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Migrating Data From Other Version Control Systems
Blog
Migrating Data From Other Version Control Systems

The development of electronic devices always involves the release of many different types of files. And these files are not static - they change as the project progresses. When filling a project with data, a user creates new files, modifies outdated files that have become irrelevant. Managing project data is a separate task, especially for large developments where several participants with different specializations are involved in the process.

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Impedance calculation
Impedance Calculation Single-Ended Transmission Lines

Transmission lines help preserve signal integrity and reduce EMI in high speed designs. We’ll show you you to define your single ended transmission lines in Altium Designer and automatically calculate impedance on a two layer and multi-layer board.

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How to Work with Draftsman
Working with Dimensions: Draftsman Documents

Draftsman Documents provide dimensioning tools to capture and display the physical features of the product for fabrication and documentation. 

Properties Panel Tuning
Blog
Properties Panel Tuning

High-speed PCBs often require tuning groups of tracks, both single and differential. Altium Designer includes powerful tools that allow you to solve such tasks quickly and with high quality. Study this document and achieve the desired result even faster.

Three Methods for Building MCAD Ready Components
On-Demand Webinar
Three Methods for Building MCAD Ready Components

One of the most difficult and frustrating things to arise when traveling to a foreign country is the language barrier. Communicating a simple greeting can sometimes seem like a big hassle. The same thing is true for different CAD tools. When your tools aren’t speaking the same language, you’re going to run into problems. Bridge this gap by building out your component libraries with everything it takes to truly define a component, including 3D models that seamlessly propagate into the PCB editor and beyond.

Reflectionless Matching vs. Conjugate Matching: An Apparent Contradiction
Blog
Reflectionless Matching vs. Conjugate Matching: An Apparent Contradiction

There is one confusion related to impedance matching that comes up again and again, and it appears to be a fundamental confusion between reflection and power delivery. This leads to an apparent contradiction that arises when we try to generalize power delivery to wave reflection, despite the fact that the two were not meant to be related.

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Impedance calculation
Impedance Calculations: Differential Pairs

Altium designer makes it easy to calculate geometry when you need to calculate impedance for differential pairs. We’ll go over how differential pairs can help with a two layer and multi layer board, as well as what types you can create such as differential co-planar, and how to configure them for your specific design.

Properties Panel Routing
Blog
Properties Panel Routing

Routing is one of the most time-consuming stages of PCB design. Altium Designer has a large set of tools that allow you to do it as accurately and quickly as possible. This document will help you to learn how to manage your routing effectively and use it to its fullest extent.

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How to Work with Draftsman
Creating and using templates

Draftsman Templates are a quick way of laying out your Draftsman Document in Altium Designer. We’ll show you how to utilize them and the differences between sheet and document templates.

Quarter-Wave Transformer Design For Real and Reactive Loads
Blog
Quarter-Wave Transformer Design For Real and Reactive Loads

RF systems operate with specific impedance values across entire interconnects, including on PCBs. Not all RF components are packaged in integrated circuits with defined impedances, so impedance matching circuits and line sections are needed to ensure signal transmission between different sections of an interconnect. One of these impedance matching techniques is the quarter-wave impedance transformer, which can be implemented as a printed trace with specific impedance.

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How to work with Multiboard
Adding 3D Assemblies to a Multi-Board Project

The next step in the multiboard design process is adding 3D PCB Assemblies. We’ll show you how to add them to your design and how to work with the Assembly Editor.

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Getting Started with A365
Altium 365 - Design Collaboration | Tasks

The Tasks feature brings lightweight task tracking to further enhance design collaboration in Altium 365. With Tasks, you will never lose an important action item and easily gain a high-level view of the state of your project, all without leaving your design environment. 

Schematic
Blog
Altium Designer 22.10 Update

We are happy to announce that the Altium Designer 22.10 update is now available. Altium Designer 22.10 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!

Component Warpage Causes in a PCB
Blog
Component Warpage Causes in a PCB

A staff member at a PCB manufacturer once explained to me that they thought we were having an issue with a package warping. Unfortunately, component warping can occur both in a PCB and in components. In this article, we'll give an overview of warpage in a PCB, specifically in the circuit board and in the components.

Article preview
On-Demand Webinar
8 Reasons to Store Your Components in Altium 365

Working with local libraries seems like a simple solution, but we often don’t take into account the added time spent maintaining libraries and sharing them between team members. There is no good way to avoid duplicate efforts with component creation and no standardization to ensure consistent naming. Worst of all, there is no way to identify the latest component revision, and library files can be easily corrupted or misplaced. This webinar showcases the advantages of component storage in Аltium 365 to resolve the issues of local libraries and component management.

Link Budget Calculator
Blog
RF Signal Chain and Link Budget Basics

If you're designing a wireless IoT device, and you know how to calculate the link budget, you can reasonably estimate whether your signal will reach its destination and be read by the receiver. To calculate the link budget, the designer needs to know something about all other sources of gain and loss in the system. Once link budget is determined, the designer can judge whether some modification is needed in their RF signal chain. 

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How to Work with Draftsman
Adding Additional Views in a Draftsman Document

If you need additional views in your documentation, Altium Designer’s Draftsman Document editor can help. We’ll show you how to add and configure different views including the component view, the section view, the detail view, the isometric view, variants, the legend for the layer stack, the board region view, and the board realistic view.

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How to Work with Draftsman
Draftsman Document Views - Fabrication and Drill Drawings

The Draftsman Document Editor allows you to add a fabrication view and a drill drawing view to your outjob files. We’ll show you how to get them set up and details you can control from the properties panel.

How to Calculate SMD Pad Sizes?
Blog
Best Methods for Calculating SMD Pad Size in PCB Design

SMD components require precisely sized pads for soldering during assembly. The designer is responsible for ensuring pad sizes are correct, either by calculating them and comparing with footprint data, looking through datasheets, or by memorizing SMD pad size standards. If you have a component and you don't have access to the footprint, and you decide to biuld the footprint yourself, what resources are available to ensure you have the correct pad size?

Embedded thumbnail for Altium 365 - Version Control | Project History
Getting Started with A365
Altium 365 - Version Control | Project History

Project History in a Nutshell: - Presents events in a chronological timeline (Creation, Commits, Releases, Clones, and MCAD Exchanges) - Auto-generates Differences Summary to view the differing entities (e.g., replaced components) - Even a non-expert can act on a revision (Download, View, Revert)

Tag
Blog
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Evaluating Stubs on PCIe Lanes
Blog
A Brief Study of Stubs on a PCIe Connector

Stubs are an important topic in high-speed PCB design, and there is a longstanding guideline that stubs should always be removed from all vias on high-speed digital interconnects. While stubs are bad for high-speed lines, they do not always need to be removed. What is more important is to predict the loss profile and frequencies, and to floorplan appropriately to try and prevent such losses.

Surface Layer DFM and Cleanup
Blog
PCB Layout Cleanup Before Manufacturing

Once you finish your placement and routing in your PCB layout, it can be tempting to wrap up the layout and send everything in directly to manufacturing. The reality is that the board may still need some work before it is considered finished. The cleanup you perform at the final stage of PCB layout will help you catch any outstanding errors that can't be programmed into your DRC engine, and it gives you a chance to add any outstanding details to the surface layers.

Low Cost and Professionally Built LED Panel
Blog
Insulated Metal Substrates: Building an LED Panel

In this project we’ll be building a moderate sized LED panel on insulated metal substrate (IMS). This light panel has three different white balance High CRI LED types on it, warm, neutral and cool. By changing the brightness of the different white balances, the light from the panel can be adjusted to match other lighting, making it perfect for film use - but also creating perfect lighting for electronics work. As with all my projects, this LED panel is open source, you can find the Altium project files over on my GitHub released under the permissive MIT License.

DFM For Your Materials
Blog
DFM in PCB Material Selection

Every design should begin with selecting the materials that will appear in the PCB stackup, as well as arranging layers in the stackup to support layout and routing. This section of our PCB manufacturing andc DFM crash course focuses on selecting the right materials for your PCB design. Materials should be selected given the particular design requirements outlined in your specifications.

PCB Layout for an BGA
Blog
How to Start an FPGA PCB Layout For Your Embedded System

FPGAs come in quad or BGA packages that can be difficult to floorplan, especially with the high number of I/Os often implemented in these components. FPGAs offer a lot of advantages in terms of their reconfigurability, but they can require a lot of effort to layout and route without headaches. If you’ve never worked with an FPGA in your PCB layout, we have some guidelines that can help you get started.

2-port VNA on a 3-port Network
Blog
How to Get 3-port S-parameters From a 2-port VNA Measurement

S-parameters are fundamental quantities in signal integrity, and an ability to understand them from measurement or analysis is very important. If you have a 3-port network, like a power divider or circulator, it may appear that you must use a 3-port VNA to measure these S-parameters. It is always acceptable to measure between two ports, but you need to know what exactly it is you are measuring. In this article, we’ll look at the relationship between the true 3-port S-parameters with a 2-port measurement.

Fab and Assembly Crash Course
Blog
A Day in the Life of the PCB Manufacturing Process

Before implementing design for manufacturing, it is important to understand the underlying process behind producing a physical PCB. Regardless of the various technologies present in each facility, a large majority of industry-leading manufacturers follow a specific set of steps to turn your design from a drawing in a CAD application into a physical board. In this article, we'll cover the basics that designers need to know as part of our crash course series on PCB manufacturing.

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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 Define Different Clearance for Internal and External Layers
How-To's
How to Define Different Clearance for Internal and External Layers

If you need to define difference clearance values for your external and internal layers, the answer is with design rules. We’ll walk you through it in this short video. 

Embedded thumbnail for Setting Snap Distance and Axis Snap Range
How to use Snapping
Setting Snap Distance and Axis Snap Range

Learn more about what snap distance and axis snap range are and how to use them.

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Working with Polygons
Polygon Editing

Editing existing polygons is crucial for optimizing your design. You can easily select polygons to edit, resize, combine, and more.

Embedded thumbnail for How to Open All Schematic Documents
How-To's
How to Open All Schematic Documents

This video shows how to open all your project's schematic documents at once.

Embedded thumbnail for Calculating Impedance in Altium Designer
Impedance calculation
Calculating Impedance in Altium Designer

This video covers how to calculate impedance in Altium Designer. This is especially important when dealing with high-speed designs. You want to make sure impedance is matched to avoid any reflections and maintain good signal integrity.

Embedded thumbnail for Using 3D Component Body Features for Precise Component Creation
How to Work with 3D Mode
Using 3D Component Body Features for Precise Component Creation

Learn to quickly and accurately place 3D models of components on their footprints

Embedded thumbnail for How to Define an Impedance Profile for an Assymetric Stripeline
Impedance calculation
How to Define an Impedance Profile for an Assymetric Stripeline

This video shows how to define an impedance profile for an asymmetric stripline.

Embedded thumbnail for How I Improved my Collaboration Efficiency with Altium 365 | Altium 365: Power User Insights
How I Improved my Collaboration Efficiency with Altium 365 | Altium 365: Power User Insights

Collaboration with other teams or contractors in the electronics industry is typically a painful and inefficient experience. All too often, communication is left until the last minute when boards are all but ordered. Let's talk about how to collaborate with colleagues with Altium 365 in a different way.

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How to Work with Draftsman
Working with Annotation Tools

Draftsman Documents provide annotation tools to convey physical properties such as tolerances and surface finish

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How to Work with 3D Mode
3D View Control

Learn how to use the 3D display mode of the PCB and learn to control the camera in this mode in this video

Embedded thumbnail for Impedance Calculation Single-Ended Transmission Lines
Impedance calculation
Impedance Calculation Single-Ended Transmission Lines

Transmission lines help preserve signal integrity and reduce EMI in high speed designs. We’ll show you you to define your single ended transmission lines in Altium Designer and automatically calculate impedance on a two layer and multi-layer board.

Embedded thumbnail for Working with Dimensions: Draftsman Documents
How to Work with Draftsman
Working with Dimensions: Draftsman Documents

Draftsman Documents provide dimensioning tools to capture and display the physical features of the product for fabrication and documentation. 

Embedded thumbnail for Impedance Calculations: Differential Pairs
Impedance calculation
Impedance Calculations: Differential Pairs

Altium designer makes it easy to calculate geometry when you need to calculate impedance for differential pairs. We’ll go over how differential pairs can help with a two layer and multi layer board, as well as what types you can create such as differential co-planar, and how to configure them for your specific design.

Embedded thumbnail for Creating and using templates
How to Work with Draftsman
Creating and using templates

Draftsman Templates are a quick way of laying out your Draftsman Document in Altium Designer. We’ll show you how to utilize them and the differences between sheet and document templates.

Embedded thumbnail for Adding 3D Assemblies to a Multi-Board Project
How to work with Multiboard
Adding 3D Assemblies to a Multi-Board Project

The next step in the multiboard design process is adding 3D PCB Assemblies. We’ll show you how to add them to your design and how to work with the Assembly Editor.

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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.

Article preview
On-Demand Webinar
Length Matching in High Speed Buses

With ever increasing speeds in high-speed data systems comes a couple of PCB layout challenges. High-speed busses like DDR, VME, PCIe just to mention a few can all reach data transfer speeds that require strict timing with very tight tolerances, thereby leaving very little slack in the PCB layout. Watch this on-demand webinar to learn why it's imperative to match track lengths in high-speed data systems and differential signals. You’ll see how to properly define PCB length matching and time delay constraints, and how to effectively route high-speed signals in Altium Designer®.

Simple Simulation in Altium Designer
On-Demand Webinar
SPICE Simulation Made Simple

SPICE simulation saves you critical time in the prototyping phase. Understanding your simulation interface makes it simple to analyze how your circuits work in different scenarios. Altium Designer provides an intuitive, dedicated interface to support your simulation verification, setup, and analysis directly in your schematic environment. You also benefit from growing support for popular model formats, as well as generic models, simplifying circuit definition and simulation.

Altium Designer Signal Integrity
On-Demand Webinar
What is High-Speed Design?

The primary source of high-speed problems is not due to high clock frequency but rather the fast rise and fall times of component signals. With fast edge rates, reflections may occur at the receiver side, and when the board routing is dense, crosstalk may become a problem. During this webinar, you'll sharpen your knowledge and develop new skills that you can use to design High-Speed PCB's more efficiently and effectively.

Altium Designer Interface
On-Demand Webinar
What is High-Speed Design?

The primary source of high-speed problems is not due to high clock frequency but rather the fast rise and fall times of component signals. With fast edge rates, reflections may occur at the receiver side, and when the board routing is dense, crosstalk may become a problem. During this webinar, you'll sharpen your knowledge and develop new skills that you can use to design High-Speed PCB's more efficiently and effectively. 

Webinar slides
On-Demand Webinar
Designing PCBs 5x Faster Despite the Pandemic | Customer Success | Kinetic Vision

Kinetic Vision, a Cincinnati-based design, engineering, and development firm, is an innovator’s one-stop shop for transforming even the wildest ideas into real products. The company’s design approach keeps everything in-house, including industrial design, mechanical, and electrical design, as well as, engineering, hardware/software development, machine learning, and sometimes even short-run production. Watch this webinar to learn how Kinetic Vision uses the Altium 365 platform to enable a connected and frictionless PCB design experience, increasing their productivity 5 times even in the mid

Altium Designer interface
On-Demand Webinar
One-Stop Design Team Configuration

A heavy focus is usually put on managing your design data, but what about managing your design team? A mismanaged design team can lead to a disorganized and inaccurate design library and data. Watch this webinar to see how Altium 365 can help you to organize users into access restricted groups, manage design and designer access rights, avoid design conflicts when multiple members are working on the same design, and standardize your entire project using templates

SolidWorks interface
On-Demand Webinar
ECAD MCAD Capabilities For Today’s Most Demanding Designs

Working between the Electronic and Mechanical design domains brings unique challenges. ECAD and MCAD tools have different design objectives and have evolved down different paths, and so have the way they store and manage their design and project data. To successfully design these products, the designers must fluidly pass design changes back and forth between the ECAD and MCAD domains beyond outdated file exchanges.

Altium Designer Constraints Editor
On-Demand Webinar
Getting Started with Design Rules and Constraints

Getting started with design rules can sometimes be a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. Altium Designer has added a new design rules user interface along with a new way to define rules, while not compromising past methods. Now, rules and constraints have a design-centric view rather than a rules-centric view which allows for easier visualization and is less prone to error. Watch this video to learn how you can best utilize the improved Rules 2.0 design rule interface.

Altium Designer interface
On-Demand Webinar
ECAD-MCAD Collaboration for Improved Product Development

Working between the Electronic and Mechanical design domains brings unique challenges. ECAD and MCAD tools have different design objectives and have evolved down different paths, and so has the way they store and manage their design and project data. Watch this video to learn about seamless ECAD/MCAD Collaboration on the project, how to comments for other design teams and how to review, Approve or Reject design changes from your mechanical engineer.