Welcome, Guest

Sign in to learn, create, and do more with the product you love.

News & Updates

Filters:
Tag
Can You Fix a Warped PCB?
Blog
Can You Fix a Warped PCB?

Before we get too deep into this article, I’ll give you the simple answer. You probably can’t fix warping in your PCB after it’s already been fabricated. You can prevent an unwarped board from becoming warped during assembly, but only as long as materials were selected properly and the board is put into reflow correctly. We’ll run over some of these points in this article, and I’ll examine some points that might help you recover a warped board.

Embedded thumbnail for A365 Getting Started: Gerber Compare
Getting Started with A365
A365 Getting Started: Gerber Compare

The task of comparing different versions of manufacturing files usually arises when the electrical engineer needs to check and confirm the manufacturer's edits or clarify details of changes before starting production. In Altium 365 you can perform an automatic comparison of Gerber files. 

Embedded thumbnail for Resolving Conflicts in Multi-board Schematics
How to work with Multiboard
Resolving Conflicts in Multi-board Schematics

When mismatched pin names in your multi-board schematic cause disconnects and conflicts you can use Altium Designer’s tools to resolve these conflicts. We’ll show you the Connection Manager and the various solutions to solve your connection issues.

What is an Eye Diagram?
Blog
What is an Eye Diagram?

The eye diagram is a useful measurement or simulation as part of channel compliance. The measurement shows many different factors that can affect signal behavior simultaneously, ultimately allowing for qualification of errors and losses in a channel. In this article, I’ll run over some of the fundamental measurements that you could manually extract from an eye diagram and how they reveal some strategies for improving channel designs.

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.

Skills for Today's PCB Designers
Blog
What Skills Are Needed to be a PCB Layout Designer?

To readers who have been working in the PCB industry for most of your career, you have probably seen a very diverse group of professionals with varied skill sets and backgrounds. Designers might get started as engineers or as technicians, and some designers learn how to create beautiful PCB layouts in university. No matter how you got into PCB design, there are some important skills to know that will take you a long way towards advancing your career.

Embedded thumbnail for A365 Getting Started: Schematic Compare
Getting Started with A365
A365 Getting Started: Schematic Compare

The schematic sheets in a project are subject to change over time, and sometimes it may be necessary to compare several different versions and detect differences between them. In Altium Designer you can easily perform an automatic comparison of any revisions of schematic documents. 

Embedded thumbnail for Draftsman Document Board Assembly View
How to Work with Draftsman
Draftsman Document Board Assembly View

The Draftsman Document can include a Board Assembly View. We’ll show you how to add it and the properties you can change to create the exact view or views you need.

How to Fix the Top PCB Design Mistakes
Blog
Beginner PCB Design Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

When starting out with PCB design, it’s common to treat the process as simply ‘connecting the dots’: as long as connections are made, it’s not particularly important how these connections are made. Having reviewed quite a number of PCBs of other PCB design engineers over the last few years, there are common, unfortunately erroneous, occurrences between a lot of them. This article aims to illustrate the top five beginner PCB design mistakes and what we can do to avoid making them. Let’s get started!

Embedded thumbnail for A365 Getting Started: Migrate to Altium 365 from other VCS
Getting Started with A365
A365 Getting Started: Migrate to Altium 365 from other VCS

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. Traditionally, one way to manage data is to use a version control system such as Git or SVN. Unlike other VCSs, Altium 365 is the system designed specifically for managing project data.

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

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.  Today’s blog will address some of the most commonly asked questions related to circuit layer stack up as people are introduced to this new technology.

Embedded thumbnail for How to work with Component Classes?
How to Work with Classes
How to work with Component Classes?

Modern printed circuit boards can contain a large number of components, which makes them difficult to work with. In this video we will show what component classes can be on a PCB, how to create custom component classes and how they can be useful for us. 

Embedded thumbnail for Placing Connections Between Boards
How to work with Multiboard
Placing Connections Between Boards

A multi-board design requires relationships between several board designs referred to as interboard connections. We’ll show you the different types of connections and how to connect your boards using the proper connection type.

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.

Design Reuse Blocks Update
Blog
Altium Designer 22.9 Update

We are happy to announce that the Altium Designer 22.9 update is now available. Altium Designer 22.9 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!

Dual Rail Voltage Supply
Blog
Dual Rail Voltage Supply

The highest performing operational amplifiers often need a split supply with positive and negative voltages connected to the op amps supply rails. In this project, we’re going to be building a positive/negative dual rail power supply for a differential oscilloscope probe I’m designing. I’m making the power supply a separate project, as a dual rail supply is quite useful to have, and I’m sure I’ll find multiple uses for it in the future.

Embedded thumbnail for Show the Net Connections Between Select Components
How-To's
Show the Net Connections Between Select Components

This video demonstrates how to show net-specific component connections. This is helpful when routing as you’re able to reduce clutter and focus on the connections on which you are working.

Embedded thumbnail for Draftsman Editor Settings
How to Work with Draftsman
Draftsman Editor Settings

In this video we’ll go over the Draftsman editor settings and properties so you know how to set up the editor to be exactly what you need.

Library Importer Interface
Blog
Library Importer Improvements (former Library Migrator)

Importing file-based libraries from your local computer or network drive to your Altium 365 workspace can be done using the Library Importer. Altium’s Library Migrator was renamed Library Importer—the feature’s name was changed to conform more closely to the tool’s purpose. Not only is its name new, but our team has also made several user experience improvements. We have updated the documentation to reflect this change.

Blog
How to Select Copper Foil for High-Frequency PCB Design

The PCB materials industry has spent significant amounts of time developing materials that provide lowest possible signal loss for products with RF applications. For high speed and high frequency designs, losses will limit signal propagation distance and distort signals, and it will create an impedance deviation that can be seen in TDR measurements. In this article, we'll look at the balance between copper foil losses and other types of losses in a PCB, as well as some strategies that are commonly used to overcome roughness.

Tag
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?

Can You Fix a Warped PCB?
Blog
Can You Fix a Warped PCB?

Before we get too deep into this article, I’ll give you the simple answer. You probably can’t fix warping in your PCB after it’s already been fabricated. You can prevent an unwarped board from becoming warped during assembly, but only as long as materials were selected properly and the board is put into reflow correctly. We’ll run over some of these points in this article, and I’ll examine some points that might help you recover a warped board.

What is an Eye Diagram?
Blog
What is an Eye Diagram?

The eye diagram is a useful measurement or simulation as part of channel compliance. The measurement shows many different factors that can affect signal behavior simultaneously, ultimately allowing for qualification of errors and losses in a channel. In this article, I’ll run over some of the fundamental measurements that you could manually extract from an eye diagram and how they reveal some strategies for improving channel designs.

Skills for Today's PCB Designers
Blog
What Skills Are Needed to be a PCB Layout Designer?

To readers who have been working in the PCB industry for most of your career, you have probably seen a very diverse group of professionals with varied skill sets and backgrounds. Designers might get started as engineers or as technicians, and some designers learn how to create beautiful PCB layouts in university. No matter how you got into PCB design, there are some important skills to know that will take you a long way towards advancing your career.

How to Fix the Top PCB Design Mistakes
Blog
Beginner PCB Design Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

When starting out with PCB design, it’s common to treat the process as simply ‘connecting the dots’: as long as connections are made, it’s not particularly important how these connections are made. Having reviewed quite a number of PCBs of other PCB design engineers over the last few years, there are common, unfortunately erroneous, occurrences between a lot of them. This article aims to illustrate the top five beginner PCB design mistakes and what we can do to avoid making them. Let’s get started!

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

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.  Today’s blog will address some of the most commonly asked questions related to circuit layer stack up as people are introduced to this new technology.

Design Reuse Blocks Update
Blog
Altium Designer 22.9 Update

We are happy to announce that the Altium Designer 22.9 update is now available. Altium Designer 22.9 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!

Dual Rail Voltage Supply
Blog
Dual Rail Voltage Supply

The highest performing operational amplifiers often need a split supply with positive and negative voltages connected to the op amps supply rails. In this project, we’re going to be building a positive/negative dual rail power supply for a differential oscilloscope probe I’m designing. I’m making the power supply a separate project, as a dual rail supply is quite useful to have, and I’m sure I’ll find multiple uses for it in the future.

Library Importer Interface
Blog
Library Importer Improvements (former Library Migrator)

Importing file-based libraries from your local computer or network drive to your Altium 365 workspace can be done using the Library Importer. Altium’s Library Migrator was renamed Library Importer—the feature’s name was changed to conform more closely to the tool’s purpose. Not only is its name new, but our team has also made several user experience improvements. We have updated the documentation to reflect this change.

Blog
How to Select Copper Foil for High-Frequency PCB Design

The PCB materials industry has spent significant amounts of time developing materials that provide lowest possible signal loss for products with RF applications. For high speed and high frequency designs, losses will limit signal propagation distance and distort signals, and it will create an impedance deviation that can be seen in TDR measurements. In this article, we'll look at the balance between copper foil losses and other types of losses in a PCB, as well as some strategies that are commonly used to overcome roughness.

Blog
Altium Designer 22.8 Update

We are happy to announce that the Altium Designer 22.8 update is now available. Altium Designer 22.8 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!

What is Hybrid Beamforming?
Blog
What is Hybrid Beamforming?

In this article, we’ll look at beamforming implementation in an advanced method combining analog and digital techniques, known as hybrid beamforming. This method blends both digital and analog techniques to create multiple beams and thus reach multiple users with varying intensities. In the case of an RF imaging system or a radar system, hybrid beamforming in a MIMO technique also allows tracking of multiple targets with adjustable resolution.

Is your via impedance calculator accurate?
Blog
Why Most Via Impedance Calculators Are Inaccurate

The problem with every via impedance calculator that I have seen is simple: they are incomplete or totally wrong. The “incomplete” part refers to a lack of context; these calculators can roughly reproduce a well-known estimate from a legend like Howard Johnson in his Digital Design textbooks. However, these calculators never provide insight into what they are actually calculating, or where the calculated via impedance is accurate. Keep reading to see why these calculators get it so wrong, as well as the context surrounding via impedance.

Blog
Buck Converter Simulation in Altium Designer

When designing high power circuits (usually very high voltage and/or current), you’ll need to create a regulator from scratch and place it in your PCB layout. It's also the case that you may want to model a real component using discretes in a simulation in order to qualify the system's expected operating regime. As part of buck converter design, you can easily run a buck converter simulation directly in Altium Designer’s schematic editor. Here’s how you can access these features in the newest version of Altium Designer. 

PCIe 6.0 Overview
Blog
Overview of the PCIe 6.0 Standard

Just as you get used to PCIe 5.0, they decide to release another standard! The newest iteration of PCIe is Gen6, or PCIe 6.0. PCIe 6.0 brings a doubling of channel bandwidth through introduction of PAM-4 as the signaling method in high-speed differential channels. This signaling method is a first for PCIe, and it’s an important enabler of the doubled data rate we see in the current standard. In this article, I’ll run over the important points in the standard and what PCB designers can expect when designing these channels.

SPI vs. I2C For Memory Access
Blog
SPI vs. I2C: How to Choose the Best Protocol for Your Memory Chips

One of the common implementations of SPI and I2C in a PCB layout is as a protocol for reading and writing to an external Flash memory. Flash chips are a very common component in embedded systems and can offer high capacities of non-volatile memory up to Gb values. When choosing a memory chip, you'll want to match the application requirements and functionality with the bus speed you need for read and write operations in your memory chip. There is also the matter of the type of Flash memory you'll need to access (NOR vs. NAND).

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 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.

Embedded thumbnail for Polygon Editing
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.

Embedded thumbnail for Working with Annotation Tools
How to Work with Draftsman
Working with Annotation Tools

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

Embedded thumbnail for 3D View Control
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.

Tag
Webinar Preview
On-Demand Webinar
Group Editing Tools and Methods in Altium Designer Webinar

Do you ever have to edit a large group of objects on your design? Whether you are dealing with your schematic or PCB, this webinar will help you get acquainted with the main tools for group editing of objects in Altium Designer. You will also learn how to effectively apply group editing methods with filters and selection tools in different design scopes.

Share Designs and track changes easily
On-Demand Webinar
Using Version Control in Your PCB Project Webinar

Version control has been a staple of software development for decades, but hardware development can benefit just as much from a version control system (VCS). Traditionally, VCS has been managed locally tying you down to a workplace, but advances in cloud technology have removed that limitation. Learn how Altium 365 cloud technology enables working concurrently on designs with built-in version control and evaluate its advantages.

Complex Design Made Easy Preview
On-Demand Webinar
Altium Designer® 21: A Better Way To Design

The design process often requires repetitive work with tedious tasks. Altium Designer 21 represents a better way to design by revitalizing long-standing functionality and improving the user experience, as well as performance and stability, based on the feedback from our users. These improvements streamline existing design tasks and empower you to complete sophisticated rigid and rigid-flex designs with realistic 3D modeling.

Printed tracks on PCB in Altium Designer
On-Demand Webinar
Printed Circuit Design in Altium Designer

Printed Electronics is emerging to become as common as 3D printing. With this fast-emerging technology, new possibilities have come into the manufacturing arena, allowing engineers and designers to develop products in markets never before realized. With the emergence of many contract manufacturers possessing this capability, the cost is competitive. Quick-turn prototypes and volume production are now all possibilities, and with Altium 365® you stay connected directly with your manufacturer throughout the design process.

Webinar preview
On-Demand Webinar
Using Output Job Files for Rapid, Repeatable PCB Manufacturing Data Generation

An OutJob is simply a pre-configured set of outputs. Each output is configured with its own settings and its own output format, for example, output to a file or to a printer. OutJobs are very flexible – they can include as many or as few outputs as required and any number of OutJobs can be included in a project. The best approach is to use one OutJob to configure all outputs required for each specific type of output being generated from the project. 

Article preview
On-Demand Webinar
Best Practices: Efficient Use of Snapping in Altium Designer

Getting your PCB layout design done takes patience and precision. Complex footprint geometries, board shape, and dense component placement require accurate primitive positioning. Each stage of PCB design needs a different snapping configuration. Often your settings can be excellent for one stage and be unfavorable for another. Learn more about different snapping usage patterns and best practices of efficient snappings.

On-Demand Webinar
Communicating Design Intent with Manufacturing Outputs

No one wants to do a board respin because of inaccurate or incomplete manufacturing outputs confusing design intent. This webinar covers the information needed for PCB Manufacturing and Assembly, as well as, a simple way to communicate and collaborate with manufacturing.

Article preview
On-Demand Webinar
Editing Your PCB Geometry with MCAD Tools Webinar

You need to define your PCB geometry in the context of your enclosure. If your board cannot physically be assembled into the final product, it doesn't matter how well laid out it is electrically. This webinar focuses on how the MCAD CoDesigner allows you to edit your PCB in the context of a higher-level assembly, allowing you to respect the relevant mechanical constraints.

Article preview
On-Demand Webinar
Editing Your PCB Geometry with MCAD Tools

You need to define your PCB geometry in the context of your enclosure. If your board cannot physically be assembled into the final product, it doesn't matter how well laid out it is electrically.

This webinar focuses on how the MCAD CoDesigner allows you to edit your PCB in the context of a higher-level assembly, allowing you to respect the relevant mechanical constraints.