivity analysis is a bit different and it tells you how the operating characteristics of your circuit change in a specific direction. Compared to a Monte Carlo simulation, sensitivity analysis gives you a convenient way to predict exactly how the operating characteristics will change if you were to deliberately increase or decrease the value of a component.

Simulation, Build and Test
Blog
Creating Continuous Integration Pipelines for FPGAs

Field Programmable Gate Arrays, or FPGAs, have become ubiquitous amongst high-speed, real-time digital systems. The speed at which FPGAs operate continues to increase at a dizzying pace but their adoption into Continuous Integration pipelines seems not to trail as closely. In this article we will review the concept of CI pipelines, their application to FPGAs, and look at examples on how to set this up.

Collaborators Visualization
Blog
Soft Locks [Conflict Prevention] in Altium 365

Conflicts can occur when multiple people work on the same project simultaneously. The user might not realize that they are not looking at the latest version of the documentation, leading to problems later. To address this issue, Altium features an intuitive graphical user interface that allows you to examine conflicts quickly and carefully

Guide to Monte Carlo in SPICE
Blog
The Basics of Monte Carlo in SPICE: Theory and Demo

Anytime you place a component in your PCB, it’s almost like you’re gambling. All components have tolerances, and some of these are very precise, but others components can have very wide tolerances on their nominal values. In the event the tolerances on these components become too large, how can you predict how these tolerances will affect your circuits?

Tag
Further Enhancements to Sheet Cross-referencing
What's New in
Schematic Capture Improvement

Adding cross-references to the project allows you to easily follow the connective flow of nets between the schematic sheets in a project. 

NEW
Embedded thumbnail for How to Remove Unused Pad Shapes
How-To's
How to Remove Unused Pad Shapes

Unused pad shapes can cause distortion among other problems so it is best to exclude them from your designs. This video shows how to remove unused pad shapes.

Embedded thumbnail for Stackup Presets and Templates
How to work with Layer Stack Manager
Stackup Presets and Templates

In this video, we will learn how to apply predefined layer stacks to the board, as well as how to save the layer stack file as a template.

Embedded thumbnail for Creating a PCB Footprint Assembly Drawing
How to create a PCB Footprint
Creating a PCB Footprint Assembly Drawing

If you need to create an assembly drawing of your PCB Footprint for your outjob files we can show you how in Altium Designer. We’ll walk through all the different options for your assembly drawing in your Draftsman document, how to create your assembly drawing and assign it designators.

Embedded thumbnail for Using the ActiveBOM
How-To's
Using the ActiveBOM

Using the ActiveBOM: The Bill of Materials (BOM) contains a list of all the components with their designators, part numbers, values, and other parameters. An ActiveBOM manages the mapping from the design component (part) to the part that is purchased. This video describes how to use the ActiveBOM document to create an up-to-date list of components needed for your project.

Embedded thumbnail for Using Back Drills in your Stackup
How to work with Layer Stack Manager
Using Back Drills in your Stackup

In this video, we will learn about Back Drilling technology, how to set up back drilling using the layer stack manager, and how to set up the Stub Length sizes for back drilling by specifying applicable nets using the Design Rules Editor.

Embedded thumbnail for How to Customize The Properties Panel
How-To's
How to Customize The Properties Panel

How to Customize The Properties Panel: This video will go over how to customize the look and feel of the properties panel in Altium Designer. By being able to personalize your workspace you can greatly improve your efficiency

Embedded thumbnail for How to Create and Use Impedance Profiles
How to work with Layer Stack Manager
How to Create and Use Impedance Profiles

Using the Altium Designer Layer Stack Manager, we will show how to create impedance profiles for transmission lines and how to apply them to the circuit board using the PCB Rules and Constraints Editor.

Embedded thumbnail for Creating a PCB Footprint Courtyard
How to create a PCB Footprint
Creating a PCB Footprint Courtyard

The courtyard is an essential piece when you want to create a PCB Footprint in Altium Designer. We’ll talk about what a courtyard is, how to create a courtyard, and how to format a courtyard correctly for your PCB footprint.

Embedded thumbnail for How to Edit Existing Tracks in Altium Designer
How-To's
How to Edit Existing Tracks in Altium Designer

This new design rule flags a violation when the creepage distance across non-conductive surface and edge regions of the board, between the targeted signals, is equal to or less than the specified Creepage distance.

Embedded thumbnail for Creating a PCB Footprint Silkscreen Overlay
How to create a PCB Footprint
Creating a PCB Footprint Silkscreen Overlay

When creating a PCB footprint in Altium Designer creating a silkscreen overlay is an important requirement. We’ll go over the standards for creating a silkscreen overlay for a footprint and the steps to creating one, such as constructing lines and measuring distance of objects and primitives.

Tuning
What's New in 22.7
Ability to Change Tuning Object Layer Properties

Design of high-speed PCBs becomes easier with this latest release. Now, when you need to quickly move tuning elements to a different layer, you can do so from the Properties panel with a single click.

Simulation models
What's New in 22.7
Auto-assign Simulation Models for Components without Models

This latest version of Altium Designer makes schematic simulation even easier. System intelligence automatically recognizes SPICE models and assigns them to components from available sources.

Paste
What's New in 22.7
Control of Paste Mask Output for Variants

Output data needs to be as accurate as possible. For multi-variant designs you can now ensure that the paste mask is only displayed where it is really needed.

Embedded thumbnail for Adding Designators for Assembly Drawings
How-To's
Adding Designators for Assembly Drawings

Designators for assembly drawings are added on the assembly layer. This video shows how to add the designators.

Embedded thumbnail for Stackup Material Library
How to work with Layer Stack Manager
Stackup Material Library

In this video we will learn more about the Altium designers Layer Stack Mangers built-in materials library, and how to add new material and use it in our board stack. We will also look at how we can save the user materials to an xml format.

Tag
Component composition
On-Demand Webinar
Help Ensure The Best Designs With Component Management

There are many aspects to designing a PCB. One of the larger aspects has to do with managing your components. We all need components for our designs, but are those components in our library and designs up-to-date or even purchasable? These questions need to be answered before we can safely use them. Altium Designer® has several tools to help you manage the components in your libraries and designs.

PCB Comparison
On-Demand Webinar
Getting Started With File Comparison

One major benefit of using a version control system is the ability to compare PCB design revisions against one another. If you are comparing PCB designs, you need a version control system that is electrically intelligent. It’s important to know who made a change, and when they made it. Altium Designer® and Altium 365® make file comparison easy.

High-Speed Design
On-Demand Webinar
Fundamentals of High-Speed Design

This track is for the designer who is new to high-speed layout and routing practices and wants to understand how they relate to signal integrity, and how to get started designing for high-speed digital applications.

Advanced Topics in High-Speed Design
On-Demand Webinar
Advanced Topics in High-Speed Design

This track is for the engineer who understands high-speed design requirements and wants to learn design practices to help ensure signal integrity and EMC with fast digital protocols, mixed-signal boards, and high layer counts.

What’s New in Altium 365
On-Demand Webinar
What’s New in Altium 365

Now you can assess your library’s health at a glance with the Library Health dashboard, view and share your bill of materials (BOM) and view and download PDF documents, all in your web browser. We improved the existing diff and compare features, and released a new version of MCAD CoDesigner. Register for the webinar to learn more!

Design Reuse
On-Demand Webinar
Rapidly Creating New Designs And Reusing Existing Ones

It's no secret that software developers often use completed code fragments from other projects for quick and predictable results. The same can be done for PCB Design, there is no need to spend time rewiring schematics or laying out components on boards you’ve done before. Join us this webinar where we’ll go over how you can use your existing designs to create reusable design blocks, speeding up the design cycle for your future projects.

Component Management
On-Demand Webinar
Help Ensure The Best Designs With Component Management

There are many aspects to designing a PCB. One of the larger aspects has to do with managing your components. We all need components for our designs, but are those components in our library and designs up-to-date or even purchasable? These questions need to be answered before we can safely use them. If not, we could just be wasting our time designing with invalid components. Altium Designer® has several tools to help you manage the components in your libraries and designs. You can determine if the components you’re using in your designs are safe to send off to production.

Component Creation
On-Demand Webinar
Increase Productivity With Easy Component Creation

Component creation is a necessary evil when it comes to design, and it’s something we all need to do. But instead of spending hours creating your components and having them turn into a complete roadblock, let it be just a simple bump on the road. Altium Designer has several tools available to you in order to create the different aspects of a component, including the symbol, footprint, 3D model parametric data, supply chain information, and more

Altium Designer Interface
On-Demand Webinar
Preparing your files for Fabrication Release

When you’re done creating a new board, it’s time to send your design data to the manufacturer. Before releasing your designs, you’ll want to make sure that everything is ready and works as intended. In this informative video, we’ll review some of the must-have checks before sending your output data for fabrication. 

Webinar Preview
On-Demand Webinar
CoDesigner and MCAD Component Placement On-Demand Webinar

We design products not just PCBs requiring effective collaboration between MCAD and ECAD engineers. We need to consider how we can reduce the likelihood of errors when placing critical design components. Component placement in the context of enclosures can be easily handled in an MCAD environment while it is more difficult to achieve in the ECAD domain. Learn how to place components from the MCAD side and synchronize them with Altium Designer ECAD models, designators, and sourcing data to simplify your design process.

On-Demand Webinar
Intelligent Supply Chain Webinar

Many factors can affect your supply chain. Currently, supply disruptions are being felt due to the effect of the Covid-19 Pandemic. In this webinar, learn how Concord Pro on Altium 365 can mitigate disruptions in your supply chain and help you stay on schedule and budget for your designs.

Altium Designer interface
On-Demand Webinar
Preparing your files for Fabrication Release

When you’re done creating a new board, it’s time to send your design data to the manufacturer. Before releasing your designs, you’ll want to make sure that everything is ready and works as intended. In this informative webinar, we’ll review some of the must-have checks before sending your output data for fabrication.

Stackup Manager in Altium
On-Demand Webinar
Mastering The Layer Stack Manager

What most people don’t seem to grasp is that every aspect of the PCB is critical. It all plays a significant part in the operation of the final product. The layer stack is no different. We need to keep in mind materials and the intricacies therein, including thickness, weave, dielectric constants, and more. A proper layer stack is needed for each and every design, so it's important to know how to navigate the layer stack manager and all of its features.

Part Search in Altium Designer
On-Demand Webinar
How to Overcome PCB Component Availability Problems

Supply shortages have become and continue to be a common problem, especially when it comes to the world of electronics. It's hard to get all the different components for our boards. Heck! It's even tough to get the board themselves too! When electronic components become obsolete or out of stock, design and production can suffer lengthy delays. With current supply chain delays and with an average of 15 end-of-life notices issued every day, obtaining the parts you need is a challenge.

Preparing your files for Fabrication Release
On-Demand Webinar
Preparing your files for Fabrication Release

When you’re done creating a new board, it’s time to send your design data to the manufacturer. Before releasing your designs, you’ll want to make sure that everything is ready and works as intended. In this informative video, we’ll review some of the must-have checks before sending your output data for fabrication.

Article preview
On-Demand Webinar
Efficient PCB Routing Using Gloss and Retrace Tools

The primary goal of your traces is to carry signals throughout your board without losses. To do this properly, you must familiarize yourself with the requirements for signals on the printed circuit board and how to optimize the topology of the board in terms of signal integrity. We will analyze the most popular routing cases applicable for using the Gloss and Retrace tools in Altium Designer to optimize your signal integrity.